Eight front pages; eight superlative uses of design tools

My daily spin through the Newseum produced a handful of front pages you really ought to see…




Casper, Wyo.

Circulation: 24,791

Something many of us run into when there are horrific events in our communities: Building a front page with the best art we can get: Police tape surrounding the crime scene.

Today, staffer Alan Rogers of the Casper Star Tribune shows us how to do that artfully: By finding an unusual angle.

There’s no rule that says you have to make every picture while you’re standing straight up, y’know.

The page was designed by news editor Jim McBee, who tells me he liked his Saturday front a lot more. Sure enough, it was extraordinary as well.

Saturday’s lead photo is by staffer Dan Cepeda.




Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 142,476

How do you feel about leading page one with a handout photo?

It shouldn’t worry you a bit — if the photo is as wonderful as this one was in today’s Virginian-Pilot.

That gorgeous picture was taken aboard the USS Eisenhower by Lt. Greg Linderman.

In a big Navy town like Norfolk — where so many centerpiece stories are about the U.S. Navy — it happens a lot that designers resort to using handout art from the Navy and the Dept. of Defense. If you choose well and use the pictures well, it really shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Naturally, it helps if you have some of the world’s best designers. But hey: We all can’t be the Virginian-Pilot.




Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

Today, the Cincinnati Enquirer kicked off a six-part series looking back on a very interesting crime spree. By a 68-year-old grandmother.

All the Enquirer had to work with, really, was file art. The challenge for the folks at the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville was how to display the story well.

I think they pulled it off beautifully.

The sepia tone on the file perpwalk photo was terrific. But the treatment of the headline was what made this really sing.

I’d love to dish some credit, of anyone can tell me who designed this page.

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m.

David Leonard of the Enquirer tells us:

That was designed by Jeff Ruble in the Louisville studio. He did a fantastic job.

Watch out for more installments of the series throughout the week — it’s a fascinating read.

The story, however, is next to impossible to find on the Enquirer‘s web page today. Shame on somebody. You can find it here.




Napa, Calif.

Circulation: 13,794

Longtime readers of this blog know how I feel about “data visualization”: I’m not a huge fan of it. I’d much rather see an infographic that actually brings some understanding to the data, rather than one that essentially decorates the data. Which is what most “data visualization” packages do.

Having said that once again — I just love this package on the front of today’s Napa Valley Register.

The sun at the very top of this centerpiece is, in fact, a pie chart. But the rest of the piece is “big numbers” data, illustrated with whimsical icons.

But man, they’re done well. The classy use of color here adds to the attractiveness of the page.

The artist here was Kelly Doren. I’ve previously praised his work here and here.


Find Kelly’s portfolio here and his blog here.



Saturday’s SEC championship game gave papers in both Alabama and Georgia an opportunity to have some fun with headlines today.

The 28,130-circulation paper in Tuscaloosa — the home of the champion Alabama Crimson Tide — went with a reference to a hit song from the 1960s by Tommy James and then in the 1980s by Joan Jett


…while the paper in Athens — home of the runners-up Georgia Bulldogs — stuck with a Christmas reference. Average daily circulation for the Athens Banner-Herald is 22,771,



I’ve written way too much lately about Sean McKeown-Young of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines.

I can’t help it, though. His work is simply too good.


Appleton, Wis.

Circulation: 38,244

Talk about comic book heroes — for today’s Appleton front page, Sean devoted a huge amount of real estate to a very Jack Kirby-like photoillustration to represent the effects internet bullies have on their victims.

In fact, Sean used this same art on the front of the Wausau paper back in October:


I like it better with the red background. But I like the Wausau headline better.


Wausau, Wis.

Circulation: 15,506

Meanwhile, the tiny Wausau paper ran the typical “how much our local officials spend on their business travel to conferences” story. I’ve found myself working with the same story at least a half-dozen times in my own career.

Sean’s solution today was very entertaining. And much better than anything I’ve come up with.

Much like the woman in the Alicia Keys song, Sean is a man on fire.

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Sean served as presentation editor for the Green Bay Press-Gazette and then spent several years at the Toledo Blade. He moved to Gannett’s Louisville studio in 2011 as assistant team leader for features and then was named Wisconsin team leader of the Des Moines studio this past March.

A few samples of his work:






Find Sean’s portfolio here.

These front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

A look at today’s Twinkie apocalypse front pages

You’d think that Hostess bakeries announcing it would shut down in response to a strike was the end of the world or something, from the play it got Friday in the digital media and today on front pages around the country.

Come on. Twinkies will be back on shelves in no time. Someone will buy the Twinkie trademark.

Here’s a look at today’s Twinkie, Ho Ho and Wonder Bread front pages…


Cheyenne, Wyo.

Circulation: 14,267

This strikes me as a great way to play this story: Push the AP file art that everybody had to the skybox and pair it with a catchy headline.


Fall River, Mass.

Circulation: 14,979

Many papers focused on the rush at local stores Friday morning as soon as the news broke. Some paired local pictures of shoppers or empty shelves with cute headlines. Some added an AP file photo of a pack of Twinkies.

The folks in Fall River, Mass., did all three.

The local picture is by staffer Marc Monroe Dion.


Loveland, Colo.

Circulation: 15,494

The Loveland, Colo., paper reversed the story out of black for extra-strength visual impact.

The little pic — of a local man leaving a bakery empty-handed — is by staffer Craig Young.


Denver, Colo.

Circulation: 401,120

Photographer Karl Gehring of the Denver Post found a worker at a Hostess bakery handout out boxes of products to folks standing in line…

…and downplayed the AP art, along with a helpful list of all the brands Hostess makes. The story wasn’t just about Twinkies, y’know.


Bridgeport, Conn.

Circulation: 48,701

Photographer Cathy Zuraw found a shop that still had Hostess products on the shelves. For a few minutes, at least.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

The shelves in Detroit were mostly empty.

That picture is by News staffer Tony Briscoe.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 229,176

The not-so-small woman on the left of this front-page photo — carrying bags full of Hostess snack products — seems ripe for a caption contest.

The picture is by Chronicle staffer Mike Kepka.


San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: 225,175

The Merc found a family buying snacks by the caseful.

Note the meaty fact box at lower right of that package. The photo is by staffer Laura A. Oda.

Naturally, the Mercury News‘ sister papers followed in suit.


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


New London, Conn.

Circulation: 32,779

By now, you’re probably growing pretty tired of photos of folks buying up all the Hostess inventory. So how about a different twist? Sean D. Elliott of the Day of New London, Conn., came back with this terrific shot of Hostess lovers shooting souvenir photos of “Mr. Twinkie” on the side of a local store.


Augusta, Maine

Circulation: 10,792

And the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine, featured a local shopper photographed by staffer Joe Phelan

…and paired that picture with a headline that mentioned the strike. Which brings me to my next group of pages.



As you might can tell by my comments, I wasn’t too crazy about these front-page centerpieces that focused on the frenzy created by customers rushing to the store. However, I did like pages that kept the focus on who the real victims were: The hardworking employees of Hostess that suddenly found themselves without jobs.


Alexandria, La.

Circulation: 19,667

I think this was the page that disappointed me the most. The Alexandria paper played up the strike angle with its art, headline and deck.

Yet, news came out yesterday that while Hostess pleaded poverty to employees, it boosted executive salaries and tripled the pay of its CEO — even as it laid the groundwork for declaring bankruptcy and shutting its doors.

I’m not seeing those facts mentioned in any of the headlines here. I’m going to have to call bullshit on Alexandria for a very unbalanced report.

The AP photo of workers on the picket line in Maine is by Robert F. Bukaty of the Associated Press.


Carson City, Nev.

Circulation: 12,000

The Carson City, Nev., paper focused on the local outlet that will close.

The picture is by staffer John Barrette.


Meriden, Conn.

Circulation: 16,708

The design here seems a little laid back, but I like the way the small paper in Meriden, Conn., focused on local workers.

The pictures are by staffer Dave Zajac.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

The Cincinnati paper built page one around a picture of local Hostess employees who may very well be saying goodbye for the last time.

The photo is by staffer Leigh Taylor.


Raleigh, N.C.

Circulation: 129,698

I like the focus here — courtesy of the News & Obsever‘s Chuck Liddy — on this bread plant in Rocky Mount, N.C.

This makes the point, I think, that it’s not just Twinkies and Ho Hos that are going away. It’s also Merita bread and a number of other products.


Portland, Maine

Circulation: 47,326

With a phrase like “ovens to go cold,” the Press Herald may have struck the most evocative headline of the day.

The local pictures are by staffer Gregory Rec.


Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

This headline also strikes me as a grand way to tell the story.

President Barack Obama has his eye on that Twinkie.


Lakeland, Fla.

Circulation: 41,309

The paper in Lakeland, Fla., also focused on the business angle, pairing that with a closeup of Twinkies shot by staffer Calvin Knight at a local store that wasn’t sold out quite yet.



Now, these are important. So stay with me…


Chattanooga, Tenn.

Circulation: 144,165

The paper in Chattanooga, the paper correctly used a bit of a qualifier in its deck — the company blamed the strike for the layoffs.

Even better, the Times Free Press found a great sidebar in a local bakery that’s going to increase production of snack foods.

How come no one else put a story like this out on page one?

The pictures were handout art from the respective companies.


Rochester, N.Y.

Circulation: 114,502

And the paper in Rochester, N.Y., pushed inside all its news about Hostess and any local run on Twinkies. Instead, the front-page centerpiece focuses on a local joint what sells their own version of the same treat.

The pictures of high-class Twinkies on a plate are by staffer Calvin Knight.

Nicely done.



And, of course, lots of papers elected to simply have some fun. Given how overblown the story seemed to be — the company pleading poverty while handing out raises to its executives, the frenzy at local stores, Twinkies and Ho Hos selling for hundreds of dollars on eBay — this might have been the best approach of all.


Wichita, Kan.

Circulation: 67,250

“That’s the way the cookie crumbles,” says the Wichita paper.

The photos of folks buying out a local shop are by staffer Bo Rader.


Akron, Ohio

Circulation: 88,040

The Akron paper found a headline that played off the idea of a full belly.

Notice the column that also ran on the front.

The photo of local shoppers is by Phil Masturzo.


Columbia, S.C.

Circulation: 70,980

The folks in South Carolina couldn’t resist a Ho Ho pun…

…despite the lead art being that AP picture of Twinkies.


Allentown, Pa.

Circulation: 100,196

The editors in Allentown, Pa., showed a particularly wicked sense of genius by invoking the day’s other hot story, the opening of the new Twilight movie.

Instead of AP art of a Twinkie, Allentown shelled out the extra bucks for Getty art. Now, that’s classy.


Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 82,556

My friends at the L.A. Daily News gave me my biggest belly laugh of the day with this headline.

Note the same Getty art that Allentown used.

Naturally, the Daily News‘ sister papers used the same centerpiece.


On the left is the Press-Telegram of Long Beach, circulation 82,556. On the right is the Daily Breeze of Torrance, circulation 75,352.


Tyler, Texas

Circulation: 26,155

The folks in Tyler, Texas, had exactly the same idea, but went with the AP broken Twinkie photo.


Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

But the day’s funniest intentionally overblown Twinkie obit coverage was this illustrated headstone afront the Journal & Courier of Lafayette, Ind.

Pure genius. If the creator of this centerpiece would please identify him or herself, I’d be much obliged.

UPDATE: Saturday, 10:30 p.m.

I’m told the designer was Spencer Holladay. Genius indeed.

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

Inside the Louisville paper’s election-themed college hoops preview section

Phil Krugel, the sports team leader at Gannett’s Louisville design studio, shares the huge basketball preview section that ran in the Louisville paper Sunday before last.

He writes:

We decided that since the Courier-Journal‘s annual college basketball preview section was printing just two days before the election, we would give then entire section an election theme.

This played out perhaps better here than almost anywhere else in the country for many reasons, but the biggest was that we have three of the best teams in the country (Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana) in our backyard and in our readership area.

The sports editors at the Courier-Journal and the design studio staff had several meetings to discuss how we could make this happen without forcing anything, and proceeded to come up with several ideas that allowed for presenting the necessary preview material in an election style.

Designer Jeff Patterson designed our main cover “Battleground States” off a 1968 election photo and superimposed UK, IU and Louisville elements in color over the original black and white image.

Click that — or any of these pages here today — for a much larger look.

