Inside Huffington’s guide to late night TV talk shows

Our old pal Martin Gee of Huffington magazine’s iPad operation tipped us off about a very fun piece Huffington published last week.

Martin writes:

Just want to send you this infographic our wonderful Troy Dunham did for this week’s issue. It’s chaotic (but in a good, Family Circus “Billy roams the neighborhood” kind of way) of all the late night talk shows and hosts.


The iPad version apparently has kind of an “Easter egg” tossed in: Among other things, you can click to highlight just the late night shows that lasted a season or less.


Wow. Pat Sajak. Rick Dees. Those were indeed wretched shows. I might have added Chevy Chase to that list. Did you ever make the mistake of seeing that one? He’s funny in movies but his talk show was downright painful to watch.

On the other hand, I recall David Letterman‘s original daytime TV show. It won a couple of Emmys but was considered a ratings failure. NBC simply picked up the shambles of that show, shook off the “stay-at-home-mom” bits — like the cooking segments — and plopped it back down on the schedule after Johnny Carson‘s Tonight show. The result was pure gold.

I’m really wishing I had thought of this. What a fun way to remember these shows.

Troy —  Huffington‘s infographic art director — was kind enough to answer a few questions for us…

Q. May I presume this is in HTML 5, rather than Flash?

A. It is neither HTML or Flash. Huffington magazine is a custom-built mobile app that is InDesign-based.

Q. Who compiled the information for this thing? Did you write it as well as design it?

A. Huffington‘s head of user experience and design, Josh Klenert, and I did all of initial the research. Thank god for Wikipedia! After we had a good map going, we sent it to our internal Comedy and Celebrity editors to proof.


Q. Folks in the newspaper business often claim we just don’t have the time to do stuff like this. Once the info has been compiled and written and it’s time to start pushing pixels around, what kind of time does a project like this take?

A. We are a weekly magazine… so I would say that we began research and sketches on a Friday, and the whole thing was completed the following Thursday. So roughly, a week start to finish.

Q. Did you get any feedback on this? It was positive, I hope.

A. The nice thing about posting work to our website is that you can immediately see the reaction that it gets. It currently has over 400 Facebook “Likes” and a dozen or so tweets and comments.

Find a much-higher-resolution, static version of this graphic here.

The iPad version of Huffington magazine is free. Download it here.

Sun Sentinel promotes Rachel Schallom to multimedia position

David Schutz, design director of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, sends along an official announcement distributed there Tuesday:

I’m happy to announce that we are promoting designer Rachel Schallom to a newly created position of Multimedia Designer for South Florida.


In her new role, Rachel will work on projects for all of our digital platforms from the website to tablet and mobile publications. Rachel brings unique design and programming stills to this new role — her work on and in laying the groundwork for the launch of our first iPad magazines are two recent examples of her creativity and technical expertise.

Rachel will work closely with the rest of the digital team and play an important role in traffic and revenue goals. She will also be involved in our most important journalism projects, looking for innovative ways to present them across all platforms.

Please join me in congratulating Rachel.

A 2010 graduate of the University of Missouri, Rachel worked as a reporter, an editor and a designer for the Columbia Missourian before becoming assistant news editor in 2010. She graduated in 2010 and then spent five months as a design intern at the Huntsville (Ala.) Times.

Rachel returned to Mizzou in 2011 and edited the weekly Tiger Kickoff football section for the Missourian. She earned her master’s degree last year, spent the summer interning for the Los Angeles Times and then joined the Sun Sentinel last August.

Since then, her thesis at Missouri got some notice, as did her work this summer on the NBA playoffs.


And, as David mentioned, her work on the sex predators series in August was remarkable. Read more about that here.

Find Rachel’s web site here and her Twitter feed here.

Virginian-Pilot launches free evening iPad edition

My former paper, the Virginian-Pilot, launched a new iPad edition last week.

The edition publishes six days a week: Weekday evenings at 6:30 p.m. ET and Sunday mornings at 6:30 a.m. And what’s more: The edition is free for download, says editor Denis Finley.

Here’s a promotional video the Pilot released last week:

Denis writes:

Think of [the Evening Pilot] as the reincarnation of the evening paper. Research has shown that tablet owners enjoy reading long-form narrative stories and flipping through visuals on their devices at night. That’s what motivated us to produce EP.

Other talking points:

  • In addition to featuring features, commentary, photo galleries wire reports and local stories, the Evening Pilot will enjoy the services of veteran reporter Lou Hansen, who’s been devoted to working for this project. Lou has been with the Pilot for 16 years. Find his Twitter feed here.
  • Editor Katrice Franklin — you’ll see her in that video — is also assigned to this project full time.

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Lou (left) and Katrice.

  • Josh Bohling is designing the Evening Pilot. See samples of Josh’s print work here.
  • The edition is available only for the iPad at the moment. It’ll soon be available for Android and other tablets, Denis promises.

Find Denis’ letter to readers here.

Download the daily app here.

Average daily circulation for the Virginian-Pilot is 142,476.

How six papers observed the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

Here’s a roundup of the most interesting Gettysburg anniversary treatments that came my way this week…


Washington, D.C.

My old friend Robert Dorrell, assistant art director of MCT Graphics, tells us:

I didn’t have much time by the time I got started, but knew I wanted to try to portray the geography and topography of the battle area as precisely as possible. I expected I’d have to use a painting of the battle, a Library of Congress image, as main art. But I searched in their archive under “maps,” and found some interesting aerial renderings of the area. And one in particular was beautiful. It was prepared for the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1913. I used it as main art, because it offered such an expressive vista of that terrain, which is what I felt was important to represent the complexity and sweep of the land being fought over by the two determined armies.


It was pretty dark originally, so I had to tone it up quite a bit.

The rest of the effort was spent building the series of three theater maps below the main image. By selecting the color ranges of a single contour map of the area, then making paths from those selections in Photoshop and exporting the paths to Illustrator, I got a quick set of land contours, shades of green, with blur codings applied to soften them; duplicate that three times, apply labels and arrows.

Then, text, and a couple of pieces of other Library of Congress images, casualty stats (thanks, Charles, I found those thanks to you).

We posted this big version. The Dallas Morning News used it on an inside A In Depth page of theirs, very nice.


