Here’s a look at some of the day’s most interesting Fourth of July pages…
Colorado Springs, Colo.
The best page of the day, hands down, is an enormous page-one illustration that ran the front of today’s Colorado Springs Gazette.
The Gazette‘s Stephanie Swearngin tells us:
We wanted to do something a little different for July 4, because the holiday always seems to be a very light news day for us.
I threw out a couple of ideas to our presentation director. The original idea that I had was to run quick fun tidbits, history blurbs or by the numbers related to July 4. For example, how many people consume hot dogs on the 4th? Or what’s the history behind using fireworks? But sadly, I didn’t have time to implement that idea since I’m also heavily involved with preparing for our DTI upgrade.
So, the photo staff came in and saved the day. Michael Ciaglo, photographer, created this photo illustration. He was able to shoot sparklers and place a red and blue background behind it to create the flag. Michael and our photo editor called me over to show me the work in progress. At that moment we decided it would run full page.
Click this for a much larger view:
And they ran it sideways, too! Note how the placement of the nameplate still put it above the fold.
I discussed the new idea with Dena Rosenberry, presentation director, and we ran with it.
We also wanted to run a few promos on the page to inform readers of the news of the day. That part was a little tricky, since I didn’t want to put those directly on the image of the flag. So I worked closely with Michael to extend a little extra blue background to separate the promos without taking away the attention from the flag.
This was just another fun way to celebrate the holiday with our readers.
Excellent work. As is this next one…
The Villages, Fla.
The Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla., ran a big story today on local folks who have ancestors who fought for the country’s freedom, 238 or so years ago.
The paper made a bold decision to illustrate this on page one. With a wonderful watercolor painting…
…that was done by the editor of the paper herself, Bonita Burton.
I love this. And I’m not just saying that because she hired me to teach at her paper three weeks ago.
Although that does show she has exquisite tastes.
RedEye — the Chicago Tribune‘s free commuter tab — illustrated its Thursday front page with this giant illustration of fireworks over the windy city.
The photo illustration is by staffer Lenny Gilmore.
The Times of Shreveport, La., illustrated page one today with this military-themed piece that highlighted the sacrifices the military have made to secure our freedom.
I might argue this would seem more appropriate for Memorial Day — but, then again, I might be wrong. Either way, it’s a gorgeous presentation.
And, while we’re talking about flag-centric illustrations, let’s take note of the two papers that used giant U.S. flag motifs on page one today.
On the left is the Daily Herald of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., that wrapped a few interesting factoids and refers to inside around a flag.
On the right is the News Tribune of Duluth, Minn., that inserted quotes from local folks on what freedom means to them.
Average daily circulation of the Daily Herald is 8,259 . The News Tribune circulates 30,606 papers daily.
A few papers chose to lead today with huge photos.
Fall River, Mass.
The tiny Herald News of Fall River, Mass., led today with a poster-sized photo of a back-lit U.S. flag.
The picture is by staffer Jack Foley.
The Gannett paper in Appleton bucked the trend set today by the rest of the company’s Wisconsin papers — more about that in a moment — with this fabulous shot of a local family enjoying fireworks last night.
Now, that picture — by staffer William Glasheen — is just gorgeous.
The Gannett paper in Burlington, Vt., also led today with a picture of fireworks shot last night.
What I really like about that one: The headline.
Yeah, the weather on the East Coast isn’t what folks would have hoped for this holiday weekend. But at least the Free Press got a great line out of it.
USA TODAY “BUTTERFLY” EDITION
One of my favorite pages of the day ran on the front of the USA Today section that inserted in various Gannett papers around the country today in what that company calls “the butterfly edition.”
The picture was shot at Fort McHenry, Md. — the very fort over which flew the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that would later become the words to our National Anthem. This year, the caption notes, is the 200th anniversary of that poem — it dates from the War of 1812, as opposed to the Revolutionary War.
USA Today‘s Abby Westcott tells us:
My photo editor, Chris Powers, approached me with what he thought was a different and interesting photo from freelancer Matt Roth. I thought it was a good opportunity to go big with it for the 4th of July and take over the page for America. Everyone loves America.
My editor was on board and loved the design.
And I love Abby’s work. I gushed over it at length here.
Several papers today chose to lead page one with giant Independence Day-themed alternative story forms or graphics.
NEWS & RECORD
Perhaps the most fun of these was this one by Margaret Baxter of the Greensboro News & Record.
Advance’s Alabama papers led today with a roundup of factoids focusing on Alabama — or, to be more precise, the region that became Alabama. Since, after all, Alabama wasn’t a state yet during the Revolutionary War.
I think the Birmingham version was a bit more effective than the Huntsville version, which saw its page topper eliminated to make room for the larger ad across the bottom of the page.
Average daily circulation for Huntsville is 44,725
The News-Post of Frederick, Md., cited a handful of “big number” factoids and illustrated them with a collection of local Independence Day photos from their files.
I like that quite a bit. It’s clever, it’s local and it’s attractive.
The word cloud at bottom right: Not quite so much.
UPDATE – 5:40 p.m. PDT
I’m told this page was designed by News-Post news editor J.R. Williams, formerly with the Pensacola News Journal.
The folks at the nation’s largest newspaper company also built a really great Fourth of July infographic that ran today in at least nine papers.
The largest and most elaborate version I could find of this was this one, afront the Reporter of Fond du Lac, Wis., circulation 10,186.
Click that for a larger, readable view.
There is, in fact, a lot of really fun stuff there.
Unfortunately, I have no idea who put it together. If any of my Gannettoid friends out there can enlighten me, I’d love to dish a little credit here.
I suspect this came out of the Des Moines design studio, because it ran in five of Gannett’s Wisconsin papers, which are all designed there in Iowa.
From left to right:
- News-Herald, Marshfield, Wis. – Circulation 8,139
- Daily Tribune, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – Circulation 7,924
- Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wis. – Circulation 14,113
- Press-Gazette, Green Bay, Wis. – Circulation 41,767
UPDATE – 3:50 p.m. PDT
Sean McKeown-Young of the Gannett studio in Des Moines confirms this was his work:
It started as a small graphic that I shared out. Green Bay asked if I could blow it up into a centerpiece. Then, on Tuesday, Appleton asked if I could make it into a full page. It evolved.
The package — or major pieces of it — also ran in at least four other Gannett papers around the country.
From left to right:
- News-Star, Monroe, La. – Circulation 23,884
- News Journal, Pensacola, Fla. – Circulation 40,435
- Democrat, Tallahassee, Fla. – Circulation 35,238
- Bulletin, Baxter, Ark. – Circulation 9,156
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Santa Ana, Calif.
And what did my own paper do today for the Fourth? My good pal Kurt Snibbe took great care of my Focus page — inside the A section — in my absence this week, building this quiz with which to test your knowledge of the Declaration of Independence.
Unfortunately, that’s the largest copy I have of this. If I can get ahold of a PDF, I’ll replace this image with one that might be clickable and readable.
That page would have also appeared in today’s Los Angeles Register and in the Press-Enterprise of Riverside.
A FUN NAMEPLATE
But just to prove you don’t necessarily have to be quite so elaborate with your Fourth of July package in order to catch a few eyeballs, consider the nameplate play today by the…
There! Wasn’t that fun?
With the exception of the USA Today butterfly section front and the OC Register Focus page, all of these images are from the Newseum. Of course.
- From 2013: The one Fourth of July page you really need to see
- From 2012: Today’s five best Fourth of July front pages
- From 2011: Thirteen wonderful front pages for the Fourth of July
- Also from 2011: It’s hard to beat a Fourth-of-July presentation like this