Here’s a (slightly belated) roundup of the best and most interesting of the weekend’s front pages…
USE IT BIG AND GET THE HELL OUT OF ITS WAY
ST. LUCIE NEWS TRIBUNE
Fort Pierce, Fla.
That’s my favorite advice for when you have great art: Use it big and get the hell out of its way.
Even better when the art was shot locally. You saw that great picture of the owner of a pizza joint in Fort Pierce giving President Barack Obama a huge, off-the-ground bear hug. Here’s how the paper in Fort Pierce used that AP photo by Pablo Martinez.
The News Tribune‘s sister papers used near-identical fronts today.
On the left is the Press Journal of Vero Beach, circulation 83,969. On the right is the Stuart News, circulation 38,956.
All three were designed by Joe Mountain, I’m told.
A FEW MORE POLITICAL-THEMED FRONT PAGES
Both Obama and Mitt Romney have been campaigning hard in New Hampshire — a big swing state this year. As you can see here, a couple of papers went with split-screen presentations Saturday…
…while the Telegraph of Nashua used a local staff photo — shot by staffer William Wrobel — but an overall politics-themed headline.
From left to right: The Monitor of Concord (circulation 20,000), the Union Leader of Manchester (circulation 44,665) and the Telegraph (circulation 16,653).
What gave me pause, however, was this headline atop Saturday’s Portsmouth Herald.
Yes, I’m sure there was a great turnout Friday to see the candidates and their wives. But “Fab Four“?
Should the editor have worked to find language just a little more neutral than that? Or does that not bother you?
It bothers me.
Here are two more papers that used Photoshop cutouts to create political centerpieces for Sunday fronts.
On the left: The Star News of Wilmington, N.C. (circulation 39,058). Notable is a wire graphic that shows the battleground states, including, of course, North Carolina. Also notable is the wrestling-themed headline.
On the right: The Asbury Park Press of Neptune, N.J. (circulation 98,032). I love the way the press cites “four keys to victory,” which puts a forward, analytical — yet, non-partisan — spin on the story.
We do this all the time on the sports pages. We ought to do it more often with political races.
The Columbus Dispatch did that very thing on Sundays’ front page with this smartly-written piece that cites specific reasons why neither candidate can possibly win in November.
Here’s a closer look at just the centerpiece. Click for a readable version.
The photoillustration is by staffer Charlie Zimkus.
Even more arresting is this use of public domain art by James Montgomery Flagg.
The designer played off the illustration with a textured background, bunting-like frame rules and a cartoon voice balloon that invokes the lettering in the original recruiting poster.
Note the way the designer pulled quotes from both Republicans and Democrats.
DAYTON DAILY NEWS
The folks at the new Cox Media Group graphics operation in Dayton, Ohio, constructed a map of Ohio and showing which candidate has the advantage in each region of the key state.
The graphic by Brennan King shows which party captured that region in the 2004 and 2008 elections. But, unfortunately, doesn’t show any polling data that might suggest how each might fall this year. Other than the basic coloring.
The same graphic — indeed, the same design — was also used by smaller Cox papers in the state.
On the left: The Middletown Journal (circulation 12,757). On the right: The Hamilton Journal News (circulation 14,729).
WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL
The Wisconsin State Journal played similar data — in yes, another swing state this year — with this huge graphic package afront Sunday’s paper.
Nice extras: The U.S. map showing all this year’s swing states (note how N.C. leans to the GOP in this analysis), a horizontal bar chart across the top of the package showing the number of electoral votes each candidate might expect…
…and three separate maps showing county-by-county votes in each of the last three presidential elections.
Not reflected here, of course: The stunning election of a Republican governor two years ago. Again, perhaps it’s too early, but I’m looking forward to seeing polling data in these key states.
As much as I love this package, however, the best part was…
The headline: Brilliant.
INTERESTING COLLEGE FOOTBALL PAGES
Speaking of college football…
For home football weekends his fall, the Missourian is pushing most of the paper inside and playing up football coverage. Note the bug at the upper right of this page.
The lead photo by staffer Stuart Palley: Brilliant. The headline: Brilliant.
The treatment of the sidebar about Uga, the bulldog mascot of the University of Georgia: Brilliant.
