Although The Metropolis is the only official campus paper, the Miami area has a myriad of free publications all vying for the limited attention of a busy student populace. To compete, The Metropolis decided it needed some “curb appeal” and promptly gave itself a facelift. The process was simple: take their non-standard broadsheet and fold it in half. The result is a cohesive blend of newspaper credibility with magazine funk. Picking up the paper, you first notice the tabloid-sized front cover with its post-modern illustrations and provocative teasers giving it a South Beach magazine feel. Upon opening the paper to its full height, you’re surprised by its contemporary newspaper look—modular design, an elegant nameplate, and large, colorful photos. “I told the staff that what they were doing was getting away from traditional newspaper format but that they might be right as far as a marketing and attractiveness aspect,” says Art Brockway, first-year advisor. “They were 100-percent right. Right now, our racks are empty. Students are picking it up.”
Along with the new look, The Metropolis also changed the way it approaches news. “Students have a limited amount of time in their schedules,” says Aldo Nahed, editor in chief. “They’re on the go; many have jobs, classes, and family to juggle. The way our paper fills the needs of students is by informing them of all the changes occurring on campus and in the community in a brief yet effectively informative manner.”
The Metropolis’s center spread features “Forum,” the paper’s best section. With a clean design and student-focused editorials, Forum is the voice of M-DCC-Wolfson’s student body. “Our paper is direct, diverse, and holds its opinion pages to students’ concerns,” Brockway says. “People are responding to our articles, which indicates that our words are reaching our audience.”
The paper’s changes may have improved the overall product, but they have also caused some problems. Because of the new focus on short, to-the-point articles, The Metropolis is missing any in-depth feature articles—the bread and butter of all journalism. The staff could improve the paper by taking larger issues and localizing them to connect with the student body on a more personal level. Also, the new cover doesn’t always give enough information about what’s included in the issue. However, The Metropolis has taken a giant leap forward over previous years. “People constantly comment on our articles and look, which lets us know that we’re doing the right thing,” Nahed says.
The Observer’s most unique aspect is its “Career” section. In each issue, the page highlights one specific career, everything from journalism to computer science. With community college readers who may not know exactly what their future career plans are, the profiles, interviews, and articles seem especially apropos. “The staff really thought about what the other students’ needs are, and they really worked hard to meet those needs,” Farber says.
The Observer uses its limited color to the best of its ability by featuring a “double-truck” in every issue. Although everything from sports previews to board of trustee profiles appear in the center-spread, the space is usually reserved for the “Entertainment” section. Colorful music and movie photos draw readers into reviews that, although not exceptional, are adequate enough to entertain students between classes. “Our purpose is to give the BCC students and staff a paper that deals with a variety of issues, particularly since our school consists of such a diverse group,” says Fritz Loriston, editor in chief. “From that standpoint, I’d say we’re meeting that purpose.”
Where The Observer needs the most work is on its front page. The “flag” is in desperate need of a redesign. A more elegant font, logo, and layout would give the paper more curb appeal. Also, the sidebar running the length of the page needs to be scrapped or completely overhauled. Right now, the amount of wasted space and the seemingly random choices in font, font size, and photo placement is painful to look at. “This staff wants to freshen the way the front page looks by the end of the term,” Farber says. “If they get the other 19 pages better, the cover will come.”
However, the paper falls dreadfully short when it comes to the extensiveness of its coverage. Not only is the news section lacking content, but the paper is missing the in-depth, heavily-reported news features that can make a monthly publication worth reading. Where are the articles on student credit-card debt or Student Government waste that can have an impact on campus? Where is the three-piece series on students and religion or battling stereotypes that can establish personal connections with readers? With In Motion’s already solid foundation, adding some in-depth articles will go a long way toward building the paper to one of the best in the state.
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