A fun football preview page today from Omaha, Neb.

My old pal Ian Lawson built a fabulously fun football preview page for today’s Omaha World-Herald.

Ian tells us:

Our sports editor and assistant sports editor along with our online sports team and the presentation leadership all get together each week to hatch up crazy new ideas. This one came about after deciding we didn’t want to take the obvious route on an “under the radar” story.

We eventually zeroed in on the fact that everything has been low key and no drama for the Huskers and Coach Bo [Pelini] this season. We liked the idea of presenting the story in terms of volume.

Leaving the meeting we knew we wanted a knob and it would be turned down. Working up the first draft of the page, a knob alone wouldn’t do, so I mocked up a quick University of Nebraska “N” out of a speaker grill to go along with it.

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It wasn’t a quick read on the speaker part due to it being just the small dots, so I added in the speaker cone to help sell it more.

A potential headline/deck of “Bo’s sound system” was batted around to play off of the speaker idea. But I just couldn’t pass up the chance to turn that into a fun faux logo.

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After some tweaking here and there, we got the image that went to press.

It was different kind of page, and I’m glad we got to do it this.

Ian spent three yeas as an editor and designer for the Ledger Independent of Maysville, Ky., before moving to the Gannett center in December 2011. He moved to Omaha in September of last year.

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He’s known for coming up with especially clever takes on what would otherwise be tired old sports clichés. Just a few samples from my collection of his work:

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I wrote about him most recently when he built this great video arcade page for last year’s Final Four basketball championship.

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He even came by to visit me a few months ago.

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Find more of Ian’s work in his NewsPageDesigner portfolio. Find his Twitter feed here.

A look at Saturday’s World Series pages

The Kansas City Royals — who nearly everyone wrote off after their dismal performance in Game One of this World Series — is now firmly in control of their opponents, the San Francisco Giants. Play moved to the west coast Friday, but the Royals still kept on rolling, defeating the Giants 3-2 and taking a 2-1 lead in the series.

As you know, the first team to win four games takes the title. The Royals are halfway there.


KANSAS CITY STAR
Circulation: 200,365

Lead designer Charles Gooch tells us:

While a lot of attention has gone to our writers and designers during this run, our photographers have been so consistently amazing.

Case in point tonight: We had a different photographer delivering the lead image on our three marquee pages tonight. All of them exceptional.

I designed the cover with an excellent John Sleezer photo.

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Bob Merrick and Sarah Morris worked on the sports cover with a photo by Rich Sugg.

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The poster page was also Sarah Morris, who joined our staff back in April. She’s been aces this whole playoff run embedded in our sports department helping produce these sections.

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The poster page picture is by David Eulitt.


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
Circulation: 229,176

The photo on the front page of today’s Chronicle summed up the game nicely for the Giants: Gregor Blanco dives into first base for a bunt single but he’s beaten by the throw to Eric Hosmer.

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The photo is by Pete Kiehart.


UPDATE – 3:15 p.m. PDT

And here is today’s sports front, featuring a photo of the Royals’ Alex Gordon scoring the winning run.

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The picture is by staffer Carlos Avila Gonzalez.

Game Four will start tonight at 8 p.m. EDT, or 5 p.m. here on the west coast.

More 2014 postseason baseball pages:

Birthdays for Saturday, Oct. 25

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to seven excellent visual journalists…

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Reagan Branham is senior marketing coordinator for Hastings+Chivetta Architects of St. Louis. A 1998 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Reagan interned at the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., and the State Journal-Register of Springfield before joining the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as a news, sports and features designer. She moved to the Post-Dispatch of St. Louis, Mo., in 2000 as a sports designer and moved to features six years later. She left the paper in 2011 and spent nearly three years with HOK — an architecture firm famous for designing sports facilities — before joining her current firm in August. In her spare time, Reagan makes cool jewelry out of things like Scrabble pieces, typewriter keys and recycled magazines. Find her Etsy store here. Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

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Bill Kuchman is assistant managing editor for design for Politico in Washington, D.C. A 2008 graduate of St. John Fisher in Pittsford, N.Y., Bill spent three years at the student newspaper, the Cardinal Courier, eventually becoming editor-in-chief and executive editor. He redesigned the Fort Drum Blizzard of Watertown, N.Y. before joining the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y., in 2008 as a page one designer. He was promoted to Sunday editor in 2010, joined Politico in 2011 and was promoted to design director in 2012 and then to his current position this summer. In addition, Bill owns and operates a pop culture and entertainment site called PopCulturology. Find his portfolio site here and his Twitter feed here. Bill turns 29 today.

