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.

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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…


THE REGISTER
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.

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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:

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

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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.


THE STATE
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.

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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.

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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.

A coloring page. For grown-ups.

The latest stroke of genius from the folks at the Virginian-Pilot: A coloring page.

For grown-ups.

Click for a larger look:

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The instructions say:

The Daily Break encourages you to spend a lazy weekend coloring this page drawn by our own Sam Hundley. You may use crayons or colored pencils. Send your finished work to us. The most creative interpretation will be published in The Daily Break. Also, the top two vote-getters will receive a Crayola coloring kit like nothing you ever had as a preschooler.

Send the page, which also can be downloaded on HamptonRoads.com, to The Virginian-Pilot, attention Daily Break coloring contest, 150 W. Brambleton Ave., Norfolk VA 23510. Include your name, city, age, occupation and contact information. Deadline is Aug. 3. Oh, the most important rule: Relax while you color your heart out.

Sam tells us:

The concept was by features editor, Jamesetta Walker. I did the line drawing in a shift — couldn’t come up with anything better than butterfly people and flowers!

Drew it in pieces on pulpy paper towels to get that bleed effect – to conceal my lack of control and skill! Blew the drawings up 150 percent and kinda built the page.

First all black-and-white page in forever. We’ll see how many entries we get.

My favorite touch is actually below the coloring feature: Sam also drew Jamesetta’s mug shot for her column stripped across the bottom of the page:

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

Born and raised in Phoenix, Sam started his newspaper career as a staff artist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and moved to the Virginian-Pilot in 1981.

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In 1990, Sam moved to the San Jose Mercury News where he was named design director of features, but then returned to the Pilot in 1994.

He’s also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

Find Sam’s web site here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Previous posts about Sam and his work at the Pilot:

  • July 6, 2015: You may not have seen Saturday’s most interesting Independence Day front page
  • Sept. 11, 2014: The three best 9/11 anniversary front pages ever
  • May 26, 2014: The day’s best Memorial Day front page
  • July 4, 2013: The one Fourth of July page you really need to see
  • June 11, 2013: An important historical anniversary observed, Sam Hundley style
  • Jan. 29, 2013: The magical properties of a clever illustration
  • Jan. 8, 2013: When illustrating a controversial topic, it helps to have a real, live visual journalism superhero on staff
  • Sept. 26, 2012: A look at the illustrations for the Virginian-Pilot’s NASA history series
  • Sept. 24, 2011: Newsstand alert: Check out the new National Geographic
  • Sept. 21, 2011: Behind those watercolor illustrations in the Virginian-Pilot this week
  • Dec. 18, 2010: A wacky pre-Christmas illustration in the Virginian-Pilot

 

A graphic novel approach to recount a disaster from 100 years ago

100 years ago last Friday, the passenger ship SS Eastland rolled over while tied to a dock in the Chicago River.

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The Eastland was to take Western Electric employees and their families to a company picnic across Lake Michigan. Already a topheavy vessel, the ship was loaded with 2,500 passengers shifting around on deck. The ship rolled over, drowning passengers mere feet away from the dock.

844 people were killed, including 22 entire families.

Rick Tuma and Ryan Marx of the Chicago Tribune teamed up to present the story in graphic novel style, done digitally with parallax scrolling — inaccurately but admittedly better known as Snowfall-style web design.

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While the page itself scrolls downward with the story, Rick’s drawings themselves are static. And beautifully rendered.

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Rick writes in the presentation’s credits page:

Many of the details of the Eastland disaster have been lost to time. Accounts and news reports in the immediate aftermath of the event — many by this newspaper — were conflicting and, at times, not accurate.

From storyboarding to the final illustrations, I have made every effort to be as faithful as possible to what has been verified or reasonably believed to be true. The scale of everything I’ve drawn is estimated, and the visual depictions of most characters are not based on real people on the boat.

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The illustrations are pencil on smooth Strathmore 2-ply bristol. Pencils ranged from 3B through 6B, but the 4B did most of the work. I love using pencil because it drops extra steps from the process — a very good thing when you have tight news deadlines — and makes it easier to retain the energy of initial sketches. Carefully boosting the contrast in Phototshop gives the drawings a brush and ink appearance.

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Rick writes that he chose to keep the color palette for the project low key. He took a cue from the Chicago River itself, using only two blue-greens, two yellow-greens and one grey brown.

He writes:

Choosing a limited palette gave me the freedom to maintain areas of clean white, something of which I am fond. Not every face needed color; buildings could be white and the sky light green.

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Midway through the coloring stage, I started to believe the panels needed one more color to tie the illustrations together. Recalling initial brainstorming sessions where one proposal was to create a soft water-stained background, I knew what to do: ‘age’ the edges of the panels with yellow. Risking a somewhat cliche solution, we are very pleased with the results.

