Somebody, give the Villages Daily Sun a trophy for this fun front page

The Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla., ran a fun piece Sunday on the multitude of sports championships coming to Florida over the next 24 months.

A special report ran inside. Rather than start the report out front and then jump it — which is what most of us would do — the Daily Sun chose to fill Sunday’s front page with what is essentially a synopsis of the story in Alternative Story Form format, illustrated with the kinds of trophies that will be awarded in those championships.

Twenty-three of them.

Click this for a larger look:

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Daily Sun editor Bonita Burton tells us:

That’s senior designer Adam Rogers with polish from Colin [Smith, the Daily Sun‘s managing editor for innovation].

It’s the result of the question “what can we do that we haven’t done before?” So that meant no stadium shots, no predictable photos of the new MLS team debuting today, no maps of Florida, etc.

As we were brainstorming concepts for showing the scope of the story, we remembered a World Cup page from the China Daily that Adam saw recently. It was an elaborate hand-drawn graphic detailing how China was “the real winner.” Something about that phrase jogged the inspiration for this approach to showing how Florida is such a big winner. And what says “winner” more than trophies?

After a brief intro by reporter Matt Cote, the visuals kick off with the Super Bowl Lombardi trophy and the national college football championship trophies.

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Next up is a soccer trophy — signifying the new soccer stadium nearing completion — and the NCAA basketball championship trophy. Orlando will host March Madness games in 2017.

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Next are the MLB all-star game trophy and a tennis trophy, representing a new tennis training facility that will open in 2017.

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There are lots of golf tournaments held in Florida. A series of six golf trophies appear on the next row…

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…which are then followed by hockey, horse racing and bowling trophies.

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Finishing out that row are trophies from three different events held at the Daytona International Speedway.

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The bottom row consists of a number of awards: Rodeo, the World Out Games, the National Senior Games, the World Rowing Championships…

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…and, finally, a Monster Jam truck event that will be held at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Which is only an hour or so away from the Villages.

Bo tells us the page…

…was a great lead to eight pages inside – about what we typically dedicate to a special report every Sunday.

Curiosity about work from all corners of the world is a wonderful trait in a visual editor — you never know how it will influence your own idea generation. I’m very proud of the way Adam leads the charge!

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A 2010 graduate of Youngstown State University in Ohio — where he worked on the student newspaper and radio station — Adam Rogers has worked at the Daily Sun for more than four years.

Find his portfolio here.

A sampling of Super Bowl pages from the Boston Globe

Joe Moore, sports designer at the Boston Globe, shared a selection of pages from before and after the recent Super Bowl.

I can’t remember who won that game. Some guy in a shark costume, I think. But, for some strange reason, the Super Bowl was a huge story for the Globe.

Anyway, Joe tells us:

We had 30-40 pages of Super Bowl content in the week leading up to Sunday’s game, followed by a 32-page Score section, which is our weekly NFL gameday section. The following Sunday, we ran a 28-page commemorative special section.

Here, he walks us through the pages. Click any of these for a much larger look…

Thursday, Jan. 22:
The 1/22 sports cover featuring reaction from Deflategate.

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Wednesday, Jan. 28:
Profile of Matt Patricia, the defensive coordinator. Illustration by Rafa Alvarez.

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Thursday, Jan. 29:
We answered the question: Do you have to be smart to be a Patriot? Illustration by Rafa Alvarez.

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Friday, Jan. 30:
A look at Ernie Adams, the man behind the curtain for the Patriots.

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The photo there is by the Globe‘s Jim Davis.

Seahawks and Patriots stats on facing pages.

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Just look how simple those pages are. Look at all that white space. Just gorgeous.

Roger Goodell bombarded by Deflategate questions.

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That features another photo by Jim Davis.

Sunday, Feb. 1:
Comparing the personalities and coaching styles of Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll. Illustration by Rafa Alvarez.

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Here’s one I showed you last week. I like a lot, though, so let’s see it again:

Doubletruck graphic by Luke Knox breaking down 25 of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history.

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Monday, Feb. 2:
The cover of our Score section.

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The photo is by Larry W. Smith of EPA.

Thumbnails of every Super Bowl program to date.

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Comparing the first three years of Tom Brady and Russell Wilson’s careers.

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That was compiled by Sean Smith.

Sunday, Feb. 8:
The commemorative cover for the special section that ran the Sunday after the Super Bowl.

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Yep, that’s another Jim Davis picture.

Stats recap of regular season.

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You guys know how much I dislike bubble charts, but this one seems very clear and easy to read. As does the bubble charts on this page:

Every one of Brady’s 53 record postseason touchdowns.

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A 2006 graduate of the University of Missouri, Joe Moore worked as a reporter, copy editor and graphic artist for the Missourian.

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He spent five-and-a-half years as a graphic artist and multimedia coordinator for the Daily Journal of Vineland, N.J., before rolling into the Gannett Design Studio in Asbury Park in 2012 as lead sports designer. He moved to the Globe a little over a year ago.

Find Joe’s NewsPageDesigner portfolio here.

Average daily circulation for the Boston Globe is 225,482.

Previous blog posts about this year’s Super Bowl:

This cool Super Bowl preview page wasn’t about football

My pal Nate Bloomquist — now a team leader for the Lee Enterprises design center in Munster, Ind. — writes to say:

I saw that you had a blog post about some Super Bowl stuff, so I figured, I’d provide some work of one of my coworkers that I am very proud of. Justin Gilbert is our design secret weapon here in the Lee Enterprises Design Center in Munster, Ind.

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He designed not one, but two Super Bowl pages that many [of the Lee] newspapers decided to pick up. He designed a food centerpiece with three tasty and easy recipes for the Super Bowl:

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Justin, you see, has been writing about food for years. But instead of writing prose and then running old-style text recipes, Justin builds everything as an alternative story form-type graphic. Here’s a sample from my collection:

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Now, I have zero cooking skills. But after reading that, I almost feel like I could make a bleu-cheese crispy-onion burger.

Here’s another one that’s even easier: Essentially, a pizza sandwich.

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Justin’s been doing this sort of thing for years and then selling his work freelance. For the life of me, I don’t understand why every paper in the country didn’t buy his work. Truly, this is inspired stuff.

I wrote about him back in 2011 and then he wrote a guest post for me in 2013. Somehow, I missed the news that he joined the Lee Studio last fall.

Find Justin’s Behind the Bites web site here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Nate tells us:

The food page ran in the Provo (Utah) Daily Herald, the Southern Illinoisian (Carbondale), the Coos Bay World, Mason City (Iowa) Globe Gazette, the Maysville Ledger, Auburn (N.Y.) Citizen, the Quad-City Times, Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, Butte (Mont.) Standard.

Justin adds, via his blog:

As a bonus, I got a VIP award from the management, but more important, there are editors at Lee Enterprises that are now well aware of my skill for recipe development and food presentation. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to arise.

As if that wasn’t enough — Justin previewed the game itself, too:

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Nate tells us:

The game preview page ran in many of the same papers..

It is an honor to work with Justin, and we have a small army of folks just like him here at the design center.

And, we’re hiring!