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Judy Le is assistant director of presentation for joint ventures and editor of Distinction magazine at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. A 1997 graduate of Northwestern University, Judy interned at the Miami Herald before moving to the Sun of Bremerton, Wash., as a copy editor and page designer. She spent a year there and a year at the Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before joining the Pilot in 1999 as a news designer. She was promoted to assistant design team leader in 2005 and then to news editor a year later. She moved to the Virginia Beach bureau for a while and took on her current duties in 2011. Find her blog here.

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Greg Lipford is co-owner of Lin Marie Enterprises of Orange County, Calif., sellers of PosiPocket. A 1980 graduate of Cal State Northridge, Greg spent 12 years as a sportswriter for the Californian of Bakersfield. He earned a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Cal State Long Beach in 1990 and then spent several years with the Orange County Register as managing editor of advertising publications, multimedia content manager and breaking news editor for web content. He left the Register earlier this month. Since 2012, he’s been marketing PosiPocket — a cute little idea that adds secure storage space to clothing that might not have a place for built-in pockets. Find the PosiPocket web site here.

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Ellen Lynch is a user interface developer based in Raleigh, N.C. A 2003 graduate of Marquette University, Ellen interned at the News-Tribune of Duluth, Minn., and with Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa before joining the Albuquerque Journal in 2003 as a page designer. She moved to the State of Columbia, S.C., in 2005 and then again to the Orlando Sentinel in 2008. Laid off that summer, she worked a year-long temporary assignment as a designer for the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. She’s worked with the U.S. Census Bureau, gone back to school to brush up on web designing skills done volunteer work with the National MS Society and AIGA, and worked as a developer on the website of the National Institute of Environment Science Health Science and worked for Cisco. Find her portfolio site here and her Twitter feed here. Ellen turns 34 today.

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Jay St. Pierre is a designer for RedEye, the free youth+commuting tabloid published by the Chicago Tribune. A 2009 graduate of Louisiana State University, Jay worked as a sportswriter, a copy editor, a page designer and as associate managing editor for the school’s student paper, the Daily Reveille. He also served as a sports stringer for Sports Illustrated On Campus, as a design intern for the Colorado Springs Gazette and as editor of Legacy magazine. He spent several months as a designer and copy editor for the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., before moving back to Colorado Springs in 2010. He became a sports designer for the World-Herald of Omaha, Neb., in 2011 and then moved to RedEye in 2013. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Jay turns 28 today.

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Patrick Yack is chief content officer for Alaska Public Media in Anchorage. A 1974 graduate of Southern Methodist University, Pat served as an aide for Rep. Alan Steelman of Dallas and then campaign press secretary for Sen. Charles Percy before signing on in 1979 as a reporter for the Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville. He moved to the Denver Post in 1981 and then was named national editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1985. Pat became managing editor of the Register-Guard of Eugene, Ore., in 1988; editor of the Greensboro, N.C., News & Record in 1993 and then editor of the Florida Times-Union in 1998. He left Jacksonville for points north in 2008. Pat has also taught as an adjunct at the University of Alaska Anchorage and currently lectures — via the web, I’d guess — at the University of Florida.

Jay, Bill, Ellen, Reagan, Judy, Patrick and Greg share a birthday with actors Nancy Campbell Cartwright, Anthony George Papaleo (better known as Tony Franciosa), Marian “Marion” Ross, Taylor Vixen and William John Bertanzetti (better known as Billy Barty); musicians Kathryn Elizabeth Hudson (better known as Katy Perry), Ciara Princess Harris (who usually goes only by her first name), Helen Reddy, Chad Smith (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Sara Helena Lumholdt (of the A*Teens), Richell Rene “Chely” Wright, Jon Anderson (of Yes), Alexandre César Léopold “Georges” Bizet and Johann Strauss II; comedian Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon (better known as Minnie Pearl); sports greats Michael Eruzione (hockey), Wayne Mark Rooney (soccer), Dan Gable (wrestling), John Edward “Ward” Burton III (auto racing), Pedro Jaime Martínez (baseball), David William Cowens, Chandler Parsons (both basketball), Brian Leith Kelly (football coach) and Robert Montgomery “Bobby” Knight (hot-tempered basketball coach); polar explorer Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr.; astronaut Russell Louis “Rusty” Schweikart; Nazi war criminal Nikolaus “Klaus” Barbie; political consultant Chester James Carville Jr. and painter Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso (better known as Pablo Picasso).

In addition to the start of the Islamic New Year, today is International Artists Day, Make a Difference Day, National Forgiveness Day, Pit Bull Awareness Day, World Pasta Day, Sourest Day and Chucky the Notorious Killer Doll Day. Seriously.

Have a truly great birthday, all! Best wishes!

