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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The day’s nine best gay marriage front pages

Here’s a look at what I feel are the nine best front pages today dealing with Friday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.


STAR-LEDGER
Newark, N.J.
Circulation: 278,940

If you haven’t seen this page already, then you’re probably not spending enough time on social media.

This is the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., which elected to lead today’s front page with a charmingly simple illustration of a rainbow heart and the closing lines of Friday’s majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

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That was designed by the Star-Ledger‘s sports designer, Kiersten Schmidt — who is soon leaving the business, she says, to go to grad school at the University of North Carolina.

Kiersten wrote last night on her Facebook timeline:

In my last few months as a newspaper designer, I’ve been fortunate to design pages for some pretty cool events — the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, the 29th player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits (who also happens to be one of my favorite players) — but this one was far and away the best.

As I move onto North Carolina and a (ever-so-slight) career change, this is the page that will stay with me.

To be honest, a lot of days it feels like what I do doesn’t really matter. Not today. Today I decided to stray away from what you’re “supposed” to do when big news breaks because I felt that today’s news deserved something a bit more.

I hope when the people of New Jersey pick up their papers on Saturday, they feel the happiness in their heart that I felt when I designed this page. I hope they think of this page and Kennedy’s words when they remember the day we all became a little more equal.

Love wins. And good design matters.

Nicely done.

Find Kiersten’s web site and portfolio here.


PLAIN DEALER
Cleveland, Ohio
Circulation: 246,571

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

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The text against the stark black background is very sharp indeed.

This was designed by Josh Crutchmer, I’m told. Which explains why it looks so awesome.


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

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

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Notice how designer Wes Watson used the same trick Josh did in Cleveland: He emphasized that last emphatic sentence.

Wesley tells us:

As I understand it, Paul [Nelson, design team leader] and new editor Steve Gunn had the idea at the same time to use the excerpt as the front.

So Paul had me work it up quickly to see how it would play out. I knew I didn’t want to knockout text; I wanted it as light and fresh as possible. We tried a couple of versions where we had another story and refers, and then just refers. My feeling was if we’re going to dedicate this much space — because we’re saying this is important — having anything else out there takes away from that message. And everyone seemed to agree.

So we removed everything else we could all the way down to the barcode. Simple and clean.


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

I realize this is probably stock art…

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But, hey: I’d argue it’s the perfect piece of stock art, used in the perfect way on the perfect day.

UPDATE: I’m told this was designed by Valeria Rodriguez of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines.


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
San Francisco, Calif.
Circulation: 229,176

In San Francisco — ground-zero for the fight for same-sex marriage — the Chronicle published this fabulous front page today.

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That is Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin, who were plaintiffs in a 2004 lawsuit involving gay marriage, at a City Hall news conference. Staffer Tim Hussin caught them in silhouette, against what appears to be a gay pride flag.


OMAHA WORLD-HERALD
Omaha, Neb.
Circulation: 135,223

A number of papers went out to find local folks rushing to be the first married under the new world order.

In Omaha, Jenna Stanley and Kelly Brokaw had planned to get married in Iowa this weekend. But the ruling Friday morning caused them to move up their schedule and to stay at home.

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The picture is by staffer Ryan Soderlin.

Note how clean that page is. When you have a gorgeous picture like that and it tells your story well, you know the drill: Play it big and get the hell out of its way.

UPDATE: I’m told this page was designed by Tim Parks.


LEAF-CHRONICLE
Clarksville, Tenn.
Circulation: 14,596

That’s exactly what the folks did at the Leaf-Chronicle of Clarksville, Tenn.

Meet Travis Arms and Michael Vanzant, now husband and husband. Staffer Autumn Allison photographed them getting married by the Montgomery County Commissioner himself.

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Nice headline, too.


VICTORIA ADVOCATE
Victoria, Texas
Circulation: 26,531

My former colleagues at the Victoria Advocate — deep in conservative South Texas — also ran their lead art big today and got the hell out of its way.

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That’s Nicole Dimetman and Cleo DeLeon at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin Friday evening, photographed by staffer Jaime R. Carrero. The local significance: DeLeon is a descendent of Victoria’s founding family.

The wonderful Jessica Rodrigo had superb access to Ms. DeLeon for several months and wrote a great piece for today’s paper. Read it here.

That terrific page: Run it big. Get the hell out of its way. Right? That’s Kimiko Fieg, who’s semi-retiring this month after a decade or so as the Advocate‘s presentation editor.

Also, for what it’s worth, I left the Advocate with an exhaustive — but, sadly, incomplete — timeline history starting with the birth of the modern Gay Rights movement in New York City in 1969 and running through… well, my last day on Wednesday. My former colleagues updated the timeline and ran it in today’s paper.

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


NEWS-LEADER
Springfield, Mo.
Circulation: 35,531

But the award for luckiest shot of the day — which made for perfect lead art, if somewhat accidental — is this picture by Valerie Mosley of the Springfield, Mo., News-Leader of a rainbow after a Friday afternoon rain.

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Does that sum up the story perfectly, or what?

UPDATE: This page, I’m told, was designed by Eric Fields and Sean McKeown-Young.

I put out a few messages this morning, seeking names of designers and so on. If you have any information to share — especially a few sentences on how the page came together — please send it to me. I’ll add it here as quickly as I can.

