A South African chain observes the 10th anniversary of the tsunami

Ten years ago today, a 9.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The resulting tsunami grew to nearly 34 feet tall in places. Nearly a quarter-million people were killed in and around the Indian Ocean.

My friends at Graphics24 — the infographics arm of the Media24 chain based in Johannesburg, South Africa — put together this piece to commemorate the disaster.

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Click that for a much larger look. Click here to see a version in Afrikaans.

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The illustrator for that graphic was Hanlie Malan, who works out of the company’s Port Elizabeth office. I posted about her work from time to time during my consulting gigs at her company. Here’s an example of her graphic work.

Graphics editor Andre Gouws researched and wrote the piece. Here’s what I wrote about Andre when Media24 hired him to be graphics director back in 2010:

Andre is very sharp and very organized. He has a ton of experience as both and editor and a manager, having worked in Cape Town and then at the Gulf News in Dubai.

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When I was here [in 2009], I helped write a job description and recommended criteria for a departmental leader. Seems to me they’ve chosen wisely.

Last month, I wrote about Andre and Hanlie’s collaboration on a piece about the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Find the Graphics24 online graphics archive here.

A tribute to Joe Cocker by the Times of Oman

You probably know that legendary singer Joe Cocker died Tuesday.

What you might not have seen: A Joe Cocker tribute page that ran Wednesday in the Times of Oman.

Design director Adonis Durado tells us:

I designed the Joe Cocker obit.

I knew from the very beginning that my headline will be taken from Cocker’s iconic songs. I was mulling over between Up Where We Belong or You Are So Beautiful. I thought that if I used the former, I am going to redact “we” and write “you” on top of it — “Up Where You Belong”.

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But when I read in Wikipedia that the lyrics of You Are So Beautiful is actually a love song about God, I decided to work my concept around it. In my initial sketch I had Joe Cocker’s head replaced one of the letters in the title.

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Then I pulled a little conceit to myself — an obstruction — not to use any mugshot of the legendary singer. So I ended up with the final design where I highlighted his five memorable songs.

Click this for a much larger look:

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Adonis illustrated 45 rpm singles to use as devices to replace the O’s in his big text and with which to pull out factoids. Here are closer looks at them:

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A 2001 graduate of the University of San Carlos in the Philippines, Adonis Durado worked as a designer, art director, and creative director for a number of magazines and advertising agencies before serving as the consultant for a major redesign of the Cebu Daily News in 2004 and 2005.

From there, he became design editor of a free weekly tabloid published by the Gulf News of Dubai and then news presentation director of Emirates Business 24-7. He spent two years as group creative director of Instore and Indesign magazines in Bangkok, Thailand, before moving to the Times of Oman — and its sister publication, Al Shabiba — in 2010.

Find Adonis’ Twitter feed here.

Previous posts featuring work by Adonis and his staff at the Times of Oman

  • Feb. 10, 2011: What the hell is the Times of Oman?
  • Sept. 2, 2011: Times of Oman observes Ramadan with a page a day… for 28 days
  • July 31, 2012: ‘The world would never forgive us if we don’t do this particular graphic’
  • Aug. 2, 2012: Yet another genius Olympics visualization by the Times of Oman
  • Aug. 15, 2012: Yet another bit of Olympics graphic genius from the Times of Oman
  • May 30, 2014: Now this is truly an alternative story form

I get by with a little help from my friends… and a photoillustration

Philip Maramba, managing editor of the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail,  wrote to…

…pass along a copy of our front page from [Wednesday] I thought you might like.

We were doing a story on distracted walking, where people on smartphones in particular aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing.

The editorial staff was trying to think of ways of how to illustrate this, when a light bulb came on.

Their idea: To riff on the Beatles’ classic Abbey Road album cover from 1969:

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Here’s what they came up with:

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And here’s how they used it on the front of Wednesday’s paper:

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Philip writes:

With a little more puzzling, we probably could have come up with a stronger hed, but I thought the centerpiece worked out OK.