Previous blog posts about this year’s Super Bowl:

The coolest Christmas Eve page of the day

Colin Smith, managing editor for innovation at the Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla., writes:

I thought I’d pass along this front page we published today in The Villages Daily Sun. It was super-enjoyable to put together, and it was the first front page I’ve done in a while — it’s definitely the most fun I’ve had.

This is our attempt to create a news-y breakdown of the recently declassified NORAD documents about Santa Claus.

Click this for a much larger look:

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I augmented the NORAD information with some of the most recent theories about how Santa Claus delivers all those presents on Christmas Eve (Quantum mechanics! Ion shields! Resonance curves!)…

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…and paired it with a woodcut illustration created in Illustrator based on an actual 1800s sleigh patent.

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Fun facts: The patent date of June 28, 1870 is the actual date Christmas was officially recognized as a Federal holiday…

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…and patent number 104, 111 and the ASCII codes for H and O respectively.

As a finishing touch, Bonita Burton, who was instrumental in planning and steering the project, really helped me massage the display copy to create the proper mood for the page.

Fun touches included the amount of caloric energy Santa requires to deliver gifts…

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…and a quick look at the jolly ol’ guy himself.

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Colin tells us:

Anyway, I had a ton of fun putting this page together and thought you might get a kick out of it.

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful new year!

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A 2000 graduate of the University of Southern California, Colin spent six years as presentation editor of the Salt Lake Tribune before moving to the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix in 2011. He helped his pal Josh Awtry redesign two papers in two years: The Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho, in 2011 and then the Coloradoan of Fort Collins in 2012. He created much of the structure for the Arizona Republic‘s redesign back in April.

Colin moved to Florida in June. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Fort Myers News-Press celebrates its 130th birthday

The News-Press of Fort Myers celebrated its 130th birthday on Nov. 22 — Saturday before last.

Michael Babin, Florida design team leader for the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville, tells us the anniversary paper…

…featured a commemorative 4-page wrap around the regular newspaper, featuring an alternate front page produced to mimic the look and feel of the very first paper (published as a weekly under the name The Fort Myers Press back in 1884).

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A sampling of stories was pulled from that day’s main run paper and the front page was designed circa 1884, complete with ink smudges and many of the features presses of that day would have yielded.

On the left, below, is an actual page from 1884.

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Michael tells us:

It was a team effort, as the newsroom partnered with the advertising department and text-only classified ads were sold down the left-had rail of the page, some even sold from the very same business addresses that were featured in the first issue 130 years ago.

But, in fact, that was just one component of the commemoration by the News Press and deigned by the studio. Thinks kicked off back in August with a Sunday centerpiece story on the history of the paper and how it’s tied in to the history of Fort Myers.

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The jump pages contained a detailed timeline history of the paper…

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…and a look at noteworthy headlines from the ages. The sidebar here focuses on one of the several owners the paper has had over the past 130 years: Car manufacturer Henry Ford.

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Here the third and last inside page from Aug. 24.

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Michael writes:

Starting this past summer and running every day for 130 consecutive days, the News Press has run a feature on page 2 called “Celebrating 130 Years”, where it looks back at each year of its existence with notable features such as top headlines, local news, a person of influence, facts about the paper and a trivia question.

This was the first installment of the series, on that Sunday, Aug. 24.

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This was the second one, the next day. Note the helpful label at the upper right of each page, to help readers keep these in order.

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The 33rd in the series ran Sept. 25.

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By Oct. 24, the series had grown up to No. 62: 1945.

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And this one — No. 91, covering 1974 — ran Saturday, Nov. 22.

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Michael tells us:

Each day’s page is devoted to a year of the paper’s rich history and it runs chronologically every day through the end of this year.

They’ve been a huge hit with readers.

That brings us up to that retro-styled wrap on Nov. 22. The usual page one was inside, of course.

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Michael tells us:

Fort Myers took things a few steps further by hosting an open house on its birthday to showcase the work its journalists and other staff members are doing today.

The paper covered that as well. This ran the next day on the paper’s local news page.

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The jump featured a few more pictures of readers touring the printing facility.

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Michael tells us:

Project editor Andrew Jarosh led things from Fort Myers. Senior designer Phonethip Liu Hobson handled much of the design for 130th pages throughout this series. I handled planning and on-deadline execution of the commemorative “old-style” cover.

Find all the News-Press‘ 130th anniversary stories online here.

Average daily circulation for the Fort Myers News-Press is 54,761.

How they celebrated Turkey Day in Wisconsin

Sean McKeown-Young, the newly-named creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa, wrote us over the weekend.

He tells us:

Oshkosh, Appleton, Wausau and Green Bay all really went bold.

This was designed by me…over the course of a few weeks… This is not a sign of sanity, is it?

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I totally re-rendered and reworked an illustration I did a few years ago and did a massive Thanksgiving graphic. It was a labor of love.

In case you’re wondering why Sean offset the nameplate like he did, Sean tells us:

That Oshkosh cover had a spadea over the left half of the page. I designed it to work with the spadea.

I did Wausau too. It includes two more pages of ‘Community quotes’ [inside] with the same treatment.

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Appleton was designed by Dave Lafata.

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Here are a couple of other variations on that same theme. Springfield, Mo., on the left, was designed by Michael Newgren.

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Green Bay, on the right, was designed by Bill Wambeke. Note how Bill used some of the numbers from Sean’s big Oshkosh page down the right side.

And here was Des Moines, designed by Erin Baker Crabb.

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Sean adds:

Erin says ‘We had a powerplus ad.’ She wanted to let you know why they did a shopping rail.

Average daily circulation for all these papers:

  • Oskhosh Northwestern: 14,113
  • Wausau Daily Herald: 15,506
  • Appleton Post-Crescent: 38,244
  • Springfield News-Leader: 35,531
  • Green Bay Press-Gazette: 41,767
  • Des Moines Register: 101,915

A fresh angle on the fall of the Berlin Wall

Here’s an idea on how to observe a historical anniversary: Illustrate it.

This is from my friends at South Africa’s Media24. It ran in City Press — the chain’s English-language Sunday paper — this past weekend.

Click for a readable version.

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My friend Andre Gouws, graphics editor of Media24, tells us this piece was…

…something Hanlie [Malan, illustrator] and I designed together.

I have been working with her quite a bit this year creating some graphics. As you know, I am not a sketch artist, but I can plan, do rough drawings and do research, so the two of us together make a nice team.

This Berlin one was based on a drawing (or storyboard) I made, and then I asked her to do the illustrations, and then, in the end, I added the text to finish it off.

My plan was to show a sideways view of the wall and the two sides simultaneously, I thought it was an original and different way to look at the wall.

Then, I added history and background below the main image, all done in the same 1970s style and colour palette, to give a sense of history and time to the graphic.

Hanlie works out of the company’s Port Elizabeth office.

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I posted about her work from time to time during my consulting gigs at her company. Here’s an example of her graphic work.

Here’s what I wrote about Andre when Media24 hired him to be graphics director back in 2010:

Andre is very sharp and very organized. He has a ton of experience as both and editor and a manager, having worked in Cape Town and then at the Gulf News in Dubai.

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When I was here [in 2009], I helped write a job description and recommended criteria for a departmental leader. Seems to me they’ve chosen wisely.