We also posted a 3-column version, edited down a bit, and finally a 2-col. map for those folks lacking good display space. I’d have tried to set up an interactive as well, but ran out of time.

A product of Northwestern University, Robert Dorrell spent a year as a graphic artist for the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman before moving to the Washington Post in 1995.


He spent four years with the Post and then three at the Chicago Tribune before becoming graphics director of the Indianapolis Star in 2002. He became graphics director of the Sacramento Bee in 2005 and then moved to MCT in 2011.


Reading, Pa.

Circulation: 49,437

In Reading, Pa. — about 100 miles east of Gettysburg — the Eagle went all-out on its 150 anniversary coverage with a five-part series. You can find all the components posted on the paper’s web site.


Illustrator and graphic artist Craig Schaffer tells us:

I’ve been working on this project for over three months with reporter Ron Devlin and photographer Jeremy Drey. Former editor John Forrester gave me the assignment to “do whatever I wanted” (his words!) and sent me out with the team. So I got ambitious and decided I wanted this to be equally graphic intensive as it was with stories and photos.

I used the graphics to add context to the stories that were being written. Non-Civil War buffs needed to know things like: Why Gettysburg?, How many people are in a regiment?, When did the battle take place in relation to the entire war? and more. So I began to graphically answer some of those questions.

Day one was more of a dictionary page that explained soldiers, military structure, and weapons.


We visited the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. We also visited the Gettysburg National Military Park with tour guide and historian Jim Pangburn who gave us excellent detailed information about regiments that were raised in Berks County.

This project boiled down to the 151st Pennsylvania Infantry which was mostly Berks school teachers who enlisted when school let out. Their first battle took place on July 1, 1863 at McPherson’s woods at Gettysburg.


The double truck graphic goes into detail, in 15 minute increments, as to their fate. They sustained the second highest casualty rate in the battle. I did a lot of library research, as well as locate all of the local head shots from the Historical Society of Berks County.

Day two also included a civil war timeline, bios on the generals, and the battle breakdown.

Day three explained Culp’s Hill, the fishhook and more local people.


Day four is a page explaining Pickett’s Charge, where the 151st meets the 26th North Carolina, again and the final day lays out the Civil War/Gettysburg casualties in relation to all U.S. conflicts plus add things you didn’t know were created because of the Civil War.


A 1998 graduate of the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Mass., Craig Schaffer spent several years as an archaeological illustrator before joining the Intelligencer of Doylestown, Pa.


He moved to the Reading Eagle in 2005, where he is essentially the paper’s first “visual journalist.”

He explains:

I have two graphic columns. One called Snapshot which is about statistics and runs in our Tuesday Business publication, Business Weekly.

The other, Sketchbook, is a hand drawn nature column which appears in Berks Country, a rural farm-themed Wednesday publication.

This Gettysburg package is the first step in letting me create graphic stories instead of only written ones. I think everyone is pleased with the outcome so far.

Find Craig’s online portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.


York, Pa.

Circulation: 57,738

York is even closer to Gettysburg — just 30 miles — than Reading is.

Assistant managing editor for visuals and multimedia Brad Jennings tells us all about what the Daily Record did for the anniversary:

Our efforts have been overwhelmingly digital. We didn’t really take one big kick at the print can, so much as steady, complete coverage over a long period of time.

As an example, Brand sent along last Sunday’s front page, featuring a photo of a local re-enactment.


Those pictures were by staffer Jason Plotkin.

Re-enactments are huge at Gettysburg. More about that in a moment.

Brad tells us:

The centerpiece of our Gettysburg effort is an iPad app that we’ve dubbed a “tablezine” (tablet magazine). Samantha Dellinger and I headed up that project. Sam basically applied her InDesign skills to the Adobe DPS (Digital Publishing Suite) to create a fully interactive experience.

Among the features included: A day-by-day breakdown…


…lots of maps and breakouts…


…a look at how soldiers existed back then…


…and a heavy emphasis on re-enactors.


The app is available here for just $1.99.

Brad continues:

My takeaway is that a solid page designer can make an easy leap toward doing projects like this. Sam learned on the fly, but she figured out how to do everything we wanted to do with the interactivity. And while this app is massive in terms of content and features, every app doesn’t have to be. So the concept is scale-able. Smaller newsrooms can tackle smaller projects but still publish very slick tablet apps for their audiences.

Our other focus has been the creation and curation of this news page, which we’ve been updating nearly 24/7. Our assistant news editor Dan Herman did a great job to build this:


Visual editor Eileen Joyce also championed our “cupola cam,” which gives a live shot from the seminary college cupola where Gen. John Buford kept watch of troop movements on Day 1 of the battle. We can pan and zoom this camera remotely:

Sam also brought back the paper pals idea, this time with Civil War generals:


You guys know how much I love the paper pals. Go here to find Sam’s football paper pals from last fall.

My mom is going to love this Robert E. Lee paper pal.

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Find all of Sam’s new Civil War paper pals here.

Brad writes:

We have a cool new Media Center for slideshow displays, like this one:


And we published our first e-book by repurposing our editor Jim McClure‘s history book East of Gettysburg:


Our approach to Gettysburg daily coverage has been a team effort with our sister newsrooms within DigitalFirst Media. The York Daily Record, the nearby Hanover Evening Sun and Chambersburg Public Opinion and Lebanon Daily News, along with a “SWAT team” from DFM have worked as one team in a satellite newsroom in Gettysburg. They churn out a ton of content every day, and each newsroom decides what to take for print that day. It’s been a great experience so far.

A 1997 graduate of the University of Delaware, Brad Jennings has been at the Daily Record for ten years.Find his Twitter feed here.

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A 1998 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Samantha Dellinger spent five years with York Graphics Services before joining the Daily Record in 2000. Find her blog here and her Twitter feed here.


Pittsburgh, Pa.

Circulation: 188,545

Social media content editor Heather Schmelzlen was kind enough to alert me to the wonderful responsively-designed interactive presentation the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette created for this week’s anniversary.

She tells us:

The idea for a fully interactive experience related to the battle of Gettysburg surfaced in a January brainstorming session held in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s multimedia studio. Allan Walton, Assistant managing editor for multimedia, said he wanted Gettysburg to be “our ‘Snowfall,’ ” — a reference to the New York Times‘ Pulitzer Prize-winning interactive. “But,” he said, “let’s raise the bar.”

