Big football wins merit big A1 poster front treatment

Among the great college football action this holiday weekend were wins by the nation’s two major undefeated teams: The University of Iowa and Clemson University.


These victories were each celebrated in the school’s respective capital city newspapers with giant page-one poster treatments.

[Full disclosure here: I used to work for the Des Moines paper. Plus, I’m a lifelong fan of Clemson.]

Poster treatments should be used very sparingly. But when the story is big enough — and in Iowa and South Carolina, this story was; believe me — I think this type of play is the ultimate in one of my primary directives. You know it by heart, so please repeat along with me:

Run it big and get the hell out of its way.

Here’s a quick look at how these two front pages came together…

Des Moines, Iowa
Circulation: 101,915

The photo on the front page of Saturday’s Des Moines Register shows Iowa Hawkeye defensive end Parker Hesse celebrating after he returned an interception for a touchdown in Friday’s 28-20 win over Nebraska.


The photo is by staffer Bryon Houlgrave. Designer Nicole Bogdas advocated and won approval to give the picture poster treatment.

Bryon also shot the picture played large on the Register‘s Saturday sports front:


Not surprisingly, the paper must have sold out in central Iowa: The Register is already offering reprints of the page.


A graduate of the University of Missouri, Nicole was news projects designer for the Palm Beach Post and also spent a couple of years at the Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale. She worked at the St. Louis Post Dispatch before joining the Orlando Sentinel in 2008. She was news editor of the Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels, Texas before moving to Des Moines in 2010. In 2012, she wrote a wonderful — and brave — first-person piece for the Register. And then, a few months later, she donated a kidney to her dad.

Find Nicole’s portfolio here.

Columbia, S.C.
Circulation: 70,980

The annual in-state rivalry matchup between Clemson and South Carolina was a noon game this year, says Elissa Macarin, who moved to the State from Gannett’s Nashville hub in August. The extra time meant that she…

…had time to comb through our staff photos as they were coming in.

I knew going into the day it would be a poster front of the winner and there were a few minutes there where I thought we might have to come up with a great upset headline. But in the end Clemson won, keeping their undefeated season.

When I saw this photo by Tim Dominick I had a feeling it would be the best to tell the story so I started working with it as soon as the game was over. When our Assistant Sports Editor, Presentation Meredith Sheffer — who also serves as photo editor for football Saturdays — came in, I showed it to her. She agreed we should go with it.


In talking over the headline a bunch of ideas were thrown around, one of the being incredibly straightforward with “Perfect season,” which I decided to go for more impact and just have “Perfect.”

Which, of course, turned out to be just perfect.

Elissa adds:

Next week could be a lot more hectic because we’ll be making on deadline decisions for a full page-poster if Clemson wins the ACC title.


A 2005 graduate of Kent State University, Elissa spent a year as a designer and copy editor for the Dothan (Ala.) Eagle and then four years with the Press-Register of Mobile, Ala. She moved to the Daily Herald of Wausau, Wis., in 2010 and slid over to the Gannett Nashville design studio in 2012. Her husband, Jared Macarin, is also a designer.

Find Elissa’s portfolio here.

The Register‘s sports front was shared via social media by the paper’s consumer experience director, my old pal Nathan Groepper. The two front page images are from the Newseum. Of course.

Those air show poster fronts from Oshkosh? Here’s the complete set.

Last week, I showed you a number of poster pages from the Oshkosh Northwestern celebrating the annual Airventure air show: “America’s largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts.”

To recap…

Sunday, July 19:

Monday, July 20:


Tuesday, July 21:


Wednesday, July 22:


Thursday, July 23:


Designer Evan Backstrom of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines was kind enough to send along the rest of the week’s front pages.

The theme at the airshow Friday was a look back at the near-disaster of Apollo 13, which took place 45 years ago this past April. Evan used a number of vintage NASA images:

For Saturday’s front page, Evan went sideways again with a photo of the newest fighter in the U.S. arsenal, the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II.

The picture was by staffer William Glasheen.

And the final poster front of the week ran Sunday. Even went sideways for the third time in seven days with this picture by staffer Jeannette Merten of the newest, “next generation” Goodyear blimp, Wingfoot One.


Click on any of those pages for a much larger look.

Average daily circulation for the Oshkosh Northwestern is 14,113.

A 2012 graduate of Ball State University, Evan Backstrom served as chief page designer for the student paper there, the Ball State Daily News


…and interned at Stamprint Printing and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Evan tells us:

I was recruited by the Des Moines Design Studio out of college. In the studio I started on the Metro section of the Des Moines Register. I have since moved to the Wisconsin team where I am the lead designer for the Oshkosh Northwestern.

I wrote about him last month. A few samples of Evan’s work:


1506EvanBackstromSamples03 1506EvanBackstromSamples02 1506EvanBackstromSamples01

Find his web site here, his NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

A peek at this week’s Oshkosh airshow poster front pages

Every summer, the small city of Oshkosh, Wis., hosts a giant air show. Airventure bills itself as “America’s largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts.”

Every summer, the Oshkosh Northwestern celebrates the weeklong event by wiping everything else off of page one and publishing a series of poster-type front pages.

The paper kicked of the week with this huge treatment of a 2011 file photo of an acrobatic plane operating at night.

Monday, the designer on the project — Evan Backstrom — went horizontal with a picture of three military planes: An A-10 Warthog, a World War II-era Mustang and a Cold War-era SuperSabre.


Taking the spotlight Tuesday was this photo of an Airbus A-350.


That display and Wednesday’s are both listed as “photoillustrations” by staffer Danny Damiani. I’m guessing that a little sky was extended to fill out the page.

Wednesday’s centerpiece was a new F-22 Raptor.


And taking the spot of honor today was a skydiver. The picture is by Jeannette Merten.


But, as you can see, there was news Wednesday: A plane crashed at the air show. The story and a small picture ran downpage.

Evan tells us today’s page…

…is actually pretty straight forward. All the stories were mostly flushed out when I came into the office. It was just a matter of assembling the pieces. I just let the art speak for its self as I have with the other EAA pages I have designed this week.

There was some talk about what we would do if one of the crash survivors died but as of writing this none of them had.

Just for fun, though, Evan sends along an inside page featuring a handout photo of a skydiving team in action.


The air show runs through Sunday.

A 2012 graduate of Ball State University, Evan Backstrom served as chief page designer for the student paper there, the Ball State Daily News


…and interned at Stamprint Printing and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Evan tells us:

I was recruited by the Des Moines Design Studio out of college. In the studio I started on the Metro section of the Des Moines Register. I have since moved to the Wisconsin team where I am the lead designer for the Oshkosh Northwestern.

I wrote about him last month. A few samples of Evan’s work:


1506EvanBackstromSamples03 1506EvanBackstromSamples02 1506EvanBackstromSamples01

Find his web site here, his NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation for the Oshkosh Northwestern is 14,113.

A stunning multiple-cover gimmick this week by Sports Illustrated

This week, Sports Illustrated celebrates the big World Cup win by the U.S. Women’s National Team with a cover photo.

A cover photo not just of superstar goalkeeper Hope Solo


…and not just of Houston Dash player Carli Lloyd, who scored a Hat Trick in the 5-2 championship win over Japan on July 5.


No, Sports Illustrated produced 25 alternate covers for this week’s edition — one for each member of the team, plus the coach and one featuring seven key players.

Click this for a much larger look:


Chris Stone — managing editor of Sports Illustrated — said in a staff story posted on SI‘s web site Monday:

By the time we settled on the idea, the team was in [Los Angeles] for an event that would end mid-afternoon. The photographer we wanted to shoot it, and who had shot the [World Cup final], Simon Bruty, was headed home to D.C. It wasn’t going to happen on Tuesday.

Then, New York City delivered, big-time, by planning Friday’s [gala, ticker-tape] parade, which would bring the entire team to a single spot.

So the team agreed to be shot in New York’s City Hall, both before and after the parade Friday.

Much of the media buzz about this project calls the effort “unprecedented,” but I recall a similar project that was smaller in scope — slightly — but also done by a newspaper with significantly fewer resources than Sports Illustrated.

Matt Erickson — who, 11 years ago, was presentation director of the Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster, Ind…


… built alternate covers for the paper’s 2004 high school football section so that all the area schools could be on the cover that year.

The catch: There were 29 schools in the area. So Matt built 29 covers.

Insane, perhaps. But a hell of a talker.

The project earned two silver medals and judges’ special recognition in the annual SND contest. If you’ve got a 26th edition of Best of Newspaper Design handy, check it out on page 43.

Matt is now assistant editor of — part of the USA Today sports group — where he covers mixed martial arts fighting.

Columbia, SC, State went sideways with its Confederate flag coverage

The newspaper in Columbia, S.C. — the State — went sideways Saturday with an enormous photo of the Confederate flag coming down from its place of honor on the grounds of the State House.