Find the Graphics24 online graphics archive here.

A look at today’s most interesting Fourth of July pages

Here’s a look at some of the day’s most interesting Fourth of July pages…


THE GAZETTE
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Circulation: 70,021

The best page of the day, hands down, is an enormous page-one illustration that ran the front of today’s Colorado Springs Gazette.

The Gazette‘s Stephanie Swearngin tells us:

We wanted to do something a little different for July 4, because the holiday always seems to be a very light news day for us.

I threw out a couple of ideas to our presentation director. The original idea that I had was to run quick fun tidbits, history blurbs or by the numbers related to July 4. For example, how many people consume hot dogs on the 4th? Or what’s the history behind using fireworks? But sadly, I didn’t have time to implement that idea since I’m also heavily involved with preparing for our DTI upgrade.

So, the photo staff came in and saved the day. Michael Ciaglo, photographer, created this photo illustration. He was able to shoot sparklers and place a red and blue background behind it to create the flag. Michael and our photo editor called me over to show me the work in progress. At that moment we decided it would run full page.

Click this for a much larger view:

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And they ran it sideways, too! Note how the placement of the nameplate still put it above the fold.

Stephanie continues:

I discussed the new idea with Dena Rosenberry, presentation director, and we ran with it.

We also wanted to run a few promos on the page to inform readers of the news of the day. That part was a little tricky, since I didn’t want to put those directly on the image of the flag. So I worked closely with Michael to extend a little extra blue background to separate the promos without taking away the attention from the flag.

This was just another fun way to celebrate the holiday with our readers.

Excellent work. As is this next one…


DAILY SUN
The Villages, Fla.
Circulation: 44,624

The Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla., ran a big story today on local folks who have ancestors who fought for the country’s freedom, 238 or so years ago.

The paper made a bold decision to illustrate this on page one. With a wonderful watercolor painting…

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…that was done by the editor of the paper herself, Bonita Burton.

I love this. And I’m not just saying that because she hired me to teach at her paper three weeks ago.

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Although that does show she has exquisite tastes.


REDEYE
Chicago, Ill.
Distribution: 250,000

RedEye — the Chicago Tribune‘s free commuter tab — illustrated its Thursday front page with this giant illustration of fireworks over the windy city.

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The photo illustration is by staffer Lenny Gilmore.


THE TIMES
Shreveport, La.
Circulation: 37,666

The Times of Shreveport, La., illustrated page one today with this military-themed piece that highlighted the sacrifices the military have made to secure our freedom.

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I might argue this would seem more appropriate for Memorial Day — but, then again, I might be wrong. Either way, it’s a gorgeous presentation.


TWO MORE

And, while we’re talking about flag-centric illustrations, let’s take note of the two papers that used giant U.S. flag motifs on page one today.

On the left is the Daily Herald of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., that wrapped a few interesting factoids and refers to inside around a flag.

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On the right is the News Tribune of Duluth, Minn., that inserted quotes from local folks on what freedom means to them.

Average daily circulation of the Daily Herald is 8,259 . The News Tribune circulates 30,606 papers daily.
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GIANT PHOTOS

A few papers chose to lead today with huge photos.


HERALD NEWS
Fall River, Mass.
Circulation: 14,979

The tiny Herald News of Fall River, Mass., led today with a poster-sized photo of a back-lit U.S. flag.

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The picture is by staffer Jack Foley.


POST-CRESCENT
Appleton, Wis.
Circulation:38,244

The Gannett paper in Appleton bucked the trend set today by the rest of the company’s Wisconsin papers — more about that in a moment — with this fabulous shot of a local family enjoying fireworks last night.

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Now, that picture — by staffer William Glasheen — is just gorgeous.


FREE PRESS
Burlington, Vt.
Circulation:30,558

The Gannett paper in Burlington, Vt., also led today with a picture of fireworks shot last night.

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What I really like about that one: The headline.

Yeah, the weather on the East Coast isn’t what folks would have hoped for this holiday weekend. But at least the Free Press got a great line out of it.


USA TODAY  “BUTTERFLY” EDITION
Nationally distributed

One of my favorite pages of the day ran on the front of the USA Today section that inserted in various Gannett papers around the country today in what that company calls “the butterfly edition.”

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The picture was shot at Fort McHenry, Md. — the very fort over which flew the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that would later become the words to our National Anthem. This year, the caption notes, is the 200th anniversary of that poem — it dates from the War of 1812, as opposed to the Revolutionary War.

USA Today‘s Abby Westcott tells us:

My photo editor, Chris Powers, approached me with what he thought was a different and interesting photo from freelancer Matt Roth. I thought it was a good opportunity to go big with it for the 4th of July and take over the page for America. Everyone loves America.

My editor was on board and loved the design.

And I love Abby’s work. I gushed over it at length here.

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GIANT INFOGRAPHICS

Several papers today chose to lead page one with giant Independence Day-themed alternative story forms or graphics.


NEWS & RECORD
Greensboro, N.C.
Circulation:57,274

Perhaps the most fun of these was this one by Margaret Baxter of the Greensboro News & Record.

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BIRMINGHAM NEWS
Birmingham, Ala.
Circulation:103,729

Advance’s Alabama papers led today with a roundup of factoids focusing on Alabama — or, to be more precise, the region that became Alabama. Since, after all, Alabama wasn’t a state yet during the Revolutionary War.

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I think the Birmingham version was a bit more effective than the Huntsville version, which saw its page topper eliminated to make room for the larger ad across the bottom of the page.

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Average daily circulation for Huntsville is 44,725


NEWS-POST
Frederick, Md.
Circulation:32,472

The News-Post of Frederick, Md., cited a handful of “big number” factoids and illustrated them with a collection of local Independence Day photos from their files.

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I like that quite a bit. It’s clever, it’s local and it’s attractive.

The word cloud at bottom right: Not quite so much.


UPDATE – 5:40 p.m. PDT

I’m told this page was designed by News-Post news editor J.R. Williams, formerly with the Pensacola News Journal.


GANNETT

The folks at the nation’s largest newspaper company also built a really great Fourth of July infographic that ran today in at least nine papers.

The largest and most elaborate version I could find of this was this one, afront the Reporter of Fond du Lac, Wis., circulation 10,186.

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Click that for a larger, readable view.

There is, in fact, a lot of really fun stuff there. Unfortunately, I have no idea who put it together. If any of my Gannettoid friends out there can enlighten me, I’d love to dish a little credit here.

I suspect this came out of the Des Moines design studio, because it ran in five of Gannett’s Wisconsin papers, which are all designed there in Iowa.

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From left to right:

  • News-Herald, Marshfield, Wis. – Circulation 8,139
  • Daily Tribune, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – Circulation 7,924
  • Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wis. – Circulation 14,113
  • Press-Gazette, Green Bay, Wis. – Circulation 41,767


UPDATE – 3:50 p.m. PDT

Sean McKeown-Young of the Gannett studio in Des Moines confirms this was his work:

It started as a small graphic that I shared out. Green Bay asked if I could blow it up into a centerpiece. Then, on Tuesday, Appleton asked if I could make it into a full page. It evolved.

The package — or major pieces of it — also ran in at least four other Gannett papers around the country.

