Most folks did pretty well on page one today. There were relatively few mistakes and flubs.
I’ve love to take credit for helping that happen — with my post yesterday afternoon — but, most likely, all the folks out there in newspaper design land have simply become more aware of the common pitfalls.
My hat is off to you all.
Folks in Florida had a bit of a problem on page one today. Not only did Neil Armstrong — who spent a lot of time around Cape Canaveral — pass away, but also there is the Republican National Convention this week in Tampa. And then there is the little matter of a tropical storm just off the southern coast.
I was just a little disappointed this morning when I found one of the nation’s larger space-oriented newpapers — Florida Today — with not a darned thing about Armstrong on page one.
Wow. It couldn’t have been a deadline issue. I guess all the other news pushed Armstrong off the front or something. I shrugged and moved on.
Oh, ye of little faith. Turns out, Armstrong was pushed off the front. Into a gorgeous four-page special section that wrapped around today’s paper.
Michael Babin of Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio tells us:
With Isaac setting its sights on Southwest Florida, the death of Neil Armstrong and the uncertainty surrounding the GOP Convention, it was quite the day in the Nashville Design Studio.
Florida Today gave its Space Coast readers a special 4-page wrap celebrating the life of Neil Armstrong, while Fort Myers continued its strong coverage of Isaac, providing plenty of region-by-region updates, forecasts and storm preparedness tips for its readership.
Special thanks goes to designers Chris Bistline, Bill Campling, Melissa Koenigsberg, John Maynard, Michelle Irwin, Bill Wachsberger, Josh Ulrich, George Brooks, Stefanie Romba and Kayla Golliher — as well as the entire staffs in Brevard and Fort Myers — for pulling together so many moving pieces/parts in such an extraordinary way.
Here are the inside pages. Click these — or any page today — for a larger view.
The back page used one of the very few pictures taken by Buzz Aldrin of Armstrong on the moon on July 20, 1969. The design team turned the page sideways, ran the picture huge and got the hell out of its way.
And it surprises me how well this works. Because I didn’t think it’d look so good, with the lens flare and all. Which is why I told folks in my post yesterday to not fool with this picture.
Hey, I’m delighted to be wrong. And this is where we’ll start our romp through today’s front pages…
NEIL BY THE LEM
Neil Armstrong carried the primary camera that day. Buzz Aldrin also shot pictures, but he was assigned to photograph specific technical details, rather than tourist-like shots of Neil on the moon.
Being a technical-minded fellow — even before Apollo 11, Buzz held a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering — he did just what he was told. To the chagrin of historians and news designers everywhere ever since.
Despite my advice yesterday, a number of papers used this picture large yesterday. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few of them. Like the New York Times (circulation 1,586,757) and the Washington Post (circulation 507,615)…
…or the Cleveland Plain Dealer (circulation 246,571) and the Dallas Morning News (405,349).
I found four more papers using this picture on page one today:
From left to right: The Bakersfield Californian, the Portland Oregonian, the Asbury Park Press and the Daily Record of Parsippany, N.J.
STILL FRAMES FROM THE 16MM MOVIE REEL
Another picture I mentioned yesterday but also suggested you stay away from: A still frame from the 16mm movie reel that was shot by a camera rigged in the cockpit of the lunar lander. That reel contains footage of both astronauts on the lunar surface. But I didn’t think the fuzzy, washed-out images would play well on page one today.
Wrong again. As you can see, the News Tribune of Duluth, Minn. — circulation 30,606 — managed to use pictures from this film quite well today.
Newsday of Melville, N.Y. — circulation 397,973 — cropped in on just Armstrong for a nice front-page promo.
Four more papers used the picture as lead art on page one today: The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind., the Times of Trenton, N.J., the New Mexican of Santa Fe…
…and the News of Opelika, Ala. The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune and the Post-Dispatch of St. Louis used the picture as skybox art.
AFTER THE MOONWALK
You’ll recall one of the pictures I recommended you use is this great shot of Neil Armstrong in the lunar lander, immediately after the historic moonwalk.
Luckily, the AP also moved that picture, meaning you didn’t have to go digging for it.
My favorite Neil Armstrong page of the day, in fact, used this picture.
That’s a wonderful job by the Forum of Fargo, N.D. — a paper that works its way into my blog more and more these days. Average daily circulation for the Forum is 45,298.
Other nice displays of this picture were by the Herald of Everett, Wash. (circulation 46,481), the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk (circulation 142,476)…
…the News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash. (circulation 78,453) and the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash. (circulation 69,161).
The 401,120-circulation Denver Post wins my admiration for the most unusual headline of the day.
Other papers using this picture on page one today:
ARMSTRONG’S OFFICIAL NASA PORTRAIT
Another picture I didn’t recommend yesterday was Armstrong’s pre-Apollo 11 official NASA portrait. Mostly because this is probably one of the most common images of Armstrong your readers have seen over the years. My feeling was: Given the depth of the NASA archives, we can do much better than this.
However, a few newspapers chose to lead their front page with this picture anyway. And doggoned if the results weren’t bad at all.
Here are a couple of big-city tabloids: The Daily News of New York — circulation 579,636 — and the Chicago Sun-Times, circulation 422,335.
A couple of broadsheets: the Dispatch of Casa Grande, Ariz., circulation 8,458, and the Record-Courier of Ravenna, Ohio, circulation 17,328.
Other papers using the portrait: Sister papers in Moline and Rock Island, Ill., the Gazette of Texarkana, Texas…
…the Caller-Times of Corpus Christi, Texas, the Press-Citizen of Iowa City, the Press of Johnson City, Tenn., and the Standard of Aiken. S.C.
THE ICONIC ‘FOOTPRINT ON THE MOON’ SHOT
One of the things I had specifically suggested you stay away from last night was the iconic picture of a lone footprint on the moon.
If you’re using to use it in an illustrative way, then fine. But most of the time I see this picture used, it’s used improperly. For starters, I often see it upside-down. And, in fact, the version the Associated Press sent out was upside-down.
The one you see there is correct — scanned by NASA directly from the negative.
Secondly, I see this often captioned as either a) Neil Armstrong’s very first footprint on the moon, or b) “a footprint left by one of the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission.” Which is, in fact, the way the AP captioned that picture Saturday.
And that’s baloney. The footprint belongs to Buzz Aldrin. So does the boot that you see in the fourth and fifth pictures of the sequence he photographed himself, about 40 minutes after he stepped out of the lunar lander.
NASA very carefully reconstructed what happened on the moon every moment of every mission. Most of that material is available to you in the form of “surface journals” that include transcripts and links to each picture or film clip shot. Everything is carefully labeled — NASA knows who shot which picture, with which camera and which roll of film it was on.
None of that is open for debate. Yet, Associated Press moves an upside-down picture and an inaccurate cutline. Sigh…
Because AP got it wrong, perhaps I shouldn’t blame papers for using this shot incorrectly. Still, wrong is wrong. The only way we can hope for AP getting its act together is to go on the record with the errors we find.
Not only did the 16,696 Quincy (Ill.) Herald-Whig run the picture upside-down — the way AP moved it — they also implied with the headline this was, in fact, Armstrong’s “one small step.”
Quincy certainly wasn’t the only paper to use this picture. Here are the Citizen Tribune of Morristown, Tenn. (circulation 18,923) , and the Quad-City Times of Davenport, Iowa (circulation 46,824).
The 94,016-circulation Daily News of Los Angeles used the picture. And so did all the Daily News‘ sister papers, including the Long Beach Press-Telegram (circulation 82,556)…
…the Daily Breeze of Torrence (circulation 75,352), the Daily Bulletin of Ontario (circulation 61,699) and the Sun of San Bernardino (circulation 56,456).
Other papers going using the footprint prominently today: The Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho…
…the Journal Star of Peoria, Ill., the Times of Valdosta, Ga., and the Herald of Brownsville, Texas.
And I’ll have to pick on my former colleagues at the Virginian-Pilot. I loved their front page today. And I loved the look of the jump page inside. However, not only did they run the footprint flopped…
…they also ran this cutline with it. Which is just flat-out wrong.
BUZZ STANDING BY THE FLAG
The thing I feared most was a newspaper running a picture of Buzz Aldrin on page one today and either a) claiming or b) implying it’s a picture of Neil Armstrong. As we’ve said, there are hardly any pictures of Neil on the surface of the moon.
Sure enough, that’s just the trap that ensnared the Lima News of Ohio, circulation 29,120.
Granted, there is no cutline that says that’s Neil Armstrong standing by the flag in that picture. But, of course, it’s not Neil. So there’s no reason to use this picture at all.
Boo, hiss, Lima.
UPDATE – 5:45 p.m.
My pal Chris Olds of Beckett Media points out that Lima is minutes away from Wapakoneta, Armstrong’s home town. Making this error all the more worse.
Ditto for these sister papers in Massachusetts — the Herald News of Fall River (circulation 14,979) and the Gazette of Taunton (circulation 6,703). Neither should have used that picture in its skybox today.
I got all worked up about the New York Post — a paper I don’t exactly admire in the first place. I was halfway into writing a scathing rebuke of these guys before my eyes finally landed on something in the picture that caused me to stop.
Can you spot it, too?
Check out the flag. It’s at half-staff. Meaning this is a photoillustration.
Granted, the “photoillustration” credit is very tiny and runs vertically up the left side of the art. But still. One can interpret this as Buzz, saluting the flag at half-mast for his fallen commander.
So I’m going to give the Post a free pass on this one. Plus, brownie points for being so clever.
Average daily circulation for the New York Post is 555,327.
TODAY’S BIGGEST BLUNDER
I hate to accuse anyone of making a dumbass mistake. But there’s really no other way to describe the boneheaded blunder atop today’s El Paso Times.
Here’s a closer look at the Neil Armstrong skybox promo.
Which features a nice, cutout picture. Of Michael Collins.
Collins was the third member of the Apollo 11 crew. He’s the one who stayed in lunar orbit in the Apollo capsule while Aldrin and Armstrong landed on the moon.
Needless to say, Michael Collins did not die Saturday.
Here is the Associated Press picture from which the Times extracted that promo. The picture appears to be captioned correctly. I have no freakin’ idea what would cause the designer to cut out the wrong astronaut.
Unless he was distracted, perhaps, by Buzz Aldrin’s hairpiece.
Average daily circulation for the El Paso Times is 70,450.
REACHING DEEPER INTO THE NASA ARCHIVES
I started out this post by explaining how disappointed I was — originally — with Florida Today‘s front-page presentation of Armstrong’s passing. Until I found out that today’s paper was wrapped in a special Neil Armstrong special section.
Double-ditto on that with the Houston Chronicle. Armstrong lived in Houston during the time in his life when he became famous in the first place. But all he gets is a strip across the top of the page?
UPDATE – 7 p.m.
Gawker wasn’t very impressed with the Chronicle‘s headline.
Perhaps the Chronicle also ran a special section or a wrap today. If they did and if you have PDFs you can send me, please do.
Average daily circulation of the Chronicle is 384,007.
Meanwhile, I was delighted with the treatment on page one of the paper where Armstrong has lived for the past several decades: Cincinnati. The Enquirer skipped all the standard Apollo 11-era pictures — which we’ve seen so many times over the years — and instead used something from Neil’s previous NASA mission, Gemini 8.
Average daily circulation for the Enquirer is 144,165.
The News & Advance of Lynchburg, Va. — circulation 26,092 — used that same file photo today, but with not nearly as much bang.
The paper where I worked 20 years ago — the Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. — reached deep into the archives to find this picture of the three Apollo 11 astronauts making their way out of the preparation facility and to the van that would drive them to their launch vehicle on July 16, 1969.
The coolest thing about Rock Hill’s coverage today, however, is the local angle the paper took with its lead story. Charlie Duke — who walked on the moon in Apollo 16 and who served as the official voice of mission control during the actual landing of Apollo 11 — is from nearby Lancaster. The story works in Duke’s memories of that night.
Average daily circulation for the Herald is 21,063.
Also leading with that same picture today: The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., and the Star of Anniston, Ala.
A few other papers also reached deep down to find pictures of Armstrong during his Gemini 8 days.
From left to right: The News Tribune of Jefferson City, Mo., the Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y., and the Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla.
Two papers led today with pictures of the Earth rising over the moon, as seen from lunar orbit by the astronauts aboard Apollo 11. On the left is the Stockton (Calif.) Record. On the right is the Tribune of Bismarck, N.D.
This worked fine… as long as the picture really is from Apollo 11. As opposed to the more iconic, more famous picture of Earthrise shot by Apollo 8. I have no reason to believe these pictures were not shot from Apollo 11, so I’ll give these pages praise here.
Granted, though, after all I’ve written here, I’m too tired to go check.
And just a handful of papers led today with nice portraits of Armstrong shot fairly recently. The picture you see here on the front of the Dayton Daily News — circulation 93,425 — is a file shot by staffer Chris Stewart.
That same picture — and page design — was also used by Dayton’s sister papers in Springfield, Middletown and Hamilton.
And that brings us to my second-favorite front page of the day: This one by the Journal & Courier of Lafayette, Ind. — the home of Purdue University, where Armstrong attended college.
The wonderful portrait there was shot by Cliff Owen of the Associated Press during a Senate committee hearing three months ago.
Average daily circulation for the Journal & Courier is 25,531.
All of these newspaper pages — with the exception of the Florida Today material and the Virginian-Pilot page I obviously photographed myself — are from the Newseum. Of course.