The original picture was an AP file photo.


Phil continues:

The top teams page has the original photo on it with an explanation about the cover.

Our second cover focused on an inside story about who might unseat Indiana Hoosiers star Cody Zeller as the top player in the nation.

The rest of the section focused on the many smaller colleges and women’s teams that the Courier-Journal covers, also in the same election style.

Here are the preview pages for Indiana…


…and Kentucky.

Here are conference preview pages for the Big Ten…

…the Big East…

…and the SEC.

Phil goes on:

Jeff [also made] election-style campaign buttons for every team we cover. These buttons were thoughtful, humorous and really looked like something you might see on a campaign trail.

We posted them on the Courier-Journal‘s web site for readers and fans to download.

Find those here.

The sports editor of the section was Creig Ewing and the assistant sports editor was Glenn Brownstein. Reporters working on the section were Tim Sullivan, Adam Himmelsbach, C.L. Brown, Kyle Tucker, Michael Grant, Steve Jones, J.J. Hysell, Brett Borden and Matt Denison. Photographers credited in the section included Sam Upshaw Jr., Michael Clevenger and Scott Utterback.

Average daily circulation of the Louisville Courier-Journal is 154,033.

Run it big and get the hell out of its way

That’s the best way to deal with an awesome photograph. Like this terrific Big 10 football photo by Michael Heinz of the Lafayette, Ind., Journal & Courier.

Penn State pulverized Purdue. And that picture perfectly summed up the entire day for the Boilermakers.

Designer Ian Lawson of Gannett’s design studio in Louisville ran the picture big and got the hell out of its way.

Find a little more of Ian’s work here and here.

Average daily circulation for the Journal & Courier is 25,531.

Saturday’s baseball playoff pages

Here’s a look at today’s baseball playoff pages, plus a few from yesterday that I didn’t have time to post…



St. Louis leads series, 3-2

Next game: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. EDT at San Fransisco, FOX

The Giants scored four runs in the 4th inning to beat the Cardinals and to hold off elimination from the pennant series. What made it even worse for the Cardinals: All four runs were unearned. Meanwhile, Barry Zito threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings for the Giants.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 229,176

Friday’s Chronicle — included a small picture of the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter successfully sliding into home in the 5th inning.

The picture was by staffer Michael Macor, who also shot the much larger picture of Zito on page one today.


San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: About 225,175

The Bay Area News Group papers ran an awesome, awesome photo on page one yesterday following the Giants’ disappointing Game Four loss.

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a diving stop in the 7th inning, but his throw to first was late. The picture by Jeff Haynes of Reuters was paired perfectly with the headline:

Giants on the bubble


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

Today’s centerpiece picture by staffer Nhat V. Meyer focused on a jubilant Barry Zito.



Stockton, Calif.

Circulation: 33,675

The Stockton Record today used a cleverly-cropped picture of Zito in its skybox today.

The crop was clever. But the headine was even more clever.


San Francisco, Calif.

Distribution: 200,000

What a contrast today’s Zito pages are to the fronts yesterday from the Bay Area. The Giants were “on the brink,” according to Friday’s Examiner.

The picture was by Dilip Vishwanat of Getty Images.


Palo Alto, Calif.

Circulation: 18,500

Likewise, “elimination looms for Giants,” said the Palo Alto paper.

The picture of Hector Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval during the final outs of the game was by Nhat V. Meyer of the San Jose Mercury News.


St. Louis, Mo.

Circulation: 187,992

In St. Louis today, folks are disappointed in the Cardinals’ failure to end the NLCS at home Friday.

That is pitcher Lance Lynn, who was pulled in the 4th inning, not long after his own defensive error led to a big inning for the Giants. He attempted to throw to second base in hopes of triggering a double play. Instead, his throw bounced into the outfield.

The picture is by staffer Chris Lee while his colleague Huy Mach shot this action during the error of shortstop Pete Kozma colliding with the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval after that errant throw.


Belleville, Ill.

Circulation: 46,883

The paper across the way in Belleville led Friday with a staff picture by Zia Nizami of Matt Carpenter’s spectacular slide into home plate.

Today, staffer Derik Holtmann contributed this picture of Lance Lynn as the game melted down around him last night.


Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Circulation: 13,501

And here’s another one I’m sorry didn’t have time yesterday afternoon to post. Designer Brian Rosener of the Daily American Republic of Poplar Bluff, Mo., tells us:

Daily American Republic of Poplar Bluff, Mo., tells us:

Here’s my page. Look familiar?

My reaction when I saw the P-D‘s sports page cost me a coin in the swear jar.


In my defense, you can’t pass up a Chris Lee photo when he puts them on the wire. Hopefully since the P-Ds we get here are early editions (we’re three hours south), it’s different, but I’m not going to look.


Lansing, Mich.

Circulation: 41,330

In the wake of Detroit’s stunning sweep of the Yankees in the ALCS, designer John Kalmar wrote yesterday:

I wanted to pass along the sports cover that I did for the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal, as part of the Louisville Gannett Design Studio. I noticed that you’ve been posting pages from Grand Rapids and other Booth papers, so I figured I’d get Lansing involved in the party, too.

The picture of reliever Phil Coke after the final out was from the Associated Press.


Grand Rapids, Mich.

Circulation: 68,865

That same picture was lead art on the front of the Advance Michigan papers yesterday.


From left to right:

  • Jackson Citizen Patriot, circulation 24,031
  • Kalamazoo Gazette, circulation 27,994
  • Muskegon Chronicle, circulation 18,177


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

And here’s today’s off-day Tigers front for the Detroit Free Press, featuring a photo of Jose Valverde by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.

Designer Ryan Ford — who sent that page — notes:

And now the waiting game begins. Fine by me.

The pages from the Detroit Free Press, the Lansing State Journal, the Daily American Republic and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch are all from the respective newspapers. The rest are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of the 2012 baseball playoffs, here in the blog…

Tuesday’s baseball playoff pages

Here’s a look at today’s baseball playoff pages…



Series tied, 1-1

Next game: Wednesday, 4 p.m. EDT at St. Louis, FOX

The Giants buried the Cardinals on the back of second baseman Marco Scutaro. Scutaro — who was injured when the Cards’ Matt Holliday slide into him in the 1st inning — hit a two-run single in the 4th inning which eventually led to a 5-1 lead by the end of that inning.

Two innings later, Scutaro was pulled from the game and sent for X-rays of the injury and the Giants cruised on to a series-tying win.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 229,176

The Chronicle put the game into the space atop today’s nameplate. The photo — by staffer Carlos Avila Gonzalez — is of Scutaro hitting his bases-loaded single in the 4th.


San Francisco, Calif.

Distribution: 200,000

The same play was featured on the front of today’s Examiner.

The picture is by Thearon W. Henderson of Getty Images.


San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: About 225,175

The Merc today built its front around a picure of centerfielder Angel Pagan, who scored on a Cardinal error in the 4th.

The picture is by staffer Susan Tripp Pollard.


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 Rosa, Calif.

Circulation: 56,003

Remember that collision in the first inning that caused the injury to Scutaro? This great photo by staffer Kent Porter of the Santa Rosa paper shows that moment.

Wow. What a picture.


San Mateo, Calif.

Circulation: 14,800

The San Mateo paper also led with Scutaro’s hit.

The picture is from Reuters.


Palo Alto, Calif.

Circulation: N/A

And the Daily Post went with a post-game celebration shot from the Associated Press.


St. Louis, Mo.

Circulation: 187,992

In St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch led today with a picture of a disappointed Yadier Molina after he popped out in the 3rd.

The photo is by staffer Chris Lee.


Belleville, Ill.

Circulation: 46,883

The Belleville paper led with an AP shot of outfielder Jon Jay losing his glove while attempting to field a double by Ryan Vogelsong in the 6th inning.




Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

It was an off day in Detroit, so the Free Press took the opportunity to a) write about how everyone is suddenly a Tigers fan, and b) to punch up a nice file shot of Justin Verlander.

That page was designed by Jason Karas.

Sports designer Ryan Ford — who sent us these pages and who designed this next one himself — writes:

Another day, another chance to hype Verlander…

Verlander, of course, will be tested in tonight’s game. You’ll find two more pics of him on today’s sports front.


New York, N.Y.

And the Big Apple tabloids were awfully quiet today. The big talking from this past weekend is gone. Other stories occupied page one. The sports fronts in both the Daily News and the Post seemed awfully negative.


The Daily News (left, circulation 579,636) picked on whiny right fielder Nick Swisher — who has, in fact, been benched for tonight’s game — while the Post (right, circulation 555,327) bemoaned the odds of trying to top Verlander.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 507,615

And while the post-season is long gone for the Washington Nationals, my admiration of the gorgeous baseball playoff coverage by the Washington Post will never fade.

Deputy design director for news Greg Manifold sent us another huge care package of pages from late last week.

Let’s start with Friday. Here, again, was the Post‘s front page the day after right fielder Jayson Werth smacked a home run in the bottom of the 9th to break a 1-1 tie with the Cardinals.

That picture — by Robb Carr of Getty Images — was used by a number of papers that day.

On page A17, this wonderful shot by Post staffer Jonathan Newton showed Werth rounding the bases for his walk-off homer.

You know the drill: If you have a great picture, run it big and get the hell out of its way.

The Friday sports front led another picture of that same play — also by Jonathan Newton — of the reaction by Werth and his teammates just after the ball sailed clear of the wall.

An interesting little graphic at the bottom right of the page shows how Werth coaxed 13 pitches out of the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn before taking the ball for a ride.

Yet another picture by Jonathan Newton graced page D9.

That is pitcher Ross Detwiler.

The picture on the game agate page (left) of Werth is by Jonathan Newton.


The picture of Werth getting a hug from Bryce Harper (right) is by staffer John McDonnell.

And here’s yet another depth-of-field shot, showing the Nats’ Adam LaRoche‘s solo home run.

That picture is by John McDonnell.

Saturday, I wrote in the blog:

Sadly, the game was too late for the Washington Post. It had to settle for a nice shot — by staffer John McDonnell — of a five-year-old Nationals fan and an acknowledgement that the result didn’t get into today’s paper.

However, Greg tells me that wasn’t the case. Yes, the page one left is the one we got here in Virginia Beach. Yes, the page on the left was the one filed at the Newseum. But Greg tells us:

One small clarification on your post about the result not making Saturday’s paper. It did in fact make it to a good chunk of our subscribers.

In fact, the paper on the right was the one most Post readers saw, Greg says.


Here’s a closer look at the front page, featuring a picture of catcher Kurt Suzuki and starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez by Jonathan Newton.

The sports front was built around this great shot of a dejected Bryce Harper hanging around the dugout.

That picture is by Jonanthan Newton.

Page D5 featured fans filing into the stadium, reflected in a decoration. The picture was by Jonathan.

The picture at lower right is from the same set of photos that ended up on page one of the earlier edition Saturday.

Here are pages D6 and D7.


The agate page features a picture of Gio Gonzalez. On the right is a picture of reliever Craig Stammen, who was yanked in the 6th. Both pictures were by Jonathan Newton.

And Sunday , the Post led its sports front with a reflective portrait of reliever Drew Storen, who came within a strike of winning the game and the series for the Nationals.

That’s yet another wonderful shot by John McDonnell.

On the doubletruck, Storen faces the post-game press conference.

Great detail No. 1: The back of Storen’s T-shirt.

That large photo is by John McDonnell.

Great detail No. 2: The expression on the faces of these fans, after the game.

That picture is by Jonathan Newton.

The Sunday agate page featured a picture — by John McDonnell — of shortstop Ian Desmond chasing down a two-run single that tied the game at 7 in the top of the 9th.

Let me point out that graphic at the very bottom of the page, however. This data comes from a web site called FanGraphs that uses historical data to track the possibility of a team winning throughout the game.

So when that play — shown at the top of the page — happened with two outs in the top of the 9th, the Nat’s chance of winning this game — and the series — suddenly dropped from somewhere around 85 percent to less than fifty-fifty.

The chart is very cool. But admittedly, it’d be difficult to understand without all the text above it.

That’s the funny thing about baseball. You can chart so many different aspects of the game. But understanding the charts — or helping the reader understand them — can be a problem sometimes.

The pages from Washington, Detroit and New York are from those papers. The rest of  these images are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of the 2012 baseball playoffs, here in the blog…

Friday’s baseball playoff pages

Here’s a look at today’s baseball playoff pages…



San Francisco wins the series, 3-2

The Giants — who were down 2-0 in this series as of Sunday night — won its third in a row and clinched a spot in the National League Championship Series last night on the back of NL batting champion Buster Posey. Posey hit a grand slam in the 5th inning.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 299,176

The Chronicle pushed its “top of the news” roundup off the top of its page and led today with a giant locker room celebration shot by staffer Michael Macor.

The headline refers to both the triumphant Giants and the A’s, who were eliminated from the AL pennant race by the Tigers last night. The smaller photo of Oakland’s Coco Crisp is special to the Chronicle by Beck Dieferbach.


San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: About 225,175

The Bay Area News Group papers also led with champagne in the locker room. That’s pitcher Tim Lincecum there at front center.

The picture is by staffer Patrick Tehan. The smaller picture — again, of Crisp — is by staffer Dan Honda.

Again, the Merc‘s sister papers followed in locked step.


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 Rosa, Calif.

Circulation: 56,003

The Santa Rosa paper today built page one around a tightly-cropped picture of Posey hitting that grand slam.

The picture was by Michael Keating of the Associated Press. The secondary art of the A’s is by staffer Christopher Chung.


Chico, Calif.

Circulation: 28,332

Chico led today with an on-field celebration shot by Al Behrman of the Associated Press.


Stockton, Calif.

Circulation: 33,675

As did Stockton. The secondary picture from the Oakland gane is by the AP’s Marcio Jose Sanchez.

Take note of the hockey paper action figures in the nameplate.


San Mateo, Calif.

Circulation: 14,800

San Mateo led with a champagne picture from Reuters.


Santa Cruz, Calif.

Circulation: 25,000

The small paper in Santa Cruz may have done the best job today of matching up the elation the Giants felt with the pain experienced by A’s fans.

The Giants photo was by Gary Reyes of the Mercury News. The A’s picture is by Jose Luis Villegas of the Sacramento Bee.


Fresno, Calif.

Circulation: 107,501

And Fresno, too, showed “ecstasy, agony” with a pair of photos from the Associated Press.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, the Enquirer today may have come up with the best headline of the week.

The picture of a dejected Brandon Phillips is by Enquirer staffer Leigh Taylor.



Series tied, 2-2

Next game: Today, 8:30 p.m., at Washington

Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth smacked a home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to break a 1-1 tie with St. Louis and to tie up the playoff series at 2.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 507,615

The Post today built its front around a wonderful picture of Werth leaping into home plate, where his teammates waited to congratulate him.

The picture — by Robb Carr of Getty Images — got quite a workout today in newpapers in our nation’s capital. As you’ll see.


Washington, D.C.

Distribution: 183,916

The Post‘s free, youth-oriented tab, Express, used the same picture today but cropped more tightly.


Washington, D.C.

Distribution: 260,950

And the Examiner used that picture as well.

However, take note: Because of the refers, the front-page ad, the two-deck main headline plus a deck below, the short amount of space left over meant that the designers here had to crop out the field, home plate and the lower legs of all Werth’s teammates. making his leap here look a bit awkward.

If the Examiner can’t use any more space than that for a great picture, one wonders why they bother. Just go with an all-text front or something.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 93,763

The Times today went with a picture that wasn’t nearly as great as that one. Freelancer Preston Keres caught Werth as he was just beginning his leap.


St. Louis, Mo.

Circulation: 187,992

The Post-Dispatch refered to the game via two pictures in its usual skybox.

Interestingly, the headline on the debate story could also apply to the playoff game.


Belleville, Ill.

Circulation: 46,883

And in Belleville, the News-Democrat led its front with a picture of Cardinal centerfielder John Jay just after he struck out in the 7th.

The picture is from the Associated Press.



Series tied, 2-2

Next game: Today, 5 p.m., at New York

The Orioles stayed alive to force a fifth game against the Yankees when shortstop J.J. Hardy knocked in a run in the 13th inning.


Baltimore, Md.

Circulation: 179,574

The folks in Baltimore just can’t catch a break. Every game has either started late or finished late due to rain.

Breaking news pushed the game into a smaller hole atop page one today.

The picture there –by staffer Kenneth K. Lam — shows Manny Machado scoring the go-ahead run.

Director of visuals Jay Judge tells us, regarding today’s sports front:

The turnaround was too short to sub the lead photo, unfortunately. Though it’s a very good pic.

That is also Machado, but in the third inning when he was tagged out at home. The picture is by staffer Lloyd Fox.

And here is Thursday’s sports front, featuring reliever Jim Johnson watching the Yankees’ Raul Ibanez round the bases after he hit a game-tying home run in the 9th inning Wednesday.

That picture is also by staffer Kenneth K. Lam.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 579,636

The Daily News greeted the series tie with a very cute headline today.

The picture — of pitcher Joba Chamerlain after he was nailed by a broken bat — is by staffer Corey Sipkin.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,327

The game had to split time in today’s Post with the vice-presidential debate.

The picture of Alex Rodriguez is by staffer Anthony J. Causi.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 35,997

And the paper in Staten Island, also, led with a picture of A-Rod from the AP.



Detroit wins the series, 3-2

Pitching ace Justin Verlander struck out 11 Oakland players for the second time this series last night.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

The Free Press today reponded with a terrific headline for its above-the-nameplate promo display.

Sports designer Ryan Ford writes in his nightly message:

What, us worry? Verlander’s got this.

And thus we got [the result] into our two-dot, which hopefully will reach a few more readers than yesterday’s. (And no more West coast games until the World Series, when every game starts at 8:30!)

Here is Ryan’s sports front, featuring an terrific headline.

The picture of manager Jim Leyland embracing third baseman Miguel Cabrera is by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

And, as far as I can tell from the Newseum, the Detroit News was forced to punt again last night.

The picture is of Verlander. But the text asks readers to check the web site for news.

The pages from the Baltimore Sun and the Detroit Free Press came from those papers. The rest of  these images are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of the 2012 baseball playoffs, here in the blog…

Are you a sports designer in a MLB market with a team in the playoffs? Feel free to send me your post-game sports fronts each night, along with credits, if you can. Whatever I can get ahold of, I’ll feature here in the blog.

Thursday’s baseball playoff pages

Here’s a look at today’s baseball playoff pages…



St. Louis leads the series, 2-1

Next game: Today, 4 p.m. EDT at Washington

The first baseball playoff game in D.C. since 1933 was pretty much a debacle for the Nationals.


St. Louis, Mo.

Circulation: 187,992

The Post-Dispatch led page one today with a picture of rookie shortstop Pete Kozma, who hit a three-run home run in the 2nd inning.

The picture was by staffer Chris Lee.


Belleville, Ill.

Circulation: 46,883

Across the river in Belleville, the News-Democrat chose an Associated Press picture of Kozma as he came across the plate after that dinger.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 507,615

The Post today focused on the fact that the playoffs were back in town, finally. This wonderful picture by staffer John McDonnell of the pregame introductions was given the place of honor on today’s front page.

Here is what it looked like on page one.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 93,763

The Times today used a picture of a frustrated Michael Morse after he struck out in the first inning.

That picture — as well as the one of the equally-frustrated Nats fan — was by staffer Andrew Harnik.


Washington, D.C.

Distribution: 183,916

Express — the Post‘s free youth+commuter tab — used a great picture by the AP’s Alex Brandon showing Jayson Werth flubbing a catch up against the outfield wall.


Washington, D.C.

Distribution: 260,950

And the Examiner, too, chose an Alex Brandon picture today.



Series is tied, 2-2

Next game: Today, 1 p.m. EDT at Cincinnati

San Francisco’s Angel Pagan smacked a home run in the game’s very first at-bat and then Gregor Blanco added a two-run dinger in the second to bury the Reds and tie up the series.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 299,176

Every day, the Chronicle has been splitting the the “top of the news” module above the nameplate with equal treatment of the Giants and A’s. Today, the baseball promo completely replaces the news promos.

The A’s picture — showing Oakland’s Seth Smith — is by staffer Carlos Avila Gonzalez. The Giants picture — of Pagan — is by staffer Michael Macor.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

The Enquirer, too, has been playing the Reds games over its nameplate but below a series of house ads for Gannett DealChicken.

Today’s picture — by staffer Leigh Taylor — is of Joey Votto, after he struck out in the 7th inning.



New York leads the series, 2-1

Next game: Today, 7:30 p.m. EDT at New York

There was quite a bit of drama last night in New York: An underperforming Alex Rodriguez was pulled in the 9th inning and replaced with pinch hitter Raul Ibanez. Who then smacked a home run to tie the game and send it into extra innings. In the 12th, Ibanez came up again and, yes, hit a second homer to break the tie.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,327

Naturally, the Post came up with a brilliant headline — so brilliant, in fact, that it completely obscures Ibanez making contact with the ball for that second dinger.

The picture was by staffer Neil Miller.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 579,636

The Daily News also went for a clever headline, emphasizing Ibanez’ status last night as a pinch hitter.

The picture is by staffer Corey Sipkin.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 1,586,757

The heroics were enough to push the game out onto page one of today’s New York Times.

Granted, it was at the bottom of page one. But, hey: It was on page one.

The photo by staffer Barton Silverman is of the second homer, I presume. The cutline doesn’t say, specifically.


Baltimore, Md.

Circulation: 179,574

And the Sun built its centerpiece around a similar picture by staffer Lloyd Fox.



Oakland leads the series, 2-2

Next game: Today, 9:30 p.m. EDT at Oakland

There was also drama in last night’s late game in Oakland: Seth Smith tied the game with a two-run double in the 9th inning. Then, with two outs, Coco Crisp played the hero for the second night in a row by by bringing Smith home with a single.


Oakland, Calif.

Circulation: 52,459

The Bay Area News Group papers led today with a great picture by staffer Anda Chu of the A’s celebrating their victory

That’s Crisp on the right, No. 4. The secondary photo of the Giants game was by staffer Patrick Tehan.

As usual, the Tribune‘s sister papers were nearly identical.


On the left is the San Jose Mercury News, circulation approximately 225,175. On the right is the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek, circulation 67,464.


Palo Alto, Calif.

Circulation: 18,500

The Daily News of Palo Alto, too, led today with a celebration shot. Again, that’s Crisp on the right.

The picture was by Ben Margot of the Associated Press. The picture of the Giants celebrating their own win was by Jonathan Daniel of Getty Images.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

The end of the game was way too late for the Detroit papers. The News used a rather generic-looking, uncredited photo up top today and referred to its online coverage.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

The Free Press did the same, but with a question headline.

However, sports designer Ryan Ford was kind enough to send along this late sports front last night.

Ryan writes in his nightly commentary:

Who doesn’t love a 1 a.m. game finish? Oh, well, on to Game 5.

The photo — of Seth Smith scoring the winning run — was by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.

That last page, obviously, came from the Freep. The rest of  these images are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of the 2012 baseball playoffs, here in the blog…

Are you a sports designer in a MLB market with a team in the playoffs? Feel free to send me your post-game sports fronts each night, along with credits, if you can. Whatever I can get ahold of, I’ll feature here in the blog.

Wednesday’s baseball playoff pages

Here’s a look at today’s baseball playoff pages…



Cincinnati leads the series, 2-1

Next game: Today, 4 p.m. EDT at Cincinnati

The Giants kept alive last night, but just barely. With the score tied 1-1 in the 10th inning, Giant baserunners advanced on a passed ball and then scored when Cincinnati’s Scott Rolen — the owner of eight Golden Glove awards — bobbled a grounder.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 229,176

The Chronicle today went with what is becoming its customary play for these series: One-and-a-half column square pictures of each game in its “top of the news” roundup at the top of the page.

Both the Giants and the A’s won last night, as you can see. But I’m a little surprised at how little love each has gotten on the front of the Chronicle this week.

The A’s picture is by freelancer Beck Diefenbach. The Giants’ pic is by staffer Michael Macor.


Monterey, Calif.

Circulation: 23,765

The small paper in Montery went with a photo of Giants closer Sergio Romo, yelling after he earned the final out of the game.

That picture was by Al Behrman of the Associated Press.


Modesto, Calif.

Circulation: 59,783

Modesto went with dual yelling pitcher pictures: That same Al Behrman photo as well as one of A’s reliever Sean Doolittle in the 8th inning.