The project started to steamroll as photographer/videographer Steve Mellon, one of the project coordinators with Walton, began gathering research, along with another contributor, web programmer Laura Malt-Schneiderman.

Here’s the opening page:


The decision was made to tell the story of Gettysburg not just through the battle, but through a Pittsburgh prism, given the industrial city’s role in arming the North. Pittsburgh residents had thought they might be the target of Robert E. Lee’s invasion, sparking both panic and preparation. A handful of people connected to the city — civilians and soldiers — had experiences that personalized those days leading up to and through the gory days of Gettysburg.

Here’s a good example of how the PG pulled this off: This page shows Pittsburgh the way it looked in the 1960s.


But then that picture morphs into a photo of the city from that same angle.


Mellon, armed with extensive research, began writing the story, which had to be the heart and soul of the interactive. Web designer Andrew McGill began work on issues related to functionality and presentation; others tackled design, editing, video narration and additional chores.

Among the features included is this map showing fortifications that were hastily built around Pittsburgh in the face of what they thought was imminent invasion by Lee’s rebel troops.


Each of those red dots is clickable.


Later in the story, when the actual battle begins, the presentation leads the reader to 360-degree panoramic views of the battlefield…


…as well as battlefield diagrams that move as you scroll down the page.


Heather tells us:

All told, a dozen journalists were involved in the project, making this a true team effort. The end result is a fully immersive multimedia experience, beginning with a compelling story but including layers of associated content (videos, new and archival images, illustrations, interactive maps and panoramic photos, bios and more) available for exploration at the precise moment in the story when most relevant.

Find the presentation here.

We’ll wrap this up with two papers a long, long way from Gettysburg…


San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

Dean Lockwood, news production manager for the San Antonio paper, tells us:

I didn’t want Gettysburg anniversary to slip by without acknowledging it in a cool way.

Just a simple comparison of casualty figures. But telling.


Dean compares the casualties at Gettysburg to those of other notable U.S. Army actions.

Here’s a closer look. Click for an even larger, hopefully readable, view:


Dean designed this with a little research help from staffer Julie Domel. The photo is by John Moore of Getty Images.


Dean writes:

Funny history lesson of another sort: I started out college as a history major at UT El Paso. My first history course was with the chairman of the history department. The bastard gave me my first and only C in college, just because my term paper (on [German Gen.] Erwin Rommel) was turned in 20 minutes late.

I figured there was no way in hell I was studying under this guy for four years. So I immediately walked over to the mass communications and changed my major to journalism.

Dean is a 1985 graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso. Find his Twitter feed here.


Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

And then finally, here is my modest little effort. This ran in Monday’s Register:


As a history buff, too, I would love to have found a way to diagram what happened during the battle. But I had “only” one full page and I didn’t want to cram in too much material. It was, after all, a three-day battle.

In addition, I own a number of books about the Civil War that would have made fabulous resources for a page like this. However, they’re all back home in Virginia Beach.

So I decided to take the quick-and-easy way out, with seven quick facts, plus two bonus facts about the Civil War in general (no pun intended). The lead art came from the Library of Congress. The info for the rest of the page came from the National Archives the National Parks Service and the Civil War Trust.

The casualty figures were easy enough to track down. I love the story about how Union Gen. George Meade had been on the job only three days when the battle began. Note my headline on that bit: “Gen. Noob.”

I also debunked a couple of urban legends about the battle.


But my favorite part of the page was my little bit about how a famous picture of the Gettysburg dead after the battle was, in fact, faked.




But that same bit came back to bite me later.

I built my page back on Friday, June 21. The next week, MCT moved a story about the deception. Our wire desk picked up the story and gave it prominent play in our A section.

That happens, sometimes, when you work ahead of time. I considered dumping that bit from my page and finding something else to plug in. But in the end, I decided it was still a decent bit and a fun read. Also, I showed both pictures while the story we ran used only the faked photo.

This is a good example of the Focus pages I build five days a week for the Orange County Register. I started work here in March. Find more Focus pages in my NewsPageDesigner gallery.

Fun summer cover illustration alert

For your consideration: The front of the new issue of Huffington, the iPad app published by the Huffington Post.


One wonders how long you’d have to search through Google maps to find a water park shaped exactly like that. You think you’ve found one when you look closer and it says “Best Summer Breeblesnorf.”

In fact, that’s an illustration by the creative illustration duo Toby and Pete. Find their web site here.

The best thing about Huffington: It’s free, I’m told. Find it here.

Thanks to Huffington staffer Martin Geea hell of an illustrator himself — for the tip.

Two fun ‘Iron Man 3’ features treatments

A couple of fresh Iron Man 3 pages for your Friday reading pleasure…


Charleston, W.Va.

Circulation: 17,879

News and design editor Philip Maramba writes to say:

As all the Charleston Daily Mail‘s comic book nerds have gone on to other papers or been bumped into middle management, it’s been a while since we’ve had a front devoted to superhero movies.

As the big movie season kicks off, the late night staff took it upon ourselves this week to commandeer a weekend life front and have some fun. (Plus, we’ve hired a copy editor who moonlights as a comics movie blogger, so someone had time to write.)

1D Evening 05-03-2013.qxd (Page D1)

This was created by our talented graphic designer, Kevin Cade. The preview main bar was written by our young copy editor/comics nerd Andy Smith. I even re-worked an old blog post to have a related column to stay in the theme.

It was a fun, spur-of-the-moment thing to do.


New York, N.Y.

Martin Gee — a designer for the Huffington Post‘s iPad app — writes:

We had an Iron Man 3 review in this week’s Huffington in the form of our 25 Questions dept. When this story came up, my illustration(s) were ready to go!

The first page’s “off state” shows both halves of their faces.


You can click for the Mark XLII…


…Iron Patriot…


…and back to the two halves. The beauty of the iPad!

I’ve included the rest of the story if you’re interested in reading it.

Click on any of these pages for a readable version. Here are pages two and three…

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…and four and five.

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Although iTunes tells you here that Huffington costs only 99 cents per issue, in fact, each issue is free.

