Trials and Tribulations of InDesign

Public relations is a very dynamic career path. As a PR practitioner, I can write, edit, market, design, plan events, edit photos, create press materials, pitch to the media and develop relationships with target publics.

However, to do all of those things, there are few skills that I must know regardless of what I want to do as a student in the public relations field upon graduation. One of those skills is Adobe InDesign.

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InDesign CC2017 Release start-up screen. Source Auris Guzman Bautista

During my spring semester at the University of Maryland, I was tasked with the creation of a newsletter for an organization. I was in charge of writing, editing and designing it from scratch. Although, I was overconfident since even though I had no experience with InDesign, I had done multiple print media projects with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I thought this project would be easy-peasy due to my previous experience. Oh, how wrong I was.

It all started with the workspace.

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CYCLED! Newsletter pages 2-3 in a custom InDesign workspace. Source Auris Guzman Bautista

Since all three programs look fairly similar, there is a clear distinction between Illustrator and Photoshop. However, InDesign and Illustrator look so similar, but the way in which both software worked was different which put me a period of confusion for longer than desired.

Dropping pictures instead of place, not following the bleed margins, sorting to using layers for easier organization, are so of the few things I struggled with during the first week of this project.

Although I sort of “mastered” InDesign, there are a few things I would have liked to know before I started working on this project:

♦ Make multiple objects the same size: I like my items to be the same size. To make multiple objects the same dimensions, first set the height and width of one object. Then select the remaining objects and choose Object> Transform Again> Transform Sequence Again Individually.

♦ Fit Image or text to Frame: To fit a frame to a graphic: Double-click a corner of an image frame. Or press Cmd-Opt-C (Mac) / Ctrl-Alt-C (PC).

♦ Replacing an image with another: Choose File> Place to select an image. Then Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) click on an existing image on the layout you would like to replace with the new one.

♦ Preview a document: To see how your project looks without all those lines distracting you, just press W.

Despite the trials and tribulations I experienced while working on this project, I found the greatest lesson to be learned is to utilize the resources that already exist.

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Video overview of InDesign, the industry standard app for both online and printed media. Source: Adobe Help

By searching the Internet, I was able to find a lot of Adobe help resources. Some of my favorites include Adobe InDesign Tutorials, What is InDesign? The video, and Mark-Antony’s Website. Regardless this was a one-time project, I would also recommend subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud newsletter and magazine since they offer free workshops for their software and they are mostly beginners-friendly.

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A story behind a story

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(Photo credit: Newseum)

Last weekend, I visited the Newseum. I had never been there before, but since I like going to museums, I was looking forward to visiting it this weekend. The Newseum documents the past and present of the Press, Media, and Reporting. Although it may sound pretty boring, The Newseum is anything but boring. As I was walking through the museum, I noticed how The Newseum shows the behind the scenes of reporting, news and media as well as the risks and implications that journalist has while doing their job.

During this visit to the Newseum, I have to admit that I felt shivers several times. It wasn’t just the stories that made me evoked emotions, but the stories behind those stories. I believe it is important to understand the way journalists work. By understanding a journalist job, we become better News consumers since it allows us also understand the reporter’s perspective and the role they play in stories. One of the exhibits that made me come to this realization was the 9/11 Exhibit.

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(Photo credit: Lara Martin)

The 9/11 exhibit is a very touching and moving display located on the 4th floor of the Newseum.

This exhibit has a large antenna of one of the towers of the World Trade Center as well as the front pages of many newspapers from around the world the day after behind it the terrorist attack. Around the antenna, there is a timeline of how the news was responding to the events happening since the first plane crashed to the next day. There is also a dark back room which plays video interviews of the Journalists that were reporting about the events that day from Manhattan.

As a public relations student, I believe that if 9/11 taught us anything, it’s that we can’t anticipate every crisis. 9/11 was an event that proves that a healthy relationship with news organizations is essential in times of crisis. While thousands of people ran away from the scene, journalists were heading towards the towers. Not to get their name out or to sell copy, but because it was a story that needed to be told. Sharing information, right there, on the spot. Crisis communication is an essential part of public relations. During this kind of events, we, as PR professionals, need to find ways to communicate quickly, accurately and efficiently to key publics, whether consumers, investors or employees. A failure to adequately address public safety intensifies the damage from a crisis. Therefore, it is essential that we, as public relations professionals, understand that Crisis Management is designed to prevent, in this case, lessen the damage a crisis can inflict on an organization and its stakeholders.

While it was certainly a short visit, I learned so much from the Newseum, I highly recommend others to visit.

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From left to right, Auris Guzman Bautista, Lara Martin, Brianna Provost, and Joe Dewitt (Source: Auris Guzman Bautista)