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In addition, Rick was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:

Q. How long ago did you and Ryan begin working on this project?

A. Ryan and I began looking for a second narrative to develop soon after we published the Harsh Treatment graphic essay.

There were three major graphic components to the Tribune‘s enormous Harsh Treatment project:

1. In Her Words

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2. …Unsafe Haven, and…

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3. …Fight and Flight.

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Click on any of the links to see the pieces.

Rick continues:

Harsh Treatment was a visual companion to hard hitting investigative reporting. With Eastland Disaster we were considering a enterprise project that might stand on its own.

Harsh Treatment wrapped up late November and Eastland Disaster was born early December 2014.

Q. How much time do you suppose you put into it?

A. Start to finish, seven months.

Anyone in news will realize that there’s no way we had the entire seven months to work exclusively on this new project! In fact, progress was so stop and start that Graphics editors Jonathon Berlin and Ryan Marx made the determination to dedicate June and July to exclusively working on Eastland.

Q. Did you write it first and then do the artwork (screenplay style)? Or did you develop the visuals and then write around them (Marvel comics style)?

A. Having learned a few things with the first narrative I broke the project into stages.

First stage was a no-brainer: research. As I gained greater knowledge of the event I began to move into the second stage: note-taking and doodling in a spiral bound 9″ x 12″ sketch book.

Stage three was my storyboard. Some false starts in the beginning, but I soon had a story.

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I’m pretty sure that the story formed during my story board penciling. I can’t find a serious outline in my sketch book. Each panel led into the next until everything was said.

Q. Was this assigned to you, or did you pitch the idea? (And if you pitched it — was it hard to sell?)

A. I guess I’ve mostly answered this in number one.

Gathering a consensus to move forward required a good hard look at value for the time required. We discovered that the disaster was approaching its first centennial and found out that Metro and photo were planning coverage, so that helped.

Regardless, the project was a risk. Even after we began the enterprise, there was still concern over its value.

Q. What advice can you give a young artist who wants to try this at their own newspaper?

A. These require intense amounts of work! I would encourage the artist to be absolutely certain that she or he has chosen a topic that their skills can handle.

In my case, for example, I love to draw people. My excitement cools a bit when I have to draw machines and buildings. Someone else might struggle to make their people drawings look confident but totally score a win drawing machines and/or buildings. Choose a topic that plays to your strengths.

If you are going to make thirty, forty, or one hundreds illustrated panels you’d better attempt something you love.

Determine what this is going to look like. This can be choices like realistic drawings vs. loose styles. Black and white panels or color-added? How will it be published? Print or only online?

Ours began as online only, but we were asked to make a version for print. That required a ‘Reader’s Digest’ style, condensed version, removing half the panels.

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In addition to retelling the basic story of what happened that day, Rick also spent some of his time focusing in on one family: The Aanstads. Here, mom has a premonition that something bad could happen onboard the ship.

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As disaster strikes and the ship rolls over, Mom, Dad and their two little girls cling for life to a railing.

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And there they stay until help comes.

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Rick and Ryan also mention the oldest living survivor of the wreck…

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…and go into detail about how, over the course of days, bodies were recovered from the Eastland and taken to a makeshift morgue.

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Yes, that really happened. What’s more: The site of that morgue is now Harpo Studios: Oprah Winfrey’s TV production facility.

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Rick wrote on the credits page:

I could not have anticipated how deeply this story has affected me. Sadness and sorrow frequently ambushed me during research and even as I was drawing. I rarely walk past the corner of Wacker Drive and Clark Street without being haunted by the tragedy and courage of the Eastland passengers.

Find the Tribune‘s retelling of the Eastland disaster here.

A graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Rick Tuma has worked for the Tribune since 1983.

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A couple of years ago, Rick walked us through how he created wonderful business-page portraits on deadline.

Rick also runs a free-lance studio on the side. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.

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A 2002 graduate of Lawrence University, Ryan Marx spent two-and-a-half years as presentation editor of the News-Enterprise of Elizabethtown, Ky., and then five-and-a-half years at the Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster — first as display editor and then as graphics editor.

He moved to the Tribune in 2010 as business graphics coordinator and was named assistant graphics editor in 2013.

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

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:

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Monday, July 20:

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Tuesday, July 21:

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Wednesday, July 22:

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Thursday, July 23:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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

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…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:

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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…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:

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

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

Inside the OC Register’s coverage of the 60th anniversary of Disneyland

On this date 60 years ago, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, Calif.

My former colleagues at the Orange County Register celebrated the birthday with a gala 24-page special report… that turned out to be even more special than they had thought when they set out to observe the date.

