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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


2. …Unsafe Haven, and…


3. …Fight and Flight.


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.

Eastland graphic essay story boards

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.


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.


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


And there they stay until help comes.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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.

The story behind that stark RedEye cover from Friday

RedEye’s Sara Amato took some time to tell us about the all-type front page her paper ran Friday.

She says:

The end product was the result of a lot of teamwork.

Going into Thursday, I had only one idea for the cover:


I ran it by Aly Morris, our design director, and she liked it. But I wanted to try and work something else out.

I went to Getty images creative and searched sexual assault. An image popped up of a woman with a big X over her mouth in red tape. It was an awkward photo, so I pitched the idea to Aly that maybe we could do an x in lipstick and get a photographer to shoot it.

I didn’t hear back from our photo editor until noon-ish. We set up the studio and shot a few photos of one of our reporters as the model.


Every day at 4 p.m. we have a meeting to talk about headlines. They had seen the original cover I designed and agreed that was a strong headline. It’s a quote from the story. I changed the original black screen behind the type to more of a dark red that we use from time to time.

I mocked up a few of the photos with other headline suggestions (Unspoken and The silent treatment).

Our staff was split during discussion. We all felt like both covers were strong but ultimately decided the all-text cover was strongest.

Halfway through the night we decided the type needed to be muted a little bit [in size].

And that’s what we ended up with:


I felt both cover options were powerful. We couldn’t go wrong either way.

A 2009 graduate of Indiana University, Sara served as campus editor, design chief, managing editor and editor-in-chief for the Indiana Daily Student. She served internships at the Bedford (Ind.) Times-Mail and in the finance department at Tommy Hilfiger before starting work in 2010 as a designer for the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.


In 2011, she moved to the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix and was assigned to work on-site at one of the Gannett studio’s client papers — the Desert Sun of Palm Springs, Calif. — until 2012, when she was moved to Phoenix itself, where she became lead sports designer for the Arizona Republic. She moved to Chicago last summer.

Find Sara’s web site here, her NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

RedEye is the free, youth-oriented tabloid published daily by the Chicago Tribune. Its average daily distribution is about a quarter-million.

Chicago’s RedEye seeks print/web/tablet designer

Aly Morris, design director of RedEye in Chicago, writes:

I wasn’t sure if you were still posting about job opportunities on your site but I thought I would share with you that we have an open position on our design staff.

A brief summary is that we’re looking for a designer to work on our weekly tablet, daily print edition and our newly responsive website.

I would love your help in spreading the word.

Hope the Texas weather is enjoyable!

I hope it is, too. So far: Not quite so much.

But back to the job opening in Chicago. Here’s the official want ad:

RedEye, Chicago’s go-to news source for 20- and 30-somethings, is hiring a Designer for its weekly tablet edition, daily print edition and website. As a Designer for RedEye, you will conceptualize, coordinate, package, design, and when necessary, produce premium/bonus content (such as stories, photo galleries and video).

The ideal candidate has a portfolio that demonstrates great potential to grasp RedEye‘s dedication to creative, multimedia design that contributes to our unique storytelling. We are also looking for someone who is enthusiastic about joining a dynamic, innovative environment where deadlines are constant and the news cycle can be a few hours, a day, or several weeks. Duties will include designing for all three platforms.

RedEye is a dynamic newsroom quickly evolving into a leader in digital storytelling for the millennial generation. We are small but scrappy, a proven competitor that still remembers our roots as a media start-up. Yet we were created by, and follow the same journalistic standards as, the Chicago Tribune.

All staffers are expected to participate in social media, to generate story ideas and work collaboratively across newsroom departments. You must keep abreast of trends, current events and newsmakers in news, sports and pop culture. This position will require working nights and weekends.

Please make sure a link to your portfolio is on your resume for review.

Perks of this full time role:

  • Working at historic Tribune Tower, full benefits (medical, dental, vision), 401K (plus a company match!), paid vacation, and discounts to area retailers, entertainment. Plus, enjoy working with a group of people who really love what they do.  For a more detailed overview of benefits visit our career page.


  • Editing articles and graphics for grammar, punctuation, clarity and accuracy; proof reading others’ work; and writing headlines, captions and refers appearing across all platforms.
  • Working with reporters and editors to present all information in easy-to-read, visually appealing, dynamic, informative and energetic design that contributes to our unique storytelling.
  • Conceptualizing stories and producing multi-platform illustrations, graphics and covers for the paper and iPad edition using software such as InDesign, Photoshop, Intellitune, Illustrator, AfterEffects and MagPlus.
  • Editing photos: pulling photos from wires and other sources; cropping and toning photos across platforms.
  • Pitching stories, long-term initiatives and multi-platform projects that align with RedEye’s mission.
  • Meeting production deadlines and maintaining ideal page flow under minimal to moderate supervision.
  • Employing creativity and independent news judgment to text editing, designing, photo editing, and otherwise preparing work for publication.


  • Bachelor’s degree; a minimum of 3 years editing, design and multimedia producing experience at a news publication or Web site. Tablet experience is a plus.
  • Professional-level grasp of proper grammar, spelling, punctuation. Ability to write accurately, with clarity, without bias. Knowledge of libel laws and adherence to the Tribune’s and Editorial’s codes of ethics.
  • HTML5, CSS3, javascript and motion graphic knowledge/familiarity.
  • Maintaining up-to-date skills on various digital platforms and keeping abreast of current events and newsmakers in news, sports and pop culture.

About us:

RedEye is part of Tribune Publishing Company which is a diversified media and marketing solutions company that delivers innovative experiences for audiences and advertisers across all platforms. The company’s diverse portfolio of iconic news and information brands includes 10 award-winning daily titles, more than 60 digital properties and more than 150 verticals in markets, including Los Angeles; Chicago; South Florida; Orlando; Baltimore; Carroll County and Annapolis, Md.; Hartford, Conn.; Allentown, Pa., and Newport News, Va.

Tribune Publishing also offers an array of customized marketing solutions, and operates a number of niche products, including Hoy and El Sentinel, the country’s largest Spanish-language publisher.

Tribune Publishing is headquartered in Chicago. Learn more about us at www.tribpub.com!

Questions for our Recruitment team? Contact them on Twitter @CTMGjobs or Facebook.com/ctmgjobs

To apply for the job, click here and then on the button that says “apply for this job online.” Don’t forget to include link to your online portfolio.

Normally, in a post like this, I’ll take a few moments to tell you more about the paper and the city. That hardly seems necessary here. Most of what you need to know about RedEye as a publication — the quality of its presentation and the tone it sets for its readers — you can see right here:


Those are just from my collection. Aly adds, helpfully:

Interested designers can check out our Tumblr to see some of our recent work.

Likewise, surely I don’t have to tell you much about Michigan Avenue and downtown Chicago. If you’ve never seen it, the Tribune Tower is one of the most picturesque newspaper buildings in the world.


I worked in that building for two-and-a-half years in the late 1990s. It was a thrill just walking in the front door every day.

I don’t know if it’s still there, but when I worked at the Tribune, tere was a freakin’ moon rock set into a little bulletproof glass window embedded in the wall of the first floor. A freakin’ moon rock!

Plus, there’s now a huge 120-tab beer bar in the former pressroom.

For your consideration…

Overall, I’m a bit disappointed with today’s front pages. I’m seeing nowhere near the creativity, the cleverness or the visual impact we saw the last time Republicans ripped up the Democrats, in the 2010 midterms.

Having said that — No one had as much fun with the midterm elections today as did the New York City tabloids.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this done before — ahem! — but it’s still amusing.


But today’s New York Post — Man, what a scream this is.


Perhaps the most interesting front page of the day — certainly the most interactive — is this one by RedEye, the Chicago Tribune’s commuter+youth tabloid. It asks readers to fill in the blank with what issues they’d like to see the governor address and then post them via Twitter or Instagram.


Very clever.

All three of these pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye seeks a design director and a copy editor

Those of you looking to a) recover from or avoid a layoff or b) make a move to a very interesting operation, here’s a huge heads up: RedEye is hiring.

They’re looking for an design director and a copy editor.


As you probably know, RedEye is the free, six-days-a-week commuter+youth tabloid published by the Chicago Tribune. It’s one of the oldest and — I think it’s fair to say — more successful such tabs in the country. There was a time, 10 or 12 years ago, when nearly every newspaper company in the country was trying to copy their success. Hardly anyone succeeded.

Average daily distribution for RedEye is a quarter-million copies.

Ace designer Jay St. Pierrewho joined RedEye last June — asked very kindly:

I was wondering if you would be able to put something out on your site about our design director and copy editor positions. I know it says the deadline to apply is April 11, but we’re going to extend that if we get good candidates who want to apply.

That’s code for: You have a little bit more time. But if you’re interested, get off your ass and contact them now.

Here are the official want ads:


RedEye, Chicago’s go-to news source for 20- and 30-somethings is looking to hire a Design Director for its daily paper and our weekly tablet edition.

In this role, you’ll be responsible to determine the visual direction of RedEye across all platforms and to supervise and manage this on a daily basis.  In addition, you’ll be directly supervising the design team.