That second picture was made by the AP’s Marcio Jose Sanchez.


Palo Alto, Calif.

Circulation: 18,500

The Daily News of Palo Alto also went with a screaming picture of Sergio Romo — and one that seemed rather oddly cropped. I’d think a vertical crop might have worked better here.

The lead photo is by Jonathan Daniel of Getty Images. The secondary art — of the actual A’s closer, Grant Balfour — was by the Sacramento Bee‘s José Luis Villegas.


Palo Alto, Calif.

Circulation: N/A

Another West-coast paper; another use of that AP photo of a screaming Romo.

The crop on this one almost makes it look like he’s yawning.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

While in Cincinnati, the Enquirer stripped a dugout shot of a dejected Scott Rolen — the man who made the error — across the top of today’s front page.

The picture is by Enquirer staffer Jeff Swinger.



Detroit leads the series, 2-1

Next game: Today, 9:30 p.m. EDT at Oakland

The Tigers’ Prince Fielder was thwarted twice last night by overachieving A’s outfielders. Coco Crisp — who pretty much blew Sunday’s game with a spectacular error — robbed Fielder of a home run in the 2nd inning. And then, in the 7th inning, a diving grab by Yoenis Cespedes deprived Fielder of a double.


Oakland Calif.

Circulation: 52,459

Despite the defensive heroics, the Bay Area News Group papers led with the same kind of screaming pitcher shots we saw earlier.

The lead photo of Grant Balfour is by staffer Anda Chu. The secondary picture of Romo is by Jeff Haynes of Reuters.

Naturally, the other two major BANG papers followed.


On the left is the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek, circulation 67,464. On the right is the San Jose Mercury News, circulation approximately 225,175.


Sacramento, Calif.

Circulation: 196,667

Afront Sacramento today: Ditto. Screaming pitchers.

Lead art of Balfour is by staffer José Luis Villegas. The smaller picture of Romo is the now-familiar picture by the AP’s Al Behrman.


Santa Rosa, Calif.

Circulation: 56,003

The Santa Rosa paper cropped in tight on the screaming pitchers.


Stockton, Calif.

Circulation: 33,675

The skybox atop today’s Stockton Record is a) uncredited, b) without a caption to identify the player, and c) awfully awkwardly designed around the nameplate.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

It’s really not until we get to the Detroit papers that we find some real creativity in photo selection and headline writing. Naturally, it helps that we also have sports fronts to look at from both papers.

The Freep‘s headline today sums up last night’s game: Oakland indeed shut down the Tigers in a big way.

The photo is of Miguel Cabrera, trudging off the field after he was struck out in the 6th inning. The picture is by Free Press staffer Julian H. Gonzalez. Joe Cybulski designed that page.

As much as I love that headline, however, this one should get some kind of award. ACES headline-writing contest judges, please take note:

That, obviously, is the moment when Coco Crisp pulled in that apparent Prince Fielder home run. Hell, Coco looks as surprised as anyone.

The photo is another one by Julian H. Gonzalez. The page was designed by Ryan Ford, who tells us:

Oh, Coco Crisp. You have brought us so much joy this series … and so much pain…

Fun times with a 9 p.m. start in an elimination game. And thus the return of a photo page, which actually — since there’s a Game 4 and our game advance page survived into the final edition — only ran in our final e-edition.

The pictures on that page are all by Julian Gonzalez. Note the large, bold credit at top left.

The centerpiece photo is of former A’s great Bert Campaneris. Who, the Freep points out, famously threw his bat at Detroit’s Lerrin LaGraw in a playoff game 40 seasons ago.

Not being an AL fan, I have no memory of this incident at all. Plus, y’know, I was only 10. But whatever. Cool story.

Ryan writes in his nightly roundup:

All the photos are by Julian H. Gonzalez, who was actually filing via wi-fi directly from his camera, rather than from a laptop. Technology!


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

The News led its A1 skybox today with a photo of Anibal Sanchez, who gave up both runs last night.

Rick Epps — who sent us these two pages — designed that one himself.

The News led its sports front with a photo that should look familiar: Coco Crisp, a second or so before the Free Press‘ big picture.

On one hand, this might technically be a better photo than the one the Freep used today: You can see the ball in Crisp’s glove — higher than the outfield wall — making it clear he saved a home run. On the other hand, the expression on Crisp’s face on the Freep picture is golden.


The page was designed by staffer Amelia Eramya.



Although the Yankees were taking the day off, a couple of things of note from the Big Apple market…


New York, N.Y.

Distribution: 345,053

First, there is this wonderful illustration on the front of the free tab published by the owners of Newsday.

The picture, of course, is of Alex Rodriguez. The photoillustration was built atop a photo by Newsday‘s Jim Mcisaac.


Melville, N.Y.

Circulation: 397,973

And Newsday‘s Chris Hanna was kind enough to send us five pages from the series preview that ran in his paper back on Sunday.

Click any of these for a much larger view.

Chris tells us:

I designed these. Just a heads-up, though: The cover and lead spread (homers odyssey) printed in black and white. They are color for our e-edition.

The scouting report pack was color throughout.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve not shown any Newsday pages so far this series — mostly because all I’m seeing are the fronts from the Newseum. And Newsday hasn’t put the Yankees vs. Orioles out front yet.

Pages from the Newsday and the Detroit papers came from those newspapers. The rest of  these images are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of the 2012 baseball playoffs, here in the blog…

Are you a sports designer in a MLB market with a team in the playoffs? Feel free to send me your post-game sports fronts each night, along with credits, if you can. Whatever I can get ahold of, I’ll feature here in the blog.

Monday’s baseball playoff pages

Here’s a look at today’s baseball playoff pages…



Detroit leads series, 2-0

Next game: Tuesday, 9 p.m. EDT at Oakland

A crazy, crazy afternoon in Detroit. According to the MLB’s own account of the game:

It was the first game in Major League postseason history in which both teams tied the game on a wild pitch in the same inning.

That inning was the 8th. The Tiger who scored, tying the game: Utility man Don Kelly.

And then, in the 9th, the Tigers won on a bases-loaded, sacrifice fly by — yes — Don Kelly.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

Kelly gets a big hug from Cecil Fielder on the front of today’s Free Press.

The only story on the page is the start of a column by Mitch Albom. I’d argue that’s about all you need. A piece by Albom is worth four or five stories by anyone else.

The picture is by staffer Kirthmon F. Dozier. Steve Anderson designed the page.

I think a better headline for that page might have been the one the Freep put on its sports front today.

The onfield celebration shot — in the rain — is also by Kirthmon Dozier. The page was designed by Ryan Ford, who wrote in his nightly email report:

Well, that was a fun Tigers game, especially in person. Don Freakin’ Kelly.

Not only that, but logo quasi-nerd that I am, even got to break out both versions of our Orioles button, plus the “vintage” Marlins look.

The two Orioles logos happened because of history-oriented graphics Ryan used on his page. If you’re talking about a certain year, you should show the logo the team was using that year, right?

In 1996, the Orioles used the “realistic” logo on the right. Later, the team reverted to its old cartoony bird logo. Which is still in use today.


The graphic across the bottom of the page explains that this year — for the first time since 1995-97 — the lower-seeded teams are playing at home for the first two games of the playoff series. Six times in that span, the lower-seeded team won its first two games. Here’s how they did once they hit the road, the graphic says:


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

The Detroit News stripped a picture of that Fielder/Kelly hug across the top of its page this morning.

The photo is by staffer Elizabeth Conley. The page was designed by Antone Amye.

The sports front — designed by presentation editor Rick Epps — leads off with a great action outfield shot by Elizabeth Conley…

And then features a celebration picture by staffer Daniel Mears of Omar Infante, the guy who scored the winning run from Kelly’s sacrifice in the 9th.

Rick tells us:

The Tigers are keeping us hopping, that’s for sure!

I’ll bet. Thanks for sharing the pages.


Grand Rapids, Mich.

Circulation: 68,865

The Advance Publications’ Michigan papers led today with a picture of Kelly’s score in the 8th inning. The odd thing here, however, is the headline. Which references Kelly’s sacrifice fly in the 9th.

The picture is by Diane Burleson of the Associated Press.

The rest of the Advance Michigan papers followed in suit.


From left to right:

  • Jackson Citizen Patriot, circulation 24,031
  • Kalamazoo Gazette, circulation 27,994
  • Muskegon Chronicle, circulation 18,177



Washington leads series, 1-0

Next game: Today, 4:30 p.m. EDT at St. Louis

Twenty-five-year-old rookie Tyler Moore — pinch-hitting with two outs the 8th inning — — hit a two-run single to put the Nationals over the Cardinals Sunday afternoon.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 507,615

The Post led today’s page one with wild art — by Dilip Vishwanat of Getty Images — of the celebration at home plate when the tying and winning runs were scored.

Today’s sports front stripped the Redskins’ loss to Atlanta — and the concussion received by high-flying quarterback Robert Griffin III — across the top while focusing on Tyler Moore as he returned to the dugout after his 8th-inning heroics.

The photo is by Post staffer Jonathan Newton.

That page and the following pages were sent to me today by Brian Gross, who tells me both he and Chris Rukan worked on them..

Nationals coverage picks up inside today’s sports section on page D13. The large picture atop this page — also by Jonathan Newton — is of Moore hitting in the tying and go-ahead runs.

Newton also shot the downpage picture of Nationals starter Adam Wainwright.

Here are pages D14 and D15.


I really like these, so let’s take a closer look at both of them…

Page D14 is the utility page, with a full box, an extensive inning-by-inning summary and a great statistical look at the two starting pitchers.

If you’re a sports designer, then click on that page — for a larger view — and then save the JPG. This is how you do baseball playoffs, folks.

The facing page contains the jump of the main story, briefs and a half-page rail of internet reefers.

The huge star here, however, is that amazing, amazing photo by Jonathan Newton of right fielder Jayson Werth going up against the wall.

Anywhere else, the picture would be portfolio material and screaming from page one. But at the Post? The great material the Post has is so incredibly deep that picture runs on page D15. In black-and-white.

And then this beauty appears on page D20.

The photographer? Guess who: Jonathan Newton.

As excited as I was to see all that, Brian also sent me Sunday’s preview pages.

The picture of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman tossing T-shirts to the crowd is by, yes, Jonathan Newton.

Sunday’s center spread featured this great preview roundup that contained position-by-position matchups, thumbnails of the season’s previous meetings and by-the-numbers rails for each team.

Click on that for a much larger view.

The large picture up top of center fielder Bryce Harper is by Post staffer John McDonnell.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Brian also sent me pages from the Post’s 12-page special preview section that ran in Friday’s paper.

The lead picture there was by John McDonnell.

Page two — below, left — contains a column, a great rail of numerical superlatives and a crowd shot by staffer Toni L. Sandys.


Page three — above right — examined the Nationals’ three powerhouse starting pitchers.

Page four — below, left — began a look back on the 2012 season, themed by fives: Five memorable moments, five biggest turning points and five biggest comebacks.


Down the left-side rail is more by-the-numbers material, including the ten longest home runs of the season.

Page five — see a larger view below — takes a look at the pitching staff.

The rail includes pitching stats.

The center spread is this incredibly detailed graphic by Post staffer Todd Lineman that looks at individual player performance. In every game this season.

Click for a larger view. This one, too, is a keeper.

Across the top of this piece are jersey numbers of the player and a look at the franchise history of the Nationals. The meat, of course, is in the tan-colored section. This consists of three parts — let’s call them chapters — that we need to consider separately. However, all three chapters are plotted on the same horizontal scale: Namely the entire 2012 season.

Still, let’s try to take a closer look at it…

The top chapter contains three sub-chapters, each of which show related data. The top section of this chapter shows the victory or loss margin for each game this season as a fever chart.

I might argue this might have been presented better as a bar chart or a stair-stepped fever chart. But bars come into play later on the page. And the content is clear enough, once you begin reading it.

The next part of of the chapter shows the actual score of every game. Every series win is marked with a “W” — which also happens to be the Nationals’ hat logo.

The little red dots denote one-run victories. The Nats were 27-21 in one-run victories this season, the graphic says.

The final part of this chapter takes a third way of looking at game-by-game performance: With, yes, a bar chart. Wins are dark, losses are lighter. The length of the bars shows how far ahead or behind the Nationals were, after that game, above the .500 mark.

As you can see, the Nats finished 34 games better than .500 and four games ahead of the division rival Atlanta Braves.