The first 10,000 guests at Disneyland this morning received a copy of the special section, distributed by actors dressed in vintage newsboy costumes.

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Photo by Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register

Much of the content of the section is also posted in a new, permanent Disney page at the Orange County Register web site. Editor Rob Curley says the Register is still adding to the content there — he says…

It’s a work in progress

…which sounds very Disneyesque indeed: Walt famously said that Disneyland would never be complete. Every year, Disney adds and changes and tweaks the park to the ever-changing expectations and needs of its guests.

The print section was designed by my old pal Chris Soprych. The cover — indeed, much of the section — contains dozens of vintage photos of Disneyland over the years, from the Disney archives, various photo databases and the Register‘s own collection.

Click on this page — or any page here today — for a much closer look:

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Page two, below left, is a by-the-numbers page.

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On page three, above right, staffer Keith Sharon retells the story of how an orange grove in Anaheim — of all places — was chosen as the site for the world’s first theme park.

On pages four and five, Joseph Pimentel writes about the first little boy and girl allowed into the park on opening day. Walt Disney himself gave them lifetime passes to Disneyland.

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Pages six and seven tell the story of a number of people who helped shape the park in its early days.

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My favorite is the story at upper left, on page six. Warren Asa — now age 89 — was one of the first Jungle Boat skippers. He explains how that ride developed the culture of departing from the script.

Also, note the continuing timeline that runs along the bottom of most of the pages.

Page eight holds a story about a local woman who was Disneyland’s 1 millionth visitor — just 52 days after the park opened.

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Downpage is a story by photographer/videographer Mark Eades about all the names on the windows along Main Street. It’s essentially like an employee Hall of Fame.

Page nine is a full-page ad.

A graphic on page ten shows which rides and attractions were open on that first day. Large swaths of the park were quite empty. So far.

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There’s a great interactive version of this map on the web site.

On page 11: Another full-page ad.

The center spread on pages 12 and 13 is a wonderful collection of vintage photos of the park. Everything from the mermaids who once “cavorted” in the waters of the submarine voyage to real-life mountaineers scaling the Matterhorn.

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On pages 14 and 15 is one of the coolest stories in the entire section: It’s about the innovations that made Disneyland the great place it is. The hub-and-spoke layout, the “immersive experiences,” and the visual magnets — Walt called them “weenies,” meaning the visual design of the park was like dangling a hot dog just out of reach in front of a hungry animal.

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Page 17 is a collection of famous people at Disneyland. John F. Kennedy, Muhammad Ali, Sophia Loren, Kobe Bryant…

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Page 19 holds two columns. One is by a man who led Disney’s Imagineering team for 30 years.

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The downpage column is a personal piece by staffer Keith Sharon on what the park meant to him and his family.

The story across the top of pages 20 and 21 covers the most recent tweaks at the park.

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The final story in the section is about Renie Bardeau, who spent 39 years as the official photographer for Disneyland.

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Pages 23 and 24 are full-page ads.

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Wasn’t that terrific?

But wait! There’s more!

The Register also reprinted the 16-page special section it published the Friday, July 15 — before the park’s invitation-only preview opening, 60 years ago today. This was a special edition created for Disneyland employees — known as “cast members” — but made available to the general public only at the OC Register building in Santa Ana, according to a press release.

Yes, that’s Walt Disney himself there on the front, cuddling a pony.

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Rob tells me staffers combed through microfiche collections to find the sharpest, clearest copies of the 1955 section to use for the reprint. A copy at the library in Santa Ana proved to be much better than the one in the Register‘s own collection.

However, someone then scored a vintage “mint” copy of the section itself, Rob tells us.

The pages we had been looking at for five or six months, were all black-and-white. But our jaws dropped when we saw the spot color.

Yes, color existed 60 years ago. Believe it or not.

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What’s really amazing about these pages is how boring the editorial content is but the inventiveness of some of these ads. I love that choo-choo on page two, above left.

And check out Aunt Jemima at the bottom of page five.

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Newspapers also didn’t do a great job of packaging in those days. Stories about Main Street are scattered among other stories over several pages. Ditto for the railroad that circles the park.

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And smack in the middle of the section — on page eight — is a woman wearing lingerie. Pretty racy for 1955, I think.

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But that ad was for an actual women’s underwear shop on Disneyland’s Main Street. The copy for that ad says:

The wonderful wizard of bras is at that Disneyland. Be sure to visit him at Ye Olde Hollywood-Maxwell Bra Shoppe beginning July 18th.

Also amusing: The rabbit in the ad at the bottom of page nine, above right. He says “Yeh, Doc.”

That would be the other guys: Warner Bros.

Here are pages 10 and 11…

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…and 12 and 13. Note the ad, below left, for Chicken of the Sea tuna, served in the Pirate Ship restaurant in Fantasyland.

