It’s an understatement to say that the Nevada Sagebrush‘s front page this week is attention-grabbing. It’s a giant red-letter “SEX” surrounded by pornographic visuals and evocative phrases. It’s a nightmare for the readers who consider sex columnist Caitlin Thomas to be the biggest journalistic travesty since Jayson Blair.
Now, I don’t have an issue with addressing sex in the paper, especially in an ‘edgy’ collegiate publication like the Sagebrush. What I do have an issue with is the news judgement. The story directly underneath the fold, a feature on how Spanish professors Guillermo Meza and Emma Sepulveda escaped a Chilean military coup in the 1970s, is probably one of the best stories the organization will run this year. Why not feature this story prominently, rather than burying it underneath a massive, non-news section? Why not find an excellent photo and feature it prominently? There are so many ways to present this story that could bring attention and recognition to the front page, but the only thing normal readers see is a giant word art of “Sex.”
The lesson here is that unless a story is so important or visually appealing to be worth taking up everything above the fold, content needs to be diverse. Fluffy bullshit about which sex positions are best for each college isn’t worth shoving an actually decent story down the page and away from readers.