In the next chapter, Todd takes on game-by-game pitching statistics. This takes a few moments to understand, so please bear with me…

Each horizontal row is a pitcher (the labels are at far left; download the big JPG to see it all). And each circle shows each game pitched. As starting pitchers, these guys generally appear once every five or so games.

The black circle denotes how many innings he pitched. The blue dot represents USA Today how many runs the pitcher allowed.

Naturally, wins and losses are denoted with W’s and L’s.

So the smaller the blue dot, the fewer runs the pitcher allowed. The larger the black circle, the longer the pitcher played before he was yanked. It’s not exactly a fast read. But again: Once you figure it all out, it’s pretty easy.

And, of course, every pitcher on the team is shown. In that excerpt, you saw only the starting five and only the month of September.

The third chapter takes a look at the offense: The number of hits each batter made per game, plotted on another fever chart. If the number of hits in a particular game reached three or more, the dot turns red.

The little black circles represent home runs. The white areas represent hitting streaks of five games or more.

And only batters who saw 145 or more at-bats are shown. This means Todd didn’t have to fool with the Nationals’ pitchers.

This graphic is nothing short of stunning. Just looking at it nearly turns me cross-eyed. I can’t imagine how on Earth Todd kept all that data from dancing around the page as he worked on it. Or, for that matter, how he stayed sane as he worked on it.

For you statistics freaks out there: Download a PDF of this page here.

That was the center spread, pages six and seven. Are we ready to move along now?

Page eight is the flip side of page five, providing thumbnail looks at the rest of the team.

The horizontal shot of Bryce Harper running through the outfield is by Jonathan Newton.

Page nine — below, right — addresses the last time a baseball playoff game was held in Washington: 1933.


And page 11 looks at the three times Washington baseball teams appeared in the World Series.

That bit downpage looks at the one and only time the Montreal Expos appeared in the playoffs. You might recall the team we now call the Nationals is actually the old Montreal Expos.

Here’s a closer look at that timeline across the bottom of the page. Click, of course, for a larger view.

This shows all three baseball teams with connections in D.C.: 1) The original Senators, which became the Minnesota Twins in 1961, 2) The expansion Senators, which debuted that same year but then became the Texas Rangers in 1972, and 3) The Montreal Expos, which started play in 1969 but them moved to Washington in 2005.

Amazing stuff from our friends in D.C. Thanks to Brian for sending it all to us.


Washington, D.C.

Distribution: 183,916

Express — the Post‘s free commuter tab — led today with high-fives for the kid who won the game for the Nats.

The picture is by Charlie Riedel of the Associated Press.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 93,763

The Times stuffed an AP celebration shot featuring Tyler Moore at the top of the page, reserving the rest for a picture of the Redskins’ RGIII.

Note the flip headline: Day of big hits. Heh.


St. Louis, Mo.

Circulation: 187,992

The Post-Dispatch went with a skybox promo today featuring a Chris Lee staff shot of Cards pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, who gave up the 8th-inning shot to Moore.

That page was designed by Norma Klingsick.

After the excitement in the 8th, the Cardinals had two chances — of course — to try to tie the game. This fabulous shot — again by Chris Lee — shows left fielder Matt Holliday just after he struck out, ending the game.

That page was designed by Josh Renaud and Carlos Ayulo. Thanks to Josh for sending these pages along.


Belleville, Ill.

Circulation: 46,883

And across the Mississippi from St. Louis, the paper in Belleville, Ill., led today with this tight shot of catcher Yadier Molina, after he hit into a double play in the 7th inning.

The picture is by News-Democrat staffer Steve Nagy.



New York leads series, 1-0

Next game: Today, 8 p.m. EDT at Baltimore

A 9th-inning tie was broken up when Yankee catcher Russell Martin hit a home run last night in Baltimore.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,327

That home run was the subject of the uncredited cover shot afront today’s New York Post.

In addition, note the typically snappy headline by the Post.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 579,636

The Daily News, on the other hand, focused on C.C. Sabathia, who worked all but one out for the Yankees last night.

The picture is by staffer Corey Spikin.

Note the headline. Which is larger — but considerably less, um, catchy — than the Post‘s.


Baltimore, Md.

Circulation: 179,574

The “long wait” mentioned in the headline of the front page of today’s Baltimore Sun is a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay.

The picture of relief pitcher Jim Johnson giving up runs in the 9th — shot by staffer Karl Merton Ferron — is nice enough. But it give me a case of déjà vu. Let’s compare it to the cover photo in Sunday’s San Francisco Examiner:


Cute, huh?



Cincinnati leads series, 2-0

Next game: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. EDT at Cincinnati

The Reds won big last night on the road in San Francisco. What’s more, they won both road playoff games by a combined score of 14-2.

After a day off today, they’ll be at home on Tuesday. You kind of feel sorry for the Giants…


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

The game was huge. But it was also very late — it didn’t start until 9:30 p.m. So it’s not surprising that the Enquirer carried only a strip promo on its front page today.

I’d love to see what the Enquirer had — if anything — on its sports front today. If anyone in the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville would care to send me the sports front today, I’d be happy to post it here.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 299,176

Despite a heavy emphasis on sports on today’s Chronicle front page, there was precious little regarding the big loss by the Giants.

You see two small pictures in the upper left there from the Giants game (by staffer Carlos Avila Gonzalez) and the A’s game (by staffer Lance Iverson).


San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: About 225,175

The Giants dominated the front pages of today’s Bay Area News Group papers. The photo of dejected players was by staffer Susan Trip Pollard.

The smaller picture from the A’s game was by D. Ross Cameron.

Front pages were nearly identical for the Oakland Tribune (circulation 52,459) and the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek (circulation 67,464).


Pages from the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch came from those newspapers. The rest of  these images are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of the 2012 baseball playoffs, here in the blog…

Are you a sports designer in a MLB market with a team in the playoffs? Feel free to send me your post-game sports fronts each night, along with credits, if you can. Whatever I can get ahold of, I’ll feature here in the blog.

Sunday’s baseball playoff pages

Here’s a look at today’s baseball playoff pages…



Tigers lead series, 1-0

Next game: Today, Noon EDT

Outstanding performances Saturday: Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlandander with 11 strikeouts in seven innings and catcher Alex Avila, whose home run put Detroit up 3-1 in the fifth inning.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

Sports sells a lot of papers in Detroit. Therefore, the Freep cleared nearly everything not sports related off the front page today for a huge picture of Verlander by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.

The only non-baseball things here: The two promo ears at the upper corners.

The picture is nice. But you’ll agree it’s a bit overpowered by the ornate specialty nameplate, the big promo for the Miguel Cabrera poster and then the huge headline assembly, including label score and deck.

The page was designed by Joe Cybulski.

The baseball front — designed by Ryan Ford — featured a Julian Gonzalez picture of Alex Avila’s homer.

Here’s a look at the poster.

The picture is by staffer Rick Nease. You can order a copy of this here.

Of course, the Free Press also had twin college football fronts today as well: One of Michigan and one for State.


Both centerpiece photos are from U.S. Presswire — Mike Dinovo (left) and Brian Spurlock (right).

Those were both designed by Jeff Tarsha.


Oakland, Calif.

Circulation: 52,459

This headline on the front of the Oakland Tribune summed up Saturday pretty well as both Bay area teams found themselves trashed.

The picture — of the crowd at the Giants’ game scrambling for a foul ball — is by staffer Nhat V. Meyer.

Naturally, the San Jose paper used a nearly-identical front page today.


And perhaps Contra Costa did as well. But that page wasn’t in the Newseum today. Average daily circulation for the Mercury News is about 225,175.



Reds lead series, 1-0

Next game: Tonight, 9:30 p.m. EDT

The Reds’ starting pitcher, Johnny Cueto, retired after suffering back spasms after just eight pitches. But that didn’t seem to slow down the Reds at all.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

The Enquirer put a nice photo and story atop its nameplate today. The headline nicely pays homage to Mat Latos, the relief pitcher who took over for Cueto.

The blurb mentions a four-page pullout section. If someone in Cincinnati or at the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville would like to send me those pages — or, at least, the cover — I’d be happy to post it here.


San Francisco, Calif.

Distribution: 200,000

The Examiner tabloid today led with a picture by Jeff Gross of Getty Images.

A rather uninspired design.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 299,176

And the Chronicle put very little baseball out front today. The Giants’ game is promoted at the top left of the page…

…while the A’s game story is promoted out of a feature profile stripped across the bottom.

With the exception of the Free Press pages, all of these images are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of the 2012 baseball playoffs, here in the blog…

Are you a sports designer in a MLB market with a team in the playoffs? Feel free to send me your post-game sports fronts each night, along with credits, if you can. Whatever I can get ahold of, I’ll feature here in the blog.

Flunking the breakfast test

To an overworked copy editor, this headline might be a perfectly good way to tell — in very few words — what this story is about.

But to someone who didn’t read the story first? Not so much.

That ran in Thursday’s Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal. If it makes you feel any better, the online version didn’t have the same problem.

Thanks to Melissa Kerney Umbarger of the Greensboro News & Record for reposting this via Facebook today.

Previous howlers for that sixth-grader in us all…

July 6: Tampa Bay Times – A highly-specific duty on the ol’ campaign trail

July 5: Associated Press – Keep your headline away from my junk, please

May 31: Unknown newspaper – A headline too dirty even for Charles Apple? Not possible.

May 18: Coon Rapids, Iowa, Enterprise – We never had cheerleaders like this when I was in school.

May 11: Seattle Times – How on Earth could anyone write a headline like this unintentionally?

May 4: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – Someone probably did, once they realized the word they had accidentally hidden in the headline.

April 20: Tampa Tribune – That’s one naughty-looking sandwich.

April 6: NBA.com – Yet another word to stay away from in a headline.

April 5: Mouse Works books – Nothing but natural ingredients for this bear cook.

April 2: MSN Now – Is this headline for real? I’m afraid it is. And it’s intentional.

March 20: Canada’s Wildrose Party – The wheels on the campaign bus go ’round and ’round…

Feb. 27: Weld for Birmingham – There’s no way this headline wasn’t intentional.


Dec. 7: Waitrose Weekend – “The most accidentally pornographic pile of newspapers ever seen.”

Dec. 3: Washington Examiner – Stop using this word as a verb!

Nov. 15: The Manila Mail – Double word score!

Nov. 13: MSNBC – Regardless, it still sounds painful.

Sept. 19: CBS Local Media – What goes on in Minneapolis stays in Minneapolis.

Sept. 9: Cincinnati.com – Does the president know about this?

Sept. 7: D.C. ExpressWay too much information, guys.

Aug. 26: Portland Oregonian – This headline should have been avoided.

July 6: USA Today – No wonder the sun’s so hot!

Feb. 3: Gloucestershire (U.K.) Echo – What’s special about girls’ schools?


Aug. 30: Skyway Drive-In – Vampires suck who?

Aug. 10: New York Times – The late, great trouser snake.

Singers, coaches, referees and thieves: Ten notable Thursday front pages

Here are ten front pages worthy of your attention today…


Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 101,915

Singer Andy Williams died Thursday. Did you know he was a native of Iowa? I did, but only because I lived in Iowa for five years.

The Register honored Williams with a large illustration on the front today.

The page was designed by Erin Baker Crabb. The illustration is by my old friend Mark Marturello, who often switches back-and-forth between Photoshop and Painter on a piece like this.

Mark tells us:

This illustration was done with just Photoshop — didn’t have time to work with Painter. I have an Iowa Poll illustration this Sunday where I use both Photoshop and Painter.

I do like to work from time to time with just Photoshop — [it has] plenty of texture brushes that are really great to work with.

Here’s a closer look.

Also, let me point out the skybox across the top of the page:

The huge pork shortage coming this winter you read so much about this week? It’s a “bunch of hogwash,” reports the Register‘s Dan Piller. There will be a shortage in Europe next year due to changing regulations. The supply here won’t be affected. And prices in the U.S. fluctuate as much as 10 percent anyway.

So relax: Your chocolate-covered bacon is safe. And so is your bacon-covered chocolate.


Springfield, Mo.

Circulation: 35,531

Nathan Groepper — creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines — suggested:

For what it’s worth, you might want to check out the Andy Williams cover Springfield put together. He was big in Branson.

