Column Formatting

In

The Egyptian Gazette
(and other newspapers and documents with visual formatting), the relationship between content and formatting is an important issue, especially when analyzing the text and the motives of the authors. In general, the more space devoted to an item, the greater its importance, especially if there’s a font change involved. In The Egyptian Gazette, a pattern is well established in formatting the columns in relation to content within those columns. Generally, articles are divided into 6 columns and ads are divided into 3 columns and given a larger font than articles. This either means that the ads are more important to the editors of the paper, deserving of more space; or that the articles simply need to be smaller so that more of them can be included in the paper. However, under the assumption that the second is true, then room for the articles could be made from the comparably luxurious space provided to ads by simply making the ads a bit smaller or more compact. Therefore, the former assumption makes more sense: that the editors give more importance to ads in the paper than content. There are a variety of things that could be the reason for this: money or readers’ preference being of the most obvious. Since ads are the biggest source of income for newspapers, it makes sense to give them priority to ensure companies will want their ads posted in the paper as sort of an investment in the future income of the paper. Concurrently, in a business town such as Alexandria, businesses are of utmost import, with individuals wanting to see of their competitors and resources available.

Will Hanley
Will Hanley
Associate Professor of History

I study the legal history of the Middle East and teach at Florida State University.