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From left to right:

  • News-Star, Monroe, La. – Circulation 23,884
  • News Journal, Pensacola, Fla. – Circulation 40,435
  • Democrat, Tallahassee, Fla. – Circulation 35,238
  • Bulletin, Baxter, Ark. – Circulation 9,156


ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Santa Ana, Calif.
Circulation: 162,894

And what did my own paper do today for the Fourth? My good pal Kurt Snibbe took great care of my Focus page — inside the A section — in my absence this week, building this quiz with which to test your knowledge of the Declaration of Independence.

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Unfortunately, that’s the largest copy I have of this. If I can get ahold of a PDF, I’ll replace this image with one that might be clickable and readable.

That page would have also appeared in today’s Los Angeles Register and in the Press-Enterprise of Riverside.

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A FUN NAMEPLATE

But just to prove you don’t necessarily have to be quite so elaborate with your Fourth of July package in order to catch a few eyeballs, consider the nameplate play today by the…


CLARION-LEDGER
Jackson, Miss.
Circulation: 57,710

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There! Wasn’t that fun?

With the exception of the USA Today butterfly section front and the OC Register Focus page, all of these images are from the Newseum. Of course.

  • From 2013: The one Fourth of July page you really need to see
  • From 2012: Today’s five best Fourth of July front pages
  • From 2011: Thirteen wonderful front pages for the Fourth of July
  • Also from 2011: It’s hard to beat a Fourth-of-July presentation like this

Now this is truly an alternative story form

Telling stories with only narrative and maybe a few pictures? That’s 19th-century thinking.

Telling stories with chunky text, bright graphics and “alternative story forms”? That’s so late 20th-century.

Telling a story with multimedia graphics and rollover popup factoids, optimized for mobile devices? You’re getting warmer. But you’re still not cutting edge just yet.

The new cutting edge: 3D graphics previewing the World Cup.

And I don’t mean the graphics are built in a 3D program so they can be displayed on a 2D surface like newsprint or a computer monitor. I mean these World Cup soccer graphics are actually 3D. The reader can pick them up and move them around to view them from multiple angles.

Not only that, but the pieces of the graphic also fit together to form an actual-sized model of a soccer ball.

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This is one. Of the coolest things. I’ve. Ever. seen.

And what’s more: The folks behind it — The award-winning visuals crew at the Times of Oman and their leader, the magical Adonis Durado — are wondering if you’d like to buy it for your readers.

Adonis tells us:

We have created a graphic supplement where readers will have the opportunity to construct a life-size collectible football model. The entire supplement will be full of information and statistics about the 32 national teams. The extent of our research and database building took us months to gather.

The supplement will be around 64 pages, as each national team is allocated a spread (32 teams x 2 pages).

The spread contains the team profile and historical data such as summary of the matches, goals, ranking, top players, etc.

Here are a few sample spreads — for Mexico…

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…Cameroon…

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…Croatia…

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…and here’s a high-resolution sample: Brazil. Click on this one to get a nice look at how nicely the information is researched and presented.

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On the left side of each of those spreads is… well, let’s think of it as a puzzle piece. Readers cut out the pieces and then fold and glue as directed.

Here’s a closer look at the Mexico piece.

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Note the little diagram at left that shows how the pieces will fit together.

Here’s what those four pieces would look like, after they’re cut, folded and glued.

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Those happen to be the four teams in World Cup Group A.

Adonis says these piece will then…

…[assemble] into a truncated pyramid — also known as frustum.

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But this thing just keeps getting cooler and cooler. The reader can use the pieces to compare different sets of data. Here, the model is comparing three teams.

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Not only is the data cited in “big number” form for easy reading, the graph runs off the sides of each piece. This makes the data easy to compare between pieces.

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When you’re done comparing data, you simply stack the pieces back together into a life-sized soccer ball.

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Now, that’s one heck of a coffee table display for your World Cup-watching party.

So that’s the cool part. Here’s the sales pitch. Adonis says:

We are currently selling this graphic project to targeted newspapers around the world. This is definitely an opportunity for your paper to generate extra revenue during the World Cup season. Think of bringing a premium sponsor or an advertiser to print this whole supplement for you, just as we do here in Oman:

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We are still currently editing the video on how to construct the ball. I think it will be ready in a day or two. I will definitely share you the YouTube link.

UPDATE: Here it is:

Times of Oman World Cup Ball from Times of Oman on Vimeo.

The graphic will be available in both English and Arabic. But we can easily work out the Spanish version, if there’s a demand.

Interested? You’d better act fast — the World Cup starts competition in Brazil on Thursday, June 12. Contact Adonis at:

adurado [at] timesofoman.com

Who gets the credit for this bit of genius? Adonis tells us:

Everyone in the team was involved, but this is the pet project of our graphic editor, Antonio Farach.

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Adonis and his staff do amazing work. For example, they observed Ramadan in 2011 with a full-page graphic a day.

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…which, of course, assembled into one larger “blanket” made up of 24 broadsheet pages.

The 2012 London Olympics happened to coincide with Ramadan. How did Muslim athletes observe this holy time — with the customary fasting and prayer times — yet still compete? Adonis and his team showed us.

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And throughout those Olympics, the Times of Oman continued to publish truly great graphics, like this one showing a swimming relay race…

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..or this one, that allowed readers to construct a full-scale tape measure to show distances in the high and long jump competitions.

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Now, y’see, that’s just fun.

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Amazing work.

A 2001 graduate of the University of San Carlos in the Philippines, Adonis Durado worked as a designer, art director, and creative director for a number of magazines and advertising agencies before serving as the consultant for a major redesign of the Cebu Daily News in 2004 and 2005.

From there, he became design editor of a free weekly tabloid published by the Gulf News of Dubai and then news presentation director of Emirates Business 24-7. He spent two years as group creative director of Instore and Indesign magazines in Bangkok, Thailand, before moving to the Times of Oman — and its sister publication, Al Shabiba — in 2010.

Find Adonis’ Twitter feed here.

A look at the National’s all-visuals edition from last Thursday

As we noted last week, the National of Abu Dhabi in the UAE published its Thursday edition with no narrative. Instead, the paper was full of pictures and infographics.

National editor-in-chief Mohammed Al Otaiba wrote the day before…

…a newspaper is not all words. We are visual creatures and pictures taken by talented photographers have the power to capture in a single image the absolute essence of a story, be it a heart-rending tragedy or a joyous triumph of the human spirit.

Tomorrow, The National turns six. Tomorrow the pen stops. Tomorrow we will show the news and let you, our readers, share with us what we see.

Thursday’s front page featured a montage of various images.

Laura Koot, managing editor and art director of the National was kind enough to send us a nice care package of PDFs. Click on any of the pages below for a much larger look.

Again, Thursday’s front page featured a montage of various images.

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Note the little QR code in the middle of the page. Readers who wanted a little narrative with their stories Thursday could scan that code with their mobile device to read a story.

Directions on how to do this ran atop page three.

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Notice the stories in the A section: Pictures and cutlines, with headlines beneath. No stories.

Page seven was a graphic look at a staple in the area, the date palm tree.

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The center spread of the A section was this gorgeous look at fishing by staffer Antonie Robertson.