Unfortunately, the News-Leader didn’t contribute its front to the Newseum today. But Nathan was kind enough to send a PDF my way.

The picture is file art from 2010. The page was designed by Season Schafer of the Des Moines studio.


Omaha, Neb.

Circulation: 135,223

Meanwhile, in Nebraska, a legendary football coach announced he would step down at the end of this season.

The front-page picture here is by staffer Rebecca S. Gratz.

The page was designed by Brady Jones.


Lincoln, Neb.

Circulation: 55,398

The University of Nebraska is located in Lincoln. Here’s how the hometown paper played the story.

I love the picture by the Journal Star‘s Francis Gardler. Here’s a closer look.


Hazleton, Pa.

Circulation: 20,008

In Hazleton, Pa., the centerpiece story today was about a local piece about teen suicide — a notoriously difficult topic to illustrate. The Standard-Speaker went with a four-year-old file illustration from McClatchy-Tribune Graphics.

The illustration is by Val Mina, former features art director for the Sacramento Bee. Find more of Val’s work for MCT here.


Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

I suspect this giant A1 illustration — for a story on the ongoing housing crisis — is also stock or wire.

However, I can find no credit to confirm this.

Nicely-designed page, though. If anyone could tell me who put it together, I’d appreciate it.


Green Bay, Wis.

Circulation: 41,769

And, not surprisingly, the end of the NFL officials lockout is the big story today in Green Bay.

The picture there is either file or stock — I’d guess the latter. NFL uniforms have been completely redesigned in recent years. Compare that art with a little pic at the bottom of today’s USA Today:


The page was designed by Don Renfroe of the Gannett studio in Des Moines.


Las Vegas, Nev.

Distribution: 220,619

I’m not sure the folks at the Las Vegas Sun even know the meaning of the words “stock art agency.” If you have former Sun art director Chris Morris — now a master illustrator for the Cleveland Plain Dealer — on retainer as a regular freelancer, you don’t need stock art.

Brilliant stuff as usual from Chris.


McLean, Va.

Circulation: 1,817,446

USA Today went with another very tall tab chart on page one today.

I love how the paper is introducing these odd shapes on the front. Unusual shapes can make for unusual pages.

I just wish the paper could find a way to represent data like this visually. As opposed to just running a huge stack of numbers.

Here’s a closer look:


Victoria, Texas

Circulation: 26,531

And in Victoria, Texas, today, we’re treated to the sight of a halo around the sun.

Artist Julie Zavala tells us:

After a woman called in about the “rainbow around the sun”, the photographer and I ran outside to see it. Angeli Wright took some cool photos of the halo while I tried to take photos with my iPhone. I nearly blinded myself trying to line my phone up with the sun to get my own pics and had tears running down my face (I looked kind of like Alice Cooper by the time I was through).  We used Angeli’s photos in print and online.

Robert [the Advocate‘s multimedia editor and also Julie’s husband] gave me the assignment to research the phonomenon and to write and create the graphic.  I had never seen a rainbow around the sun so I was just as impressed as you are–it’s really cool, right?

The graphic is a very simplistic explanation of how it happens.

Here’s how it all came together on page one today, designed by Kimiko Fieg.

Everything here except the Springfield front is from the Newseum. Of course.

The five cleverest things you’ll find on today’s front pages

My daily romp through the Newseum resulted in five pages I thought were rather clever…


Taunton, Mass.

Circulation: 6,703

You have a story about a woman who studies bats. How do you sell that story to readers on page one?

By playing off the latest Batman movie, of course.

Perhaps it’s obvious to you. But I think that “Dark Night” overline is just perfect.

Bonus points: That’s a nice, clean page. Check out the circulation size. Sure, that’s probably produced in a central editing hub somewhere. But still: Those are some mighty lucky readers there in Taunton, Mass. I hope they appreciate their daily newspaper.


Gastonia, N.C.

Circulation: 24,354

As part of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. yesterday, 1970s superstar musician James Taylor was just settling in for a concert…

When all hell broke loose. Moments after Gaston Gazette photographer Ben Goff took that picture, the clouds opened up and torrential rains fell. Which brought an abrupt end to the show, just three or four songs in.

So how did the Gazette play that on page one today? By riffing off of the title of one of Taylor’s most popular hits.

Gazette editor Hunter Bretzius tells us:

Apparently, page designer Erin Wetzelberger and production editor Mike Banks talked about possible headlines and came up with “Fire and Rain”  for 1A. Erin then used “Shower the people” as as overline on a photo package inside on the uptown concert. Mike spotted it in proofing and urged her to swap them.

A perfect example of the evolution of a good headline! I could hear that song in my head when I picked up my paper this morning.

It really is. More to the point, it’s yet more proof that cool aren’t the result of the size of your paper. It’s the size of your brain that counts.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

Something I’m always preaching in my travels to newspapers far and wide: Conversational headlines. Leading a reader into a story by not writing the way you’d expect a headline to be written. Instead, writing the way you’d actually speak.

I have a new favorite example of this: Today’s Cincinnati Enquirer.

Ryan Hildebrandt — creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville, where this page was built — tells us:

Jeff Ruble designed today’s front. Typically, if you like an Enquirer A1, he’s the guy! I’m not sure what I’d do without him.

And Enquirer editor Carolyn Washburn adds:

Mark Braam on the Enquirer copy desk wrote the headline.

My compliments to the chefs.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,325

Speaking of compliments, I’m a little uneasy dishing them out to the New York Post. When I dislike this paper, I truly, truly loathe it.

Conversely, I must admit, when I love it, I truly, truly love it.

Today is one of the latter.

The cover cartoon by staffer Peter LaVigna illustrates the difference between the defending NFL champion Giants and the somewhat hapless Jets.

My first reaction: Wow. That’s just mean.

My second reaction: I might need to change my pants because I’m laughing so hard.

Sheer genius.


Victoria, Texas

Circulation: 26,531

Our final inspired piece of clever visual journalism today comes from one of my favorite small papers in the country; one I’ve written about time and time again: The Advocate of Victoria, Texas.

The story: Local patients are told they can no longer be treated by a certain orthodontic practice as the result of changes in state Medicaid payments. However, the state denies making those changes.

What’s going on there? Who knows?

The Advocate‘s task: How do we illustrate this story? Luckily, Robert Zavala was on the case. Here’s the page-one centerpiece illustration he came up with.

Robert somewhat modestly tells us:

I wasn’t feeling that this piece was particularly strong but I felt it served the purpose.

The story hinged on low-income people being discontinued from an orthodontic company. The company claimed that the reason it was discontinuing service was that Medicaid had changed its policies. A rep for Medicaid told us that was not true.

I didn’t really think that a photo of the face of the story would be a good visual for this. I kept thinking of using the opposing quotes as the main art. I found the striking photo in Shutterstock and worked the quotes and logos and shapes into it.

Here is what the entire page looked like.

I most recently wrote about Robert’s work a week ago. Find a more detailed look at his work here.

Find more clever, clever work by the Victoria Advocate here.

All of these front page images are from the Newseum. Of course.

This ‘type attack’ centerpiece from Saturday is just smokin’

I asked David Leonard of Gannett’s Louisville Design Studio about the Saturday front page he designed for the Star Press of Muncie, Ind.

David replies:

It was one of those days where we had an interesting story but didn’t have the right kind of art to anchor the page. I decided to go with a strong type treatment as my “lead art” and to shake up A1 from the way it looks every day.

I worked with Muncie’s copy editor to settle on a good main headline, blocked out my space on the page and headed over to Photoshop to work on the package.

Click for a much closer view:

I created the smokey effect on the type by placing stock images of smoke over the letters, erasing away the edges with a soft brush and playing with the opacity and blending settings. Photoshop’s “exclusion” blending mode helped a lot here. The effect isn’t hard to create, but it does take a while to get it looking just right, and I wish I had more time to play with the different smoke overlays.

Some quick work with the smudge tool on the top of the type created the subtle effect of the letters blending into the smoke and drifting away.

The background is a stock grunge image I pulled from the web. I just dropped the whole thing, type and background, into CCI and finished up with the other elements there.

I work on all of Gannett’s Indiana papers we have in the studio throughout the week, and I always appreciate how willing Muncie’s editors are to trying different things and working with us to produce awesome looking pages.

Average daily circulation for the Star Press of Muncie is 20,305.

I’ve written about David’s work a couple of times before. You might recall the amazing redesign job he and his colleagues did with an irregularly-published community college student paper. A few samples:



A 2011 graduate of Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif., David spent his senior year as the Telescope‘s editor in chief.

He interned last summer as a general assignment reporter with U-T San Diego, worked last year as an instructional assistant for the Telescope and also free-lanced for Patch. He joined the Louisville studio in May.

A few samples of his work:




Find David’s web site here and his NewsPageDesigner portfolio here. Find his Twitter feed here.

A final few ‘Dark Knight Rises’ features treatments

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post the last few Batman pages that came in while I was in transit to Kenya…


Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 142,476

The Pilot waited until Sunday — when it had a new review of the movie written by veteran critic Mal Vincent –– before running a huge full-page display in features.

Click that — or any picture here today — for a larger view.

Here’s the jump page….

…which includes a look back at the character of Catwoman, played in the new movie by Anne Hathaway. Here’s just the graphic:

Bob also moved a few pixels around in order to create a 164-pixel  online version. Find that here.

Read Mal’s review here.


Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

In addition, Spencer Holladay of Gannett’s Louisville, Ky., Design Studio sent us a few pages from out his facility.

This one — from Friday’s Courier-Journal — was designed by Brian Gray, he tells us.


Lansing, Mich.

Circulation: 41,330

Staffer Branden Barker was responsible for this Lansing features front.


Muncie, Ind.

Circulation: 20,305

And, finally, staffer Jeff Harkness worked on this “turn it on its side” broadsheet front for the Muncie paper.

Previous posts about the Dark Knight Rises, here in the blog…

Did you do something cool for the new Batman movie? Send me a PDF. But keep in mind I’ll be in transit most of Friday and Saturday.

Today’s Batman movie treatments

Another small batch of Batman movie treatments from around the country in advance of the Dark Knight Rises movie, which opens Friday.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

Clay Sisk of the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville, Ky. tells us:

I decided to go bold and simple this time out.

Yeah, I’m hearing a lot of that this time around. Still, the pages are looking great.

Here is the features cover Clay built for today’s paper.


Chicago, Ill.

Distribution: 250,000

In Chicago today, Trent J. Koland also went with a simple, highly stylized — and monochrome — approach for his RedEye cover.


Aberdeen, S.D.

Circulation: 14,272

The most puzzling approach I’ve seen yet was this one on the front of today’s Aberdeen, S.D., newspaper. The American News asked boys and girls ranging from ages 8 to 18 to speculate what was going to happen to Batman in the movie.

One excerpt:

Austin Rose, 11

“He’s going to get new gear.” Austin said. He believes Batman will have “upgraded, stronger armor” and be able to hold more stuff in his belt. Austin wants Batman to come back more powerful and harder to defeat. Austin estimates around 50 explosions and three buildings to be demolished.

Read the story here by staffer Racquel Bethea.

A bunch of papers put Batman in their skyboxes today. The most notable of them…


Cheyenne, Wyo.

Circulation: 14,267

This may have been the best Batman skybox today. There’s a lot of dead space — especially on the left — but the great headline makes up for it.


Spartanburg, S.C.

Circulation: 31,940

Lots of papers are using the handout picture of Batman on his motorcycle. Most are cutting out the image, but Spartanburg today used the entire picture and made it work well.


Peoria, Ill.

Circulation: 63,024

Perhaps one of the most ineffective Batman skyboxes today is this one. Batman is leaning forward because he’s on his motorcycle.

But that’s not readily apparent here. Instead, it just looks like a strange crop. Which kind of makes it a strange crop, by definition.


Boston, Mass.

Circulation: 108,548

The Boston Herald today played up the history of the Catwoman character.


Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

Not to be outdone, the Lafayette, Ind., paper did the same for the character of Batman.

Without their ears, however, this seems a bit strange.

The lesson here: It’s very, very difficult to push Batman into a horizontal space. Unless you have access to more art than just the usual handout material.

Everything here but the Cincinnati page is from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous posts about the Dark Knight Rises, here in the blog…

Do you have something interesting in the works for the new Batman movie? Send me a PDF! The email address is:

chuckapple [at] cox.net

The good, the bad and the most interesting health-care court ruling front pages

One of the reasons I love the little 26,531-circulation Victoria (Texas) Advocate is because the paper does a pretty great job now. But it’s always looking to do better.