Our new design director must possess superior design skills, vision, initiative, self-direction, creativity, superior news judgment, design-software skills, teamwork skills, an attention to detail and a commitment to accuracy, the ability to multitask and meet deadlines, the ability to lead a staff, the ability to manage own time and the time of others, superb organizational and planning skills, the ability to perform well under high-pressure deadlines, technical troubleshooting skills, and editing skills that conform to accepted journalistic techniques, ethical standards and the style of the publication.

The ideal candidate is in tune with and enthusiastic about delivering on RedEye’s unique news philosophy and on our mission of informing, engaging and entertaining  our target audience of 20 to 30- year-old Chicagoans.

All interested applicants must apply by 3 PM on Friday, April 11, 2014

Any issues or questions? Please contact our Recruitment on Twitter @CTMGjobs or Facebook.com/ctmgjobs.

Primary Duties:

  • Guiding the design philosophy for RedEye on iPad, print and the Web, and enforcing consistency.
  • Spearheading redesigns and design changes.
  • Designing pages for all platforms.
  • Supervising design staff, with performance-review responsibilities.
  • Developing less-experienced designers and leading design meetings.
  • Working closely with all designers to improve their design skills.
  • Recruiting new design talent.
  • Assigning future design projects to designers; ensuring development and engagement.
  • Being an active liaison to Tribune’s design and graphics departments.
  • Working with the section editors and platform managers, helping edit high-profile photo shoots, encouraging reporter-designer and photo editor-designer communications.
  • Guiding staff use of typography and ensuring typographical continuity.
  • Carrying out RedEye’s mission through unique and ground-breaking design.
  • Keeping abreast of current events and newsmakers in news, sports and pop culture.
  • Keeping open lines of communication with supervisor, direct reports and colleagues.
  • Maintaining and updating RedEye’s design templates.
  • Dealing with personnel problems, navigating ethical issues, crisis management.

Basic Foundation Skills:

  • Participation in daily news meeting; leading regular designers meeting.
  • Developing the design for new product initiatives.
  • Carrying out all job duties following RedEye’s/Tribune’s ethics code, editing the paper free of bias, and recusing his or herself from conflicts of interest,
  • Representing RedEye at conferences, seminars, professional meetings and other events where company presence is deemed desirable.
  • Fixing errors of grammar, spelling, punctuation, clarity, fact, and libel.


  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Minimum of 3 years experience as a news designer
  • Previous design and management experience at a daily publication or website
  • Knowledge of and dedication to RedEye’s unique mission
  • Excellent command of verbal and written English

Go here to apply for this position.

I gotta tell you folks: That’s a mighty juicy opportunity. I’d be tempted to apply for that myself. If it weren’t for the restraining order.

Here’s the info on the other job:


RedEye, Chicago’s go-to news source for 20- and 30-somethings is looking to hire a Copy Editor for its daily paper and our weekly tablet edition.

In this role, you’ll be responsible for editing, rewriting, and proofreading all copy for RedEye’s print and iPad editions. RedEye staffers also contribute to all aspects of the paper, as well as our Web site and iPad edition, and this person might also be called on to write and create content for the Web site or paper as well.

The ideal candidate is in tune with and enthusiastic about delivering on RedEye’s unique news philosophy and on our mission of informing, engaging and entertaining our target audience of 20 to 30- year-old Chicagoans.

Deadline to apply: April 11, 2014


  •  Editing articles and graphics for grammar, punctuation, clarity and accuracy; proof reading others’ work; and writing headlines, captions and refers appearing in RedEye. Working with reporters and editors to clarify information to be published.
  • To work one-on-one with reporters, free-lance writers and other contributors to clarify points, obtain missing information, and generally produce copy ready for publication. The nature of the changes at this point may range from minor touch-ups to substantial rewrites to improve wording and organization.
  • Meeting production deadlines and maintaining ideal page flow under minimal to moderate supervision.
  • Employing creativity and independent news judgment to text editing, designing, photo editing, and otherwise preparing work for publication.


  • Bachelor’s degree; a minimum of 3 years editing experience at a daily news publication or Web site.
  • Professional-level grasp of proper grammar, spelling, punctuation. Ability to write accurately, with clarity, without bias. Knowledge of libel laws and adherence to the Tribune’s and Editorial’s codes of ethics.
  • Familiarity with InDesign and basic design skills.
  • Copy-editing, headline-writing and proofreading experience is required.
  • Social media and Web production experience required
  • Maintaining up-to-date skills on various digital platforms and keeping abreast of current events and newsmakers in news, sports and pop culture.

Go here to apply for this position.

Normally, in a post like this, I’ll take a few moments to tell you more about the paper and the city. That hardly seems necessary here. Most of what you need to know about RedEye as a publication — the quality of its presentation and the tone it sets for its readers — you can see right here:


I think the message is clear: If your A game isn’t at the very top level in the field, don’t embarrass yourself by applying.

If, on the other hand, you’re an experienced manager and you know how to kick the ass of all those pesky little pixels, then bring it. Now.

Likewise, surely I don’t have to tell you much about Michigan Avenue and downtown Chicago. If you’ve never seen it, the Tribune Tower is one of the most picturesque newspaper buildings in the world.


There’s a freakin’ moon rock set into a little bulletproof glass window embedded in the wall of the first floor.

A freakin’ moon rock!

I worked in that building for two-and-a-half years in the late 1990s. It was a thrill just walking in the front door every day.

Plus, there’s now a huge 120-tab beer bar in the former pressroom.


Ten interesting takes on the end of the federal shutdown

A deal has been struck. The government shut down has been — well, shut down. A deal to raise the debt limit has been reached.

The Republicans went into this debacle having made unrealistic promises to the citizens who elected them and they came out of it looking petty and foolish. The Democrats came out of it looking marginally better — but only because they didn’t talk themselves out of losing their advantage of numbers.

But not from a lack of trying. Man, those Democrats sure run their mouths a lot.

Make no mistake, though: The Democrats didn’t win — Instead, the Republicans hurled themselves off a cliff. I’d argue that there were no winners at all here. Certainly not the American people.

And in just a few months, we’ll do it all again. Sigh.

In the meantime, here is a look at ten interesting takes on the most important government news since… well, since the Fiscal Cliff deal on New Year’s Eve.

Rochester, N.Y.
Circulation: 114,502

For the past two weeks, a lot of papers have turned stock art of the Capitol building into centerpiece art. The D&C does it well here, but that’s not why I like most about this page.


What I like most is the main headline. Especially the “finally” bit.


UPDATE – 8:45 a.m.

This was designed by Abby Wescott of Gannett’s Asbury Park studio, who proudly tells us:

The headline was also my idea.

McAllen, Texas
Circulation: 32,086

I’m not crazy about the layout of this page. It’s got a number of flaws:

  • Too many elements are crammed above the fold. A little white space might have helped.
  • I don’t like the way the photos seem to shift to the left when you get to the sidebar.
  • The lead-in deck seems a bit too wordy


What I like about this page — and why I bring it to your attention — unlike many of the front page treatments you’ll see around the country today, this one acknowledges the political battle over U.S. fiscal policy is not over. This was just one more round in what will be a long, long war.

That’s not fun, but that’s the truth. The less we sugar-coat that for readers, the better informed they’ll be.

Fargo, N.D.
Circulation: 45,298

The champion today at making this very point, however, has to be the Forum of Fargo, N.D.

Savvy observers complained that Wednesday’s deal didn’t solve anything; it just kicked the can down the road. The Forum actually illustrated this.


St. Louis, Mo.
Circulation: 187,992

Rather than use its front-page real estate on huge stock art of the Capitol building or of oversized mugs of Boehner and Obama, the St. Louis paper went with a retro-like series of decks to relay the day’s major talking points to readers.

This was placed under a headline that, yes, implied that this was just one round of a longer war.


Interestingly, the Cardinals’ failure to clinch a World Series berth was pushed to the bottom of today’s front page.

The young man wearing the baseball jersey could almost be reacting to the main news package above.

Greensboro, N.C.
Circulation: 57,274

The Greensboro paper picked up this thread I’m advocating here and took it a step further: It went out and asked local folks what they think about the partisan battles in D.C. this month. That became the focal point of the front-page presentation, rather than the deal itself.


Bitter squabbles are not likely to stop.” Right.

However, consider this: North Carolina is in the middle of its own Tea Party-like political battles at the state level. I’d be curious to see that same treatment, but talking to folks who say stuff like: “Hell, yeah! I elected my Congressman to go up to Warshington (sic) to repeal Obamacare, and I don’t care how he does it. I’m GLAD they shut the government down. I say KEEP it shut down.”

I’ve spent most of my life in the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia. I know these folks are out there. I see their comments attached to the bottom of online news stories.

But I’m not seeing them very often on page one.

This isn’t to criticize what the Greensboro paper did today — I like it quite a lot. This is just an observation.

Omaha, Neb.
Circulation: 135,223

The Omaha paper decided to focus on the vote itself.


The little box at right summing up the deal is quite nice.

Davenport, Iowa
Circulation: 46,824

This is the only non-front-page I’ll show you today. And I’m showing it to you because a) The editor/designer sent it to me overnight. And b) I think it’s very, very nice.


Nate Bloomquist of the Quad-City Times tells us:

I was inspired by NPR’s graphic from a week ago that was making the rounds on Facebook, so I made my own debt graphic.

I pulled pieces from AP stories and other sources for the explainer at the top. There were several sources to find the raw data, but the best is the Government Accountability Office. There is all kinds of useful stuff there.

It was great to get plenty of feedback from the Lee design hub in Munster, Ind., and a designer there, Claire Moreno, built my icons at the top of the page after I decided on the color scheme. Everything came together really well, and I’ve quite pleased with what I have here.

I’ve featured some of Nate’s stand-alone inside-page work before: For the presidential inauguration in January and for a golf tournament in July.

Des Moines, Iowa
Circulation: 191,915

A number of papers went with photoillustrations today. One of the better ones was this one by my old friend Mark Marturello of the Des Moines Register.


Mark’s work was used by the Gannett Design Studio on two other papers that I could find: The Press Citizen of Iowa City (circulation 12,130) and the Daily Advertiser of Lafayette, La. (circulation 29,368).


Chicago, Ill.
Distribution: 250,000

Perhaps the most fun today was had by youth-oriented tabloid versions of major metros.

This wacky cover illustrated by the Chicago Tribune‘s RedEye reminds me very much of the kind of work you find at JibJab.


Unfortunately, the illustration is not credited.

Washington, D.C.
Distribution: 183,916

Perhaps the most amusing photoillustration of the day, however, is this one afront the Washington Post‘s Express tab.


Amusing… if you’re not a Republican, that is.

All these pages but the one from the Quad-City Times are from the Newseum. Of course.

A look at Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling front pages

I got up very early Thursday in order to build you a nice collection of Supreme Court decision front pages. But then I ran into another series of technical glitches: I couldn’t upload images to my blog.

I managed to upload the pages last night, but it literally took me hours to do what should have taken five minutes.

So, a day late, here’s a look at some of the day’s notable Same-sex marriage front pages…

Many of Thursday’s front pages did a great job of showing the emotion involved in earning the right to marry, shown on the faces of the nation’s gay and lesbian folks in D.C. and around the country.


Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

The Associated Press picture on the front of Lafayette shows plenty of emotion. And that’s good.


That headline, however, was fairly typical in that it suggested a win for gay marriage in both decisions announced Wednesday.

However, as you might know, that really wasn’t the case. Sure enough, the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down. But California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in the state of California was less than a perfect victor for gay marriage supporters. That case was essentially dismissed on a technicality. So that wasn’t actually a victory for supporters of gay marriage. In fact, as a result, we’ll continue to see these legal battles go on at the state level. It’s only because California currently has supporters of gay marriage in office at the moment that Prop 8 will be pursued no further.

So in effect, Wednesday might have been a ” win-win” for supporters of gay marriage. But not in fact. The struggle is far from over for gay and lesbian folks throughout the country.


Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 142,476

We see the same afront the Virginian-Pilot. The Pilot picked a photo that I didn’t seen anyone else use — one just dripping with emotion.


And while the main head refers to “two victories,” note how the deck on the Prop 8 story makes it clear that gay marriage is not coming to the notoriously red state of Virginia.

The photo is by Mark Wilson of Getty images.


Rochester, N.Y.

Circulation: 114,502

The Rochester paper went with a quote headline: “Equal in every way.”


But again, that’s only in the eyes of the federal government. Gays are not equal in every way from state to state. And that’s from where the court says decisions on marriage licenses must come.

The photo by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press is of the same couple you saw on the front of the Virginian-Pilot.


White Plains, N.Y.

Circulation: 72,764

Possibly the most spectacular front page of the day was this rainbow banner-waving gentleman on the front of Gannett’s New York-based papers.


I’m a little baffled about where the picture came from, however. It’s credited to J. Scott Applewhite of the Associated Press in the White Plains paper, above, but to Getty images in the Binghamton, Elmira and Ithaca papers, below.

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From left to right:

  • Binghamton, N.Y., Press & Sun-Bulletin, circulation 34,311
  • Elmira, N.Y., Star-Gazette, circulation 15,172
  • Ithaca, N.Y., Journal, circulation 9,668


Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 101,915

In Iowa — which has seen its fair share of legal battles for gay marriage — The state’s capital city paper managed a nice pun in the main headline.


Banner day? And the man in front of the state capitol is holding a banner? Hey, I never got away with puns like that when I worked at the Register.

The banner picture is by staffer Bryon Houlgrave.


Iowa City, Iowa

Circulation: 12,130

The paper in Iowa City also built page one around a local person waving a banner, but minus the pun head.


In particular, I like the way the Press-Citizen broke up the issue into two decks. Notice the one on the right. The Press-Citizen got it right here, which delights me.

That great picture is by staffer David Scrivner.


Chicago, Ill.

But nowhere is the divided nature of Wednesday’s ruling more apparent than on the front pages of Chicago’s two tabloid newspaeprs.

RedEye takes note of the celebrations to come during the upcoming gay pride celebrations…

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while the Sun-Times focuses on the fact that neither ruling will help gays or lesbians in Chicago.

The couple on the front of RedEye was photographed in Chicago’s “boystown” district by Tribune staffer Anthony Souffle. The Sun-Times also used a picture from the northside, but from Charles Rex Arbogast of the Associated Press.

Average free daily distribution for RedEye is about 250,000. The Sun-Times circulates about 184,801 papers daily.


Davenport, Iowa

Circulation: 46,824

In Davenport, too, the Quad-City Times went with local celebration art. This picture is by staffer John Schultz.


But look at the headline: Sets the state for fights at the state level. Yep. Less of a grabber headline. But more accurate — especially for folks in the Midwest.


Camden, N.J.

Circulation: 46,547

However, I had to admire this front by yet another Northeastern Gannett paper. Sure, some of these states — in this case, New Jersey — might not gain gay marriage with Wednesday’s decision. But it’s just a matte of time.


The picture is from the Associated Press.

Now, let’s turn our focus to California, which did indeed gain — or, perhaps, I should say regain — gay marriage with Wednesday’s decision. The governor said Wednesday he’d honor the lower court’s earlier smackdown of Proposition 8 and have officials issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples as soon as the legal paperwork goes through on a court-ordered temporary stay. It should take about a month, he said.


Los Angeles, Calif.

So with gay marriage in fact the new law of the land, California papers have a bit more leeway to refer to things like weddings and marches. The L.A. Daily News did well with this great headline and a celebration shot by staffer Hans Gutknecht.


That’s the L.A. Daily News, of course, circulation 94,016.

That same design played out across many of the group’s front pages Thursday. From left:

  • Long Beach Press-Telegram, circulation 82,556
  • Torrance Daily Breeze, circulation 15,000

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130627ScotusPasadenaCalif 130627ScotusSanGabrielCalif 130627ScotusWhittierCalif

  • Pasadena Star-News, circulation 24,778
  • Covina San Gabriel Valley Tribune, circulation 59,989
  • Whittier Daily News, circulation 14,691

The group’s San Bernadino Sun opted for a different photo, by staffer Will Lester


…as did the Daily Facts of Redlands (circulation 6,607) and the Inland Daily Bulletin of Ontario (circulation 61,699).

130627ScotusRedlandsCalif 130627ScotusOntarioCalif


Walnut Creek, Calif.

Up in the Bay area, the couple in the left of this lead photo look happy, but not so much for the rest of the folks in the background.


The picture is by staffer Jane Tyska.

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On the left is the Oakland Tribune, circulation 52,459. On the right is the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek, circulation 67,464.


Santa Cruz, Calif.

Circulation: 25,000

The Santa Cruz paper led with a picture of a man waving a hybrid rainbow banner + U.S. flag.


The picture is by staffer Kevin Johnson.


San Diego, Calif.

Circulation: 230,742

The San Diego paper found a massive street parade going on in the wake of the announcement. Which, naturally, made for great A1 art.


The fabulous photo is by staffer K.C. Alfred.

The paper loses points, however, for its display type. When is the last time you’ve seen the word “bolster” used outside of a headline?


Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 616,575

The Times, as you might expect, covered a lot of bases on page one. The headline was plain and simple. The lead art focused on which justice voted which way.


And a great celebration picture by staffer Al Seib played well downpage.

Particularly nice is the headline on the sidebar about the losing side:

A movement swept aside

Prop. 8 backers go from jubilant to marginalized in five years

Nicely done.


Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

The best headline of the day, however, was by my colleagues one desk over at the Orange County Register.


You gotta love that. I’m told the Register‘s D.C. bureau chief, Cathy Taylor — who worked a very long day Wednesday — came up with that particular bit of genius.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 229,176

There was a bit of rumbling yesterday on social media: How come the San Francisco Chronicle didn’t have a word about Prop 8 or DOMA on the front of Thursday’s newspaper?


Whenever you see something like that, you can bet there is some sort of wrap involved.

Sure enough, assistant managing editor for presentation Frank Mina tells us there was a wrap: An entire 12-page special section wrapped around Thursday’s Chronicle.

And what a glorious section it is. Click on any of these pages for a much larger — hopefully, readable — view.

Page one includes the banner headline everyone expected to see from the paper at Ground Zero of the fight for gay marriage rights.


The picture by staffer Michael Macor is of two local men who were plaintiffs in a case that went to the California Supreme Court several years ago. And, like most of the pictures in the section, it was shot live Wednesday for Thursday’s paper.

Page two (below, left) holds the jump of the main story. The picture of a man celebrating on the steps of the Supreme Court building in D.C. is by Pete Marovich of MCT.

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On page three is a sidebar about a local couple who hope to get married.

Across the top of those pages are quotes from the rulings themselves.

Across the tops of pages four and five are Q&A type factoids about the rulings.

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Page four focuses on the opponents of gay marriage and what they can do about the ruling. The picture of a preacher praying in front of the supreme court building is by Joshua Roberts of Bloomberg.

Page five addresses what may or may not happen now across the nation. The picture of two local men is by staffer Ian C. Bates.

Across the bottom is a column about the impact of the decision on personal finances.

The center spread is a picture page experience showing folks waiting for and reacting to the ruling.

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The biggest picture at upper right is by staffer Lacy Atkins.

Page eight (below, left) is a celebration story and illustrated with a picture by Carlos Avila Gonzalez. Like in Chicago, there was already a gay pride event scheduled for this weekend in San Francisco. I imagine that’ll be quite the party.

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The picture at the top of page nine (upper right) is the one I really wanted to see. That’s former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. In 2004, he ordered city officials to fulfill requests for marriage licenses by gay and lesbian couples — pretty much in open defiance of state law at the time. That’s pretty much what started the ball rolling that resulted in Wednesday’s rulings.

Newsom, by the way, is now Lieutenant Governor.

The photo is by staffer Lea Suzuki.

Pages 10 and 11 are editorial pages. The paper supported gay marriage, not surprisingly. And note the editorial atop page 11: Despite Wednesday’s rulings, this is still a conservative court.

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In particular, I like the editorial cartoon by Tom Meyer.


At the bottom left, note a story entitled “By any means necessary?” This addresses the decision made by the state government, several years ago, to not argue in favor of Proposition 8. This was a radical idea that eventually led directly to the technicality that caused that conservative court to not intervene. That was the real turning point of the case, as it turns out.

The back page, 12, holds a giant chronology of the entire Prop 8 case from the wedding licenses at the San Francisco City Hall to the Supreme Court rulings on Wednesday.


Across the bottom of the back page is a a great column about a federal judge who heard the Prop 8 case in 2010 and ruled against it. He wasn’t surprised by Wednesday’s ruling, he says.

Not long after his decision, the judge retired. It was then that he revealed that he, himself, is gay. That led to supporters of Proposition 8 filing for appeal on the grounds that the judge shouldn’t have heard the case in the first place.

So this was yet another major figure in the history of Prop 8.

The San Francisco Chronicle pages are courtesy of Frank Mina. The rest are all from the Newseum. Of course.

A sampling of joyous Stanley Cup pages from Chicagoland

Being a native southerner, I’m not much of a hockey fan. So please forgive me if I sometimes let little things slip through the cracks.

For example: I’m told there was a series of hockey matches recently. A little something called the Stanley Cup. And there might have been some sort of exciting finish to last night’s win by the Blackhawks.

Here’s a quick sampling of pages…


Chicago, Ill.

Circulation: 414,590

Jonathan Toews hoisting the Cup is definitely going to be the image to remember from last night. Just about everyone in the Chicagoland area led with some form of that on page one today.

Here is the Chicago Tribune front page you’ll find today at the Newseum.


That’s a fine photo by Tribune staffer Scott Strazzante. It’s a wonderful page. But it pales just a bit in comparison to today’s final front page, a poster treatment.


The copy I found is so low-rez that I can’t quite make out the photo credit. My apologies.

It’s an extraordinary page, though.

The sports front today — renamed Hawkeytown — is a tight crop of the team posing with the Cup.


That looks like another Scott Strazzante byline.

In addition, the Tribune‘s photo operation is putting out an iPad app collecting images from the series. Here, you can see how that final edition front crops into a nice horizontal.


The photo folks posted overnight on their Facebook page:

Relive the Chicago Blackhawks’ journey through the Stanley Cup Finals with this collection of images by Tribune Photographers. Download the Chicago Tribune Photography iPad App and get ‘Return of the Cup’ FREE.

Find the iPad app here and the Fans of Chicago Tribune Photography Facebook page here.


Chicago, Ill.

Distribution: About 250,000

RedEye — the youth+commuter tabloid published daily by the Tribune — also put Toews out front today.


The different angle is by Getty Images.


Chicago, Ill.

Circulation: 184,801

The Sun-Times front page posted at the Newseum today displays no hockey at all. I have to assume that was an early edition, published before the game ended.

The paper later posted this front page on its Facebook page, however. Again, I’ll assume this was the final edition.


The photo, like the one afront RedEye, is a Getty image.

And note the headline. Nice.


Arlington Heights, Ill.

Circulation: 99,670

The folks in the Northwest suburbs, too, went with a shot of Toews on page one today.


The picture is by Charles Krupa of the Associated Press.


Munster, Ind.

Circulation: 85,692

Amy Olding of Lee’s regional design center in Munster was kind enough to send along two great pages from down her way.

The front of today’s Times was designed by Amanda DePrisco, Amy tells us.


The picture of the Blackhawks’ Dave Bolland celebrating his winning goal is by Charles Krupa.

Krupa’s shot of Toews lifting the cup is the same one we just saw in Arlington Heights. Amy used it for her poster sports front.


Amy tells us:

We had two budgets going for the night. Because we zone four different ways for four different areas things can get a little weird. We had scenarios if it went into OT and they won, OT and the Hawks, what to do if no OT and win/lose.

Of course I had them losing in the last few minutes, quickly changed that to an OT scenario and then 17 seconds later I had a heart attack. HA!

It was so fun to do a cover for such a big sports event. This was a first for me. I wish we would have gotten a more vertical image from the AP, but we made do and I think it turned out pretty good.


Freeport, Ill.

Circulation: 8,836

And speaking of keepers, check out the headline on the sports front for the Freeport, Ill., Journal-Standard.


Adam McHugh of the GateHouse Media Design House in Rockford, Ill., jokingly asks:

Just wondering how many calls they’ll get from readers who say, “You made a mistake. It’s called the Second City.”

Surely readers will get it. I think it’s a wonderful headline.

The large picture as well as the two tiny ones are all by the AP’s Charles Krupa.

The Tribune early edition page, the RedEye page and Arlington Heights are all from the Newseum. Of course. The others are either from the respective papers’ Facebook or Twitter feeds or from staffers via email.

Omaha’s Jay St. Pierre moving to Chicago Tribune’s RedEye

Sports designer extraordinaire Jay St. Pierre announced via Facebook this week:

Well, it’s official: I took a design job at RedEye, a Chicago Tribune publication, and am moving to The Windy City in June!!!


It’s been an amazing two years in Omaha, and I cannot thank the people at The World-Herald enough for everything they did for my career.

A 2009 graduate of Louisiana State University, Jay worked as a sportswriter, a copy editor, a page designer and as associate managing editor for the school’s student paper, the Daily Reveille. He also served as a sports stringer for Sports Illustrated On Campus, as a design intern for the Colorado Springs Gazette and as editor of Legacy magazine.

He spent several months as a designer and copy editor for the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., before moving back to Colorado Springs in 2010. He moved to the World-Herald of Omaha in July, 2011.

A few samples of his work:






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

A look at today’s notable Oklahoma tornado front pages

In the future, whenever you think of the horrifying tragedy Monday in Oklahoma, you’ll remember this image:


That was shot in Moore, Okla., by Sue Ogrocki of the Associated Press.

Sue’s first-person story is downright chilling:

I expected chaos as I approached the piles of bricks and twisted metal where Plaza Towers Elementary once stood. Instead, it was calm and orderly as police and firefighters pulled children out one by one from beneath a large chunk of a collapsed wall.

Parents and neighborhood volunteers stood in a line and passed the rescued children from one set of arms to another, carrying them out of harm’s way. Adults carried the children through a field littered with shredded pieces of wood, cinder block and insulation to a triage center in a parking lot.

They worked quickly and quietly so rescuers could try to hear voices of children trapped beneath the rubble.

Read the rest of it here.

The way to play that photo — no matter where your paper was located today — was to run it big and get the hell out of its way. You’ll notice the similarities between how my former paper and my current paper built the top of page one today.

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On the left is the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., circulation 142,476. On the right is Scott Albert’s take in the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif., circulation 280,812.

Several other papers also elected to give that same picture prominent play on page one today — and with a variation of that same headline. Click any of these — or any page here today — for a larger look.

130521TornadoLaDailyNews  130521TornadoChattanoogaTenn  130521TornadoHarrisburgPa  130521TornadoCincinnatiOhio

From left:

  • Los Angeles Daily News, circulation 94,016
  • Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press, circulation 75,336
  • Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News, circulation 70,446
  • Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer, circulation 144,165

And several papers paired their “devastation” headlines with this equally moving picture by Paul Hellstern of the Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, of teachers walking students away from the rubble of their school.

