Not a single one of us were mentally prepared for Michael Koretzky’s critique of The Edge. When I saw him approach the table, I instantaneously had a flashback of him berating newspaper staffs at yesterday’s “Chicken Salad” session. I knew we were in for a ravaging when he pulled out his monocle (monocles are awesome) and asked us “What is the point of this magazine? Don’t you have a newspaper?” Not a single one of us could answer.
Koretzky: 1 The Pendulum: 0
Right off the bat he pointed out that our front-page story doesn’t have any place in the table of contents. The teaser photo has a caption explaining who the model is (with the photographer’s name spelled wrong in the credit). Flipping through to the cover story, he said that our use of the model for the domestic violence story that is not the person speaking in the story was an extreme lapse in judgment. In hindsight, that wasn’t a great idea. Within the story itself, the writer had the challenge of telling a sensitive story about domestic violence while providing history and other important information. He would have liked to see the story focus exclusively on the student who shared her experience and for the design to incorporate some sort of info box that provided all the necessary background information.
Another one of his main critiques of The Edge is that headlines should be more specific and reveal more about the story. If a reader glances over the headline and still doesn’t have a clue what any of the stories are about, then that he or she is unlikely to be a reader for much longer.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this critique was that the points that Koretzky made about what we have been doing poorly are, in fact, correct. The story entitled, “Sacrificing for sport,” about the Elon tennis player who has sacrificed in life because she traveled back and forth from Europe to America for a tennis career, is as he put it “first world problem,” that isn’t worth writing about. The story would have been more interesting if it were written from a different angle that didn’t attempt to demonstrate how difficult her life has been because, based on what’s written in the article, this individual has been incredibly privileged and hasn’t had to sacrifice very much at all.
Koretzky emphasized that the topics examined in The Edge are not inherently bad, they just appear that way because the angles in which they are written is either stale or boring. His recommendation is to brainstorm more as a group to come up with fresher ideas.
Ultimately, we’re lucky to have walked out of the room with all of our body parts intact because he repeatedly tried to wager them away. In a possible lapse of judgment at the end of our session with him, we agreed to a bet that if we failed to make these changes, he could pull out our teeth with rusty pliers at the next conference and wear them as a necklace. For the sake of the people who attend the next conference, I hope some changes are made.