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Page 11 was another graphic — this one is a look at separatist movements going on around the world.

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Page 12 was another big photo essay — this one on a city in Gaza that houses 6,000 refugee Palestinians.

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The photos are by famous war photographer Heidi Levine.

The sports section kicked off with an enormous wraparound photo of a cricket stadium by staffer Pawan Singh.

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As was the case in South Africa during my visits there, cricket is big in the UAE. This double-page graphic on sports pages four and five looked at some of the biggest cricket stars in the world.

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Here’s a closer look at the South African bowler at the far bottom right.

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Pages six and seven hold a collection of photos from the previous night’s big win over Mumbai.

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The pictures, like the cover wrap shot, are by Pawan Singh.

Pages eight and nine were about the Chinese Grand Prix Formula 1 race in Shanghai. The track diagram is cleverly presented as a traditional Chinese dragon.

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Those are little caricatures of each of the 22 drivers around the sides, along with information such as world titles, wins in China, podium finishes and so on.

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A little segment at the upper right also very cleverly shows what time the race will be on TV there in the UAE.

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This is some brilliant work. Staffer Matthew Kurian is credited on the piece.

The business section starts out with an enormous portrait of a national bank president.

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Pages four and five take a graphic look at the growing financial center of al Maryah Island.

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Biz page eight contains a look back at world markets over the past ten years. That green line that does so well and the nosedives is the Dubai Financial Market.

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Also very nicely done. Like several of the other big pieces, however, I see detailed source attribution but no credit line.

After all that visual news, it’s time for a little fun. Th front of the arts and life section illustrates some of the world-famous celebrities who can be found in Abu Dhabi these days. Kind of a Where’s Waldo? approach.

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Among the folks hidden in that crowd scene:

  • Elvis Costello
  • Jeff Dunham and what appears to be a green-painted version of his puppet Peanut

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  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Ozzy Ozbourne
  • Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone
  • Justin Timerlake

That, too, is by Matthew Kurian.

And on page three, this flow-chart graphic helps you decide: Should you or should you not go to see the Lionel Richie concert Thursday night?

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Again, there’s some pretty amusing stuff here.

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Even the QC codes throughout the section have little pictures embedded in them.

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Evelyn Lau, a features web editor for the National, tells us:

A bigger version of some of the graphs or charts can be seen in the Interactive section of the site.

What would it take to get the Ukraine onto page one?

My old colleague Andy Bechtel — who now teaches journalism at the University of North Carolina — asked today via Twitter:

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He writes in his blog:

That Tweet generated several responses:

  • “A visit from Miley.”
  • “Put a celebrity on a plane.”
  • “A time machine back, to say, 1975.”

…I do not believe that readers want to read inverted-pyramid stories about Ukraine’s protests and politics, and I am not suggesting that U.S. newspapers publish those stories on their front pages. But I do think that many people have a curiosity and concern about the world, not just their communities. I saw that this morning when I noticed that “Ukraine” was a trending topic on Twitter in Raleigh, N.C.

The good news: Readers are interested in national and world affairs. The bad news: It’s increasingly difficult to get them to read it.

I ran into this myself, 13 years ago. In the days after 9/11, a reader wrote my newspaper — the Des Moines Register — complaining that he was under informed. Who was this Osama bin Laden guy, anyway, and why did he hate us so much? His newspaper had let him down, he told us.

I nearly came unglued. I had personally designed a front-page presentation not long after the USS Cole had been bombed. The headline on that package: “Who is Osama bin Laden?”

We had told this reader all about him and put it out on page one where he could find it. But he just didn’t remember. My suggestion was to run his letter and then follow it with a picture of that front page. Cooler heads prevailed that day, as they should have.

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The 16,553-circulation News-Sentinel of Lodi,
Calif., one of the few papers that put Ukraine
on page one today. From the Newseum.

Fact is, Americans really don’t have much of a memory for world affairs. Or, for that matter, anything they don’t come into contact with on a daily basis, including basic science or math. There’s a reason why we have to educate readers every four years on how the Electoral College works: Folks can’t remember it, despite their learning about it in grade school and then our reminding them each election cycle. They don’t have to use that knowledge often, so it gets purged from their memories.

You saw that story recently about how one in four Americans think the Sun revolves around the Earth. It’s not that Americans are stupid (at least, I hope not). But most of them don’t have to spend time each day worring about which heavenly body dances circles around the others.

As long as the sun comes up — and as long as Congress hasn’t found a way to tax it — they’re cool with that. Everything else is trivia, to be relegated to school textbooks. Or to Jeopardy.

I can sit here and lament this all day, but it won’t change anything. Folks will read what they feel is important to them. Or they’ll read something that looks fun or interesting.

That’s kind of the idea behind the Focus page work I’m doing at the Orange County Register. I’m covering lots of history and science. And geography and politics. And, yes, astronomy.

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I’m trying to make it fun and interesting and visually stimulating. Some days, I build the page around a big graphic. Other days, I build it around a table or blocks of text. Other days, I build around a huge picture. No one’s going to earn a master’s degree by reading the Focus page. But perhaps we can spur their curiosity just a little bit.

And once a reader’s curiosity has been sparked, there’s no telling what can happen. A curious mind, a search engine and a little wifi is a powerful, powerful combination.

So thanks to Andy for suggesting today that interesting, intriguing alternative story forms may be one way to reach readers on topics like what’s happening in the Ukraine. And for citing me specifically.

There’s a lot of work out there to be done. I hope we’re all up for it.

Meet the Beatles pages

This weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first trip to the U.S., a cultural phenomenon that became known as Beatlemania.

  • Friday was the 50th anniversary of the day the Beatles arrived at New York’s newly-renamed JFK airport.
  • Sunday was the anniversary of the day they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Reportedly, 73 million people watched.

As my colleague Cindy O’Dell commented:

And at least half were screaming while the other half wondered why.

More 50th anniversary dates for the Beatles…

  • Tuesday will be the anniversary of their first full-fledged U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum.
  • Wednesday will be the anniversary of their first show at Carnegie Hall.
  • Feb. 1 was the anniversary of the date I Want to Hold Your Hand hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It would stay there until knocked out by another Beatles single, She Loves You, seven weeks later.
  • March 16 will be the anniversary of the release of the single, Can’t Buy Me Love. It hit No. 1 on April 4 and spent five weeks there.
  • April 4, in fact, will be the anniversary of the week the Beatles occupied all top five positions in the Billboard charts.

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  • July 13 will mark the anniversary of the release of the single, A Hard Day’s Night. It spent two weeks at No. 1.

Nate Bloomquist, design editor of the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, turned most of his Sunday wire report into a retrospective of the Beatles’ visit.

Click for a much larger view.

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He listed the five songs the Beatles played on Sullivan that night…

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…and also walked readers through the rest of the Beatles’ “breakout year” of 1964.

One of my favorite small papers — the Advocate of Victoria, Texas — devoted its entire front page to a recreation of the Beatles’ iconic 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, but using people around town in place of the characters on the original cover.

Designer Julie Zavala wrote on her Facebook wall:

It’s not often that I’m given the chance to do an illustration this fun and time consuming.

