Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, June 09, 2021

Farewell front pages, a traditional goodbye keepsake for long-tenured newspaper staffers who leave their jobs (on good terms), are considered a mixed bag by art/design departments. While they are fun to put together — especially the satirical ones, poking gentle fun at the departing guy/gal — they still boil down to actual work. It’s one more page, on top of the dozens of others that have to get produced that day/week/month.

That when it’s just one employee leaving. When it’s nine in one shot, as happened at the Washington Post business section, it calls from a creative solution:

[The department] made up faux front pages for five of the nine people who are leaving this month; the other four, who are leaving later, will receive their pages later.

“We couldn’t have our art department doing nine extra pages in one day,” [assistant managing editor Jill] Dutt said. “We have a real paper to put out.”

Those words take me back. One night in the late ’90s, when I was working at the St. Petersburg Times, I was just starting my night shift by walking through the production department. I passed by one of the paste-up workers, who was mildly bitching about all the extra work he was doing on farewell pages; seems like a steady enough stream of staffer departures from various departments resulted in near-constant project work on these faux broadsheets. He said something like, “I’m working on these fakes almost full-time now!”

There is something tragi-comic about such a situation. I mean, you expect staff reductions to create extra work; but not in this form.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 06/09/2021 06:17:38 PM
Category: Publishing, Business | Permalink | Feedback

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It was already apparent this past Monday that the Times was totally ga-ga over over midtown’s Hearst Tower.

Today, the newspaper piles on the love with Nicolai Ouroussoff’s architectural review of the edifice, wherein it’s hailed as a sign of renaissance for the city’s skyline:

Norman Foster’s new Hearst Tower arrives just in time, slamming through the malaise like a hammer. Crisscrossed by a grid of bold steel cross-braces, its chiseled glass form rises with blunt force from the core of the old 1928 Hearst Building on Eighth Avenue, at 57th Street. Past and present don’t fit seamlessly together here; they collide with ferocious energy.

This 46-story tower may be the most muscular symbol of corporate self-confidence to rise in New York since the 1960’s, when Modernism was in full bloom, and most Americans embraced technological daring as a sure route to social progress…

Part of what makes Lord Foster’s building so mesmerizing is a constant shift in its visual relationship to the skyline. Seen from the south against the backdrop of the taller and blander glass- and brick-clad towers lining Eighth Avenue, its stubby crystalline form seems to have been arbitrarily sliced off at the top, so that it meets the sky abruptly. As you draw nearer, the facade’s oversize triangular windows become disorienting, making the building’s scale harder to grasp.

I, and probably everyone else who’s taken a gander at it, can attest to the visual trickery performed by that glass-and-steel. Maybe the fact that it’s got a good bit of clearance all around it — no other comparable skyscrapers are situated within a block — contributes to this effect.

It’s not mentioned online, but a sidebar on the print edition says that public access to the Hearst Tower won’t start until this fall, after the likes of Esquire and other magazines move their stuff in. So close (I work right across the street), and yet so far…

So much admiration is inevitably accompanied by a scorned object of contrast. Cue up the Time Warner Center, nearby on Columbus Circle. That behemoth has been reviled since it opened, and Ouroussoff uses it (briefly) as a convenient punching bag to further highlight how much he thinks Hearst’s new home is the bee’s knees.

I’m not particularly well-versed in architecture. I think both the Hearst and TW buildings are impressive-looking, but not sure if either is particularly organically placed in the context of their surroundings. But I’m glad to be in their neighborhood during the working hours.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 06/09/2021 04:44:03 PM
Category: Media, Business, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback