Gannett names Josh Awtry V.P. of Carolinas papers

Longtime visual journalist Josh Awtry has been named vice president and executive editor of Gannett’s Carolina region, a post from which he’ll oversee the 30,111-circulation Citizen-Times of Asheville, N.C. and the 53,440-circulation Greenville (S.C.) News.


Dale Neal of the Citizen-Times quoted Carolinas region president Dave Neill as saying:

We’ve promised to take steps to better customize our brand in print and digital to serve our community, and Josh is going to help us get there. I’m looking forward to the reinvention of the Asheville Citizen-Times.

A 1998 graduate of Hastings College in south central Nebraska, Josh spent two years as a copy editor, entertainment editor and one-man graphics staff at the Independent in Grand Island, Neb. In 2000, he became design director for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C. In 2003, he moved back to Grand Island to serve as managing editor for presentation. In 2004, Josh was named assistant managing editor for presentation for the Salt Lake Tribune.

In 2011, he was named editor of the Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho. He moved to Fort Collins that December.

Last month, the Columbia Journalism Review recognized the work Josh has done at the Coloradoan.

Neal wrote in his story this weekend:

Kathy Jack-Romero, Coloradoan president and publisher, called Awtry “a visionary who truly cares about serving the needs of our readers.”

“Asheville and Greenville are incredibly lucky to have Josh in their organization and community,” she said. “In his two years as executive editor, Josh has transformed our products to better reflect this vibrant community and enhanced engagement with our readers and business partners. His strong grasp of digital platforms and metrics has led to increased reach and engagement with our audiences.”

Find Neal’s story here.

Josh wrote on his Facebook timeline:

This was a huge decision for our family. We have a deep love for Fort Collins, and leaving this community was a TOUGH call that involved a large share of sleepless nights and pro/con lists. As those who live here know, this is a pretty special place, and I’ve enjoyed every minute.

I’m going to miss my news team, who most of you I adore with fervor. They’re an amazing bunch, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say about them in the days ahead.

We’re no stranger to the Carolinas — Karenna and I lived in Myrtle Beach for years, and Ally is a native South Carolinian. We used to vacation in the mountains around Asheville, and we’re looking forward to returning.

He’ll start his new job on Jan. 20.

Find Josh’s personal web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Previous blog posts about work done by Josh and his team at the Coloradoan:

  • Nov. 11, 2011: Josh Awtry named executive editor of Fort Collins Coloradoan
  • June 10, 2012: Twelve notable Sunday front-page visuals
  • June 13: Another great fire front page from Fort Collins, Colo.
  • June 14: Today’s fire pages from Colorado
  • June 15: A closer look at Fort Collins’ work this week, including inside pages
  • June 27: Horrible wildfires in and around Colorado make for amazing front-page pictures
  • Sept. 10: The most interesting weekend front pages
  • Oct. 16: Coloradoan of Fort Collins, Colo., launches a redesign
  • Nov. 23: Today’s most unusual front page
  • Feb. 8, 2013: Tiny paper gets huge results with… what? A complex multimedia map? No way!
  • Feb. 17: Behind yesterday’s gorgeous illustration by Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Feb. 19‘Picky’ Fort Collins Coloradoan seeks two summer interns
  • Sept. 13: How papers in Colorado played flooding on page one today
  • Sept. 15: Front page flood coverage this weekend from Colorado
  • Oct. 24: Columbia Journalism Review recognizes longtime visuals guy-turned-editor Josh Awtry

Laid off Thursday by Gannett: Green Bay cartoonist Joe Heller

Reading about the 200+ folks laid off Thursday by Gannett has been awfully painful.

Name after name of quality journalists, shown the door. This by a company that says it’s due to “local market conditions.” This from a company that announced, less than two months ago, it would pay $2.2 billion for 20 TV stations.

This sort of thing makes me angry. I hope it makes you angry, too.

One of the jaw-dropping names that rolled out of Thursday’s debacle was that of Green Bay, Wis., Press-Gazette editorial caroonist Joe Heller. Joe has worked for the Press-Gazette for 28 years.


A 1979 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Joe spent six years at the Daily News of West Bend, Wis., before moving to the Press-Gazette in 1985.

Now, being an editorial cartoonist in a town like Green Bay means one must develop an expertise on topics like football. And, uh, football. And, of course: NFL football.

But he also takes on other sports. Here’s a piece on the World Cup of soccer, a couple of years ago.

Here’s a two-themed Christmas cartoon: Shopping and travel.

Here are a couple of political pieces from last year.

Joe also handled high-profile illustration assignments for the paper. Like, for instance, this series of super-hero-themed posters that inserted with great fanfare during a run at the playoffs in January 2012.


The Press-Gazette promoted heck out of these posters. They even produced a video to get folks motivated to buy copies in each day’s paper.

When Donald Driver retired from the Packers with great fanfare earlier this year, the Press-Gazette made sure to include a tribute from Joe in its 12-page wraparound special section.


If you’re thinking Joe is only about big sports cartoons, though, you’d be wrong. Joe created this fun data visualization piece that ran atop page one last November.

There are lots of fun little moments in this illustration.

And, if that wasn’t enough, Joe also worked on the occasional multimedia graphic. Like this interactive map from July 2010.


As you can see, that’s just a screencap of the interactive map. Find the real one here.

Wow. What a multitalented guy. What a content generator. If Joe’s not the kind of guy Gannett wants to keep around, I really have to question that company’s commitment to newspapering.

Alan Gardner of the Daily Cartoonist asked Joe a few questions yesterday after the news broke. An excerpt:

Q: Have you had time to formulate what your plans are now – near term and long term?

A: Since I’m self-syndicated with more than 350 newspapers, I will continue to draw my editorial cartoons at my home studio. I’ve dodged the axe so many times, that when it did happen, I was prepared.

Q: You’ve had for years a self-syndicated operation of your cartoons. Will that continue and if so, do you think you’ll expand?

A: Without the restrictions that my former paper put on me, and there a too many to note. I can now expand my empire to online and circulation areas that were off limits.

Find the entire Q&A here.

And here’s a story the local Fox affiliate did last night on Joe and the layoffs.

Find Joe’s personal home page here. Find a nice story about his work methods here.

A look at Monday’s Final Four basketball tourney pages

While Sunday’s March Madness pages weren’t anything to get excited about, today’s were a bit more spectacular.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

The big story of Sunday’s game was Freshman Nik Stauskas, who successfully fired off six three-point goals. The photo on the front of today’s Free Press shows Stauskas after one of those dropped in.


That picture was by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez, who also took the great celebration shot used to great effect on the sports front today.


The sports front was designed by Ryan Ford. Steve Anderson designed today’s front page.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

While the Freep went with “Four sure” for its lead headline, the Detroit News chose “4-ward.” Perhaps we might have Four-warned that puns on the word four would be rampant today.


That lead art is by News staffer John T. Grelick.

The News ditched the four pun and went instead with a final pun for its sports front.


Lead art is by Stephen M. Dowell of the Orlando Sentinel.


Oakland, Mich.

Circulation: 65,197

In the suburbs of Detroit, the Oakland Press used a celebration shot by Tony Gutierrez of the Associated Press.



Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

The story of the day in Louisville, of course, was that gruesome injury to guard Kevin Ware near the end of the first half. Ten years from now, you might not remember that Louisville beat Duke out for a spot in the Final Four. But you’ll remember the sight of that bone poking out of Ware’s leg.

The Courier-Journal focused on the win, however, pushing Ware’s misfortune into the second of three decks.


The picture is by staffer Sam Upshaw Jr.


Raleigh, N.C.

Circulation: 129,698

In Raleigh, the News & Observer focused on a dejected Duke bench. Duke’s loss means that this will be the third consecutive Final Four without a team from the ACC. This is the first time since the early 1960s that’s happened.


The photo is by N&O staffer Chuck Liddy.


Durham, N.C.

Circulation: 21,367

And in Durham, the Herald-Sun pushed its staff photo of the Duke game downpage in favor of the Duke women, victorious in a regional semifinal game Sunday in Norfolk.


The men’s picture was by staffer Bernard Thomas. The photo of the women’s game was from the Associated Press.


Charlotte, N.C.

Circulation: 146,511

Charlotte made a bit of a deal today about Kevin Ware’s leg injury, leading page one with a picture of Ware’s teammates reacting and a column by staffer Scott Fowler.


The picture is by Michael Conroy of the Associated Press.

The Detroit pages are from those two papers. The rest are all from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of March Madness 2013, here in the blog…

  • March 18: A look at a few notable NCAA Tournament pages and sections
  • March 20: Five more fun March Madness pages for you
  • March 25: How the Fort Myers paper played last night’s huge win by Florida Gulf Coast University
  • March 26: More Florida Gulf Coast Univ. pages from the Fort Myers paper
  • March 29: Special editions are a slam-dunk today in ‘Dunk City,’ Florida
  • March 30: A look at Saturday’s March Madness pages

Inside the Detroit Free Press’ Tigers baseball preview section

Nowhere in baseball journalism is there more hope for a winning season for the home team… more optimism that their team will be in the hunt for a pennant… and, yes, perhaps resources to cover all this — than at the Detroit Free Press.

The Detroit Tigers open their 2013 season Monday in Minneapolis. They play their home opener Friday against the dreaded Yankees.

Master sports designer Ryan Ford was kind enough to send along pages from the Freep‘s Tigers preview section that inserted into today’s paper.

The cover portrait of former Anaheim Angel Torii Hunter is by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.


Ryan didn’t specifically tell me this, but I presume he designed the section. The vast number of pullouts and text boxes — the Freep calls these “gizmos” — looks like Ryan’s work.

Click any of these pages for a larger look.

Page two takes a look at the entire division. Page three continues the cover story about reliever Phil Coke and contains predictions from the Freep‘s stable of experts.

130331DetroitFreepBaseballPreview02 130331DetroitFreepBaseballPreview03

You just have to love that picture on page three by Carlos Osorio of the Associated Press.


Things do indeed go better with Coke.

The color center spread — pages four and five — offer a look at the Tigers’ roster, the schedule and a number of utility items.

130331DetroitFreepBaseballPreview04 130331DetroitFreepBaseballPreview05

Page six holds the jump of the Torii Hunter story from the cover. Page seven contains notes, briefs and other bits and pieces.

130331DetroitFreepBaseballPreview06 130331DetroitFreepBaseballPreview07

The back cover of the section, however, might be a real talker. This is yet another jaw-dropping masterpiece by Free Press illustrator Eric Millikin.


UPDATE – 10:30 a.m. PDT

And, as Steve Dorsey points out, it’s already available as a glossy reprint. For only $7.95.

Eric, of course, has illustrated a number of Tigers posters over the past couple of seasons:

111010MlbDetroitFreepFront.jpg  121005DetroitFreepDpage.jpg

121024MlbDetroitFreepFront.jpg  121027MlbDetroitFreepFront1.jpg

Find more of Eric’s work here.

Average daily circulation for the Detroit Free Press is 232,696.

A look at the good and the mundane on todays’ front pages

Let’s take a quick spin through the day’s notable front pages, as found at the Newseum



Today, of course, is the 68th anniversary of D-Day, a key moment in World War II.

Our D-Day veterans, sadly, are passing away. So it’s becoming even more difficult than ever before to find someone locally to talk to.

The best D-Day-themed front page today was this one by the Advocate of Victoria, Texas.

Extreme, dramatic crops on two portraits, paired with a vintage historical shot we’ve seen time and time again. That and artful placement of the headline made for a great presentation today.

The local pictures were by staffer Frank Tilley. Average daily circulation for the Advocate is 28,900.

Another great D-Day anniversary photo today is this one by Christopher Gannon of the Des Moines Register. This local man is holding the helmet he wore.

Note the shrapnel hole.

Wow. Now, that gets your attention.

The picture was lead art on the front of today’s Register.

Chris was kind enough to send along two inside pages that contained the jump of today’s story.  Click either of these for a larger view.


Please take note of this gentleman, 90-year-old Freddie Lindsey of Sioux City, as photographed by Christopher.

Perhaps you have seen this famous photo of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, addressing paratroopers just before the D-Day invasion.

That’s Freddie, wearing a helmet second from left.

After the war, he became an artist.

Average daily circulation for the Register is 101,915.

And across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay from me here in Virginia Beach is the Daily Press of Newport News, Va. Instead of D-Day, the Daily Press this week has been celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.

That battle was a huge victory for the U.S. and a turning point of the war in the Pacific. But sunk in that battle was an aircraft carrier: The USS Yorkdown. Which happened to be built in Newport News.

Later in the war, another Yorktown was built. That ship now serves as a floating museum near Charleston, S.C.

Average daily circulation for the Daily Press is 59,200.



Perhaps this was caused by a lack of access to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker‘s Election Night victory party. Or perhaps it was caused by a lack of resources devoted to the story by Gannett, which owns an awful lot of papers in Wisconsin.

Whatever it was, though, I was so excited about looking to see how the state’s papers played the governor’s successful fending off of a recall attempt last night. Yet, I was so disappointed that most of the papers there looked the same.

From left to right here are Gannett’s Post-Crescent of Appleton (circulation 38,421), the Press-Gazette of Green Bay (circulation 41,904) and the Daily Herald of Wausau (circulation 15,826).



Also from Gannett: Second row, left to right: The News-Herald of Marshfield (circulation 8,365), the Journal of Stevens Point (circulation 8,073), the Daily Tribune of Wisconsin Rapids (circulation 8,180) and the Press of Sheboygan (circulation 14,425).

These were the only two Gannett papers that broke away from using that same picture by Morry Gash of the Associated Press. And both have their flaws.

The 14,538-circulation Oshkosh Northwestern, below left, went with a different picture. However, the governor is gesturing to folks who are out of the frame. The photo appears to be very oddly cropped.


The 10,285-circulation Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc, above right, also uses an off-kilter crop. While you can see the signs there, suggesting there are people holding them you really don’t get a sense there is a large crowd there. Which makes me wonder why they cropped the photo this way.

Both of those pictures are also from the Associated Press and, mostly likely, were also shot by Morry Gash.

Very weak work last night, I’m afraid.

And this wasn’t just a problem by the Gannett papers. The non-Gannett papers had the same problem today. The 25,720-ciculation La Crosse Tribune, below, left, would have fit in perfectly in that Gannett gallery above.


And the 23,370-circulation Leader-Telegram of Eau Claire, above right, used that same oddly-cropped AP photo as did Oshkosh. Except they used it smaller. Given how strange it seems, perhaps that was a good thing today.

The state’s largest paper — the 188,819-circulaiton Journal Sentinel of  Milwaukee — at least used a different pose, a crop that didn’t seem quite as awkward and got a few hands in its celebration shot of Walker.

The picture is by staffer Rick Wood.

And Wisconsin’s state capital paper led with a huge picture that didn’t even have Walker in it.

The upside to using that particular picture: It was the moment that Walker was declared the winner. And — unlike the AP pictures we saw earlier — you get a sense that there was a big crowd attending his rally.

That photo is by staffer Michael King. Average daily circulation of the Wisconsin State Journal is 84,191.



Venus passed between Earth and the Sun Tuesday, the last time that will happen for 105 years. Astronomy buffs were delighted. And photos of the “transit” ended up on a great many front pages today.

Of those, two presentations excited me. One was this front from the Tribune Eagle of Cheyenne, Wyo., which gave readers a sampling of images from Associated Press photographers around the world.

Average daily circulation for the Tribune Eagle is 13,867.

The other treatment I liked was this one by my friends at the Observer of Fayetteville, N.C., which sent photo editor Johnny Horne all the way to Bean Station, Tenn., to capture this picture.

Johnny — who’s been with the Observer for 40 years — also writes an astronomy blog for the paper’s web site. He even has an asteroid named after him. Find it here (the blog, not the asteroid, silly).

Average daily circulation for the Fayetteville Observer is 49,477.

The best page-one Venus transit headline of the day, however, was this one by the Free Press of Burlington, Vt.

You have to love the kind of wit that would think of quoting King of Pain by the Police. Brilliant.

The story is crammed into the bottom right, because most of the front page is devoted to the paper’s format change that launches with tomorrow’s paper.

Average daily circulation of the Free Press is 31,095.



Today’s most amusing headline, however, comes to us from the Philadelphia Daily News, where fracking is the big story today.

The Daily News leaves us somewhat perplexed as to how the paper stands on the issue.

Average daily circulation of the Daily News is 63,958.

With the exception of the Des Moines pages — which came from that paper — these front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Heads up on two significant events this coming week…

Two things to keep an eye on this coming week…

1) The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press will convert to a new format starting Wednesday Thursday.

The Free Press‘ 45-year-old printing press enjoyed a $2.4 million overhaul this spring. The paper will convert from a broadsheet to a “tall tabloid” — 11 inches wide x 15 inches deep — with color on every page. An extensive redesign is expected to give the paper more of a magazine-like feel.

Free Press editor — and my former boss in Des Moines — Michael Townsend showed his excitement on his Facebook wall this weekend:

Wednesday we push the button on the most intriguing journey in journalism that has ever engaged me and my passionate colleagues at the Burlington Free Press and our highly skilled design studio. On Thursday, with the help of many in the Gannett company, we reinvent the newspaper.

As Mike says, design of the paper is being handled by the staff at the Asbury Park Design Studio.

At the same time, the Free Press is installing a paywall for online content, says a press release from last February. Find that press release here.

Average daily circulation for the Free Press is 31,095.

Find the Gannett Design Studio Facebook page here.

2) In addition, the GateHouse Design Houses in Framingham, Mass., and Rockford, Ill., will begin operation this week.

Jean Hodges writes on the GateHouse in-house news site:

The Design House in Framingham, Mass., will launch 21 papers next week, and the Design House in Rockford, Ill., will launch both the Rockford and Freeport papers.

…The rollout adds new GateHouse newspapers each week to the Design House workload. In all, 280 newsrooms will transition to the Design Houses by the end of the year.

“Freeport” refers to the Journal-Standard of Freeport, Ill., circulation 8,836. That paper doesn’t contribute to the Newseum, so I have no sample to show you.

Average daily circulation of the Rockford Register Star is 65,224.

While the Burlington changes will be extraordinary, obviously, we’re not expecting many changes in the appearance of the Rockford paper. In fact, the Rockford design hub recently produced a parallel edition on the new Saxotech system.

Find a progress report on construction of the GateHouse facilities here.

Find the GateHouse Design House Facebook page here.

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

They might not have been ‘innovative.’ But today’s Titanic front pages were, in fact, effective.

I was loathe to write about today’s Titanic front pages. Before I even thought out getting out of bed this morning, the Poynter Institute’s Julie Moos posted a large number of front pages from the Newseum.

I changed my mind, though, when I saw this tweet from Ian Hill, currently of KQED News in San Francisco and formerly of the Stockton (Calif.) Record.

Ian asked:

Ian knows the answer, of course. Playing up the Titanic anniversary served only one purpose, really: To sell papers. Even 100 years after the fact and even hundreds of miles from an ocean liner port, the sinking of the Titanic is still a huge, huge talker. Even before that hugely popular movie came out.

[Note to James Cameron: For the new DVD reissue, replace Celine Dion‘s tiresome My Heart Will Go On with Rock the Boat by the Hues Corporation. Thanks much.]

Ian, of course, was on his way to making another point: Why did we see so much “innovation” and clever thinking on page one today — for the anniversary of something that happened 100 years ago — yet, it’s so difficult to get newspapers to change their strategic thinking and innovate for real.

You can imagine what might have set Ian off. Here is today’s front page of his former paper…


Stockton, Calif.

Circulation: 35,356

The designer in Stockton today built a photoillustration around the Stockton front page announcing the sinking of the Titanic, a framed rendering of the ship and a few other artifacts. It all works pretty well, with the exception of the pocketwatch at the lower right, which is out of perspective with the rest.

The only real “innovative” thing about this front — if you want to call it that — is that Stockton dumped its standard nameplate in favor of the one it used 100 years go. Very cool. But hardly innovative. Not only has this been done before — when papers celebrate anniversaries of local news and especially when they celebrate their own birthdays — but also, that same approach was taken today by the…


Duluth, Minn.

