Behind that cool illustration afront Sunday’s KC Star

Charles Gooch, A1 designer for the Kansas City Star, took time Sunday to tell us about his paper’s big presentation on domestic terrorism.

He tells us:

I really liked the way that the whole package came together.

The story itself was a nearly year-long enterprise project by Judy Thomas that started after a tragic shooting spree at the Johnson County Jewish Community Center by white supremacist F. Glenn Miller in 2014.

Sunday was day one of the series (it will conclude next Sunday) and dealt mainly with how, 20 years after the Oklahoma City bombings, federal authorities have failed to prevent recent attacks from domestic extremists and how the threat from those sort of attacks is growing.

The cover itself came out of a series of sketches by the great Hector Casanova, who singled in on the concept of terror groups “metastasizing” inside of the U.S. like cancer cells would inside of a person.


The concept of his watercolor illo of blue and red cells making up an American flag growing and fighting paired well with the project title “Ignoring the terror within.”

As for the page itself, Mike Fannin (our editor) and Greg Branson (AME of presentation and innovation) had been planning on going big with this from the beginning. (After all, the story and its sidebars fill five full inside pages.)

Once Hector’s illustration started coming together, we realized that we’d need the entire width of our page (and most of the depth) to do it justice. The scope and feel of the page (and inside as well) is definitely a departure from our norm. We felt it was a story that commanded the attention of the readers and deserved a visual approach that could push that idea forward.

Here are the inside jump pages 16 and 17. Click for a larger, readable view:


Here are pages 18 and 19:


Page 20 shows the 52 people killed by domestic terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11.


As the intro copy notes, this does not include victims of the Boston bombings or the shootings at Fort Hood. The FBI does not consider “copycat” incidents such as these to be true terrorism.

Charles adds:

In addition to the print component, there’s also a very nice digital build that was put together by our programmer Jay Pilgreen.


A 1998 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, Hector Casanova spent six years as an artist for the Star. He left in 2005 to work as a comics artist, an art gallery director and an instructor at his alma mater.

He returned to the Star in 2008 but continued to handle freelance assignments for clients such as Sprint, Andrews & McNeel, Scholastic Books, MTV and Coca-Cola.

Hector has drawn two graphic novels: The Lurkers (in 2006 with writer Steve Niles) and Screamland (in 2008 with writer Harold Sipe).

A few samples of his work from my collection:





Find Hector’s portfolio site here and his Facebook fan page here. Find an extensive Q&A with him here.

Average daily circulation for the Kansas City Star is 200,365.

This week is ‘tornado week’ for Advance’s Alabama papers

We’re coming up soon on the fourth anniversary of the gigantic tornado outbreak that killed 254 people in Alabama.

The Huntsville area was hit particularly hard that day. The Huntsville Times observed the anniversary with an enormous package and spectacular front-page illustration Sunday.

Click this for a larger look:


The Alabama News Group’s director of publications Jeff Glick tells us:

The design was a collaboration between me and Rick Frennea and it appears in both Huntsville and Birmingham.


Alabama actually holds the record as the state with most tornado-related deaths and the most F/EF5 tornadoes. So just as hurricane season is a big deal for coastal states – tornadoes are a big deal in Alabama.

Our goal was to take a “Shark Week” approach to the topic and the content and elevate the presentation to inform our readers in print and online. As well as our new digital edition (we’re now a 7-day publication on tablet and smartphone.)

We partnered with a very well-known meteorologist in the southeast that’s known for severe weather forecasting.

The first inside jump page is led with a file shot of damage from an EF5 tornado that struck Rainsville, Ala., nearly four years ago.


Much of the rest of the page is taken up by interesting stats and figures about giant EF5 storms, including what parts of the state are most likely to be hit.

The facing page contains a map showing EF5 storms across the state since 1966.


The “Tornado week” theme carries through to the opinion page, where the paper calls on the state government to offer tax incentives for building storm shelters.


Jeff writes:

So Tornado Week will own the paper for this week.

Find all the stories online here.

Also, we have a five-parter on the anniversary of the Gulf oil spill. That started on Friday.

Find those stories here.

SF Chronicle’s Frank Mina moving to Seattle Times

Frank Mina, deputy managing editor for presentation at the San Francisco Chronicle, is moving up the coast to Seattle.


Frank posted Friday on social media:

My 18-year career at the San Francisco Chronicle came to a close today with many hugs, a few tears and a standing ovation. In just a little over two weeks, I’ll begin a new job at The Seattle Times.

Thanks to everyone for their well wishes and words of encouragement. I’m sad to leave so many great colleagues, but excited to start on this new adventure.

Frank tells us:

I’ll be design director. I’ll be working on print and digital products. I start May 4.

Naturally, his colleagues at the Chronicle had some fun with Frank before he hit the street Friday.



A 1995 graduate of northern California’s Humboldt State University, Frank spent a couple of years as a graphic artist at the Modesto Bee before joining the Chronicle in 1997 as a designer. He moved up to art director in 2002, to assistant managing editor in 2009 and then to deputy managing editor in 2012.

Birthdays for Monday, April 20

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


Linda Grist Cunningham is owner and editor of Key West Watch, a multimedia news service aimed at non-resident Key West homeowners. A 1972 graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., Linda spent two years as a staff writer for the Times & World News of Roanoke, Va., before becoming assistant managing editor of the Daily Record of Morristown, N.J. She was named executive editor of the Trenton (N.J.) Times in 1982 and held that post for six years before moving back to the Daily Record as executive editor. In 1991, she moved to the Rockford Register Star and served as executive editor of that paper for 20 years until she stepped down in 2011. Key West Watch launched in 2012. Find its Twitter feed here.


Michael Stowe is communications director for Virginia Tech News in Blacksburg, Va. A 1992 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth, Michael spent three years as a reporter for the Roanoke (Va.) Times before jumping to the Times-Dispatch of Richmond in 1995 as Sunday business editor. He moved back to the Times a year later as a metro editor. He was promoted to New River Valley editor in 1999, to sports editor in 2004, to assistant managing editor in 2005 and then to managing editor in 2007. He left the Times in January after more than 18 years. Find Michael’s Twitter feed here.


Russell J. White is president of Banking Agility, a professional training and coaching consultancy based in Charlotte, N.C. A 1981 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Russell spent ten years as a manager in a textiles plant while earning an MBA from Winthrop University. He began teaching and consulting in 1991. He’s written five books, including one illustrated by yours truly (left)


…and his latest: The Agile Advantage: Mastering Business in the New Economy. Find Russell’s web site here and his blog here.

Michael, Russell and Linda share a birthday with actors George Hosato Takei, Joseph “Joey” Lawrence, Tara Leigh Patrick (better known as Carmen Electra), Shemar Franklin Moore, Andrew Clement “Andy” Serkis, Crispin Hellion Glover, Veronica Cartwright, Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal Jr., Harold Clayton Lloyd, Jessica Phyllis Lange and Clinton Howard; musicians Luther Ronzoni Vandross and Lionel Leo Hampton; Victoria’s Secret model Miranda May Kerr; skydiving daredevil Felix Baumgartner; sports greats Danny Granger Jr. (basketball), Donald Arthur “Don” Mattingly (baseball) and Stephen Orr Spurrier (football coach); Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens and meglomaniac Adolf Hitler.

In addition, today is Chinese Language Day and National Pot Smokers Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have an excellent birthday today!

Birthdays for Sunday, April 19

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


Erin Crabb is a designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A 2006 graduate of the University of Kansas, Erin spent three years with the Star-Tribune of Casper, Wyo., before moving to Iowa in 2010. She turns 31 today.


Dave Gray is a creative an innovation consultant for a number of firms: He’s co-founder of Boardthing, founder and CEO of Limini and a board member of Rosenfeld Media. He’s based in St. Louis, Mo. A 1984 graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., Dave worked as a news artist at the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before leaving to create XPLANE — an information design consultancy –  full-time in 1996. His most recent book, Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers, was published in 2010. Find his book’s web site here and his personal web site here. Find his Twitter feed here. Dave turns 49 today.


Marie-Louise Rosseau is a former subeditor for Media24 in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s a graduate of nearby Stellenbosch University.


Rick McKee is an editorial cartoonist for the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. A 1987 graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Rick spent a year-and-a-half as a staff artist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before moving to the Chronicle in 1990. Find his cartoon archive here and his Twitter feed here.


Brian Simms is deputy editor for print and digital presentation at the the Herald-Leader of Lexington, Ky. He’s a 1999 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. Brian turns 39 today.


Mike Zlotnicki is an associate editor for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. A 1984 graduate of USC Sumter and a 1987 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Mike spent 17 years with the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., serving as outdoors editor. Find his Twitter feed here. Mike turns 51 today.

Marie-Louise, Erin, Brian, Rick, Dave and Mike share a birthday with actors Kate Garry Hudson, James Edward Franco, Hayden Christensen, Ashley Tyler Ciminella (better known as Ashley Judd), Timothy James “Tim” Curry, Dudley Stuart John Moore, Vera Jayne Palmer (better known as Jayne Mansfield); Richard Stanford Cox (better known as Dick Sargent; musicians Luis Miguel Gallego Basteri, Jeffrey John “Jeff” Hanneman (of Slayer) and Richard Dorian “Dickie” Goodman; sports greats Maria Yuryuvna Sharapova (tennis), Troy Aumua Polamalu (football), Joseph Patrick “Joe” Mauer (baseball), Alfred Unser Jr. (Indy car driver), Jack Roush (NASCAR owner) and Darryl John Sutter (basketball coach); lawman Eliot Ness and CIA officer Valerie Elise Plame Wilson.

In addition, today is Bicycle Day, National Garlic Day and National Hanging Out Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, all! Have a terrific birthday!