Click this for a much larger look:


More than 10,000 people showed up to view the brief ceremony by the state highway patrol color guard. You can see a bunch of ’em in that picture by staffer Tim Dominick.

There, in the middle of the shot, is the moment.


Friday morning, the State observed the upcoming morning ceremony with an illustration of an empty flagpole and poet Nikky Finney.


The State is selling reprints of both of these pages. Find them here.

I’d be much obliged if anyone out there can tell me who designed either of these pages. All of my contacts at the State have moved on.

UPDATE: I’m told both pages were designed by Meredith Sheffer.

The place from which the Confederate flag was removed Friday was a special monument on the grounds of the State House in Columbia. It was placed there 15 years ago after being removed from its previous spot of honor: Atop the State House itself, just under the U.S. and state flags.

On the day it was removed from atop the State House dome, the State ran this awesome front page:


As I wrote a couple of weeks ago: No headline was necessary — if you lived in South Carolina, then you knew instantly what was missing from the picture.

Average daily circulation of the State is 70,980.

The day’s nine best gay marriage front pages

Here’s a look at what I feel are the nine best front pages today dealing with Friday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.

Newark, N.J.
Circulation: 278,940

If you haven’t seen this page already, then you’re probably not spending enough time on social media.

This is the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., which elected to lead today’s front page with a charmingly simple illustration of a rainbow heart and the closing lines of Friday’s majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.


That was designed by the Star-Ledger‘s sports designer, Kiersten Schmidt — who is soon leaving the business, she says, to go to grad school at the University of North Carolina.

Kiersten wrote last night on her Facebook timeline:

In my last few months as a newspaper designer, I’ve been fortunate to design pages for some pretty cool events — the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, the 29th player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits (who also happens to be one of my favorite players) — but this one was far and away the best.

As I move onto North Carolina and a (ever-so-slight) career change, this is the page that will stay with me.

To be honest, a lot of days it feels like what I do doesn’t really matter. Not today. Today I decided to stray away from what you’re “supposed” to do when big news breaks because I felt that today’s news deserved something a bit more.

I hope when the people of New Jersey pick up their papers on Saturday, they feel the happiness in their heart that I felt when I designed this page. I hope they think of this page and Kennedy’s words when they remember the day we all became a little more equal.

Love wins. And good design matters.

Nicely done.

Find Kiersten’s web site and portfolio here.

Cleveland, Ohio
Circulation: 246,571

The Cleveland Plain Dealer also led today with just the text of Justice Kennedy’s


The text against the stark black background is very sharp indeed.

This was designed by Josh Crutchmer, I’m told. Which explains why it looks so awesome.

Norfolk, Va.
Circulation: 142,476

From a stark black background to a stark white background: The Virginian-Pilot today also used that same excerpt.


Notice how designer Wes Watson used the same trick Josh did in Cleveland: He emphasized that last emphatic sentence.

Wesley tells us:

As I understand it, Paul [Nelson, design team leader] and new editor Steve Gunn had the idea at the same time to use the excerpt as the front.

So Paul had me work it up quickly to see how it would play out. I knew I didn’t want to knockout text; I wanted it as light and fresh as possible. We tried a couple of versions where we had another story and refers, and then just refers. My feeling was if we’re going to dedicate this much space — because we’re saying this is important — having anything else out there takes away from that message. And everyone seemed to agree.

So we removed everything else we could all the way down to the barcode. Simple and clean.

Mountain Home, Ark.
Circulation: 9,156

I realize this is probably stock art…


But, hey: I’d argue it’s the perfect piece of stock art, used in the perfect way on the perfect day.

UPDATE: I’m told this was designed by Valeria Rodriguez of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines.

San Francisco, Calif.
Circulation: 229,176

In San Francisco — ground-zero for the fight for same-sex marriage — the Chronicle published this fabulous front page today.


That is Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin, who were plaintiffs in a 2004 lawsuit involving gay marriage, at a City Hall news conference. Staffer Tim Hussin caught them in silhouette, against what appears to be a gay pride flag.

Omaha, Neb.
Circulation: 135,223

A number of papers went out to find local folks rushing to be the first married under the new world order.

In Omaha, Jenna Stanley and Kelly Brokaw had planned to get married in Iowa this weekend. But the ruling Friday morning caused them to move up their schedule and to stay at home.


The picture is by staffer Ryan Soderlin.

Note how clean that page is. When you have a gorgeous picture like that and it tells your story well, you know the drill: Play it big and get the hell out of its way.

UPDATE: I’m told this page was designed by Tim Parks.

Clarksville, Tenn.
Circulation: 14,596

That’s exactly what the folks did at the Leaf-Chronicle of Clarksville, Tenn.

Meet Travis Arms and Michael Vanzant, now husband and husband. Staffer Autumn Allison photographed them getting married by the Montgomery County Commissioner himself.


Nice headline, too.

Victoria, Texas
Circulation: 26,531

My former colleagues at the Victoria Advocate — deep in conservative South Texas — also ran their lead art big today and got the hell out of its way.


That’s Nicole Dimetman and Cleo DeLeon at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin Friday evening, photographed by staffer Jaime R. Carrero. The local significance: DeLeon is a descendent of Victoria’s founding family.

The wonderful Jessica Rodrigo had superb access to Ms. DeLeon for several months and wrote a great piece for today’s paper. Read it here.

That terrific page: Run it big. Get the hell out of its way. Right? That’s Kimiko Fieg, who’s semi-retiring this month after a decade or so as the Advocate‘s presentation editor.

Also, for what it’s worth, I left the Advocate with an exhaustive — but, sadly, incomplete — timeline history starting with the birth of the modern Gay Rights movement in New York City in 1969 and running through… well, my last day on Wednesday. My former colleagues updated the timeline and ran it in today’s paper.


In addition, my pal Jordan Rubio converted my work into an interactive version. Find that here.

Springfield, Mo.
Circulation: 35,531

But the award for luckiest shot of the day — which made for perfect lead art, if somewhat accidental — is this picture by Valerie Mosley of the Springfield, Mo., News-Leader of a rainbow after a Friday afternoon rain.


Does that sum up the story perfectly, or what?

UPDATE: This page, I’m told, was designed by Eric Fields and Sean McKeown-Young.

I put out a few messages this morning, seeking names of designers and so on. If you have any information to share — especially a few sentences on how the page came together — please send it to me. I’ll add it here as quickly as I can.

These front pages are all from the Newseum. Of course.

A blast from the past: The removal of the Confederate flag from the S.C. state house dome

Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past few days, you’ve seen the controversy in my home state of South Carolina over its continued reverence for the Confederate battle flag.


The Confederate flag flies from a special memorial on the grounds of the State House in Columbia. I was a bit puzzled when I saw reports last week that noted the U.S. and state flags were flying at half staff after the church shooting Wednesday in Charleston, but the Confederate flag was still at full staff. They’re on separate flagpoles.

But that wasn’t always the case. For 38 years starting in 1962, the Confederate battle flag — or, at least, a bastardized version of it — flew from atop the State House dome itself.


I grew up with us having three flags atop the State House. That’s just the way it always was.

But then one day nearly 15 years ago — July 1, 2000 — the battle flag came down and was moved to its current spot. On that day — for the first time in my lifetime — only two flags flew above the seat of state government.

The next day, the paper there in Columbia — the State — ran this awesome front page.


William Castronuovo — who, at the time, was deputy editor of the State — took the time to tell us about that page.

I’d planned it two months before and had two photographers positioned (backups to each other) to get the shot.

Before my idea was introduced — ideas were solicited and nothing was original in idea, concept or realistic. There was one suggestion that the front page be an illustration.

I got a lot of flack because folks were freaked that there was no headline. My argument was the headline was in the photo itself… …the flagpole sans the Confederate Battle Flag of Northern Virginia.

And I would agree with that, 100 percent. Now, if you were driving through the state that day and happened to stop and buy a paper, you might be baffled by that front page. But if you had lived in South Carolina any length of time, that image alone was nothing short of stunning. No headline needed.

I show this page in my Art of Being Brilliant presentation. It was bold and brilliant 15 years ago and it still is today.

William continues:

Now, page A3 was the “actual” front page with the same format that’s expected.

In other words, this was what we’d probably call a “wrap.” In theory, could pull this page off the paper and still have a standard-looking front page.

Bill says:

The photo on that page was of the hostile crowed the State Police had to keep separated. I have a 40-minute video I made — I was right at the edge. You’d have thought my video was recorded in 1962.

William is a 1983 graduate of the University of Maryland, where he served as a reporter and then design director of the student paper there, the Maryland Diamondback.


He has worked at a number of places over the years: The Washington Post weeklies, executive editor of the Reston (Va.) Times, graphics editor of the New York Daily News, art director of the Washington Times, sports art director of the National sports daily, publisher of a number of local D.C. suburban papers, design director of the Miami Herald, associate editor of the Gary (Ind.) Post-Tribune and then ten years as associate editor of the State of Columbia, S.C.