Case in point: I heard this morning via Twitter from Chris Cobler, the editor of the Advocate. Chris writes:

And my reply is: You did pretty well today, Chris. You recognized right away that the protest shots that were moving all over the wires yesterday was not a good choice to lead today’s front page. In your case, you looked to add a little analysis to the decision.

So you went in the right direction. And sometimes, text is the way to carry the front. As you’ll see in this (admittedly overlong) blog post today.

The quibble I have with your front today, Chris, is clutter. Your page is well-organized. But that lead element at the top — the mug shots of the Supreme Court — could have worked with less ink on it.

The good news: Although it had major impact at the top of your page, that would have been a pretty easy — and quick — fix. You had your fundamentals right. And that’s the important thing.

Which leads us into today’s lesson…

I was awfully disappointed in the choice of lead art by most papers today. Those protest shots were all taken by 10 or 11 a.m. Thursday. Meaning they were nearly 24 hours old by the time our readers today saw them. Not a great way to sell newspapers, I think.


And most main headlines I saw today simply told what happened yesterday. The important stuff — how the decision is being spun, what happens next, how it affects the reader — was pushed into smaller headlines or sidebars or even off the front page.

And those were the most important things to push at the top of page one today!




Let’s start where Chris left off — with pages built around mug shots of the Supreme Court justices.

A number of papers stripped the mug shots across the top of page one today. Some divided the mugs into “for” and “against,” like Pittsburgh did (below right). Others made the readers hunt for that info in the little cutline labels (Bangor, Maine; below left).


Two of the nation’s largest newspapers put this kind of treatment on page one today. The Washington Post ran its mug shot collection below the obligatory protest photo…

…while the New York Times built its own into a centerpiece. This kind of thing is very unusual for the Times, I think it’s fair to say.

What did both of those pages have in common? They kept their little mug shot graphic treatments as clean as possible. There’s a minimum of lines, boxes and rules. And there’s plenty of white space to give the mugs some air. The little semi-cutout treatment helps reduce clutter, as well.

The Denver Post today ran two mugshot graphics across the top of today’s front, in order to show how the court voted on two issues.

Note how the greyed-out effect makes this a quicker read.

While the Newark paper made their group shot of the SCOTUS — little little labels — into lead art.

The newly-converted-to-tabloid Burlington, Vt., paper also made a huge, reversed (for extra oomph) headline and a collection of mugs its lead art today.

Every one of these pages worked well. Just like I think Victoria’s page worked.

Or, rather, might have worked a little better without all the boxes and lines. But you get my point.

Here’s one — from Gainesville, Ga. — that I thought was less than successful:

The problems? First of all, the designer “ghosted” an image of the Supreme Court building into the background of that package. I’m not sure how effective that is at telling the story. It harms readability and it’s also an awfully “old-fashioned” approach.

Secondly, I take issue with the main headline. It refers to state officials, while the main visual shows the Supreme Court of the United States. This makes for a huge disconnect between the main head and the main art.

While we’re on the subject of SCOTUS photos, let’s look at two pages that focused on the “swing vote” in this particular decision, Chief Justice John Roberts. Bakersfield turned Roberts into today’s huge centerpiece art.

The problem I have with that page: From what I can tell, that’s a photo of when Roberts was sworn in as a justice, back in 2005. That seems like a bit of a stretch. Was there nothing more recent than this?

And while Hartford didn’t run a photo of Roberts out front today, it did make him the subject of its main headline.

I’m not sure that worked at all. Better if there was some way of working either a big photo of Roberts into that package. Or, at least, including a mug shot of some kind.



I don’t have to tell you that the subject of affordable health care — like so may other topics in this country — has become way too politicized. A number of papers today dove into the political waters today by taking that bigger-picture look at Thursday’s court decision.

And, in some cases, a few of these papers even seemed to take sides.

The Allentown, Pa., paper didn’t take sides. But it made it clear: This wasn’t just a landmark court decision. It was a political win for the President.

The Portland Oregonian made the same point and added a health-care pun as a bonus.

This one caused me to stop and scratch what’s left of the hair on my head.

A “Hallelujah moment“?

I like this front page quite a bit — it’s clean and bold and the typography and colors are just wonderful. And I also like the gentle pun.

But wow — I’d think anyone of a conservative bent would boil over when they saw it. I wonder if the editor of Newsday got calls today.

In that magical world of New York City tabloids, of course, just about anything goes.

Most papers tried to play it much straighter, of course. Many focused on the fact that Republicans are pledging to either a) defeat the President this fall, b) repeal the legisation, or c) both.

Canton, Ohio warns us all: This ain’t over yet.

The Cincinnati Enquirer made the conservative backlash the main story today.

And a number of papers followed along these lines — at least with their main headlines.

Great Falls, Mont.:

St. Paul, Minn.:

Kalamazoo, Mich:

Minneapolis, Minn.:

San Antonio, Texas:

Everett, Wash.:

That last one struck me oddly. That sounds like it’s edging a bit towards advocating for the conservative point of view. If that’s intentional, then that’s fine. But I suspect it may not have been intentional.

The headline afront today’s Gainesville, Fla., paper seemed to put just a bit too much emphasis on the part of the ruling that limits an expansion of Medicaid.

This caught my eye because no one else really did this in their main headline today.

The headline used by Syracuse also struck me as odd:

The decision ignites new debate? Really? You mean no one was debating health care before Thursday morning?

And the main headline on the front of the tiny Twin Falls, Idaho, paper nearly made me laugh out loud by calling the decision “a precarious situation.”

Yes, Tea Party-types like the man pictured there might consider this ruling “precarious.” But I think the rest of us regard it as politics as usual. Or what passes for “usual” in these days of extreme political polarization.

The Washington Times — to the surprise of no one, perhaps — screams the nation was stunned by the decision.

The New York Post took the opportunity to have quite a bit of right-wing fun with the story.

Talk about a political spin: According to the Boston Herald, this decision gives Mitt Romney just the fodder he needs for a vigorous race this fall.

And, at first glance, this front-page editorial by tbt — the youth-oriented tabloid published by the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg, Fla. — seems to be directed against the ruling and against the health care legislation.

In fact, the editorial is for it. I’m not quite sure if the disconnect is a) intentional or b) only in my mind.



I think the best way to handle the story today was to push it forward: Rather than focus on the politics or analyze how the ruling went down — that’s great material for inside — spend your page-one real estate explaining what this means to the reader and how this will affect her.

If you can do this with a strong local bent, then so much the better.

There’s no “what happened yesterday” headline afront today’s Fort Lauderdale newspaper.

Now, granted, I think the design of that centerpiece package is a little scattered. I’d love to have inserted vertical rules between the “if you have insurance” and “if you don’t boxes, as well as between the main copy and the little sidebar down the left. But the point is: This package told readers just what they needed to know today: Why should I care?

The Indianapolis Star did much the same today.

My two complaints here: 1) There’s just a bit too much text. Too much text will scare off most readers. And 2) The headline is very close to advocating for the newly affirmed law. Better to keep it more neutral, I think.

The centerpiece package on the front of today’s Chattanooga paper might have used a bit more structure — trims or rules or some other device — to make it seem less text-heavy.

But again: The content seems right and the direction is spot-on.

Las Vegas built its front around a series of iconesque pieces of stock art — in essence, building a graphic.

The Seattle Times did the same, but then used reverse bars to try to group its text boxes into categories.

This, in fact, did give the Times‘ centerpiece a little more structure and made for a better reading experience.

I don’t like the way two short stories are crammed into the lead story space here. But I love the right side of the package on the front of today’s Poughkeepsie, N.Y., paper.

What it means to individuals. What it means to businesses. What it means to hospitals.

This is what I’m talking about when I refer to structure. This is readable. Very much so.

And notice: The lack of a dominant image doesn’t really hurt this page at all.

My old friends in Des Moines did want a dominant image today, so they went with (what I presume is) stock art.

It almost worked.

The problem: The skews on the right side of the package makes that “10 ways” sidebar a little hard to read. I wonder if this might have worked better if the huge icon were just a bit smaller.

What’s very good there, though: The localized headline. The state prepares to deal with the fallout from this decision.

The same Gannett Design Studio that produced that last page also designed this one, for Iowa City. To some extent, I think this one might have worked a little better.

Clean. White space. Easy to read.

Look at this tab illustration by AmNewYork. Note how the headline is written about you.

That’s the secret to these headlines. What does this court ruling mean for us?

Here’s just the headline from Salem, Oregon:

Gadsen, Ala.:

Birmingham, Ala.:

And Rochester, N.Y.:

Also cool to get out front — if you can — are local voices. Note how the Connecticut Post pushed its protest shots inside — if it used them at all — and built its front page around a local doctor and local medical patients.

Ditto for the Detroit Free Press.

These editors and designers knew the protest art from outside the Supreme Court building would be way too old to lead page one today. So they looked for ways to build their front pages around local folks who will be affected by the law.

My favorite of these pages: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del.

Mostly because of that nice picture by staffer Robert Craig.

And while I don’t particularly think this page works very well, look what Medford, Oregon tried today: It built its entire front around local quotes about the law and the court decision.

It was a great idea. But, as you can see, the result was awfully cluttered. Perhaps if the mug shots were a little smaller — meaning we could have had a little more white space between them — the centerpiece might be a little kinder on the eye.

The summary rail down the right side was a little too jammed, as well. Trims might have been made here.

But the idea was sound.

Now, speaking of clutter…



Many papers were very ambitious about what they wanted to put out front today. That’s a good thing.

But in several cases, papers either tried to pack too much stuff into their lead packages. Or they didn’t take the opportunity to do a little trimming or use a little white space.

The result, as we’ve seen in several examples already, is cluttered. And it’s difficult to attract the reader’s eye with a cluttered page.

Here’s one example from Johnson City, Tenn.

If the designers could have dumped the shot of the building, run the SCOTUS group shot across the width of the package and then put the two stories side-by-side, this might have worked a bit better.

But someone felt the need to force the Supreme Court photo into that page. To the detriment of the page.

This page, too — from Ventura, Calif. — simply has too much going on.

By themselves, each element might work well. But together? Yikes.

The paper in Youngstown, Ohio, used a graphic treatment down the left side of its lead package and an actual graphic across the bottom.

What went wrong here: The two promos that were jammed into the top of the package. It was just too much.

Daytona Beach today went with what I’d try to describe as a collection of pictures and mug shots.

It’s a little cleaner than the last few pages we saw. But I think there were simply too many elements here to make this work.

And I was concerned about these three pages, which have a) Very small pictures, and b) a lot of text.


Those are all three Cox Communications newspapers, which are in the process of consolidating their design, graphics and copy desks this summer.

I was hoping that hubbing these papers might open up the design a little more. But perhaps it won’t. Sigh.



And the lack of strong art today as noted by Victoria’s Chris Cobler resulted in a number of papers trying hard — way too hard, perhaps — to build something around which to build a front-page centerpiece.

The designers in Stroudsberg, Pa., for example: They dove into the stock art library pull a prescription pad, a judge’s gavel and a huge, 3D check mark.

I’m sorry. But I think a protest shot from Thursday morning might have been more effective.

I applaud the effort on this piece by the Gannett Design Studio in Asbury Park for the East Brunswick, N.J., paper.

I applaud the effort. But not necessarily the result.

At the very least, there was no reason to fade the bottom of the art.

The folks in Longview, Texas, thought to bring “Lady Justice” into the mix.

Note the doctor’s mask on Lady Justice. Also note the way the editors wrote the headline to make the package work better.

Good try. I think.

The News-Times of Danbury, Conn., went with a more illustrative style for its gavel icon.

Note how the little gavel is striking the headline.

Again: I think they were trying just a little too hard here.

The Shreveport, La., paper went with a faux EKG across the top of its package to signal: This is about health care.

And remember that big question mark/caduceus icon we saw on the front of the Des Moines paper. Well, if using that is a good idea, then using it nine times must be a fabulous idea!

The rail down the right might have worked better with simple bullets or larger lead-in text.

Also, if you feel you must have art overlap your photos, at least turn your drop-shadow to “multiply.”



I have to admit, I’m bad about writing question headlines myself. But I’ve been coached — and, sometimes threatened — not to write them.