[Advocate editor] Chris Cobler came up with this idea for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. By Friday, after rushing to add the final touches, I was wishing he had picked an easier cover to recreate like maybe the White Album.

Again, click for a much larger view

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Julie tells us:

The idea was to have readers submit essays on being Beatles fans. They were encouraged to send a photo of themselves so I could incorporate them into the cover.

If you look to the left of “John Lennon” you’ll see Chris Cobler in a black suit. I also put Tom Martinez, Advocate managing editor, and Dan Easton, publisher, all in black suits on the left, bottom.

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It was a lot of fun to do and there are a few inside jokes throughout the illustration.

The man in the pink suit is a local character nicknamed, Pepper. Ha ha!

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In addition, I see former Advocate features staffer and Julie’s good friend, Aprill Brandon, in the mix [above, right].

Julie continues:

The doll in black and white striped shirt has the head of the puppet we used for the “Chupacabra” movies we made with Aprill and Ryan Huddle.

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His shirt says, “Will work for goats.” (Chupacabras are known for sucking the blood of goats. Go figure.)

It was Robert’s idea to put Queen Victoria in the picture since a lot of people assume the town of Victoria is named after her. Empresario Martín De León, the true founder of Victoria, is staring at her from the left.

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We went to the college dorm in town and took photos of kids to fill out the crowd. Local celebrities like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Candy Barr (famous stripper from this area…

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…and , celebrity hairdresser StacyK helped to round out the group. Also, the mayor of Victoria, Paul Polasek, front, taking the place of George Harrison.

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This was part of a larger Beatles presentation inside. The only other pieces I’ve managed to track down were these two portraits by the Advocate‘s Blain Hefner.

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Those, of course, are the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Paul is depicted the way he looked in 1963 or 1964. That’s the look Ringo had around 1967 or 1968.

The Advocate is constantly coming up with wacky, innovative ideas. Read about their zombie-themed TV commercial here. Find more of their work here.

And in case anyone is wondering: Yes, I did a Beatles presentation for my Focus page in the Orange County Register. However, I ran mine back on Dec. 26, the anniversary of the day I Want to Hold Your Hand was released as a single here in the U.S.

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The rail down the right tells the story of the height of Beatlemania in the first half of 1964.

The rail down the left shows every single the Beatles released in the U.S., with emphasis on the ones that hit No. 1 in the Billboard charts.

The lead art was in our archives already. A number of folks thought the little pointers were a bit goofy. I thought they were fun, but whatever.

Guest blog post: Justin Gilbert and his visual recipe column

Our guest blogger today is Justin Gilbert: A journalist, a designer and a cook.

Naturally, he’s found a way to string all three of these skills together in what I’ve called a visual food column — essentially, an “alternative story form” featuring recipes.

We’ll show you a few samples of this in a moment.

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A 1997 graduate of Ball State University, Justin spent nearly four years as a graphics reporter for the Associated Press and then six years as the same for Newsday in Melville, N.Y. He moved to Bloomberg in 2006 and left in 2010 to move back to Indiana and begin his food column.

I’m giving Justin some space in the blog today to a) Tell you about his work, and, yes, b) To make a sales pitch…

A little over three years ago I voluntarily left my job in the news business after 14 successful years as a graphics editor and news designer. I wanted to pursue a career in food because I had become a gourmet cook in my spare time and was ready for a new adventure.

I started catering and doing private chef work. Not willing to let go of journalism completely, I created a weekly food column for the small paper in my hometown of Churubusco, Indiana (15 miles north of Fort Wayne).

The column features an original recipe of my own, presented in a photo-driven information graphic with a brief introduction.

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For years before as I had learned to cook, I read numerous cook books and magazines and thought that my skills as a graphics editor/artist and news designer could take food presentation to a new level of detail.

It took about 10 weeks to hit my stride with the column and ever since my passion for creating easy to follow information graphics of my original recipes has been as strong as my passion for cooking great food. I started a food blog www.behindthebites.com in Jan. 2011 and later began working with a reception hall to learn more about catering and cooking for large groups. Also during this time, I learned much about light and lenses as well as how to style food for photographs.

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I publish an average of 12 original visual recipes a month online, a weekly visual food column and do private chef work whenever possible (last weekend I catered a Mexican-themed party for 125).

What I would like to find now are a few editors, art directors or people in publishing world out there who think their readers might find my work useful.

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For newspapers, I can provide a weekly visual food column that I call Recipes Made Simple: A guaranteed-delicious, original recipe of my own, presented in a way that can be used as a centerpiece on any feature news page. It’s designed to be dropped into a layout with only minor adjustments for a publication’s style.

The feature is roughly 50 picas wide by 7.5 inches, but that is flexible. The pricing varies according to paper size.

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Please review my work at behindthebites.com, and the samples I have provided for this post. If my column doesn’t suit your purposes. please forward this link to any friends in the business that might like Recipes Made Simple.

In addition to these sample columns, Justin also sends along what he calls “a sample eBook” —  six-page booklet showing how to pull together an entire meal of prime rib.

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Justin says:

The prime rib is the featured weekly graphic and the rest is bonus content.

So imagine, if you will, running the prime rib column in print and then giving your readers a link where they can download that same piece, plus instructions for the mashed ‘taters, horseradish sauce and the rest of the trimmings, including the dessert.

This sample eBook is in PDF format. Click here to download it.

Right about now, you probably have two questions. The second question probably is: Why has Chuck turned his blog over to a friend for a sales pitch?

The answer is simple: I’m a huge fan of Justin’s work. When I first wrote about him, nearly two years ago, I wondered why the newspaper world wasn’t beating a path to his door. Justin really ought to be nationally syndicated or something. This is terrific work.

If he can’t be nationally syndicated, then the next-best thing would be self-syndicated. Hence this little helping hand.

The first question your asking though — hopefully — is: Wow! I love these samples! How do I contact Justin to buy his column?

Glad you asked! Email him at:

behindthebites [at] gmail.com

And again: Find Justin’s Behind the Bites web site here.

Find his Twitter feed here.

Texas state fair replaces its big man with a slightly bigger man

So who out there remembers when last year’s Texas State Fair turned into a big Burning Man festival?

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That’s Big Tex — the iconic 52-foot, speaking, moving statue that, for 60 years, greeted folks to the fairgrounds.

That’s right — they do everything bigger in Texas. Even their accidents.

So opening-day visitors to this year’s Texas State Fair must have been delighted Friday to find a new-and-improved Big Tex showing them the way to the midway.

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That’s the opening page of an eight-page special section in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News. The pictures are by DMN staffer Tom Fox. Marilyn Bishkin designed the section.

Pages two and three explain how the new Big Tex was planned, built and assembled in time for the fair. The story on page three is by staffer Eric Aasen.

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Most of the pictures here are by Tom Fox. Including this one that really creeps me out.

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Now, that’s just wrong.

The highlight of the section is the enormous, half-cartoon, half-infographic by Michael Hogue. Make sure you click on this one for a much, much larger view.

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There are so many fun nuggets here that it’s difficult to decide where to start…

Big Tex isn’t just sponsored by Dickies. He’s actually wearing real clothes. The jeans alone required 100 yards of denim.

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Evidently, officials felt the old Big Tex’s ass was a little too flat. But all that is behind him now.