These front pages are all from the Newseum. Of course.

The debate over the Confederate flag moves to Mississippi

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

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And, in some cases, to this very day.

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

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

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

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

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

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Merry tells us:

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

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

Gorgeous work.

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

A few samples of Merry’s work:

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

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

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

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

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

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Merry tells us:

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

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

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

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Q. How did the page come together?

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

Q. Was this a difficult concept to sell?

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

A few samples of Merry’s work:

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

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

Fun with the nameplate

The Clarion Ledger of Jackson, Miss., wins the interwebs today with this fun skybox that interacts nicely with the paper’s nameplate.

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Is that cool, or what?

I don’t know who designed this, but these two similar examples from last summer…

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…were designed by Merry Eccles of Gannett’s design studio in Nashville.

Find more of Merry’s work here.

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


UPDATE: 10:43 a.m. CDT

Bill Campling of the design studio tells me:

Richard Mullins designed this one.

Let’s shine a spotlight on this page that shines a spotlight

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot with folks about how to design pages when you have no lead art.

I especially love this new example we have  from yesterday’s Montgomery Advertiser, designed by Patrick Armstrong of Gannett’s Design Studio in Nashville, Tenn.

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Patrick tells us:

This has been a big topic Montgomery has been following with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, and with it being Sunshine Week this cover really needed to pop. So I just went with the theme of shining light onto our government.

While reading the story it seemed to me the whistleblowers were being interrogated. So this light shining into darkness also represents being in an interrogation room.

So, when your stuck, go less with the literal and more with the metaphorical. Got it.

But wait! There’s more!

Patrick adds:

It was such a surprise to see this photo…

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…of Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, holding up the cover during a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Especially because it was on my birthday!

A 2012 graduate of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., Patrick served as editor-in-chief of the student paper there, the All State.

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He spent a year as managing editor and creative director of Out and About Nashville before joining the studio in 2012. Find his portfolio site here.

Patrick turned 27 Thursday.

Gannett’s Nashville studio promotes Phonethip Liu Hobson

Lindsey Turner, creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville, Tenn., sent us the word late Wednesday:

I am pleased to announce that we have named Phonethip Liu Hobson to the position of MTV Design Team leader, effective this coming Monday.

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Phonethip will manage the team that designs the Tennessean, the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger, the Staunton, Va., News Leader and the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American.

Lindsey continues:

Phonethip is a veteran newspaper designer who’s been with the Nashville studio since its inception. She has experience working in a variety of sections in many different markets will be a great fit for the team thanks to her highly creative and collaborative nature. She’s most recently been working on the Florida team as Fort Myers’ lead 1A and enterprise projects designer.

Here’s a little bit about Thip from Thip herself:

My family migrated to Murfreesboro from Laos in 1980, so Tennessee has been my home for 35 years. I graduated from Riverdale High school and Middle Tennessee State University with a BS degree in Journalism. I was an intern at The Tennessean in college and have been working here since Sept. 11, 2000.

In my tenure at The Tennessean and the design studio, I have had several positions, starting as a features designer, then as art director for All The Rage – a young reader publication — and most recently A1 news and enterprise designer for the Florida team working mostly with The News-Press in Fort Myers.

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The News-Press recently was honored with a 2014 Best of Gannett Award for design work on “The Voices of the Everglades” project. The presentation finished second place in Division I Design.

We are excited to have Phonethip lead the team.

See more samples of Phonethip’s work in her NewsPageDesigner gallery.

A fun — and simple — page-one illustration on housing issues

As I mentioned yesterday, I took a week off of my new job in Victoria, Texas, to teach in Fargo, N.D. One of the main topics we covered there: How to build centerpieces when you have little art to work with.

On my way home Saturday, I stumbled over this delightful example of exactly that from the Tennessean of Nashville.

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Bill Campling, a designer for the Gannett design studio in Nashville, tells me:

I put together the Saturday cover.

The main story was about the impact gentrification is having on affordable housing. The study the story refers to talks about Nashville’s efforts to maintain affordable housing as being haphazard.

The concept of the main package was based off of a conversation I had with reporter Tony Gonzalez that focused on the term “scattershot,” which was used specifically in the study.

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A graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport, Bill Campling worked at the State of Columbia, S.C.

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He moved to the Observer of Fayetteville, N.C. in 2008 and then to Nashville in 2011. Find his portfolio here.

A 2008 graduate of Hillsdale (Mich.) College, Tony Gonzalez was a merit scholar and editor-in-chief of the student paper.

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He interned at the Toledo Free Press, the Detroit News and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. After graduation, he spent three years with the Waynesboro, Va., News Virginian before moving to Nashville in 2011, where he specializes in stories about family issues. Find his Twitter feed here.

Also, I might add, my former Orange County Register news editor, Marcia Prouse, is now a storytelling coach at the Tennessean.

Average daily circulation of the Tennessean is 118,589.