Circulation: 30,606

Duluth went with clippings. Note the vintage nameplate. Also note the cute coupon blurb at the upper left.

I was, in fact, surprised by the number of papers that ran Titanic tributes on page one today. Because, after all, readers didn’t see these pages until after the actual anniversary of the sinking itself. I’d have expected to see these pages last Sunday or, perhaps, Friday or Saturday.


Hartford, Conn.

Circulation: 135,363

Stockton and Duluth weren’t the only papers to show readers how they reported the sinking of Titanic 100 years ago. The Courant showed its next two front pages after the disaster…

…and detailed how reporters tracked down the status of two Connecticut men who were aboard.


New Orleans, La.

Circulation: 135,716

The New Orleans paper also built its front page around a vintage front page.


Peoria, Ill.

Circulation: 59,090

Peoria used a bit of a montage approach.

While some of these treatments look like they’re fresh out of a microfilm library, Peoria’s vintage clips look yellowed and paperlike.


Aberdeen, S.D.

Circulation: 14,272

Aberdeen overlapped the top half of its vintage front page over a photo of the Titanic itself.

I’m not sure covering up the lower front hull of Titanic on a day like today was a good idea. Better to take down the size of that huge mug shot and push the front page lower down the page.


Pendleton, Ore.

Circulation: 7,797

The East Oregonian of Pendleton, Ore., played its vintage pages a little smaller.


New London, Conn.

Circulation: 25,494

Although the New London, Conn., paper appeared to have some interesting art with its original Titanic reports, the paper played down its vintage front in favor of a picture of the ship and a New York Times photo of a lifeboat the morning after the sinking.


Durango, Colo.

Circulation: 8,045


Traverse City, Mich.

Circulation: 22,029

Oddly, two separate newspapers more than a thousand miles apart, managed to play very similar photos as lead art on page one today.


On the left, Fay Harmer of the Durango Elks Club museum displays a vintage front page of the Boston Daily Globe. The photo is by the Durango Herald‘s David Bergeland.

On the right, Mary Gore displays a framed copy of that very same Boston Daily Globe front, which hangs in her home. The photo is by the Traverse City, Mich., Record Eagle‘s Jan-Michael Stump.

That’s one of the odder coincidences you’ll see.



Now, since we’ve gone this far, I might as well anoint my five favorite Titanic pages of the day…


Camden, N.J.

Circulation: 50,884

This page struck me as one of the more outstanding, eye-catching fronts of the day.

The black background, the negative-image of the ship and the headlines faintly superimposed over them give the presentation a ghostly feel. I like how the designer used mostly black-and-grey tones throughout the package.

My only wish here is that I could get a copy of that inside graphic that’s plugged in the lower right. It looks pretty cool.

UPDATE – 9:40 p.m.

Thanks to John Scianna of the Gannett Design Studio in Asbury Park for sending along the graphic. Click for a readable version:

Great work by Dan Garrow, graphics editor of the Wilmington, Del., News Journal.


Napa, Calif.

Circulation: 12,710

The Napa, Calif, paper found a photo of Titanic that’s not been used to death and one that contains quite a bit of atmosphere around it.

The designer then reworked the paper’s nameplate around the photo.

Great job up top. My only wish is that we could have reduced a little of the white space at the bottom of the package, moved the story and headline down just a tad and then not faded quite so much of the foreground of the photo where it runs behind the headline.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the front. And I especially like the fact that I’m seeing a picture of Titanic that I don’t think I’ve seen before. After all the reading I’ve done on the anniversary lately, that’s quite a feat.


Norwalk, Conn.

Circulation: 16,055

This page here also created a bit of a retro feel for me, but without resorting to filters or funky fonts. I think it’s the crop of the huge photo that does it.

You just don’t see pictures that large, cropped that loosely. The result appeals to me greatly. Yet, I don’t think I would have come up with anything like this. Nor would I have even signed off on it. After all, if you crop out the empty foreground and then crop out the empty sky above the ship, you’d have room for another story or sidebar out front.

Perhaps what appeals to me here is just how alien this seems to my own design sensibilities. And that, I think, is a good thing.


Youngstown, Ohio

Circulation: 44,952

The paper in Youngstown, Ohio, did something very similar to what Stockton, Calif., tried today: It cleared off two-thirds of its front page and simply ran its vintage 100-year-old Titanic front page as large as it could.

The new story ran below.


Fargo, N.D.

Circulation: 51,165

But of all the retro-tinged treatments today, this one — from the Fargo, N.D., Forum — strikes me as the best — and most interesting — play of the day: It’s a not-quite-100-percent-accurate-but-still-awfully-convincing recreation of a the front page from 100 years ago.

The lead story on the left — as you might guess from the headline — is a recreation of what a vintage Forum front page looked like. The story occupying the two columns on the right is indeed the Forum‘s report of the Titanic disaster. The story is reset — mostly likely for readability — but that’s the actual story and the actual placement it was given 100 years ago.

Presentation editor Bill Wambeke tells us:

Online editor Rob Beer started [the page]; I finished it.

Rob, who did the Forum’s remake cover of the 1957 tornado in 2007 (I think you featured it on your old site), came up with the idea to remake the 1912 Forum and built the right hand story and retyped the original copy. He also built the flag and all the accompanying doodads like the date style, weather box and edition box. I did the main bar and photo and did my best to track down the fonts we used 100 years ago. Cheltenhm was a pretty close match for the main font, the smaller secondary font was a little trickier. I found some that had the lowercase “e” at a bit of a slant but other letters’ ascenders and descenders weren’t quite right, so I just went with BakerSignet, which they probably didn’t have 100 years ago.

So let’s circle back around to Ian Hill’s question: Why was the Titanic anniversary worth an entire front page?

Why is the local college winning a national basketball championship worth an entire front page? There are, after all, people who don’t like sports and who don’t care to see them on A1. Why was the killing of Osama bin Laden worth an entire front page? (In fact, someone asked that very question. Find my reply here.) Why was the inauguration of the first black president in U.S. history worth an entire front page? Why was a new class of honorees worth 29 full pages of Friday’s weekend entertainment magazine in Cleveland?

Why is anything worth playing huge?

Because the play we give a story can make our community feel better. Or mobilize a community or unite it behind an issue or a story or an event. Because it can show us how far we’ve come. Or how far we have to go.

Sometimes, though, a story is worth extraordinary play simply because it’s a talker. Or can be a talker. Because it’ll sell papers.

And, yes, anniversary play of a 100-year-old story is relatively easy. You have your paper’s archives and you have access to high-resolution images at the U.S. Library of Congress. For free, I might add.

So why not play Titanic large today? As long as it’s not knocking something more worthy — or more important to our community — off of page one.

As to Ian’s bigger question — Why is journalism’s idea of innovation these days redesigning a front page to mark a 100-year anniversary? — Yeah, that’s a shame.

The fight for innovation didn’t start with the invention of the internet or Twitter, though. There are plenty of us around who remember having to fight and argue and sweet-talk editors into buying Macintosh computers and running infograhics and reworking their color palettes and not going crazy with typography all over the place. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago when we were arguing against being forced to use a seven-column front-page format on days when that format didn’t meet our needs.

I don’t have the answer as to how to get newspapers to be open to innovation. But I don’t see how dumping on today’s front pages — which might not have been innovative but they certainly weren’t bad — helps build your case.

Find Ian Hill’s blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Today’s front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Again, find Julie Moos’ roundup of today’s Titanic pages here.

Earlier posts about the Titanic anniversary:

  • April 3: A paper 1,500 miles from the Atlantic broke the story of the Titanic
  • April 8: More titanic displays commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic
  • April 11: A terrific Titanic anniversary graphic from South Africa

A powerful display of a sad story that might have turned out even sadder

Brace yourselves, folks. This story is most unpleasant to read about. But it’s worth it in order to see how well it was displayed today.

The story — in Florida Today of Melbourne, circulation 59,038 — is about a little boy who was allegedly abused by his father and his father’s live-in girlfriend.

Here’s the top of the story by Florida Today‘s Andrew Ford and Mackenzie Ryan:

They found the boy curled up on the floor of a bathroom in a house police described as unfit for healthy living.

The bones in his face jutted out. His skin clung to him tightly beneath Spiderman pajamas. The veins were visible in his arms. Police said he was 12 years old, 4-foot-4 and weighed 40 pounds.

…The boy’s voice was soft, but strong. He said he was hungry and wanted to leave.The boy’s rescue came almost too late for him — 17 months after he was withdrawn from school, effectively removing him from contact with people who had tried to protect him. While other children in the house attended school, investigators believe the boy’s father, Michael Marshall, and Marshall’s girlfriend, Sharon Glass, regularly confined the boy and withheld food as punishment. Another month in those conditions could have killed him, police said.

That’s a terrifying story. A heartbreaking story. But this child nearly died at the hands of people who apparently knew just how to play the system. So it’s a story that must be told and it must be told well.

And it was told well this morning by Florida Today. Both today’s front and today’s jump page was designed by the Gannett Nashville Design Studio’s Chris Bistline, I’m told.

Here’s today’s front. Click for a much larger look.

As you can see, the story doesn’t even begin out front at all. The front-page package consists of several small photos, a document with essential information highlighted…

…and text along the bottom that explains how this could have happened to the little boy.

I studied such cases not long ago. There is a lot of excuse-making going on here. Hopefully, a story like this can create a push for reform.

The story itself is played on page 3A, along with a detailed and illustrated timeline. Here’s the page — again, click for a larger look.

And here’s just the timeline.

Note the little box at the bottom right: If you ever see signs of child abuse, call this number. Take action. Whatever. Just don’t let the child fall through the cracks like this one nearly did.

Powerful stuff. Read the story online here.

A 1997 graduate of Indiana University, Chris spent two years as a sports designer and copy editor for the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale and then two more years as a designer for the Bucks County Courier Times of Levittown, Pa., before moving to Cairo, Egypt in 2001 to become assistant editor of Business Today Egypt. In 2005, Chris moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, to become art director for Tide Media, publishers of New Age Gaming, SA Computer Magazine and Custom PC South Africa. He moved back to Cairo in December 2010 but when that country’s political situation exploded, Chris moved back to the U.S. He began work for the Gannett studio last May.

Find his portfolio site here.

For your Friday enjoyment: Two truly clever illustrations

As you know, I spent the past two weeks in Nigeria teaching infographics.

But all of you who have attended any of my sessions over the years know: I never teach just what I’ve been hired to teach. I see the job of a visual journalist as being much bigger than that. Our job is to tell the story, no matter what that story might be. If there are no numbers to quantify your story, then the solution might very well end up being an illustrative solution.

Not only is there nothing wrong with that, it can also be very nice visually, depending on how well you render your package, how well you play your package and how clever you are in the first place.

So it was with delight today that I arrived here for an extended layover in Newark and received a message — not from one of my news design friends but from Dave Walton, one of my Beach Boys fan friends from Nashville.

Dave writes:

After noting the credit for a sports illustration in this morning’s Tennessean, I went Googling for a way to email its author, who turned out to be Merry [Eccles]. Once online I saw where you’ve waxed rhapsodic over her stuff as well. I don’t know if today’s illo (for the Final Four matchup between Kentucky and Louisville) would rank particularly high with the cognoscenti, but it really caught my eye.  Check it out if you can; it’s not in the online version, so maybe your contacts can send it to you.

Luckily, the folks at Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio were able to rush it to me. Here’s the page that caught his eye. Click for a larger view:

Wow. Is that clever or what?

Javier Torres — the creative director for Gannett’s Design Studio there in Nashville — tells us:

Yes. your friend called Merry this morning and passed his compliments, Merry has done a tremendous job with us. We have had  a great time working with her. Merry worked this illustrations in a couple of ways and of course nailed it again.

I used a huge batch of Merry’s work on the days we discussed illustration ideas in Nigeria. So you’d better believe I’m delighted to show off another great one today.

Find more of Merry’s work here.

Average daily circulation for the Tennessean is 120,805.

Meanwhile, in a land far, far north of there and in a whole ‘nother media company, I heard that my old friend Ryan Huddle — yet another guy whose work I displayed prominently last week in Nigeria — did something cool for last Sunday’s Boston Globe.

Here’s the page. Click for a larger view:

Ryan took the time today to explain:

It all came together from the story.

Ty Burr was doing a story on all the different fairy tales movies coming out, Mirror Mirror, Huntsman, Jack the Giant Killer and the TV shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time. I thought that it would be cool to do a world with all sorts of different fairy tales on it and of course the world had to be an Apple.

The pieces came from iStock and a few Aprill [Brandon, Ryan’s wife] and I took because I was not able to find them. I have a few different parts I love. The evil side of the apple I cut a rotten apple and put it on the shiny apple, and the goose watching the golden egg fall to the world.

There are so many different little items on the page. I really hope everyone looked for their favorite fairy tale.

Find his online portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation for the Boston Globe is 205,939.

Paths not taken today in Nashville

By now, you’ve heard the news: Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has signed with the Denver Broncos.

This is — and will be — huge news in Denver. And perhaps in Florida as well, because the smart money is saying that the Broncos will now try to deal Tim Tebow to the Jaguars, putting Tebow back into his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla.

I’m writing this at 8:30 a.m. in Nigeria, which is 3:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time and only 1:30 a.m. in Denver. So no, I’ve not yet seen front pages from Colorado or anywhere else.

So it was with delight that I received an email overnight from Bill Campling of Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio.

Bill writes:

You make a point to highlight exceptional design. But some great pages never make it to print.

Merry [Eccles] was asked to come up with a page for The Tennessean if Peyton Manning signed with the Titans. She then also decided to do another page if Manning decided to sign elsewhere. Manning coming to Nashville would have been huge, but the disappointment of him going elsewhere is nearly as big.

Oh, what a fabulous job Merry did on these. This first one is brilliant enough. Can you imagine the buzz around town if this page had hit the streets?

But, alas, that didn’t happen.

Now I’m not sure what the Tennessean will go with for Tuesday’s front. Because I’ll be tied up today — teaching sports graphics and design, as luck would have it — you’ll likely see the page before I will. But here’s a proposal Mary made — a path not taken, evidently.

Funny stuff!

Merry most likely isn’t aware of this, but I’ve seen a similar idea used before. It was by the Forum of Fargo, N.D., when the Saints knocked the Vikings out of the NFC Championship game in January 2010:

Bill closes by writing:

Of course, there are a billion pages out there that never see the light of day. But I thought these two that she did (which in the end will only exist on her computer) were particularly cool.

I enjoy Merry’s work quite a bit. I’ve written about her a number of times lately, most notably here.

Sean McKeown-Young named Wisconsin team leader for Gannett’s Des Moines studio

Sean McKeown-Young named Wisconsin team leader for Gannett’s new Des Moines Design Studio.

Sean begins work Monday, he tells us. He posted late Thursday on his Facebook wall:

Is it just coincidence that I’m moving Louisville, Kentucky to Iowa on the same day that Kentucky faces Iowa in Louisville?

Nathan Groepper, creative director of the Des Moines studio announced today:

I am pleased to announce Sean McKeown-Young  is joining the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines as Wisconsin Team Leader. Sean will oversee the design of the news pages for 10 papers in Wisconsin: Green Bay, Appleton, Manitowoc, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Wausau, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids and Marshfield. (Those 10 papers are currently designed and copy edited in hubs in Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh and Wausau.)

Sean most recently was the Features Assistant Team Leader for the Design Studio in Louisville, where he worked on pages for Cincinnati, Louisville and others. Sean has previously worked as the Presentation Editor in Green Bay and a variety of jobs at The Blade in Toledo, where he won awards for Best Graphic Designer from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists in 2010 and 2009. Sean also was part of The Blade’s Pulitzer Prize winning series for Investigative Journalism in 2003.

A few samples of his work:





Find more on his web site.

Emilio Rabago returning to the San Antonio Express-News

Emilio Rabago of Gannett’s Design Studio in Nashville, Tenn., is returning to the San Antonio Express-News.

Emilio departed the Express-News in 2009 after taking a buyout.

Emilio tells us:

This week I’m helping with the launch of the Montgomery Advertiser‘s sports/features section here in the Nashville Design Studio.

Next week, I am back in San Antonio at the Express-News as a front-page, etc., designer. I am happy to be moving back home!

Today, in fact, is his last day in Nashville.

A 2005 graduate of Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Emilio worked in newspapers as a reporter, wire editor, designer and photographer. He spent seven years as entertainment and design editor for the Morning Times of Laredo, Texas before moving to San Antonio in 2006. After three years as a news designer for the Express-News, Emilio moved back to the Morning Times, where he directed the design desk.

Emilio moved to Nashville in October.

A few samples of his work:





View more samples here. Find Emilio’s Twitter feed here.

A look at today’s front-page Super Tuesday graphics

Lately, I’ve done a lot of writing about election charts. Especially regarding what you might and might not want to try to show, graphically, during the primaries.

I’m finding a lot of papers out there building huge map displays when, quite frankly, the story at this point of the election cycle isn’t about states or electoral votes. The story is a simple horserace to win enough delegates to wrap up a nomination. Big blue-and-red U.S. maps and electoral vote calculators won’t come into play until this fall.

Yet, there they are. Big maps. Many of them don’t really say much, other than to serve as oversized locator maps.

This is why I contributed a big article to the Poytner Institute back in January and then, again yesterday, I took part in a live chat, also for Poynter. Trying to help papers realize they should discard any preconceived notions about giant maps and instead focus on telling the stories they really need to tell.

How successful was I, for this Super Tuesday? Not very, I think. Judge for yourself…



This was a fine way to use map elements today, I think: Essentially as icons with chart material on tabular primary results.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 507,465

That’s what you see here. A very simple tab chart containing state-by-state results for eight of the ten states casting votes Tuesday.

Where were the other two states? The returns weren’t in yet, so the editors simply left them off and plugged them in a footnote.

I like very much that the actual number of delegates at stake are superimposed atop each icon.

At least two other papers today took a very similar approach. Click either of these for a larger view.


Note the identical big headlines for each, as well. Heh.

On the left is the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., circulation 93,175. On the right is the Arizona Daily Star of Tucson, circulation 89,874.


Dallas, Texas

Circulation: 409,642

Dallas took a similar approach, except instead of stretching its graphic out horizontally, it stacked its units into a square shape.

Here’s a closer look at just the Dallas graphic.

I like the little one-sentence snippets that round up what happened in each state. Brilliantly done. I’m wishing Dallas had shown us the number of delegates at stake in each state.

Note that instead of coloring all its states Republican red, Dallas color-coded its states to show which candidate won each. Lots of papers did that today, with varying degrees of success.


Belleville, Ill.

Circulation: 47,129

Belleville stacked its state-by-state roundup vertically, using not only the state outlines but also full results for each.

Instead of color-coding its state icons, Belleville put the mug shot of the winning candidate beside each. But did you really want four identical mug shots of Mitt Romney on page one? I suspect not.

Also note that results for two states weren’t in at presstime. The designer here planned for Alaska, but not for Ohio. Belleville was lucky, in fact — many papers went to bed before Idaho was called as well.

In addition, you can see one of my pet peeves here: Note how the states seem to be rotated. Clearly, these states were pulled from a conic-projected U.S. map. When you do that, states from the middle part of the country (see Oklahoma) are depicted as you’d expect, while East Coast states tilt way to the left (see Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts) and West Coast states appear tilted to the right (see Idaho).

For the correct way to use all these state icons, see the four papers above: Dallas, Tucson, Allentown and D.C.



I said during the Poynter chat Tuesday that bar charts might, in fact, be the very best way to present Super Tuesday results.

What I saw today suggested I may have been correct.


Crystal Lake, Ill.

Circulation: 32,000

The folks in Crystal Lake — in the suburbs of Chicago — built a similar graphic but a) wisely discarded the mug shots and b) used little bar charts instead of tabular results and map icons.

The results, I think are simple and clean and easy to read. This is what a good election graphic should look like. On Super Tuesday, at least.

Note the separate chart below the mainbar showing the cumulative totals of delegates each candidate had won by the end of the night and how that stacks up against the total number required to clinch the nomination (the big black bar at top).

Nicely done.


Las Vegas, Nev.

Circulation: 213,078

Las Vegas attempted to do a similar thing. Instead of using quick-reading bar charts, however, somebody got fancy and decided to use a dot for each delegate.

The results are nice to look at. But I don’t find them easy to navigate. Not at all.

Part of the problem is that it’s all color-coded. Unless you pause to memorize which candidate is what color, you have to keep going back up to the top of the graphic to remind yourself: Ah, yes, Rick Santorum is green.

It’s an interesting attempt, though. I’m rather glad they tried it. If for no other reason than to help me prove how bar charts are one of the quickest and easiest ways to impart comparative data.


Bakersfield, Calif.

Circulation: 43,228

Bakersfield converted nearly its entire tab front to a cumulative bar chart showing delegate totals for the four candidates.

I have a few problems with it, however. I’ll bet you can spot what’s concerning me. Hint: Compare the height of the big “40” bar with the “85” bar.

Yes, Ron Paul‘s 40 votes should chart just a smidgen less than half of Newt Gingrich‘s 85 votes. Instead, though, Paul’s bar is about a third of Gingrich’s.

So, right away, we know we have some kind of charting error. Looks to me like Gingrich’s 85 should be about half the height of Santorum’s 156. But in fact, that bar is maybe 40 percent of Santorum’s bar.

And don’t ask me to explain the yellow bits. Those look like bars inside the other bars, but clearly they’re not. If they were, then Romney’s 183 yellow bar should be taller than Santorum’s 156 white bar.

I could go on and pick apart this page further, but why bother? If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. You simply should not lead page one with a chart if you can’t get the chart drawn correctly.


Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 145,785

Sadly enough, I find similar fault with the front page built by my former colleagues at the Virginian-Pilot.

It was very slick the way the designer here slipped in a nice, dramatically-horizontal bar chart below the candidate cutouts.

Click on this for a larger view of just the chart.

Now, the way I’m reading that chart: The light blue bars are the number of delegates the four candidates had going into Tuesday. The dark blue portions are what the candidates picked up on Super Tuesday itself (as of presstime, at least).

But the red bar shows the number of delegates a candidate need to clinch the nomination: 1,144.

At press time last night in Norfolk, Romney had 351 delegates. That’s less than a third of what he needs to become the nominee. Yet, his bar appears to be nearly half of the red bar.

That can’t be right. And, rest assured, it’s not.

We just saw this chart a moment ago, in the Northwest Herald, remember? Here is a closeup of just the delegate totals.

Note Romney’s totals appear to be roughly a third of what he’d need to clinch.

And here’s the Pilot chart again.

About half. Apparently.

Now, perhaps — and that’s a big perhaps, because I’ve not emailed over there to ask — but perhaps that little checkered flag at the end is meant to suggest the red bar goes on a bit further. If that’s the case, then shame on somebody.

Never fudge on the length of a bar in a bar chart. Never.



A number of papers did indeed use maps today. Most used them relatively well, if perhaps a bit large for the paltry amount of geographical data we had to show today.


Omaha, Neb.

Circulation: 135,282

This graphic on the front of the Omaha paper was fairly typical of many papers today. A color-coded map shows which candidate has won what state since primary season began in January.

The problem I have with that is that the primary isn’t about “winning states.” It’s about earning delegates. Thankfully, the folks in Omaha…

…ran a cumulative total beneath the map, color-coded the same way.

The result was quite nice.

My beef here isn’t with the graphic. It’s with the page. As much as I love white space, that pages looks positively serene — in a lazy Sunday morning features section sort of way. You’d never know this is a page-one Super Tuesday election package, built on tight deadline.

Beautiful design. But lacking a bit in overall effect. Minus a few points, I’m afraid, for imparting no urgency at all.

Let’s pause a moment to run through a few other — very similar — front-page maps from around the country.

The Arizona Republic in Phoenix a map very similar to Omaha’s, except instead of labeling each state, the Republic put in the number of delegates at stake.

My complaint here is a minor one. As we talked about in the Poynter chat yesterday, Republicans are now and forever associated with the color red. So should be be using blue — the “Democrat” color — to show even one of the four GOP candidates?

I’d feel a lot better if we could have found another color other than blue to use for Santorum.

Notice the Boston Globe did so, and it helped somewhat.

The problem I have with the Globe‘s graphic is that there’s so much material there. We’re seeing states won earlier, states won today, percentage totals for each state. Plus the big cumulative total is crammed in on the left, beside Alaska.

This was clearly an ambitious undertaking. They’d have gotten away with it, perhaps, if they could have gotten another few square inches of real estate to play with.

No offense intended to the fine folks at Honolulu’s Star Advertiser, but I particularly disliked this map.

Each state is color-coded. And, yes, Gingrich is blue this time. So minus points for that.

But here, each state in play Tuesday is lifted out in isometric fashion to form a little bar chart. You’re supposed to get a sense — from the height of each state — of how many delegates the candidate won in that state.

The problem with this? Yes, Newt Gingrich “won” in Georgia yesterday. But he didn’t necessarily win all 76 of Georgia’s delegates. Not many of yesterday’s races were “winner-take-all.”

In fact, I see Gingrich earned only 46 of Georgia’s 76 delegates with his win last night. Mitt Romney captured 13 delegates and Rick Santorum pulled in two. An additional 15 delegates are, most likely, uncommitted “Super delegates.”

You get the idea, though. There is no data-driven reason whatsoever to show those states like that and to color the state-stacks to correspond with the first-place candidate. No reason whatsoever. It’s misleading.

Now, in Honolulu’s defense, it did run the cumulative total below the map. But still.

Speaking of color, look at this map — from my friends at the Casper, Wyo., Star Tribune — and tell me what jumps out at you.

The dark red jumps out. But the dark black/brown color jumps out even more.

So what does the dark color show?

Um… no data yet. Primaries haven’t been held there yet.

Swap out the black and the light cream color used for Romney, here, and you might have a winner. While you’re at it, color-coordinate the bars across the bottom with the map.

Now, contrast that with the colors you see in this map.

Isn’t that nice? Easier on the eyes. And the “no primary held yet” states sit in the background, nice and quietly like they should.

That was the Ventura County Star of Ventura, Calif.

Here’s how all those map-driven pieces were used today on their respective front pages:


  • Left: Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Ariz. Circulation: 292,838
  • Right: Boston Globe, Boston, Mass. Circulation: 205,939


  • Left: Star Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii. Circulation: 124,000
  • Center: Star Tribune, Casper, Wyo. Circulation: 24,516
  • Right: Ventura County Star, Ventura, Calif. Circulation: 61,621


Neptune, N.J.

Circulation: 104,582

The folks in Asbury Park built a huge map for page one. It’s certainly not what I would have recommended anyone do on Super Tuesday. But they came close — damned close — to doing a fine job.

Notice that all three candidates are shown here using various shades of red. It’s not necessary to show Ron Paul on the map at all, since he’s not won a state and wasn’t expected to win one Tuesday.

The problem I have: The designer tried to use two shades of red for each candidate, showing previous primaries and last night’s primary. That meant six separate shades of pinks. Or, to be more precise, four shades of pink plus two shades containing white crosshatches to show Gingrich’s two states.

All of which, as you can see, was difficult to pull off.

What I like about this map: It uses light blue to push the states not in play Tuesday into the background. Do you see the slightly deeper shades of blue, though? Those states are up next.

This whole thing was used huge today on page one in Asbury Park and perhaps other papers designed by the Gannett Design Studio there.

It was interesting. but it doesn’t tell us what we really want to know: Are we any closer to nominating a candidate to face President Barack Obama in the fall? How much more of primary-season mudslinging must we endure?

Someone clearly spent some time on this map. But I think a simple state-by-state breakdown plus a cumulative delegate total would have been way better.


Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 105,151

Now, as interesting as that was, check out what was produced by Asbury Park’s sister paper in Des Moines.

It’s a huge, huge map. That shows us… shows us what?

Umm… Well, it shows us what states held primaries on Super Tuesday. And it shows us who won those states. The color-coded mug shots, in fact, are kind of neat. Kudos to someone for avoiding the Democratic blue.

And while the cumulative delegate totals are listed beneath the mug shots, that’s really all the data we get from this giant graphic. No state-by-state results. No delegate totals by state. Not even the names of the states.

Pretty odd for a four-column graphic, I’d say. Not a very efficient use of space.

But, man. It sure is pretty. The same graphic was used by another paper produced there in Gannett’s Des Moines studio, the 9,718-circulation Press-Citizen of Iowa City.


Note how we can tell the Iowa City paper has an earlier deadline: Ohio is not yet colored in for Mitt Romney.

Des Moines Design Studio director Ted Power posted these two pages and several more on Pinterest today, complete with descriptions and design credits. You know, this is the first time I’ve seen Pinterest used this way. It’s pretty cool to look at now, but Ted keeps pinning to his collection, this will become a jumble of pages on various topics. I wonder if a regular blog or even a Facebook gallery might be a better forum for showing off news pages.

Kudos to Ted for jumping on Pinterest early, however. I’ve not messed around with it yet. Do I need an invite or something?




Harrisburg, Pa.

Circulation: 66,778

My favorite front page of the day was this one by the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News, in which the editors downplayed bar charts and maps and went with an alternative story form approach.

There’s so much goodness here.

  • A side-by-side comparison of the two leading candidates and how Tuesday played into their overall stories.
  • A quick, quick look at who won which state Tuesday…

  • …but also pulling out three key states with three key results. Note the pie charts that run around the edges of the circles.
  • And then similar looks at what I’ll impolitely call the “fringe candidates” — the ones who are not frontrunners.

Even the headline is brilliant. Hasn’t primary season just dragged on this year? Seems like it’s been a year since the Iowa Caucus.

And this isn’t the first time the Harrisburg paper has impressed me with its election night coverage. The Patriot-News took a prebuilt, modular approach to the Congressional elections in 2010. Find samples and read more about it at the top of this blog post.



Today must have been gesticulation day in Missouri.

Check out the side-by-side photos of Romney and Santorum in both the Kansas City and St. Joseph papers.


That’s the same picture of Romney on each, shot by Stephan Savoia of the Associated Press. The shots of Santorum are different ones but were both shot by Eric Gay, also of the AP.

  • Left: Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Mo. Circulation: 199,222
  • Right: St Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo. Circulation: 25,681




Boston, Mass.

Circulation: 113,798

Given the dogfight we saw last night in Ohio, this was, without question, the headline of the day.

Yes, it’s a dumb joke. But I like it.

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

Tracie Louck of Des Moines moving to the Dallas Observer

Tracie Louck — previously a Des Moines, Iowa-based designer — has been named art director of the Dallas Observer.

Tracie tells us:

I was offered (and accepted) a job as art director at the Dallas Observer. I start March 28. The Observer has a kick-ass bunch of covers I now get to live up to.

The Observer is a free alt-weekly. Average circulation is 82,943. Find its web site here.

Tracie finished her studies at Ball State University in 2001 but didn’t officially graduate until two years later, due to an extended honors project. She spent two years at the Tribune of South Bend, Ind., before joining the Des Moines Register in 2005 as a designer for the Register‘s youth tab, Juice. Tracie moved to Meredith Publishing — a large magazine company there in Des Moines — as a senior designer in 2010 but then moved back in January to what was, by then, the Gannett Design Studio.

A few samples of her work:




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

A look at today’s notable tornado front pages

Wow. Tornado season started early this year.

Storms ripped through the Midwest late Tuesday…

…and early Wednesday.

Tornado reports are the red spots on these maps from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

In total, 13 were left dead and scores were left homeless.

Here’s a look at notable tornado aftermath pages from around the region.




Carbondale, Ill.

Circulation: 25,845

Check out this awesome — and terrifying — photo of a neighborhood behind a Walmart in hard-hit Harrisburg, Ill.

Click for a larger view.

That aerial was shot by Steve Jahnke of the Southern Illinoisan. Recognizing the brilliance of that picture, the editors wisely chose to run it big on page one and get the hell out of its way.

Dynamite work.



Scott Lester, a news designer with the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, wrote overnight:

Nathan Groepper [the studio’s creative director[ is out this week, so I  thought I’d take over his role and send you some pages produced during a breaking news night in the Des Moines Design Studio.

The tornado effected three of our papers – Springfield, Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home, Ark. and, to an extent, here in Des Moines. All the papers shared content, mostly photos, and produced some high-impact pages.


Springfield, Mo.

Circulation: 36,144

I’m so glad Scott sent us the Springfield paper in particular. They did great work after the Joplin tornado last year. Yet, today’s page didn’t make it to the Newseum. So we wouldn’t have seen it had he not thought to share with us.

The lead picture by staffer Dean Curtis is of a small motel near the resort town of Branson, Mo.

Or, rather, what’s left of this small motel. Click for a larger view.

Much like we just saw in Carbondale, the News-Leader a) ran that picture large and b) got the hell out of its way.

Scott tells us:

Lyndsey Nielson did the most heavy lifting. She designed the Springfield News-Leader. They cleared out their A section and devoted 9 pages to tornado coverage.

He sent us a couple inside pages. This one is topped by a nice picture by staffer Valerie Mosley of the owner of a health food shop in Branston, surveying the wreckage.

Across the bottom is something I don’t think I’ve seen before: That appears to be a house ad advertising further tornado coverage in the print product, online and via social media venues. The ad screws just a little into the editorial space.

We’ve seen ads like that before. This might be the first house ad I’ve seen do this.

I presume the maps on page 2A were drawn by Amy Olding.

UPDATE – 7:45 p.m.

Amy writes in the comments of this blog post:

You presumed correct. Those maps were by me. I usually don’t put a by line, as is standard practice at News-Leader for graphics, but I’ll sneak one in when it’s one that I really like.

By the way, you should check out the interactive map I did which is similar to the one I did on Joplin on our website.

Find Amy’s Branson map here.

Pages four and five make up a gigantic doubletruck picture page.

There are three pictures there by Dean Curtis, one by Valerie Mosley and one by Bob Linder.


Mountain Home, Ark.

Circulation: 9,156

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Baxter Bulletin before. The town is maybe 30 to 45 minutes southeast of Branson — as you might guess from the Patsy Cline-themed skybox.

The aerial photo — again by Dean Curtis — is of a nice hotel and conference center there in Branson that lost its roof in the storm.

The fatality number probably refers to Missouri: Three died in that state alone.

Scott tells us that page was designed by Greg Jelinek.


Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 105,151

Iowa wasn’t much affected this time. However, I really like the page-one page-topper that Scott built for today’s front page.

It’s not labeled, but I’m pretty sure that’s Harrisburg, Ill., in the picture.

It was a huge news day in Des Moines. The lead story stripped across the top of the page is of drama in the state house. Meanwhile, there’s the girls’ high school state tournament in town.

That’s a huge deal in Iowa. Seriously.



Now, let’s take a look at other notable aftermath pages along the path of the storms.


Topeka, Kan.

Circulation: 33,425

The hardest-hit town in Kansas was Harveyville — about 15 miles southwest of Topeka. One was left dead there.

The Topeka paper today led with a picture by staffer Thad Allton of a local man searching through what’s left of his mobile home.

In particular, I like the quote head on the sidebar:

If you live in Kansas, it’s a risk


Wichita, Kan.

Circulation: 67,003

The paper in Wichita relied on a picture by Mike Ransdell of the Kansas City Star for its “picking through the rubble” lead art.


Manhattan, Kan.

Circulation: 9,504

The Manhattan paper led today with an Associated Press story but used lead art from Harveyville by staffer Rod Mikinski.


Hutchinson, Kan.

Circulation: 25,722

The paper in Hutchinson packaged its tornado stories and pictures together with a tint box.

The Harveyville pictures are by staffer Sandra J. Milburn.


Ottawa, Kan.

Circulation: 3,891

The paper in Ottawa went with pictures shot in nearby Centropolis instead.

The lead photo is by staffer Matt Briston.

Again, we find a nice quote head adding a chilling touch to the story.




St. Louis, Mo.

Circulation: 191,631

The Post-Dispatch dispatched reporters and photographers to Harrisburg, Ill. — about 90 miles away — to cover the massive damage there. Six people were killed in Harrisburg.

These firefighters are walking up what appears to be a drive surrounded by broken trees and debris.

The lead picture is by staffer Laurie Skrivan.


Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 199,222

On the west side of the state, the emphasis was on the hard-hit, country-music entertainment town of Branson, Mo. Lead art on the front of today’s Kansas City Star was the Hilton hotel here in town.

The picture is by staffer Todd Feeback. That page was designed by Charles Gooch.

The map stripped across the bottom of the page — by artist Dave Eames — is one of the better I’ve seen today showing towns affected by the storms. Click for a larger view.




Harrison, Ark.

Circulation: 9,000

The paper in Harrison, Ark. — about 30 minutes south of Branson — led today with a picture of a vintage jet airplane that had been mounted on a pedestal in front of a museum.

You can see the pedestal at the upper right of the picture by staffer David Holstead.



Most Illinois papers focused on the tragedy in Harrisburg.


Chicago, Ill.

Circulation: 425,370

This touching picture of a young girl is by freelancer Steve Matzker. She’s watching her family sort through the remains of their Harrisburg home. She’s clutching what appears to be a laptop computer case. At her feet is a small duffel bag that appears to be mostly empty.

That might be the best photo of the day. The Tribune used it across five columns.


Belleville, Ill.

Circulation: 47,129

Belleville had a live report from two staffers on the scene today. But it used lead art today from the Associated Press.

The thing I’d question here is the secondary art of a man displaying his scraped elbow. Given the huge amount of damage in Harrisburg and the six fatalities there, a scrape seems a little laughable. You know?


Peoria, Ill.

Circulation: 59,090

The Peoria paper led with an Associated Press aerial photo of a neighborhood in Harrisburg.

Oddly, that picture isn’t nearly as impressive as the aerials we saw earlier on the front of Carbondale and Springfield, Mo. Was this the only aerial the AP moved Wednesday?


Springfield, Ill.

Circulation: 44,709

Now here’s an outstanding photo and a story that will break your heart.

That’s Patty Ferrell, distraught by the sight of the nursing scrubs on the coathanger in her right hand. Her 22-year-old daughter — a nurse at the hospital in Harrisonburg — was killed in the tornado.

The picture by Journal Register staffer Justin L. Fowler led today’s front page.




Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 142,801

The Courier-Journal today led with great AP art from Harrisburg of rescue crews searching for possible victims.

Here’s how the paper used it today.


Lexington, Ky.

Circulation: 89,050

Lexington today led with a picture of volunteers helping a man salvage items from his wrecked mobile home in rural Russell County, Ky.

The picture is by staffer Bill Estep.


Elizabethtown, Ky.

Circulation: 13,735

And in Elizabethtown, the tiny News-Enterprise squeezed four aftermath pictures onto page one today.

That lead art might have been cropped into a tight horizontal and then run across six columns. I’d also argue for a little more variety in the photo edit here. Lose the shot on the right and the smallest picture and instead look for something that has people in it.

With the exception of the Des Moines Design Studio pages, all the pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.

A few outstanding pages from last weekend, courtesy of Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio

I’ve been watching with fascination as the Gannett design studios ramp up their work this year.

Only 16 Gannett newspapers are currently being produced by the five studios in Nashville, Louisville, Phoenix, Des Moines and Asbury Park, the company said in its recent annual “10-K” report (and then re-reported by Jim Hopkins of the Gannett Blog).

The project is running slightly behind plan because of “software glitches.” The entire project is run on CCI. I’ll pause here for all you CCI users out there to laugh ruefully in sympathy.

Nevertheless, by the end of this year, all 80 Gannett community papers will be designed in the five centers.

Javier Torres — creative director of the Nashville studio — knew I was on the road this past weekend, so he sent a nice care package of a few nice pages his center put out Saturday and Sunday.

Javo writes:

I just wanted to send you these recent pages that have been designed at the Design Studio.

The first one is a bold, dramatic poster-like presentation of a blaze that destroyed a church that was a historical landmark for the city of Jackson, Tenn. It was a great work of communication and collaboration between photographers, editors in Jackson and team in Nashville, designer Emilio Rabago and team leader Pam Hudgens.

Click this or any other page here for a larger view.

The picture up top is by Sun staffer Aaron Hardin. The picture below is by staffer Kenneth Cummings.

Javier continues:

The same team work, planing and collaboration with designer Brian Goins and team leader Pam Hudgens to make Sunday A1.

Working closely with the Design Studio has allowed papers as the Jackson Sun to get this kind of work that normally would had been challenging because of lacking of designers in their staff.

Average daily circulation for the Sun is 21,307.

The rest of the pages Javier sent me were from the Tennessean. This next page, in fact…

…shows a different non-traditional centerpiece about the Fall of Nashville 150 years ago. The first graph of the story was so compelling that the designer proposed to use it as a bolder and different approach instead of a traditional headline.

The design and illustration was done by designer Nancy Broden.

The elements Nancy used there are from the state library and archives.

Javo also included a few inside section fronts, like this Saturday sports front…

…and this calendar from Saturday’s features front.

Javier writes:

This third one is a combination of stories with illustrations from Merry Eccles: An election poll as we are heading to Super Tuesday in Tennessee, plus getting ready for March Madness.

I’m a huge fan of Merry’s work. I’ve written about her a number of times recently, most notably here. Three quick samples of her front-page illustrations for the Tennessean over the past month or so :


Javier also slipped in this great editorial page, illustrated by Martha Stroud.

Average daily circulation for the Tennessean is 120,805.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the studios and their work. I must say, I’m mighty impressed. A few notable examples…

Not too shabby.

Two — count ’em, two — big visuals projects in today’s Fort Myers News-Press

There were two — count ’em, two — giant visuals projects in today’s News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla. And both of them are worthy of note.

First up is an A-section look at Saturday’s Edison Festival of Light. Check out the great A1 photo by staffer John David Emmett of two local kids on a parade float.

Click that or any other page in this post for a much larger look.

Michael Babin — team leader for the Fort Myers paper in Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio — tells us:

The Edison Festival of Light is Fort Myers’ biggest event of the year, with a night-time parade (paying homage to one-time Fort Myers snowbird Thomas Edison, of course), 5K run, music, crafts, fireworks and more.  The News-Press staff covered the weekend-long festivities with the typical “all-hands on deck” approach. Reporters and photographers were dispatched to cover all angles of the day.

Inside today’s A section was a four-page pullout section. The cover shot is by staffer Andrew West, from whom we’ll see a lot more in today’s News-Press.

Here are pages A10 and A11, the inside of the wrap, featuring pictures by John David Emmett, Andrew West, Gary Jung and Sarah Coward.


Down the sides of each page are great little written vignettes of scenes from the day. Across the bottom are shots of local folks enjoying the festivities. My favorite is this picture of a 13-year-old boy waay too wrapped up in his iPod to kiss his girlfriend.


Michael tells us:

Fort Myers designer Michelle Irwin took the lead on the Nashville Design Studio’s coverage of the Festival with help from colleagues Bill Campling and Joshua Ulrich. Both Michelle and Josh are transplants from the pre-Design Studio Fort Myers staff and now work with the Nashville Design Studio. They found this year’s coverage to be a bit different, you know, working 800 miles from all the action. “It’s much quieter here in Nashville without all the reporters and photographers running around screaming while you are trying to work,” they commented.

While the peace and quiet might have been a noticeable change, it meant that all of us working in the studio last night had to rely much more heavily on solid pre-planning and effective communication with the news and photo editing staff in Fort Myers to coordinate coverage between the two offices. Michelle and Josh did just that with ease.

Here’s page A12, featuring an awesome picture by staffer Kinfay Moroti of the road race earlier in the day.

Michael writes:

Special credit should also go out to photo editors Ricardo Rolon and Todd Stubing for their deadline-defying work sorting through thousands of photos to find the very best moments from the day.

Tons of News-Press photos from Saturday are filed in the paper’s online galleries. Find those here.

As they say: But wait! There’s more!

It’s already time for Spring Training to begin. The Boston Red Sox have a brand-spanking-new stadium in South Fort Myers to call home for the next few weeks.

The News-Press published an eight-page special section today to commemorate the new digs. Here’s the cover, turned sideways to accommodate a great panoramic shot by Andrew West.

Michael writes:

From this perspective, you can see the ballpark’s unique roof lines, the replica of Fenway Park’s iconic Green Monster (both are 211 feet long, with Fort Myers’ variation standing six feet taller and offering seating not only on top of the wall but also within it) and the picture-perfect SW Florida skyline in full glory.

Again, click for a much, much larger view.

Our JetBlue section was in the works for months as stadium construction neared completion. Sports Editor Ed Reed and AME Mark Bickel did a great job leading this endeavor… The section was printed on upgraded newsprint.

This section was designed by Bill Campling, Michael tells us, with feedback from creative director Javier Torres, studio director Jeff Glick and Michael himself.

Page two — below, left — is anchored by a series of pictures of the playing surface taken by Andrew from seven spots around the stadium.


Page three, on the right, is a graphic visitors guide to the new stadium. The information was compiled by staffer David Dorsey.

Down the right side is the Red Sox’ Spring Training schedule. The first game will be March 3 — Three weeks from yesterday.

The sections’ center spread is this magnificent graphic by Scott Sleeper and Michael Donlan showing the park and the surrounding area.

The larger arc across the bottom is a timeline of the park’s construction. The smaller arc at at bottom shows where the Red Sox have held their Spring Training each year going back to 1901.

Like Michael says, that big scoreboard in left field might be the park’s most outstanding component. Not only is this “green monster” taller than the one at Boston’s Fenway Park, it also incorporates an actual piece of Fenway itself: The manual scoreboard is the one actually used in Boston from 1976 to 2002.

The fisheye shot of the scoreboard — on page six, below left — is by Andrew West. The three stories on that page are all by Michael Donlan.


Page seven — above, right — shows a photographic history of the building of the park. The written chronology was compiled by staffer Glenn Miller. The pictures are a mix of staff shots and handouts from the construction company.

The back page was a full-page ad that also included a great picture from right centerfield.

Michael tells us:

There’s an extra online component that offers a virtual tour and a 3D graphic of the ballpark, too.

Among the graphics and components of that multimedia package are panoramic views from points in the stadium. Here, for example, is what home plate looks like from the pitcher’s mound.

And here’s what that green monster looks like, also from the mound.

Find that interactive here.

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

An appreciative reporter brags on the designer who worked on his story

Nashville Tennessean reporter Tony Gonzalez wrote Saturday:

I wanted you to see the treatment of my Instagram story on A1 today.

The story explores how locals who know each other only through Instagram photos will meet in real life today [Saturday].

Here’s the front page. Click for a larger look.

Tony writes:

Here’s a neat, subtle thing about the design: that black frame is our version of the Instagram photo filter called “Nashville.” I bet the app’s users noticed.

Here’s a closer look at just the centerpiece:

Tony tells us:

Interestingly enough, as I helped select photos and explain how Instagram works, we never discussed the frame, or the fact that Instagram has a filter effect called “Nashville.” but the designers nailed it. Pretty sure it was Tracie Keeton.

Now, there’s an appreciative reporter.

UPDATE – 10:15 p.m.

A few of the Nashville Design Studio folks are chatting about this already via Twitter.

David Downham says it was actually Ali Newton‘s design. Ali says that the idea actually came from David.

Sounds like this one gets chalked up to good, old-fashioned creative teamwork.

Last time we heard from Tony was about a year ago, when he and his longtime college buddy Chase Purdy collaborated on a look at the growing hispanic community in their little town of Waynesboro, Va. Read more about that project here.

A 2008 graduate of Hillsdale (Mich.) College, Tony was a merit scholar and editor-in-chief of the student paper. He interned at the Toledo Free Press, the Detroit News and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Tony joined the News Virginian of Waynesboro in September 2008 and them moved to Nashville last July.

Find Tony’s Twitter feed here. Find his Instagram story here.

Average daily circulation for the Tennessean is 120,805.

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

A look at the Arizona Republic’s special centennial statehood edition

Chris George — the news design team leader for the Arizona Republic at Gannett’s Phoenix Design Studio — tells us:

Today, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, Arizona celebrates the 100th anniversary of its statehood.

The Arizona Republic marks the date with a hefty centennial edition, chock full of special content. (And lots of color ads that met the color-page-count limits of our press!)

Here’s today’s front page, designed by Amy King and featuring a gorgeous photo by Republic staffer Michael Chow.

Click on that — or any page today — for a closer look.

Chris writes:

All told, the paper stacks up like this:

  • 46 pages in the A section (actually split over two A sections, complete with a second cover)
  • 10 pages in Valley & State
  • 12 in Sports
  • 6 in Business
  • 20 in Arizona Living
  • Plus, a special appearance of our community tabloid editions, which normally don’t publish on Tuesdays.

The vast majority of the paper’s content is centennial-related.

We’ve been working on this in various forms for several weeks. Credit to Amy King for driving the overall visual scheme for this project as we collaborated with our paper’s top editors, our photo desk and other designers. And a huge thanks to Emmanuel Lozano, who dug up all kinds of photos for these pages and for online use.

A comprehensive index to today’s centennial coverage is on page two. It was also designed by Amy King:

Page A16, below left, shows the governor of the new state. Page A17 reprints the front page of the Arizona Republican — as it was known then — 100 years ago today.


At the bottom right of A17 is an interesting bit from the New York Times about how president William Howard Taft was filmed by a movie camera as he signed the official statehood proclamation. It was the first time a president had ever been photographed for “moving pictures.”

Page 19 shows how the territory grew over time until the current state outline was filled in.

At the bottom of the page is a ten-question quiz on Arizona trivia.

The first A section ends with page 20. Here’s the cover of the second A section, designed by Amy King.

Designer Keri Hegre — who went to a lot of trouble last night to send us these pages — tells us:

Amy used an old letterpress tray as the backdrop for little tchotchkes representing facets of Arizona. For example, there’s a Goldwater ’64 pin from former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater‘s presidential campaign, a piece of turquoise, a roadrunner bolo tie (the official state neckwear), a kachina, a segment from a silver Navajo concho belt and a watch with a caricature of former Gov. Rose Mofford on the face.”


I just love political buttons and other memorabilia. Very cool.

Page A24 (below, left) goes into the political story of just how Arizona became a state.


Page A25 (above right) addresses the state archives. Which, I presume, contained a lot of the material used on these pages.

Chris tells us:

In addition to great photos and interesting stories, we had some unusual formats to work with, such as a quiz, a timeline spread out over five pages, and ten “top 10” lists that add up to 100 people, places and events that shaped our state.

As part of this 100th-birthday coverage, we’ve polled our online readers to help us narrow down the winners of the “top 10” lists, on subjects ranging from the “top 10 ways Arizona influenced the world” to the “top 10 Arizona scandals.” We’re running those lists spread out through all the broadsheet sections of the paper,

Here are a couple of examples of these Top 10 lists: Ways Arizona influenced the World on page A36 (below left)…


…the most influential people from Arizona and the most important historical events before Arizona became a state on page A37 (above, right).

Pages A38 and A39 list the top icons and other things Iowa has to be proud of.


Pages A41 and A43 consist of an illustrated timeline of the state’s history, designed by Adrienne Hapanowicz.


Nicely done. Sadly, though, the pages didn’t run face-to-face as you see here. I presume that was because of color ad positions.

OK, that was it for the two A sections. The B section led off with special birthday pieces by three Republic columnists and illustrated by editorial cartoonist Steve Benson.

This page was designed by Chris George.

Page B4 (below, left) lists the top 10 political scandals in Arizona history.


Page B8 (above, right) cites five Arizona natives who are older than the state itself.

Here’s the visual centerpiece of today’s B-section centennial coverage: A series of cartoon vignettes, as Keri tells us, by…

Bob Boze Bell, the executive editor of True West magazine and a contributor to the Republic.”

Bell drew a regular cartoon feature for the Phoenix New Times from 1983 to 1987 and again from 1991 to 1992, the text at the bottom of the page explains. Some of these drawings are reruns from that feature.

And it looks as if he’s taken the opportunity to offend just about everyone. A few examples:

Even today’s sports front gets in on the act. The lead story here is about a young Hopi Indian man sent to Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1907 and who won a silver medal in the 10,000-meter race at the 1912 Olympics.

That page was designed by Brandon Ferrill.

A lot of Centennial material appeared in today’s business section. Here’s the biz front, designed by Kathleen Rudell.

The focus is on the seven key events that are responsible for creating the economy that Arizona enjoys today. In addition to the electrical power produced by the Roosevelt Dam built in 1911 — No. 1 on the list — the other items, in chronological order, are:

It’s a very nice little visual timeline, built with period photos.

Page D2 contains ten vintage photos of businesses throughout the state of Arizona. The pictures — all supplied by readers — correspond to phat cutlines at the bottom of the page.

That page, too, was designed by Kathleen Rudell. As was this one, an elaborate timeline of the history of business over the state’s 100 years.

Yet another Top 10 list appears on page D5: This one is on the top technological innovations that have helped shape Arizona.

For the features front, designer Adrienne Hapanowicz turned the page on its side and played off an Arizona state flag motif to present 100 reasons to love the state.

Inside were even more Top 10 lists. Page E8 (below, left) listed the top things that have made Arizona famous.


Page E9 (above, right) list the state residents that should be — but who aren’t necessarily — famous.

Even the zoned tabs got into the act today, as Chris mentioned above. They don’t normally publish on Tuesdays.


The Scottsdale front was designed by Amy Grimes. The Tempe front was designed by Chuck Henrikson.

The entire centennial project actually kicked off on Sunday, Keri reminds us. I posted this front page — designed by Chris George — back on Sunday. Here it is again.

The Republic asked readers to tell them — in six words or fewer — their hopes and dreams for the next 100 years.

Biz also ran a forward-looking, centennial-themed story on Sunday’s biz front. This, too, was designed by Kathleen Rudell.

In addition, all the Top 10 lists were collected into an e-book designed by Amy King.

Find that here.

Plus, there’s a ton of stuff online — most of which appears to be in today’s edition. But some of which isn’t. Find it all here.

Chris tells us:

And, if all this isn’t enough, this design team is simultaneously working on another design project, a guide to spring training, led by designers Courtney Kan and Rachel Orr.

Chris also gave us the full design credits. Which is good, because a couple of these names haven’t come up yet:

A section: Amy King and Adrienne Hapanowicz (assists by Keri Hegre and Chris George)

Valley & State and Opinion: Chris George, Keri Hegre and Rick Konopka

Sports: Brandon Ferrill

Business: Kathleen Rudell

Arizona Living: Adrienne Hapanowicz and Audrey Tate

Photo editing: Emmanuel Lozano

Community Republic design team: Chuck Henrikson, Terry Beahm, Danny Garcia, Melissa Gates, Amy Grimes, Parisa Hajizadeh-Amini and Vic Vogel

Digibook: Amy King

Average daily circulation for the Arizona Republic is 292,838.

  • The next statehood centennial coming up will be that of Alaska. I’ll plan to post pages commemorating that centennial… on Jan. 3, 2059.

Eight cleverly striking Sunday page-one visuals

In addition to the John Glenn pages I wrote about earlier, here are eight clever or striking page one visuals of note on newspaper front pages today…


Huntsville, Ala.

Circulation: 44,462

Two years ago today in Huntsville, Ala., a former Biology instructor at the University of Alabama-Huntsville walked into a staff meeting with a gun. Three were killed and two more injured.

The Times interviewed a survivor of that attack, who has now been made chairman of the Biology department. Rather than run a large image of the survivor at her desk, the Times elected to run a chilling picture of the door to that very meeting room.

A huge frame of black encircles the centerpiece, adding to the somber feel. The photo itself is a file shot.

Find the story here by Pat Ammons.


Grand Rapids, Mich.

Circulation: 92,842

Advance Publications’ MLive media group in Michigan used a similar visual trick today on a similarly horrific story.

The story warns about the dangers of cell phone use by driving teenagers by recounting the death of a 17-year-old local girl who was talking on her cell when she had a fatal accident two years ago last month. Reversed out of black and above her portrait are her last words:

It’s a powerful story — find it here, by staffer Aaron Aupperlee — and a powerful presentation. Yet, there’s a problem with the presentation.

The story makes clear that the fatal accident happened at 3:38 p.m. Yet, check out the contents of that little tint box on A1:

Oops. I have a daughter of my own who turned 19 yesterday, so let me tell you folks: I’d have an entirely different mental picture of this accident if it happened at 3:38 in the morning.

So that’s a particularly awful typo to make.

That same centerpiece — with the same typo — also played on page one of the Press‘ four sister papers.


From left to right:

  • Kalamazoo Gazette, circulation 39,325
  • Muskegon Chronicle, circulation 28,574
  • Jackson Citizen Patriot, circulation 22,490


Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 243,299

In Cleveland today, lead art was a woman and a friend mourning her son who died last summer at age 23. From a heroin overdose.

The son had been a football player for Akron University. The charge is that the kid and a friend got hooked on oxycontin during their playing days. Both died of overdoses within four months of each other.

The photo by staffer John Kuntz led page one today.

Find the story here by the Plain Dealer‘s Jodie Valade.


Hartford, Conn.

Circulation: 135,363

In Connecticut, the story was convicts who have simply walked away from halfway houses or skipped parole. Thousands of them since 1970, the Courant reports. And nearly 1,100 are still on the loose.

Lead art is this huge bar chart showing the number of inmates that disappeared, year-by-year since 1970. The numbers spike sharply in the late 80s and early 90s because of a home release program that was later killed, the little pointer box tells us.

Click for a larger view.

While I was compiling this post today, a fellow graphic artist happened to ask:

Why is this chart upside-down? They even used the word “spiked” in the pointer box pointing to the data from the early 1990s. To me, “spiked” means a sudden surge upward while visually it looks like a plunge. They could have just flipped the chart and it would have been fine.

Most likely, the chart was inverted so it would make for a better page-one design. Other than the word “spike” — I think my colleague has a point there — the chart doesn’t bother me. I thought it was quite nice.

I also liked the rogues’ gallery across the top.

Find the story here by the Courant‘s Josh Kovner and Matthew Kauffman.


Phoenix, Ariz.

Circulation: 292,838

Tuesday, Arizona will celebrate 100 years of statehood.

The Republic plans something elaborate that day, which I’d love to show you then (Hint, hint, folks in Phoenix). But for the Sunday before, the Republic asked readers to tell them — in six words or fewer — their hopes and dreams for the next 100 years.

While many of the responses were the kind of partisan sniping you might expect to see, a number of others were quite good.

Here’s a closer look. Click for a version that’s even more readable:

The one that cracked me up is the very second one in the package:

To be the way it was.



Las Vegas, Nev.

Circulation: 213,078

Folks celebrated in Las Vegas last night after UNLV defeated San Diego State 65-63. Check out this great shot –taken as the final buzzer sounded — by staffer K.M. Cannon.

The Review-Journal ran that picture huge on page one today.

Read the game story here by Matt Youmans and also see plenty more pictures from last night.


Williamsport, Pa.

Circulation: 22,839

Here’s something very interesting out of Williamsport, Pa., and an idea you might want to consider for your own paper.

The story is a primer on local 911 responders. But the visual is a spotter’s guide to the various emergency vehicles local readers are likely to find zooming up and down their streets.

As you can see, you don’t necessarily have to give a lot of detail about each vehicle. But there are a lot of folks out there who are interested in police and fire work. This is a sure-fire talker for any community.

Find the Sun-Gazette‘s story here by staffer Julie Reppert.


Nashville, Tenn.

Circulation: 120,805

And, on the eve of the Grammys, the Tennessean of Nashville featured a story today about the huge cut in the number of awards being given out this year. Hit particularly hard were Christian and Country and Western acts: Two genres that have a lot of representation in Nashville.

Designer Merry Eccles came up with a very clever way to illustrate the story.

What a scream.

Find the story here by the Tennessean‘s Cindy Watts.

Find all of the Tennessean‘s Grammy coverage here.

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