KC Star’s Charles Gooch leaving the newspaper business

Charles Gooch — for the past 11 years, the primary A1 designer for the Kansas City Star — is leaving newspapers.


Charles posted via social media:

I will be leaving The Kansas City Star (and the newspaper industry) at the end of this week. It’s been a wild ride covering everything from elections to explosions to an MLS Cup championship to a World Series run for the Royals. (And lots and lots of things in between.)

Up next: I will be joining the social media team at VML (a digital marketing/ad agency in KC).

While I am sad to be leaving behind co-workers and friends, I am very excited to start the next chapter in a few weeks.

A 2001 graduate of Penn State University, Charles worked for the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., before becoming a copy editor and front page designer for the Times of Beaver County, Pa., in 2002. He moved to the Star in 2004.

A few samples of his work:




In addition to designing A1, Charles has been a blogger and columnist for both the Star and its youth-oriented tab, Ink. Find his Full 90 soccer blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Behind that cool illustration afront Sunday’s KC Star

Charles Gooch, A1 designer for the Kansas City Star, took time Sunday to tell us about his paper’s big presentation on domestic terrorism.

He tells us:

I really liked the way that the whole package came together.

The story itself was a nearly year-long enterprise project by Judy Thomas that started after a tragic shooting spree at the Johnson County Jewish Community Center by white supremacist F. Glenn Miller in 2014.

Sunday was day one of the series (it will conclude next Sunday) and dealt mainly with how, 20 years after the Oklahoma City bombings, federal authorities have failed to prevent recent attacks from domestic extremists and how the threat from those sort of attacks is growing.

The cover itself came out of a series of sketches by the great Hector Casanova, who singled in on the concept of terror groups “metastasizing” inside of the U.S. like cancer cells would inside of a person.


The concept of his watercolor illo of blue and red cells making up an American flag growing and fighting paired well with the project title “Ignoring the terror within.”

As for the page itself, Mike Fannin (our editor) and Greg Branson (AME of presentation and innovation) had been planning on going big with this from the beginning. (After all, the story and its sidebars fill five full inside pages.)

Once Hector’s illustration started coming together, we realized that we’d need the entire width of our page (and most of the depth) to do it justice. The scope and feel of the page (and inside as well) is definitely a departure from our norm. We felt it was a story that commanded the attention of the readers and deserved a visual approach that could push that idea forward.

Here are the inside jump pages 16 and 17. Click for a larger, readable view:


Here are pages 18 and 19:


Page 20 shows the 52 people killed by domestic terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11.


As the intro copy notes, this does not include victims of the Boston bombings or the shootings at Fort Hood. The FBI does not consider “copycat” incidents such as these to be true terrorism.

Charles adds:

In addition to the print component, there’s also a very nice digital build that was put together by our programmer Jay Pilgreen.


A 1998 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, Hector Casanova spent six years as an artist for the Star. He left in 2005 to work as a comics artist, an art gallery director and an instructor at his alma mater.

He returned to the Star in 2008 but continued to handle freelance assignments for clients such as Sprint, Andrews & McNeel, Scholastic Books, MTV and Coca-Cola.

Hector has drawn two graphic novels: The Lurkers (in 2006 with writer Steve Niles) and Screamland (in 2008 with writer Harold Sipe).

A few samples of his work from my collection:





Find Hector’s portfolio site here and his Facebook fan page here. Find an extensive Q&A with him here.

Average daily circulation for the Kansas City Star is 200,365.

A look at Thursday’s World Series pages

Madison Bumgarner came on in relief and threw five innings of scoreless baseball last night, earning a save, a 3-2 win over the Royals and a third World Series championship in five years for the San Francisco Giants.

Circulation: 229,176

The Chronicle led today’s front page with a picture of Bumgarner getting a congratulatory hug from his catcher, Buster Posey.


Thanks to Elizabeth Burr for sending us that page.

Circulation: 200,365

The hero of the game for the Royals was leftfielder Alex Gordon. Not only did he score the tying run in the 2nd inning, he also hit a triple in the 9th that would have tied the game at 3.

Unfortunately, Salvador Perez then hit a foul ball that Pablo Sandoval caught near the Giants’ dugout, stranding Gordon at third and putting the game away.

Gordon’s sad walk back to the Royals’ dugout was the lead photo on the front of today’s Star.


The picture is by staffer Shane Keyser.

The result of that final pitch was on the cover of the sports section today.


The picture is by John Sleezer.

John also made this great picture of Gordon sliding into home in the 2nd inning to tie the game at 2.


Both the sports page and the poster were designed by Sarah Morris.

Today’s Chronicle front is from the Newseum. Of course.

More 2014 postseason baseball pages:

A look at Wednesday’s World Series pages

Facing extinction in Game Six of the World Series, the Kansas City Royals exploded for seven runs in the second inning and stomped the ever lovin’ snot out of the Giants, 10-0.

The win takes the series to a seventh-game showdown tonight in Kansas City.

Circulation: 229,176

On page one today, the Chronicle went with the ol’ pitcher sitting reflectively in the dugout after getting the hook photo.


The pitcher is Jake Peavy, who lasted just four outs. The picture is by staffer Michael Macor.

UPDATE – 7 p.m. CDT

Luis Rendon sends along today’s sports front. It was designed by designed by Mike Massa, Luis tells us.


The lead picture by Scott Strazzante shows Giants fans heckling Peavey as he was yanked.

Circulation: 200,365

Designer Sarah Morris tells us:

Well, the Royals pulled out a win, and in dramatic fashion. It’s truly been a team effort all month, with a herculean effort each night on the part of everyone. And tonight was no different.

