David Schutz, design director of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, writes today:
I thought I’d share today’s unique front page from the Sun Sentinel. The University of Miami and University of Florida football teams meet today for the final game of their historic rivalry.
Final game, huh? Yeah, right. We’ll see how long that lasts!
Oops. Did I interrupt with a snarky comment about the business of NCAA football? My bad. Please continue, David…
South Florida is just about equally divided into Gators and Hurricanes camps so it’s a big deal down here.
So we took this unique — maybe gimmicky — approach to generate some game-day buzz. Positive or negative, it’s had its desired effect so far.
What the Sun Sentinel went with today: A flippable front cover.
David didn’t say this in his note, but he masterminded and designed today’s covers himself, staffer Rachel Schallom tells me.
The fun part is that the pressroom really got on board with the concept and ran both presses simultaneously, with the pages reversed — they came out on the other end shuffled like a deck of cards. Every other paper in each bundle had the other team face up. To me that’s the coolest thing about this experiment: If you got a Gators paper at home…
…your neighbor next door got a ’Canes paper.
Ah. Shouting matches throughout the neighborhood as bathrobe-wearing fans retrieve their papers from their driveways. Fistfights at the 7-eleven. I like it.
The shuffle-every-other-copy is a pretty cool twist. That is indeed a cooperative pressroom.
David himself called the idea “gimmicky,” which I appreciate. Because it is gimmicky. Gimmicky but effective.
We’ve seen flippable covers before, of course. John Turner of the Huntsville Times created this flippable cover for the Alabama vs. Auburn Iron Bowl, two years ago:
The oldest flippable cover in my collection is this one from before I was born.
Much more common are covers that are printed front-and-back, with the back cover upside-down. Perhaps some — as much as half — of the inside pages are also printed upside-down. This means you’re essentially printing two half-editions, each with its own front page.
Again, Mad magazine did this very well just before the 1960 election. The press deadline was before Election Day. Retailers could flip the issue to whichever wanker won at the polls.
A particularly nice touch: The little line at the bottom:
We were with you all the way, Jack!/Dick!
The New Republic used that same trick during last year’s convention season.
And back in 2004, RedEye did the same for its “25 greatest Cubs/Sox ever” presentation.
So yes, this is a gimmick — and one you can’t really use too often. Once a professional lifetime is probably enough. But notice how each of these publications made the idea their own, by putting their own unique spin on it.
As did the Sun Sentinel.
A 1993 graduate of Boston’s Northeastern University, David Schutz spent a year as a designer and copy editor for the Salem Evening News of Beverly, Mass before moving to the Boston Business Journal in 1996 as design editor. He moved to the Boston Globe in 1997 as an infographics artist. He moved to a news designer spot in 2001, was promoted to assistant design director for news in 2005 and then to deputy design director for graphics and news in 2007. He was named design director of the Sun Sentinel in April 2012.
Average daily circulation of the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.
Oh, and by the way:
Miami 21, No. 12-ranked Floria 16
Final game, my ass! If there’s money to be made, the rivalry will resume. I promise you that.