Other Iron Man 3 treatments:

* Toledo, Ohio, Free Press Star

* Victoria (Texas) Advocate

Fort Worth Star-Telegram artist Steve Wilson becomes a food blogger

My old pal Steve Wilson — senior artist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram — has also been blogging lately for his newspaper. About cooking.


He tells us his Weekend Chef blog…

…is just something that I came up with that I was doing in my spare time the past year and a half that has taken on a life of its own.

I like to cook and collect Japanese cooking knives. I started taking pictures of what I was cooking on the weekends (photography is another one of my hobbies) and posting them as blog post on our site.

And occasionally, these pictures end up in print as well. Check out this five-page spread from the Star-Telegram‘s Indulge magazine insert.

Click these — or any of today’s images — for a much larger, readable view.




And here’s the way the Star-Telegram promoted the story on page one that day.


Steve writes:

It turned out there was [also a lot of] interest in what I cooked over the weekend. Especially if bacon was involved.

Mmmm… Bacon…



So Steve cooks, shoots his own pictures — like, for example, these photos of a great-looking coffee-crusted steak…


…or these pics of simple pork-and-beans…



…then blogs about the food.


In the case of the Cowboy Beans, there, Steve kicked off his post with a YouTube video of that famous beans scene from Blazing Saddles. Now, that’s how you write a food blog.

And then, sometimes, the blog post winds up back in print. As you can see, his print editors gave the beans post a slightly different headline spin.


Steve says the blog…

…is getting good web traffic. Last month, my channel had around 82,000 page views for the month. They run a lot of the post as teasers on page 2 of the paper…

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…and sometimes in our weekly pub.

Here are some of Steve’s lobster tail photos from February…

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…and here’s the resulting tab page.


Here’s another example: Steve did something a while back on barbecued chicken.

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The blog post featured a 20-photo online gallery.


Occasionally Steve’s work ends up on the front page of that tab section.


Here’s the inside page.


Steve tells us:

Next Wednesday, the paper is actually printing a Weekend Chef tab as an insert on good paper, with 24 open pages.

Here is the promo copy:

The Weekend Chef: A special section

Just in time for grilling season, the Star-Telegram and fire up your appetites with a special section filled with mouthwatering recipes and practical tips from Steve Wilson, our resident grillmaster and the author of our Weekend Chef blog on


A graphic artist by day and grilling superhero in his spare time, Steve documents his cooking adventures with great photos and easy to follow recipes for everything from bacon-wrapped meatloaf and beer-crust pizza to lobster tails and juicy Cowboy steak. He’ll show you how to make the perfect BBQ chicken and add excitement to your burgers and dogs. And Steve’s a native Texan, so he puts a Lone Star twist on many of his dishes, offering you valuable advice on picking the right brisket and getting your chili just right.

Most of all, his recipes will inspire the weekend chef in all of us.

As for my real job, I have been working a lot on our new iPad Mag, DFW OT. Here is a video of making this months cover, a bouncing basket ball for March Madness….

…and a link to our Bernini interactive that can load on the iPad as a web app and uses the iPad’s gyroscope for the 360s.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, Steve has worked at the Star-Telegram for 29 years, winning awards from the Dallas Society of Illustrators, the Dallas Press Club, the Society for Newspaper Design and the Associated Press.

Steve tells us:

I don’t have a current graphics website up right now, I do have an old 3D flicker gallery here.

A few samples…

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Most of the stuff in it is close to 10 years old now. But it does have a 3d burger I did on it. Maybe foreshadowing my Weekend Chef blog?


I also have a some Lightwave training videos still up from back when I was doing the SND Quick Courses with Len De Groot.

Find Steve’s Flickr portfolio here, his food blog here and his food blog’s Facebook page here. Find his Twitter feed here.

In this month’s Chicago Tribune photo app: Vintage celebrity photos

First a bit of news. And then a funny story that might — but, more likely, might not — be related.

My friends in the photography department of the  Chicago Tribune launched an iPad app earlier this year. This is a monthly e-magazine. According to the Tribune‘s marketing materials:

Inside each edition you’ll find the most compelling news, sports, features, portrait and pictorial photography from the Chicago Tribune‘s staff photographers, available now for the first time in full iPad Retina-ready resolution…


…In the year ahead, we plan to bring you editions on current Chicago news and cultural events, as well as special themed editions featuring images from the Tribune’s vast archive. Once again, these images will be available in the highest resolution we’ve ever released.

That sample above was from the first edition, back in January. The latest edition, however — the app’s fourth, associate managing editor for photography Robin Daughtridge tells me —  features vintage glass-plate pictures of celebrities enjoying Chicago in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Robin tells me:

We’re really excited about this one!

Here’s the cover:


A year’s subscription, I’m told, goes for $4.99. Or, you can buy each issue for $1.99. Your choice, y’know?

Find the app here. Go here to watch a video about Starstruck in Chicago.

Tribune photo editor Erin Mystkowski wrote in the Tribune‘s Trib Photo Nation blog last month about how this project came to be:

I got a mail cart, a pair of rubber gloves, a Sharpie and a list of numbers that would lead to what was sure to be a gold mine. Outfitted with this gear, I descended the Tribune Tower’s system of elevators to the 5th sub-basement. That’s below the level of the Chicago River.

The numbers correspond to some of the several hundred boxes containing in total more than 60,000 glass plate negatives and even more 4×5 acetate negatives. The Tribune was recently able to make a detailed inventory of these artifacts and I get to help these images see the light of day again.


Joe DiMaggio drinks what appears to be milk.


Joan Crawford, 1952.


Harry Houdini performs in the childrens’

ward of a Chicago hospital in 1926.

A group of photo editors had made a long list of movie stars from the 1920s and 1930s— some of which, I’m embarrassed to say, I’m too young to recognize before this adventure. The list grew to include tons of famous entertainers; comedians, actresses, singers, etc., and I was able to match them to numbers on our inventory. And we believe most of these photographs haven’t been viewed since they were made, up to 90 years ago.

Once I opened the dusty boxes and got them on a light table, I realized they’re far cooler than I ever imagined.

