You may not have seen Saturday’s most interesting Independence Day front page

Saturday’s most unusual Independence Day page treatment may have been one you didn’t see: For some reason, the Virginian-Pilot‘s front page didn’t appear at the Newseum.

Click this for a much larger — and readable — look:


Ace projects designer Sam Hundley tells us:

Paul[Nelson, presentation team leader] asked me to come up with an idea for the 4th and I suggested the Virginia signers [of the Declaration of Independence] because most of them are pretty obscure to a lot of folks.

Agreed. You’ve probably heard of Thomas Jefferson


…but did you know that there was only one set of brothers who signed the Declaration of Independence? Meet the Lee brothers:


What’s more: Robert E. Lee would be born in 1807 into this same family. He later became a famous Confederate army general in the Civil War.

Sam continues:

I found high-resolution facsimiles of the signatures online, Paul found a wonderful litho of their portraits from 1876 at the Library of Congress and Maureen Watts and Jakon Hays in the library researched and wrote the blurbs.

Aimee Crouch copy edited and our new editor, Steve Gunn, got behind it.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Sam started his newspaper career as a staff artist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and moved to the Virginian-Pilot in 1981.


In 1990, Sam moved to the San Jose Mercury News where he was named design director of features, but then returned to the Pilot in 1994.

He’s also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

Find Sam’s web site here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation for the Virginian-Pilot is 142,476.

Other outstanding work from the Virginian-Pilot:

Related posts…

  • May 26, 2014: The day’s best Memorial Day front page
  • July 4, 2013: The one Fourth of July page you really need to see
  • June 11, 2013: An important historical anniversary observed, Sam Hundley style
  • Jan. 29, 2013: The magical properties of a clever illustration
  • Jan. 8, 2013: When illustrating a controversial topic, it helps to have a real, live visual journalism superhero on staff
  • Sept. 26, 2012: A look at the illustrations for the Virginian-Pilot’s NASA history series
  • Sept. 24, 2011: Newsstand alert: Check out the new National Geographic
  • Sept. 21, 2011: Behind those watercolor illustrations in the Virginian-Pilot this week
  • Dec. 18, 2010: A wacky pre-Christmas illustration in the Virginian-Pilot

Birthdays for Monday, July 6

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


Rod Emmerson is editorial cartoonist for the New Zealand Herald of Auckland. Find samples of his work here and his Twitter feed here. Rod turns 60 today.


Paul Wallen is a senior designer for ESPN The Magazine in Bristol, Conn. Starting out as a journalist for the U.S. Navy in the late 1980s, Paul has worked as sports editor of the Marshall, Texas, News Message, graphics editor of the Evansville (Ind.) Press, design editor for a chain of suburban papers near Chicago, a designer for the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, a designer for the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader, design editor of the Baltimore Sun, managing editor for visuals for the Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal, sports designer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, design director of the Sun Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and then assistant managing editor for design and sports of the Kerrville (Texas) Daily Times. Paul took a little time off from journalism to serve as a foster parent before moving to the Huntsville Times in 2010 as design director. In 2012, the Times’ owner, Advance publications, announced plans to consolidate design and production for its Huntsville, Mobile and Birmingham papers in Birmingham. Before any of that happened, though, Paul moved to St. Pete as senior designer for the St. Petersburg Times and for the TimesBay magazine. He moved to ESPN a year ago. Find his NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Paul turns 47 today.


Krissi Xenakis is head of design at Shake — a publisher of legal software — in New York City. A 2006 graduate of Michigan State University, Krissi served an internship as a features designer at the Denver Post before moving to Norfolk, Va., to work as a print and online designer for Link, a youth tab published by the Virginian-Pilot. When the Pilot shut down Link in 2008, Krissi went back to school and sought work as a freelance designer. Among her projects: Working with Nick Mrozowski on the experimental design tabloid Ink. She earned a master’s degree in fine art from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, spent several months freelancing art direction for Good Housekeeping magazine and joined Joe Zeff Design in in 2012. She moved to Shake in 2013. Find Krissi’s web site here and her Twitter feed here. Krissi turns 31 today.

Krissi, Paul and Rod share a birthday with actors Geoffrey Roy Rush, Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone, Ned Thomas Beatty, Delloreese Patricia Early (better known as Della Reese), Jeanette Helen Morrison (better known as Janet Leigh), William Joseph Schallert, Bert John Gervis Jr. (better known as Burt Ward), Shelley Marie Hack, Gregory Edward Smith and Jennifer Jane Saunders; musicians Curtis James Jackson III (better known as 50 Cent), Kate Marie Nash and William John Clifton “Bill” Haley; TV host Mervyn Edward “Merv” Griffin Jr.; comedian Patrick Layton “Pat” Paulson; spiritual leader Lhamo Dondrum (better known as the 14th and current Dalai Lama); first lady Anne Frances Robbins (better known as Nancy Davis Reagan); President George Walker Bush; Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones; sports greats Pau Gasol Sáez (basketball), Jason Thompson (baseball), Brandon Richard Jacobs, John Frederick “Fred” Dryer and Nnamdi Asomugha (all three football); comic book creator John Lindley Byrne, newspaper executive Thomas “Tom” Curley and Tumblr creator David Karp.

In addition, today is International Kissing Day and Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day. Seriously.

Have a great birthday, y’all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Sunday, July 5

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


Johannes Bertus de Villiers is an editor for Rapport — the big Sunday national Afrikaans-language newspaper in South Africa — and based in Johannesburg.


He’s also the author of two books: Agter die Somber Gordyn (Behind the Sombre Curtain) — an Afrikaans-language history of about spiritism in South Africa, which was published in 2011, and die Einde van die Wêreld en Hoe om dit te Oorleef (the End of the World and How to Survive), which was published in 2012. Find his blog here. He also teaches yoga. A graduate of Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape, Johannes turns 39 today.


David Lafata is a designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A 2012 graduate of Central Michigan University, David has been with the studio for three years. I wrote about him back in March. Find his portfolio here.


Paul Rowe is a senior designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A 1980 graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Paul spent two years as a sports publicist for Grand View College — also in Des Moines — before joining the Des Moines Register’s sports department. After 17 years in sports, Paul moved through the business, metro and national copy desks and finally to the design studio. He turns 57 today.

David, Johannes and Paul share a birthday with actors Kathryn Elsbeth Erbe, Eva Gaëlle Green and Warren Mercer Oates; musicians Jaime Royal “Robbie” Robertson, David Wesley “Dave” Haywood (of Lady Antebellum) and Hugh Anthony Cregg III (better known as Huey Lewis); sports greats Richard Michael “Goose” Gossage (baseball), Megan Anna Rapinoe (women’s soccer), Amélie Simone Mauresmo (tennis), James David Lofton (football) and John Harvey McKay (football coach); French leader Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou; painter Charles Thomas “Chuck” Close; reality TV personality Paul DelVecchio (better known as Pauly D); TV judge Joseph “Joe” Brown; politician William Todd Akin; showmaster Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum and cartoonist William Boyd “Bill” Watterson II.

In addition, today is Bikini Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, folks! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Saturday, July 4

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


Adrian Bohannon is a designer for the Virginian-Pilot. He’s a 2004 graduate of Mississippi State University. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.


Steve Breen is editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. A 1994 graduate of UC Riverside, Steve spent nearly five years as cartoonist for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey before moving back to the west coast in 2001. He’s won two Pulitzer prizes: In 1998 and 2009. Find galleries of his work here and here. Find his Twitter feed here. Steve turns 45 today.


Jennifer Jiggetts is a journalist and former Peace Corps volunteer now living in Raleigh, N.C. A 2007 graduate of Virginia’s Norfolk State University, Jennifer served an internship at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, and then worked there part-time before moving to the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Md., in 2008. She returned to the Pilot in 2010 as a general assignment and cops reporter. She served two years with the Peace Corps starting in 2012. Find her life in Lesotho blog here, her writing clips here and her Twitter feed here.


Travis Ricks is creative adviser for the State News at Michigan State University in Lansing. A 2007 graduate of that same institution, Travis was named SND Student Designer of the year. He served an extended internship at the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel until the Sarasota Herald-Tribune hired him. Then — four months to the day on which he started — the Herald-Tribune laid him off. In 2008, Travis went to work for Miles Media in Sarasota, Fla., a marketing publisher of print and web products to promote tourism. He moved back to Michigan in 2012. Find his Twitter feed here. Travis turns 33 today.


Pegie Stark is a communications design consultant based in St. Petersburg, Fla. A 1974 graduate of the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Pegie has served as graphics editor of the Detroit News, graphics director of the Detroit Free Press, art director for the St. Petersburg Times and art and design director for the Ottawa Citizen. She spent four years as director of the Poynter Institute’s graphics and design programs and is still an affiliate faculty member there. She co-directed three Poynter EyeTrack research projects, wrote a book (Color, Contrast and Dimension in News Design, published in 1991 by Poynter) and has redesigned a number of papers around the world. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here. Pegie turns 66 today.

Travis, Jennifer, Adrian, Steve and Pegie share a birthday with actors Lugina “Gina” Lollobrigida, Eva Marie Saint and Rebecca Sara “Becki” Newton; musicians John Dempsey (better known as Jack Frost), Michael Sweet (of Boston and Stryper), William Harrison “Bill” Withers Jr. and Mitchell William “Mitch” Miller; reality TV star Michael “the Situation” Sorrentino; playwright Marvin Neil Simon; dancer-turned-politician George Lloyd Murphy; sports greats Harvey and Horace Grant (both basketball), Floyd Douglas Little, Emerson Boozer (both football), Charles William “Chuck” Tanner (baseball manager), Allen “Al” Davis (football owner), George Michael Steinbrenner III (baseball owner), and ESPN’s Jason “Jay” Crawford; presidential daughter Malia Ann Obama; President John Calvin Coolidge; rich jailbird Leona Mindy Roberts Rosenthal Helmsley; novelist Nathaniel Hathorne (better known as Nathaniel Hawthorne); TV host Gerald Michael Riviera (better known as Geraldo Rivera); twin newspaper columnists Esther Pauline “Eppie” Friedman and Pauline Esther Friedman (better known as Ann Landers and Dear Abby, respectively) and cartoonist Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg.

In addition to Independence Day, today is Boom Box Parade Day, Hop a Park Day, International Day of Cooperatives and International Cherry Pit Spitting Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, y’all! Best wishes!

Virginian-Pilot’s Robert Suhay nearing the end of another world-record solo sailing trip

As the A1 designer for the Virginian-Pilot, Robert Suhay is the guy who designs many of the Pilot front pages we gush over at the Newseum.


But Robert is special in a lot of other ways, too. Last summer, he set a new world record for sailing solo on a dinghy when he trekked 326 miles up and down the Chesapeake Bay. In the face of an approaching tropical storm, no less.


This week, Robert set out to not only shatter his own record, but to do it in spectacular fashion. And he’s been wildly successful. First, he gathered up sponsors who supplied the dinghy — he dubbed it the Insomnia — custom-made sails, GPS equipment and other special gear.


Photos from Robert Suhay’s web site.

Tuesday, he set out from Beaufort, N.C…

…sailed solo around the treacherous Cape Hatteras, along North Carolina’s Outer Banks — you know, where a rash of shark attacks have happened this summer — through Hampton Roads, and up the Chesapeake Bay.


Robert surpassed his record around 6:30 EDT this morning, his wife, Lisa, reports via Twitter:


His plan is to land near Annapolis, Maryland, later today.

UPDATE: Minutes after I posted this, it appears Robert may be done. Tracking data shows him ashore at Adams Island, Maryland. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not he broke his own record.

Read more on Robert’s web site.

Follow his actual tracking data here.

Lisa hired a boat to take her out to see Robert as he passed through his home waters of Hampton Roads Thursday night.

Read her piece here in the Virginian-Pilot.

Robert’s friends have been showing their support via Twitter by posting selfies with his sail number written on their hands. Here’s mine:


Post yours with the hashtag #SailSelfie.

Find Robert’s Twitter feed here, but keep in mind: He’s a little too busy right not to tweet. If you want to track the end of his journey today, you might follow Lisa instead.

Go here to read more about Robert’s record-setting event last summer.