Photography was by our Tom Hindman, with layout by the soon-to-be-departed Steven Gill.

And, in the end, the page you make is equal to the photoillustration you take.

Find the story here by Marcus Constantino.

Average daily circulation for the Daily Mail is 17,879.

Birthdays for Friday, Dec. 26

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five wonderful visual journalists…

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Jason Boyd is an associate editor for Sporting News in Charlotte, N.C. A product of East Carolina University, Jason worked as a sportswriter for the Washington (N.C.) Daily News, the (Greenville, N.C.) Daily Reflector and the Wilson (N.C.) Daily Times and sports editor of the Washington Daily News and the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Telegram before moving to the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Ga., in 2006 as assistant sports editor. He moved to the Sporting News in 2008. Jason turns 44 today.

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Scott Goldman is senior director of content strategy for Angie’s List in Indianapolis, Ind. A 1990 graduate of Syracuse University, Scott spent two years as the Sunday sports editor for the Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y., before moving to the Charlotte Observer in 1994. He moved to the Washington Post in 1999 and then to the Indianapolis Star in 2004 as assistant managing editor. He served as president of the Society for News Design in 2006. He moved to Advance Digital of New Jersey in 2012 as the chain’s director of content. He moved to Angie’s List in September. Find his Twitter feed here. Scott turns 46 today.

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Kevin McGeever is senior editor editor of Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing arm. A 1978 graduate of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, Kevin earned a master’s degree from Syracuse University in 1980. He spent eight-and-a-half years as an assistant sports editor for the St. Petersburg Times and a similar amount of time as a suburban news editor before becoming senior editor for online news in 2004. He joined Visit Florida in 2011. Find his Twitter feed here. Kevin turns 58 today.

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Gursharanjit Singh works in the field of pharmaceutical technology in Bangalore, India. He also draws cartoons and writes Punjabi poetry. He’s a 2004 graduate of the Rajiv Ghandi University of Health Sciences. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here. Gursharanjit turns 34 today.

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George Treviranus is a user experience designer for Musicnotes.com of Madison, Wis. A 2014 graduate of Madison College of Wisconsin, George served as design director and then editor-in-chief of the student paper there, the Clarion. He’s also worked as a freelance designer for print, user experience and branding. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Gursharanjit, Jason, George, Scott and Kevin share a birthday with actors Beth Behrs and Christopher Catesby “Kit” Harington; musicians Lars Ulrich (of Metallica), Jared Joseph Leto (of 30 Seconds to Mars) and Harvey Phillip “Phil” Spector; comedian Irwin Alan Kniberg (better known as Alan King); puppeteer Caroll Spinney; sports greats Yohan Blake (track and field), Osborne Earl “Ozzie” Smith, Carlton Ernest Fisk, Carroll Christopher Chambliss (all three baseball), John Franklin “Frank” Broyles (football coach) and Jay Glazer (commentator); politicians Birch Evans “Evan” Bayh III and Albert Arnold “Al” Gore Sr.; Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung; mathematician Charles Babbage; author Henry Valentine Miller; TV hosts Stephen Valentine Patrick William “Steve” Allen and John Edward Walsh and radio host David Sedaris.

In addition to Boxing Day, today is National Candy Cane Day, National Whiners Day and National Thank-You Note Day. Seriously.

Have an excellent birthday, y’all! Best wishes!

The 12 Days of Christmas, told via outstanding Christmas Day poster front pages

Hardly anyone runs out and buys a paper from a newstand or a convenience store on Christmas Day. So no matter what you do — no matter what you put above the fold — it’s unlike you’re going to push up single-copy sales on Christmas Day.

For that reason, some papers will essentially “blow off” their typical page-one presentation strategy on this day and give readers a bit of a Christmas Card-like gift for the holiday with a giant poster-page treatment featuring photography or an illustration.