Previous appearances of outstanding visuals from the Tennessean here in the blog:

  • Sept. 9, 2011: My favorite Obama jobs speech headline of the day
  • Jan. 12, 2012: Nashville Tennessean shows us what’s inside President Obama’s head
  • Feb. 4, 2012: Four clever and fun page-one illustrations
  • Feb. 12, 2012: Eight cleverly striking Sunday page-one visuals
  • Feb. 18, 2012: An appreciative reporter brags on the designer who worked on his story
  • Feb. 28, 2012: A few outstanding pages from last weekend, courtesy of Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio
  • March 20, 2012: Paths not taken today in Nashville
  • March 30, 2012: For your Friday enjoyment: Two truly clever illustrations
  • Aug. 19, 2012: A big day for illustrations on page one
  • Sept. 26, 2012: What you need is a big glass of whiskey
  • Oct. 23, 2012: Inside the Nashville Tennessean’s 10-page special report on athletic concussions
  • Nov. 6, 2012: Today’s five best Election Day front pages
  • June 26, 2014: Inside the Nashville Tennessean’s addicted baby presentation
  • June 30, 2014: Nashville Tennessean celebrates a college baseball championship

Fort Myers News-Press celebrates its 130th birthday

The News-Press of Fort Myers celebrated its 130th birthday on Nov. 22 — Saturday before last.

Michael Babin, Florida design team leader for the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville, tells us the anniversary paper…

…featured a commemorative 4-page wrap around the regular newspaper, featuring an alternate front page produced to mimic the look and feel of the very first paper (published as a weekly under the name The Fort Myers Press back in 1884).

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A sampling of stories was pulled from that day’s main run paper and the front page was designed circa 1884, complete with ink smudges and many of the features presses of that day would have yielded.

On the left, below, is an actual page from 1884.

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Michael tells us:

It was a team effort, as the newsroom partnered with the advertising department and text-only classified ads were sold down the left-had rail of the page, some even sold from the very same business addresses that were featured in the first issue 130 years ago.

But, in fact, that was just one component of the commemoration by the News Press and deigned by the studio. Thinks kicked off back in August with a Sunday centerpiece story on the history of the paper and how it’s tied in to the history of Fort Myers.

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The jump pages contained a detailed timeline history of the paper…

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…and a look at noteworthy headlines from the ages. The sidebar here focuses on one of the several owners the paper has had over the past 130 years: Car manufacturer Henry Ford.

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Here the third and last inside page from Aug. 24.

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Michael writes:

Starting this past summer and running every day for 130 consecutive days, the News Press has run a feature on page 2 called “Celebrating 130 Years”, where it looks back at each year of its existence with notable features such as top headlines, local news, a person of influence, facts about the paper and a trivia question.

This was the first installment of the series, on that Sunday, Aug. 24.

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This was the second one, the next day. Note the helpful label at the upper right of each page, to help readers keep these in order.

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The 33rd in the series ran Sept. 25.

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By Oct. 24, the series had grown up to No. 62: 1945.

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And this one — No. 91, covering 1974 — ran Saturday, Nov. 22.

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Michael tells us:

Each day’s page is devoted to a year of the paper’s rich history and it runs chronologically every day through the end of this year.

They’ve been a huge hit with readers.

That brings us up to that retro-styled wrap on Nov. 22. The usual page one was inside, of course.

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Michael tells us:

Fort Myers took things a few steps further by hosting an open house on its birthday to showcase the work its journalists and other staff members are doing today.

The paper covered that as well. This ran the next day on the paper’s local news page.

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The jump featured a few more pictures of readers touring the printing facility.

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Michael tells us:

Project editor Andrew Jarosh led things from Fort Myers. Senior designer Phonethip Liu Hobson handled much of the design for 130th pages throughout this series. I handled planning and on-deadline execution of the commemorative “old-style” cover.

Find all the News-Press‘ 130th anniversary stories online here.

Average daily circulation for the Fort Myers News-Press is 54,761.

Gannett promotes two to design studio leadership positions

Gannett made major promotions at two of its design studios over the past few weeks.

On Oct. 27, Lindsey Turner became creative director of the Nashville Design Studio. She said on Facebook:

We have a fantastic team in the studio and we are going to do amazing things.

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A 2004 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Lindsey interned at the Birmingham News. She spent spent seven years at the Memphis Commercial Appeal as a designer, copy editor, blogger and assistant art director. She moved to the Gannett hub in Nashville in 2012, where she led the team that designed papers in Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia.

In her spare time, Lindsey sells what she calls “salty and Southern-fried pretties” — greeting cards, note cards, gift tags, wall prints and so on — via her Etsy store.

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

I’ve blogged about her work or work by members of her team a number of times:

  • Feb. 12, 2013: Monday’s post-tornado front page of the tiny Hattiesburg American
  • March 18, 2013: Maybe you’ll earn a new merit badge for mastering this cool new Photoshop trick
  • June 16, 2014:Inside the Nashville Tennessean’s addicted baby presentation
  • June 30, 2014: Nashville Tennessean celebrates a college baseball championship

Secondly…

Last night, Sean McKeown-Young announced he had been named creative director of the Des Moines Design studio.

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Sean McKeown-Young is Wisconsin team leader of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa.

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 moved to the Des Moines studio in 2012, where he has served as Wisconsin team leader.

Find Sean’s portfolio here.