Bill has been working since 2007 to launch the Washington Reader in Washington, D.C. In addition, he’s working on a book that he hopes to publish soon.

A few moments ago, I called that flag a “bastardized” version of the Confederate battle flag. Why?

Because the official Confederate battle flag wasn’t shaped like a rectangle like that flag is. It was a square.

That’s one way to tell whether the person flying a Confederate flag is sincere about his or her respect for Confederate history. If the flag is rectangular, then it’s the type that came into common use in the south in the 1950s and 1960s as a symbol of resistance against integration and Civil Rights.

I’m not generally the type to fly a Confederate flag. But If I were, I’d insist on flying the real “Stars and Bars” — the first national flag of the Confederacy, shown below:


Five or six times in my career as a visual journalist, I’ve done graphics on the history of the Confederate flag. That one is the most recent — I built it a couple of weeks ago for my current paper, the Victoria (Texas) Advocate.

Also, while I’m on this topic: The state of Mississippi still uses the Confederate battle flag as part of its state flag.


Last night, news reports stated the legislature there is considering changing the flag. Finally.

This was the case in Georgia, several years ago. In 1956 — in the height of the Civil Rights movement and the white backlash to that struggle — the Georgia state legislature redesigned the flag of that state to include the Confederate battle flag. Every year, black state legislators would call for that symbol of hate and racism to be removed. Every year, white supporters would claim the flag was changed in order to honor our noble Confederate forefathers.

At the time, I was a graphic artist and editorial cartoonist for the two dailies in Athens, Ga. — the Banner-Herald and the Daily News. Wanting to sound off on the issue, I decided to hit the clip files first. And I was appalled by what I found there: I read the speeches made by Georgia lawmakers as they pushed to add the battle flag to their state flag. Those speeches didn’t really go much into their ancestors and their war losses. The speeches were all angry retorts to the Federal court system and especially Brown v. Board of Education, which called for the integration of schools.

So I drew up an editorial cartoon showing this. And despite the relatively conservative bent of the editorial pages there, my editors approved it.


That ran 28 years ago last month.

They finally changed the Georgia state flag in 2001:


If that looks like something designed by a committee, then you’re quite right. That’s exactly what it was: A compromise. My complaint at the time: That’s not a flag, that’s an infographic.

Two years later, the Georgia legislature took another swing at it. This time, they got it right:


That’s the state seal in the blue field. The rest of the flag looks a bit like the original national flag of the Confederacy. But then again, it also looks a lot like the state flag of Georgia before they went and changed it in 1956:


In fact, those three red-and-white stripes have been part of Georgia’s state flag since 1879.

It took many years, but Georgia finally took steps to distance itself from the racist and sometimes violent backlash the white citizens there had to the Civil Rights movement. It sounds like Mississippi might be doing the same.

It’s time South Carolina fell into line. Honoring your ancestors is one thing. But honoring a racist and divisive past is quite another.

Honor the past. But enable the future. Dump that flag.

Inside the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier’s church shooting coverage

Mitch Pugh, the editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, took some time this weekend to send along pages his paper published regarding the tragic attack on historic Emanuel AME church last week.


The attack happened around 9 p.m. Wednesday night. The Post and Courier responded quickly with assistant digital editor/visuals Matthew Fortner there to shoot police officers, guns drawn, at the scene that night.

The A1 designer  that night — Chris Tabakian — ran Matthew’s picture big and got the hell out of its way.


Click that — or another other page here today — for a much closer look.


Friday’s paper led with mug shots of the nine victims and a quote from Charleston mayor Joe Riley.


That wonderful picture of a woman and her three-year-old granddaughter is by staffer Paul Zoeller. The page was designed by Maureen Hartshorn.

Mitch tells us:

Our entire visuals team has risen to the challenge, from designers and copy editors to a terrific photo team led by Assistant Digital Editor-Visuals Matthew Fortner.

But the whole visuals team has been great: staffers Grace Beahm, Leroy Burnell, Brad Nettles, Wade Spees and Paul Zoeller and intern Lauren Prescott.

I would also bring attention to videographer Chris Hanclosky, who has done some terrific work including this emotional piece he created on Friday.

Page six contained stories dealing with President Barack Obama‘s reaction, the history of the church, a column by the Post and Courier‘s Brian Hicks and a story stripped across the bottom on the Confederate flag issue.


Page seven held the jump of the lead story, anchored by Leroy Burnell’s photo.

Pages eight and nine took jumps of sidebars from A1, on the vigils and this being the deadliest hate crime in the history of South Carolina. That rail down the right side from the AP lists other attacks on black churches.


Page 10 held three shorter stories about events being canceled and other churches in Charleston’s historic downtown area showing their support.


Page 11 was devoted to the suspect, who was caught on Thursday in Shelby, not far west of Charlotte and a good four hours’ drive up I-26 from Charleston.


Saturday’s front page was also designed by Maureen Hartshorn.

The stunning lead art of a woman in anguish at a prayer service is by Grace Beahm.


Grace also shot the picture of the church framed by a twilight sky.

Go here to read the lead story by Andrew Knapp.

Mitch writes:

Headlines were often born from the teamwork of terrific desk people and frontline editors. Cindy Cloutier and Fred Rindge can likely take credit for Saturday’s choice.

However, I would be remiss not to mention that we employ one of the best headline writers in the business – Beth Harrison. She’s a regular award winner. In a time when the value placed on copy editors and headline writers seems to be diminishing, it’s a privilege to work alongside a copy editor like Beth. Most everything beyond the banner heads was written by Beth.

Also you might have noticed something by now. As Mitch tweeted Saturday:


When another editor saw my retweet and pushed back, Mitch explained:


Damn right. This is why God created inside pages. My former colleague Steve Buttry feels the same way.

Page six — below, left — holds a story about reaction from South Carolina’s governor and then the jump of the lead story. A couple of sidebars help fill out the backstory of the suspect.


Page seven — above right — addresses the prayer vigils and lists other memorial events to be held throughout the weekend. The pictures are by Paul Zoeller. That one showing folks joining hands as they sing We Shall Overcome is worth a larger look:


Page eight holds an AP story about how the suspect was identified and trailed by a woman in Shelby. Downpage is a story about commentator Glenn Beck, who came to town.


Page nine held the jump of the tick-tock story you may have read by staffers Doug Pardue and Jennifer Berry Hawes — it went viral in a big way this weekend.

Here’s a closer look at the graphic at the upper right of page nine, drawn by former MCT graphics assistant art director Robert Dorrell.


Page 10 held what I’ll call the political angle: Stories about the Confederate flag and whether or not the attack is to be considered terrorism.



The Post and Courier cooked up something really special for Sunday’s paper: A four-page wrap.

Mitch tells us:

We began to explore the concept after designer Krena Lanham came to us Thursday afternoon with an idea for the Faith & Values page – a stark and powerful list of the names of the deceased. We liked the idea but felt an inside page diminished the concept. Instead, we began exploring how we could do this as a four-page wrap on Sunday and put the names on the front of the paper.

Publisher P.J. Browning, President of Shared Services Ron Cartledge and others acted quickly to help us determine a way to make this happen.


Those are Palmetto roses on the front: Nine of them.

Mitch continues:

In addition to the front with the names of the nine victims, we decided to craft short anecdotes for each victim on the inside pages. We envisioned these as brief glimpses into their lives that would show readers their true character.


Three Pulitzer Prize winners and a Pulitzer finalist were among the teams working on these profiles, evidence of the great care we took to get them right.

We are also forever grateful for the contribution from South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth. Reporter Adam Parker contacted her Thursday afternoon to see if she was willing to write an original piece for this edition, and she immediately agreed. Within 24 hours she produced the beautiful and profound poem that you see on the back page of the edition.


I was floored when I read it and still can’t believe she was able to craft something so perfect in that amount of time.

I couldn’t find an online version of this poem to link to, so here’s a tighter and larger crop:


Mitch tells us:

Chad Dunbar and Maureen Hartshorn worked with the concept over the weekend to develop the final product. The inside pages and back page were designed by Chad.

The wrap was printed on premium, white paper, Mitch says.


And today’s front page features a huge photo by Paul Zoeller of worshippers at Emanuel AME Church on Sunday.


And the pictures of that “Bridge to Peace Unity Chain” event last night are spectacular. Between 10,000 and 15,000 people gathered on the Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River. Find the story and pictures here.

Average daily circulation for the Post and Courier is 87,817.

From designer to design editor to sportswriter to… photographer for a young adult book cover?

Matt Erickson really gets around. He’s assistant editor of, which covers mixed martial arts fighting. That site is also part of the USA Today sports group.

You might remember him as a truly awesome sports designer for the Munster, Ind., Times of Northwest Indiana. The visuals project for which he’s best remembered, perhaps, was when he built alternate covers for the paper’s 2004 high school football section…

so that all the area schools could be on the cover that year.