Over the years, I’ve tried to shed a spotlight some of the better examples. Here is this year’s installment…


“TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING

TIMES TRIBUNE
Scranton, Pa.
Circulation: 47,663

Perhaps the day’s most spectacular poster front — certainly the day’s largest — is this enormous illustration by Times-Tribune staffer Bob Sanchuk that wrapped around the paper in Scranton today.

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Click on that — or any page here today — for a larger look.

The illustration evokes old times, winter weather and the Polar Express. In addition, of course, to being downright gorgeous.

Find more of Bob’s work here.


ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING”

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Santa Ana, Calif.
Circulation: About 160,000

My friends and ex-colleages at the Orange County Register created yet another fun Christmas Day photoillustration for today’s page one:

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That’s Santa, setting up a tree and lighting a bonfire on Huntington Beach. Leonard Ortiz made the photo and Karen Kelso art-directed the shoot. Sitting the door of the trailer is Jitterbug, the dog of copy editor Maryanne Dell.

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.

Karen writes on her Facebook page that she also art directed the front page of the Register’s sister paper, the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

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That picture was shot by Press-Enterprise staffer Terry Pierson. For some reason, that’s not the page that showed up in the Newseum today.

These guys have teamed up in the past for previous treatments. Here was the one they did for 2011:

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Karen said she really hated dealing with the reindeer for the 2012 page. Dirty nasty animal, she said.

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And this is the one they built for last year.

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Brilliant work. Definitely worth tooting your pipes for.


TEN LORDS A-LEAPIN’

PLAIN DEALER
Cleveland, Ohio
Circulation: 246,571

This front page photo of a real, live singing angel was enough to make me leap for joy today.

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Not only is it gorgeous… not only does it perfectly illustrate the season… but also, it was shot live last night during a Christmas Eve pageant. Staffer Lisa DeJong made the picture.


NINE LADIES DANCING

DAILY PRESS
Newport News, Va.
Circulation: 57,642

My friends at the Daily Press have been doing the relocation dance this month, moving into new digs in Newport News, Va.

Their full-page poster treatment today not only illustrates the season but also highlights their new building.

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Note how the sign on the side of the building does double-duty today as the paper’s nameplate. Nice.

The picture is by staffer Adrin Snider.


EIGHT MAIDS A-MILKING

OKLAHOMAN
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Circulation: 130,177

To find maids a-milking, we’ll head to the farmlands of the Midwest.

For its Christmas Day treatment, the Oklahoman today milked the old holiday tradition of a snowglobe.

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This attractive illustration is credited to staffers Steve Boaldin and Todd Pendleton.

Steve and Todd did a great job with their snowglobe. But Sean McKeown-Young of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa, has cornered the market on snowglobes. He’s been building Christmas Day pagetoppers based on snow globe imagery for the past two years. This year, however…

I went a little nuts.

Sean builds his snowglobes to include imagery from each city. He reused the globes he’s built for Gannett’s Wisconsin papers, including Appleton…

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…Fond du Lac…

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…Green Bay…

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…Manitowoc…

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…Marshfield…

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…Oshkosh…

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…Sheboygan…

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…Stevens Point…

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…Wausau…

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…and Wisconsin Rapids.

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This year, Sean added snowglobe treatments for Des Moines, Iowa…

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…Iowa City…

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…Sioux Falls, S.D. …

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…Springfield, Mo. …

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…and a whole bunch of papers further south. Sean tells us:

We used one basic Louisiana snowglobe…

…for Alexandria…

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…Baxter…

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…Lafayette…

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…Monroe…

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…Opelousas…

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…and Shreveport…

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SEVEN SWANS A-SWIMMING

THE EAGLE
Wichita, Kansas
Circulation: 67,250

I’m certain it had been done before, but I first noticed Christmas Day poster treatments by watching the Wichita Eagle. They’ve been doing this sort of thing longer than most papers and they do it as well as anyone.

