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PostSubject: FAQ   Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:38 pm

This thread will be a running list of questions asked frequently or with ongoing importance.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ   Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:40 pm

Question: Can CNPA help me find a job?

Answer: The California Newspaper Publishers Association maintains a job listing for CNPA members. You can go there and look at the job listings, job descriptions and contacts. The location is: http://www.cnpa.com/classified/classified.html
The listings are updated weekly.
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PostSubject: Online advertising   Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:30 pm

Question: How is online advertising different than print?

Answer: There are a lot of answers to this one, ranging from and including things like trackability, artwork and animation to personalization.

MediaShift has a pretty good entry on online advertising that should help answer some questions about it.

One of the traits of online advertising is its ability to be adaptable. They can be changed automatically by the server to match the time of day. Breakfast menus and productivity-enhancing ads in the morning, vacations and books as lunch, restaurants and movies in the evening. User preferences can also be tracked and used to decide what ad goes on the page. Cookies may indicate to the server that Joe Reader hits a lot of book reviews when he visits A-Paper.com and customize his ads accordingly.

Payment schemes also tend to be pretty different in online advertising. In print, a car dealership might pay a lump sum to have his half-page ad appear every Sunday. That number might have been negotiated based circulation. Well, in online advertising, you will be able to track exactly how many times the page containing the ad was viewed, as well as how many times it was clicked. You may charge the dealership owner a blanket sum, or you two might work out a payment scheme based on trackable exposure.

Despite those terrible, flashing, text-heavy ads you might have seen, good online advertising aesthetics actually have a lot in common. Good use of whitespace, good photography and design should all be observed the same way you would in print… with a couple of exceptions:

Color: Assuming your printer isn’t on the fritz, has too mush ink or too little, an ad should be pretty uniform and accurate throughout your circulation. You know what the colors look like and they will be the same to everyone.

Not so in digital media, I’m afraid. CRTs (cathode ray tubes; the big, deep monitors that look like TVs) tend to display deeper blacks and more saturated colors. LCDs (liquid crystal displays; the thin monitors that come with most computers these days) are brighter and display minute variations of tone and color more accurately. Macintoshes display color differently than PCs, and that’s not even taking into account any given user’s personal desktop settings.

Resolution: Print resolution is usually somewhere between 100 and 500 DPI (dots per inch) and you know what your press is doing in that regard. In print, you can scrunch as many dots into a square inch as you like, until it starts bleeding through or running.

Again, computers work a little differently. The number of pixels you can display on a monitor is set- there is a physical limit. A pixel on your monitor is a little tube (on a CRT) or a little cell of liquid crystals (on an LCD) and it was manufactured at a set size. The number of these on your screen is the physical limit of your resolution. Now, you can turn it down via Windows or your assorted operating systems because the program can tell four pixels in a square to all display the same color, thus making everything look bigger… and grainier.

Most online ads use standard sizes, counted in pixels, so you don’t need to worry too much about ads being too big or small. But if you want to make use of Flash ads that expand when you mouse over them, just keep your user’s resolution in mind. Consider also the shape of pixels. In most CRTs, pixels are sort of rounded squares, but in many LCDs, they are elongated, vertical rectangles. Be careful of full-body photographs, as they might look stretched out on some monitors. Just be aware and test your ads before they go live.

Fonts: If you’re reading this, you probably already know that ornate fonts are a delicate matter. They can add to the look and feel of an advertisement, but they can slaughter the overall design just as easily. This goes double for digital media. Fonts with slender, curving off-shoots may be too small to render or may appear craggy and broken if the user’s resolution isn’t what you expected.

Now we come to the often-ignored issue of serif versus sans serif. Serif fonts are those with “feet,” like Times New Roman, Garamond, and Palatino. In print, these are great fonts. Individual letters flow together to help words look cohesive and recognizable. However, that’s not the case on a computer. Serif fonts, especially at small sizes, become jagged and tend to “crawl” on the screen- that is, appear as if they are moving ever so slightly. This effect can be offset by antialiasing (softening the edges), but only on larger text. For easily online readability, stick to sans serif fonts lie Arial, Tahoma and Trebuchet.

If you can, have a few different computers with different monitors, operating systems and settings in your office to check out digital advertisements on, so you can see how it’ll appear to a range of people. If several machines are not financially feasible, you might want to consider virtualization to help fill out your testing. I’ll cover that tomorrow.
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