All 29 of the area schools.

It was an amazing effort that earned him two silver medals and judges’ special recognition in the annual SND contest. If you’ve got a 26th edition of Best of Newspaper Design handy, check it out on page 43.

On the side, though, Matt has a hobby: High Dynamic Range — or HDR — photography. Matt explains that HDR…

…allows for a much higher range of luminance between the dark and light areas of a photo. This is done, typically, by combining three or more exposures of the same shot — one overexposed, one underexposed, one neutral. The resulting images are a closer representation of what your eyes would have seen — though perhaps not always all at once.

The technique has been around for more than 150 years, believe it or not, though [now] it’s a little bit easier to do the post-processing in a digital darkroom than it was in the 1850s.

The result is something that looks a lot like a painting. Except it’s not, of course. It’s a photo.

Matt says:

That shot is three exposures layered on top of each other — 1/640, 1/160, 1/40: One underexposed, one neutral, one overexposed. Because of the technique itself — three exposures merged into one image — it obviously isn’t “photojournalism.” Rather, it’s just an artistic photographic technique.

Matt has been experimenting around with this stuff for years.

Matt even sells prints of his work. Find his site here.

Today, however, I want to draw your attention to this HDR picture of a high school football field that Matt shot a while back:


Matt writes via his Facebook page that this is…

…an HDR photo I shot before covering a game in 2010. I was stringing for The Times as a writer and wasn’t there to shoot photos; I shot it on my own, killing time waiting for kickoff.

A major book publisher spotted that picture and bought it from Matt for use on a book cover. He writes:

It’s called Until Friday Night, and it’s the first in what, I guess, will be a series of Young Adult books in the Field Party line.


The Simon & Schuster cover designer added the foreground image of the kids in the truck and the fence and bushes and Photoshopped out the logo on the field, and then went and put words all over my beautiful clouds and sunset.

The book will be released Aug. 25. It lists for $17.99, but Amazon is preselling the hardcover for $13.85.

A 1997 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Matt immediately joined the the Times and worked there for 13 years as a designer and, eventually, director of presentation and visuals. He spent time as a regional director for the Society for News Design and coordinated the SND annual contest in 2005. Matt left the Times in 2010 to strike out on his own as a freelance sportswriter specializing in MMA. He spent a year or so working with and joined in 2012.

The story behind Manitowoc’s cool sideways Monday front page

The Herald-Times of Manitowoc, Wis., ran an unusual time-sequence series of photos on page one Monday. And they did it sideways.

Executive editor Kevin Anderson tells us:

The page grew out of a photo montage – an analog animated GIF of sorts — created by a freelance photographer, who used to be the features editor for the Herald-Times and has a great eye for photos and layout. He created the montage and posted it to Facebook and offered it up for print.

After seeing the photo montage, designer Evan Backstrom offered up the idea of radically going horizontal.

Evan adds:

I was given a stellar photo and my immediate thought was to design the page on its side so we could run the photo series as large as possible.

Click this for a much larger version:


Kevin picks back up the story:

I am always game for something different, and my only reservation was readability, an issue raised by some of our readers when we have reversed text. However, Evan and our design team leader Bill Wambeke produced a great design that didn’t sacrifice copy clarity so I instantly thought that we’d start marketing this as a collectible edition.

Find video of the demolition here.

Average daily circulation of the Herald Times Reporter is 10,253.


A 2012 graduate of Ball State University, Evan Backstrom served as chief page designer for the student paper there, the Ball State Daily News, and interned at Stamprint Printing and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. He went to work for Gannett three years ago.

A few samples of his work:

1506EvanBackstromSamples03 1506EvanBackstromSamples02 1506EvanBackstromSamples01

Find his web site here, his NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Ball State photojournalism professor Tom Price, wife, injured in house fire

Noted Ball State photojournalism professor Tom Price and his wife, Pam, were critically injured in a fire that destroyed their Muncie, Ind., home early Saturday.

Photo by Jordan Kartholl/Muncie Star Press

The fire broke out in the garage, where Tom reportedly does woodworking. The couple called 911 to report the blaze and told firefighters they were leaving the house.

Evidently, something happened to keep that from happening. Firefighters found them in an upstairs bedroom after part of the house had collapsed.

Keith Roysdon of the Muncie Star Press reports:

The two were transported from the fire scene to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and then to Eskenazi Health Hospital in Indianapolis. An Eskenazi spokesman said Saturday afternoon that both Tom and Pam Price were in critical condition.

Their son, Fletcher Price, contacted The Star Press Saturday afternoon to say that his parents’ injuries might be mostly limited to oxygen deprivation. He said they were sedated and being intubated to get oxygen into their systems.

Ball State senior Jordan Huffer launched a GoFundMe drive to help raise living expenses. As of 8:30 a.m. CDT Monday, a total of 61 people had contributed more than $3,510 of the targeted $4,000.

Go here to add your donation.

A 1972 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Price spent 21 years as director of photography for the News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla. He earned a master’s degree from Syracuse University in 1997 and joined the faculty of Ball State shortly thereafter as sequence coordinator for photojournalism.


Many of you may know him, however, as the guy who operates the internationally famous Kalish visual editing workshop. This year’s workshop is scheduled to begin June 12.

In addition, Tom works as a soccer referee, crew assigner and referee instructor for the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Find Tom’s official Ball State profile page here.

Stories from the Ball State Daily:

Nine days in Baltimore

As you know, there has been a lot of news out of Baltimore over the past few days. The Baltimore Sun has done a superb job covering all the events there and even waiving the paper’s metered paywall so folks around the country can better keep up with the protests and unrest in the wake of a police shooting there.

Jay Judge — senior editor for visuals at the Sun — tells us:

It was an incredible week when we had to tell our journalists to go home for some semblance of rest. Everyone just ran toward the news and gave their all. It was an incredible effort.

I love the papers and content we produced, but could not help but be amazed by the fantastic effort of our reporters and photographers in the field, reporting the news in the field better and faster than the competition, which in this case was about every national news outfit out there.

Jay took some time to walk us through the visual highlights of the Sun‘s print coverage over the past nine days. Click on any page here for a much larger — and, hopefully, readable — view.

Edition of SUNDAY, APRIL 26

Jay says:

Our plan was to run an enterprise story on the route of Freddie Gray’s police van at the top, then use protest art if the event merited it. On Friday we did not know how significant the march would be.

It turned ugly in the early evening. With a 8:20 close for our state edition, we made some subtle changes for the first edition and remade the page for later.

For the first edition, we ran a screen grab from a reporter’s video.


For the next edition, we subbed out the screen grab for a still.


The covers were designed by me.

Sunday’s lead photo was by Jim Watson of AFP/Getty Images.

Jay continues:

The picture page was by Peter Dishal.


The lead picture on that page is by staffer Algerina Perna. Kim Hairston shot one and three are by staffer Jerry Jackson.

Edition of MONDAY, APRIL 27

Jay writes:

The calm before the storm. Cover by Bill Wachsberger.


The lead photo is by Algerina Perna.

Edition of TUESDAY, APRIL 28

Jay tells us:

The clashes between police and protesters started during our 3 p.m. news meeting. It was hard for us to all focus without checking TV, Twitter and e-mails.

As the protests turned violent and started to spread, we dispatched reporters and photographers while trying to ensure people were in groups in and effort to make sure everyone was safe. On that day, a photographer was hit by a rock and another assaulted. It was intense.

There was so much noise, at some point I went to my office to spend five minutes of uninterrupted time thinking about the page. Three minutes later, I was back on the floor looking at photos and working the page. We wanted to show multiple sides of the event – the fury of the protesters, the restraint of the police, the aftermath and the funeral of Freddie Gray. I tried to keep the page as clean and elegant as possible.


The lead photo is by Algerina Perna again. The secondary art is by Amy Davis and Jerry Jackson.

Jay says:

I also included a picture page. There were so many great images from photographers who working under tough circumstances, we tried to do a page like this every day.


The lead photo here is by staffer Lloyd Fox. Other pictures are by Jon Sham, Jen Rynda, Algerina Perna and Christopher T. Assaf.

Jay continues:

I also included another jump page with a graphic by Emma Patti Harris.

Here’s the page…


…and here’s a closer look at the graphic:


Edition of WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29

Jay says:

There was lots of varied activity this day that we wanted to show as best we could – from protests to dancing.


We tried to move the ad off of the front this day, to no avail.

Cover by me.

The lead picture is by Lloyd Fox. Bill Wachsberger designed the picture page, Jay says.


The lead picture is by Lloyd Fox. Other pictures are by Amy Davis, Barbara Haddock Taylor and Karl Merton Ferron.

