L.A. Times’ Javier Zarracina named graphics editor of Vox

Javier Zarracina — graphics and data editor for the Los Angeles Times — has been named graphics editor for Vox.com.

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Vox is a news web site described by the New York Times as “a technology company that produces media” — as opposed to, y’know, the other way around. It was launched a year ago by former Washington Post “Wonkblog” columnist Ezra Klein.

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Javier will become Vox‘s first-ever graphics editor. He’ll start work on May 1.

A 1987 graduate of the Universidad del Pais Vasco in Bilbao, Spain, Javier has been an artist and then graphics director for El Correro in Bilbao, deputy graphics director of the San Jose Mercury News in 2004, and graphics director of Group Vocento in Spain. He joined the Boston Globe in 2007 and was promoted to graphics editor in 2012.

Javier moved to the L.A. Times in 2013. He also consults for the Innovation Media Group. He’s married to Kris Viesselman, former vice president for product development and chief creative officer of U-T San Diego.

A few samples of Javier’s work:

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See more on Javier’s personal web site here. Find his Twitter feed here.

A collection of newspaper tributes to Leonard Nimoy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this weekend, then you’ve probably heard that Leonard Nimoy — the actor who played the iconic science fiction character of Mr. Spock on Star Trek — died. He was 83.

Nimoy was originally from Boston and it reportedly took him years to ditch his Bahhstahhn accent. Astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this little tribute from the International Space Station — high above Boston on Saturday.

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That, of course, is the Vulcan hand salute, typically used when one wishes another to “live long and prosper.”

I spent this past week in Fargo, N.D., where I taught staffers of the Forum newspaper company. Among the topics we talked about were ways to have fun with skyboxes and when to alter the paper’s nameplate. After my week was over and I returned to my hotel Friday night, I nearly fell out of my chair when I spotted this little gem on Twitter.

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Sure enough, that was the Forum’s nameplate Saturday. Outstanding.

Several papers paid homage to Nimoy Saturday or today. Most looked rather like this one, on teh front of Saturday’s Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader.

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The Associated Press moved that portrait of Nimoy, shot just a few years ago before his health began to fall off. Note the secondary photo of Nimoy, shot during an appearance at Eastern Kentucky University in 1978, around the time the first Star Trek movie was being made.

Also, note the downpage interview with Walter Koening, who played Star Trek‘s Ensign Chekov,

My favorite front page of the day was this one by the Hartford Courant.

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That is essentially a centerpiece promo to a story inside. But it was clearly assembled by someone who had a lot of love for Nimoy and for Star Trek.

The Staten Island Advance led Saturday’s front page with a collection of ten “pithy sayings” from Nimoy’s character.

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Here’s a closer look:

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The folks in Pensacola, Fla., received the benefit of some great timing: There was a comic book/scifi convention in town this weekend. Sending someone to poll the folks there about the loss of Nimoy was a no-brainer.

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My friends at the Villages Daily Sun in Florida went out and asked locals about Nimoy and Spock.

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It’s great if you have a science fiction crowd in town. But this proves you didn’t really need one. Nearly everyone loved Star Trek and Mr. Spock.

The two major New York City tabloids were regional twins yesterday. The Daily News used that AP portrait with a rather obvious “Beam me up” headline….

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…while the New York Post wrote a similar headline but stuck with a vintage 50-year-old photo from the original TV series.

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My former colleagues at the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif., pushed back whatever they had planned for Sunday’s Focus page and spent their Friday putting together this nice page on the career of Leonard Nimoy.

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Jeff Goertzen and Kurt Snibbe get brownie points for pulling out a picture of Nimoy singing. Ugh!

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Kurt drew this little bit down the right side of the page showing three seemingly mystical aspects — or abilities — of the Spock character.

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The Los Angeles Times Saturday led page one with a fairly recent portrait of Nimoy — shot through a window, for some reason — and a very nice obit.

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I didn’t quite understand the little graphic at the bottom of the package, though. Here’s that same little graphic, from the web site.

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This turned out to be a little refer to a fun online listing of all of Nimoy’s onscreen appearances as Spock, created by Javier Zarracina. There’s a little icon of Spock for every episode in which he appeared.

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Mouse over each to find out what episode it was and when it was broadcast.

As you continue to scroll down, you see variations in Spock’s wardrobe for the odd episode here and there — like, for instance, the dungarees and stocking cap he wore when he and Kirk visited Earth in the 1930s in the episode City on the Edge of Forever (upper right). Or his fighting stance in Amok Time (second row, second from left). Or the “evil” alternate-universe Spock from Mirror, Mirror (second row, far right).

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The little figures are animated, which is guaranteed to make you smile. Especially the Amok Time figure.

As you scroll to the early 1970s, you find icons for the animated Star Trek series from that era…

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…and then the Star Trek movie series, which debuted my last year in high school.

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Here, you see the final original Star Trek movie in which Spock appeared, his two appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation and then his surprise appearance in the Star Trek reboot movie in 2009. Note the 18-year time gap.

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I didn’t quite understand the little figure in 2012 until I read up on it: That year, Nimoy voiced a vintage Spock action figure in an episode of Big Bang Theory.

Fun, fun stuff. Go here to see it for yourself.

And then there’s this fine tribute to Nimoy by the Washington Post — which I would have never seen had it not been for my monitoring Twitter during my travel layover Saturday at O’Hare.

First, there’s this great headline atop the job of Nimoy’s obit in Saturday’s paper.

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But the truly outstanding part was this fabulous illustration on the front of Saturday’s Style section.

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That was created by London-based freelance illustrator Noma Bar.

Noma writes, on his web site:

I am after maximum communication with minimum elements.

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Right. Well, he certainly pulled it off with this Spock piece.

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Find Noma’s Twitter feed here.

Boston Globe’s Javier Zarracina moving to the Los Angeles Times

Dan Zedek of the Boston Globe announced recently:

It’s with a heavy heart that I tell you that Javier Zarracina is leaving the Globe to take a position as Graphics Director at the Los Angeles Times.

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It’s a move that makes a lot of sense for him — his wife is based in San Diego and they’ve been commuting between coasts — but it’s a real loss for us. Javier is the best at what he does: a gifted visual artist, a journalist with real depth and rigor, and the possessor of a lively and intensely curious mind. I talk with Javier many times each day and always come away having learned something or gotten fresh inspiration for a project I’m working on. I know his extraordinary team would say the same. Simply put, he makes everyone he works with better at what they do. For that he has my thanks for all he’s done for us and best wishes for the future. Toasting and roasting is very much in order before his last day on October 18; details will follow.

I’m grateful to Chiqui Esteban for agreeing to temporarily step in to be the day-to-day point person for the graphics team after the 18th.

Javier tells us his actual title will be Graphics and Data Editor. He’ll report to the Times‘ new director of data visualization Len Degroot and will start his new job on Oct. 21.

The wife Dan refers to is Kris Viesselman, vice president for product development and chief creative officer of U-T San Diego. Kris and Javier got married back in April.

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A 1987 graduate of the Universidad del Pais Vasco in Bilbao, Spain, Javier has been an artist and then graphics director for El Correro in Bilbao, deputy graphics director of the San Jose Mercury News in 2004, and graphics director of Group Vocento in Spain. He joined the Globe in 2007 and was promoted to graphics editor in 2012.

A few samples of his work for the Globe:

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See more on Javier’s personal web site here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Len DeGroot is now director of data visualization at the L.A. Times

In the “this got completely by me” department…

Longtime Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel visual journalist Len DeGroot — who left newspapers in 2010 for the Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism — has been named director of data visualization at the Los Angeles Times.