130521TornadoFargoND  130521TornadoAugustaGa

Do yourself a favor, folks, and don’t look too closely at that photo. Especially at the bruised and bleeding faces of those heroic teachers. Especially if you’re married to a teacher.

On the left is the Forum of Fargo, N.D., circulation 45,298. On the right is the Chronicle of Augusta, Ga., circulation 55,444.

Just to show you didn’t have to use “devastation” in your headline today, here are four more pages using that same Oklahoman picture, but with different — and wonderful — headline treatments.

130521TornadoNewarkNJ 130521TornadoOmahaNeb 130521TornadoDesMoinesIowa 130521TornadoChicagoIll

From left:

  • Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger, circulation 278,940
  • Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, circulation 135,223
  • Des Moines (Iowa) Register, circulation 101,915
  • Chicago (Ill.) Tribune, circulation 414,590

Here are three that used the Sue Ogrocki photo, but with different headlines.

130521TornadoLosAngelesCalif  130521TornadoMinneapolisMinn  130521TornadoDetroitMich

From left:

  • Los Angeles (Calif.) Times, circulation 616,575
  • Minneapolis, Minn., Star Tribune, circulation 300,330
  • Detroit (Mich.) Free Press, circulation 232,696

In particular, I love how the Free Press headline puts an additional terrifying spin on an already alarming story. What I don’t like is how far down the page that story is shoved by the hockey skybox.

On the other hand, the hockey story a) is local, and b) will sell a lot of papers. Note how the picture is moved below the fold, but that dynamite headline will peek out of a news rack. Nicely played.

Even the New York City tabloids today created what I call “regional twins.”

130521TornadoNewYorkDailyNews 130521TornadoNewYorkPost

If I had to choose between the two, I’d argue the Daily News (left, circulation 595,636) shows the scope of the devastation behind the woman and child. The size and position of the headline on the Post (right, circulation 555,327) hides a important part of the photo.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the papers in Oklahoma…


Tulsa, Okla.

Circulation: 97,725

The suburb of Oklahoma City that was struck Monday — Moore — was hit hard 14 years ago in a storm people there remember very clearly. Which explains the headline used today by the Tulsa World.


You already know I love the photo and the “play it big” treatment. The above-the-headline bullet points are a nice touch here.


Perry, Okla.

Circulation: 3,050

I realize this is a tiny, tiny daily paper. But still, given the enormity of Monday’s events, this is perhaps the most unfortunate headline of the day.


From what I can tell, the story — and presumably the headline — was written before Monday’s storms struck.


Norman, Okla.

Circulation: 10,727

Nightmare” sums up Monday on the front of the Norman paper today.


Instead of leading with school photos, the Transcript went with a photo of a woman being pulled from the rubble of a medical center in Moore. That seems an odd choice, given the number of victims at the school. The photo in the bottom left corner is a Sue Ogrocki picture from the school, but credited only to the “Associated Press.”


Oklahoma City, Okla.

Circulation: 130,177

The headline atop today’s Oklahoman made me stop and scratch my head.


I’m told this is a reference to the big storm that ripped through Oklahoma City in 1999. Locals get it.

However, one correspondent told me this morning:

In fact it was not worse than the tornado on May 3, 1999.

If that turns out to be the case, then someone might regret this headline.


I’ll close with some of my own work from Monday.

I was working away on my next Focus page for the Orange County Register, here in Southern California, when our news editor wondered if we could pull together some  information on what is a tornado and how dangerous they can be for today’s paper. They have a few waterspouts in these parts, but actual tornadoes are quite rare. So a backgrounder seemed in order.

It was around 3 p.m. I dumped what I was working on and jumped on it.

Luckily, I’ve done tornado graphics many, many times in the past. (And some of you will remember this blog post from March in which I explained why I’m so well-read on this topic.) So I knew where to go for statistical data. In addition, one of my colleagues here had done a nice “how a tornado is formed” graphic that beat hell out of the most recent one I had done. So I used his as a starting point.

Here is the resulting graphic, which ran on page three of today’s paper. Click, of course, for a larger view.


I didn’t want to interfere with whatever my friends on the A-section desk were doing with live coverage, so I stayed away from pictures of Monday’s tornado — which was of a less photogenic type, anyway, from what I can see in the videos. As the little caption says, there, in the bottom right: That is a tornado that was photographed Sunday near Wichita, Kansas.

Down the right side is a series of graphics that show how a tornado forms and — most importantly, for folks here in California — how they can spot them on radar and give people in their path early warning.

On the left is a look at stats: The ten deadliest, a month-by-month look at numbers over the past three-and-a-half years. See the two bars that stick way out to the right? Those are the months that produced the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville and Joplin.

In particular, I liked the bit that shows “tornado alley” and “Dixie alley,” where these storms are more frequent.

This was the first time I’ve built one of these pages on short notice, off the day’s news.

Today’s front page images are all from the Newseum. Of course.

You gotta wonder, sometimes, about Google ads

At one point Wednesday, I clicked on a link to a story at the Chicago Tribune about the unfolding IRS scandal.


What I found fascinating were the ads the Tribune added to my news.

First is that Amazon ad across the top. I had been searching for “Harry Truman” earlier in the day. Google knows that and stripped an ad for a Truman biography across the top of the page.

I already own that book — it’s back in Virginia Beach — but that’s fair enough. No harm done.

Secondly, there’s that display ad on the right for retailers TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Neither of those stores sell the big-and-tall sizes I require, so the ad is a complete wash for me. But again: No harm done.

It’s the third ad — that tiny little one below the headline and above the picture of the President of the United States — that really caught my attention. For obvious reasons.



Well, I don’t recall running a Google search for transparent bathing apparel. And if I did, I sure as hell wouldn’t do it on my computer at work. So it seems unlikely that this was generated by cookies in my browser.

The only thing I can figure: I searched last week for stories having to do with political sex scandals. And then this IRS story has the word “scandal” in the headline. So perhaps this was a contextual choice by Google.

No harm done, I suppose. But it sure got a laugh out of me.

President Barack Obama might not be amused by the placement of this ad. But Bill Clinton would have loved it.

A look at today’s best and not-quite-the-best Boston bombing front pages

As you’re already aware, the Boston Globe and its photography staff rose to the challenge of yesterday’s bombings during the Boston Marathon. Pictures by staffers John Tlumacki and David L. Ryan appeared in papers around the world, bringing the horror and the emotion home for readers everywhere.

Here’s a quick review of some of the day’s notable front pages…


Boston, Mass.

Circulation: 225,482

The Globe itself led with a picture of a woman laying on a blood-splattered sidewalk, comforted by others until help arrives. This was one of the pictures by Tlumacki that we looked at last night.


Tlumacki talked to Time magazine about that series of photos yesterday. Find that here.

In case you missed it, check out the story in the bottom left: A mother reels in anguish as her two adult sons are both caught in the blast. They each lose a leg.


That page was designed by AME Dan Zedek, who sent along inside pages this morning just as I was posting this story. So I added the pages and design credits.

Click on any of these for a much, much larger look.

Tlumacki’s pictures are played large on pages six and seven.

130416BostonGlobeNews06 130416BostonGlobeNews07

Also on page six: A detailed map of the affected area.

Page seven, below left, contains yet another Tlumacki photo. The picture of the woman on the cell phone on page eight, below right, is by staffer Bill Greene.

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And here are pages 10 and 11.

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Inside A pages were designed by Marc Lanctot, Robert Davis and Dan Coleman.

Metro was designed by Beverly Cronin. Lead art on today’s metro front was of police keeping a lonely guard late last night at the crime scene. Quite a bit of the Back Bay area of downtown has been roped off.


The picture is by staffer Essdras M. Suarez.

Here are Metro pages three and four.

130416BostonGlobeMetro03 130416BostonGlobeMetro04

On the sports front: A huge photo by staffer Yoon S. Byun of the runners who were halted a block or two away from the finish line after the bombs went off.


That page was designed by Luke Knox.

Here are pages eight and nine…

130416BostonGlobeSports08 130416BostonGlobeSports09

…and pages 10 and 11.

130416BostonGlobeSports10 130416BostonGlobeSports11

Inside sports pages were designed by Colleen Dumont and Greg Lang.


Boston, Mass.

Circulation: 108,548

The Herald wrapped a photo around its edition today.


The downside: That’s not a terribly good photo. It was taken moments after the blast. But you can’t see much, other than smoke and the debris of the retaining fence.

That’s the problem with playing up one picture really, really big: It’s got to be a terrific photo. This one wasn’t.

It’s also not credited.


Boston, Mass.

Distribution: 163,000

Boston’s Metro tabs went with the emotions of a family reunited after the chaos.


The picture is from Getty Images.

Now, let’s look at pages from around Massachusetts…


Hyannis, Mass.

Circulation: 35,776

Tlumacki wasn’t the only Globe photographer shooting the finish line yesterday. David L. Ryan was there, too. He captured a number of horrific images that pass the breakfast test only on huge news days like this.


A great picture and a great headline.


Quincy, Mass.

Circulation: 38,537

The paper in Quincy, in the suburbs of Boston, also paired a great picture and headline today.


