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An Exact Reading of the Text

04/30/2018 - 11h25

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PAULA CESARINO COSTA

More than a week after the implantation of a graphical remodeling, Folha is showing its readers that the changes aren't merely cosmetic. The new look to the "same Folha" as the newspaper itself announced, has been accompanied - at least so far - by real editorial changes.

When paging through the newspaper, one senses a menu with fewer reports and an attempt at deeper material, often occupying an entire page, sometimes even more.

During a period that new projects are being launched it is natural for Copy Editing to concentrate more effort on producing editions with higher quality, breathtaking reports, accompanied by stunning images, in order to signal that something has changed for the better.

The newspaper has managed, some days more so and others not so much, to maintain a sequence of good editions, enriched by special, high-quality products like the new environmental series about the climate crisis, the Size of the Language special about the Portuguese Language, which is delightful to see on the newspaper's digital platform, and special sections about health (the 27th) and public security (the 20th).

Another example to cite is the report that, with journalistic and statistical rigor, detected the high probability of cheating at the Enem university entrance exam, after analysis was carried out by Folha itself on responses given on 1,125 exams.

This effort demonstrates a noteworthy commitment to accomplish what the *Folha*'s current editorial project advocates: a less extensive range of subjects, while at the same time, approaching those subjects in a broader and more interpretative fashion.

Vinicius Mota, The *Folha*'s Editor in Chief, says that the objective of the newspaper's graphical remodeling isn't simply to incentivize the publication of longer texts nor replicate during the week the more typical experience encountered on Sunday.

"Texts and infographics are better yes - denser, which provide more illumination to central issues without getting lost in the details. The product remains fully capable of responding effective to the temperature of the news and of saving the reader from spending his time, which is precious and overwhelmingly disputed, with articles that artificially go beyond the length necessary to adequately inform", he explains.

The current remodeling brings more radical options related to characteristics adopted in the last few years by newspapers in general: the use of color, multiplication of graphical elements, small text size. In a way, the trend has been to replicate, in one way or another, the visual attractiveness of its digital platforms. If this approach persists and proves viable over the coming months, it will differentiate the Folha from its competitors in a radical way.

THE FONT IS CRUX OF THE PROBLEM

Readers received my invitation to comment on the new graphical project with enthusiasm. If during the first few days all messages that I received complained about the remodeling, by the second week 2 out of 10 readers were praising the Folha. Less bad.

Alexandre Alves, for example, wrote that the remodeling has brought back the pleasure of reading, which he called a "happy reunion". He said that the newspaper sought to "take into account those who want to read the world outside of apps, with attentive contemplation and observation of phenomena".

Reader Felipe Goes celebrated: "I am pleased to see the investment in print media!"

The most controversial subject continues to be the newspaper's text font, with diametrically opposed perceptions of the sizing of the letters.

Those who are unsatisfied complained that the thinner font makes the letters tiny and tight and requires a magnifying glass for reading the newspaper. Others reported that they had gotten the impression that the letters were bigger and more legible.

The Image Nucleus editor, Thea Severino, explains that the new font has exactly the same size (11) and height as the previous one. She enumerates details that are nearly imperceptible but that become relevant when taken together:

"1) The internal space in the letters (for example, the "belly" in the B) is larger; 2) the serifs are more clearly articulated, connecting the letters to each other better; 3) the spacing between letters is greater. In other words, since it is wider and rounder, it makes reading more comfortable and fluid, creating the sensation that it is bigger."

She continues: "Since the newspaper as a whole has become less strident (with smaller logos and titles, more use of space, fewer and larger photos, etc.), we adopted a lighter weight in the lettering as well. With the slightly thinner stroke, it may appear to be smaller. But it is important to point out that, in terms of both height and width, it is the same as the previous one (the variations are minimal, around 1%)."

Time will tell whether readers get used to the changes, whether their eyes will adjust and avoid stumbling over the letters, while concentrating on the content.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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