Big football wins merit big A1 poster front treatment

Among the great college football action this holiday weekend were wins by the nation’s two major undefeated teams: The University of Iowa and Clemson University.


These victories were each celebrated in the school’s respective capital city newspapers with giant page-one poster treatments.

[Full disclosure here: I used to work for the Des Moines paper. Plus, I’m a lifelong fan of Clemson.]

Poster treatments should be used very sparingly. But when the story is big enough — and in Iowa and South Carolina, this story was; believe me — I think this type of play is the ultimate in one of my primary directives. You know it by heart, so please repeat along with me:

Run it big and get the hell out of its way.

Here’s a quick look at how these two front pages came together…

Des Moines, Iowa
Circulation: 101,915

The photo on the front page of Saturday’s Des Moines Register shows Iowa Hawkeye defensive end Parker Hesse celebrating after he returned an interception for a touchdown in Friday’s 28-20 win over Nebraska.


The photo is by staffer Bryon Houlgrave. Designer Nicole Bogdas advocated and won approval to give the picture poster treatment.

Bryon also shot the picture played large on the Register‘s Saturday sports front:


Not surprisingly, the paper must have sold out in central Iowa: The Register is already offering reprints of the page.


A graduate of the University of Missouri, Nicole was news projects designer for the Palm Beach Post and also spent a couple of years at the Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale. She worked at the St. Louis Post Dispatch before joining the Orlando Sentinel in 2008. She was news editor of the Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels, Texas before moving to Des Moines in 2010. In 2012, she wrote a wonderful — and brave — first-person piece for the Register. And then, a few months later, she donated a kidney to her dad.

Find Nicole’s portfolio here.

Columbia, S.C.
Circulation: 70,980

The annual in-state rivalry matchup between Clemson and South Carolina was a noon game this year, says Elissa Macarin, who moved to the State from Gannett’s Nashville hub in August. The extra time meant that she…

…had time to comb through our staff photos as they were coming in.

I knew going into the day it would be a poster front of the winner and there were a few minutes there where I thought we might have to come up with a great upset headline. But in the end Clemson won, keeping their undefeated season.

When I saw this photo by Tim Dominick I had a feeling it would be the best to tell the story so I started working with it as soon as the game was over. When our Assistant Sports Editor, Presentation Meredith Sheffer — who also serves as photo editor for football Saturdays — came in, I showed it to her. She agreed we should go with it.


In talking over the headline a bunch of ideas were thrown around, one of the being incredibly straightforward with “Perfect season,” which I decided to go for more impact and just have “Perfect.”

Which, of course, turned out to be just perfect.

Elissa adds:

Next week could be a lot more hectic because we’ll be making on deadline decisions for a full page-poster if Clemson wins the ACC title.


A 2005 graduate of Kent State University, Elissa spent a year as a designer and copy editor for the Dothan (Ala.) Eagle and then four years with the Press-Register of Mobile, Ala. She moved to the Daily Herald of Wausau, Wis., in 2010 and slid over to the Gannett Nashville design studio in 2012. Her husband, Jared Macarin, is also a designer.

Find Elissa’s portfolio here.

The Register‘s sports front was shared via social media by the paper’s consumer experience director, my old pal Nathan Groepper. The two front page images are from the Newseum. Of course.

Birthdays for Sunday, Nov. 29

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to seven top-notch visual journalists…


Beto Alvarez is a graphics reporter and artist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. A 1998 graduate of Tarrant County College, Beto spent six years as a graphic artist and illustrator for the Dallas Morning News before moving to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002. He moved to San Diego in 2010. In addition, Beto is brand director for a beach-driven women’s lifestyle brand called LMNADE. Find his personal web site here and his Twitter feed here. Beto turns 38 today.


Anita Hagin is general manager of Savannah magazine and an assistant managing editor of the Savannah Morning News. A 1998 graduate of the University of Missouri, Anita spent a year as a features designer for the Independent-Mail of Anderson, S.C., before moving to production and design manager of Maryland’s MidAmerica Farm Publications in 1999. She moved to the Savannah Morning News in 2001 as page one designer and them moved up to news editor and presentation editor and finally AME. Anita also redesigned other papers in the Morris Communications chain. She moved over to Savannah magazine in 2011. Find her Twitter feed here. Anita turns the big four-oh today.


Brittany Hannah is a freelance photojournalist in Orange, Calif. A 2009 graduate of Berry College near Rome, Ga., Brittany served as photo editor of the student paper there, the Campus Carrier. She interned for the Rome News-Tribune and then worked there for nearly two years. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here. Brittany turns 29 today.


Alan Formby-Jackson is story editor for the shared content unit of the Trinity Mirror newspaper group in Middlesbrough, England. A 1994 graduate of Newcastle College, Alan spent four years with NCJ Media. He became a designer and sub editor for Gazette Media in 2003 and earned a master’s degree in design from the University of Teesside in 2005. He became multimedia desk editor for the Evening Gazette in Middlesbrough in 2009. Alan moved to his current position in 2013. He’s also the director of Region 15 of the Society for News Design. Find his portfolio here, his blog here and his Twitter feed here. Alan turns 42 today.


Leanne Potts is vice president of editorial at Scripps Networks Interactive in Knoxville, Tenn. A 1988 graduate of Auburn University, Leanne earned a BFA at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota in 1992. She worked as metro desk editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and assistant news editor of the Naples Daily News before landing at the Albuquerque Tribune in 1994, where she worked as a reporter, a designer and assistant business editor. She left the Tribune in 2004, freelanced for a couple of years and, in 2006, became editorial director for Scripps. She was promoted to her current position in 2010. Find Leanne’s Twitter feed here.


Holly Roberson is a journalist in Atlanta, Ga. A 1993 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Holly spent three years as a reporter for the Wilmington Star-News and then three more years as assistant local editor at the Daily Press of Newport News before becoming chief of the Virginian-Pilot’s Chesapeake bureau in 2004. She moved to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2007 and was named editor of the Sunday metro section in 2010. She was most recently associate regional editor for the Atlanta office of AOL’s Patch.


Lizzie Rosegrant is a designer for Phillips Edison & Company, a real estate firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. A 2011 graduate of Ohio University, Lizzie served internships with Cincy magazine in Cincinnati, the Hoxworth Blood Center at the University of Cincinnati and VF Outlet in Reading, Pa. Find her portfolio site here and her Twitter feed here.

Brittany, Lizzie, Leanne, Alan, Beto, Anita and Holly share a birthday with actors Donald Frank “Don” Cheadle Jr., Anna Kay Faris, Kim Delaney, Cathy Moriarty-Gentile, Rose Diane Ladner (better known as Diane Ladd), Jeffrey David “Jeff” Fahey, Lucas York Black, Diego Andrés González Boneta and Thomas Edward “Tom” Sizemore Jr.; musicians Dennis Gerrard Stephen Doherty (of the Mamas & the Papas), Barry Goudreau (of Boston) and Charles Frank “Chuck” Mangione; comedians Howard Michael “Howie” Mandel and Garry Shandling; sports greats Mariano Rivera (baseball), Ryan Joseph Wilson (better known as soccer star Ryan Joseph Giggs), Shannon Brown (basketball) and Russell Carrington Wilson (football); authors Madeleine L’Engle, Louisa May Alcott and Clive Staples “C.S.” Lewis; politician Paul Martin Simon; scientist Christian Andreas Doppler, magazine editor Margaret Curtis (better known as Maggie Thompson) and sports broadcaster Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully.

In addition, today is Electronic Greetings Day and Square Dancing Day. Seriously.

Have an amazing birthday today, all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Saturday, Nov. 28

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to eight remarkable visual journalists…


Josh Awtry is executive editor of Gannett’s Ashville, N.C., Citizen-Times and the News of Greenville, S.C. A 1998 graduate of Hastings College in south central Nebraska, Josh spent two years as a copy editor, entertainment editor and one-man graphics staff at the Independent of Grand Island, Neb. In 2000, he became design director for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C. In 2003, he moved back to Grand Island to serve as managing editor for presentation. In 2004, Josh was named assistant managing editor for presentation for the Salt Lake Tribune. In 2011, he was named editor of the Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho. He moved to the Coloradoan of Fort Collins, Colo., that December. In 2013, the Columbia Journalism Review recognized the work Josh did at the Coloradoan. He moved back to the Carolinas in 2013. Find his personal web site here and his Twitter feed here. Josh turns 40 today.


Bethany Bickley is lead designer for the Pacific Business News in Honolulu, Hawaii. A 2010 graduate of Ohio University, Bethany won first place for features page and second place for art and illustration in the Society for News Design student design contest sponsored by Michigan State University. She signed on as a summer intern that year at the Huntsville (Ala.) Times, which wisely elected to keep her on permanently. Bethany moved to the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., in 2012, just before the Times’ parent company downsized and consolidated design into a hub in Birmingham. She spent some time at the Star-Advertiser before moving to the Pacific Business News earlier this year. Find her online portfolio here, her NewspageDesigner gallery here and her Twitter feed here. Bethany turns 28 today.


Phillip Blanchard is a Bethesda, Md.-based free-lance editor and a contract editor for Tribune News Services. He’s also the man behind the Testy Copy Editors bulletin board site. Phillip started out as a reporter for a radio station in Schenectady, N.Y., in 1967 and worked his way through stations and newspapers across the state. In 1981, he became assistant city editor of the Schenectady Gazette and then chief slot editor of the Albany Times Union in 1986. In 1989, he moved to the Chicago Sun-Times and then again to the Washington Post in 2000. He left the Post in 2008. Find the Testy Copy Editors Facebook page here. Find Phillip’s Twitter feed here. Phillip turns 62 today.


