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mounting newspaper clippings

Timothy Robison , Feb 27, 2002; 07:25 p.m.

I have been shooting as a freelancer for the local paper and over the past few months I've collected quite a few bylines. I want to put together a portfolio especially for displaying my newspaper images. Is the best way to do this with clippings and mounting them? Other alternatives? If mounting clippings, what is the best way to do this? Should I also include the story? What about a high-quality print as well? Thanks in advance,

Tim Robison


Lee Shively , Feb 28, 2002; 11:53 a.m.

I had several methods of using clippings in portfolios years ago. I had a book of tearsheets of my published photos and also some of my photos mounted on high quality boards with the clippings attached to the back. These went with me to interviews. I also copied clippings onto slides and mailed these out to prospects to try and get the interviews.

If the photos were part of a full layout on the page, I used the story and all--especially if it was well laid out and displayed the photos well. Single photos were just clips of that photo with the cutline. These all went into the clipping book.

If the photos were butchered by being run too small or were cropped badly (as so often happened at the newspapers I worked for), I made mounted prints with the clippings on the back.

There's probably lots of ways to assemble a portfolio with the use of a computer and scanning. My experiences were from the dark ages. Good luck, Tim.

Peter Collington , Feb 28, 2002; 02:07 p.m.

Timothy, I’m coming from a deferent discipline to you, but what follows may be or not be relevant. You decide. I’m a professional children’s book illustrator and author, presently on sabbatical from my day job and creating my own painting for a future exhibition. With this in mind, I intend to produce a high quality brochure, on folded A3 pape of my work to hopefully impress potential galleries in London.

As a newspaper freelancer you will have access to designers and journalists. Why not consult them and see if you can get a designer to to put together a glossy brochure of your published images, along with story bylines dropped in at appropriate places, plus a profile of you (get a writer from the paper to do it) and photo of you to give it all a human face. I suspect the days of manual cut and paste are long gone. A professional brochure, with high quality images scanned from your negs, will be a record of your achievements as well as a polished and impressive calling card? Good luck.

Cheers, Peter

Glen Johnson , Mar 01, 2002; 10:21 a.m.

I've saved many clippings by having them laminated. This has protected them quite well, and you could easily turn the laminated pages into a portfolio if you wanted to. Newsprint is very delicate compared to archival photographic paper. Laminating really extends the useful life and reduces damage from handling.

Jim Everett , Mar 01, 2002; 12:22 p.m.

I put them in a plastic "page protector", the kind which have a black paper sheet inserted to provide some stiffness. I like the black sheet behind the clipping because it seems to minimize visual bleed-through of printing on the backside of the clipping. It makes the clipping easier to read and provides a place to stick notes, etc. I use Avery type 73324 (8 1/2" x 11"). This is for archival purposes though; I don't put clippings with my portfolio.

Paul Purcell , Mar 02, 2002; 12:22 p.m.

Something else to consider if you use the actual newsprint (as opposed to scanning, etc.): the high acidity of modern wood-pulp newsprint. Low-acid rag-based newsprint of (say) the 1870's is in better shape than the pulp-based newsprint of 5 years ago.

One way I've heard of neutralizing this acid (which I would try on a dupe, not my only copy) is to dissolve 4 or 5 milk of magnesia tablets in a quart of club soda, lay the clipping on a smooth piece of glass, wet completely with the club soda, roll flat to the glass, then let dry.

The glass provides support, keeps the clipping flat, and yet pulls loose easily when completely dry.

Even dusting the clipping with dry baking soda and then brushing it off would be better than nothing.

My newspaper clippings from the early '70s weren't treated, and should have been. Live and learn.

Glen Johnson , Mar 02, 2002; 01:05 p.m.

I still have the front page of the Atlanta Constitution from the day that Richard Nixon resigned as President. That was close to 30 years ago. I laminated it, and its held up quite well. It would probably be smart to neutralize the acid, but I didn't. My guess is, from the rate of degradation so far, that this newspaper clipping will outlive me.

Lucas Griego , Mar 03, 2002; 06:56 a.m.

I'd suggest you do a good desktop scan with your descreen option set to whatever the LPI of your newspaper was printed at. It's usually fairly low - below 133 LPI I think. This way you have a digital back up in case anything happens to the originals.

As for the newsprint - it will yellow and become brittle over time. It'll look nostalgic - but may not be what you want clients to see. Lamination should help you some here and will help them to survive all the handling. Oil from hands will start to show up over time and repeated handling as well. This is why phitalist(?) or stamp collectors use tweezers to handle stamps and paper money.

The advice to neutralize the acid sounds interesting and in theory makes good sense. But for your sake do some samples as a test before you toss your whole book in the vat! ;-)

One last thing - contact a book binder. Someone who specializes in restoration work and archival quality bindings. This is exactly what they figure out all day long. There is usually one in every major city and they are generally willing to give advice without charging and this is right up there alley. If you had them do the actual work, of course they'd charge - but shouldn't be too much and would be worth at least checking into.

Hope this helps. cheers, Luc

Glyn Thomas , Mar 04, 2002; 02:07 a.m.

If you were to go with a digital option, you may find Adobe Acrobat usefull. It allows you to run Optical Character Recognition over the scanned clippings and then sets up a searchable index of the clippings. You will still see the clippings however if you then search for particular information it will allow you to find particular clippings with the appropriate information.

It depends on if you will include the stories. I feel that it is a good idea to include these as it adds a context to the published pics.

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