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Former Times reporter Kevin Roderick writes in his blog at LA Observed:

He will lead the Art Department and work with the Data Desk and Web team in overseeing the development of graphics and data presentations.

A graduate of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., Len spent eight years as a news artist for the Tracy (Calif.) Press, The Stockton Record, the Los Angeles Daily News and Marin Independent Journal of Novato, Calif., before joining the Sun-Sentinel in 2000 as a senior graphics reporter. Two years later, he was promoted to assistant graphics director and, four years later, graphics director. Len moved back to California in February 2010.

Evidently, Len has started work already. Kevin reported Monday:

The other shoe fell Friday in the form of a memo from DeGroot informing the newsroom that from now on, requests to create digital graphics for the Times website will have priority over graphics for the print newspaper.

Kevin published the entire “how-to” memo from Len, including visual aids on how to fill out a graphics request and what the criteria will be for choosing which assignments get done. Find it all here.

Find Len’s Twitter feed here.

A look at Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling front pages

I got up very early Thursday in order to build you a nice collection of Supreme Court decision front pages. But then I ran into another series of technical glitches: I couldn’t upload images to my blog.

I managed to upload the pages last night, but it literally took me hours to do what should have taken five minutes.

So, a day late, here’s a look at some of the day’s notable Same-sex marriage front pages…

Many of Thursday’s front pages did a great job of showing the emotion involved in earning the right to marry, shown on the faces of the nation’s gay and lesbian folks in D.C. and around the country.

JOURNAL & COURIER

Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

The Associated Press picture on the front of Lafayette shows plenty of emotion. And that’s good.

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That headline, however, was fairly typical in that it suggested a win for gay marriage in both decisions announced Wednesday.

However, as you might know, that really wasn’t the case. Sure enough, the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down. But California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in the state of California was less than a perfect victor for gay marriage supporters. That case was essentially dismissed on a technicality. So that wasn’t actually a victory for supporters of gay marriage. In fact, as a result, we’ll continue to see these legal battles go on at the state level. It’s only because California currently has supporters of gay marriage in office at the moment that Prop 8 will be pursued no further.

So in effect, Wednesday might have been a ” win-win” for supporters of gay marriage. But not in fact. The struggle is far from over for gay and lesbian folks throughout the country.

VIRGINIAN-PILOT

Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 142,476

We see the same afront the Virginian-Pilot. The Pilot picked a photo that I didn’t seen anyone else use — one just dripping with emotion.

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And while the main head refers to “two victories,” note how the deck on the Prop 8 story makes it clear that gay marriage is not coming to the notoriously red state of Virginia.

The photo is by Mark Wilson of Getty images.

DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE

Rochester, N.Y.

Circulation: 114,502

The Rochester paper went with a quote headline: “Equal in every way.”

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But again, that’s only in the eyes of the federal government. Gays are not equal in every way from state to state. And that’s from where the court says decisions on marriage licenses must come.

The photo by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press is of the same couple you saw on the front of the Virginian-Pilot.

JOURNAL NEWS

White Plains, N.Y.

Circulation: 72,764

Possibly the most spectacular front page of the day was this rainbow banner-waving gentleman on the front of Gannett’s New York-based papers.

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I’m a little baffled about where the picture came from, however. It’s credited to J. Scott Applewhite of the Associated Press in the White Plains paper, above, but to Getty images in the Binghamton, Elmira and Ithaca papers, below.

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From left to right:

  • Binghamton, N.Y., Press & Sun-Bulletin, circulation 34,311
  • Elmira, N.Y., Star-Gazette, circulation 15,172
  • Ithaca, N.Y., Journal, circulation 9,668

DES MOINES REGISTER

Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 101,915

In Iowa — which has seen its fair share of legal battles for gay marriage — The state’s capital city paper managed a nice pun in the main headline.

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Banner day? And the man in front of the state capitol is holding a banner? Hey, I never got away with puns like that when I worked at the Register.

The banner picture is by staffer Bryon Houlgrave.

PRESS-CITIZEN

Iowa City, Iowa

Circulation: 12,130

The paper in Iowa City also built page one around a local person waving a banner, but minus the pun head.

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In particular, I like the way the Press-Citizen broke up the issue into two decks. Notice the one on the right. The Press-Citizen got it right here, which delights me.

That great picture is by staffer David Scrivner.

CHICAGO TABLOIDS

Chicago, Ill.

But nowhere is the divided nature of Wednesday’s ruling more apparent than on the front pages of Chicago’s two tabloid newspaeprs.

RedEye takes note of the celebrations to come during the upcoming gay pride celebrations…

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while the Sun-Times focuses on the fact that neither ruling will help gays or lesbians in Chicago.

The couple on the front of RedEye was photographed in Chicago’s “boystown” district by Tribune staffer Anthony Souffle. The Sun-Times also used a picture from the northside, but from Charles Rex Arbogast of the Associated Press.

Average free daily distribution for RedEye is about 250,000. The Sun-Times circulates about 184,801 papers daily.

QUAD-CITY TIMES

Davenport, Iowa

Circulation: 46,824

In Davenport, too, the Quad-City Times went with local celebration art. This picture is by staffer John Schultz.

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But look at the headline: Sets the state for fights at the state level. Yep. Less of a grabber headline. But more accurate — especially for folks in the Midwest.

COURIER-POST

Camden, N.J.

Circulation: 46,547

However, I had to admire this front by yet another Northeastern Gannett paper. Sure, some of these states — in this case, New Jersey — might not gain gay marriage with Wednesday’s decision. But it’s just a matte of time.

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The picture is from the Associated Press.

Now, let’s turn our focus to California, which did indeed gain — or, perhaps, I should say regain — gay marriage with Wednesday’s decision. The governor said Wednesday he’d honor the lower court’s earlier smackdown of Proposition 8 and have officials issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples as soon as the legal paperwork goes through on a court-ordered temporary stay. It should take about a month, he said.

LOS ANGELES NEWSPAPER GROUP

Los Angeles, Calif.

So with gay marriage in fact the new law of the land, California papers have a bit more leeway to refer to things like weddings and marches. The L.A. Daily News did well with this great headline and a celebration shot by staffer Hans Gutknecht.

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That’s the L.A. Daily News, of course, circulation 94,016.

That same design played out across many of the group’s front pages Thursday. From left:

  • Long Beach Press-Telegram, circulation 82,556
  • Torrance Daily Breeze, circulation 15,000

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  • Pasadena Star-News, circulation 24,778
  • Covina San Gabriel Valley Tribune, circulation 59,989
  • Whittier Daily News, circulation 14,691

The group’s San Bernadino Sun opted for a different photo, by staffer Will Lester

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…as did the Daily Facts of Redlands (circulation 6,607) and the Inland Daily Bulletin of Ontario (circulation 61,699).

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BAY AREA NEWS GROUP

Walnut Creek, Calif.

Up in the Bay area, the couple in the left of this lead photo look happy, but not so much for the rest of the folks in the background.

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The picture is by staffer Jane Tyska.

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

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Circulation: 25,000

The Santa Cruz paper led with a picture of a man waving a hybrid rainbow banner + U.S. flag.

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The picture is by staffer Kevin Johnson.

U-T SAN DIEGO

San Diego, Calif.

Circulation: 230,742

The San Diego paper found a massive street parade going on in the wake of the announcement. Which, naturally, made for great A1 art.

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The fabulous photo is by staffer K.C. Alfred.

The paper loses points, however, for its display type. When is the last time you’ve seen the word “bolster” used outside of a headline?