Edition of THURSDAY, APRIL 30

Jay writes:

Many papers focused on the Orioles game in the empty stadium, but that seemed off point to us. There was still a lot of protest in the city, including an enormous and peaceful march to and from City Hall. Going with the protest photo seemed like a better representation of the day to us.


The cover is by me.

The lead photo is by staffer Robert K. Hamilton.

Jay says:

On features, we did a story about coping with the emotional trauma of the riots. We had a great photo from the previous day that had not run. We felt it illustrated that story well.


Page by Peter Dishal.

That picture is by Lloyd Fox.

Jay continues:

And we blew out the Orioles game on sports with a great panorama shot by one of our reporters shooting with an iPhone.


Page by Tracie Rawson.

The iPhone-wielding reporter was Jon Meoli.

Edition of FRIDAY, MAY 1

The cover was  pretty straight forward this day. We were surprised that police handed over their investigation findings to the state’s attorney a day early.


Page by me.

The lead photo is by staffer Kenneth K. Lam.

Edition of SATURDAY, MAY 2

Jay says:

When the charges were announced, my goal was to get the mug shots of the suspects. There was some concern about whether they would be released, so I had six empty holes at the top of the page part of the night. It made me nervous.  We did eventually get them.

If I had gotten them earlier, I was thinking of trying to do something exclusively with them. But I took a more conventional route not knowing when, or if, we would get them. We had a great reaction photo which helped me feel good about that decision.


We added the mugs and quotes on the side for balance.

The lead photo there is by Kim Hairston.

Jay adds:

Cover and jump pages by me.


The lead photo on the jump page is by Lloyd Fox. Secondary art is by Kim Hairston and Karl Merton


Edition of SUNDAY, MAY 3

This was another day we thought that the size of the protest might require we sub out lead art, but it didn’t.

The police had given us exclusive access to follow their investigation into Freddy Gray’s death. We wanted to highlight that on the front. Using some different tools allowed me to highlight the investigation and look different than other days.


Cover by me.

The lead photo is by staffer Karl Merton Ferron.

Jay continues:

Photo page by Peter Dishal.


The large photo there is by staffer Jerry Jackson. Other pictures are by Jen Rynda and Brian Krista.

Edition of MONDAY, MAY 4

Curfew lifted. National Guard preparing to leave. We all try to catch our breath.


Page by Bill Wachsberger.

The lead photo is by Algerina Perna.

Average daily circulation of the Baltimore Sun is 179,574.

Here’s an idea you might try: Find a local photographer who shoots the night sky

I just love astronomy. I tried to work astronomy into my Focus pages every once in a while in California.

Remembering that, perhaps, Philip Maramba — managing editor of the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail — shares something really cool his paper ran on Friday.

He tells us:

Our photographer, Tom Hindman, spends a lot of time outdoors and churns out wonderful nature images on Facebook and his blog. In particular, his starscapes from various points around West Virginia draw plenty of oohs and ahhs on social media and drew the attention of our features editor, Billy Wolfe, himself a photographer as well.

With the weather finally warming up, Billy thought it would be a neat idea to interview Tom to share some tips on how to get good starry sky photos.


One of the photos inspired Billy to see if we could incorporate it into the nameplate to promote the feature. We set our graphic artist, Kevin Cade, to thinking on it and, well, you can see the results. Everyone seemed pretty happy with it.


The story is full of really good tips for readers who have access to nice equipment and would like to try their hand at some amateur astronomy. Read the story here and see if there’s anything you might take away to do your own version with a star shooter in your own neck of  the woods.

Average daily circulation for the Charleston Daily Mail is 17,879.

Three huge centerpiece-worthy games. One front page. What’s a sports designer to do?

Tuesday was an uncommonly interesting sports day for the folks in Washington, D.C. — both the NBA Wizards and the NHL Capitols pulled off big playoff wins and the baseball Nationals came back for a thrilling win.

The Washington Post‘s rose to the occasion with an uncommonly brilliant sports front page. Dan tells us:

It was a fun night!

Click for a larger, readable look:


Dan writes:

Last week when I knew all these teams would be playing on the same night I wanted to do something different to give the playoff teams equal play, and thought the Nationals would go on bottom somewhere with the Redskins schedule story.

But at start of Tuesday night, I sold our sports editor, Matt Vita, on stripping the Redskins schedule to make room for this setup of our three live games.

We had staff photogs at each game so I emailed them my cover early in the night on what I was hoping for. Also talked to night editor Greg Schimmel that if all teams win or lose we can do a head treatment to tie it all together.

When the Nats hit their walk-off home run to end the night, we were off and running.


Toni L. Sandys shot the Nats game in D.C. and James Wagner wrote the story.

Dan continues:

I worked with Karl Hente on what I was aiming for with the headlines and we came up with a head for the Wiz and Nats…


Jonathan Newton shot the Wiz game in Toronto and Jorge Castillo wrote the story.

…before Greg Schimmell and Scott Silverstein added the “boost” for the Caps.


John McDonnell shot the Caps game in New York and Alex Prewitt wrote the story.

The games were arranged in the order in which they finished. We highlighted that info in the photo captions.

Lastly, to keep the theme going, our headline for the Redskins schedule was “A blueprint.” in the teez bar at the top of the page.


A graduate of Western Illinois University, Dan Worthington spent a year-and-a-half as assistant sports editor of the Daily Review Atlas of Monmouth, Ill. before moving to the Beaufort (S.C.) Gazette and the (Hilton Head) Island Packet in 2008.


He moved to a sports design position with the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., in 2009 and was promoted to assistant sports editor a year later. He moved to the Post in 2013.

I most recently wrote about Dan’s work at the beginning of March Madness.

A few more samples:



1403DanWorthingtonNuSample01   1403DanWorthingtonNuSample04



Find Dan’s web site here, his YouTube channel here and his Twitter feed here.

The story behind Charleston’s video screen cap front page

By now, you know the story of what happened in my home state of South Carolina this past Saturday. And you’ve seen the video of the policeman shooting eight times at an uarmed man who was running away from him.

The unarmed man was hit four times in the back and once in the ear. He was killed. The policeman is now behind bars — thanks to that video.

Maureen Hartshorn, assistant design editor of the Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. — tells us:

Video screen grabs don’t always translate well in print. In the case of the Walter Scott shooting, the video was the story and, therefore, the lead image. It was our challenge to make the footage as impactful in print as it was online.

The digital editor and photo editor combed through the cellphone video footage and captured stills to show the progression of the confrontation. We selected three smaller images to show the sequence of events leading up to the most telling shot of the video: an officer firing at a man’s back as he flees the scene.

Click this for a much larger look:


Maureen continues:

Editors and reporters chose three bullet points from the story that we used to enhance the headline. We dumped the rail and teasers that normally appear on our front page to give this story the strongest play we possible.

As you might imagine, the Post and Courier web operation is all over the story. The paper switched to a red background color to denote its special coverage.


Find the web site here. See just the Walter Scott material here.

Today’s front page focuses on the protests that took place Tuesday and Wednesday.


Find that lead story here.

The story downpage is about Feidin Santana, the man who shot the video. He was interviewed Wednesday by NBC’s Lester Holt.

Average daily circulation of the Post and Courier is 87,817.

That front page image is from the Newseum. Of course.

Inside the Daily Tar Heel’s special criminal justice edition

Thursday, the Daily Tar Heel — the independent student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — published a special edition that focused on criminal justice.

The lead story on page one is about a man who spent 17 years of a life sentence in a North Carolina prison before being exonerated. In fact, the story says, Gregory Taylor is the first person in U.S. history to be declared legally innocent.

The commission that freed him, however, is in danger of losing its funding when a federal grant expires at the end of this year. The story is by assistant university editor Stephanie Lamm. The portrait was shot by Halle Sinnott.


The story downpage is about the upside of cheap labor by prisoners: The man in the picture there — as a prisoner — worked at an area cafeteria. He’s now working there full-time.

The story is by senior writer Claire Williams. Jordan Nash made the picture. The front was designed by Jose Vallé.

The doubletruck on pages six and seven — designed by Mary Burke — takes on a number of issues…


…1) The difficulty in hiring correctional officers, 2) How organizations attempt to aide prisoners’ return to society after their sentences are served and 3) Freed prisoners who commit new crimes and go back into the cycle.

Pictures are by staffers Ben Lewis and Henry Gargan. The bar chart at lower left is by Ryan Smith.

Page 11 holds the jump for page one’s lead story.


On the back page is a story about a junior at UNC who says he was beaten and choked by members of his church after they found out he was gay.


The story is by senior writer Mary Helen Moore. The portrait is by Cameron Robert.

The back page was designed by Mary Burke.

An interesting angle to hoops, smack in the middle of Big Dance season

Looks like Ian Lawson — lead sports designer of the Omaha World Herald — has been up to more cool stuff lately.

He tells us:

We were in the middle of our coverage of the Omaha rounds of the NCAA Tournament when sports editor Thad Livingston told us we had a really cool local story coming up for Sunday: It was about how the Sudanese population in Omaha have really taken to and learned a lot from the game.