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There’s yet another amusing ad on page 13:

At Disneyland, too, you know they’re cooking with gas.

The reason it’s amusing: A natural gas leak caused about half of the park to be shut down during during the gala press preview on July 17, 1955.

Pages 16 and 17 contain pictures and stories about how natural the new trees look in Adventureland.

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And for those of you who think alternative story forms are a new thing: Check out the back page.

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That’s a guide to the park: How to get there, when the park is open, how much it costs to park and to get in and what you can do once you get there.

Here’s how the Register promoted the special section on the top of today’s front page:

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According to a press release from the Register:

A must-have collectible for Disney fans, the 1955 section will be available in limited quantities for Register subscribers and the general public.

Register seven-day subscribers may request a free copy of the 1955 collectible section at the Register’s headquarters at 625 N. Grand Ave. in Santa Ana by downloading a flyer through its Register Connect subscriber rewards site at ocregister.com/connect.

The public may also purchase the 1955 collectible section at the Register headquarters for $2. The public may also order up to five copies of the 1955 and 2015 sections together by mail by visiting ocregister.com/go/disneyland60. Pricing by mail starts at $6.95, plus tax and shipping/handling.

Average daily circulation for the Orange County Register is 280,812.

Boston Globe sports graphics maestro Luke Knox moving to ESPN

Luke Knox — for the past five years, an ace visual journalist for the Boston Globe — announced Friday on social media:

In a year of exciting changes, I have another one to report: I accepted a job this week with ESPN The Magazine and we are moving to Connecticut!

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Starting next month, I will be Associate Art Director for Infographics and will build graphics for the mag and ESPN.com. It’s an absolute dream job, working for [creative director] Chin Wang and alongside folks like Paul Wallen.

I’m sad to leave all the incredible colleagues at the Boston Globe from the past five-plus years, and I owe that place everything. But for Jen, the kids and myself, it’s an amazing opportunity for everyone and we are ready to get to know our new home state!

Luke tells us:

I finish [at the Globe] at the end of the month and start [at ESPN] Aug. 10.

A 2002 graduate of UNC-Asheville, Luke spent two years with the Pensacola News Journal in Florida and then a year-and-a-half at the Albuquerque Journal before joining the Arizona Republic in Phoenix in 2005.
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He moved to Boston in 2010 as a sports design supervisor. He moved to graphics in 2013.

superplays

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In particular, I love that Tom Terrific piece. I dissected it here in the blog when it ran — in February 2011 — and I still use it in many of my slideshows. In fact, I sent a JPG of it to a friend just this past weekend (Hi, Marcia!).

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In addition, Luke reportedly works for my design firm. Heh.

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

KC Star’s Charles Gooch leaving the newspaper business

Charles Gooch — for the past 11 years, the primary A1 designer for the Kansas City Star — is leaving newspapers.

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Charles posted via social media:

I will be leaving The Kansas City Star (and the newspaper industry) at the end of this week. It’s been a wild ride covering everything from elections to explosions to an MLS Cup championship to a World Series run for the Royals. (And lots and lots of things in between.)

Up next: I will be joining the social media team at VML (a digital marketing/ad agency in KC).

While I am sad to be leaving behind co-workers and friends, I am very excited to start the next chapter in a few weeks.

A 2001 graduate of Penn State University, Charles worked for the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., before becoming a copy editor and front page designer for the Times of Beaver County, Pa., in 2002. He moved to the Star in 2004.

A few samples of his work:

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In addition to designing A1, Charles has been a blogger and columnist for both the Star and its youth-oriented tab, Ink. Find his Full 90 soccer blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Gannett’s Abby Westcott moving to Hilton Head, S.C.

Designer Abby Westcott — most recently with the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville — is moving to the 19,900-circulation Island Packet of Hilton Head, S.C.

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Abby tells us:

I’ll be the senior designer at the Island Packet so I’ll be designing 1A. The editor, Brian Tolley, wants some bold design and thought my portfolio would fit what he’s looking for. I’ll have a lot of creative freedom there and will be able to experiment and try new things.

She’ll start work on July 27, she says.

A 2008 graduate of Ball State University, Abby interned at the Daily Times of Noblesville, Ind., before launching her career at the Times of Wilson, N.C. She moved to the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal in 2009 as copy desk chief and then moved again to the Asbury Park Press in 2010.

That paper’s design desk, of course, was folded into the Gannett design studio in 2011. She spent two years designing features for the studio…

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…before being named the lead designer for the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat & Chronicle.

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She moved to USA Today in March of last year and led what I called a badly-needed “design evolution” there, designing A1 and local covers…

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…but five months after I wrote that blog post, USA Today laid her off. I’m still trying to understand that one.