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 616,575

The Times, as you might expect, covered a lot of bases on page one. The headline was plain and simple. The lead art focused on which justice voted which way.

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And a great celebration picture by staffer Al Seib played well downpage.

Particularly nice is the headline on the sidebar about the losing side:

A movement swept aside

Prop. 8 backers go from jubilant to marginalized in five years

Nicely done.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

The best headline of the day, however, was by my colleagues one desk over at the Orange County Register.

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You gotta love that. I’m told the Register‘s D.C. bureau chief, Cathy Taylor — who worked a very long day Wednesday — came up with that particular bit of genius.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 229,176

There was a bit of rumbling yesterday on social media: How come the San Francisco Chronicle didn’t have a word about Prop 8 or DOMA on the front of Thursday’s newspaper?

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Whenever you see something like that, you can bet there is some sort of wrap involved.

Sure enough, assistant managing editor for presentation Frank Mina tells us there was a wrap: An entire 12-page special section wrapped around Thursday’s Chronicle.

And what a glorious section it is. Click on any of these pages for a much larger — hopefully, readable — view.

Page one includes the banner headline everyone expected to see from the paper at Ground Zero of the fight for gay marriage rights.

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The picture by staffer Michael Macor is of two local men who were plaintiffs in a case that went to the California Supreme Court several years ago. And, like most of the pictures in the section, it was shot live Wednesday for Thursday’s paper.

Page two (below, left) holds the jump of the main story. The picture of a man celebrating on the steps of the Supreme Court building in D.C. is by Pete Marovich of MCT.

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On page three is a sidebar about a local couple who hope to get married.

Across the top of those pages are quotes from the rulings themselves.

Across the tops of pages four and five are Q&A type factoids about the rulings.

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Page four focuses on the opponents of gay marriage and what they can do about the ruling. The picture of a preacher praying in front of the supreme court building is by Joshua Roberts of Bloomberg.

Page five addresses what may or may not happen now across the nation. The picture of two local men is by staffer Ian C. Bates.

Across the bottom is a column about the impact of the decision on personal finances.

The center spread is a picture page experience showing folks waiting for and reacting to the ruling.

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The biggest picture at upper right is by staffer Lacy Atkins.

Page eight (below, left) is a celebration story and illustrated with a picture by Carlos Avila Gonzalez. Like in Chicago, there was already a gay pride event scheduled for this weekend in San Francisco. I imagine that’ll be quite the party.

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The picture at the top of page nine (upper right) is the one I really wanted to see. That’s former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. In 2004, he ordered city officials to fulfill requests for marriage licenses by gay and lesbian couples — pretty much in open defiance of state law at the time. That’s pretty much what started the ball rolling that resulted in Wednesday’s rulings.

Newsom, by the way, is now Lieutenant Governor.

The photo is by staffer Lea Suzuki.

Pages 10 and 11 are editorial pages. The paper supported gay marriage, not surprisingly. And note the editorial atop page 11: Despite Wednesday’s rulings, this is still a conservative court.

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In particular, I like the editorial cartoon by Tom Meyer.

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At the bottom left, note a story entitled “By any means necessary?” This addresses the decision made by the state government, several years ago, to not argue in favor of Proposition 8. This was a radical idea that eventually led directly to the technicality that caused that conservative court to not intervene. That was the real turning point of the case, as it turns out.

The back page, 12, holds a giant chronology of the entire Prop 8 case from the wedding licenses at the San Francisco City Hall to the Supreme Court rulings on Wednesday.

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Across the bottom of the back page is a a great column about a federal judge who heard the Prop 8 case in 2010 and ruled against it. He wasn’t surprised by Wednesday’s ruling, he says.

Not long after his decision, the judge retired. It was then that he revealed that he, himself, is gay. That led to supporters of Proposition 8 filing for appeal on the grounds that the judge shouldn’t have heard the case in the first place.

So this was yet another major figure in the history of Prop 8.

The San Francisco Chronicle pages are courtesy of Frank Mina. The rest are all from the Newseum. Of course.

A look at today’s notable Oklahoma tornado front pages

In the future, whenever you think of the horrifying tragedy Monday in Oklahoma, you’ll remember this image:

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That was shot in Moore, Okla., by Sue Ogrocki of the Associated Press.

Sue’s first-person story is downright chilling:

I expected chaos as I approached the piles of bricks and twisted metal where Plaza Towers Elementary once stood. Instead, it was calm and orderly as police and firefighters pulled children out one by one from beneath a large chunk of a collapsed wall.

Parents and neighborhood volunteers stood in a line and passed the rescued children from one set of arms to another, carrying them out of harm’s way. Adults carried the children through a field littered with shredded pieces of wood, cinder block and insulation to a triage center in a parking lot.

They worked quickly and quietly so rescuers could try to hear voices of children trapped beneath the rubble.

Read the rest of it here.

The way to play that photo — no matter where your paper was located today — was to run it big and get the hell out of its way. You’ll notice the similarities between how my former paper and my current paper built the top of page one today.

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On the left is the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., circulation 142,476. On the right is Scott Albert’s take in the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif., circulation 280,812.

Several other papers also elected to give that same picture prominent play on page one today — and with a variation of that same headline. Click any of these — or any page here today — for a larger look.

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From left:

  • Los Angeles Daily News, circulation 94,016
  • Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press, circulation 75,336
  • Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News, circulation 70,446
  • Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer, circulation 144,165

And several papers paired their “devastation” headlines with this equally moving picture by Paul Hellstern of the Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, of teachers walking students away from the rubble of their school.

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Do yourself a favor, folks, and don’t look too closely at that photo. Especially at the bruised and bleeding faces of those heroic teachers. Especially if you’re married to a teacher.

On the left is the Forum of Fargo, N.D., circulation 45,298. On the right is the Chronicle of Augusta, Ga., circulation 55,444.

Just to show you didn’t have to use “devastation” in your headline today, here are four more pages using that same Oklahoman picture, but with different — and wonderful — headline treatments.

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From left:

  • Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger, circulation 278,940
  • Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, circulation 135,223
  • Des Moines (Iowa) Register, circulation 101,915
  • Chicago (Ill.) Tribune, circulation 414,590

Here are three that used the Sue Ogrocki photo, but with different headlines.

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From left:

  • Los Angeles (Calif.) Times, circulation 616,575
  • Minneapolis, Minn., Star Tribune, circulation 300,330
  • Detroit (Mich.) Free Press, circulation 232,696

In particular, I love how the Free Press headline puts an additional terrifying spin on an already alarming story. What I don’t like is how far down the page that story is shoved by the hockey skybox.

On the other hand, the hockey story a) is local, and b) will sell a lot of papers. Note how the picture is moved below the fold, but that dynamite headline will peek out of a news rack. Nicely played.

Even the New York City tabloids today created what I call “regional twins.”

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If I had to choose between the two, I’d argue the Daily News (left, circulation 595,636) shows the scope of the devastation behind the woman and child. The size and position of the headline on the Post (right, circulation 555,327) hides a important part of the photo.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the papers in Oklahoma…

TULSA WORLD

Tulsa, Okla.

Circulation: 97,725

The suburb of Oklahoma City that was struck Monday — Moore — was hit hard 14 years ago in a storm people there remember very clearly. Which explains the headline used today by the Tulsa World.

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You already know I love the photo and the “play it big” treatment. The above-the-headline bullet points are a nice touch here.

PERRY DAILY JOURNAL

Perry, Okla.

Circulation: 3,050

I realize this is a tiny, tiny daily paper. But still, given the enormity of Monday’s events, this is perhaps the most unfortunate headline of the day.

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From what I can tell, the story — and presumably the headline — was written before Monday’s storms struck.

NORMAN TRANSCRIPT

Norman, Okla.

Circulation: 10,727

Nightmare” sums up Monday on the front of the Norman paper today.

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Instead of leading with school photos, the Transcript went with a photo of a woman being pulled from the rubble of a medical center in Moore. That seems an odd choice, given the number of victims at the school. The photo in the bottom left corner is a Sue Ogrocki picture from the school, but credited only to the “Associated Press.”

OKLAHOMAN

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Circulation: 130,177

The headline atop today’s Oklahoman made me stop and scratch my head.

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I’m told this is a reference to the big storm that ripped through Oklahoma City in 1999. Locals get it.

However, one correspondent told me this morning:

In fact it was not worse than the tornado on May 3, 1999.

If that turns out to be the case, then someone might regret this headline.

MY WORK FROM MONDAY

I’ll close with some of my own work from Monday.

I was working away on my next Focus page for the Orange County Register, here in Southern California, when our news editor wondered if we could pull together some  information on what is a tornado and how dangerous they can be for today’s paper. They have a few waterspouts in these parts, but actual tornadoes are quite rare. So a backgrounder seemed in order.

It was around 3 p.m. I dumped what I was working on and jumped on it.

Luckily, I’ve done tornado graphics many, many times in the past. (And some of you will remember this blog post from March in which I explained why I’m so well-read on this topic.) So I knew where to go for statistical data. In addition, one of my colleagues here had done a nice “how a tornado is formed” graphic that beat hell out of the most recent one I had done. So I used his as a starting point.

Here is the resulting graphic, which ran on page three of today’s paper. Click, of course, for a larger view.

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I didn’t want to interfere with whatever my friends on the A-section desk were doing with live coverage, so I stayed away from pictures of Monday’s tornado — which was of a less photogenic type, anyway, from what I can see in the videos. As the little caption says, there, in the bottom right: That is a tornado that was photographed Sunday near Wichita, Kansas.

Down the right side is a series of graphics that show how a tornado forms and — most importantly, for folks here in California — how they can spot them on radar and give people in their path early warning.

On the left is a look at stats: The ten deadliest, a month-by-month look at numbers over the past three-and-a-half years. See the two bars that stick way out to the right? Those are the months that produced the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville and Joplin.

In particular, I liked the bit that shows “tornado alley” and “Dixie alley,” where these storms are more frequent.

This was the first time I’ve built one of these pages on short notice, off the day’s news.

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

Ethics? What ethics? State-of-the-art photo retouching tips from 1946

The find of the day: An instruction manual on how to retouch photos for publication, published in 1946.

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The PetaPixel blog posted a number of pages from this book, Shortcuts to Photo Retouching For Commercial Use, by Raymond Wardell. PetaPixel’s Michael Zhang writes:

Think of it as a “Photoshop 101″ book for photographers who came more than half a century before us.

Among the examples Michael posts is this horrifying one entitled “Order from chaos.”

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That might be good for advertising use. But we visual journalists can only cringe.

Thanks to Alan Stamm for the tip.

This sort of thing has been around forever, of course. The more extensive your newspaper’s library of vintage photos, the more likely you are to have come across some of them. Five years ago, the L.A. TimesLarry Harnish posted this picture of Dodgers announcers Jerry Doggett and Vin Scully from the Sept. 2, 1958, edition of the Times.

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But look at Scully’s right arm. It’s in front of Doggett. But Scully is seated on the other side of him. Clearly, something fishy is going on.

Sure enough, here’s the entire picture as it appears in the LAT files.

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That’s quite a bit of airbrushing and old-school cut-and-paste going on. Larry wrote:

As Gary Metzker would say: “They are out of control.” When I showed this to Davan Maharaj, he called it “X-acto Shop.” Anybody who did this today would be out on their ear.

Yet, people tend to think of “Photoshopping” as a recent thing. Not only is it not recent, it’s only within our lifetimes this sort of thing has become frowned upon.

One more quick example: This famous picture from the Kent State incident in May 1970. You’ve all seen it, of course.

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But that image has been manipulated. In the original frame, a fence post appears to grow out of the woman’s head.

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Unfortunate. But you have to keep that fence post there. We don’t manipulate documentary news photographs. At least, we don’t manipulate them now.

Yet, it’s the manipulated version of that photo that you typically see reprinted.

And even this picture — arguably one of the most famous photographs taken in human history…

…is, in fact, manipulated. Turns out, Neil Armstrong takes pictures about as well as my wife does. In the original, he clipped off the top of Buzz Aldrin‘s head. Here’s the full frame of Neil’s shot.

Yet, journalists continue to use the manipulated version of that photo. I’m not quite sure why. I’ve been sounding the alarm on this for years (find the most recent example of that here).

Some of you have seen plenty of examples like this in my Visual Ethics slideshow. If you’ve not seen it, feel free to download the Powerpoint presentation here.

A really cool interactive look at baseball salaries by the LA Times

Illustrator and cartoonist Greg Kelly tips us off about this really cool interactive graphic posted recently by the Los Angeles Times.

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This presentation breaks down the salary teams pay at each position and presents it in bubble chart format. Or, rather, half-bubble chart format. Because the really cool thing is the ability to dial up any two teams you want and compare their position-by-position spending.

First thing I did, of course, is compare my Atlanta Braves with the Washington Nationals. The notoriously tight-fisted braves outspend the Nats at four positions.

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Surprisingly, one of those positions is not pitcher. Hover your mouse over any chart and you’ll see a player-by-player breakdown.

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Greg writes:

I’m sure straight team payroll graphics are plentiful. But to put it into perspective by making the graphic interactive, [the data] makes more sense, somehow.

For instance: The Yankees don’t spend a lot on their catcher. He seems to be the low man on the totem pole given that team’s bloated payroll.

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But when you look at other teams, they might pay their catcher much more. That’s when you see how they prioritize talent.

The Yankees are spending over 80 mill on pitchers and go cheap on the guy who completes the battery. Meanwhile, the Cardinals spend a good amount on pitching and on their catcher, who helps bring out the best in his staff.

And, then there’s the Oakland A’s spending a little as possible and are still outplaying other teams in their division.

In addition to that side-by-side chart, the site includes a biggest-to-smallest bubble chart look at all of major-league baseball.

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Yes, that’s the Houston Astros there at the very end. The Oakland A’s are fourth from last.

And there’s also a look at the top ten highest-paid players.

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That’s drawn to a separate scale than the team charts, of course.

The graphic is credited to Times staffers Armand Emamdjomeh, Mike Hiserman and Roul Rañoa. Find it here.

UPDATE:

My sharp-eyed colleague from my Sporting News days, Justin McGuire, comments via Facebook:

Pretty cool, but their Orioles logo is two years out of date.

Hmm. It sure is tiny. I’m surprised you can even see it, Justin.

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But, sure ’nuff, that appears to be the case. According to Chris Creamer‘s authoritative collection of sports logos, the “alternate” Orioles logo on the left was replaced in 2009 with the one on the right.

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An easy mistake to make and, most likely, an easy one to fix. Which is part the beauty of online graphics.

A look at today’s Pope front pages

[Freshly updated with a few more credits that rolled in throughout the day Thursday…]

As you know, we have a new Pope. He’s from Argentina and is the first Pope ever from the Americas.

As you might imagine, papers in Argentina went crazy with the story today. But you can spot right away why I’m reluctant to spend a lot of time trying to analyze today’s front pages.