The story follows the arrival of one young man at age nine, how he’s introduced to the game, how it helps get him into college and then he goes home to help other members of his community.

It also touches on what life is like for these refugees and what they go though knowing nothing of the way of life outside of war-torn Sudan and adjust to things like, cars, toilets and seeing yourself in the mirror for the first time.

I was feeling a little burned out on college ball, so I asked  if I could take it on.

Once I read through what turned out to be a great story — backed up by some cool photos and lots of interesting sidebars — I worked up a cover design and asked if we could play it up and treat it special.

So Thad, [deputy presentation editor] Tim Parks and I went back and forth on the main photo and then once we settled on the group shot we decided to make the page mostly the display.


Click that or any other page here today for a much larger look.

Ian continues:

We were also fortunate to have plenty of pages in this edition so we were able to spread it out over 4 color pages inside.

Here are pages nine…


…and ten.


I wanted to play the images big so used them to top each page and tried to come up with a design that would hold all the elements but not feel too crowded. We love our white space in Omaha.

Here are pages 11…


…and 12.


It took some finessing to make it all fit, but I think it came together nicely.

Those wonderful photos were by Kent Sievers. Read the story here by Jon Nyatawa.


Ian spent three years as an editor and designer for the Ledger Independent of Maysville, Ky., before moving to the Gannett design studio in Louisville, Ky. in December 2011. He moved to Omaha in 2013.

Find Ian’s portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

How to celebrate a 15th seed in the Big Dance

Hayden Goethe, assistant sports editor of the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, writes to share:

We put together an eight-page special section honoring the North Dakota State men’s basketball team’s Summit League championship and berth in the NCAA tournament.


Those photos are all by freelancer Dave Eggen.

Hayden continues:

The section was put together in one day — Monday — by myself and Colton Pool, who works part-time for us and just happened to be filling in for one of our full-timers that day.

We had good advertising support, which made the section easy to put together. Jeff Kolpack cranked out a ton of copy for it in a very short period of time.


The illustration on page four was something I had built for a centerpiece the week before but ended up holding. At least we were able to put it to use eventually.

I might add: That’s a pretty sweet above-the-nameplate presentation atop today’s page one.


North Dakota State takes on No. 2 seed Gonzaga tonight at 8:50 p.m. CDT at Seattle’s KeyArena.

Average daily circulation for the Forum is 45,298.

Schock and awe this week in the Peoria Journal Star

Major news broke nationally Tuesday with the resignation of four-term Illinois Congressman — and one-time magazine cover model — Aaron Schock. But nowhere did this story strike harder than in Schock’s hometown of Peoria.

Chris Grimm, assistant universal editor for dayside at the Peoria Journal Star, walks us through the day:

Schock is a big name in the Peoria area ever since he ran for the District 150 School Board as a college freshman. Honestly, a lot of people around here thought he had a shot at becoming president.

As I’m sure you’ve experienced when big news happens, the newsroom got a bit of an adrenaline rush. This sounds lame, but honestly, everyone wanted to work on the story in some fashion.

Lately, we’ve been trying to plan out our A1s earlier in the day more than we have in the past. After the news broke, Dennis [Anderson, executive editor] asked me to get things started.

Right off the bat, our biggest question was photo. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve run through a good chunk of recent Schock file photos. Also, many of these photos are the ones we sent to AP in the weeks before the resignation so they’ve been out there a while.

Fred Zwicky, the photo assignment editor, and I went through some photos and designs before landing on the one we ended up with. At Fred’s suggestion, we cropped in tight on Schock to put the focus on his eyes and I believe freshen up a photo that while we hadn’t used before, was being used quite a bit.


The lead file photo was by staffer Ron Johnson. Click that page for a much larger look.

Chris continues:

The headline was a pretty easy decision as Dennis wanted “Schock resigns’ as big as we could make it. We reversed it on black to make it stand out. When we put the head under the photo, it just clicked.

When Shannon got in, I handed off to him and he finished it off.

“Shannon” would be copy editor Shannon Countryman, who adds:

Basically, Chris Grimm did the top half and I filled in the bottom half.

We had some great inside content as well, including a six-column graphic presenting a timeline of Schock’s rise in politics and recent fall.


Click that for a readable version. That was built by graphics editor Michael Noel, with an assist by reporter Scott Hilyard.

Shannon goes on:

That led off a spread of two facing pages that included a column from Phil Luciano, who spoke to Schock recently, as well as reaction from local politicians, local Schock supporters/donors, and people on the street.


Chris picks up the story again:

In a way we got lucky. Chris Kaergard, our assignment editor and political reporter, was in D.C. for vacation. He had scheduled a meeting with Schock at his D.C. office prior to the resignation and was actually in the waiting room when the story broke. Chris took the lead on the main game with a Washington, D.C. dateline while several other reporters worked the story from Peoria.

The whole production was truly was a team effort. Also, not a lot of papers still have the ability to design and copy edit locally. To me, yesterday’s news showcased the advantage of having these capabilities in house. We worked as a team.

It feels good to flex your muscles sometimes, and I really feel like we did yesterday.

Shannon agrees:

It was another strong effort all around by a staff that always steps up tremendously and works together to put out a great product when major news breaks.

Find the paper’s web site here.

In November 2013, we looked at several days of Journal Star papers in the wake of a devastating tornado. Find that blog post here.

Average daily circulation for the Journal Star is 63,024.

Tom Priddy’s all-time favorite baseball pictures

There are three sure signs of spring: 1) The days get longer. 2) The birds return from points south and begin building nests in newly-budding trees.

And 3) master photographer Tom Priddy begins posting fabulous new baseball pictures in his social media feeds.

Guess which one I look forward to the most each year?


Tom is a longtime newspaper guy who’s worked as a reporter, editor and digital innovator. He’s currently the digital products manager of the Spartanburg, S.C. Herald-Journal.

Tom’s sports photography is so good, though, that he sells his work to clients like Baseball America, Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazines and the Washington Post.

And to baseball card companies.


I asked Tom to send me a collection of his all-time favorite baseball pictures. He replied with these gems:

I was fortunate to grab this shot of former Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitching coach Leo Mazzone in the dugout.


It only lasted a second but I think it shows the relationship they had and their personalities. It was shot at a spring training game in 2005.

My bread-and-butter these days is shooting for baseball cards, so most of the images I shoot are of individual players, such as this one that landed on a Topps card.


The tradition at some clubs is to have the rookie pitcher bring the snacks to the bullpen in a children’s backpack.

August 24, 2014

This was the first time I actually saw something like that in person, and I had to hustle to get in position for it because all I had with me was the 400/2.8. (I’m too old to carry around a lot of gear. I often carry just one camera.) It was pure luck that a teammate was there for the high five.

With the manual scoreboard in Greenville, S.C., the operator sometimes looks through an opening during play. This was just a good, fortunate combination of a face and a play.

Rome Braves vs Greenville Drive

The bad news about the scoreboard is that sometimes it takes forever for it to be updated.

Like a lot of photographers, I like silhouettes. This was from a rookie league pregame batting cage workout in Elizabethton, Tenn.

MiLB - Elizabethton Twins

I like to get to the park early. You never know what you might see.

I try to always shoot the ceremonial first pitch if I’m doing nothing else. You never know what you might get. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you never look at it again.

First Pitch 6904(Priddy).jpg

The low-angle light from early spring is fun to play with. Sometimes it works for you, and sometimes against you.

Zach McKay

Getting a good shot of the team mascot interacting with a player is rare, but this is my favorite one.

Ronan Pacheco, Reedy Rip'It

One thing I love about Minor League baseball is that sometimes photos gain in importance as years pass. Here in the center we have Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward on the bench before a Class A game.

MiLB - Myrtle Beach Pelicans

And I can’t swear to it, but I think that’s Craig Kimbrell at the left. All went on to be Atlanta stars.

It’s amazing the number of pitchers I see who close their eyes when delivering the ball. I never would have guessed.

Teddy Stankiewicz

This shot of pitcher Junichi Tazawa aimlessly tossing a ball was taken during a Class A Minor League rain delay. I think it shows the futility of waiting for the weather to clear.

Junichi Tazawa

I like the silhouette on this, the determination on his face, and the position of the arms.

MiLB - Rome Braves

This is Julio Teheran in a Class A game. He’s now an Atlanta starter.

Who would not love to photograph a pitcher who kicks his leg up so high it hides his face? I have never seen this before.


Of course, nobody is going to use this for a baseball card, but who cares?

Aside from the fact that there are too many photographers, it’s great shooting an All-Star Game because the players always have fun with it.

MiLB - SAL All-Star Game 2010

This was from the home run derby where a hitter was blasting several shots over the fence and a teammate came over and jokingly cooled him off.