She caught on in at Gannett’s Louisville hub last November and parted company with the hub earlier this year.

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

On the Mississippi state flag issue, no fence-sitters allowed

The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., attempted to find out whether state lawmakers were for or against removing the Confederate Battle Flag imagery from the state flag.

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Sixty-seven legislators went on the record for or against. But 106 of them weaseled out by claiming to be undecided or not responding at all, despite repeated contacts.

This was the front page the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., ran this past Saturday. Click for a much larger look:

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This was truly a team effort, says Merry Eccles of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville tells us:

It was Executive Editor Sam Hall’s idea to poll the legislators. After the lack of response, he thought it would be good to publish the names and faces of those who weren’t responding and dodging the question.

The first round of emails and a good portion of the first calls were done by their intern, Royce Swayze. Political editor Geoff Pender also contributed a good bit to it, as did reporter Sarah Fowler. After a few days, they divided up among the entire news staff the names and contact info of all those who had not responded. Everyone called and emailed four, five or six people in an effort to mark more off the list.

I pulled the mugs, and did the layout. And Richard Mullins double-checked me.

Sam said they  will continue to call, email, Facebook, etc. for the foreseeable future. And the poll is live updated on our website and remains on the front page of the site.

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Average daily circulation of the Clarion-Ledger is 57,710.

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you two front pages Merry did for the Clarion-Ledger on this topic.

Also, I wrote about the day in 2000 they took the Confederate Flag down from atop the State House in Columbia, S.C., and how the State newspaper covered it.

You may not have seen Saturday’s most interesting Independence Day front page

Saturday’s most unusual Independence Day page treatment may have been one you didn’t see: For some reason, the Virginian-Pilot‘s front page didn’t appear at the Newseum.

Click this for a much larger — and readable — look:

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Ace projects designer Sam Hundley tells us:

Paul[Nelson, presentation team leader] asked me to come up with an idea for the 4th and I suggested the Virginia signers [of the Declaration of Independence] because most of them are pretty obscure to a lot of folks.

Agreed. You’ve probably heard of Thomas Jefferson

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…but did you know that there was only one set of brothers who signed the Declaration of Independence? Meet the Lee brothers:

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What’s more: Robert E. Lee would be born in 1807 into this same family. He later became a famous Confederate army general in the Civil War.

Sam continues:

I found high-resolution facsimiles of the signatures online, Paul found a wonderful litho of their portraits from 1876 at the Library of Congress and Maureen Watts and Jakon Hays in the library researched and wrote the blurbs.

Aimee Crouch copy edited and our new editor, Steve Gunn, got behind it.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Sam started his newspaper career as a staff artist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and moved to the Virginian-Pilot in 1981.

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In 1990, Sam moved to the San Jose Mercury News where he was named design director of features, but then returned to the Pilot in 1994.

He’s also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

Find Sam’s web site here. Find his Twitter feed here.

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

Other outstanding work from the Virginian-Pilot:

Related posts…

  • May 26, 2014: The day’s best Memorial Day front page
  • July 4, 2013: The one Fourth of July page you really need to see
  • June 11, 2013: An important historical anniversary observed, Sam Hundley style
  • Jan. 29, 2013: The magical properties of a clever illustration
  • Jan. 8, 2013: When illustrating a controversial topic, it helps to have a real, live visual journalism superhero on staff
  • Sept. 26, 2012: A look at the illustrations for the Virginian-Pilot’s NASA history series
  • Sept. 24, 2011: Newsstand alert: Check out the new National Geographic
  • Sept. 21, 2011: Behind those watercolor illustrations in the Virginian-Pilot this week
  • Dec. 18, 2010: A wacky pre-Christmas illustration in the Virginian-Pilot

Virginian-Pilot’s Robert Suhay nearing the end of another world-record solo sailing trip

As the A1 designer for the Virginian-Pilot, Robert Suhay is the guy who designs many of the Pilot front pages we gush over at the Newseum.

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But Robert is special in a lot of other ways, too. Last summer, he set a new world record for sailing solo on a dinghy when he trekked 326 miles up and down the Chesapeake Bay. In the face of an approaching tropical storm, no less.

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This week, Robert set out to not only shatter his own record, but to do it in spectacular fashion. And he’s been wildly successful. First, he gathered up sponsors who supplied the dinghy — he dubbed it the Insomnia — custom-made sails, GPS equipment and other special gear.

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Photos from Robert Suhay’s web site.

Tuesday, he set out from Beaufort, N.C…

…sailed solo around the treacherous Cape Hatteras, along North Carolina’s Outer Banks — you know, where a rash of shark attacks have happened this summer — through Hampton Roads, and up the Chesapeake Bay.