Here is this year’s gorgeous swan of a front-page Christmas card to readers.

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Unfortunately, the photo isn’t credited.


SIX GEESE A-LAYING

THE GAZETTE
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Circulation: 70,021

If you’re gong to fill the role of a goose a-laying, then you might as well lay golden eggs.

That’s just what the Colorado Springs Gazette did today with this photo of Santa greeting kids, shot from outside a window.

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The photo is credited to staffer Jerilec Bennett.


FIVE GOLDEN RINGS

A number of papers chose to illustrate page one today with religious-themed imagery. Taking the place of golden rings today are two of the better ones…

HERALD-JOURNAL
Spartanburg, S.C.
Circulation: 31,940

The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, S.C., typically runs large art of a stained glass window on its Christmas Day front. They went sideways with today’s version.

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My only beef with this page: There’s no credit. I suspect this window — gorgeous as it is — is from a cathedral in Europe. But with no cutline or credit, we’ll never know.

THE HUTCHINSON NEWS
Hutchinson, Kansas
Circulation: 25,722

The Hutchinson News also has a Christmas Day tradition: It makes a full-page Christmas card out of classic paintings from long ago.

This year’s painting is 479 years old.

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Note the nudity. I think you’ll find that unusual for a small-town newspaper.


FOUR CALLING BIRDS

DAILY SUN
The Villages, Fla.
Circulation: 44,624

Yesterday, I highlighted a really fun Christmas Eve page from my friends at the Villages Daily Sun.

Today, they fill the spot of calling birds with this gorgeous illustration of Santa, drifting through the sky with balloons of love.

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The art was not credited, so I asked executive editor Bonita Burton about it. She replies:

It was a mashup I did of stock images.

If you ever feel you can’t possibly build a poster front with stock images, please come back and look at this example.


THREE FRENCH HENS

NEWS-JOURNAL
Longview, Texas
Circulation: 24,481

Sometimes, simpler is better.

No, strike that. Often, simpler is better.

Taking the place of simple French hens today is the News-Journal of Longview, Texas, which illustrated the tale of the birth of Christ from the New Testament with a very simple illustration of the wise men, following the birth star through the desert.

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The art is listed only as a staff illustration.


TWO TURTLE DOVES

DAILY NEWS
New York, N.Y.
Circulation: 579,636

Doves are symbols of peace — appropriate for this holiday and especially for the troubled social and political times we live in.

So filling the role of turtle doves today is the New York Daily News, which delighted me this morning with this wonderful photoillustration.

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Outstanding.

Unfortunately, it’s not credited.


AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE

The final spot in our Christmas Day countdown of the day’s most remarkable pages — the partridge in a pear tree — will be played today by a pair of pages that are not poster pages but still interesting treatments of note.

COLORADOAN
Fort Collins, Colo.
Circulation: 19,864

The paper in Fort Collins, Colo., today did a story on ugly Christmas sweaters. To illustrate that, they dressed staffers in the ugliest sweaters they could find.

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The story is by Erin Udell. The portraits are by Erin Hull.

CLARION-LEDGER
Jackson, Miss.
Circulation: 57,710

Remember what I said about simpler being better? After the visual Christmas dinner feast you’ve enjoyed here today, let’s go in an opposite direction for our dessert: This gorgeously simple treatment from the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.

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The Clarion-Ledger asked staffers to write personalized stories about the holidays and Christmas traditions. Note that the little tree art is made of little quote boxes — what cartoonists call dialogue balloons.

Gorgeous stuff. Once again, sadly, it’s not credited.


PLUS, A LITTLE SOMETHING OF MY OWN

In all the years I’ve been posting roundups of Christmas Day pages, I’ve never had one of my own to post.