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That’s right: The photo opportunities Wednesday were so limited that only a few shots emerged from Vatican City. Which gave today’s front pages an extremely homogeneous feeling.

Now, the good news is that those three papers…

  • Clarín of Buenos Aires, circulation 332,601
  • La Nacion of Buenos Aires, circulation 160,000
  • El Territorio of Posadas, circulation unknown

…each wanted the iconic shot of the day on page one. And they got it. Readers throughout Argentina will save today’s newspaper as a keepsake.

So even though, for news design purposes, I’m not thrilled with today’s front pages, readers probably are. And that’s what matters.

In addition — as you can see there — the Newseum expects today to be a high-traffic day with plenty of hot-linking and bandwidth stealing. So they slapped watermarks on everything today.

In the past, I’ve had a no-watermark rule here in the blog. But that’s just not practical, sadly enough. So we’ll grit our teeth and dive into a few notable front pages…

THAT SAME PICTURE…

…was used by many, many U.S. newspapers. Most were smart enough to use it well — even those that built enormous page-one packages.

Here are four of my favorites:

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The picture itself is by Gregorio Borgia of the Associated Press.

Top row:

  • Boston Globe, Boston Mass.; circulation 225,482
  • Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis.; circulation 185,710

Bottom row:

  • U-T San Diego, San Diego, Calif.; circulation 230,742
  • Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.; circulation 142,476

I realize I’m only showing my ignorance and unfamiliarity with Latin, but I wonder how many young people will look at that Virginian-Pilot headline and wonder: Why is there a line from Harry Potter on that page?

A VIEW FROM A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ANGLE

Papers that didn’t use that yellow-backed AP picture likely used this one: A photo made by L’Osservatore Romano and also distributed by the Associated Press.

Interestingly, however, several papers that used this picture also chose to run secondary art where you could see the new Pope’s face.

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That’s the Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, circulation 246,571.

Here are two more examples of that same approach…

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…from the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa. (circulation 70,446) and the Star Ledger of Newark, Pa., (circulation 278,940).

It’s just a coincidence that all three of those papers are Advance publications. I think.

FINDING THAT DIFFERENT PICTURE

A few newspapers managed to find lead art that most papers did not run on page one today.

For example, the New York Times chose this picture by Alessandro Bianchi of Reuters.

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The Washington Post went with an over-the-shoulder, wave-at-the-crowd shot, but not the same one we saw a moment ago. this is another handout from L’Osservatore Romano but distributed by Reuters.

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Average daily circulation for the Post is 507,615. The Times circulates 1,586,757 papers daily.

REGIONAL TWINS

Because of the scarcity of variety of art, I’d imagine, what I call “regional twins” popped up all over the place today. This is what I call situations in which two papers with overlapping readership areas end up with similar front-page pictures and headlines.

My favorite example of this: Right here in Southern California. My own paper, the Orange County Register, cropped in tight on that picture you just saw on the front of the New York Times while the Los Angeles Times used a picture by Luca Bruno of the Associated Press. Yet, the pictures were shot from a similar angle. And check out the headlines.

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Average daily circulation for the LAT is 616,575. The OCR circulates 280,812.

MOST INTERESTING HEADLINE OF THE DAY

Speaking of headlines, I didn’t see many clever ones today. This one from the 12,387-circulation Pocono Record of Stroudsburg, Pa., struck me as one of the best.

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That was written by staffer Tom Ostrosky, I’m told.

BALCONY SHOTS THAT SHOWED MORE BALCONY

A few papers chose pictures that were more loosely-cropped. To show off the pageantry of the event, I’d imagine.

Three of these papers appealed to me a great deal. I liked the orderly, structured feel of the 57,710-circulation Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.

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That photo is from AFP/Getty Images. I’m not sure where this one is from because the designer of today’s Star Press of Muncie, Ind., left off the credit.

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Note, however, the way the designer — Catherine Pomiecko from the Louisville Design Studio, I’m told — placed the story and sidebar into that little white square at the bottom of the picture. And then echoed that with a transparent box at the top of the picture to hold the headline.

Average daily circulation for the Star Press is 20,305.

My favorite of these pages, however — and, indeed, my favorite page of the day — is this presentation by the Advocate of Victoria, Texas.

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Wow. Now, that’s a poster front.

Advocate editor Chis Cobler tells us:

Presentation editor Kimiko Fieg [designed the page], although we discussed it a lot as a design team.

Average daily circulation for the Advocate is 26,531.

WRAPPIN’ THE POPE

And three papers — that I know of — let their huge Pope photos spill over onto the back page of their papers, creating a huge wrap.

The first two of these suffer from the same problem: While the entire wrap is quite nice, look at what readers are getting with their page-one display:

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Yep. The picture of the back of a Cardinal’s head.

When you design page one of a broadsheet, you have to stay mindful of what’s above the fold. Ditto for a tabloid wrap — you have to remember that some readers might only see page one in a news rack or in a convenience store.

That was Hoy, the Spanish-language daily published by the Chicago Tribune. Interestingly, the Sun-Times today had the same issue.

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Average daily circulation for the Sun-Times is 422,335. Hoy circulates about 60,000 papers daily.

Here is the only broadsheet wrap I saw today, and you won’t see it at the Newseum. The Beaver County Times of Beaver, Pa., didn’t contribute its front page today.

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As the TimesEric Hall explaines:

 The newsfolk let the sports editor give it a whirl.

And, sure enough, you see Eric’s approach: This is essentially a photo illustration, with a picture of the pope at the bottom and a huge shot of the crowd as a background.

Note how the Beaver County Times took its nameplate down to tiny size and placed it at the bottom of the page.

A FOCUS ON THE FOLLOWERS

While a few papers managed to show the enormous throng in St. Peter’s Square, this one paper scored points today by focusing on the rapturous look on the face of this woman in Argentina, reveling in the news that the new Pope is from Argentina.

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The photo is from Reuters. I wish we knew more of her story. Does she know the new pope? Has she attended any of his services?

Perhaps it’s not important. But as I looked through today’s pages, that one brought me to a full stop. Which is the point, of course. Great job by the 108,548-circulation Boston Herald.

With the exception of Beaver County, all of these front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

What lousy timing for such an obtrusive ad

The folks at the Los Angeles Times had huge news to report this afternoon: Christopher Dorner — that cop-killing, ex-cop fugitive who’s been on the loose for the better part of a week, now, is smack in the middle of a shootout with police in Big Bear, Calif. (In fact, the standoff is still in progress as I write this at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time/2:30 Pacific Time).

The problem: The Times was also smack in the middle of presenting an ad campaign on its web site. One that featured the gritty police show Southland. One that featured cops with guns drawn, aiming menacingly out of the photo that surrounded the online newshole.

Very unfortunate. Click for a much larger view.

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As you can see, the ad consisted of a banner ad atop the news, a smaller ad atop the column of breaking news items, an even smaller ad up top with the paper’s nameplate and then a huge expanse to either side of the main window.

The actual gun battle itself got the biggest news play on the page. But the cops-with-guns ad completely overpowered the actual cops-with-guns story.

The good news: Someone at the Times realized how badly this looked and apparently pulled the plug on the ad fairly quickly. My anonymous tipster — who wrote me from Oregon — wrote back four minutes later today:

To its credit, the L.A. Times appears to have dropped the Southland ad from its home page.

The Times, as you know, has a history of obtrusive advertising — at least, in print. In April 2009, the Times ran a large ad on page one for this same TV show, but the ad was designed to look somewhat like a news story.

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Yes, the headline font was different and the word “Advertisement” appeared just below the NBC logo.