Previous blog posts featuring Sean’s work over the past couple of years…

  • Sept. 10, 2012: The most interesting weekend front pages
  • Nov. 7, 2012: Three brief case studies for wonderful Election Night design
  • Nov. 28, 2012: A buffet line of infographics on today’s front pages
  • Dec. 2, 2012: Eight front pages; eight superlative uses of design tools
  • Jan. 30, 2013: A fun way to illustrate Wisconsin’s weather swings this year
  • Feb. 1, 2013: ‘I found a driver, and that’s a start’…
  • Feb. 6, 2013: Inside Gannett’s special sections today honoring Green Bay Packer Donald Driver
  • Feb. 12, 2013: A look at today’s most outstanding Pope Benedict XVI pages
  • March 1, 2013: The coolest thing I’ve seen lately: I scream, you scream…
  • July 30, 2013: A warm treatment of ‘cold cases’ in Wisconsin
  • Oct. 9, 2013: Appleton, Wis., Post-Crescent launches a redesign
  • Dec. 23, 2013: Today’s best Christmas Day front pages
  • Feb. 17, 2014: Green Bay Press-Gazette launches a redesign
  • April 8, 2014: A look at how Gannett’s Wisconsin papers played the Final Four
  • June 2, 2014: Fun college baseball page alert
  • July 4, 2014: A look at today’s most interesting Fourth of July pages

Editorial comment: I’ve been a big fan of both of these young people. Studio director Ted Power couldn’t have made better choices.

The story behind a truly terrifying waterspout front page photo

Frank Abbott is a physician who practices radiology in Pensacola, Fla. He’s also a photographer with an extensive background of shooting the area.

Frank tells us:

I have been taking landscape and wildlife photographs for the past 20 years. One of my favorite shooting locations is my back yard on Santa Rosa Sound.

I was making my normal rounds and noticed a huge [storm] front developing to the east. Within the next five minutes, it spawned one of  the largest water spouts that I have ever seen in my 50+ years of living on or near the water. It was absolutely spectacular!!

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I took a couple shots with a couple different lenses then watched in absolute awe as this beast slowly moved across the sound then magically degraded into rain. I quickly went inside to process and share what I had seen online.

That’s where Elissa Macarin of the Gannett Design Studio in Nasvhille picks up the story…

When I came in to work, I only knew that the waterspout story was going to be the centerpiece with “more photos to come.”

Katie King, the consumer experience director for Pensacola, said she did a reader call out for photos on Facebook and Twitter to make an online photo gallery. She picked a handful of the most impactful/dramatic photos submitted and put them into the print package for me to choose from.

A couple of hours later, Florida Team Leader Michael Babin checked in with me to see how things were going. We both saw the waterspout photos for the first time, and all he said was “have fun” — and I did.

As soon as I saw the photo I chose as the main, the idea for the page immediately came to mind. I asked the PNJ editors if we could scale back their typical skyboxes – I knew the one about the Escambia football coach had to run because it’s been a big controversy there for the past few weeks — so I could have more space for the waterspout art. They said “Go for it.”

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I went with my gut instinct and that’s the page that ended up printing.

A 2005 graduate of Kent State, Elissa spent a year as a copy editor and designer at the Dothan (Ala.) Eagle and then four years with the Press-Register of Mobile before moving to the Daily Herald of Wausau, Wis., in 2010 as presentation editor. She joined the Nashville studio in 2012, where she also works on pages for the Staunton, Va., News Leader, the (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger and the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American.

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

And again, see more of Frank’s wonderful photography here.

Average daily circulation of the News Journal is 40,435.

A look at today’s most interesting Fourth of July pages

Here’s a look at some of the day’s most interesting Fourth of July pages…


THE GAZETTE
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Circulation: 70,021

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:

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And they ran it sideways, too! Note how the placement of the nameplate still put it above the fold.

Stephanie continues:

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…


DAILY SUN
The Villages, Fla.
Circulation: 44,624

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…

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…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.

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Although that does show she has exquisite tastes.


REDEYE
Chicago, Ill.
Distribution: 250,000

RedEye — the Chicago Tribune‘s free commuter tab — illustrated its Thursday front page with this giant illustration of fireworks over the windy city.

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The photo illustration is by staffer Lenny Gilmore.


THE TIMES
Shreveport, La.
Circulation: 37,666

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.

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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.


TWO MORE

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.

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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.
____________________________
GIANT PHOTOS

A few papers chose to lead today with huge photos.


HERALD NEWS
Fall River, Mass.
Circulation: 14,979

The tiny Herald News of Fall River, Mass., led today with a poster-sized photo of a back-lit U.S. flag.

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The picture is by staffer Jack Foley.


POST-CRESCENT
Appleton, Wis.
Circulation:38,244

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.

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Now, that picture — by staffer William Glasheen — is just gorgeous.


FREE PRESS
Burlington, Vt.
Circulation:30,558

The Gannett paper in Burlington, Vt., also led today with a picture of fireworks shot last night.

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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
Nationally distributed

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.”

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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.

____________________________
GIANT INFOGRAPHICS

Several papers today chose to lead page one with giant Independence Day-themed alternative story forms or graphics.


NEWS & RECORD
Greensboro, N.C.
Circulation:57,274

Perhaps the most fun of these was this one by Margaret Baxter of the Greensboro News & Record.

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BIRMINGHAM NEWS
Birmingham, Ala.
Circulation:103,729

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.

