This is us

news: This is us

Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to our dedicated team, who work hard behind the scenes to produce your newspaper every week. This issue, meet the production team, who are responsible for The Resident’s overall look.

Creative Designer Rob Stone has dedicated nine years to Fleet Street, our parent company. Obviously, throughout such a long period of time, Rob has seen a lot of changes. “The two big changes I recall are firstly the move to our current office opposite FATACIL, from the old one in the centre of Lagoa. It was such a big transition to move our entire workforce, computers, files and furniture, all in one weekend, so that we could be ready to finish the paper on Monday and Tuesday. The second was the format change of the paper. We had positive and negative comments about it, but I think everyone agrees now that it was a change for the better.”

Rob is in overall charge of the production work for both the Algarve and Lisbon editions and works directly on design projects for Focus Design. “I design, liaise with clients, organise projects and help others when questions need answering from computer systems to design ideas. I have five people working under my direction.”

It can be tricky deciding which articles and advertising should go on which page, so how do the professionals do it? “We have an advertising plan that determines how many pages we produce. There is also an editorial plan that is scheduled for the week. From there, it’s just a matter of placing the ads into the specified positions requested. Then, it is up to Inês and I to decide where everything fits best and flows nicely. News and certain features have regular spots, so that people can find things when looking for something specific. Otherwise, it’s fairly random,” explains Rob.

Production Supervisor, Inês Lopes, has been with the company for over five years. As well as supervising, Inês is our head pagemaker for both editions and also works in graphic design. “I make sure that those working with me meet the deadlines for sending files to the printers. We are all aware that everything has to be sent to the printers by Tuesday and will work until late, if necessary, to ensure that this happens.” Inês compiles an average of 30 pages a week, including the front page, regional and Portugal news and features.

So how does the news go from being written by a journalist and then onto the page? Inês explains: “When I layout a page, I start by reading the article or news item and then look for an illustration which should catch the reader’s eye and invite him/her to read the text. I tend to work around the picture, so basically the picture determines what the rest of the page should look like.”

Inês thinks that it’s helpful to have a natural eye for design to be in the design business. “I always found myself admiring aesthetically pleasing things and, for example, my school projects could not have words erased with tippex – I would have to re-do the whole thing! You can definitely call me a perfectionist!”

Linda Reeves, a page-maker on the production team, has been with the company for 18 months. She currently designs about 15 to 20 pages a week, depending on the number of pages in both the Lisbon and Algarve editions. The team works to a strict schedule and it is critical that all deadlines are met. “If we don’t work to strict deadlines, the pages don’t get to the printers on time for publication,” she explained. For Linda, one of the many satisfactions in her job is “seeing the finished product and knowing that I made a big contribution”.

Graphic Designer, Gemma Ashton, has worked with the company for five months. As well as laying pages out for both Lisbon and Algarve editions, Gemma also helps create external design requirements such as flyers, posters, newsletters, letterheads and so on, with Focus Design and Rob. Gemma currently designs the What’s On pages and a mix of feature articles. She has a natural eye for design, but recognises that it is something that develops over the years. Unlike Inês, Gemma doesn’t start to design with an image of her pages in her head. “It doesn’t always turn out the way I plan. I find it easier to see the page developing as I go.”

Pagemaker Janice Cummins has been working with the company for four years. She currently compiles semi-display advertisements and the TV guide in the Algarve and Lisbon editions. She also assists in reception on Monday mornings, taking bookings for classified advertising. The biggest challenge is fitting everything into the working week. “It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to lay out one classified page and a little bit longer for the TV listings,” Jan explained.

The latest addition to the production team is trainee pagemaker, Tiago Lázaro, who has been with the company for almost a month. Tiago was inspired to follow pagemaking as a career, after he discovered that he had an eye for graphic design and desktop publishing. Although he hasn’t trained as a graphic designer, Tiago is looking at his experience with the company as “a learning curve with its challenges. I think it will require a lot of practice before I am up to speed with everyone else.”

Tiago compiles all the information for both the Algarve and Lisbon ‘What’s On’ guides. Although there are lots of events, especially in the greater Lisbon area, it’s not always easy to know what should go onto our guide. How does Tiago do it? “It takes a lot of effort to find all the information, and a great deal of research has to be done.”