In 2010, the Times did this sort of thing a couple of times that I know of. This ad placement for the film Despicable Me wrapped around three sides of the Calendar page…

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…however, this ad for the Alice in Wonderland movie appeared to actually leap in front of live news stories.

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That’s not what readers were seeing, of course. Those were dummy stories and dummy headlines. This page, in fact, wrapped around that day’s Los Angeles Times.

Perhaps the most egregious use of obtrusive advertising in the LAT was this false section that inserted in July of 2010.

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That was the front of a four-page special advertising section. The pictures and stories — which all detailed an unspecified disaster in the metro region — wasn’t fully explained until readers got to the final page, in which they discovered the whole thing was caused by an escapee from Universal Studios amusement park.

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The problem was in how real the section looked. The nameplate and fonts in the faux section were nearly identical to those used on the actual local news front.

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This got so bad for a while that the Los Angeles county board of supervisors called upon the LAT to knock it off.

In fairness, the Times is hardly the only paper struggling with these issues. In November 2011, the New York Times web site featured a Coca-Cola ad that blotted out the entire screen for several seconds before freeing it up again.

Find lots of examples of obtrusive advertising — in print and online — here.

A look at today’s most outstanding Pope Benedict XVI pages

Huge news broke Monday morning: The Pope is resigning. Pope Benedict XVI will be the first pope in 598 years to resign, as opposed to dying in office.

This move — along with the baggage the Catholic church is carrying around these days — made for huge play atop page one of today’s New York Times.

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That picture by L’Osservatore Romano via the Associated Press was one of the few actual news photos I could find on today’s front pages, as collected this morning by the Newseum.

The Los Angeles Times used a picture from the same source and also shot fresh at the event Monday in which Pope Benedict made his surprise announcement.

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The Times not only included sidebars on church politics but also on the ongoing sex abuse scandal. A large infographic shows the numbers and distribution of Catholic faithful throughout the world.

Average daily circulation for the L.A. Times is 616,575. The New York Times circulates 1,586,757 papers daily.

Most papers today did not use art shot during Monday’s event. I especially liked the tired expression in the file photo from Agence France-Presse, used today by the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

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That’s a great example of selecting a photo that fits perfectly with the quote superimposed over part of it.

Average daily circulation for the Star-Ledger is 278,940.

In a more humorous vein, I enjoyed the blue-collar sensibility reflected by the headlines afront today’s New York Post.

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Average daily circulation for the Post is 555,327.

And while some papers speculated on page one that the next pope might be “from a developing nation,” none played up this angle as loudly as did the Philadelphia Daily News.

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That is Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson from Ghana in that AP file photo.

Average daily circulation for the Daily News is 110,000.

While several papers today created very nice page-one treatments of the Pope’s resignation, I feel like six were head-and-shoulders above the rest. Here’s a look at them…

#6

THE REPORTER

Fond du Lac, Wis.

Circulation: 10,186

The photo here — an AP file shot from 2005 — is wonderfully chosen and cropped. I also love the three little decks above the main headline that cite major elements of the story.

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Note how the decks color-coordinate with the cape the pope is wearing.

The downside: The main headline tells us nothing new. That news was out at mid-morning Monday. It might have been better to write a headline that tried to give a little more perspective on the story or spun it forward just a bit.

Other than that, this page sings.

That page was designed in Gannett’s  Des Moines Design Studio by Wisconsin team leader Sean McKeown-Young and Brooke Curry,

Brooke, by the way, is currently a student at Grand View University in Des Moines and has been interning in the studio for a solid year, creative director Nathan Groepper tells us. Find her portfolio here.

#5

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Chicago, Ill.

Circulation: 414,590

As terrific as that last page was, here’s another wonderful one that is seemingly shot from the opposite angle.

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In fact, that’s a file photo by Franco Origlia of Getty Images. I don’t know the year.

The page was designed by Michelle Rowan and Ryan Smith, I’m told.

Honorable mention goes to Express — the commuter tab published in D.C. by the Washington Post — for getting great mileage out of that same picture today.

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Average daily distribution for Express is 183,916.

#4

DES MOINES REGISTER

Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 101,915

Designer Nicole Bogdas, working out of Gannett’s Des Moines center, tells us about the front page she built for today’s Register:

I think some folks here were skeptical at first when they saw just the photo, but after I put it together we agreed it was the way to go.

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When I was pitching it, I likened it to the famous Babe Ruth photo, and when I went home last night and described the photo to my boyfriend he said, “So, like the famous Babe Ruth photo.”

That would be this picture of Ruth shot at his last public appearance in 1948 by Nat Fein of the New York Herald Tribune.

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Fein won a Pulitzer Prize for that picture.

Find Nicole’s portfolio page here and her Twitter feed here.

That picture of the pope — file art by Gregorio Borgia of the Associated Press — was also used today to great effect by another Gannett Design Studio host paper, the Arizona Republic of Phoenix.

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Phoenix studio director Tracy Collins tells us the page was designed by Amy King. He asked Amy to tell us how her page came together:

I started looking through photos on the wire. George Berke (Republic team leader) and I talked possible options. We ran the chosen photo past the photo editor, who was a bit worried the image was too white, but saw its potential. The photo says it all. Pope: out. Mystery person: in.

We sent the copy editors and started brainstorming headline ideas.

Then George, Page 1 Editor Michael Squires and I huddled around my computer to discuss secondary display text – reading through the pope’s speech to find a good excerpt. Then a bit more photo editing to find a good image to pair with the quote.

I’ve written about Amy’s work at least three times. Find her statehood centennial pages here, an immigration law front page here and go here to find an interesting page on sexual assault.

Average daily circulation for the Republic is 321,600.

#3

VIRGINIAN-PILOT

Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 142,476

One thing is consistent in this crazy newspaper world we live in: You can count on the Virginian-Pilot to do something interesting.

In this case, it was the Pilot‘s Bethany Bickley who put together this terrific front page.

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The first thing I though of this morning when I pulled the newspaper out of the wrapper and looked at the front was how much it reminded me of this:

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Just like that now-iconic Cleveland Plain Dealer front, the pope appears to be walking off the page. Note how Bethany turned the Pilot‘s nameplate white-on-white, with only a faint dropshadow to help it pop just a bit.

The picture itself is a 2010 file shot from the Associated Press. And at least two other papers also ran the picture huge on page one today:

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On the left is the 147,085-circulation Buffalo (N.Y.) News. On the right is the Daily Local News of West Chester, Pa., circulation 24,946.

Find Bethany’s online portfolio here, her NewspageDesigner gallery here and her Twitter feed here.

#2

DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE

Rochester, N.Y.

Circulation: 114,502

We’ve all seen pictures of the pope swinging burning incense. I never thought that an innovatively-cropped version of a picture of this might make for a nice front page presentation.

Joanne Sosangelis of Gannett’s Asbury Park studio did, however.

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Joanne tells us:

Well, it all started back in …

No, seriously, fellow team leader, Omar Vega, actually pulled the photo. He used a similar image that was horizontal for some of the papers he works with and I ended up choosing the vertical version — knowing that we don’t typically run wall-to-wall centerpieces on my team’s papers.

Rochester originally started with a tall centerpiece (three columns over four), very much like what we ran in Cherry Hill, Vineland and Westchester/Rockland. As the day progressed though, we began toying with losing the skybox and pushing the story up higher. Then we tried having the story above the nameplate, and then even under it, but wall-to-wall — and incorporating the nameplate (in white) into the art.

After showing several different options, our partners in Rochester decided they wanted to go full-page (minus the ad and index space) — and there was no argument from me!