Darla Cameron is an interactive graphics editor for the Washington Post. As a student at the University of Missouri, Darla worked as production manager for the Maneater and a designer and infographics teaching assistant at the Columbia Missourian. She also interned at the Tulsa (Okla.) World and served a summer fellowship at the Poynter Institute. She went to work for the St. Petersburg Times after she graduated in 2008, producing print and multimedia graphics and editing the paper’s home page two nights a week. She moved to the Post in 2012. Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here. Darla turns 30 today.


Tom Holmes is a self-employed graphic designer based in New York City. A 1998 graduate of the State University of New York at Farmingdale, Tom worked for RR Donnelley and Sons and Morgan Stanley before joining the New York Post in 2004. He worked there for nine years.


Keith Kohn is assistant Long Island editor for Newsday in Melville, N.Y. A 1981 graduate of the University of South Florida, Keith spent two years as a writer for the Miami News. He spent 19 years as an editor at the Tampa Tribune and then two years as business editor of the Times Union of Albany, N.Y., before becoming night editor of the Orlando Sentinel in 1999. He moved to Newsday in 2011. Find his cancer survivor blog here and his Twitter feed here.


Amy Martz is a designer for the Forum of Fargo, N.D. Amy spent three years at the Grand Forks Herald, first as a news and web assistant and then as a designer and copy editor. She moved to Fargo in 2013. Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.


Pat Weeden is curator of the Kelch Aviation Museum of Brodhead, Wis. A 1990 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Pat spent 17 years as operations manager for weather services at Weather Central of Madison, Wis., the guys who produce weather maps for many of the nation’s newspapers. A railway fan, Pat edits a magazine for the Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society. He also sells helicopters and helicopter parts and freelances web site design.

Bethany, Darla, Amy, Josh, Keith, Tom, Pat and Philip share a birthday with actors Karen Sheila Gillan, Judd Asher Nelson, Edward Allen “Ed” Harris, Ryan Christian Kwanten and Hope Elise Ross Lange; musicians Paul Allen Wood Shaffer, Randall Stuart “Randy” Newman, Tremaine Aldon Neverson (better known as Trey Songz) and Berry Gordy Jr.; director Joseph “Joe” Dante Jr., dancer Alexander Borisovich Godunov; model Vickie Lynn Hogan (better known as Anna Nicole Smith); sports greats Paul Dryden Warfield (football), Matthew Derrick “Matt” Williams (baseball), Marc-André Fleury (hockey) and Henry Gilford Picard (golf); political consultant Dick Morris; politician Gary Warren Hartpence (better known as Gary Hart); longtime New York Times theater critic Justin Brooks Atkinson and faux newsman Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz (better known as Jon Stewart).

In addition, today is Small Business Saturday, International Aura Awareness Day and the World Day of Giving. Seriously.

Have a great birthday today, everybody! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Friday, Nov. 27

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to four extraordinary visual journalists…


Julie Frady is a designer at the GateHouse Media Center for News and Design in Austin, Texas. A 1986 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Julie spent 11 years as a features art director for the Chicago Tribune and then six-and-a-half years as a senior features designer for the New York Post. She left New York in 2011 to move to the West Coast. She spent a few months doing contract work for the features department of the Los Angeles Times, and then a year as a senior features designer for the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif. She also volunteered at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Julie moved to Austin earlier this year.


Jeremy Gustafson is sports team leader for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A 2002 graduate of Iowa State University, Jeremy went to work right away for the Des Moines Register. He moved over to the studio when it staffed up in 2011. Find Jeremy’s portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Jeremy turns 37 today.


Michael Miller is director of news and community content for the United Way of Greater Cleveland. A 1996 graduate of the University of Toledo, Michael worked as news editor of the Daily Telegram of Adrian, Mich., before taking over in 2005 as editor in chief of the Toledo (Ohio) Free Press. After the Free Press shut down last fall, Michael moved to the United Way.


Bill Wambeke is Wisconsin team leader for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A graduate of Valley City State University in Valley City, N.D., Bill sever as a reporter, copy editor and outdoors editor for the Aberdeen, S.D., American News and the Press of Sheridan, Wyo., before joining the Twin Falls, Idaho, Times-News in 2006 as a copy editor and page designer. He moved to the Journal Star of Lincoln, Neb., in 2010 and then again to the Forum of Fargo, N.D., in 2011 as presentation editor. He moved to Des Moines in 2013. Find his portfolio here. Bill turns 34 today.