I believe her. Here’s the anecdote I promised you earlier…

Once upon a time — in the mid-1990s — I worked at the Tribune‘s graphics department. I mostly did infographics, of course, but much of the work I did would today be considered page design work: Sports centerpieces and so on.

Once, I recall working on a special section after the Chicago Bulls won their 6th NBA championship. I can’t recall whether this was commemorating that title or celebrating the second retirement of Michael Jordan. It was one or the other.

It came to pass that, despite the tight, tight deadlines, I was asked to build two or three pages for the special section. In order to get it done, I stayed overnight.

So there I was, there in the tower, working on these pages. I needed some photos, so I went to the guy manning the late shift at the news research desk (previously known as: the library). For some snarky little piece, I needed to compare someone to a “monster.” My idea was to grab that famous picture of Boris Karloff in his Frankenstein makeup.

You know: This one.


So, among the requests I put in to the library, I put in for something like “Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster.”

The good news was: I got my picture. The bad news was: The picture was literally falling apart. The edges were worn, there were actual holes in the print. And the glossy sheen was long gone from this studio handout.

The picture was unusable. In frustration, I turned it over to see the list of dates on the back of when the picture had run in the paper.

And that’s when I discovered: According to the rubber stamps, this picture had appeared in the Tribune, off and on, going back over the past 65 years.

So this wasn’t just a studio handout picture of Boris Karloff in his original Frankenstein makeup. This was an original studio handout picture of Boris Karloff in his original Frankenstein makeup. From the original release of the movie. In 1931.

I’m fairly certain this picture isn’t included in the iPad app the Tribune is selling this month. The photos in Erin’s project are Tribune originals. This Karloff shot was a handout picture. But still, it was a fun lesson in what can happen when you have world-class, historically-mindful folks running a newspaper archive.

Find the Trib Photo Nation blog here and Alex Garcia‘s Assignment Chicago photo blog here.

Find the Fans of Chicago Tribune Photography Facebook page here.

Chicago Sun-Times wishes Michael Jordan a happy 50th

Basketball legend Michael Jordan turns 50 today.

Even the American Association of Retired Persons is getting ongratulated His Airness on the milestone.


Wow. That would make me feel really old. If I hadn’t turned 50 last April, that is.

AARP ain’t the only ones, of course. Chad Merda, app editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, tells us:

Two weeks ago, we launched a new weekly (and free) app, Sport by Chicago Sun-Times.

This week we got on the Jordan bandwagon and went a bit crazy. We loaded up Sunday’s edition with tons of Jordan stuff, in addition to other Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Sox features.

Here’s the cover of this week’s issue…


…and here’s the cover story.


Included in the Jordan package is a column by Rick Morrissey


…a comprehensive timeline of Jordan’s life…


…a gallery of photos…


…and a gallery of video clips.


Chad tells us:

Some of the old Jordan videos are pretty cool (and sure to make readers feel old). The piece on the shoes is a winner…




…in addition to the package with 50 people with ties to Jordan telling their favorite stories about him, ranging from David Stern to the Birmingham Barons play-by-play guy.





Make sure you click on the Dave Hampton page, above, so you can read what he said about Michael. Hilarious.

And then there are a few non-Michael Jordan items in this week’s edition as well. Like this list of beer prices in NBA stadiums…


…and NHL statistical leaders.


Chad adds:

Right now the app is only available on the iPad, but by next week, a pretty slick version will be on the iPhone (just waiting on Apple approval). Then we’ll move forward on getting it on Android tablets and smartphones.

Find Sport by Chicago Sun-Times here. It’s free, of course. Find the Sun-Times‘ free Bulls extra here, the Bears extra here and College Football Gridiron extra here.

A couple of months ago, we took a look at a few other Sun-Times iPad apps. Find those here.

Average daily circulation for the Sun-Times is 422,335.

A couple of cool free iPad apps from the Chicago Sun-Times

Chad Merda, app editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, tells us:

For our year in review package, we put together a special edition of our daily iPad app and put it up as a freebie in the newsstand.


Our art director, Bryan Barker, did most of the heavy lifting on this one. It’s a pretty good read and we thought it was a great way to showcase some of our great photography. And the interactive timeline is pretty cool too.



I love the illustration for this one.


Apparently, this one is for the entertainment stories of the year.


Here’s the splash page to kick off the year’s top sports stories.


And here’s an example of one of this year’s sports stories.


Here’s the start of the photography section, listed by shooter.


Each photographer gets his own mini-gallery.


Clicking on any of those images brings up larger view.


Chad also tells us:

In an effort to try to take advantage of the college bowl season, we recently launched Gridiron, which is free and available both in the App Store and through Google Play. We’ve put out a few issues so far and will have an edition each day from Jan. 1-8.




I love the bowl listings, which are arranged by calendar view.


Tap on any day to bring up a listing of that day’s games.


The one thing I’ll warn you about: The times listed are Central Standard. So if you download this, be careful if you’re not in that particular time zone.

Chad tells us:

Next year, our plan is to have an edition [of Gridiron] come out every Saturday and Sunday, with some special editions mixed in.

Find the Sun-Times‘ free daily iPad app here. Find the free college football Gridiron iPad app here.

Average daily circulation for the Sun-Times is 422,335.

Seattle Times publishes pictures-of-the-year project as an iBook

Denise Clifton, mobile development specialist, for the Seattle Times, tells us:

This year, my colleagues in the photography staff at The Seattle Times have taken an interactive approach to our pictures of the year – presenting them in a book designed for the iPad.


This is the first interactive book that The Seattle Times has produced, and it’s a beautiful way to highlight our best photojournalism and videos.


Among the sample pages the Times posted this week from this project was this one showing last spring’s high school all-stars.


Those pictures were shot by Times staffer Bettina Hansen using an iPhone app called Camera+.


Sports designer Rich Boudet told me at the time that Bettina…

…took the athletes a block away and shot them against an old building outside. Not having a big SLR in their faces was brilliant for getting them relaxed and you’ll notice the athletes were pretty candid (one even shows off his arm muscle).

Using iPhone technology but without the wacky, artificial filters and retro, faux-Polaroid effects that you get from Instagram. I referred to this as:

The right tool, used in the right way.