That’s a firefighter grimacing as he carries a victim to safety. The picture is by Ken McGagh of the MetroWest Daily News service.


Brockton, Mass.

Circulation: 22,454

The Patriot Ledger‘s sister paper, the Enterprise, used a different headline but also to good effect.



Attleboro, Mass.

Circulation: 14,080

The Sun Chronicle opted for one of Tlumacki’s first shots after the bomb went off — this one showing police not quite knowing how to react but springing to action just the same. And a runner who was knocked off his feet by the concussion of the blast.



New Bedford, Mass.

Circulation: 21,582

The Standard Times of New Bedford used this picture by Ryan of the crowd running for safety moments after the first blast. You can see the second bomb going off in the background.


This picture drives home the pandemonium that erupted across the area — and, indeed, across the nation — yesterday.


Taunton, Mass.

Circulation: 6,703

Taunton used that same picture today and even worked “chaos” into the headline.


Note how the papers played each of these photos well. They used them big and got the hell out of their way.

Nice work around the state today.


Providence, R.I.

Circulation: 114,013

In nearby Rhode Island, Providence used that same picture large but with a more cut-and-dried headline that didn’t really add much to the story.


And this brings up a great point: We’ve talked at length about how a good headline will spin a story forward, whenever possible. But this was a day when facts were in short supply. How does a headline keep from repeating facts that the reader already knows when those few facts — two bombs went off, three are dead, about 140 were injured — is all we really know? Speculation or overstatement are not welcome in a headline. What does that leave?


McLean, Va.

Circulation: 1,817,446

Many papers chose to play up the word “terror.” Granted, we don’t know for sure yet whether this was an attack from within or outside the U.S. But it’s safe, most likely, to call it a terrorist attack.


USA Today played that Tlumacki shot as a vertical and then used three smaller vignettes down the side.

I also like the conversational tone struck in that headline at the bottom left:

That post-9/11 quiet? It’s over.

Nice work.


Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 142,476

Among the papers that played up the word “terror,” none did it physically larger than did the Virginian-Pilot.



Chicago, Ill.

Circulation: 236,371

The Sun-Times also built around “terror,” but used an alternate frame of that same Tlumacki shot.


This one seems to emphasize the man in the blue jacket. I can’t say I quite understand this picture choice.


Chicago, Ill.

Distribution: 250,000

RedEye, on the other hand, stuck with the Tlumacki shot of the cops scattering.


Again, this paper built around the word “Terror.” However, the headline itself is understated a bit in size, giving the page a bit of quiet dignity, despite the chaos in the photo.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 579,636

On the other end of the spectrum was the New York Daily News. It chose one of the bloodiest pictures of the day, also by Tlumacki, wrapping the shot around the entire edition.


The headline was arranged so that “Massacre” appears on the front.

Yes, a lot of people were injured yesterday. But I’m not sure that three dead justify use of the word “massacre.”


Melville, N.Y.

Circulation: 397,973

Another Big Apple tab, Newsday, also wrapped today’s edition, going with a picture of the actual explosion shot by Dan Lampariello of the Dobson Agency.


A photo by the Globe‘s John Tlumacki appears at the top of the back page.


Honolulu, Hawaii

Circulation: 124,000

The only broadsheet paper I found going with a wrap today was Honolulu, which wrapped that big immediate aftermath shot by David L. Ryan around today’s edition.


The Star Advertiser also invoked 9/11 with its headline.


Newark, N.J.

Circulation: 278,940

Newark chose the same bloody art that the Daily News used but put it to better use with a less-hysterical headline.


The quote up top was a nice touch.


Milwaukee, Wis.

Circulation: 185,710

The Milwaukee paper used an AP photo of that same scene, but shot from a slightly different angle. I presume this, too was by John Tlumacki.  Ken McGagh of the MetroWest Daily News service tells me he made this picture.


Mayhem” was definitely a better choice than “Massacre.” The wider angle of that picture — showing victims and debris mere moments after the blast — works well with that headline.


Seattle, Wash.

Circulation: 236,929

The Seattle Times attempted the same thing but didn’t quite pull it off — mostly because the photo shows more fencing than aftermath.


All of those pictures are by the Globe‘s Tulmacki and were shot in the first seconds after the bomb went off.

130416BombingSeattleWash 130416BombingMilwaukeeWis 130416BombingNewarkNJ

Again, the Seattle and Newark pictures are by Tulmacki. The Milwaukee picture is by Ken McGagh.


Hazleton, Pa.

Circulation: 20,008

The paper in Hazleton, Pa., wanted to play up the word “terror” even greater that the usual large, bold type. So the designer reversed it out of a red box.


That works, I suppose. But again, its seems a but much. I think the large word “terror” stands out quite well alone, without additional adornment. The effect almost seems to cheapen the page a bit.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

Take the Cincincinati Enquirer. Yes, this red really punches up the Enquirer‘s headline today…


…but it doesn’t seem like a cheap trick. Because the top of the Enquirer‘s front page is red every day.

However, the top of the Enquirer‘s Kentucky editon is blue every day.


Notice how the color takes quite a bit of the edge off of the immediacy of the presentation. Blue is a calming, peaceful color. It doesn’t quite jibe with the story of the day.

This is why I don’t like to use color-coding as a navigational tool or a decorative element in a newspaper. Color can help tell a story or set a mood for a story. Color can help move a reader’s eye around a page. Yes, you can get away with using color for other purposes. But there are days in that will turn around and bite you in the ass.

Today was one of those days for the Kentucky edition of the Enquirer.

That photo, by the way, is by Charles Krupa of the Associated Press.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

The Detroit Free Press uses a blue reverse nameplate every day. But the designers often balance that out with quite a bit of red text.


The item I take issue with here is the question headline. I don’t really care for question headlines. My feeling is: We should try to answer questions for the reader, not ask readers the same questions they’re asking us.

On a day like this — as we said earlier — answers are in short supply. We can spin this story forward only so far. So your choices for a headline are a) A straight-facts headline that cites things the reader already knows. b) A label head like “terror” or “mayhem” or “chaos.” Or c) A question headline.

I don’t like it. But it’s probably a perfectly valid choice.


Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

My colleagues one pod away at the Orange County Register also opted for a question headline today.


Note the column across the bottom of the package. One of our own columnists was in the Boston Marathon yesterday and had crossed the finish line maybe 15 minutes before the bomb went off.


St. Paul., Minn.

Circulation: 205,171

Here’s a great alternative to a question headline, I think: It admits we don’t have answers to the obvious questions just yet.



Roanoke, Va.

Circulation: 78,663

I also liked this headline.


I don’t care for the typeface. But I think the headline sums up the day perfectly.


Columbia, S.C.

Circulation: 70,980

And I’ll close with what might be my favorite headline of the day:


The photo by the AP’s Charles Krupa is a wide shot of victims being loaded into ambulances. I think the photo of the crowd scattering as the second bomb goes off might have been a better choice and might have loaned a little more immediacy to that headline.

All of these pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Bad news: An error in display copy above the fold on page one

An anonymous blog reader sends us a picture of his Sunday Chicago Tribune.

Pay particular attention to the little deck beneath the Cubs video screen headline:


That might be a little hard to see at that size, so here’s a blowup of the last three words of the deck.


You see the problem, right? Wrigley is misspelled.

It’s embarrassing enough to misspell a name so well-known in the Chicago area. It’s even more embarrassing to misspell it in a headline atop page one in the Sunday paper.

My source notes:

Interestingly, my final edition has the typo, but it’s fine in the early edition at the Newseum.


Here’s the entire front, as posted Sunday by the Newseum.


My source adds that he’s…

…assuming the error was introduced in-between editions. There could be a good lesson here about subjecting your final Sunday front to the same level of scrutiny that you likely did for the bulldog. Better not to assume that because it was fine end of night Friday it’ll also be fine end of night Saturday.

A great point. And a great catch. Thanks, anonymous.

You know who else needs a copy editor?