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Hey, it could have been worse — they could have added bulk to the front side.

Instead, Big Tex actually speaks from his crotch. Seriously.

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Hmm. I knew some guys in college who were the same way.

My favorite quote in the whole doubletruck is this one, by a gentleman who worked on making Tex wave his hands.

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Also, Michael reports that the new Tex can bend his fingers.

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So, in theory, it might be possible for Big Tex to flip us all off. A sobering thought.

Naturally, there’s an interactive version of this on the DMN web site.

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Chris McNary and Amanda Robinson worked on the digital versions of the story.

Page six contains a story on the history of Big Tex.

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Pages seven and eight are full-page ads.

Editors for the project were Leslie Snyder and Arnessa Garrett. Chris Wilkins did the photo editing. Clay Morton was the copy editor.

For our bonus enjoyment, the very next section features yet another great Michael Hogue piece: A Jackson Pollock-like illustration of the Dallas skyline.

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A product of Wichita State University, Michael Hogue is graphics editor of the Dallas Morning News.

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Find his web site here and his blog here. Michael turns 45 today.

Find the Morning Newscoverage of the Texas State Fair here.

Average daily circulation for the Dallas Morning News is 405,349.

Go here to read about how Texas papers played the burning of Big Tex last fall.

Inside the online and print presentation for Fort Lauderdale’s sex predators project

If you’ve not seen it yet, please take the time to run over to the web site of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and read that paper’s extraordinary Sex Predators Unleashed project.

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The story is shocking and, frankly, will make you ill. But it’s one you need to read.

After a nine-year-old boy was raped and murdered by a man who had been convicted of sexual assault charges and then released from prison, the state of Florida passed a law in 1999 that changed how the state dealt with sexual predators.

But for every one prisoner sent to the state’s special sex predator treatment center, nearly two more are released and then re-arrested on a sex charge. Over the past 14 years, 1,384 offenders have been rearrested. Yes, that’s nearly 100 a year.

It’s a governmental failure of epic proportions. And it’s told well, too. Sun Sentinel designer Rachel Schallom tells us:

It’s our first responsive site, using multimedia in this way — and it’s a damn good story too.

The stories were written by the Sun Sentinel‘s Sally Kestin and Dana Williams.

Rachel tells us how the presentation came about:

About two months ago, this project became my number one priority. We knew it was an amazing story: it was data driven, and we were able to capture so many voices and stories through Mike Stocker‘s amazing photography and videography. It definitely deserved special treatment.

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I set out to display all the elements we had in a thoughtful and meaningful way. To understand this story and all of its pieces, we knew the reader would need a good amount of context, so I wanted to control the order the reader digested the multimedia. By placing them right next to the text that describes the same person or topic, the reader is able to feel the story through multiple dimensions: text, audio, video, photo.

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Sure, the reader can click around and take it in on their own time, but at least it is set up in a way that navigates them through the narrative.

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Naturally, there were a few interactive graphics scattered through the project. To the Sun Sentinel‘s credit, these graphics feature a somewhat understated design, which keeps the reader’s attention focused on the data, rather than the “whiz-bang” effects possible with an online presentation like this.

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There’s also an interactive database page, illustrated with hundreds of perp mug shots.

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Rachel continues:

It’s the Sun Sentinel‘s first fully responsive site, and we’re thrilled with how the final product turned out.

We have a small staff, so pulling off a project like this was not easy, but it was definitely worth it to display the talent of the reporting, photography, videography and database work. I’m grateful the other staff designers were able to cover my other tasks so I could focus on this. I’m also thankful to enthusiastic Rebekah Monson, who consulted on this project and gave me so much guidance. And, of course, it wouldn’t have happened without my wonderful design director David Schutz.

The presentation posted on the Sun Sentinel‘s web site is the complete project. For print, the project is stretched over three days. David designed the print version.

Here is Sunday’s opening piece.

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That jumped inside to two sets of facing pages. Here, you can see how David used all those mug shots.

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The mainbar gives way to a series of sidebars — think of them as chapters in the story. Three more ran on pages 18 and 19, plus an “about the series” rail.

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Here is the front of today’s Day Two presentation.

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A pair of open pages hold the jump of today’s story plus sidebars.

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As you can see, several graphics — including a print version of that interactive piece I showed you earlier — help tell the administrative failure part of the story. Particularly nice is that vertical timeline on page 13. It’s amazing how many times that guy was let out of prison to assault again.

Day Three runs tomorrow. But again, you can read it all online here.

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A 2010 graduate of the University of Missouri, Rachel worked as a reporter, an editor and a designer for the Columbia Missourian before becoming assistant news editor in 2010. She graduated in 2010 and then spent five months as a design intern at the Huntsville (Ala.) Times. Rachel returned to Mizzou in 2011 and edited the weekly Tiger Kickoff football section for the Missourian. She earned her master’s degree in 2012, spent last summer interning for the Los Angeles Times and then joined the Sun Sentinel last August. Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

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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. 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 David’s Twitter feed here.

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

Behind that swirl of numbers on the front of today’s Daily Tar Heel

Regarding my earlier post about my disappointment with today’s front pages, I tweeted:

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University of North Carolina instructor Erica Perel — who also happens to be the faculty adviser to the student newspaper there, the Daily Tar Heel — replied:

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Sure enough, today’s front is funky, different, and fun.

The topic: the huge North Carolina vs. Duke basketball game tonight. Click for a much larger view:

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Design and graphics editor Kevin Uhrmacher tells us:

I led up the page design on this one.

The designers on the desk who helped put together the package were Sarah Delk, Melissa Borden and Nikki Gauthreaux. Our visual managing editor, Allie Russell, contributed as well.

We had some really great content surrounding the Duke game, including a preview by our sports editor Brandon Moree, a great feature on Desmond Hubert by senior writer Kelly Parsons and a Q&A with Ian Williams, who wrote the “Why I Hate Duke” column that gets lots of reads on days like today.

I should point out that Williams wrote that column way back in 1990. Find it here.

Kevin continues:

Since UNC is going into this game unranked and Duke is No. 2, we wanted to focus the visual on the numbers, with  questions such as: Does the team have a chance? And: How does this game fit into the larger context of the UNC/Duke rivalry?

What Kevin and his teammates did was to build a set of “by the numbers” factoids and then find an unusual way to present that info. It’s all text, but it doesn’t really register as an all-text piece.

Kevin adds:

We also had a graphic inside by Bailey Seitter and Olivia Frere showing the rankings of the teams going into each of the games back to 2003.

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This piece was just a little trickier: For the past 150 consecutive meetings of these two teams, at least one of them has been nationally ranked. This chart shows every meeting over the past ten seasons. The higher the bar, the higher the ranking.

UNC goes into tonight’s game unranked. Meanwhile, Duke is ranked no. 2. The last time an unranked Carolina team bested a ranked Duke team was in 2003 — the second bar from left.

So it takes a while to study this before you can really grasp it. I might have argued against putting it on page one. But since it didn’t run there, I have no beef with it.

Kevin sent along a number of other recent front pages. Note the above-the-nameplate play for women’s hoops coach Sylvia Hatchell‘s 900th win…

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…as well as the all-text centerpiece at upper right.