That’s just one of the several projects included in the Seattle Times Pictures of the Year 2012, an iBook available now on iTunes for $2.99. The book contains 135 photos, 12 videos and, Denise tells us:

We will also be updating the book in January with more great photography from December.

That update will be free for folks who buy the book now.

In addition, the Times will run some of these pictures in the special year-end issue of NW magazine inserted in this Sunday’s paper.

Read more here in a blog post by the Times‘ photo and video editor Danny Gawlowski.

If you liked Mario Garcia’s presentation, you’re gonna love this

Mario Garcia — by far the most famous news design consultant on the planet — just finished his presentation on iPad design at the Society for News Design workshop in Cleveland.

I’m sure he mentioned it, but he has a new book out on iPad design: The iPad Design Lab.

Here’s a trailer for the book:

You can buy it from iTunes, of course ($9.99). Or you can get the Kindle version from Amazon (currently $7.19).

I don’t have it myself just yet. But then again, I don’t have an iPad, either. That’ll have to wait until I’m working more regularly.

Originally from Cuba, Mario Garcia worked as a child actor before he moved to Florida after the Castro revolution. Mario obtained a PhD from the University of Miami in 1976 and moved to Syracuse University the year after, where he took over as head of the school of graphic artist from Ed Arnold. He moved to the University of South Florida in 1985 and was affiliated with the Poynter Institute. Through his firm, Garcia Media, he has redesigned more than 450 newspapers over the past 30 years. He’s also published a number of non-electronic books. His most recent, Pure Design, was published in 2002.

Find Mario’s blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Previous blog posts about SND Cleveland:

And a couple more sites to keep handy:

I have seen the future. And the future is a McDonald’s.

Last night, I took the family out to dinner. To McDonald’s.

Admittedly, I didn’t take them there for the fancy cuisine — although, yes, the chicken selects and fries were nice and hot. I took them there because of a story that ran in Sunday’s Virginian-Pilot about a brand new McDonald’s that opened up near Lynnhaven Mall here in Virginia Beach.

This restaurant opened its doors in a “soft opening” a couple of weeks ago. It doesn’t even celebrate its official grand opening until this coming Saturday.

The reason we went there last night, however, was because this McDonald’s has something no other McDonald’s in the U.S. has: iPads built directly into the tables for customers to use while they’re eating.

There are six iPads attached to five tables in this restaurant. Most tables have only one iPad mounted there. One table has two of ’em.

(That blue thing you see in the middle of the table is an advertisement for Saturday’s grand opening.)

I already know the manager, Jason, pretty well: He is the former manager of the McDonald’s close to my house, where I hang out to blog some afternoons. He’s rightfully proud of his new store and of the pilot project that brought iPads here.

The iPads are supplied and serviced by a French company called Weblib, which specializes in renting tablets and mobile devices to retailers and setting up wifi hotspots. Jason tells me this is an experiment by the local franchise owner. If it goes over well, they just might spring for additional tablets in this restaurant and in others here in Virginia Beach.

Even at this early stage, though, this thing has the odor of success all over it. We might see these all over, before long.

The Virginian-Pilot‘s Carolyn Shapiro reported this past Sunday:

Ricky Pritchard and his wife… didn’t know the new restaurant, about a mile away, had the iPads until they stopped there for breakfast last week.

“I love it,” said Pritchard, 49, after he and his wife finished their steak bagels. “I’ve been sitting here a little too long.”

He and his wife, Victoria, called up Facebook while eating. She said the iPad at McDonald’s made it easier for them to use together than at home, where it’s not always comfortable to share the screen.

“It’s going to keep people here longer,” Victoria Pritchard said. “I can imagine us coming here all the time.”

Granted, there are a few bugs to work out. Customers are blocked from certain domains — most notably YouTube — but they can use Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and other popular sites, including shopping sites. Apps are pre-loaded onto the iPads.

Each customer can “start a new session” by hitting a button to essentially reboot the machine. Once it’s up, it logs onto the restaurant’s wifi automatically.

That wasn’t working last night, in fact. So none of the news and social media apps would work for my wife, Sharon. It didn’t slow her down any. She found a familiar game app and jumped right in.

Another issue: Sharon found the little goosenecked stand a bit awkward. You can flip the iPad sideways but you can’t swivel it around to face the other way or change the angle at which you read it. Jason told us the folks from France will remount these units soon with something that’s a little more flexible.

Elizabeth checked out the wifi with her iPod and reported it working well. I noticed a number of electrical connections neatly mounted in strategic locations. This place is definitely aimed at being an internet hangout.

Jason offered to troubleshoot the internet connection for us, but I didn’t want to tie the guy up, just for the sake of a blog post. He probably has a zillion details to work out before Saturday’s grand opening.

But, wow. Free use of iPads at McDonald’s.

That’s one way to make your meal happy.

Boston Globe’s Martin Gee to join Huffington Post iPad team

Boston Globe features design supervisor Martin Gee is moving to Huffington, the Huffington Post‘s new iPad project.

Martin told his Facebook friends Tuesday night:

Sad to leave but excited for new things and NYC! Carrie will still work for Font Bureau/Edible Vineyard/Ready-Media. The loafs still refuse to get jobs.

The “loafs” being Martin and Carrie’s cats.

Globe assistant managing editor Dan Zedek wrote, in his official announcement:

You never knew what Martin would come up with when he got an assignment, but you could always count on a smart, inventive solution; something that would make you think or smile (or both). He’s also been a generous colleague, contributing everything from illustrations to technical advice. I’m grateful for all of the inspiring work he’s done in his time here and I hope you’ll join me in wishing him the best of luck in New York.

His last day at the Globe will be September 14.

Martin will be a senior designer for Huffington, which was launched about three months ago. Read Arianna Huffington‘s announcement of the app here. Find the app itself here.

Martin studied illustration at San Jose State University and interned at the San Jose Mercury News and the Miami Herald before joining the Orange County Register in 1998. In 2000, Martin left newspapers to work as a designer for the House of Blues. He leaped back into news design with Chicago’s RedEye in 2005 and then slipped over to the mothership Chicago Tribune before moving back to the Mercury News in 2006.

In 2008, Martin became art director of the monthly Oregon Business magazine. He joined the Globe in 2010.