The photo is a 2010 file shot by the Associated Press.

As she mentions, Joanne’s centerpiece found its way today to several other papers designed in that same studio:

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From left, those are:

  • The Asbury Park Press, circulation 98,032
  • The Vineland, N.J., Daily Journal, circulation 12,139
  • The Cherry Hill, N.J., Courier-Post, circulation 46,547
  • The While Plains, N.Y., Journal News, circulation 72,764

Find Joanne’s design portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

And special kudos to the Free Press of Burlington, Vermont, for showing us how this same photo can be put to great use even in a tabloid format.

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Average daily circulation of the Burlington Free Press is 30,558.

#1

JOURNAL & COURIER

Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 25,531

My favorite front page of the day, however, is this one by yet another Gannett design studio.

I’m not a Catholic, nor am I a particularly religious man to begin with. But this presentation, I feel, is a wonderful blend of spiritual imagery, terrific cropping and design and perfect headline writing.

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That page was designed by Cait Palmiter of the Louisville Design Studio. Cait tells us:

The art that was chosen for the page was originally a photo from when Benedict first became pope, but Spencer (Holladay, Indiana team leader) said I should push for something else. I found a couple where he had his back turned because I loved the symbolism of it — him walking away, resigning. I showed them to my copy editor who said they still liked the other one.

I then sent an email explaining the idea to several people including the editor as well as three or four mock-ups that David Leonard created for the Louisville Courier Journal (not to be confused with Lafayette’s Journal and Courier!) and an explanation for why we should use a different photo, showing the Pope’s back.

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They came back and agreed! Persistence can pay off!

We used the basic idea of David’s mock-up and I worked with doing something a little more features-like with the headline.

It was a really satisfying page to design and I think the photo choice worked out very well. I credit Spencer with convincing me it was worth pushing, David for finding that photo, and the editors in Lafayette for being open to listening to what I had to say and changing their mind. One of the great things about the design hubs is the group of design-minded people to work with.

Great teamwork. You gotta love it.

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

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

Three outstanding projects today that you should know about

Now that election season has come and gone, it’s time for newspapers to open up with both barrels and pour out whatever terrific enterprise journalism they’ve been working on this fall.

There are lots of examples of terrific projects on front pages today, including two that were kicked off today with outstanding display type-based front-page centerpieces — what we often call a “type attack.”

 

Let’s look at three of these projects…

WASHINGTON POST

Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 507,615

The topic in D.C. today was the “East Coast rapist,” who committed more than a dozen such crimes over the course of nearly 20 years in Maryland, Virginia and Connecticut. The accused has confessed his crimes and claims to have a pathological-sounding need to treat women as objects.

That was in the key quote A1 designer Katie Myrick focused on today. Here’s a larger look.

Powerful stuff. And a great example of how you can pull off a very effective design even if you have no suitable front-page-worthy visuals to work with.

The Post had visuals. But not anything that really summed up the story well enough for the front. Click on any of the three jump pages for a larger, readable look.

 

Notice how Katie carried through here spacing to every page, which maintained the feel for the entire story.

Naturally, the story is available online. The visual highlight of the web presentation is this interactive map + timeline that follows the case from start to finish.

The interactive presentation was researched by Maria Glod and Josh White and designed by Katie Park. The map was created by Laris Karklis.

Find the story here and the interactive timeline here.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 616,575

Meanwhile, over on the other coast, the story of the day was fatal overdoses of prescription medicine. It is predictable who’ll overdose — they have a history of substance abuse or suicidal tendencies. Yet, no one seems to be tracking this. Or, if they are, they’re not doing much about it.

Here’s that powerful front page display again, designed by Kelli Sullivan.

After all, you don’t often see “vomit” in a headline — or in color — on the front of any newspaper, much less the Los Angeles Times. Yet, the headline is presented in a classy way. Clearly, readers are in for a powerful experience here.

Kelli tells us:

Due to the nature of this story, there was not really any one photo or piece of art that would work. The lead of the story was so compelling that we decided it would work as the single best thing that would draw readers in. So we decided to use the lead as main art. No headline or deck. Just the first sentences leading to the conclusion of what they all had in common which is the doctor at the end of the paragraph.

Here’s a closer look at the rest of the text, beneath the “vomit” line:

Katie continues:

Not sure if you have seen the inside pages, but it allowed me to use the victims photos in the story as vignettes that served both the story and as standalones.

All a very different approach for us but one that is driven by the material to, I think, a pretty successful result.

UPDATE – Monday, 7:26 p.m.

Here are inside pages 26 and 27. The vignettes Katie refers to seem to be the phat cutlines you see here.

Click on that for a readable view.

And here is page 29, on which the prescribing physicians give their point of view.

The online presentation carefully pulls similar typography and spacing into that medium as well. It’s not exactly the same. But it’s close enough to lend a fairly consistent look to the project.

As powerful as the story and galleries are, the real standout here is an interactive chart that allows the reader to see the number of prescription fatalities over a five-year period, grouped by age.

You can mouse over any of the blue dots for a brief bio of that victim.

But here’s what’s really cool: By using the list of warning signs at left, the reader can click them on or off to see how many of the 298 fatalities had those signs. Here, I’ve turned on two warning signs: A history of substance abuse and a previous suicide attempt.

Those two filters at once resulted in 42 fatalities to pop out. That’s 42 needless deaths.

Oh, and the Times found 71 doctors who had three or more of their patients overdose despite warning signs.

Amazing stuff. And well-told. The chart features data analysis by Hailey Branson-Potts, Doug Smith and Sandra Poindexter. Armand Emamdjomeh made it interactive.

Find the story here and the chart here.

DENVER POST

Denver, Colo.

Circulation: 401,120

Today, the Denver Post launched an eight-part series on the failure of the area’s child protection services. Over the past six years, 175 children have died from abuse or neglect. More than 40 percent of those, the Post reports, were cases in which officials could have — but failed to — take action.

Post design director Matt Swaney illustrated the story on page one today with immaculate typography, stark black, white and red type and tiny portraits of some of the dead children.

Here are the inside pages are just gorgeous. The graphics and sidebars are artfully worked into the presentation, while the spreads are anchored by the large vignette portraits.

The mug shot motif carries through to the small shots beneath the large pictures, just to the left of the cutlines.

I really love the quotes that jump the gutter across each spread. You don’t see that done very often. It’s very effective here.

Picture editor Ken Lyons played a large role in this project as you can see. Ken tells us the project…

…consumed most of my year and was an overbearingly sad thing to work on

Although the series is in only its first day, the online presentation is enormous. The same labeling and use of small thumbnails of the victims carries the visual theme through.

There are all sorts of videos and slide shows and even a 911 call posted. This is gut-wrenching stuff. But the story is one we all need to know about. These children can’t care for themselves. It’s sad, but it’s up to everyone to look after the defenseless.

(Some of you know I served in a foster-parent capacity a while back. So yeah: This story hits close to home to me. I was in tears today reading through it.)

Besides the video and audio files that are sprinkled through the story itself, the main interactive component — so far — is this chart of child abuse referral rates.

The numbers go back five years. Plus, the reader can filter via years, counties or type of abuse reported.

The online graphics were by Jonathan Boho, I’m told.

Find the story here and the referral chart here.

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

Monday’s World Series pages

Here’s a look at today’s World Series pages…

____________________________________

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS 4, DETROIT TIGERS 3

Giants win the series, 4-0

This series was an avalanche from the get-go. True, last night’s Game Four went into extra innings. But the worst that could happen — from the Giants’ point of view — was that the Tigers might force a Game Five. The Giants gave up two home runs last night, but it wasn’t enough. Giants in four; see ya in April.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

San Francisco, Calif.