Local TV news operations. Chicago’s WMAQ-TV in particular. And WLS-TV, also of Chicago. And Harrisburg’s Fox43 TV news. And WDAY-TV 6 News in Fargo, N.D. And Local 15 News in Mobile, Ala. And WMAR-TV in Baltimore. And WBAL-TV in Baltimore. And Fox 4 KDFW in Dallas. And DFW Channel 11 in Dallas/Fort Worth. And KTLA channel 5 in Los Angeles. And KNBC channel 4 in Los Angeles. And KCBS channel 2 in Los Angeles. And KSDK in St. Louis. And Fox 4 News in Kansas City. And Charlotte’s WBTV. And KXAN-TV of Austin. And WFSB channel 3 in Hartford, Conn. And KOKI-TV, Fox23 in Tulsa. And Fox23 of Tulsa again. And Huntsville’s WAFF-TV. And WSPA-TV 7 in Spartanburg, S.C. And Miami’s WSVN channel 7. And KUSA 9 News in Denver, Colo. And 7News, also in Denver. And KSL channel 5 in Salt Lake City. And KCRG of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And WXYZ-TV in Detroit. And KGMI News Talk radio in Bellingham, Wash. And local Fox affiliates. And other local TV news operations. And CBS local media. And CBS/DC in Washington. And the web operation for DC101 radio. And the Huffington Post. And the Huffington Post again. And CNN (and CNN again)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and a huge one here)(and yet again)(and yet again) and CNN Money and CNN mobile and Fox News (and Fox News again)(and Fox News yet again)(and again!)(and again!)(and yet again!)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and again, for cryin’ out loud)(and yet again)(and again)(and yet again) and Fox Business and MSNBC (and MSNBC again) (and MSNBC again) (and MSNBC yet again)(and MSNBC yet again) and ABC News and NBC news and NBC News again and NBC News yet again and the Weather Channel (and the Weather Channel again)(and the Weather Channel again)(and the Weather Channel yet again) and the BBC and the BBC again and German news channel N24. And the Canadian Broadcast Corp. (and the CBC again). And Fairfax media of New Zealand. And Dagsrevyen, the evening news broadcast of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. And al Jazeera. And Martha Stewart’s TV operation. And the Disney Channel. And AOL. And AOL’s Patch. And Patch again. And Advance’s MLive media group. And creators of mobile apps. And Yahoo News. And Yahoo News again. And Yahoo News again. And the fictional TMI! web site on the Newsroom TV show. And Google News’ bots. And baseball jersey manufacturers. And football jersey manufacturers. And sports ticket counterfeiters. And the NCAA. And the Big 12 Conference. And Georgetown University. And Kansas State University. And the University of Iowa. And the University of North Carolina. And the University of Texas. And Nebraska Wesleyan University. And Appalachian State University. And high school diploma printers. And the New York Jets, the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota Twins the St. Louis Cardinals, the Seattle Mariners, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals (boy, do they need a copy editor). And the Brooklyn Nets. And Manchester United. And the National Hockey League (and the NHL again). And the NHL Network. And NBA Premium TV. And ESPN (and ESPN again)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and three more times!)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and again) and Fox Sports (and Fox Sports again)(and Fox Sports one more time)(and Fox Sports yet again)(and yet again)(and yet again). And NBC Sports. And NBC Sports again. And CBS Sportsline. And TBS Sports. And CNN.SI. And Sports Illustrated (and again) (and again). And college athletic department ticket offices. And the NCAA. And Leaf trading card company. And the Virginia general assembly. And college alumni magazines. And pharmacies. And the makers of Sudafed. And Borders bookstore. And the U.S. Postal Service. And government agencies and political candidates. And Tea Party candidates. And the Newt Gingrich campaign. And the Mitt Romney campaign. And the Mitt Romney campaign again. And the White House. And the Vice President. And the President himself. And city and county Boards of Elections. And Congressmen from South Carolina. Both the state of Pennsylvania and its department of transportation. And Costa Cruises. And Pittsburgh skywriters. And road paving contractors in Durham, N.C. and in New York City. And the city of Norfolk, Va. And the Ohio Dept. of Transportation. And the Alabama Dept. of Transportation. And the Maryland Dept. of Transportation. And the West Palm Beach, Fla., police dept. And Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. And Sunrise-McMillan Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas. And Canadian school districts. And planners for Charlotte, N.C.’s Festival in the Park. And the Moose lodge in Carroll, Iowa. And South African traffic cops. And the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico. And gas stations. And billboard companies. And bumper sticker manufacturers. And sign painters. And Home Depot and manufacturers of “hoodies.“ And T-shirt designers. And more T-shirt designers. And Old Navy. And Old Navy again. And Kohl’s. And Target. And Lids. And Adidas. And Mazda. And rubber stamp designers. And glass etchers. And stone carvers. And hotels. And more hotels. And manufacturers of custom-printed hotel accessories. And Starbucks. And Wendy’s. And Applebee‘s. And DaVanni’s Pizza. And restaurants, breakfast joints, Chinese restaurants and cake decorators. And more cake decorators. And drive-in movie theater managers. And auto dealers. And auto body shops. And romance novelists. And Capcom, the makers of Resident Evil video games. And 2K Sports, the makers of NBA 2K13 video games. And Hasbro. And the Ku Klux Klan. And American Idol. And book cover designers. And editorial cartoonists. And business page editors. And South Africa’s New Age and Sunday Independent newspapers. And City Press of Johannesburg. And Dublin’s Sunday Business Post. And the Echo of Gloucestershire, England. And the London Daily Mail. And the National Post of Toronto, Canada. And the Winnipeg Sun. And the South China Morning Post. And the Herald Sun of Melbourne, Australia. And la Razon of Buenos Aires, Argentina. And the Air Force Times. And the Washington Post (Hey! Another repeat offender!), the Post’s Express tab (Hey! Yet another repeat offender!), the Washington Examiner, Boston’s Metro, the New York Times (Wow! Yet another repeat offender!)(Hey! A third offense!)(Hey! A fourth offense!)(Hey! A fifth error!),  A.M. New York, the Los Angeles Times (and the LAT again), the New York Post, the New York Post again, the New York Post yet again, Wall Street Journal Europe, Newsday, USA Today, (and USA Today again), (and USA Today again)(and USA Today again), the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times (and yet another!), the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat & Chronicle, the Daily Mail of London, the Echo of Liverpool, England, the Seattle Times, the weekly Manila Mail of San Francisco, the Miami Herald (and again!), the Portland Oregonian, the Durham, N.C., Herald-Sun, the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. (and the News & Observer again!)(and again!)(and again!)(and yet again!), the Chapel Hill, N.C., News, the Times-News of Hendersonville, N.C., the Greensboro, N.C., News & Record, Advance Publications’ Birmingham design hub, the Tampa Bay Times, the Missoula, Mont., Missoulian, the Duluth, Minn., News Tribune, the Free Press of Mankato, Minn., the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, the Reformer of Brattleboro, Vt., the Bangor (Maine) Daily News, the Advocate of Stamford, Conn., the Hartford (Conn.) Courant, the Times-Record of Denton, Md., the News-Herald of Willoughby, Ohio, the Reporter of Lansdale, Pa., the Times-News of Erie, Pa., the Tribune-Review of Pittsburgh, Pa., the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., the Wilmington, Del., News Journal, the Dispatch of Casa Grande, Ariz., the Amarillo (Texas) Globe News, the Laredo Morning Times, the El Paso Times, the Daily Telegram of Temple, Texas, the Independent of Rayne, La., the Huntsville (Ala.) Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Cleveland Heights Sun Press, the Daily Times of Weirton, W.Va., the Waynesboro News Virginian, the Virginian-Pilot (and the Virginian-Pilot again) (and the Virginian-Pilot yet again), the Des Moines (Iowa) Register (and the Des Moines Register again), the Coon Rapids (Iowa) Enterprise, the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Gannett’s N.Y. Central Media hub, the Greenville (S.C.) News, the Gazette Journal of Reno, Nev., the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Denver Post, the Olympian of Olympia, Wash., the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, the Bakersfield Californian, the Pine Cone, of Carmel, Calif., the Carbondale, Ill., Southern Illinoisian, the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger (Hey! Yet another repeat offender!) and the Canarsie Courier of New York City. And Politico. And the National Examiner. And the Associated Press. And the Associated Press again. And the Associated Press again. And the Associated Press again. And the Associated Press yet again. And the Associated Press yet again. And the Associated Press yet again. And yet again. And Mann’s Jeweler’s Accent magazine. And New Scientist magazine. And Investment News magazine. And Time magazine (and Time magazine again). And Editor & Publisher.

And, of course, I need a copy editor myself.

I’ve always needed a copy editor. Which is why you’ll see me fight so hard for them.

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.

A look at today’s most outstanding Pope Benedict XVI pages

Huge news broke Monday morning: The Pope is resigning. Pope Benedict XVI will be the first pope in 598 years to resign, as opposed to dying in office.

This move — along with the baggage the Catholic church is carrying around these days — made for huge play atop page one of today’s New York Times.


That picture by L’Osservatore Romano via the Associated Press was one of the few actual news photos I could find on today’s front pages, as collected this morning by the Newseum.

The Los Angeles Times used a picture from the same source and also shot fresh at the event Monday in which Pope Benedict made his surprise announcement.


The Times not only included sidebars on church politics but also on the ongoing sex abuse scandal. A large infographic shows the numbers and distribution of Catholic faithful throughout the world.

Average daily circulation for the L.A. Times is 616,575. The New York Times circulates 1,586,757 papers daily.

Most papers today did not use art shot during Monday’s event. I especially liked the tired expression in the file photo from Agence France-Presse, used today by the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.


That’s a great example of selecting a photo that fits perfectly with the quote superimposed over part of it.

Average daily circulation for the Star-Ledger is 278,940.

In a more humorous vein, I enjoyed the blue-collar sensibility reflected by the headlines afront today’s New York Post.


Average daily circulation for the Post is 555,327.

And while some papers speculated on page one that the next pope might be “from a developing nation,” none played up this angle as loudly as did the Philadelphia Daily News.


That is Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson from Ghana in that AP file photo.

Average daily circulation for the Daily News is 110,000.

While several papers today created very nice page-one treatments of the Pope’s resignation, I feel like six were head-and-shoulders above the rest. Here’s a look at them…



Fond du Lac, Wis.