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Robert surpassed his record around 6:30 EDT this morning, his wife, Lisa, reports via Twitter:

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His plan is to land near Annapolis, Maryland, later today.

UPDATE: Minutes after I posted this, it appears Robert may be done. Tracking data shows him ashore at Adams Island, Maryland. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not he broke his own record.

Read more on Robert’s web site.

Follow his actual tracking data here.

Lisa hired a boat to take her out to see Robert as he passed through his home waters of Hampton Roads Thursday night.

Read her piece here in the Virginian-Pilot.

Robert’s friends have been showing their support via Twitter by posting selfies with his sail number written on their hands. Here’s mine:

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Post yours with the hashtag #SailSelfie.

Find Robert’s Twitter feed here, but keep in mind: He’s a little too busy right not to tweet. If you want to track the end of his journey today, you might follow Lisa instead.

Go here to read more about Robert’s record-setting event last summer.

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.


STAR-LEDGER
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.

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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.


PLAIN DEALER
Cleveland, Ohio
Circulation: 246,571

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

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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.


VIRGINIAN-PILOT
Norfolk, Va.
Circulation: 142,476

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

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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.


BAXTER BULLETIN
Mountain Home, Ark.
Circulation: 9,156

I realize this is probably stock art…

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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 CHRONICLE
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.

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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 WORLD-HERALD
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.

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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.


LEAF-CHRONICLE
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.

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Nice headline, too.


VICTORIA ADVOCATE
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.

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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.

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


NEWS-LEADER
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.

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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.

The debate over the Confederate flag moves to Mississippi

I mentioned on Tuesday the state flag of Mississippi, which incorporates the old Confederate battle flag — a symbol of hate and derision throughout the South during the fight for Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s.

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And, in some cases, to this very day.

Monday, the speaker of Mississippi’s House of Representatives — a Republican — announced he thought it time to begin talking about changing Mississippi’s flag.

The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., led Tuesday’s edition with a story about that shift.

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That page was designed, I’m told, by Richard Mullins of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville.

Wednesday, the Clarion-Ledger came back with two stories — one on the division among Republicans on whether or not to start this discussion. And one on the background of the flag and how people feel about it.

This page and the illustration were by Merry Eccles, also of the Nashville studio.

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Merry tells us:

I wanted something that wasn’t inflammatory or biased to either side. Trying to visually bridge the gap for readers with an image that would convey “coming together,” the dove came to mind.

I pitched having a single subject front without any skybox and [the editors] were on board. I didn’t want a Wednesday Taste refer to take away from the seriousness of the page.

Gorgeous work.

Average daily circulation of the Clarion-Ledger is 57,710.

A few samples of Merry’s work:

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I’ve written about Merry a number of times over the years:

Gannett/Louisville’s Josh Meo moving to Villages Daily Sun

This week, executive editor Bonita Burton made yet another outstanding visuals hire for her growing team at the Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla.

Her message:

I’m delighted to announce that Joshua Meo, an accomplished designer at the Gannet Design Studio in Louisville, is joining us as our new Associate Managing Editor.

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This is another in a string of new positions we’ve created to lead our growing staff in this growing market.

In this new role, Josh will work closely with AME Bill Bootz and Managing Editor Colin Smith to direct the visual storytelling of our full portfolio of products — and those we’ve yet to invent. He’ll oversee a team of six designers and report to Managing Editor Sharon Sullivan.

Josh describes himself as someone who “lives for deadlines, planning for a big event or rebuilding for breaking news.” He has deep experience in special sections and in-depth reports, most recently as a lead designer for the Indianapolis Star, Cincinnati Enquirer and Louisville Courier-Journal.

Before joining the studio, Josh designed A1, news and business pages for the Cincinnati Enquirer for six years and was a graphic designer and copy editor at the Kansas City Star for nearly two years.

Josh is a big thinker who understands the importance of intelligent risk-taking. He’s a thoughtful, collaborative leader who will be a big boost to us on the story conception end.

Most of all, he shares our passion for community journalism, our commitment to innovation and our relentless pursuit of excellence.

(Oh, and he’s a seasoned softball pitcher who just might be talked into join the company team…)

Josh and his wife, Jennifer, are parents to an 8-year-old, a six-year-old and a 2-year-old.

Please join me in welcoming them to the Daily Sun family when they join us – hopefully by early August.

I can’t wait to see where his creativity and ambition will take us next.

There’s not much more I can add to that. A few samples of his work:

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Find Josh’s portfolio here.

Recent high-profile hires by the Villages Daily Sun

Charles Apple moving to the Houston Chronicle

My stay here in Victoria, Texas, has turned out to be a brief one. I’m headed two hours up the road to become assistant design editor for the Houston Chronicle.