DES MOINES REGISTER
Des Moines, Iowa
My old pal Jeremy Gustafson of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines tells us:
We need to call him “Big Game” Rodney.
Register photographer Rodney White nailed another game-clinching photo in the Iowa State/Iowa game. Last year he was literally right in on the action when James White scored in triple overtime.
Which Jeremy played sideways.
Read more about that page here.
This year, he captured the moment as Jake Knott waited for a tipped ball to fall into his hands.
So another big, last-minute win over in-state rival Iowa for the Iowa State Cyclones. Another great sports-front anchor photo by Rodney White.
Rodney continues to make my job easy.
Full disclosure: Jeremy is an Iowa State graduate.
Rodney also shot the picture that was played atop page one the next day:
While I love those two Sunday pages by the folks at the Des Moines Design Studio, I’m a little less enthusiastic about this Saturday page that same studio designed for the 12,130-circulation Press-Citizen of Iowa City.
Granted, it was an impossible assignment: How do you balance a) A huge state-rivalry game story and b) a visit by the president?
What I didn’t like was the huge, colorful play to the “gameday” portion of the page. This just didn’t work downpage. The “Hawkeye Gameday” banner appeared beneath the fold.
One possibility might have been to divide the page evenly along the fold. Put Obama on one side and the pregame stuff on the other. That way, newsrack distributors could flip the page whichever way they figured might sell more papers.
I’ll bet you the football game would sell better than Obama.
FUNNIEST HEADLINE OF THE WEEKEND, PART ONE
Check out this fabulous Sunday morning football loss headline from the paper in Bryan-College Station, Texas.
Texas A&M lost to the Florida Gators, 20-17. If you don’t “get” it, the headline is a reference to a phrase popularized by comedian Larry “the Cable Guy” Whitney, who says :”Get ‘er done.”
The Aggies didn’t “get ‘er done” against the Gators.
Here is the entire page of the 22,865-circulation Eagle.
GET THE HELL OUT OF ITS WAY, PART TWO
There might not be many places in the country where NFL football merits poster treatment on page one. But Wisconsin is one of them. Even after a crushing 30-22 loss to the 49ers.
The folks at the aforementioned Des Moines Design Studio produced a number of front pages for Gannett’s Wisconsin papers, including these two.
The Northwestern of Oshkosh (circulation 14,113) used its picture larger. But I’d argue the type treatment — and interactivity with the nameplate — used by the 10,186-circulation Reporter of Fond du Lac provided more visual pop.
The photo was from the Associated Press. (And if someone in Des Moines could tell me who designed these fronts, I’d be much obliged.)
The visually-strongest Green Bay Packer poster front of the day, however, might possibly be this one on the front of the Appleton paper.
The photo is by Gannett’s Evan Siegle.
All four of these Wisconsin papers were designed by Sean Mckeown-Young of the design studio in Des Moines, I’m told.
HOW NOT TO USE A SPORTS PHOTO
You might have noticed that all three those last examples used type atop a photo. This can be a bad thing if the type is obtrusive. I don’t think those were. (My photographer friends out there may disagree.)
Also, note there is just a bit of Photoshop styling on that last example — especially at the bottom. That’s a bit more troubling. Because when you start down the path of Photoshopping live news — or sports — pictures, you may end up in a place like this:
I noticed this last year in the 13,799-circulation Niagara (N.Y.) Gazette and I may have even mentioned it a time or two. But, for the life of me, I don’t understand why a newspaper would cut out — and place onto a color background, complete with a dropshadow — a nice picture taken of the previous day’s game.
DO YOU FEEL OLD YET?
Do you remember Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers and his unbelievable rebound catch against the Oakland Raiders that came to be called “the Immaculate Reception”?
Forty years ago this December. I kid you not.
Gee. Thanks a lot, Post-Gazette. I think.
Average daily circulation of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is 188,545.
A FEW MORE CREATIVE FRONT PAGES
Ideas to look at, file away and, perhaps, rework in a way that will fit the needs of your own paper some day.
Circulation: 24, 354
The story Sunday in Gastonia, N.C.: Salaries of public servants.
The news: Twenty-nine of them make more than $100,000 a year. Which is a lot of money in the western suburbs of Charlotte.