Kevin ran through a number of names earlier. More about these staffers:

Find the Daily Tar Heel‘s visual journalism blog here.

Go here to read a piece I wrote last year about UNC student visual journalists and the UNC/Duke game.

When your lead visual isn’t a visual at all

Part of being a great designer is knowing when to run a picture large and getting the hell out of its way.

But it’s also knowing that on occasion, you lead page one with something that might not be the most outstanding visual of the day.

Some days, your lead package might be more of a compelling read than a compelling visual.

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That’s today’s Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, on which the centerpiece is a large text box that breaks down Gov. John Kasich‘s proposed budget for 2014-15. Click that for a readable version.

This sort of thing comes up from time to time. Here are a couple of excellent front pages — from my collection — built upon graphic-like text boxes.

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Sometimes, the lede to the story is the main visual.

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And sometimes, the visual focus is on a headline or a quote. Or set of quotes.

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None of these pages have what would be called “lead art.” Yet they all work — and some of them work brilliantly.

Average daily circulation for the Columbus Dispatch is 136,023.

Last week, the Dispatch redesigned  into a spiffy new “compact” format. Read more about the Columbus format change here.

Today’s Dispatch page is from the Newseum. Of course.

A cool presidential inauguration ‘alternative story form’ page from Iowa

The Constitutionally-mandated inauguration day — Jan. 20 — fell on a Sunday this year. Following tradition, President Barack Obama was sworn in today at noon in a small ceremony in the White House. The public ceremony will be held Monday at noon EST.

Nate Bloomquist, a designer for the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, sent us a nice standalone nation/world front page for consideration to include in today’s roundup of inaugural pages.

In fact, I’ve not really seen any inaugural pages that have turned me on. Until this one.

Nate rounded up a great file photo from four years ago, added lots of great quick-hit info on inaugurals — and on this inauguration in particular — and arranged them in a pleasing fashion.

Click for a much, much larger look.

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The meat of the page includes material on inaugural ceremonies, written in Q&A style. In particular, note the segment at right on Bibles used during ceremonies.

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Also, I love the bit across the bottom comparing public approval ratings of presidents at their highest and lowest points and at their inaugurations.

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Seems like it’s nearly always very cold for inaugural day ceremonies and parades in Washington D.C. This chart shows the noontime temperatures for each inauguration going back to FDR…

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…compared to the normal average temperature for D.C., that time of day and that time of year.

Note the low temperature in 1985, Ronald Reagan‘s second inauguration. The ceremony was held indoors that year.

A big bar chart down the left side of the page compares the length — in number of words — of every inaugural speech since George Washington.

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Note the one bar that sticks waaaay out — the speech given in 1841 by newly-elected President William Henry Harrison. That inauguration was on a day marked with freezing wind and sleet. Harrison kept his audience occupied for four or six times as long as other presidents had.

And then he came down with pneumonia and died a month later. Vice president John Tyler then became president.

Average daily circulation for the Quad-City Times is 46,824.

Inside the Chicago Tribune’s BCS title game pregame coverage

Associate managing editor for sports Mike Kellams send along — for our viewing pleasure — the first six pages of the sports section of today’s Chicago Tribune, in which the paper previews today’s BCS Championship bowl game.

He tells us:

No special section, just regular Sports space.

But that was hardly a handicap, as you’ll see.

Here’s the front cover, designed by staffer Liz Fitzgerald, Mike says.

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Pages two and three were designed by Liz and Jeff Bowen.

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The ever-popular, ever-snarky “Main event” feature today was a bingo board for folks who plan to watch tonight’s game on TV.

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Also present on this spread: Story jumps, sidebars, columns and staff predictions. The consensus seems to be Alabama by three or four points, for what it’s worth.

Pages four and five consist of the same large graphic pages we saw in the Fort Lauderdale paper on Friday.

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Those pages were built by Dan Mann. Click them — or anything you see in this post — for a much larger look.

The final football championship preview page is this fun one in which readers are invited to build a do-it-yourself crystal football championship trophy.

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Mike tells us:

Phil Geib constructed the make-your-own-BCS-trophy and Jonathon Berlin designed the page and reported the information to go with it.

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We’ve done similarly with some others, but it’s always nice to do it with a trophy we’re not familiar with. Like this one.

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Fun stuff. Unfortunately, you probably wouldn’t be able to get anywhere close to $30,000 for your paper facsimile.

Just last week, we were admiring the Tribune‘s Lovie Smith special section. Find that here.

Average daily circulation for the Chicago Tribune is 414,590.

Inside the Chicago Tribune’s Lovie Smith special section

Monday was a huge news day in Chicago. The Chicago Bears fired their coach, Lovie Smithone of only three winning coaches the team has had in my lifetime.

Naturally, this made for the centerpiece story on page one of today’s Chicago Tribune

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…but it did not make page one of today’s sports front, where college football held court instead: Both Northwestern and Northern Illinois are playing in bowl games today.

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Why was Smith not on today’s sports front? Because the Tribune inserted an eight-page special section on the firing, the nine years Smith coached the Bears and what’s next for the perennially underperforming team.

Page one of the section was presented as an art gallery featuring every coach the Bears have ever had…

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…with Bears general manager Phil Emery serving as a security guard for an empty frame depicting Smith’s replacement.

Associate managing editor for sports Mike Kellams tells us:

Jonathon Berlin did the cover. Inside pages by Dan Mann, Liz Fitzgerald and Ken Rickard.

Click that — or any page here — for a larger view.

Page two included columns, comments from readers…

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…and a fun installment of the Tribune‘s “Main event” visual smack.

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Page three held the main story, a great portrait by staffer José M. Osorio and a look at the records of every Bears coach.

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Also: I love that headline.

Anchoring the center spread is an alternative story form looking at possible replacements.

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The little graphic at the bottom right nicely sums up how strongly Bears fans felt about Smith’s firing and how out-of-step they were with the rest of the country’s sports fans.

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The graphic highlight of the section was this breakdown of Smith’s nine years with the Bears.

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Mike tells us:

Geeber (Phil Geib) did the 5 highs/low page, with the data gathered by our agate staff and text by Vaughn McClure.

For each year Smith coached, the Trib shows wins and losses (bar chart at right), how the team ranked in the NFL in points scored and allowed (small chart up top), other key stats and how the Bears did against its division rivals.

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That was the year Smith took the Bears to the Super Bowl.

Page seven contained reaction stories…

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…and a number of quotes from key personnel — Most notably, former Bears coach Mike Ditka. Who didn’t approve of the firing.

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The back page took a look at other NFL coaches who were fired Monday.

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The rail down the right side looked at other coaches who were fired from professional coaching positions in Chicago.

There’s a lot of material here. I asked Mike how long his folks had been working on this. He replied:

Started it yesterday when we got the news he was toast. We had the gamer and five good/bad moments and first list of candidates ready for the web when the news came. We polished and refined those after the pressers yesterday, then we put it together.

Breaking news, gangnam style.

Find the Tribune‘s coverage of the story here. Average daily circulation for the Chicago Tribune is 414,590.

Thanks to Mike for sending these pages. Today’s front page is from the Newseum. Of course.