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I’m a graduate of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. — although it wasn’t Winthrop University when I was there. It was just plain ol’ Winthrop College. I graduated in 1984 after several years of working in the school’s sports information operation and stringing for the Charlotte Observer.

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Two pictures of me at the Athens Banner-Herald,
around 1987 or so. On the left is my first Mac.
On the right, I’m drawing an editorial cartoon.

I spent several years working at small papers: the Athens, Ga., Banner-Herald and Daily News and the Rock Hill Herald.

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I joined the staff of the Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer in 1993, won a handful of SND awards for graphics and graphics reporting.

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Among the many talented folks I worked with there:

  • Our editor, Frank Daniels III, who went out to found TotalSports.com and who now is community conversations editor and a columnist for the Nashville Tennessean.
  • Our city editor-turned-editor, Anders Gyllenhaal, who’d go on to become editor of the Miami Herald and who is now vice president of news and the Washington editor for McClatchy.
  • Our projects editor, Melanie Sill, who spent several years as editor of the Sacramento Bee and who is now vice president for content at Southern California Public Radio in Pasadena.
  • Our design director, Damon Cain, who’s now managing editor for presentation and design at the Denver Post.
  • Stuart Leavenworth, who’s currently the McClatchy bureau chief in Beijing.
  • And our Chapel Hill bureau chief, Nancy Barnes, who spent six years as editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and who is now the editor of the Houston Chronicle.

I was there only a brief time before I was hired away by the Chicago Tribune in 1996.

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I entered the world of management in 1999 at the Des Moines Register

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…and then moved to the Virginian-Pilot in 2003.

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Here I am in 2007, with my award-winning Virginian-Pilot graphics staff.

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After the Pilot eliminated my department and my position, I spent a brief time as an art director for the Sporting News in Charlotte, N.C.

For the next four-and-a-half years, I worked as as a free-lance instructor, consultant, writer and designer, teaching news design and graphics seminars around the country. I spent a total of eight months teaching at and consulting for the Media24 newspaper chain of South Africa.

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I’ve also taught in the Philippines…

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…in Nigeria…

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…and in Kenya.

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Mostly, though, I blogged.

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Blogging has never paid anything. But during my long years out of work, it keep me productive and positive — at times — and it allowed me to help make your life and your job a little easier. And, perhaps, a little more fun.

Or, at least, that was my hope.

In 2013, I was hired by the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif., in the southern suburbs of Los Angeles, not far from Anaheim and Disneyland. Basically, they gave me a full page five days a week and told me I could do anything I wanted with it. The only real instruction: Make it spectacular.

And so I tried to do that.

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Focus page editor was the greatest job a research geek like me could have. It was fun for nearly two years — until cycle after cycle of layoffs and furloughs and news reports suggested that the situation at the Orange County Register might not be as secure as I had hoped.

Not wanting to have yet another job die under me, I tried to go proactive: Last December, I became managing editor for visuals of the Victoria Advocate — a small, family-owned newspaper that wasn’t likely to go anywhere, anytime soon.

I’ve done pretty good work, I think.

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But yet, it’s not been a good fit.

That’s where my old Raleigh friend, Nancy, comes in.

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I’ll start at the Chronicle on Monday the 29th. I’ll be working with the paper’s news presentation and projects design.

Added bonus: I imagine I’ll be building a lot of work that originates with the Chronicle‘s investigations and enterprise team. That team is led by Maria Carillo, who was my managing editor at the Virginian-Pilot.

It’s an awfully small world, isn’t it?

I live in Victoria with my 22-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. My wife, Sharon — a special ed teacher — never made the move to California and she also doesn’t live with us in Victoria. She moved in with her folks in Lilburn, Ga. — outside of Atlanta — and helps care for them. She comes to visit every few months or so…

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…and, in fact, will be here next week to help plan our move to Houston.

What will become of this blog? I’ll keep on posting as often as I can — which might not be very frequently over the next few weeks. I’ll keep the blog alive as long as it’s useful to us in newspaper land.

Want to see more samples of my work? I’m in the process of overhauling my NewsPageDesigner portfolio. You can find it here.

I’m all over social media: I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you’ve not friended me, please feel free.

You know where to find my blog. Obviously.

How the Clarion-Ledger honored Mississippi’s own B.B. King

Lindsey Turner — creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville, Tenn. — writes to share something from a couple of weeks ago:

This was the 1A (and cover of a special section wrapping the paper) of the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger the morning after everyone learned B.B. King had died.

The ever-thoughtful Merry Eccles designed it. Those are song titles there, forming the contours of Mr. King.

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Merry tells us:

I knew The Clarion-Ledger had been working on some content because B.B. King is a native Mississippian but we hadn’t talked about design. I had heard he went into hospice and I was going on vacation the next week and I really wanted to do something for their readers and King’s Mississippi fans.