One hint for my friends in Gastonia: The big, bold numbers are just a bit jammed. I’ll bet they’d have had just as much impact if you had taken each down maybe one or two points in size but left the leading the same.
Other than that: Brilliant idea. And wonderful presentation.
Fort Collins, Colo.
The story in Fort Collins: The number of folks who play fantasy football… on company time.
The illustration is essentially a “big numbers” text box, but the big numbers are applied to the backs of football jerseys.
Coloradoan editor Josh Awtry tells us this was…
…stock art that was customized for the illustration (with jersey numbers to match). Based on an idea by Eric Larsen, started by me, delegated by Colin Smith, and expertly realized by Wendy Goldfarb in Phoenix.
This sort of thing can get messy really quickly unless handled with a bit of restraint. Wendy applied just the right touch.
Panama City, Fla.
It’s becoming… I won’t say a cliché; rather, let’s call it standard practice.
Erin Forehand of the Panama City, Fla., News Herald tells us:
For the 75th anniversary of the News Herald, we redesigned the A and B sections to look like they might have in 1937.
Here is that front page.
Note the retro nameplate, the vertical column rules and the variety of headline styles, as well as the scarcity of white space. Yikes! How did we ever read this stuff.
This must have been a huge jolt for readers this morning. Here is the retro front compared to a front page from last summer.
The paper is celebrating its anniversary with a picture book of local photos from its archives. Find that here.
I’m not a huge fan of this particular design. But it is a good example of an illustration executed with nothing more than type.
This is the Pilot‘s annual summer serialized story. The topic this summer: The origins of NASA and the Mercury space program, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In its earliest days — before it moved to Houston — America’s manned space effort was headquartered at NASA’s Langley center, just across the water from Norfolk.
Day Two — today’s installment — focused on the slide-rule-using “nerds” who engineered the early spacecraft.
Not all of the 14-part series is posted online. Find videos and a few other components here.
MAKING SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING
Sometimes, we overthink our centerpieces.
Sometimes, we’re so desperate that we grab something from the archives, hold our nose and hope we don’t get yelled at the next day.
I can’t say for certain that’s what happened Saturday in Huntsville. But I’m here to tell you: This worked.
And it couldn’t have been simpler.
I hope someone got a nice pat on the back for that one.
HOW TO BUMP UP WEEKEND RACK SALES
The story in Quincy, Mass., Saturday was how city officials are fighting businessowners who want to put “adult businesses” in the area.
How do you illustrate a story like that? With a phrase like “bump and grind” in the headline. And a little bump and grind in you art selection.
That photo wasn’t credited, so I can’t tell you whether that’s stock or staff art.
Tell you what: I’ll spend some time this evening searching for it. I’ll let you know if I find it…
FOUR FABULOUS SPORTS SKYBOXES
Those of you out there in newspaper land to whom I’ve been preaching lately about skyboxes? Listen up.
I found four skybox promos this weekend that show just how well a well-cropped photo can sell a story.
Here is high school football atop Saturday’s Stockton (Calif.) Record.
The picture of Tokay High School is by staffer Michael McCollum. Average daily circulation of the Record is 33,675.
The News-Press of St. Joseph illustrated how well the Atlanta Falcons dominated Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs using this picture by staffer Matt Reid.
Average daily circulation of the News-Press is 26,015.
Here’s another small paper making a huge, huge impact with a huge high school skybox picture.
That’s the Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho, circulation 18,244.
Yeah, that’s about a third of the front page. But I’ll bet it sold a hell of a lot of papers Sunday. If nothing else, I’ll bet No. 20’s family bought a dozen copies.
And the smallest and most subtle of these examples is this one from the 14,267-circulation Tribune Eagle of Cheyenne, Wyo.
Did you see that game yesterday? Manning certainly was back. Cropping the picture so we can read the name on the back of his jersey was what made that work. Along with the contrast between the orange jersey and headline and the blue reverse box.
Here is what all four of these papers looked like.
Click any of them, of course, for a larger look.
FUNNIEST HEADLINE OF THE WEEKEND, PART TWO
No comment necessary.
That was from page B1 of Sunday’s Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y. Thanks to radio consultant Scott Fybush for the tip.
The retro Fort Walton Beach page, the Des Moines page and the dog neutering headline are from the respective newspapers. All the rest of these images are from the Newseum. Of course.