Circulation: 10,186

The photo here — an AP file shot from 2005 — is wonderfully chosen and cropped. I also love the three little decks above the main headline that cite major elements of the story.


Note how the decks color-coordinate with the cape the pope is wearing.

The downside: The main headline tells us nothing new. That news was out at mid-morning Monday. It might have been better to write a headline that tried to give a little more perspective on the story or spun it forward just a bit.

Other than that, this page sings.

That page was designed in Gannett’s  Des Moines Design Studio by Wisconsin team leader Sean McKeown-Young and Brooke Curry,

Brooke, by the way, is currently a student at Grand View University in Des Moines and has been interning in the studio for a solid year, creative director Nathan Groepper tells us. Find her portfolio here.



Chicago, Ill.

Circulation: 414,590

As terrific as that last page was, here’s another wonderful one that is seemingly shot from the opposite angle.


In fact, that’s a file photo by Franco Origlia of Getty Images. I don’t know the year.

The page was designed by Michelle Rowan and Ryan Smith, I’m told.

Honorable mention goes to Express — the commuter tab published in D.C. by the Washington Post — for getting great mileage out of that same picture today.


Average daily distribution for Express is 183,916.



Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 101,915

Designer Nicole Bogdas, working out of Gannett’s Des Moines center, tells us about the front page she built for today’s Register:

I think some folks here were skeptical at first when they saw just the photo, but after I put it together we agreed it was the way to go.


When I was pitching it, I likened it to the famous Babe Ruth photo, and when I went home last night and described the photo to my boyfriend he said, “So, like the famous Babe Ruth photo.”

That would be this picture of Ruth shot at his last public appearance in 1948 by Nat Fein of the New York Herald Tribune.


Fein won a Pulitzer Prize for that picture.

Find Nicole’s portfolio page here and her Twitter feed here.

That picture of the pope — file art by Gregorio Borgia of the Associated Press — was also used today to great effect by another Gannett Design Studio host paper, the Arizona Republic of Phoenix.


Phoenix studio director Tracy Collins tells us the page was designed by Amy King. He asked Amy to tell us how her page came together:

I started looking through photos on the wire. George Berke (Republic team leader) and I talked possible options. We ran the chosen photo past the photo editor, who was a bit worried the image was too white, but saw its potential. The photo says it all. Pope: out. Mystery person: in.

We sent the copy editors and started brainstorming headline ideas.

Then George, Page 1 Editor Michael Squires and I huddled around my computer to discuss secondary display text – reading through the pope’s speech to find a good excerpt. Then a bit more photo editing to find a good image to pair with the quote.

I’ve written about Amy’s work at least three times. Find her statehood centennial pages here, an immigration law front page here and go here to find an interesting page on sexual assault.

Average daily circulation for the Republic is 321,600.



Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 142,476

One thing is consistent in this crazy newspaper world we live in: You can count on the Virginian-Pilot to do something interesting.

In this case, it was the Pilot‘s Bethany Bickley who put together this terrific front page.


The first thing I though of this morning when I pulled the newspaper out of the wrapper and looked at the front was how much it reminded me of this:

130212PopeNorfolkVa  110303LeBronCleveland.jpg

Just like that now-iconic Cleveland Plain Dealer front, the pope appears to be walking off the page. Note how Bethany turned the Pilot‘s nameplate white-on-white, with only a faint dropshadow to help it pop just a bit.

The picture itself is a 2010 file shot from the Associated Press. And at least two other papers also ran the picture huge on page one today:

130212PopeBuffaloNY 130212PopeWestChesterPa

On the left is the 147,085-circulation Buffalo (N.Y.) News. On the right is the Daily Local News of West Chester, Pa., circulation 24,946.

Find Bethany’s online portfolio here, her NewspageDesigner gallery here and her Twitter feed here.



Rochester, N.Y.

Circulation: 114,502

We’ve all seen pictures of the pope swinging burning incense. I never thought that an innovatively-cropped version of a picture of this might make for a nice front page presentation.

Joanne Sosangelis of Gannett’s Asbury Park studio did, however.


Joanne tells us:

Well, it all started back in …

No, seriously, fellow team leader, Omar Vega, actually pulled the photo. He used a similar image that was horizontal for some of the papers he works with and I ended up choosing the vertical version — knowing that we don’t typically run wall-to-wall centerpieces on my team’s papers.

Rochester originally started with a tall centerpiece (three columns over four), very much like what we ran in Cherry Hill, Vineland and Westchester/Rockland. As the day progressed though, we began toying with losing the skybox and pushing the story up higher. Then we tried having the story above the nameplate, and then even under it, but wall-to-wall — and incorporating the nameplate (in white) into the art.

After showing several different options, our partners in Rochester decided they wanted to go full-page (minus the ad and index space) — and there was no argument from me!

The photo is a 2010 file shot by the Associated Press.

As she mentions, Joanne’s centerpiece found its way today to several other papers designed in that same studio:

130212PopeAsburyParkNJ 130212PopeVinelandNJ 130212PopeCherryHillNJ 130212PopeWestChesterNY

From left, those are:

  • The Asbury Park Press, circulation 98,032
  • The Vineland, N.J., Daily Journal, circulation 12,139
  • The Cherry Hill, N.J., Courier-Post, circulation 46,547
  • The While Plains, N.Y., Journal News, circulation 72,764

Find Joanne’s design portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

And special kudos to the Free Press of Burlington, Vermont, for showing us how this same photo can be put to great use even in a tabloid format.


Average daily circulation of the Burlington Free Press is 30,558.



Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

My favorite front page of the day, however, is this one by yet another Gannett design studio.

I’m not a Catholic, nor am I a particularly religious man to begin with. But this presentation, I feel, is a wonderful blend of spiritual imagery, terrific cropping and design and perfect headline writing.


That page was designed by Cait Palmiter of the Louisville Design Studio. Cait tells us:

The art that was chosen for the page was originally a photo from when Benedict first became pope, but Spencer (Holladay, Indiana team leader) said I should push for something else. I found a couple where he had his back turned because I loved the symbolism of it — him walking away, resigning. I showed them to my copy editor who said they still liked the other one.

I then sent an email explaining the idea to several people including the editor as well as three or four mock-ups that David Leonard created for the Louisville Courier Journal (not to be confused with Lafayette’s Journal and Courier!) and an explanation for why we should use a different photo, showing the Pope’s back.

130212PopeLouisvilleKy  130212PopeLafayetteInd

They came back and agreed! Persistence can pay off!

We used the basic idea of David’s mock-up and I worked with doing something a little more features-like with the headline.

It was a really satisfying page to design and I think the photo choice worked out very well. I credit Spencer with convincing me it was worth pushing, David for finding that photo, and the editors in Lafayette for being open to listening to what I had to say and changing their mind. One of the great things about the design hubs is the group of design-minded people to work with.

Great teamwork. You gotta love it.

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

All of these front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Sure. They bring in a huge bar 14 years after I leave the place.

This is terrific news for folks in downtown Chicago. It’s even better news if you work at the Chicago Tribune and you’re too damned lazy to walk across the street and descend below street level to visit the famous Billy Goat Grill and Tavern.


Opening in the next Month or so on the first floor of Tribune Tower on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue: Howells and Hood, a 17,000-square-foot, 400-seat (not counting an additional 300 patio seats when the weather is good) restaurant.

The best thing about it, writes Ari Bendersky of Crain’s Chicago Business: Beer. Lots and lots of beer.

The restaurant will have three separate bars with 120 taps each that will flow from a glassed-in beer cooler in the center of the restaurant. [Co-owner Chris] Bisaillon says he believes the 360 taps will be the most of any restaurant in the world. Offerings will range from local craft brews to beer from around the globe.

Man. They sure didn’t have anything like that when I worked there.

The place will operate out of the old printing press room in Tribune Tower, Bendersky writes. The theme of the decor will be architecture: Even the name of the restaurant — Howells and Hood — comes from the original architects of the building, John Howells and Raymond Hood, who designed the tower in 1922.

The video posted at the restaurant’s web site begins with the story of the historic building but then segues into a promo for the restaurant.

The owners hope to have the place open in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Bendersky reports.

Clever headline alert

Slightly naughty, but mostly funny. That’s how I’d describe the headline afront today’s RedEye, the free commuter+youth tabloid published daily by the Chicago Tribune.


The headline refers to the hosts of last night’s Golden Globe award telecast, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I’d love to dish out credit for this minor piece of genius today, but my one and only RedEye contact is no longer at RedEye. If you can tell me who wrote the headline, please let me know.

Average daily distribution for RedEye is 250,000.

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

Inside the Chicago Tribune’s BCS title game pregame coverage

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

He tells us:

No special section, just regular Sports space.

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


Mike tells us:

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


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


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

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

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

Inside the Chicago Tribune’s Lovie Smith special section

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

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


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


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

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


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

Associate managing editor for sports Mike Kellams tells us:

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

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

Page two included columns, comments from readers…


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


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


Also: I love that headline.

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


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


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


Mike tells us:

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

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


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

Page seven contained reaction stories…


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


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


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

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

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

Breaking news, gangnam style.

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

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