Find Tom’s personal website here, his photo blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Tom is an interesting guy. He’s a hero of mine — three times over. By that, I mean for work he’s done during three separate phases of his career.

I love his baseball work. I’m a huge fan of the trailblazing work he did back in the 1980s and 1990s with PressLink and as managing editor of KRT Direct.

But even in the 1970s — when I was still in high school — I used to follow his weekly music column in the Greenville News. I still have a half-dozen or so clippings from that era.

Six years ago, I did a nice Q&A with Tom. Because that was when my blog was still hosted by, that post has been MIA for a good five years.

But thanks to the internet archive at the Wayback Machine — and thanks to me for never cleaning old JPGs out of my hard drive — I’m able to repost that here.

Q&A with Tom Priddy, Presslink pioneer,
multimedia editor, photographer

(Originally posted March 3, 2009)

At a time when many of us are wondering what we might have to do for a second career, Tom Priddy of The Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, S.C., is already on his fifth career.

Tom Priddy on the floor at the Republican Convention in
St. Paul, Minn., September 2008. Photo by Harry Walker/MCT.

A 1973 graduate of Clemson University, Tom started out as a reporter for the nearby Anderson Independent and then a reporter, features editor and music writer for The Greenville News. At the latter, very impressionable young minds *ahem* read his work regularly.

After nearly nine years as graphics and design editor of The State in Columbia, S.C., Tom joined PressLink, eventually rising to managing editor. His official bio says he…

…helped develop PressLink into a major online news service in the 1990s. He was a pioneer in digital photography, supervising groundbreaking digital photography projects with Kodak and Nikon, including coordinating the very first worldwide online distribution of news images (from the 1991 Super Bowl). He trained NBA and NFL photographers in digital photography and brought the first news service photos (from KRT and Reuters) online for sale worldwide.

Later, he helped build and manage KRT Direct and NewsCom.

In 2005, Tom moved back to South Carolina to become multimedia editor of GoUpstate, the Web site of the Herald-Journal (average daily print circulation: About 48,000).

On the side, Tom works as a freelance photographer. Among his clients: Baseball America, Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazines and the Washington Post.

Whew! Just typing all that wears us out!

For a while, now, we’ve been meaning to invite Tom for a Q&A. He was gracious enough to spend some time last week answering our questions…

Q. So tell us about the early days of PressLink. How did you go from visuals guru in Columbia, S.C., to managing editor of Knight-Ridder’s wire service?

A. No matter where I was working, I always wanted to play with the toys.

When I started in the business I had a summer job that included setting Tempo Italic headlines in hot metal for the women’s pages. (It was a Ludlow machine, for all you old folks who remember.)

An example of hot type, set with a Ludlow,
widely used at newspapers through the 1970s.

I poured pigs for the Linotype machines. I took obits over the phone (very badly, I might add). When I went full time I started out with a Teletype machine in my bedroom for sending stories back to the office. I always figured there had to be a better way.

A Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100. Eight kb of RAM
and an audio cassette in lieu of a hard drive.
Cost in 1983: About $600.

So when we got Telerams I tried them; they were awful. I used the Radio Shack Model 100s (the “Trash-80s”) and loved them. I still have one. I talked my way into getting portable computers (no way they would be called laptops back then; they were suitcases) and digital cameras.

When you work with Teletype machines, hard copy, put your film on the bus to get it to the office, have to drive like crazy to find a phone or get back home to file — then you always are looking for a better way. At least, I was.


The Apple Lisa, introduced in 1983. One meg of RAM,
an external 5 mb hard drive for just under $10,000.

In December of 1983 when a Columbia computer dealer came to the office to show off the new Apple Lisa computer, I had to have one. Fortunately, at the time I was working for a terrific, visionary executive editor at The State, Tom McLean, and he forked over the 10 grand for the Lisa, and graphic artist Scott Farrand and I were off to experiment.

One thing led to another, we traded the Lisa for a Mac when that was introduced, and Scott and in 1986 I discovered Roger Fidler and PressLink — a revolutionary way to exchange Mac graphics. As soon as I met Roger and saw what he was doing with electronic communication, I knew I wanted to work with him. I eventually wore him down and he hired me. PressLink employee No. 3.

Tom Priddy in 1988.

We had fun dreaming things up. For several years Mitch Koppelman of Reuters and I would scheme about how one day we would be able to deliver photos electronically the way PressLink was delivering graphics. We experimented with scanners, JPEG compression and so on — and one day PressLink was able to distribute Mitch’s digital files. We got a lot of satisfaction out of that.

A couple of guys who worked with Tom at PressLink: Left:
Roger Fidler, now program director for digital publishing at
the University of Missouri’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism
Institute. Right: Jeff Glick, now director of publications
for Advance’s Alabama Media Group in Birmingham, Ala.

Q. You guys were definitely cutting edge back then. In graphics, for example, we had AP, too, but KRGN offered elaborate stuff that was always pushing the limits of what one could do with MacDraw. How did y’all get so good, so fast?

A. I can take very little credit for all the excellent graphics. I never claimed to be an artist. Back then we had some spectacular artists in Knight Ridder, including the outstanding Jeff Glick. I just worked with Apple and Claris and Adobe and Aldus beta testing and trying new techniques, and those folks created the amazing graphics. I had the ear of the MacDraw product manager, and he listened to my ideas and fed me beta copies.

Here’s a two-minute promotional video for
Apple Computer from 1988 or so in which
Tom discusses the importance of Macintosh
technology in news graphics.

Scott was a joy to work with. He and I were on the same page. If I could dream it up he could execute it. I’ve always loved learning new things and then teaching them to people more talented than me.

I hired Tim Goheen right out of college, and, boy, talk about a talented guy. He could do anything, and it was always just right.

Two guys who worked with Tom at The State in the 1980s:

Left: Scott Farrand, now a professor at the University of
South Carolina. Right: Tim Goheen, now director of the
school of visual communication at Ohio University.

Q. It must have been crazy in those days, basically making up products and services as you went along. What’s the most surprising anecdote you can tell me from that era?

A. I’ll tell ‘ya two stories, including one that makes me look bad.

When I was with The State I was also systems manager for the Atex system, and graphics committee chairman for the Atex Newspaper Users Group, an international users group. So I got to work with some of the Atex developers. I was so excited to be able to use Atex messaging within the building and remotely on my Trash-80 that I tried to get them to develop a system for exchanging messages with other Knight Ridder properties through an Atex interface.

“I might want to exchange messages with, say, the photo editor in Detroit,” was the way I phrased it. Remember this was way before the Internet, so the only way to send a message was CompuServe or a similar service. I wanted them to take messages and re-route them to other Atex sites.

I had a hard time selling that notion. PressLink came along soon after that, so I dropped the idea. It was never developed.

Story two: When I was with PressLink we were supported by the General Electric Information Services (GEIS). They were a little slow developing new products because they were so big, but one day they showed us a project they were working on whereby one computer user could open up a window on another user’s computer and type a short message.

I remember thinking, “Why would I want to interrupt a friend when I could just send an e-mail?” Roger agreed. We told them we didn’t think we’d need it. I don’t think it ever went anywhere with GEIS.

Of course, AOL released Instant Messenger much later on, and that became a hit — so people are interrupting colleagues all around the world now.


I guess maybe we missed the implications of that tool. Win some, lose some.

We always had more ideas than we could have possibly implemented. Someone asked me in a job interview what I enjoyed doing most, and I said, “I like making something from nothing.”

Q. So at some point, you moved up the ladder at KRT and then eventually got out of the wire service business. Why?

A. I probably would have stayed with PressLink forever, because by this time I was the longest tenured employee, and I had much of the institutional knowledge. I loved my job.

But in 2001 Knight Ridder sold all the company’s assets to the Tribune Co. and NewsBank and closed us down. I was laid off and was out of work for five months until Jeff Lawrence and Jane Scholz gave me a job with Knight Ridder/Tribune.

I had worked with Jeff and Jane when I was at PressLink, so they knew me. (When you’re over 50 there are very few places that want to interview you.) I handled Macintosh support and built Web sites for KRT.

Q. What brought you back home to South Carolina?

When I was in D.C. with KRT I made the mistake of volunteering for a new assignment within the company. I thought it would be just like PressLink all over again, and I thought it would be a great fit. I was wrong. It was

They tried to turn me into a marketing administrator, and I stunk at it. I hated just about everything, particularly writing long-range planning documents. They weren’t happy with me, either. (Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you the rest of the story.)

By this time I had accumulated 25 years with Knight Ridder. So one day my wife and I said, “We don’t have to be doing this any more; let’s just go back home.” So we did.

I quit, she quit and we sold the house and moved back near family in South Carolina. We had enough money to live on for a while, until we found work or decided what to do. By this time it was more important where we lived than what we did. We have brothers, sisters and parents nearby.