My opinion: If the “question” is too obvious, you’re not just voicing the reader’s concern. You’re also looking a little silly. It’s kind of a “Duh!” headline, if you know what I mean.

Sure, we’re all wondering what’s next with the health care law and its implementation. But I’d argue a “What’s next?” headline today is just a little too obvious. Or, at the very least, a little too broad.

Yet, there were a bunch of question heads today. From the San Francisco Chronicle

…the Salisbury (N.C.) Post

…the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal

…the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette

…the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News

…and the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

I rather liked the “cheat” the folks in Arlington Heights, Ill., used today. This is basically a question headline. But there’s no question mark. Therefore, the paper is telling me what’s going to happen next, as opposed to looking like they don’t have a clue.

I was very surprised today by the number of papers using the word “Obamacare” in their main headlines. I’m under the impression this was a term that is mostly used by Republicans as an attempt at disparagement.

If that’s the case — and that’s a big “if” — then the term has no place in a lead headline on page one. If a newspaper is trying to remain politically neutral, I mean.

Yet, the word was all over the place. Here’s the Sandusky (Ohio) Register

…the Boulder, Colo., Daily Camera

The Intelligencer Journal/New Era of Lancaster, Pa….

…the Bucks County Courier Times of Levittown, Pa….

…the Long Beach, Calif., Press-Telegram

…the Decatur (Ala.) Daily

…the Grand Island (Neb.) Independent

…the Prescott, Ariz, Daily Courier

…the Massillon, Ohio, Independent

…the Lorain, Ohio, Morning Journal

…the Pascagoula Mississippi Press

…the Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal

…the Los Angeles Daily News

…the Fort Smith, Ark., Times Record

…and the Grand Junction, Colo., Daily Sentinel.

Perhaps this is a like Ronald Reagan‘s old Strategic Defense Initiative, which nearly everyone eventually called his “Star Wars” plan. Perhaps so many folks out there — on either side of the ideological spectrum — call the Affordable Health Care Act “Obamacare” that it’s OK to use the term in a headline.

If that’s the case, then I’d feel better seeing it in quote marks. Like so:

The Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle

…the Johnstown, Pa., Tribune-Democrat

…the Dover/New Philadelphia, Ohio, Times-Reporter

…the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Tribune-Review

…the Lodi, Calif., News-Sentinel

…the Brainerd (Minn.) Dispatch

…the Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville, Fla….

…and the Ottawa (Kan.) Herald.

But at least these headlines say something. This next one says nothing at all, I’d argue.

I hate to embarrass anyone, so I won’t tell you that headline came from Fort Myers, Fla.

What I really liked today, however, were a number of headlines that presumed the readers are not dummies and that they had already heard about the ruling. Sure, the decks give you the entire story. But the headline here — in this case, from Hendersonville, N.C. — says simply “It stands.

Sam thing here from the paper in Spartanburg, S.C.

Granted, these are still backward-looking pages with backward-looking lead art. But I think this approach to the main headlines shows promise.

Here is Express, the commuter tab published by the Washington Post.

And here is the Boston Globe.

Some good ideas there, I think.



So, after all that… Are you still awake? Are you ready for my picks of the day’s best ten pages?

Here goes…


Norfolk, Va.

Circulation 142,476

Is anyone surprised to find the Virginian-Pilot at the top of this list? The Pilot nearly always does a superb job of presenting the days’ news. The bigger the news, the quicker the Pilot rises to the task.

Ace A1 designer Robert Suhay was responsible for this one, I’m told.

Note the features: A headline that assumes you’ve already heard the news by now. A brief collection of SCOTUS mugs across the top, summarizing their positions. A collection of photos that round up the day’s events. Three stories that 1) Tell the news, 2) Provides the statewide local angle, and 3) Offer up “how it affects me” info in an easy-to-read, Q&A format.

What makes this all work is plenty of structure and plenty of white space between the elements. That keeps it all from becoming too cluttered.

Wonderful work, as usual.


Salt Lake City, Utah

Circulation: 110,546

Another nice, clean page with plenty of structure and plenty of white space. While I’m not crazy about the protest shot, at least there’s an unusual, horizontal crop on it to give it some visual interest.

My favorite two features of this page: 1) I love the headline. “Curveball” does a great job of summing up the morning’s news. And 2) The “what’s next” timeline across the bottom. Clean and succinct.

Reversing that text out of yellow and orange boxes might not have been a great choice, however. I hope the Tribune‘s presses could handle that kind of registration challenge.


Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

The tiny Journal & Courier also went with an approach that sums up the entire story. Three small vignettes show the scene in Washington D.C. and a larger picture tells the story of a local person who expects to be affected by the ruling.

The page was designed by David Leonard, I’m told.

What makes this work well: a) Structure. b) Some white space. And c) A great headline.

Anyone seeing a pattern here?


Nashville, Tenn.

Circulation: 118,589

First, what I don’t like here: The headline seems a little weak. Obvious, even.

Now, what I do like: Everything else. Especially the photo — by staffer George Walker IV — of a local advocacy rally.

While I don’t like the headline, I do like the three bullet point decks. The little SCOTUS head-shot graphic across the bottom is nicely done, as well.

The page was designed by Nancy Broden of the Gannett Design Studio there in Nashville, I’m told.


Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

The folks at the Orange County Register knew they didn’t really have lead art today.

Their solution? A “type attack” approach. Which worked beautifully, thanks to a) A wonderful headline and great subheads to break it all up, b) Plenty of white space, and c) A rail of supplementary material down the left side for contrast.

Daniel Hunt of the OCR tells us:

This was the handiwork of senior designer Andrea Voight, who also did our bin Laden cover a little over a year ago. The headline was written by our copy desk chief, Wendy Fawthrop. The pieces were packaged by our news desk chief, Gene Harbrecht, with help from wire editors Mathis Chazanov and Paul Davenport.


Tyler, Texas

Circulation: 26,155

Here’s a very similar approach by a much smaller newspaper, half-a-continent away.

I asked Vanessa Pearson if she could tell me who designed that page. She replies:

It was me! I actually saw [an] Arizona Republic page on your blog when I was scrambling for a concept. So I borrowed. I worried it was so text heavy but our reporters got all over it to localize it to the tune of 150 inches almost. I thought it came out well.

I thought so, too, Vanessa.


Jackson, Miss.

Circulation: 57,710

The folks in Jackson, Miss., also went with a text-heavy approach today. They, too, went with a horizontal crop of the SCOTUS building across the top of the page.

The difference between this page and the previous two: Color reverse bars and tint boxes to break up the type. It worked nicely — mostly because the designer didn’t let the page get too cluttered.


Omaha, Neb.

Circulation: 135,223

While Omaha’s page looks nice and clean, there are, in fact, a number of moving pieces here.

Most obvious, I suppose, is the Supreme Court building photo. The headline here is particularly nice: It looks forward and also gives you a sense of the political realities. In fact, this might very well be the best headline of the day.

You’re seeing two stories, a long, vertical summary down the right side and a graphic showing how the justices voted on three factors in this case. In fact, that graphic is my only complaint here: With so many rules and reverse bars, I wonder if it might have been done with a slightly lighter touch. All that black ink draws my eye down there to that graphic a little too quickly.

That’s a relatively minor quibble, however. The page was designed by Tammy Yttri, I’m told.


Neptune, N.J.

Circulation: 98,032

What I like about this page…

1) The headline, which uses a “cheap” designer’s trick to add to the “oomph.” However, the trick works very well here. So don’t let that sound like a complaint. More importantly, I like how the headline puts the focus on the reader.

2) The box down the right side that sums up the effects on the ruling on various aspects of daily life.

I’m told the page was designed by Gary Stelzer.

Now, compare that to the APP‘s sister paper in Parsippany. What we gain is a bigger, bolder headline and a larger photo.

What we lose, however, is the rail down the right side. Instead, that is converted into a brightly-colored tint box.

Which do you like better? Normally, I’ll go for the bigger art every time. In this case, though, I prefer the Asbury Park version.

Compare both of those, however to a competing paper in that region, the Herald News of Passaic, N.J.:

The Herald-News also went with a protest photo and a summary of “what it means to you.” But notice how this page just isn’t organized nearly as well. The length of the breakout box and the visual clutter caused by the items being to close to each other make the structure of the whole thing break down.


The lesson here: Keep your page clean. And a little white space can go a long, long way.


Philadelphia, Pa.

Circulation: 63,958

We’ll close with what I think might have been theho best tabloid page of the day. I’m not so crazy about the lead art, which I expect might have been stock art. Rather, it’s the headline that makes this page sing.

Now, that’s how you get folks to read about the decision and how it might impact them.

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

  • Find Poynter’s roundup of today’s front pages here.
  • Find the Huffington Post‘s roundup of today’s front pages here.
  • Find the Newseum‘s own Top 10 front pages — and boy, do I differ from them — here.

So just how small IS a “super compact,” anyway?

And, speaking of Cincinnati…

My esteemed consulting colleague* Ron Reason has been doing some work lately at the Cincinnati Enquirer. Which, in case you haven’t heard, is planning to shrink its daily paper to what’s called the “super compact” format.

The change won’t happen for ten more months yet. But that’s not stopped the Enquirer — and the Louisville Design Studio, which will design that paper — from starting a dialogue about how it’ll work.

Just what is a super compact? Ron posted this quick demo in his blog this morning:

Damned near the same width. But quite a bit shorter. But, as Ron writes, it’s…

…distinct from the square, squatty tab size now adopted by the majority of U.S. tabloids.

The Enquirer plans to keep sectioning its paper, but go up in size to counteract the loss in newshole per page. Ron writes:

The easy answer in a conversion like this might be to cram the contents of the current broadsheet into the smaller shape, increase the page count by 20% so as to keep the same number of column inches, and call it a day. Some newspapers do approach re-formatting in this way, and it’s almost always a big mistake. Think of Kirstie Alley trying to fit into her old fat wardrobe, after slimming down for Dancing With the Stars. Doesn’t make sense and wouldn’t make anyone look appealing!

He goes into detail about some of the initial conversations the conversion team is having. It’s yet another worthy addition for your growing list of required reading.

By coincidence, I was just gushing over the Enquirer‘s new marketing campaign. Make sure you read that one, too.

Average daily circulation for the Enquirer is 140,877.

* I say “colleague” because I’ve done consulting work too, and occasionally our paths cross. Or almost cross. But don’t get the idea we’re equals. Ron Reason is at least a dozen times smarter than I am. Which is why I’ve applied to be the president of his fan club.

Another novel idea: Promote your paper by promoting your reporting staff

A few days ago, I told you about a newspaper group that was investing money in its reporting staff and in technology that could really help them do their jobs. Including not only the gizmos but money to pay them for their time to learn the gizmos.

Here’s another novel idea and one that might help show the path we should be following: Promote your news product by featuring your best assets in a TV marketing campaign: Your reporters.

Here are two recent examples from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Amazing, huh? How come we’re just now trying this? If readers are going to have any confidence at all in your newspaper or web site, then they’re going to have to have confidence in the people who write the articles. This is how you can help build that confidence. This and transparency. Lots of transparency.

Kudos to the Enquirer.

I’m warning you folks in Cincinnati: Now that I know you have the smarts to pull off something like this, I’ll be keeping an eye on you.

Average daily circulation for the Enquirer is 140,877. The paper is owned by Gannett.

Thanks to Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute for writing about this yesterday.


Carolyn Washburn — editor of the Enquirer — tells us

Thank you! I just love it. And loved doing it. We essentially interviewed these folks and their real passions came out.

Look at this example from Friday. We asked our photog to write first person about why she shot this photo, and then we gave it as a big beautiful gift to our readers on a Friday morning.

Here’s the photo by staffer Carrie Cochran

And here’s what Carrie wrote about it:

I woke up Thursday morning, rolled down the long Kentucky drive from my home and saw a shroud of fog obscuring the skyline that usually greets me. “Game on,” I thought. “Let’s make a photo!”

I made my way down to the river’s edge at the Public Landing. There I found a nice vantage point to shoot the Showboat Majestic, a National Historic Landmark built in 1923 as a “floating opera.”

The fog was so dense, I could barely see 50 feet in front of me. I waited. And then it happened — the fog began to clear, and the sun appeared. It was a great start to the day.

Here’s the resulting front page:

Carolyn tells us:

We’re going to do a lot more personalizing of our content.