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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.

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Average daily circulation for Huntsville is 44,725


NEWS-POST
Frederick, Md.
Circulation:32,472

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.

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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.


GANNETT

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
Circulation: 162,894

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.

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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…


CLARION-LEDGER
Jackson, Miss.
Circulation: 57,710

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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

Nashville Tennessean celebrates a college baseball championship

Last week, Vanderbilt University of Nashville, Tenn., defeated Virginia to win the finals of the College World Series.

The Tennessean celebrated the week with a series of posters featuring really interesting photoillustrations done in Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio.

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Lindsey Turner, a team leader in the studio, tells us:

These were done by Merry Eccles, our resident Photoshop ninja. She originally worked up the concept for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., for their coverage of Ole Miss’ run in the College World Series.

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That ended, Lindsey notes, when Ole Miss was eliminated by the University of Virginia. Which Vandy then took on in the finals.

The splash treatment is playful and unexpected and plays really well against that clean white background. We’ve gotten tremendous feedback from the community and players themselves, who think they are really cool.

This one ran last Wednesday…

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…and this one ran Thursday, the day after Vanderbilt clinched the national title.

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Naturally, the Tennessean played that win huge on the front page the next day.

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That was designed by Liz Schubauer, Lindsey tells us. The Thursday sports front, below, was designed by Mark Townsend.

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The pictures for both fronts were taken by Tennessean staffer Jae S. Lee.

Average daily circulation for the Tennessean is 118,589.

Inside the Nashville Tennessean’s addicted baby presentation

Lindsey Turner of the Gannett design studio in Nashville tells us about an extraordinary package she and her colleagues worked on for Sunday’s Tennessean.

She tells us:

Photographer Sanford Myers had the difficult and heartbreaking task of photographing drug-dependent babies, and delivered some really strong and emotionally provocative images that we used throughout the package.

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The pages were a team effort between designer Bill Campling and me, in collaboration with the newsroom. Reporters Tony Gonzalez and Shelley DuBois were most heavily involved, and provided the data and words used to create the graphics.

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Bill designed the front page and I designed the inside pages and graphics. I think it’s a great example of reporter/photographer/designer collaboration that hopefully resulted in a richer, deeper, more contextually valuable experience for the reader.

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And here’s how the Tennessean presented part two of the story this morning.

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Find the online version of the story here.

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Average daily circulation for the Tennessean is 118,589.

Bill Wachsberger to return to the Baltimore Sun

The last four years has taken him to the other side of the Southeast. But Bill Wachsberger will soon return to Baltimore, where he spent the majority of his career.

Bill posted on Facebook Wednesday:

I am happy to announce I will be heading BACK to the Baltimore Sun as design director come early May! Looking forward to the reunion!

Early May. That means he’ll be up and running by the Preakness. That’s good timing on the part of somebody.

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A 1997 graduate of the University of Miami, Billy spent a year as a copy editor and designer for the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and three years as a news design planner at the Morning News of Savannah, Ga., before joining the State of Columbia, S.C., in 2001 as an A1 and special projects designer. He moved to the Baltimore Sun in 2004 as news design director but was laid off in 2009. Off and on for the next couple of years, Bill worked as a temporary news and sports designer for the Washington Post. He joined the Nashville studio in 2011, specializing in pages for Florida Today of Melbourne, Fla.

One funny thing about that 2009 Sun layoff: Bill was one of two high-profile folks let go that day. The other has also been hired back by the Sun. My takeaway from this: Occasionally, the good guys win. Occasionally.

A few samples of Bill’s work:

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Find Bill’s portfolio here.

A look at Saturday’s March Madness pages

Well, it’s all over for America’s favorite Cinderella team. Florida Gulf Coast University was stomped 62-50 by the University of Florida Friday.

I think many of us enjoyed the on-court antics of the cool guys from FGCU. I’m not sure who I’ll pull for now…

NEWS-PRESS

Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

After an amazing run of front pages and special coverage (see here, here and here), the News-Press of Fort Myers covered FGCU’s loss with equal aplomb.

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You probably didn’t see that today, because that was a wrap around the A section. The picture is by staffer Andrew West. The design is by Michael Babin, the Florida design team leader at Gannett’s Nashville design studio.

Here’s the front page that was posted at the Newseum today.

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The photos of local fans enjoy the game are by staffers Jack Hardman and Sarah Coward.

NAPLES DAILY NEWS

Naples, Fla.

Circulation: 45,136

The folks down the road in Naples also put a shooter in Texas this week. Instead of the amazing celebration shot the Daily News probably hoped for today, however, it led with a picture of a dejected FGCU team trudging back to its locker room.

130330MarchMadnessNaplesFla

The picture is by staffer Scott McIntyre.

HERALD-TRIBUNE

Sarasota, Fla.

Circulation: 63,864

Sarasota went with an Associated Press picture by Tony Gutierrez.

130330MarchMadnessSarasotaFla

TAMPA BAY TIMES

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Circulation: 299,497

St. Pete also went with wire art — this one’s from MCT.

130330MarchMadnessStPetersburgFla

However, the folks at the Times may have come up with the best Florida Gulf Coast headline of the day.

GAINESVILLE SUN

Gainesville, Fla.

Circulation: 29,583

Meanwhile — inland, just a bit — the scrappy Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast got no sympathy at all in the home town of the Florida Gators.

130330MarchMadnessGainesvilleFla

That picture is by Sun staffer Matt Stamey.

DETROIT FREE PRESS

Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

While that Florida Gulf Coast loss was heartbreaking, it wasn’t exactly close. The Michigan win over Kansas? Now, that was close.

The magic moment was an impossible three-point shot at the end of regulation time that sent the game into overtime.

Neither of the Detroit papers did much with the game on page one — it was shoved into the skybox — but here’s today’s Free Press sports front, designed by Ryan Ford.

130330MarchMadnessDetroitFreepSports

The lead picture is by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.

JOURNAL-WORLD

Lawrence, Kan.

Circulation: 27,719

The folks from Kansas, however, were completely stunned. As you might expect.

130330MarchMadnessLawrenceKan

That photo is by Journal-World staffer Mike Yoder.

KANSAS CITY STAR

Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

The Kansas City Star, too, focused on Jayhawk shock.

130330MarchMadnessKansasCityMo

That picture was made by staffer Shane Keyser.

COURIER-JOURNAL

Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

Notice how most papers tend to lead with reaction shots, pictures of teams walking off the court and so on. The intent is to focus on emotion and on personalities. Which are good things to do.

Sometimes, however, I miss a good action shot on page one. Because that’s what the game is all about, right? The actual game?

Case in point: Check out this great action picture by the Courier-Journal’s Michael Clevenger.

130330MarchMadnessLouisvilleKy

Great stuff.

HERALD-SUN

Durham, N.C.

Circulation: 21,367

Here’s another one:

130330MarchMadnessDurhamNC

That picture is by Herald-Sun staffer Bernard Thomas.

LANSING STATE JOURNAL

Lansing, Mich.

Circulation: 41,330

I applaud the Lansing paper for opting to put game action — as opposed to reaction — on page one….

130330MarchMadnessLansingMich

…but I have to question the choice of that particular picture. Generally, it’s best to use an action picture in which we can see someone’s face. Please refer to the two previous examples.

The photo is by staffer Rod Sandford.

MACOMB DAILY

Macomb, Mich.

Circulation: 54,419

Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before: A page-one ad… embedded into the lead package.

130330MarchMadnessMacombMich

Wow. How unusual.

I sure hope that trend doesn’t spread.

INDIANAPOLIS STAR

Indianapolis, Ind.

Circulation: 164,640

And in Indianapolis, the Star opted to focus on referees.

130330MarchMadnessIndianapolisInd

The picture of a zebra stretching before a game is by staffer Matt Detrich.

POST-STANDARD

Syracuse, N.Y.

Circulation: 78,616

I couldn’t find enough motivation to post the various skybox treatments for March Madness thsi time around. I’ve not seen many that really excited me.

This one, however, struck me as particularly attractive.

130330MarchMadnessSyracuseNY

NEW YORK POST

New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,327

And, in a similar vein, the New York Post suddenly discovered today that Syracuse is located in their state.

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Now, that’s enough about today’s pages. Let’s end this post back where we started — with the…

NEWS-PRESS

Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

The aforementioned Michael Babin of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville was kind enough to send me today’s wrap front — I led today’s post with it — as well as the 16-page special section the News-Press published Friday.

He went sideways with staffer Kinfay Moroti‘s gorgeous shot of practice in the venue.

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In order to save you from straining your neck, here’s that same page oriented so you can read it. Click it — or any of these special section pages — for an extra-large view.

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Michael tells us he and staffer Melissa Koenigsberg designed the section.

Page two features a fun illustration by Doug McGregor.

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Page three holds a great graphic by staffers Scott Sleeper, Craig Handel and Michael Donlan on the Dallas Cowboys Stadium where Friday’s game was played.

Again, here’s another look at the same page.

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The graphic focuses mainly on scale. Cowboys’ stadium is so much bigger than anything Florida Gulf Coast has ever been associated with before.

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That’s FGCU’s entire basketball area. Tucked neatly onto the playing surface at Cowboys Stadium.

Pages four and five served as a detailed breakdown of the upcoming game with Florida.

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Pages six and seven zero contain a selection of sidebar-like material…

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…including a large takeout on the school’s assistant coaches.

Here is the center spread on pages eight and nine. Eight serves as a rundown on the players of both teams.

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Nine is a closer look at Florida.

Ten looks at other times Florida and Florida Gulf Coast have met in competition. The lead art shows a big women’s softball win over Florida last year.

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The half-page on 12 is a bit of wishful thinking: It’s a look at Michigan, who the folks in Fort Myers (correctly) thought would beat Kansas and might serve as FGCU’s next opponent.

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Full-page ads occupy 13, 14 and 15.

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And the back page gives a little perspective on the school. The file art shows the day before the school’s first basketball game in 2002.

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With the exception of the Fort Myers material and the Detroit sports front, all of these front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Gannett’s Nashville studio hires new creative director

Ted Power, director of Gannett’s design studios in Des Moines and Nashville, announced this week:

I’m pleased to announce that David Anesta, Features Team Leader in the Asbury Park Design Studio, will be the new Creative Director at the Nashville Design Studio. David will begin in Nashville on April 16.

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David has been with the Asbury Design Studio since March 2011. He has also been a designer at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the Boston Herald, the New York Post and the Prague (CZ) Post, stops where he has had experience designing pages from every section of a newspaper.

He is a two-time SND award winner.

“My goal would be to emphasize smart, accessible design that engages readers with bold visual storytelling and dynamic presentation,” says David.  “I emphasize education, sharing, templates and automation to increase efficiency. I would also work with Information Centers to help streamline their work flows and planning.”

David takes the creative director position previously held by Javier Torres. Ted retains command of the Des Moines center as well as taking over the directorship of the Nashville center recently vacated by Jeff Glick. Read about those departures here.

Ted tells us:

I’m excited to have David join us. In Asbury, he established great relationships with his partner sites and I’m looking forward to him doing the same with our papers across the south.

A 2000 graduate of the University of Miami, David Anesta spent two years as a designer for the Prague Post, two years as a designer for the New York Post and then one year as graphics editor of the Boston Herald. He moved to the Sun-Sentinel in 2006. In 2010, he moved north to the Asbury Park studio.

A few samples of his work:

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Find David’s portfolio here and the Tumblr blog he runs for his studio here. Find his Twitter feed here.

More Florida Gulf Coast Univ. pages from the Fort Myers paper

Michael Babin of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville was kind enough to send a huge batch of weekend pages from the News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla., documenting the first two rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the amazing performance of their hometown boys, the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast University.

FGCU beat Georgetown Friday, only the 7th time in tournament history a 15th seed won a first-round game. Saturday’s page one led with a celebration shot by staffer Kinfay Moroti of the News-Press.

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That page was designed by Josh Ulrich. Here’s the sports cover, designed by Melissa Koenigsberg and featuring a terrific Kinfay Morotti picture of a spectacular dunk.

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I should pause right here and add: I’m pretty sure that Kinfay was the only News-Press shooter in Philadelphia next week. So unless I state otherwise, assume he shot all pictures you see here.

Also: Click on any of these pages for a much larger view.

The inside pages C6 and C7 — were designed by Jared Macarin.

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Notice the fun “facts and figures” feature across the bottom of C6. And notice the gorgeous photography. It’s a shame C7 couldn’t have been a color page.

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Saturday, of course, was an off day. Florida Gulf Coast practiced and enjoyed the fruits of their stunning victory. Sunday’s page one — designed by Josh Ulrich — featured a Kinfay Moroti picture of the players watching Charles Barkley joke around about their team on national TV.

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Here’s the A-section jump page, also designed by Josh Ulrich and also featuring a picture by Kinfay Moroti of Saturday’s practice.

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Note the large box containing tweets from famous people about Friday’s win.

Sunday’s sports front used file art from Friday. This was designed by Jared Macarin.

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Page C4 was a fun utility page previewing the second-round game with San Diego State.

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Lots of great stuff on that page.

And here is page C5, featuring a number of interesting angles…

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…including features on the two coaches. The San Diego State coach even owns a condo in the Fort Myers area.

Those inside pages were designed by Melissa Koenigsberg and Jared Macarin.

Well, you know what happened next: Florida Gulf Coast won again. While they were the 7th No.15 seeded team in NCAA tournament history to win a first-round game, they were the first No. 15 seed to win a second-round game.

The page I showed you yesterday was, in fact, the cover of a four-page wrap around the Monday paper. Here’s a larger look, featuring another great celebration shot by Kinfay.

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That was designed by Michael Babin.

Here is page two of the wrap. Lots of celebration pictures. But then again, there was lots to celebrate.

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Page three of the wrap plays up another celebration picture and only one action shot from Sunday.

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The back page featured a great pregame picture by Kinfay.

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Notice the huge ad from the university itself.

Those pages were designed by Melissa Koenigsberg, Josh Ulrich and Jared Macarin.

The usual page one — which actually ran on page three Monday — focused on the celebration back home.

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The two campus pictures are by staffer Jack Hardman. The page was designed by Josh Ulrich.

And the News-Press used the sports front to shed some light on FGCU’s next opponent: The University of Florida.

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Jared Macarin designed the page. That’s a Getty image.

Michael sent along a list of folks who contributed to the weekend effort. In addition to the names you’ve already seen, that includes:

Terry Eberle, executive editor

Ed Reed, sports editor

Dan DeLuca, reporter

Seth Soffian, FGCU beat reporter

Carl Bleich, reporter

Justin Kane, contributing writer

Dave Brietinstein, education reporter

Ric Rolon, multimedia editor

David Kaye, copy desk

Robyn George, copy desk

Scott Bihr, copy desk

Tariq Lee, reporter

Craig Handel, reporter

Mark Bickel, strike team editor

Average daily circulation of the Fort Myers News-Press is 54,761.

How the Fort Myers paper played last night’s huge win by Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University — in its very first appearance in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament — has, incredibly, won its first two games.

On Friday, FGCU defeated No. 2-seeded Georgetown 78-68. On Sunday, the Eagles stunned No. 7-seeded San Diego State 81-71.

The school — which was founded in 1991 — is located in Fort Myers, Fla. Here’s how the News-Press played the story today on page one.