On A1, we highlighted the pitcher, Yordano Ventura. Not only did he pitch seven innings without a run scored, he did it on the day his friend, Oscar Taveras, was buried. We thought the photo of Ventura pointing up to the sky, and his friend, summed up the moment perfectly.


John Sleezer did it again with that photo. News editor Chick Howland, who has been at work for every game of the post-season, came up with the headline.

Bob Merrick and Greg Branson designed the Royals special section cover.


With that cover, we wanted to convey that the Royals have one more chance to win this. Game six was a great game, but it’s not over yet. Executive editor Mike Fannin came up with that headline. David Eulitt took the photo.

We did something a little different with our poster page tonight. The Royals played their own brand of small ball, with eight hits, scoring seven runs. And none of them was a huge hit. So instead of choosing one image and blowing it up big, Neil Nakahodo showed every single one of those hits.


Photos are by Rich Sugg, Shane Keyser, David Eulitt and John Sleezer.

And in case you missed it, video editor Monty Davis put together this video of some of our photogs when they were out in San Francisco, talking about how they make these awesome photos come together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb2jEoJlNws&sns=fb

Tonight’s final showdown begins at 8 EDT, 5 PDT.

Today’s Chronicle front is from the Newseum. Of course.

More 2014 postseason baseball pages:

A clever promotion the KC Star is running during the World Series

Last night, the World Series took the night off as the teams travel back to Kansas City. Action will resume tonight with Game Six.

The Giants lead the series, 3-2. Tonight, the Royals will tie the series or the Giants will win it. So it’s all on the line tonight for the Royals.


Sarah Morris, an artist+designer for the Kansas City Star, tells us:

The cover illustration and design was done by Neil Nakahodo, who did an excellent job, as always.

The poster page photo is by John Sleezer, who always does a fantastic job. I designed.


The photo is of Giants reliever Hunter Strickland leaving the field after the almost fight in Game 2. We’ve been wanting to work in the Breaking Bad reference for a while, and sports editor Jeff Rosen decided that this was the opportunity to do it.

This month, all of our preview sections have run on a heavier paper. We’ve taken that as an opportunity to run Paper Royals, which were created by Neil Nakahodo.

This is the Paper Royal that ran in Sunday’s section.


Carefully cut out the pieces, assemble as instructed and you can make a do-it-yourself action figure of your favorite Royals players.


Sarah tells us:

Today’s Paper Royal is Billy Butler, who has his bat and some BBQ sauce as accessories.


Sports designer Domenica Bongiovanni has amassed quite the collection.


They’re a way to have a little more fun with our coverage in the post-season.

The first time I had seen these little paper action figures was back in 2007, when the Denver Post published them when the Rockies were in the playoffs.


I thought these were very cool and I wrote an entire riff on them into some of my presentations.

In 2011, the Post upped the ante with a figure of Tim Tebow.

Not long after, the Detroit Free Press countered with a similar cut-out figure of fearsome defender Ndamukong Suh. Which the Freep cleverly displayed here putting the smackdown on the Post’s Tebow doll.

In 2012, Denver Post graphics director Jeff Goertzen moved to USA Today, where he offered up Tom Brady and Eli Manning figures for the Super Bowl.

The idea was adapted into superheroes by the Victoria (Texas) Advocate, when the Avengers movie came out that May.

I even tried to make one of those myself.

Clearly, my superior graphic arts skills made for nothing but success.

That’s OK. I never enjoyed counting to ten anyway.

Even later that year, the Detroit Free Press went crazy with the paper doll trend, offering ten Detroit Lions, plus the team mascot and a page of accessories like goal posts and little tubs of Gatorade.

That fall, Samantha Dellinger of the York Daily Record created 25 — count ’em, 25 — versions of the football paper doll to represent all the high schools in her paper’s coverage area.

Also that fall, the Tulsa World asked readers to vote on an area high school all-star team. The winners of the poll were turned into paper figures.

And Tim Wertz of the Williamsport (Pa.) Sun-Gazette uses the idea from time to time to pay homage to people from rap musicians…


…to local roller derby sk8r chix.


And those are just the ones I know about.

So this is by no means a new idea. But it’s an effective one, because it’s a talker.

If you use a gimmick, use it well. And that’s what the Star has done here. The Star is also printing Paper Chiefs for football season.


What I like about these is that they’re not online. These are print edition only. If you want Paper Chiefs or Paper Royals, you have to shell out a dollar for the dead tree edition.

So how does the paper push the idea online? They encourage readers to buy the paper, build the figures and then send in pictures of themselves with the Paper Chiefs or Paper Royals for galleries on the paper’s web site and Facebook page.


The paper has also invested to help create awareness of the paper figures with a fun promotion to use at tailgating locations.


I suspect everyone wants to be made into a Paper Chief. Note the hashtag on the display.

So make fun of paper figures all you want. This is nothing but clever, clever, clever.

Tonight’s game begins at 8 p.m. EDT, or 5 p.m. out here on the west coast. The entire World Series is being broadcast on Fox.

More 2014 postseason baseball pages:

A look at Monday’s World Series pages

Pitcher Madison Bumgarner threw a four-hitter Sunday night to shut down the Royals 5-0 and move his Giants one win away from their third World Series championship in five years.

Circulation: 200,365

The Star led today with yet another awesome photo by staffer John Sleezer.


That’s catcher Hunter Pence, celebrating after scoring on a two-run double hit by Juan Perez in the 8th inning.

Charles Gooch — who designed that page — tells us:

For my money, John Sleezer is the best baseball photographer in the country. I’m biased tho.

I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that.

Sleezer also came up with the picture on the front of today’s sports front.


You’re looking at Billy Butler — as the Royals’ designated hitter, he’s not played in San Francisco. He got into the game Sunday but then struck out in the 8th inning.