Until today…

ADVOCATE
Victoria, Texas
Circulation: 26,531

Ten years ago today, it snowed in Victoria. In fact, the town got 12.5 inches between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

That was pretty unusual. It’s snowed only 18 times in the 100+ years the National Weather Service has collected data in this city. The 12.5 inches was the greatest 24-hour snowfall this area has ever seen. The fact that it happened on Christmas and then pretty much melted off quickly afterwards was a big bonus.

We at the Advocate commemorated the tenth anniversary of this with an eight-page special section in today’s paper plus a big poster front on page one.

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We didn’t really have a lot of file photos of the snow. That picture of the town square here in Victoria was shot by Miguel Luna, who was a staffer here at the time.

Side note: Check out the little daily bug at the bottom of the page showing local gas prices. They’re below $2 a gallon here. WooHoo!

But, back to the snow…

Several weeks ago — long before I arrived here — the Advocate began running items in the paper reminding readers it had been ten years since this snow and asking them to send in their snapshots and their memories via email, Facebook or whatever. And dozens did.

We used this in our local section today. We pushed all the usual B-section material into the A-section and opened up eight full pages for readers’ memories.

I built another big display for page B1, using the same typography and color scheme, plus another photo by Miguel Luna — this one, of Victoria’s historic old county courthouse.

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The secondary art was contributed by a reader. Staffer Natassia Bonyanpour wrote the nice essay for the front.

On the inside, pages two and three were both black-and-white. I tried to pick only photos I thought might reproduce well with no color. The Glass family of Victoria sent in a very nice collection of pictures, so I ganged five of them for a visual sidebar at the top of page three.

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I used another of Miguel’s photos for the snowman cutout on the left side of the spread.

Also, note the page headers. How often can you use that song in this area? Not very. So I thought that would make a nice running gag throughout the section.

Pages four and five was the color doubletruck. I sidestepped any possible production headaches by building two facing pages instead of filling the gutter.

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Here, I used only the best, clearest, and highest-resolution pictures we were sent. The one at upper right — “Wyatt’s first Christmas” in the nearby town of Goliad — was professional portrait quality. Building a section like this is a lot easier when you have top-notch ingredients like this.

Also, note the “Lawnmower powered sled” picture at upper left. That makes a lot of sense: We’re very close to the Gulf of Mexico and the land here is very flat. How else are you going to use a sled?

Across the bottom of both pages, I cooked up a little timeline graphic showing the 18 snowfalls in Victoria history, going back 125 years.

Now that I had established a nice flow of stories and some gorgeous visuals, I used the next two black-and-white pages to display the nicest art I could find that would play well without color. On page six, below left, I played off the “beautiful sight” lyric by going with landscape shots.

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Note the take on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem sent in by one reader at upper left.

On page seven, above right, I tried to mix some of the more interesting and unusual pictures readers sent us: A cow in the snow. Towels, frozen on the clothesline. A man who, to this day, has kept a bag of 2004 snow in his freezer.

For the color back page: Yes, I went there.

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Although I had used a few snowman pictures on pages two and three, I ganged 12 more of them here. A couple of the pictures here were awfully murky. But combined with several others, they didn’t seem so bad.

I hadn’t really intended to build the entire section myself. But when I found our lead designer and our lead copy editor were planning to come in on their days off to work on this project, I urged them to take their days off. Thanks to all that experience I gained this year building photo pages every other Monday at the Orange County Register, I could knock this out myself.

The parallel to my OC Register work is even stronger when you consider I’m still not yet up-and-running on our editorial system here. I built all nine pages the same way I built my Focus pages in California: In Adobe Illustrator. We saved the finished pages as EPS files and then plopped them into place as full-page images.

Lead designer Kimiko Fieg then returned the favor Tuesday night by building a sports front for Sunday I had intended to work up on Christmas Eve. Which, in turn, made Wednesday a very easy day for me. This reciprocal gift-giving was quite nice.

With the exception of my own pages from Victoria, all these pages are from the Newseum.

Previous Christmas Day page roundups: