Birthdays for Saturday, Sept. 20

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

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Jeanette Clark is manager of group communications for Mercedes-Benz South Africa in Johannesburg. A 1999 graduate of Stellenbosch University, Jeanette worked in public relations and as an Afrikaans language teacher before joining the Diamond Fields Advertiser as a reporter and photographer in 2004. She moved to Volksblad, the daily paper in Bloemfontein in 2005 and then to Sake24, the business news arm of the Media24 company, in 2006. She was promoted to news editor in 2008. In 2010, she went back into public relations work. In 2011, she joined Moneyweb — a web site that covers finance in South Africa — working out of Pretoria. She moved into her current position last September. Jeanette turns 35 today.

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Kevin Copeland is owner of Beach Tec, a technical consultancy in Virginia Beach specializing in Apple Computers. A 1990 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth, Kevin worked as technical support for IKON documents and Canon, among other companies. He spent three-and-a-half years as a “Genius Bar” technician at the Apple Store in Norfolk, Va., before going it alone in 2009. Not long before I left town last year, Kevin got me out of a jam. I recommend him most highly.  In addition, Kevin is a cartoonist. He’s the organizer of DRAWtoberfest and the 757 Comic and Cartoon Creators. See some of his work here. Find his company’s web site here, his company’s Facebook page here and his Twitter feed here.

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Kevin Hollingsworth is a Los Angeles-based writer of poetry and the publisher of two collections of his work.

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Wonders was published in 2009. Romance With a Touch of Love came out in 2011. A 1992 graduate of UCLA, Kevin turns 46 today.

Jeanette, Kevin and Kevin share a birthday with actors Gary Michael Cole, Jonathan Edward “Jon” Bernthal, Kristen Johnston, Anne Meara, Korinna Moon Bloodgood, Aria Asia Maria Vittoria Rossa Argento and Sofia Villani Scicolone (better known as Sophia Loren); jazz great Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (better known as Jelly Roll Morton); sports greats James Charles “Jim” Taylor (football), Arnold Jacob “Red” Auerbach (basketball coach), Guy Damien Lafleur (hockey), Robert Granville “Bob” Lemon, Jason Raymond Bay (both baseball) and Juan Pablo Montoya Roldán (auto racing); celebrity psychologist Dr. Joyce Diane Bauer Brothers; Japanese leader Tarō Asō; philosopher Leo Strauss; comics writer Stephen Ross “Steve” Gerber (creator of Howard the Duck); animator J. Troplong “Jay” Ward (creator of Bullwinkle) and author Upton Sinclair Jr.

In addition, today is International Eat an Apple Day, International Coastal Cleanup Day, International Gymnastics Day, Puppy Mill Awareness Day, Responsible Dog Ownership Day and Big Whopper Liar Day. Seriously.

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

Birthdays for Friday, Sept. 19

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

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Judith Chetrit is a journalist based in Paris, France. A 2010 graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ind., Judith served as managing editor of the Paris Globalist, a biannual student magazine that covers international affairs. She moved to Paris to attend grad school at the Institut d’Etudes politiques. She graduated last year. Judith served internships at Citizenside, le Nouvel Observateur, Slate, Libération and BFM Business. Find her Tumblr blog here and her Twitter feed here. Judith turns 25 today.

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Meredith Kruse is senior editor for local news at the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk. A 1991 graduate of Cornell University, Meredith worked as a reporter for a number of papers in upstate New York and Virginia before joining the Pilot in 1998. She covered city government in Suffolk and Norfolk before becoming military editor in 2008 and then adding state coverage in 2009. She moved into her current duties in 2012. Find her Twitter feed here.

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Sarah Morris is an artist and designer for the Kansas City Star. A 2010 graduate of the University of Missouri, Sara earned a master’s degree from that same institution in 2012 and went to work for Gannett soon after. She had worked internships at Standard & Poor’s in New York City, the Associated Electric Cooperative in Springfield, Mo. and the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. She moved to the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville, Ky., in 2012 and then again to the Star earlier this year. Find her portfolio here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here.

Judith, Sarah and Meredith share a birthday with actors William West Anderson (better known as Adam West), Randolph Donald Mantooth, David Keith McCallum Jr., Jeremy John Irons, Alison Ann Sweeney, Faye Reagan and Cheryl Ann O’Teari (better known as Cheri Oteri); musicians Patricia Lynn “Trisha” Yearwood, William Thomas “Bill” Medley, Brook Benton, Paul Hamilton Williams Jr. and Ellen Naomi Cohen (better known as Mama Cass Elliot); TV hosts James Lipton, Alison Ann Sweeney, Joan Elise Blunden (better known as Joan Lunden), Mario Batali and James “Jimmy” Fallon Jr.; home improvement guru Carter Oosterhouse; model Leslie Hornby Lawson (better known as Twiggy); sports greats Alfred “Al” Oerter Jr. (discus), Sally McLellan Pearson (track and field), Abner Haynes (football), Edwin Vernon “Ed” Westfall (hockey), Tyreke Jamir Evans (basketball), Edwin Donald “Duke” Snider, James Anthony “Jim” Abbott, Joe Leonard Morgan (all three baseball); Watergate prosecutor Leonidas “Leon” Jaworski; TV journalist María de la Soledad Teresa O’Brien and legendary columnist Michael “Mike” Royko.

In addition, today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, National Trademen Day and Talk Like a Pirate Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have a terrific birthday today!

A look at today’s UK front pages about today’s vote for Scottish independence

Today is a huge day in the UK — Scotland is voting on whether it should remain part of the United Kingdom or break away to form a separate country.

It would be a completely separate country — much like most of Ireland is. But it would keep Queen Elizabeth as its monarch and it also wishes to keep the pound sterling as its currency.

Let’s look at how papers in the UK are covering today’s vote…

The Scotsman of Edinburgh used a great headline today but kind of wimped out with its lead photo.

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A man placing polling signs? Really?

Average daily circulation for the Scotsman is 28,500.

The Herald of Glasgow — circulation 37,728 — also used a nice headline and went with an inspiring — but purely illustrative — picture of a man looking off into the mist of a distant Loch.

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I was surprised at English papers. Neither the Sun nor the Daily Mail made a big deal today about the vote, so I didn’t bother to collect them. The Daily Express of London — circulation 488,246 — used a huge headline today, but under a gigantic skybox featuring a circulation-boosting promotion.

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Personally, I’d think the news of the day would drive circulation. But perhaps not.

The Times of London, on the other hand, used a gorgeous picture of the UK Union Jack for a wonderful poster front today.

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Now, see? That’s more like what I expected to see. What’s more: This is just the front part of a wraparound cover.

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Ont the back are the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne.

On its actual front page, the Times ran a somewhat routine headline and lead photo.

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Downpage is an editorial advocating a “no” vote.

Average daily circulation for the Times is 394,448.

The Times was just one paper that built its display around a flag motif today. The free Metro papers of England went with a picture of the Union Jack and the Scottish flag on a flagpole but also managed to find a clever headline to pair with it.

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The Independent of London used a much more dramatic picture of flags and came up with perhaps the most clever headline of all.

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Average daily circulation for the Independent is 63,907.

The Independent‘s i — circulation 292,801 — didn’t do nearly as nicely as its sister paper.

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The Daily Mirror of London photoshopped the cross of St. Andrews out of the Union Jack for this morning’s lead art.

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Average daily circulation for the Mirror is 962,670.

The Daily Telegraph built its front around what appeared to be a picture taken at the same time as the Daily Mirror‘s.

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Average daily circulation for the London Telegraph is 523,048.

My favorite flag-themed front page of the day, however, was this one by the Glasgow version of the Daily Mail.

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Now, that’s outstanding. And powerful.

The Daily Mail circulates 113,771 papers in Scotland.

Metro publishes two editions in Scotland: Glasgow and Edinburgh. Those papers today used page one to urge citizens to the polls.

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This is important, because in 1979, Scotland voted on whether or not to create its own Parliament. The “yes” side got 52 percent of the vote, but the decision didn’t stick because not enough people voted. In the fallout afterwards, the UK elected a new prime minister: Margaret Thatcher.

I doubt a low turnout will be an issue today. But still, it’s an interesting approach.

The Daily Record of Glasgow — circulation 253,500 — also urged citizens to vote today on the cover that wrapped around its daily edition.

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Take note of the list of inside pages across the bottom. That doesn’t seem well thought-out, does it?

Meanwhile, the actual front page of the paper today showed the very latest poll numbers — this referendum is simply too close to call.

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The Glasgow version of the Sun used its front page today for a very interesting conceptual piece illustrating the importance of today’s vote.

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Naturally, there were folks out there who had a little fun with this today.

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The Sun circulates 340,000 papers in Scotland.

But my favorite treatment of the day was the huge satellite photo the Guardian used today.

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Average daily circulation for the London-based Guardian is 185,313

These front pages were culled from a number of sources, including Press Display, the Paperboy and Wales Online.

For a truly great look at today’s UK front pages, though, make sure you check out Peter Sands‘ blog.


UPDATE: 9:20 a.m. PDT

In addition, my Focus page today was on Scottish independence. This was aimed at folks here who might not have been keeping up with all the issues involved.

Click for a much larger — and, hopefully, readable — look:

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The picture is by the New York Times Andrew Testa of a rail line that runs from England to Scotland. I played off that picture — both in theme and with color — for the rest of my page.

Polls close tonight at 10 p.m. local time. That’s 5 p.m. EDT and 2 pm here on the west coast. I’m not sure when we’ll know results.

The story behind a truly terrifying waterspout front page photo

Frank Abbott is a physician who practices radiology in Pensacola, Fla. He’s also a photographer with an extensive background of shooting the area.

Frank tells us:

I have been taking landscape and wildlife photographs for the past 20 years. One of my favorite shooting locations is my back yard on Santa Rosa Sound.

I was making my normal rounds and noticed a huge [storm] front developing to the east. Within the next five minutes, it spawned one of  the largest water spouts that I have ever seen in my 50+ years of living on or near the water. It was absolutely spectacular!!

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I took a couple shots with a couple different lenses then watched in absolute awe as this beast slowly moved across the sound then magically degraded into rain. I quickly went inside to process and share what I had seen online.

That’s where Elissa Macarin of the Gannett Design Studio in Nasvhille picks up the story…

When I came in to work, I only knew that the waterspout story was going to be the centerpiece with “more photos to come.”

Katie King, the consumer experience director for Pensacola, said she did a reader call out for photos on Facebook and Twitter to make an online photo gallery. She picked a handful of the most impactful/dramatic photos submitted and put them into the print package for me to choose from.

A couple of hours later, Florida Team Leader Michael Babin checked in with me to see how things were going. We both saw the waterspout photos for the first time, and all he said was “have fun” — and I did.

As soon as I saw the photo I chose as the main, the idea for the page immediately came to mind. I asked the PNJ editors if we could scale back their typical skyboxes – I knew the one about the Escambia football coach had to run because it’s been a big controversy there for the past few weeks — so I could have more space for the waterspout art. They said “Go for it.”

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I went with my gut instinct and that’s the page that ended up printing.

A 2005 graduate of Kent State, Elissa spent a year as a copy editor and designer at the Dothan (Ala.) Eagle and then four years with the Press-Register of Mobile before moving to the Daily Herald of Wausau, Wis., in 2010 as presentation editor. She joined the Nashville studio in 2012, where she also works on pages for the Staunton, Va., News Leader, the (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger and the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American.

Find Elissa’s portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

And again, see more of Frank’s wonderful photography here.

Average daily circulation of the News Journal is 40,435.

Building a centerpiece with nothing but numbers

A topic that comes up often in my teaching duties: How does one build a centerpiece when there are no suitable pictures to use?

The answer: You have to resort to using your brain. Or, rather, a lot more of it than you’d typically use.

That was the case Wednesday on page one of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale. Click this for a much larger look.

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Design director David Schutz tells us:

I was responsible for that one. There’s not exactly a sexy back story to it, though. It was one of those “what the *&*%# am I going to do with this” moments.

I had some ideas banging around in my head for a couple days, but the lightbulb didn’t go on until I was talking it through with our director of photography Mike Slaughter. Mike mentioned that it was cool that the numbers went from tiny to huge.

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A few minutes of tinkering in InDesign and I knew it would work.

A 1993 graduate of Boston’s Northeastern University, David spent a year as a designer and copy editor for the Salem Evening News of Beverly, Mass before moving to the Boston Business Journal in 1996 as design editor.

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He moved to the Boston Globe in 1997 as an infographics artist. He moved to a news designer spot in 2001, was promoted to assistant design director for news in 2005 and then to deputy design director for graphics and news in 2007. He was named design director of the Sun Sentinel in April 2012.

Find David’s portfolio site here and his Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation of the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.