The story behind that amazing Thursday Globe and Mail front page photo

Did you see the front page of yesterday’s Globe and Mail of Toronto in the wake of the lone gunman attack on the Canadian Houses of Parliament?

It was stunning.

The Globe and Mail‘s design director, Devin Slater, tells us:

We were after an image that spoke to the assault on our democracy, our freedom and our leadership.

Ultimately, however, yesterday was an assault on our country’s spirit. It was a tall order for a front page photo.

As powerful as the pictures were from the events in Ottawa yesterday, the goal was to take the design further, toward a deeper level of meaning. What does this day mean for Canada’s security? Our government and leadership? Our soldiers? The memory of our fallen?

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Of course, many readers will interpret and react to the photo differently. For me, what makes Fred Lum‘s photo powerful is the glint of the Canadian flag. After a very tough day, it shows a glimmer of hope, resolve, and intense patriotism. That’s Canada.

Click on that page for a much larger look.

A few hours later, Fred himself shared with us the story of how the picture came to happen.

All my photos have been filed today so I can finally sit down to talk about our paper’s front page…

Got here late in the afternoon and Roger Hallett, one of our photo editors, had relayed information that the paper was looking for an iconic and moody image from Ottawa. All the breaking news photos had come and gone by the time I arrived so there was no point in playing catch up.

Ideally, we were hoping to line up the War Memorial with Parliament Hill (the Peace Tower would have been great) as one concept but walking around it became obvious that this was not going to happen. Any good vantage points were locked down with absolutely no access whatsoever.

In case you know Ottawa, I started down by the east side of the canal north of Albert St. and it was here that aside from not being able to get the memorial and Parliament Hill in one frame, the setting sun had backlit the Canadian flag of East Block (which was already silhouetted along with the Peace Tower) and this was what I put my efforts into photographing. I worked this location a bit before deciding to try another vantage point on the Albert St. overpass — which, I believe, was the spot the front page photo was taken from.

I’d made a number of exposures with the flag unfurled so I headed back to file and make deadline and to give Devin and [art director] Jason [Chiu] time to work with the photograph as they designed the front page of Thursday’s paper.

Here’s the full-frame image Fred shot. Click for a larger view.

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Fred adds:

Being given direction but the freedom to interpret my task however I felt I should, allowed me to “see” this photograph and give the editors back in Toronto, what they needed to work with. That our paper took a different path visioning the day’s events is something that makes the Globe stand out.

Nuts and bolts: I underexposed the photograph a bit (normal practice for how I work) to bring out the clouds and darken the buildings on Parliament Hill, but I also brightened the flag slightly in post processing. But basically, what was printed was very close to what I saw and photographed.

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Fred has worked at the Globe and Mail for more than 30 years. A couple of years ago, he gave readers tips on how to make great pictures in their own backyards. Find that here.

The Globe and Mail was all over this story Wednesday.

Political reporter Josh Wingrove was inside Centre Block on Parliament Hill then the place was locked down. He caught video of part of the attack via his cell phone.

My good pal Tonia Cowan and her crew put together this map that showed how the attack unfolded. Click for a readable version.

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And reporter Jane Taber put together a detailed tick-tock of Wednesday’s events.

Twitter feeds for some of the folks mentioned here:

Find the Globe and Mail‘s coverage of the Ottawa attack here.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s World Series preview

Thursday, the World Series took a day off to travel to the West Coast.

Let’s take the opportunity to check out the World Series preview section from Tuesday’s San Francisco Chronicle.

The cover boy was superstar catcher Buster Posey.

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The picture is by staffer Michael Macor.

Click that page — or any of the others here today — for a larger look.

Page two, below left, contains a story by sportswriter Al Saracevic on how the Giants are no longer the young upstart team. The Royals are filling that role this time around.

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Page four, above right, features a story by John Shea about the Giants’ nine rookies.

Page six, below left, is perhaps the most fun page in the section. It gives the World Series history of the Giants — This is the team’s sixth appearance in the Fall Classic and its third in five seasons.

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Lead art of Tim Lincecum in 2010 is by staffer Carlos Avila Gonzalez.

On page seven, above right, staffer Bruce Jenkins fills readers in with a profile of the American League’s Royals. Jenkins also supplied the sidebar downpage.

Pages eight and nine, below, carry the section’s cover story on Buster Posey by staffer Ann Killion.

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The vintage pictures of Posey in his Florida State uniform are by Steve Cannon of the Associated Press.

Page 10 holds the jump to the rookies story.

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Pages 12 and 13 are filled with projected lineups, projected starters and regular season stats.

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The series is tied at 1-1. Play resumes tonight at 5 p.m. PDT, 8 p.m. EDT. All games are televised on Fox Sports.