Headline, photo, placement…

by Shari Graydon
A clever and unusual headline… the benefit of an accompanying photo… and placement across the top of the right hand page: you can’t ask for a better alignment of the stars than my op ed in today’s Globe received. (Thank you, Natasha Hassan.) All these factors contribute to how much a commentary gets noticed and read. And the astonishing volume of mail in my inbox today is one indicator of their collective impact.
(Years ago after I’d appeared in front The Vancouver Sun‘s editorial board about an issue I cared a lot about, I was disappointed to see that the next day’s paper devoted 2/3 of the space accorded to the resulting story to a photograph of me. It’s not that it was a bad photo, but I’d really wanted the issue itself to be covered in much more depth. When I complained about this to sympathetic columnist Stephen Hume, he patiently explained that the existence of the photograph guaranteed that many thousands more people would read the story than if they’d devoted all the allotted space to text alone.)
Now I welcome attention grabbing art and even an unflattering picture, all in pursuit of being read.