I did two options. One was typographic approach with a silhouette of King overlaid on the complete list of his songs. I wanted to show his enduring contribution to music and when I was doing some research I came across a compilation of his songs over the years and it was massive, so I thought what better way to show it then use it in some way.

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The other option I did was a little more conceptual. It mimicked the shape of a guitar with the Bs when you looked at the page as a whole, but in case The Clarion-Ledger wanted to show photos of King, I wanted to give them the option.

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Q. How did the page come together?

A. Probably equal parts taking the initiative to do it before it was needed and having great bosses and editors who allow me the time and opportunity to be creative and really push for something bold and unconventional on their special projects.

Q. Was this a difficult concept to sell?

A. Not at all. The executive editor, Sam Hall, liked both options but was won over by the song list version. The design studio has done a great deal of progressive designs for the The Clarion-Ledger and they’ve been open to them.

A few samples of Merry’s work:

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I’ve written about Merry a number of times over the years:

Average daily circulation of the Clarion-Ledger is 57,710.

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:

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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.

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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:

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

R.I.P. Seth Hamblin of the Wall Street Journal

Seth Hamblin — deputy global head of visuals at the Wall Street Journal — passed away suddenly Sunday morning. He was 46.

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The Journal‘s Jennifer Smith reports that Seth…

…collapsed while running a 5K race in Morristown, N.J., his wife, Tanya Prescott, said Monday. The race was a first for both of them, she said. He took off ahead, and collapsed near the finish line after having a heart attack, Ms. Prescott said.

A 1991 graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, Seth spent a year as a features writer for Cairo Today in Egypt and another year as an editor, reporter and designer for Aruba Today before moving to Microsoft Network News in Redmond, Wash. He joined the Washington Post in 1995 as a copy editor and contributing writer. He moved up to national graphics editor in 2000. He also earned a master’s degree from the University of Missouri in 2005.

In 2007, Seth moved to the Journal, where he served as news editor, managing an 18-person data visualization team. He spent a year teaching at Missouri as an adjunct and was then promoted to graphics chief, as which he managed 35 producers, developers, artists and visual reporters.  He was promoted to deputy global visual editor in 2013, supervising more than 100 web developers, visual reporters, designers and photo editors working across all platforms.

Seth also wrote a blog in which he offered research and presentations hints to visual journalists. There are some really great tips there. It’d make a really great book or something.

Find Seth’s Twitter feed here.

Journal managing editor Gerard Baker wrote in an announcement to his staff Monday:

Seth’s tireless optimism, boundless energy (even when encumbered with velcro shoes) and wide grin were an uplifting feature of our newsroom life. For me personally, one of the highlights of my day was to watch and listen as Seth, with evident and slightly mischievous delight, ran through the most promising visual opportunities for our digital and print offerings at the 9.30 morning news meeting.

His death leaves a great hole in our newsroom and an empty space in the hearts of all who had the pleasure to work with him.

Seth’s WSJ colleague Sarah Slobin tells us:

Seth was a break-a-the-mold kinda guy. He was a former D.J., a gardener, a photographer and a gun enthusiast. There are not many people who you can discuss planting cycles and the bullets with in the same sentence.

He was also a newsman, in the romantic good-story chasing kind of way. And he loved a good diagram and he loved good illustration.

Once when I came back to work from being sick — I had a sinus infection — Seth sent me the diagram he did at the Washington Post of the surgery he had to fix his own sinus problem. It was good and frightening in that TMI kind of way, which was Seth, all over.

I reported to Seth, part of a team of visual editors. His note to us Friday was typical Seth:

I had fun in London, but it will be good to see you all again on Monday. I am no longer walking with a cane and may have a tan from many garden strolls.

We’re still expecting him.

(The cane was unrelated to his passing, he pulled his back at the gym trying to keep up with his father.)

USA Today design manager Tory Hargro to join Facebook

And I don’t mean as a user. I mean as an employee.

USA Today design manager Tory Hargro announced a couple weeks ago:

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As a student at Alcorn State University, Tory co-founded a digital design boutique, Nextverge Digital Media, that served state and nonprofit clients. He also served as director of development for WPRL, the NPR affiliate there in Lorman, Miss.

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After graduating in 2007, Tory served a visual journalism fellowship with the Poynter Institute and then, that fall, went to work at the Orlando Sentinel as a multimedia designer. A year later, he leaped to a similar position at USA Today. He was promoted to manager of new product development and design in 2010 and then to design manager in 2012.

Tory worked his last day at USA Today this past Friday, May 26. He starts his new job at Facebook next Monday, June 8.

Tory tells us:

Can’t say much about what I’ll be doing except that I’ll be working on “creative labs” products.

Find Tory’s Twitter feed here.