Birthdays for Thursday, July 31

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


Jane Burns is a features reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, Wis. A 1983 graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Jane spent 17 years as a reporter for the Des Moines Register. She moved to a copy editing position at the Star Tribune of Minneapolis in 2000 and moved again in 2005 to the afternoon paper in Madison, the Capital Times. She served as a copy editor, assistant features editor. columnist and general assignment reporter before moving to the WSJ in 2009. Find her Twitter feed here.


Therese Lis Harpish is a photo technician and editorial designer for the Tribune-Review of Pittsburgh, Pa. Therese turns 34 today.


Lynn Hicks is executive business editor of the Des Moines Register in Iowa. A 1991 graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Lynn joined the Register as a copy editor, moved to a reporting position in 1997 and then was promoted to assistant metro editor in 2000. A year later, he became editor of the Journal of Stevens Point, Wis. He returned to Des Moines in 2004. Find his Twitter feed here. Lynn turns 46 today.


John V. Smith is sports design editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer. A 2000 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, John spent a year as a page designer for the Sun-Herald of Biloxi, Miss., before becoming a sports designer for the Asbury Park Press of Neptune, N.J. in 2001. In 2005, John became assistant editor for sports at Newsday on Long Island but returned to Asbury Park in 2007, also as assistant sports editor. He left the APP in December 2008 and spent a year as a designer for Time Out New York. He earned an MBA at Villanova University in 2012 and, shortly afterward, joined Kistler Smith, a marketing and design consultancy based in Philadelphia. He moved to the Inky last fall. Find his Twitter feed here. John turns 37 today.


Anne Tallent is senior editor for features at the Baltimore Sun. A 1998 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Anne worked as a copy editor for the student paper there, the Daily Oklahoman. She spent a year-and-a-half as a copy editor for the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., before being named assistant features editor. She moved to the Sun in 2005 and worked as a copy editor, deputy arts editor and arts and entertainment editor before moving over to b, the Sun’s free youth-oriented daily tab in 2008. She moved back to the mainsheet in 2012 into her current position. Find her Twitter feed here.

Anne, Therese, John, Lynn and Jane share a birthday with actors Wesley Trent Snipes, Dean George Tanaka (better known as Dean Cain), Michael Connell Biehn, Eric Lawrence Lively, Dennis Dirk Blocker, Benjamin Joseph Manaly “B.J.” Novak, Barry Wayne Van Dyke, France Nguyen Van Nga and Theodore Crawford “Ted” Cassidy; musicians William Thomas “Bill” Berry (of R.E.M.), James Steven Ignatius “Jim” Corr (of the Corrs), Robert Lawrence “Bob” Welch Jr., Roland Kent LaVoire (better known as Lobo) and Gary Harold Lee Levitch (better known as Gary Lewis); sports greats Evonne Fay Goolagong (tennis), DeMarcus Ware, Kevin Darwin Greene, Gustave Joseph “Gus” Frerotte (all three football), Randy Alan Flores (baseball), Henry Albert “Hank” Bauer (baseball manager), Mark Cuban (NBA team owner) and Curtis Edward “Curt” Gowdy (announcer); actor-turned politician Alan Autry; economist Milton Friedman; retailer Sebastian Sperling “S.S.” Kresge; novelist Joanne “J.K.” Rowling and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet.

In addition, today is Bratwurst Day, National Chili Dog Day, World Ranger Day and Uncommon Instruments Awareness Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, all! Have an excellent birthday today!

How you can spot a fake news clipping

Thanks to the handful of folks who sent me this news clipping over past 36 hours or so. But it’s bogus.


The top part is real enough. But the bottom half — the reason it’s making the rounds — is a fake.

How can I tell? For those of you not in the newspaper business….

  1. The Daily Star doesn’t use Times Roman headlines. You can see their serif headline font, in fact, in the skyboxes above. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not Times Roman Bold.
  2. That deck was written and designed by someone who has no clue how a newspaper headline works. It’s way too small, it probably shouldn’t be centered and it should probably have a verb in it somewhere — especially if the headline itself doesn’t have one.
  3. Also, decks don’t typically have periods at the end of ‘em.
  4. Note the greyed-out Associated Press byline. Why would the Tucson paper run a local story from the wires? More likely, the Tucson paper would write a story and then the wires would pick it up.
  5. Note the Tucson dateline: That’s unnecessary.
  6. Note the story is set in a sans-serif font. Most newspaper stories appear in serif type. Furthermore, this appears to be Helvetica — not many larger papers use Helvetica anymore.
  7. Clearly, none of the folks who sent the story to me actually read it. There are a number of double entendres sprinkled through the story. In a few cases, I’d call them single entendres. Clearly, this is a satire.

Evidently, the folks who came up with this little prank are having a lot of fun with it. The fake Facebook page for the C.L.I.T.T. had nearly 5,000 likes, as of last night.

Birthdays for Wednesday, July 30

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


Amy Kuenzie is a yoga teacher and vocational rehab caseworker based in Irmo, South Carolina. A 1985 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Amy earned a master’s degree from Columbia College and spent years working as a parole examiner and victim’s advocate within the justice system. She’s been with the state Vocational Rehabilitation Department for nearly eight years and has taught yoga for four years. Her husband, Jack, is a reporter for Channel 10, WIS-TV in Columbia. Find her web page here and her Twitter feed here.


Franz Tomasek is an official of the South African Revenue Service, involved with legislative policy and based in Pretoria. He’s also a longtime member of Science Fiction South Africa, the main squeeze of journalist Simone Puterman and a good friend and most gracious host, during my occasional visits to his country. Franz and Simone recently returned from a one-year posting to Boulogne-Billancourt, France.


Vanessa Shortley is managing editor of the Daily Dispatch of Henderson, N.C. A 2007 graduate of East Carolina University, Vanessa spent time as a reporter for the Daily Southerner of Tarboro, N.C. and as a reporter and copy editor for the Free Press of Kinston, N.C. In 2008, she was named editor of the News of Orange County, a weekly in Hillsborough, N.C. She moved to Henderson in February. Find her Twitter feed here.

Vanessa, Franz and Amy share a birthday with actors Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, Hilary Ann Swank, Lisa Valerie Kudrow, Laurence John Fishburne III, Juan Moreno y Herrera Jiménez (better known as Jean Reno), Jaime Elizabeth Pressly, Vivica Anjanetta Fox, Delta Ramona Leah Burke, Edward Byrne Breitenberger (better known as Edd “Kookie” Byrnes) and Riccardo DiGuglielmo (better known as Dick Wilson, who played “Mr. Whipple” in 1970s-era TV commercials for Charmin toilet paper); musicians Catherine “Kate” Bush, Bradley William “Brad” Hargreaves (of Third Eye Blind), Timothy Seth Avett (of the Avett Brothers), Paul Albert Anka, David Sanborn and George “Buddy” Guy; TV host Michael Thomas “Tom” Green; celebrity chef Alton Crawford Brown; directors Christopher Jonathan James Nolan and Peter Bogdanovich; sports greats Francis Morgan Ayodélé “Daley” Thompson (decathlete), Hope Amelia Solo (soccer), Justin Peter Rose (golf), Lawrence Neil Bonnett (auto racing), Christopher Paul “Chris” Mullin (basketball), Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel (baseball manager) and Allan Huber “Bud” Selig (baseball commissioner); law professor Anita Faye Hill; H&R Bloch co-founder Henry W. Bloch; novelist Emily Jane Brontë, historian and biographer Giorgio Vasari and industrialist Henry Ford.

In addition, today is Father-In-Law Day, the International Day of Friendship, Paperback Book Day and Cheesecake Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have a truly great birthday today!

A look at air show poster fronts this week in Oshkosh, Wis.

Sean McKeown-Young — Wisconsin team leader at the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa — bragged this week about one of his young designers.

Sean writes:

Part of staffing the studios was that we could take some chances. We could hire people that weren’t necessarily “safe.”


Dave Lafata was one of those hires. He had no background in newspapers but he did have an impressive portfolio and he struck us all as the kind of guy you would want around while launching 10 daily newspapers. [Creative director] Nathan Groepper was an early supporter. Dave has really good instincts and I was excited to see what would transpire.

Dave is a 2012 graduate of Central Michigan. His degree is in Fine Art. Part of what makes him so interesting is that he comes at design and presentation from that Art background; less hard angles and perfect justification and more unusual photo play and painterly headlines. His innate understanding of color and composition are incredibly impressive for a designer that is still in the early part of his career.

And, in fact, I have several of Dave’s pages in my collection. On the left, here, was a great page from the NCAA Tournament last year.


The page on the right I called:

My favorite front page of the day…

…f0r last Oct. 1, the day of the government shutdown over Obamacare.

I wrote:

Several papers, over the past few days, have used images of the power players in Washington. But the designer here — I’m told it was Dave Lafata, a recent graduate of Central Michigan — used an old trick to focus on just the eyes of John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and Harry Reid. Think of it as a cinematic treatment, but on paper.

And then, nearly a year ago, I posted a blog item in which Sean praised Dave’s work on a series of covers for the week-long Experimental Aircraft Association “AirVenture” air show.


Sean called them…

…some of the most exciting covers I’ve seen. I love everything about them. I love the really measured volume the amazing use of great photography, the variety and the cohesiveness.


And he was right. Those covers were terrific.

So that’s the background. Sean picks up the story again:

After an impressive set of designs for the 2013 Oshkosh Northwestern EAA covers, Dave started lobbying us to design them again in 2014. We would have been fools not to let him continue.

He was already showing signs of stress (good stress) by New Years. As the weeks have lead up to the 2014 EAA I could see Dave agonizing over the details and sweating through a variety of dummy layouts.

But the ulcers look like they’re worth it. Dave’s first two designs are getting me really hyped up for the continuation. You know how ‘easily excitable’ I am – so, that’s not a big leap.

This year, Dave has dropped the rest of the page and turned the entire front into a poster presentation. Given the importance of this event to the city of Oshkosh, that’s not a problem at all.

Nor is using fantastic photography this large. Man, is this page gorgeous.

(Side note: Air Force Thunderbird pilots are insane.)

That was Sunday’s front page. Here was yesterday’s front:

Today’s front page features a Boeing V-22 Osprey.


UPDATE: 8:05 a.m. PDT Wednesday

Wednesday’s front features live photos shot Tuesday by staffer Joe Sienkiewicz.


UPDATE: 6:36 p.m. PDT Thursday

Dave went sideways with today’s front, featuring a picture of vintage aircraft by staffer Jim Koepnick.


Sean tells us:

Dave’s a great designer — or he is on the road to becoming a great designer — but without brilliant content and an awesome site to work with, we could get really stuck. We’re incredibly lucky to work with the Oshkosh Northwestern team. Editor Jim Fitzhenry has been a huge advocate for creative conceptualization and encourages unexpected and exciting design and editorial ideas.  His excitement and positivity has really set the tone for the design that we aspire to deliver to them on a daily basis.

To top that all off, the photography that the site generates is absolutely breath-taking, particularly for this event. In a way, I sort of feel like I just have to keep from screwing it up.

The photos are awesome. The site is awesome. The designer is young and hungry. If I’m smart, I’ll stand back and let it happen.

I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.

Find all the Northwestern‘s AirVenture coverage here.

Average daily circulation for the Northwestern is 14,113.

Interesting front-page Gaza fatalities graphic from Belgium

We’ve all seen graphics that quantify the number of fatalities in the ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

But check out the full-page data visualization piece that ran on the front of de Morgen of Brussels, Belgium, Monday.


Roughly, the text at the top says:


There have been more than 1,000 deaths so far in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of the 206 children killed on the Palestinian side, 179 have now been identified.


The blue icons represent boys and the pink girls. The age of each child is listed below — the “j” stands for jaar, or years old.

Note the names at the top of each icon. Cases in which several children in the same family were killed are grouped with tint boxes — like, for example, this family.


Six children in the same family — from age 17 down to 18 months old — were lost.

There is no byline on the graphic, so sadly, I can’t praise the designer by name. If anyone in Belgium can enlighten me, I’d be happy to dish some credit.

The data is from the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights — an organization that is most definitely oriented towards the Palestinian side. Please note: I’m complimenting only the design of this graphic. I’m neither vouching for nor arguing against the accuracy of the numbers.

Average daily circulation for de Morgen is 53,860.