Bill, Jeremy, Michael and Julie share a birthday with actors Sharlto Copley, Alison Courtney Pill, Brooke Langton, William Edward Fichtner, Samantha Bond, Jaleel Ahman White (the guy who played “Urkel” on Family Matters), Robin Simone Givens, and the late, great Lee Jun-fan (better known as Bruce Lee); musicians Edward Thomas “Eddie” Rabbitt and Johnny Allen “Jimi” Hendrix; directors Adam Michael Shankman and Kathryn Ann Bigelow; screenwriter James Rufus Agee; children’s TV show hosts Robert Emil Schmidt (better known as Buffalo Bob Smith) and William Sanford “Bill” Nye (“the Science Guy”); Dancing With the Stars co-host Samantha Harris; sports greats Larry Christopher Allen and Kenneth John O’Brien (both football), Iván Rodríguez, James Calvin “Jimmy” Rollins, Michael Lorri “Mike” Scioscia (all three baseball) and Francis Dayle “Chick” Hearn (basketball announcer); children’s book author Kevin Henkes; biographer Gail Sheehy, Filipino leader Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., politician Timothy James “Tim” Pawlenty and presidential daughter — and ambassador to Japan – Caroline Bouvier Kennedy.

In addition to Black Friday, today is National Native American Heritage Day, Flossing Day, Maize Day, the National Day of Listening and Sink Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday today, all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Thursday, Nov. 26

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


Christopher Foster is a page designer for Lee Enterprises in Madison, Wis. A 1995 graduate of Illinois State University, Chris spent a year-and-a-half as an ad artist for the News-Sun of Waukegan, Ill., before moving to the Beacon-News of Aurora, Ill. as a news and special sections designer. He moved to the News-Sun of Lake County in 2001 as a sports and features designer, was named lead designer and systems editor in 2004. He joined the GateHouse hub in Rockford, Ill., in 2012 and leaped to Lee in 2014. Chris turns 44 today.


Mike Jarboe is chief of the copy desk for the Times Union of Albany, N.Y. He also writes a horseracing and handicapping column for the paper. A product of Pennsylvania Military College, Mike spent a few years as a freelance reporter for the Courier Post and the Burlington County Times of Willingboro, N.J., before signing on at the Register-News of Bordentown, N.J., in 1977 as a cops and government reporter. In 1979, he moved to the Burlington Country Herald of Mount Holly, N.J., as a cops reporter and, eventually, editor. He moved in 1981 Syracuse to become metro editor of the Post-Standard. He became Op-Ed editor and then moved again in 1987 to a copy editing spot at the Milwaukee Sentinel. Mike has been with the Times Union coming up on 26 years. In his spare time, he plays the fiddle. Find his Twitter feed here.


Leila Merrill is a digital media producer for the Houston Chronicle. A 1995 graduate of Trinity University, Leila spent three years as a copy editor and page designer for the Beaumont Enterprise before moving to the Arlington Morning News. She moved up to night city editor in 2000 but then moved to the Dallas Morning News in 2001. Over her ten-and-a-half years there, she worked as a copy editor and then assistant iPad editor. She moved to the Chronicle in 2012. Find her Twitter feed here.


Megan Ruyle is a graphic designer and production coordinator for the American Statistical Association in Alexandria, Va. A 2002 graduate of UNC-Wilmington, Megan worked as a copy editor and designer for the Wilmington Star-News before attending grad school at the University of Missouri. She then worked as a designer at the Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal and then as a copy editor for Gannett’s Army Times Publishing company in Springfield, Va., just south of D.C. She moved to the Hill newspaper in D.C. in 2009 and then to her current position last winter. Find her portfolio here, her fitness and running blog here and her Twitter feed here. Megan turns 36 today.


Rinku Sharma is deputy news editor for design at the Hindustan Times in New Delhi, India. He turns 32 today.

Rinku, Megan, Leila, Christopher and Mike share a birthday with actors Kristin Neubauer (better known as Kristin Bauer van Straten) and Richard Caruthers “Rich” Little; musicians Robert Gerard Goulet, John Graham McVie (of Fleetwood Mac), Natasha Anne Bedingfield, Rita Sahatçiu Ora and Anna Mae Bullock (better known as Tina Turner); sports greats Arthur “Art” Shell, Harold Donald “Harry” Carson and Roger Wehrli (all three football), Dale Arnold Jarrett (auto racing), Vernon Louis “Lefty” Gomez, Matthew Martin “Matt” Carpenter (both baseball) and Shawn T. Kemp (basketball); sci-fi author Frederik George Pohl Jr.; TV journalist Arnold Eric Sevareid, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and cartoonist Charles Monroe Schulz.

In addition to Thanksgiving, today is the National Day of Mourning. Seriously.

Have a tremendous birthday today, folks! Best wishes!