After we were settled, I was very lucky to see a job ad at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal for an online producer. I was very fortunate to be hired by a great group of editors: Andy Rhinehart, Greg Retsinas and Carl Beck. I count my lucky stars every day.


The site Tom edits for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

Q. You’re the multimedia editor for the Spartanburg paper, but you also shoot baseball on the side. Have you always been a baseball nut, or is this a fairly recent interest?

A. Baseball and rock ‘n’ roll. Always loved ‘em both.

I did the rock ‘n’ roll for 14 years, and then just got worn out. Pop music changed and I didn’t have a clue what they were trying to do, so I quit that. I’m not a hip-hop kinda guy.

My dad introduced me to baseball when I was a kid, and that’s a treasured memory I’ll always keep. I became a big fan.

When I found myself in need of another personal challenge (why do I do these things?), baseball photography seemed to be perfect for me. I had the challenge of learning photography all over again with the then-new auto-focus cameras, and I’d spend time at the ballpark. What could be better?


Tom drove to Atlanta on March 29, 2008, for an exhibition
game between the Braves and the Cleveland Indians. “This
exchange early in the game almost made the trip worthwhile
on its own,” he wrote in his blog. “Kelly Johnson slid into
second to break up a double play, and slammed into
Asdrubal Cabrera — who kept applying the tag even after
he got the call.”


“If I had my way there would be a lot more sidearm pitchers,”
Tom blogged. “I love these guys. It’s hard to take a bad photo
of a guy who contorts his body like this and nearly drags his
pitching arm on the ground.” This is closer Joshua Papelbon
of the Greenville Drive, September 2007.

22-year-old Lee Hyde pitches during a Spring Training
game in Kissimmee, Fla. in March 2007.

All three photos by Tom Priddy.

Q. Do you go down to Florida to shoot any spring training? Or do you wait for the minor-league clubs to come home to roost for the season?

A. I’ve spent a week at Spring Training just about every other year lately. I’m going again this year.

Then, throughout the season, I try to get to as many minor league games as I can. These days I may only have time for one game every couple of weeks. I try to research who the top prospects are, and cover them when possible. I do what I can.


“One of the hardest batting shots to photograph is the instant
the ball hits the bat,” Tom wrote in his blog. “It happens so
quickly that you have to shoot even before it occurs. You never
see it until you look at the pictures The next hardest thing is a
broken bat just after it splits. You never see that, either. You
just hear it and wonder. So I can’t take any credit for this one.
In Saturday’s Class AAA game between the Atlanta affiliate
and the Houston Astros team, Diory Hernandez split his bat
on this pitch.” March 17, 2007.


“Anybody who has seen the baseball movie ‘Field of Dreams’
knows where the inspiration for this scene comes from,” Tom
blogged. “It’s the start of the Southern League All-Star Game,
and because stalks of corn weren’t available in the outfield
gate, the players are emerging from man-made clouds.”
July, 2007.

Miss Greater Greer, Stephanie Vaughn, throws out the
first pitch at a Greenville Drive game, April 24, 2008.
“No disrespect to the queen, but I had to laugh when I
saw the hair,” Tom blogged. Click for a larger view.

All five photos by Tom Priddy.

Q. You say in your bio that some of your photos have been used on baseball cards. How, exactly, does one get a gig like that?

A. For some reason, I’m unable to stop dreaming.

I was a baseball card collector when I was a kid, and have always loved the photos and the graphics. When I started shooting baseball, I said, “Hey, I can do this as good as those Topps guys.” So I kept shooting, kept taking chances by sending out proposals, and kept getting picked.

I’ve had my photos on a few hundred cards by now. I love it. Unfortunately, I don’t know a soul who can make a living at it, but its a great part-time gig.


Examples of baseball cards for which Tom has supplied
photos. Click for larger views.

Q. South Carolina is home to a number of notable college baseball teams. Do you ever get over to Clemson or down to Columbia to shoot any of them? Or are you professional baseball only?

A. I like to joke that I shoot as much baseball as my wife allows.

Okay, that’s not much of a joke, but yes I shoot some Clemson baseball. I shot two games there last weekend. The photos get used frequently in the Herald-Journal with player profiles.

And I get some additional practice shooting. I still have a lot to learn.


Clemson baseball, March 4, 2008. It’s a tradition: before
each game, Tiger coach Jack Leggett plows into his team.

“I keep looking back at this one, and enjoying it more and
more,” wrote Tom of one of the few football photos he’s posted
in his blog. “Photographers look for shapes and patterns, and
I was fascinated by the way the three Clemson quarterbacks
went through their drills.” Left to right, Cullen Harper,
Tribble Reese and Willy Korn, 2007.

Both photos by Tom Priddy.

Q. Back in my high school days (Long Cane Academy, McCormick, S.C., Class of ‘80), I used to read your album reviews every Sunday. I still have a few of your Beach Boys clips from The Greenville News and your John Lennon column from The State. Does anyone else ever ask you about this stuff, or am I pretty much the only one?

A. I appreciate you remembering that. That’s died down to a trickle. Nobody much remembers that anymore. I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I’ve come to accept that fact that people only really care about what you do today.

You’re the first person to ask about the old days in, oh, like forever.



Three examples of pages Tom produced as features editor
of the Greenville News. Click each for a larger view. The
page on the bottom, illustrated by Kate Salley Palmer,
is from 1980. The other two are from 1978.

Q. I decided not to attend Clemson because they didn’t have much of a journalism program. Granted, my choice — Winthrop — wasn’t much better at the time. But a Clemson education hasn’t seemed to hurt your career any. Did you get the newspaper training you needed there or did you have to rely on extracurriculars?

A. I went to Clemson because I wanted to be an architect, but after six weeks in the program I knew I had made a mistake. I have zero aptitude for math. Calculating a tip is challenging.

But by that time I had published my first music review, saw it in print in the school newspaper, and said, “Hey, I kinda like the way this looks . . .”

I might have continued to just write music reviews, but one day the editors mixed me up with another freshman and gave me a reporting assignment. I thought, “Hmm, that’s odd, I didn’t volunteer for this, but they must know what they’re doing because they’re editors.” So I covered the assignment and they kept giving them to me.

Actress Jane Fonda, before an anti-war rally speech at
Clemson in the fall of 1970. Photo by Tom Priddy.

We had an outstanding adviser at the time, Dr. Louis Henry, and Dr. Henry basically taught me everything I needed to know abut being a better journalist and a better human being. I owe him a ton. We had no journalism program, but we had Dr. Henry, and he was gold.

Q. You played in the Clemson marching band? What instrument? Do you still play?

A. You keep uncovering things I’m very bad at.

I played drums, had played drums since fifth grade, and wanted to be in the Clemson Tiger marching band as a freshman. Again, this was pre-journalism, and I had no clue what I wanted to become. I played bass drum, enjoyed the heck out of my year in the band, but by sophomore year I was a journalist and had no time for it.

Today I just drum on the steering wheel.

Q. Are you a South Carolina native? Where are you from, originally?

A. Born on Long Island, N.Y., grew up for the most part in New Jersey, wanted to get the heck out of Dodge when I graduated from high school, so I went South.

Fellow Long Islander Billy Joel at the Bi-Lo Center in
Greenville, S.C., Feb. 24, 2007. Photo by Tom Priddy.

Q. So who was your coolest interview as a music writer?

A. Roger McGuinn of the Byrds at Carolina Coliseum was cool, James Taylor (with Carly Simon flitting in the background) in a darkened locker room at Littlejohn Coliseum was cool, the original Allman Brothers in the adjacent locker room on another night (another long story over a beer someday) . . .

But I’d have to say the three days I spent traveling with the Marshall Tucker Band was tops. I have a lot of treasured behind-the-scenes photos. Someday maybe someone will need them for a book.

“As a reporter in the Upstate in the ’70s, I wrote a lot of
stories about the Marshall Tucker Band, and spent time
photographing them backstage at a few concerts,” Tom
blogged. Here is the late Toy Caldwell, backstage at
Carowinds in the early 1980s. Photo by Tom Priddy.

Q. Music writer… Cutting-edge wire service manager… baseball card photographer… Which was more fun?

A. Actually, being a parent is the biggest trip of all. I have two incredible daughters and two great sons-in-law and a wonderful granddaughter. That’s really the most fun. There’s no adrenaline rush like seeing your daughter in the delivery room. The other stuff is fun when I can’t be around them.

The best e-mail messages I ever got were the first ones my daughters sent while at college. Nothing beats that.

Q. Is there something else you really wish I had asked you about?

A. My wife is my secret weapon. She edited every column I ever wrote, starting in college. She’s made me a better writer and a better person.

Okay, sometimes she did it with me kicking and screaming, but she did it. She gets 50 percent credit for everything. Sometimes more.

She almost got thrown out of Carolina Coliseum while I was backstage with McGuinn . . . and she still stayed with me.

Again: Find Tom’s personal website here, his photo blog here and his Twitter feed here.