A few samples of Martin’s recent work:





Find Martin’s web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Like Martin said, his wife, Carrie Hoover Gee, is a designer for the Font Bureau and Ready-Media and an art director for Edible Vineyard magazine. She’ll keep those gigs while the couple moves to New York City.

Geekazoid Friday: We should all be in San Diego this weekend

In full swing right now in San Diego: The annual Comicon International, where my fellow geeks are gathering to discuss, watch previews and shop for memorabilia for their favorite science fiction, fantasy, action and comic-book movies, books and magazines.

And, sure ’nuff, a number of folks dress up for Comicon. Today, U-T San Diego cartoonist Steve Breen focused on all that costumed goodness for his sketchbook contribution.

It’s particularly nice to see Deadman — one of the more obscure DC Comics heroes — at the bottom left. Deadman has long been one of my favorites. His super power? He’s, um, dead. Seriously.

U-T San Diego played that sketchbook page huge across today’s front page.

With thousands of attendees in town for Comicon, U-T San Diego is all over this, with a large chunk of staffers on hand to write and shoot the action and an entire section of its web site for ease in navigating the news.

A highlight, of course, is the photo galleries. Here are three samples from Thursday by UTSD staffer K.C. Alfred

Look! It’s Deadman again!

Costumes aren’t required to attend Comicon. But apparently, neither are pants.

Hey! I found him!

In addition to its web-based coverage, U-T San Diego is also producing a daily iPad report on Comicon. They’re calling it Ink — Perhaps the name Pixels was taken.


Find Ink here.

Now, if you happen to actually be going to Comicon, keep an eye out for three folks.

Dan Taylor — comic book writer and publisher of Hero Happy Hour — says he doesn’t have a table this year, but he’s there today with a professional badge.

In fact, Dan’s looking for an artist to fill in for a month or so. If you’re so inclined, track him down. Find his blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Secondly, look for Darlene Horn, former San Diego Union-Tribune staffer and now a food blogger.

She’ll be there, selling copies of her new “semi-autobiographical” book, The Girl With the Donut Tattoo.

Copies are only five bucks. But sprinkles might be extra. You’ll have to ask her.

In fact, Darlene happened to get a little publicity last week when Candice Norwood of U-T San Diego wrote a story about her and her book for the front of the paper’s food section.


Darlene tweeted yesterday:

This lady [on the right] made me tear up. Got two comics per her 89 yo grandmother’s request after seeing the article.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Darlene also posted a great piece about food options for Comicon attendees. Lunch and dinner are always problems for folks at Comicon, I’m told.

Find Darlene’s blog here and her Twitter feed here.

And then there is Darlene’s husband, Paul Horn, the former Union-Tribune graphic artist who “retired” in 2006 to concentrate on his brilliant web-distributed, pop-culture spoofing comic strip, Cool Jerk.

Paul tweeted Thursday that his booth is in…

…is in Small Press, K10. Which is at the intersection of rows 1400 & 5600.

Paul has self-published three collections of Cool Jerk plus one collection of his macabre Doc Splatter strips.



The newest book — OMG Color!, created for last year’s Comicon — was Paul’s first color mini-collection. It includes 27 colorized strips from his first and second books. Plus this charming color illustration.

In addition to these books — and Darlene’s book — Paul is also selling T-shirts, buttons, canvas panel reprints… all sorts of cool swag, in fact.

Naturally — for those of us not cool enough to actually be in San Diego this year for Comicon — these dead-tree publications are available on Paul’s web site as well.

Check out Paul’s Cool Jerk web comic here. Find the Cool Jerk Facebook page here and Paul’s own Twitter feed here.

New in St. Louis: An all-electronic afternoon edition

The Post-Dispatch of St. Louis, Mo., has something new for readers these days: A special evening edition called P-D P.M.

It’s viewable on tablet, smartphone or regular desktop or laptop computers and it’s free to 7-day-a-week subscribers.

Here was last night’s front page. Note the custom nameplate.

Here is last night’s page two, containing mostly briefs and shorter snippets:

Assistant managing editor for presentation Bob Rose sent us these pages from Tuesday’s P-D P.M. and answered a few questions for us:

Q: Is the material in the evening edition available only in the evening edition? None of this is reachable via your web site?

A: Much of the PM edition stuff has been published on the site, but in various forms. For example we’ll go through live chats from our writers and cull the best exchanges for a story … same with conversations in our forums. Overall I would say that:

  • 10 percent of the stuff is an early version of a story that might be in print in the following morning’s paper.
  • 10 percent of the content is user generated … user photos, conversations from our chats, forums or the Post-Dispatch Facebook pages.
  • 30 percent of the content is from breaking news  coverage during the day that would appear on STLtoday at sometime during the day.
  • 30 percent of the content is from Post-Dispatch online columns, reedited for the PM edition.
  • 20 percent is wire content, either breaking news from the day, enterprisers that don’t run on STLtoday, or entertainment-based news
  • 0 percent of it is something that would have been in the previous morning’s paper.

Tuesday’s page three held one big local story, two briefs and a large ad.

Q: You mention “tablet, desktop or smartphone.” Are there three different versions of the evening edition? Or is this one version, accessible via three avenues?

A: It’s basically one version, on all three platforms. Newspaper Direct is our e-edition partner. (They recently made a big splash with the Boston Globe‘s e-edition) The tablet version obviously has more functionality, richer user experience than the smart phone version, but all versions are designed to emulate the physical browsing of a newspaper.

Q: So P-D P.M. uses “responsive web design,” then?

A: No… newspaper direct does not use responsive web design. I think they redesign the product slightly for each different type of screen … it does not dynamically redraw like responsive design would.

Q: About what time each day is the evening edition available?

A: We tell customers it’s available for download at 6 p.m. … but it’s usually available by about 4:30 p.m.

Q: When did you launch this evening edition?

A: We’ve been promoting the P.M. edition about a month now. I think we announced it to our 7-day subscribers in early April. Now we’re making more noise about it so that both subscribers and non-subscribers know about it.

Tuesday’s page seven held entertainment news.

Q: How did this come to be?