130325MarchMadnessFortMyers

Huge. Almost as impressive is the ad across the bottom of the front page. I wonder if that was placed after the opening-round win.

The photo is by News-Press staffer Kinfay Moroti. The page would have been designed in Gannett’s design studio in Nashville. If anyone there can tell me who designed it, I’d appreciate it very much.

Next up for FGCU: The Eagles take on the University of Florida Gators Friday night.

That front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

On the other end of the spectrum, at least one news organization struggled mightily with FGCU’s heroics this weekend. Check out this correction the New York Times posted on Saturday:

That’s six errors in one story. Including misnaming FGCU’s Eddie Murray as “Eddie Murphy.”

Thanks to the three or four folks who alerted me about that.

A look at a few notable NCAA Tournament pages and sections

Scott Goldman — director of content at Advance Digital and a former sports designer for the Washington Post — writes today via Facebook:

In case you were wondering how you should design an NCAA Tournament section, look no further. This is how you do it.

The section that caught his eye today: The one from the Washington Post. Which always puts out a fabulous tourney section.

Click for a much larger view.

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What you can’t see unless you zoom in: Those aren’t just team logos. those are tiny little infographics. Each shows the number of times a team has been to the Big Dance, the number of times it’s made the Final Four and the number of championships each has won.

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Very slick.

Brian Gross led the design of the section, design director Janet Michaud tells me. Chris Rukan and Des Bieler worked on it as well.

Pages two and three take a fun look back on star players of previous tournaments going back to 1940 and the growth of the tournament field.

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Page four focuses on the East Regional. Page five looks at the Georgetown Hoyas, which face Florida Gulf Coast in their first-round game on Friday.

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Pages six and seven present the entire bracket, as well as one “filled out” by sports columnist Tracee Hamilton

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…who, by the way, reluctantly picks Kansas to win it all.

Page eight is a bit of a preview to the women’s seedings. Page nine jumps back into regional previews.

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Pages 10 and 11 finish up the regional previews.

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And page 12 contains the last few conference tournament stories of the year.

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Average circulation of the Washington Post is 507,615.

NEWS-PRESS

Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

Michael Babin — the Florida design team leader at Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio — writes:

I wanted to share some pages that the Nashville Design Studio produced for the News-Press as the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team earned its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Sunday’s paper looked back at how the team got to this point…

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Click, of course, for a much larger view.

Here is Sunday’s sports front, previewing the selection show…

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…and here are two inside pages looking back on the Florida Gulf Coast University season.

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Michael resumes his story:

…while Monday’s paper provided a bit of instant analysis for the team’s matchup against heavily-favored Georgetown.

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Here’s an inside A page with the jump and with more reaction shots from the selection show.

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Michael tells us:

The Nashville Design Studio produced a live 8-page special section in the News-Press for the NCAAs in addition to blown-out coverage in the A-section. With most of the live art going to A1, we payed homage to those fun Sports Illustrated covers that capture all the Madness of March while still playing up the home team making their debut in the Big Dance.

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I became a bit of a Bracketology nerd throughout the past week so that most of the photo-illustration could be quite far along leading up to Sunday night’s Selection Show in order to turn this around on deadline for Monday’s publication.

Here’s the doubletruck of the inside section, focusing on the opening-round game.

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Hey, it’s only Georgetown. Piece of cake, right? Just ask Syracuse.

Michael writes:

Special thanks to designers Chris Bistline, Melissa Koenigsberg, Kayla Golliher and a team of editors, reporters and photographers back in Fort Myers for ramping things up for the weekend.

CINCINNATI ENQUIRER

Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

And among the papers putting the start of March Madness on page one today, this one stood out as one of the more colorful and more interesting.

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That page was designed by David Leonard, I’m told. Click to zoom in and read the little blurbs by Paul Daugherty.

In addition, here’s today’s sports front designed by Dustin Frucci.

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Thanks to Ryan Hildebrandt, creative director of Gannett’s Louisville Design Studio, for sending those pages as well as the next one…

COURIER-JOURNAL

Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

The Louisville studio’s Jeff Patterson went with a horse-racing theme to illustrate this year’s 64-team tournament field.

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Make sure you click on that one and enjoy all the little silks.

Now, no slight on this fine, clever page. But if you’re wondering where you’ve seen an idea like that before: Perhaps it was here.

HERALD-PALLADIUM

St. Joseph, Mich.

Circulation: 14,139

Andy Steinke of the Herald-Palladium in St. Joseph, Mich., writes:

I wanted to send along a couple of pages designed by one of co-workers, Crystal Myers, at the Paxton Media Group pagination superstation in St. Joseph, Mich.

The pages are of particular interest to me because I wrote the main “story” and sidebar featured on the page. I work full-time on the copy desk, but earlier this year I talked the features editor into letting me write the occasional ASF story. (I’m a former reporter). This is my second story so far.

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A lot of people get really excited about the Final Four tournament, so I wanted to find a new way to get readers excited about it. I came up with the idea of a crossword puzzle featuring the past champions. I went through a couple of rounds of clues before settling on these ones. I think they’re challenging without being too hard for readers to figure out.

Here’s the jump page, including the solution to the puzzle.

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Did you do something cool for March Madness? Send PDFs and design credits to:

chuckapple [at] cox.net