Here’s tonight’s poster page, designed by Sarah Morris.


That picture of centerfielder Lorenzo Cain was made by — you guessed it — John Sleezer.

Circulation: 229,176

The Chronicle slipped in small photo of Bumgarner — by staffer Michael Macor — atop its Monday morning A1 package…


…but the real star here is that fabulous celebratory picture of Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval celebrating their 8th-inning runs.

That photo is by Scott Strazzante.

The series takes tonight off and returns to Kansas City on Tuesday.

More 2014 postseason baseball pages:

Today’s Chronicle front is from the Newseum. Of course.

A look at Sunday’s World Series pages

Down three runs in middle of the third inning, the San Francisco Giants scored 10 unanswered runs to bury the Kansas City Royals 11-4 and to tie the World Series at 2.

Circulation: 229,176

Scott Ostler‘s take in the lead story is a bit amusing:

This World Series will have its grand finale in the Midwest city where people pour barbecue sauce on their breakfast cereal, but the Giants will have one more chance Sunday to put on another magic show for their home fans.


Lead art of fans celebrating is by staffer Mike Kepka. Today’s page one was a collaboration between Danielle Mollette-Parks and Chris Crescibene.

Featured on today’s sports front is third baseman Pablo Sandoval — also known as Kung Fu Panda — after he hit a two-run single in the 6th that gave the Giants the lead.


The picture is by Beck Diefenbach. The page was designed by Luis Rendon.

Circulation: 200,365

Speaking of Kung Fu Panda, check out the fans in the panda costumes in the expensive seats behind frustrated Royals pitcher Danny Duffy.


That’s staffer David Eulitt with the picture.

Sam Mellinger, too, managed a memorable lead for the Star’s front page today:

Nobody notices the zit when the beauty queen does her makeup, and over the last month or so the Royals have done a remarkable job covering their own blemishes.

Hmmm. Moving right along…

The Star went with a montage of pictures for today’s sports front.


That’s catcher Salvador Perez reaching for an errant throw from the outfield as the Giants’ Gregor Blanco slides across the plate in the first inning.

Today’s poster page is this amazing picture by Rich Sugg of Royals left fielder Alex Gordon stealing second base in the third inning.


That page was designed by Sarah Morris. Find her Twitter feed here.

Game Five will start tonight at 8 p.m. EDT, or 5 p.m. out here on the west coast. The series will then take Monday off and return to Kansas City on Tuesday.

More 2014 postseason baseball pages:

A look at Saturday’s World Series pages

The Kansas City Royals — who nearly everyone wrote off after their dismal performance in Game One of this World Series — is now firmly in control of their opponents, the San Francisco Giants. Play moved to the west coast Friday, but the Royals still kept on rolling, defeating the Giants 3-2 and taking a 2-1 lead in the series.

As you know, the first team to win four games takes the title. The Royals are halfway there.

Circulation: 200,365

Lead designer Charles Gooch tells us:

While a lot of attention has gone to our writers and designers during this run, our photographers have been so consistently amazing.

Case in point tonight: We had a different photographer delivering the lead image on our three marquee pages tonight. All of them exceptional.

I designed the cover with an excellent John Sleezer photo.


Bob Merrick and Sarah Morris worked on the sports cover with a photo by Rich Sugg.


The poster page was also Sarah Morris, who joined our staff back in April. She’s been aces this whole playoff run embedded in our sports department helping produce these sections.


The poster page picture is by David Eulitt.

Circulation: 229,176

The photo on the front page of today’s Chronicle summed up the game nicely for the Giants: Gregor Blanco dives into first base for a bunt single but he’s beaten by the throw to Eric Hosmer.


The photo is by Pete Kiehart.

UPDATE – 3:15 p.m. PDT

And here is today’s sports front, featuring a photo of the Royals’ Alex Gordon scoring the winning run.


The picture is by staffer Carlos Avila Gonzalez.

Game Four will start tonight at 8 p.m. EDT, or 5 p.m. here on the west coast.

More 2014 postseason baseball pages:

A look at Thursday’s World Series pages

Yesterday, everyone was writing off the Kansas City Royals after the royal drubbing they took at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the World Series.

Last night, the Royals exploded for five runs in the 6th inning. They won, 7-2, tying the series as it moves from Kansas City to San Francisco.

Circulation: 229,176

The win gave Royals fans — awfully quiet during Game One — something to cheer about. That was displayed across the top of the front page of today’s Chronicle.


The picture is by staffer Scott Strazzante.

There was this very odd tense moment in the bottom of the 6th inning. Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland gave up a home run to the Royals’ Omar Infante but then appeared to taunt Royals catcher Sal Perez as Perez came across the plate. Perez had knocked in two runs himself.

Perez responded in sort of a: “You talkin’ to me?” sort of way. That moment was captured in the huge picture on the front of the Chronicle‘s sports section today.


That picture was by Carlos Avila Gonzalez. The page was designed by Louie Rendon.

Both benches kinda sorta cleared, in preparation for a rumble. But wiser heads prevailed. The umpires didn’t eject Strickland, but he was yanked anyway for giving up a homer. And, presumably, some of his self-control.

Circulation: 200,365

The little Royals crown returned to the Star‘s nameplate today to celebrate the huge victory.


I mentioned Perez, the catcher, had knocked in two runs in the 6th inning. The picture by staffer Shane Keyser on page one today shows the celebration after those two runs scored.

That page was designed by Charles Gooch.

What a great picture this is by John Sleezer on today’s sports front, of Omar Infante catching the Giants’ Brandon Belt diving back to second base. Smack! Right in the face.


The designers — Bob Merrick and Sarah Morris — played it big and got the hell out of its way.

Charles tells us:

We were trying for a bit more attitude tonight with our heads, with KC getting back into the Series with a big statement game.

Sarah also designed today’s poster page showing Billy Butler bolting for first base while knocking in the go-ahead run.


Butler is the Royals’ designated hitter. Therefore, he’s not expected to play wile the Royals are on National League soil this weekend.

Again, tonight is a travel night. The series resumes Friday in San Francisco.

The Chronicle front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

A look at Wednesday’s World Series pages

Last night, the San Francisco Giants clobbered the Kansas City Royals 7-1 in Game One of the World Series in Kansas City.

It was the first post-season loss for the Royals this season. Their winning streak is halted at eight games.

Circulation: 200,365

Down 4-0 in the 4th inning, the Royals yanked starter James Shields. Star staffer John Sleezer made the picture that was used on today’s front page.


That page was designed by Charles Gooch.

Sleezer also shot this picture of third baseman Mike Moustakas, just after his strikeout in the 5th inning.


That page was designed by Bob Merrick and Neil Nakahodo.

Charles tells us:

We’ve been putting together a special section (usually 10-12 pages) after the games. Tonight, it was a herculean 18-page section. Our sports department really did a fantastic job throwing it together.

The Star has been running a full page photo inside after every playoff game. Today’s picture by staffer Keith Myers is of the pregame festivities at Kauffman Stadium last night.


That, too, was designed by Neil Nakahodo.

Circulation: 229,176

The Giants got off to a fast start last night with a two-run homer by right fielder Hunter Pence in the very first inning. Chronicle staffer Michael Macor got the shot for page one.


That Chronicle page is from the Newseum. Of course.

UPDATE – 8:15 p.m. PDT

And here is today’s sports front.


That lead photo is by staffer Carlos Avila Gonzalez.

This means, of course, the Giants lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0. They’ll play again tonight at 8 p.m. ET — or 5 p.m. here on the West Coast. The World Series is televised by Fox Sports.

The series will take Thursday off and then resume Friday in San Francisco.

KC Star celebrates making the baseball playoffs

I once worked for a sports editor who didn’t like celebration shots — especially as lead art. “They all look the same,” he complained.

The older I get, the less I agree with him. Did you see the front of today’s Kansas City Star?


The Royals celebrate their first playoff appearance in 29 years. That’s longer than most of the players have been alive.

The picture is by staffer Shane Keyser. Front page designer Charles Gooch tells us:

It was a fun page to turn on deadline for sure.

And the Star wasn’t afraid to have a little fun with the nameplate, too.


Isn’t that brilliant? The Goochmeister tells us:

We’ve been having fun with our nameplate for a while now. On most holidays, we break out our interpretation of a Google doodle.

The crown — which is the top part of the Royals shield logo…


…came after a long brainstorming session with Greg Branson (our AME of Presentation and Innovation) and ace artist Neil Nakahodo.

I’m just glad I didn’t jinx the Royals. I never did start designing the back-up plan.

The Star is already selling T-shirts with today’s front page on them.


Find them here for $19.95.

Average daily circulation for the Star is 200,365.

That page is from the Newseum. Of course.

Kansas City Star seeking a designer/artist

Greg Branson — assistant managing editor for presentation and innovation at the Kansas City Star — tells me he’s looking to hire a designer-slash-artist.

He writes:

I’m hoping you might help get the word out. It’s rare for us to have an opening, so I’m hoping for some really good candidates.

Here’s the ad Greg posted this week:


The Kansas City Star is looking for a talented individual who can create compelling and innovative news and features pages. The ideal candidate will also be able to create info graphics — maps, charts diagrams, etc. — and the occasional illustration. The ability to translate your work from print to digital is a key requirement of this job.

As part of The Star‘s art department, you will be part of a team that designs the front page, Local and Business section fronts, our feature section fronts and special projects. The hours will be mostly evenings Monday through Friday, and you will also be part of our weekend rotation.

Applicants must be proficient in the Adobe Suite, especially Illustrator and Photoshop. Since we use a CCI front-end system and its proprietary layout engine, we can train the right candidate to use our design software.


We’re looking for a strong performer. Someone who can take a mundane page and make it great. Sometimes that might include creating an illustration for the lead art and building some info graphics to support the content on the page.

We’re looking for someone who loves news pages, but also wants to dig into feature pages.

We’re looking for someone who is not afraid to be edited. Who loves to work with a team. Who can work and communicate with editors, writers and photographers to design projects that will appear not only in print, but on the web, on tablets and on phones.

We want someone who can bring energy and new ideas to the newsroom. We want someone who is open to try new approaches to build and display content. Who is not afraid to learn new software or new techniques.

But we also need a hard worker. Someone not afraid to stay late when the news dictates. Someone who is organized and can juggle multiple pages and multiple projects at the same time. Someone with a positive outlook and a good attitude — who looks forward to coming to work everyday.

We have a fun, hard-working, tight-knit department. We’re looking for the right person to join us. If you think you’re that person send me a link to your portfolio and resume at:

gbranson [at] kcstar.com

The Star is owned by McClatchy. It’s average daily circulation is 200,365.

Greg loves his art and isn’t afraid to put it out front and to play it large. A few samples from my extensive collection of Kansas City Star pages:




Kansas City is a world-class city. My wife and daughter and I used to drive down there from Des Moines to go shopping on long weekends.


The biggest employer in town is the U.S. government. The IRS, Social Security and the General Services Administration have large service centers in Kansas City. There are pharmaceutical companies there, auto manufacturing and a lot of banks — Kansas City is the home of a Federal Reserve bank.


The place is probably most famous for culture, however. Jazz and barbecue.

Unlike, say, Chicago, Kansas City even has professional sports. The NFL Chiefs are currently 9-1. The Royals finished this season just seven games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.


Notable people from the Kansas City area include actors Don Cheadle and Jason Sudeikis, musicians Pat Metheny and Burt Bacharach, golfer Tom Watson, director Robert Altman, science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein, talk show host Craig Kilborn and legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite.

Find the Kansas City municipal web site here and its tourism web site here.

A look at Saturday’s March Madness pages

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

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


Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

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


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

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


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


Naples, Fla.

Circulation: 45,136

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


The picture is by staffer Scott McIntyre.


Sarasota, Fla.

Circulation: 63,864

Sarasota went with an Associated Press picture by Tony Gutierrez.



St. Petersburg, Fla.

Circulation: 299,497

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


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


Gainesville, Fla.

Circulation: 29,583

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


That picture is by Sun staffer Matt Stamey.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

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

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

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


The lead picture is by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.


Lawrence, Kan.

Circulation: 27,719

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


That photo is by Journal-World staffer Mike Yoder.


Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

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


That picture was made by staffer Shane Keyser.


Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

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

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

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


Great stuff.


Durham, N.C.

Circulation: 21,367

Here’s another one:


That picture is by Herald-Sun staffer Bernard Thomas.


Lansing, Mich.

Circulation: 41,330

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


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

The photo is by staffer Rod Sandford.


Macomb, Mich.

Circulation: 54,419

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


Wow. How unusual.

I sure hope that trend doesn’t spread.


Indianapolis, Ind.

Circulation: 164,640

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


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


Syracuse, N.Y.

Circulation: 78,616

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

This one, however, struck me as particularly attractive.



New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,327

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


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


Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

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

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


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


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

Page two features a fun illustration by Doug McGregor.

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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Nine is a closer look at Florida.

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

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

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Full-page ads occupy 13, 14 and 15.

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


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

How the K.C. Star covered last night’s huge gas explosion

A huge explosion ripped Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza last night, destroying a restaurant and injuring 16 people. At last report, one person is still missing.

Here’s how the Star responded this morning. Click for a much larger view.


Front-page designer Charles Gooch tells us:

The main photo was a great shot by Tammy Ljungblad. The decision to put it up into the nameplate was a combined decision by our editors (Mike Fannin and Steve Shirk), photo editor Joe Ledford, [assistant managing editor] Greg Branson and myself. It’s a visual device we have built into our design to provide dynamic visual impact. Tonight’s news — and the photo — almost demanded it.

The photo at bottom right shows smoke rising from JJ’s restaurant, as seen from blocks away. The blast could be felt a mile away, the Star reports.

Oh, and that “I was just 15 minutes from dead” eyewitness story is pretty compelling reading. Find that here.

Page six was filled with two pictures of emergency crews by staffer Keith Myers and a map of the area. JJ’s restaurant was completely destroyed by the blast. Two adjacent buildings were heavily damaged.


Charles tells us:

The list of reporters and photographers who contributed to the coverage was immense. (So many that we listed them in a special box on the third page.) Over 26 reporters and photographers — many of whom had already left for the day and came roaring back — hit the freezing streets within minutes of the explosion to cover the news. More than a dozen editors/designers pitched in in the office too.


The large picture on page A7 is by Tammy Ljungblad. Find the “Response was quick — and huge” story here. Find the backgrounder on JJ’s restaurant here.

When I asked Charles to send me those pages last night, he added:

You might want to grab a [screen cap] of our home page too. Recently redesigned it.


Nice and clean. And the best part about it: It’s responsive!

It’s taken the industry a while to catch up with the Boston Globe‘s responsive web design. I’m glad it’s finally happening. Responsive web design and HTML is the future. I see no sense in continuing to work in HTML 4.

Naturally, the Star’s coverage of this event continues. Find the latest here.

A look at today’s Twinkie apocalypse front pages

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

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

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


Cheyenne, Wyo.

Circulation: 14,267

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


Fall River, Mass.

Circulation: 14,979

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

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

The local picture is by staffer Marc Monroe Dion.


Loveland, Colo.

Circulation: 15,494

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

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


Denver, Colo.

Circulation: 401,120

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

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


Bridgeport, Conn.

Circulation: 48,701

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


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

The shelves in Detroit were mostly empty.

That picture is by News staffer Tony Briscoe.


San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 229,176

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

The picture is by Chronicle staffer Mike Kepka.


San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: 225,175

The Merc found a family buying snacks by the caseful.

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

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


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


New London, Conn.

Circulation: 32,779

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


Augusta, Maine

Circulation: 10,792

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

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



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


Alexandria, La.

Circulation: 19,667

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

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

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

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


Carson City, Nev.

Circulation: 12,000

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

The picture is by staffer John Barrette.


Meriden, Conn.

Circulation: 16,708

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

The pictures are by staffer Dave Zajac.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

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

The photo is by staffer Leigh Taylor.


Raleigh, N.C.

Circulation: 129,698

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

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


Portland, Maine

Circulation: 47,326

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

The local pictures are by staffer Gregory Rec.


Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

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

President Barack Obama has his eye on that Twinkie.


Lakeland, Fla.

Circulation: 41,309

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



Now, these are important. So stay with me…


Chattanooga, Tenn.

Circulation: 144,165

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

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

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

The pictures were handout art from the respective companies.


Rochester, N.Y.

Circulation: 114,502

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

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

Nicely done.



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


Wichita, Kan.

Circulation: 67,250

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

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


Akron, Ohio

Circulation: 88,040

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

Notice the column that also ran on the front.

The photo of local shoppers is by Phil Masturzo.


Columbia, S.C.

Circulation: 70,980

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

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


Allentown, Pa.

Circulation: 100,196

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

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


Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 82,556

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

Note the same Getty art that Allentown used.

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


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


Tyler, Texas

Circulation: 26,155

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


Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

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

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

UPDATE: Saturday, 10:30 p.m.

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

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

Five features treatments for the new ‘Breaking Dawn, Part 2’ movie

I’m not a fan — at all — of the Twilight movie series. But then again, you’d expect that: I’m not a teenaged girl. At whom the entire Twilight franchise seems aimed.

But young people are a demographic we should be reaching out to. So papers are wise to play up the new Twilight movie — Breaking Dawn, Part 2 — that opens around the country at midnight tonight.

I asked folks to send us their features treatments. And for additional expert commentary, I’ve invited my 19-year-old daughter, Elizabeth — a huge fan of the Twilight movies and books — to tell us what she thinks about the pages.

So away we go…


Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

Here’s the cover of the Star‘s Thursday entertainment tab, illustrated by Héctor Casanova.

Find Héctor’s Facebook fan page here.

Elizabeth says:

The illustration is creative but I really don’t get the idea. It looks more like the cover of the TV series True Blood, rather than Twilight-related.


Thanks to my old friend Laurie Mansfield — the Star‘s assistant managing editor for features — for sending me the page.


Fargo, N.D.

Circulation: 45,298

Presentation editor Bill Wambeke tells us:

This takes a more “looking ahead” approach to all the twihards and what they’re going to do with their lives after Friday.

I love the starkly graphic teeth, drawn in just four shades of white, grey and red.

Bill designed the page himself. The picture of the 18-year-old Twilight fan — a local college student who has now turned to the 50 Shades of Grey books — is by staffer J. Shane Mercer.

Elizabeth says:

I like the fangs on top of the page. It reminds me of the cover of another vampire book that my dad will call trashy: Thirsty.



Temple, Texas

Circulation: 17,002

Lifestyles and entertainment editor Jordan Overturf tells us he put together this…

Breaking Dawn page for today’s Weekend section at the Temple Daily Telegram. It’s simple, yet effective. The Telegram “Team Taylor” group is going nuts right now.

My favorite part is this pullquote from the AP movie review:


Elizabeth says:

I like the photo up top. It seems like Jacob Black is the serious one out of the three. I wonder what’s on his mind? Maybe: Must. Kill. Evil. Vampires…


Tulsa, Okla.

Circulation: 97,725

Chief designer James Royal sends along an early version of his Friday features front, with the odd dummy headline here and there. He tells us it’s…

…My design.

Felt we needed to get Lincoln out there too, and we had an interview with the guy who plays the head of the Twilight bad guys as our sidebar.

Elizabeth says:

I like the main photo. Seems like Bella and Edward can get along in the movie, but can’t get along in real life.

I also like the photo at the bottom with Aro, the leader of the Volturi a.k.a. the bad guys. I think I know what’s on his mind: Really?! Really Bella and Edward? Why can’t you guys get along, like in the movie?


Victoria, Texas

Circulation: 26,531

And our most elaborately-designed Breaking Dawn cover so far is this gorgeous one from the Victoria Advocate, a paper I wrote about earlier today.

Designer Luis Rendon tells us:

The cover is pretty simple, but it was definitely a collaborative effort.

The ladies on the cover (a mother, daughter team and her two friends) actually won a contest we were having to find the biggest “Twihards” in town. Part of the prize was to recreate a Twilight movie poster, so they came all dressed up in their sleek vampire clothes. We put a little glimmer and white makeup on them and then our photo editor, Kat Duncan, shot  them in our studio and did a little Photoshop magic to add the color to their eyes.

The winners also got movie tickets to the local premiere and movie swag, but in my head, this photo shoot and cover was the big prize. While I was putting it together my only thought was to make something they could show off to their friends and keep for a long time.

Part of the Advocate‘s inspiration for the photo shoot was the publicity image that was eventually used on the Japanese version of the movie poster.

Here’s the inside doubletruck, also designed by Luis.

Elizabeth says:

Love the photo. Good idea to take the design from the Japanese poster. Really creative idea there.

To the person that made the page: Can you send my dad a copy so I can have a copy of it?

Did you build an interesting features or news treatment for the new Twilight movie? Send it to me. My daughter and I would love to see it.

Seven papers that surprised and delighted their readers today

Surprise and delight. Two things we should be doing to our readers every day.

And what better way to do that then with spectacular visuals on the front of their Sunday newspaper?

Here are seven great examples of this today. And one that, apparently, didn’t go quite so well…


Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 101,915

The big story in Iowa this weekend is the election. The latest Iowa Poll gives President Barack Obama a four-point lead over Republican Mitt Romney, but that poll has an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 points.

Illustrator Mark Marturello illustrated the story today with an arm-wrestling metaphor. Click for a larger view.

Here’s what the entire page looked like today.

Mark also had a great illustration on the front of Thursday’s paper. Find that at the top of this post.


Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

Today’s Kansas City Star didn’t bring readers new poll numbers but it did examine the differences in how the two parties are approaching health care and Medicare reform.

The illustration is by Hector Casanova. Here’s a look at just the top of it.


Jackson, Miss.

Circulation: 57,710

In Mississippi, the big story today is the 50th anniversary of the racial integration of the University of Mississippi and the deadly riot that began on this very date, half-a-century ago.

This very simple — but effective — illustration was created by Bill Campling of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville.

Bonus points: A nice little cameo picture of the first black student at Ole Miss, James Meredith.

Find the story itself here.


Phoenix, Ariz.

Circulation: 321,600

Today’s Arizona Republic blew out on the front today a huge, blockbuster investigative piece on a local sheriff’s office that failed to follow up on more than 400 cases of sexual assault.

There are only so many ways you can illustrate a story like that in a way that keeps the focus on the story and not on the illustration itself. Here’s the approach taken today by the folks in the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix.

Unfortunately, the illustration — which appears to be made of letterforms cut out of paper or cardboard — wasn’t credited.

UPDATE – 3:05 p.m.

The page was designed by Amy King of the Phoenix studio, I’m told.

Find the story — and all the sidebars — here.


Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 142,476

Here in Hampton Roads today, the story was bicycles vs. vehicle accidents. Who has been at fault for these accidents?

Drivers, it turns out, were ticketed 58 percent of the time. The Pilot told the story today with clever pie chart.

The designer — staffer Bethany Bickley — tells us:

I think it really may be one of the biggest pie charts I’ve seen.


Binghamton, N.Y.

Circulation: 34,411

While the Pilot with with a huge pie chart today, the paper in Binghamton, N.Y., went with an equally large venn diagram.


Chattanooga, Tenn.

Circulation: 75,336

After I offered a little constructive criticism to the folks at the Chattanooga paper regarding their heavily-formattted skybox promos, the Times Free Press came back on Friday with a skybox that I praised here in the blog.

Now, two days, later, they did it again. Instead of a skybox, the Times Free Press pushed its lead art today up into the nameplate.

And beautifully so. The interaction with the nameplate is a nice bonus.

The picture — as is the smaller one downpage of the Tennessee coach — is by staffer Patrick Smith. Go here to find a gallery of his work at yesterday’s game.


Ravenna, Ohio

Circulation: 17,328

Perhaps something similar was the aim here by the folks in Ravenna, Ohio. Kent State pulled off an amazing last-minute, two-point upset win over Ball State, so an above-the-nameplate picture would certainly please local fans and perhaps sell a few papers.

And I don’t mind downsizing the nameplate on these attempts. But killing it entirely? I’m not so sure about that.

Now, it’s possible that something dropped out of the PDF file that the folks at the Record-Courier sent to the Newseum. So perhaps the actual printed page didn’t actually look like this.

Let’s hope that is the case.

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

Election graphics and illustrations on Sunday’s front pages

You can tell we’re in the thick of an election year. A number of papers led their front pages today with election-themed graphics or illustrations.


Akron, Ohio

Circulation: 88,040

Papers across Ohio teamed up for a new poll that was released today. The poll shows President Barack Obama is leading the state with 51 percent of the vote, if the election were to be held today. Mitt Romney has support of 46 percent of likely voters.

The graphic that several papers across Ohio used on A1 today was created by Mike Nyerges and Mark Wert of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Which, ironically, didn’t run their own graphic on page one.

Akron, as you can see, split apart the Enquirer graphic to run the doughnut chart at the top of the page. The big batch of bar charts and the map ran downpage.


Toledo, Ohio

Circulation: 94,215

Toledo left its graphic intact. Here’s a readable version of it.

The material in the doughnut chart is restated on the right with the large numbers and the mug shots of the candidates.

Granted, the beefs up the visual presence of the graphic. But still, it seems redundant.


Canton, Ohio

Circulation: 56,789

Canton replaced the top part of Cincinnati’s chart with a big bar chart that included cutout portraits of each candidate and a large outside of the state.

In addition, Canton used the best headline we’ve seen yet for this story. Nice and direct.


Columbus, Ohio

Circulation: 136,023

Columbus didn’t use the Enquirer chart out front today, but it did build this combination big numbers/bubble chart for the top of A1 today.

With the large numbers apparently telling enough of the story, the Dispatch then used a headline that tied directly into issues.


Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 246,571

And the Plain Dealer today also used a big-numbers approach, paired with fresh caricatures of the two candidates.

Great work today — as usual — by illustrator Chris Morris.


Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

Down in Florida, the Miami Herald ran news today of a similar poll that suggested the numbers there are even closer.

Rather than bars or big numbers, the Herald stuck with pie charts.

Here’s what the entire front looked like today.


Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

In Kansas City today, the polls themselves were the story. The lead art was an illustration by Neil Makahodo.

Here was the entire front today.


In Iowa today, the story was the avalanche of television advertisements — more than $29 million worth — that is being stuffed into that state’s airwaves.

The Des Moines Register built a centerpiece today from screencaps of some of these ads…

…and the Quad-City Times of Davenport came up with the same idea.

As you can see, the coincidence made for a striking effect today.


Average daily circulation for the Register is 101,915. The Times circulates 46,824.


Newark, N.J.

Circulation: 278,940

The story in Jersey today was campaign donations. The Star-Ledger built a photoillustration using a mixture of ballot box imagery, money, political party icons, bar charts, big-numbers presentations and even theatre-like curtains.

The illustration wasn’t credited.


Las Vegas, Nev.

Distribution: 220,619

The Las Vegas Sun today led its front page with a story about the hopes Republicans there have of winning the state this year.

The very loose watercolor illustration is by staffer Elizabeth Brown.


Denver, Colo.

Circulation: 401,120

The Denver Post ran a very interesting piece today on a topic that’s affected so many of us: How some folks have posted so many political items to the point where it’s put a strain on their Facebook friends.

The front page was built around this photoillustration by staffer Matt Swaney.

Find the story here by staffer Claire Martin.


And across Wisconsin today, the Gannett papers didn’t look at poll numbers as much as they addressed the shifting demographics of that state over the past three decades or so.

A series of pie charts across the top of the package — looking a lot like Pepsi logos here — show the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin.

Numbers down each side compare various demographic statistics from 1980 and 2010.

This package — uncredited but presumably built by the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines

UPDATE – Monday, 11:30 a.m.

I’m told this package was indeed designed by Sean McKeown of the Des Moines studio.

…ran in several papers today, including — from left to right:

  • Post Crescent, Appleton, Wis., circulation 38,244
  • Daily Herald, Wausau, Wis., circulation 15,879
  • Sheboygan Press, Sheboygan, Wis., circulation 14,246



  • Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wis., circulation 14,113
  • Herald Times Reporter, Manitowoc, Wis., circulation 10,253
  • The Reporter, Fond Du Lac, Wis., circulation 10,186

It worked pretty well in five of the six uses. The exception was in Oshkosh, where the nice above-the-nameplate photo competed with the “then/now” illustration.

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

Following up on the KC Star’s “true crime” pulp-style illustrations

Back on Sunday, we admired the “true crime” pulp-novel approach taken by illustrator Eric Hibbeler — a recent graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute  — for the start of a six-part series in the Kansas City Star.

The series has now run its course. For days two through five, the series was indeed displayed on page one, but as secondary art.

Monday’s Day Two package featured yellow sticky notes mysteriously tossed in a wastebasket.

Tuesday’s art was of a text message.

Wednesday’s art was of wedding rings.

Yesterday: A spent bullet casing.

In today’s finale, the guilty man is caught and sent away. Here’s how Eric illustrated that.

A secondary illustration showed the actual arrest.

Here’s how the two illustrations were used afront today’s edition.

Oh, and the name of the series: Killer Love? Turns out to be a double meaning. Rather than have me ruin it for you here, just read the series yourself.

Again, Eric is a recent graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and who interned at the Star this summer. He’s currently interning for a company called MK12. But for the past four years, Eric has freelanced as an editorial illustrator, a character developer and a storyboarder. Among his clients: WDAF-TV and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Find Eric’s web site here and his blog here.

Average daily circulation for the Kansas City Star is 200,365.

The front page images above are from the Newseum. Of course.

A look at today’s most interesting ‘47 percent’ pages

Before today slips totally away from us, let’s take a quick look at the day’s most interesting front pages in which Mitt Romney‘s “47 percent” video was the lead story.


Boston, Mass.

Circulation: 108,548

Nice choice  — of what I presume is file art — by the Boston Herald today. Looks like Mitt is ducking something being thrown at him.

The picture is from Getty Images.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 579,636

The New York Daily News worked up quite a bit of loud righteous indignation over the flap this morning.

That’s yet more Getty art.


New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,327

Meanwhile, the News Corp.-owned New York Post predictably came down on Romney’s side.

The “truth hurts” indeed. The art is a screencap from the video, obviously.


Philadelphia, Pa.

Circulation: 110,000

The folks in Philly went with one of the more amusing headlines of the day.

The deck spins the story forward into a “how much has this hurt his campaign” story. That might be the case also inside the three papers we just looked at. But you wouldn’t know that from their covers. All snap, crackle and pop but very little breakfast cereal.

The photo is from the Associated Press.


Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

The Free Press asked the right question and seemed to set the right tone with its centerpiece this morning.

The downside: That gold-colored excerpt box is awfully large. I wish they could have trimmed the quote and make the box a little more shallow.

The picture is by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press.


Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 507,615

The Post led today with a fresh picture from the campaign trail by staffer Melinda Mera.

Note how there is no reference in display text at all to the “47 percent” comment. The understanding here is that you already have heard the news. Details are inside. The Post looks at the Romney campaign, which is ailing at the moment. The chart shows  projections made from the latest polling numbers.

The main headline, I commented on earlier today.


Newark, N.J.

Circulation: 278,940

The Ledger seems to take that same tack but a step or two further today with this headline.

The picture — by Charles Dharapak of the AP — was taken at nearly the same moment as the Post’s lead photo.


St. Louis, Mo.

Circulation: 187,992

Now, we get to the really interesting stuff: Breaking down the “47 percent” number that Romney tossed around in that video.

Here’s a closer look at the Post-Dispatch‘s treatment, build with four single sentences, large color numbers and four pieces of art from either the files or from stock services.

Note how the numbers add up to only 46 percent. Yes, Romney made a rounding error in his original speech. Which we can forgive, I think. It’s not like he was talking about something really important like his running mate’s marathon times or something.

The photo of Romney downpage is yet another one by AP’s Dharapak…


Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

…as is this one on the front of the Kansas City Star.

Down the left side of the lead package is a McClatchy-Tribune graphic that breaks down the “47 percent” via a pie chart.

Notice that 28.3 percent of households last year did indeed pay taxes — Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes — but didn’t technically pay any income taxes. If you don’t include these folks, Romney’s “47 percent” — which is actually only 46.4 percent — shrinks down to 18.1 percent. Or just under one out of every five households.

Still, that’s a lot more than I would have guessed before this entire episode began. So at the very least, this has been instructive.


Denver, Colo.

Circulation: 401,120

Memo to the Denver Post: Does USA Today know you’re using huge circles on page one?

The folks at the Post knew today that everyone was asking: Who IS that 47 percent? Not only did the Post set out to answer that question, they made that answer a huge visual on page one today.

Here’s a closer look at the bottom part of the graphic, which came from the Washington Post. Click for a readable version:

Nicely done. However, the Post will be hearing from Gannett’s lawyers any minute now.

(And here’s the Post‘s legal defense: Hey, this wasn’t ANYTHING like USA Today’s “blue balls.” OUR big circle had actual CONTENT in it!)


New Bedford, Mass.

Circulation: 21,582

My favorite front page of the day, however, is this one by the tiny Standard-Times of New Bedford, Mass., about 30 miles southeast of Providence, R.I. Check out how the strip containing the pull quote slices through the photo.

That — and the accompanying headline — is nothing short of brilliant.

Let’s hear it for the tiny papers. Once again.

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