A: This came to be after we realized how people were using the iPad, predominantly at night, and as a relaxing reading experience. So when we started on the e-Edition with Newspaper Direct, we realized we weren’t necessarily bound to some of our print conventions… We had color on every page, we could hyperlink to content … and we could deliver the news when we  wanted. So  as a bonus to our 7-day subscribers, we are supplementing their e-Editions with the PM e-editions.

Tuesday’s page eight was all sports: Two columns and a snappy, quick-hit roundup of quotes.

Q. Does it have a separate designer?

A: Right now, Wade Wilson, Tom Borgman and Carlos Ayulo are doing the bulk of the design work on it.

Q. What kind of response have you gotten from readers? Any clue yet how well this is going over?

A: I would say it’s a bit early to get the response.

We expect, any day now, to have native app versions available (currently tablet and mobile editions are seen through a browser or through a Newspaper Direct app).

We are getting about 300-500 subscribers signing up each week, and they do seem to enjoy the reading experience that the e-edition brings — although it’s certainly not for everyone. Many folks prefer either a traditional web browser experience or a native app, rather than seeing a digital replica of the newspaper. Others however, like the familiarity that the digital replica brings.

Interestingly, one reader sounded off on P-D P.M. by commenting on the Post-Dispatch web site:

Until the Globe-Democrat folded in 1984, the Post-Dispatch was an afternoon newspaper. This had been the case as part of the terms of their joint operating agreement since 1961. So the Post-Dispatch has been a morning newspaper for less than 30 years. In some ways this is a return to their roots, but in a digital format. Curious.

Read more about the new P-D P.M. edition here.

Average daily circulation for the Post-Dispatch is 191,631.

Seriously: Take the equivalent of a graduate course in iPad design by reading this one article

There are a lot of talented people in visual journalism. I write about them every day here in the blog.

But then there are a few certain individuals who transcend visual journalism. Individuals who operate at a whole ‘nother level than the rest of us and who always will operate at that level.

I’m thinking of geniuses like Karl Gude, Dave Gray and the subject of this particular post, Robert Newman.

Robert is currently the creative director of Reader’s Digest magazine. More than that, though, Robert is nothing short of a legend in the field of magazine design. A 1974 graduate of the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, he spent more than 26 years in visual leadership positions of a number of publications: Guitar World, the Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, New York, Details, Vibe, Inside, Real Simple and Fortune. He went into consulting for a number of years and then reentered full-time magazine creative direction last summer.

Since his return to the world of dead trees, Robert has made it his business to stretch out of the world of dead trees. One of his pet projects at Reader’s Digest has been the magazine’s iPad edition.

Which brings us to the nothing-short-of-brilliant story Kim Caviness of Engage the Blog published today on Robert and his Reader’s Digest iPad app.

For example, check out this excerpt:

If there’s one crucial mistake that people make on their apps it’s that they don’t pay enough attention to the text font and the size and the width—and how it navigates.

Bottom line: Hey, guys, really? It’s all about the content.

A second excerpt:

The second step is when the print issue gets put out on the wall. You have the editors there, the photo person, the designer—breaking down what’s there and how it can translate digitally. This is a really good process to get the whole team involved. You’re all right there and you kind of feed off of each other.

Bottom line: Hey, guys, really? It’s all about the content.

A third excerpt:

We really look specifically about how’s the person going to use this [iPad] page, what are they going to think when they get to it, what’s the first thing they’re going to do, where’s their finger going to go, what are they going to think is going on in this page. And so that started translating back to the magazine as well, where we’re really saying: you know when somebody gets to this page, what are they going to think, what are they going to read, what are they going to look at first? That’s been a really good exercise.

Bottom line: Hey, guys, really? It’s all about the content.

You’re getting the “hidden” message here, right? You’re beginning to understand what I love about Robert Newman and his work, right?

Yeah. I thought so.

So drop whatever you’re doing and read the article. Now, please.

Secondary point that I’m going to lay atop the one I just made: Why is this man still working?

I mean, seriously. He’s one of the most prolific and most profound gurus working in visual journalism today. There’s simply No. Freakin’. Way. Robert Newman ought to be toiling in a nine-to-five like the rest of us.

As hungry as college kids are to learn about cutting-edge visual journalism and as hungry as the finest j-schools are to bring in folks who perform on the cutting edge of visual journalism, some hotshot university really ought to come along and throw enough dollars at this man to bolt from his job and teach the next generation of, y’know, Robert Newmans.

Just a thought. If any j-school out there wants to discuss this idea further, feel free to call me. I won’t even charge you a headhunting fee.

You’re very welcome.

Find the Reader’s Digest iPad app here. Find Robert’s personal web site here and his Twitter feed here.

amNewYork’s Christopher Sabatini to join People magazine

Christopher Sabatini — design director at New York City tabloid amNewYork –tells us:

Starting Tuesday I will be at People magazine.

I know I will be designing some part of the magazine and do some tablet stuff. But to be honest, I went in having applied for one thing and walked out having been told I would be doing a little bit of everything.

Very cool indeed. I am so excited.

A 1998 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Christopher served as art director for Campus Concepts and then for Boston’s Metro. He joined amNewYork as design director in 2003, leaving three years later to become design director of BostonNOW, yet another tabloid. He rejoined amNewYork in 2009.

A few samples of his work:




Find Christopher’s online portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

A recap of the Poynter chat today with Scott Goldman

The live chat I hosted this afternoon at Poytner.orgwith guest Scott Goldman, director of digital and visuals at the Indianapolis Star — went over pretty well.

I was worried that we might not get enough great questions. I needn’t have worried. The crowd had fabulous questions. And Scott provided terrific answers.

Poynter has asked me to contribute to its site more regularly. Either via articles — such as the couple I wrote the week of the Iowa Caucus (one and two) — or with live chats like we had today.

So here’s my question for you: What topics would you like to see covered? What guests would you like us to bring in? Let me know in either the comments of this post or via email:

chuckapple [at]

Back to today’s chat: Scott talked about what the Indy Star is doing to attract more readers via social media channels and what they’re doing, specifically, with the Super Bowl in town this week. We also touched upon ethics in a new media world and how cool it is to have a talented editorial cartoonist contribute his time for page one illustrations.

Oh, and we found out that Scott — who’s originally from the western suburbs of Boston — thinks the Patriots might win Sunday. How about that?

It was a great conversation. Replay it here: