I was the Page 1 editor last night, substituting for the vacationing Linda Williams. One of the jobs of the Page 1 editor is to put together the rail, which is the column of promos on the left side of the front page. It runs from the flag (the News & Observer nameplate) down to the weather at the bottom of the page. The rail is intended to cue the reader about the good stuff inside the paper, and if done well, it should be lively and have some attitude. Summoning up attitude with the first edition deadline staring you in the eyeballs is a challenge, but we try. It was even more challenging last night, because we had to go in 30 minutes early because of the looming snow that was going to make our delivery folks' lives more difficult than usual.
My second rail item was about Mark Zuckerberg getting the Person of the Year honors from Time magazine. I was struggling with the headline, because we were using the image of the magazine cover, which said that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was the Person of the Year. So to write a headline that said the same thing would be redundant. I also wanted to stay away from lame ideas, such as "Facebook friends Zuckerberg."
After grappling with this for a few minutes, I had an idea. On Facebook, when someone appreciates what you've posted, they can click the "Like" link and an upraised thumb appears. So I asked Teresa Kriegsman, the design guru who was designing the front, if she could get the upraised thumb and put it on the page, next to the words: "Time Likes." Which is how it would look if Time magazine clicked the "Like" link on Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page to show Time Inc.'s appreciation of the kid billionaire.
The only twinge I got was knowing that some of our readers who are not on Facebook wouldn't get it.
But I decided: What the heck. The Facebook crowd will get it and may appreciate it. Anyone who didn't get it, I apologize now, including an apology to my mother-in-law, a long-time subscriber in Clinton, NC, who I am absolutely, 100 percent positive didn't get it.
So thanks to Teresa for taking time on deadline to figure out how to do this, design-wise.