Circulation: 229,176

Just about everyone today ran celebration shots of catcher Buster Posey giving reliever Sergio Romo a huge bear hug and other players rushing to join in. The large picture on the front of today’s Chronicle was by staffer Lance Iversen.

Thanks to assistant managing editor Frank Mina for sending that page to us.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: About 225,175

The picture on the front of today’s Merc was taken just a few moments later by staffer Gary Reyes.

The page was designed by Scott Swyres. Thanks to Ron Kitagawa for sending along that page.

 

On the left is the Oakland Tribune (circulation 52,459); on the right is the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek (circulation 67,464).

I particularly like the version that ran on the front of the Merc‘s sports front. You see Posey running to the mount to greet Romo, but you can also see the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera — who struck out looking for the final out — walking away in disgust.

The picture is by Getty’s Leon Halip. Thanks to Ryan Lambert for shipping that page to us.

EXAMINER

San Francisco, Calif.

Distribution: 200,000

The Examiner‘s front-page picture was very similar to that on the front of the Bay Area News Group papers.

The picture is by Paul Kitagaki Jr. of the Sacramento Bee.

PRESS DEMOCRAT

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Circulation: 56,003

The Santa Rosa paper went with a poster treatment, pairing a great shot by Julian H. Gonzalez of the Detroit Free Press with a great headline.

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Circulation: 25,000

Santa Cruz chose a photo of Romo by Reuters’ Mike Cassese.

THE RECORD

Stockton, Calif.

Circulation: 33,675

The Stockton paper dropped its usual skybox treatment for the series and went with a poster treatment today.

The picture is by Patrick Semansky of the Associated Press.

DAILY POST

Palo Alto, Calif.

Circulation: N/A

The tabloid in Palo Alto chose an AP photo of the Giants celebration on the field.

DAILY JOURNAL

San Mateo, Calif.

Circulation: 14,800

This treatment afront the San Mateo paper makes it look as if Romo is shouting the headline.

The picture is from Reuters.

THE TRIBUNE

San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Circulation: 33,980

The San Luis Obispo paper put the celebration into a skybox today that interacted with its nameplate.

THE CALIFORNIAN

Salinas, Calif.

Circulation: 9,355

The paper in Salinas focused on fans at a local nightspot.

The pictures are by staffer Jay Dunn.

SACRAMENTO BEE

Sacramento, Calif.

Circulation: 196,667

The paper in California’s state capital chose a staff picture by Paul Kitagaki Jr…

…but not the same frame used by the Examiner.

MODESTO BEE

Modesto, Calif.

Circulation: 59,783

Modesto went with a poster treatment today.

The picture wasn’t credited.

FRESNO BEE

Fresno, Calif.

Circulation: 107,501

And the AP celebration shot chosen by Fresno featured Ryan Theriot — who scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning — just beneath the word “rule.”

THE CALIFORNIAN

Bakersfield, Calif.

Circulation: 42,374

Bakersfield used a picture from Zuma Press.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 616,575

And even the Los Angeles Times ran the Giants’ win at the top of page one today.

The picture is by Christian Peterson of Getty Images.

Meanwhile, in Michigan…

DETROIT FREE PRESS

Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

The word “glum” just doesn’t do enough justice to the expression on Justin Verlander‘s face here.

What a fabulous shot by Julian H. Gonzalez. The page was designed by Steve Anderson.

Today’s Tigers front was designed by Ryan Ford, who also sent these pages to us.

And, speaking of Ryan, take note of this one last World Series-themed “gizmo”:

Those are the teams that have won the series in extra innings. click for a readable view.

And, for good measure, here is today’s Lions’ front, designed by Jeff Tarsha and featuring a photo by Carlos Osorio of the Associated Press.

DETROIT NEWS

Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

The best photo of the day, perhaps, is this one by Detroit News staffer Robin Buckson. This was just after Miguel Cabrera struck out. Buster Posey has sprung to his feet and is on his way out to the mound to meet Romo.

But check out the shellshocked expression on Cabrera’s face. That kind of sums up the entire series this year: Wha’ happened?

That page was designed by Antone Amye while Rick Epps designed today’s Tigers’ front.

The picture there is another one by Robin Buckson.

And today’s Lions front was designed by Amelia Eramya. The lead photo is by staffer David Mears.

Rick tells us:

With the Lions and Tigers on the same day, Amelia and I designed 17 pages of sports!

The Tigers gave us some great memories for sure, but in the end, it’s that empty feeling, just like ’06. We’ll take a breath for, oh, 12 hours, then switch our focus to Election Night.

GRAND RAPIDS PRESS

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Circulation: 68,865

Michigan’s Advance papers went with the simple headline — Swept — and AP photos of disappointed Tigers players. This one is of Jhonny Peralta after a strikeout.

Meanwhile, Kalamazoo and Muskegon went with a picture of Quintin Berry after he grounded out in the 5th.

 

On the left is the Kalamazoo Gazette, circulation 27,994. On the right is the 18,177-circualtion Muskegon Chronicle.

The pages from the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle are from those newspapers. The rest are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of the 2012 baseball postseason, here in the blog…

Cool infographic alert: Trucking the space shuttle down L.A. streets

Just when you thought you had seen the last of the retired space shuttle Endeavour, it pops up again. Today, Endeavour is on the front of the Los Angeles Times via a terrific graphic by staffer Raoul Rañoa.

You may recall a couple of weeks ago, the shuttle was flown to the airport in Los Angeles on the back of a special 747 cargo jet. Now, the shuttle must be trucked to the museum where it will find a permanent home.

The catch: The shuttle is too wide for city streets. First, more than 400 trees had to be chopped down to make room. And even then, the custom flatbed vehicle carrying the shuttle has to zig-zag around the trees and light posts that remain.

The green dots here show the obstacles. The yellow arrows show the gyrations Endeavour is making around them.

And the coolest bit? The guy doing the driving isn’t even behind a steering wheel. He’s walking alongside, controlling the whole thing via remote control.

And the video version is even better. Unfortunately, I can’t embed it here. But here’s a link.

Find the story here by staffers Kate Mather and Angel Jennings.

A great story and a great graphic by the Times. And a terrific talker, I’m sure. Kudos for running this above the fold on A1 today.

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

Average daily circulation for the L.A. Times is 616,575.

Other notable posts here in the blog about the LAT

  • Sept. 21, 2012: A friend from the future greets Endeavour in L.A.

  • Jan. 2, 2012: A front-page map traces a mysterious arson attack in L.A.
  • Dec. 5, 2011: How an (admittedly sharp) intern winds up on the front of the LAT
  • Nov. 11, 2011: How you outfit an aircraft carrier for a basketball game

  • July 15, 2011: A giant front-page graphic about “Carmageddon”

Geekazoid Friday: A friend from the future greets the space shuttle in Los Angeles

As you know, the retired space shuttle Endeavour arrived at Los Angeles International Airport this afternoon to great fanfare.

The Los Angeles Times has marked the occasion with a large panoramic photo — by staffer Bryan Chan — into which you can zoom in and out…

…or pan around the scene. You know the drill.

Ther was one little detail in that photo, however, that delighted me tonight. Zoom in tight on that stage set up on the tarmac…

…and you’ll find Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura in the original 1960s Star Trek TV series. She was there today to serenade Endeavour with the Star Trek theme song.

Granted, it’s the backside of Nichelle Nichols. But it’s her. And her original intent was to make a speech — not to sing. Check out the video:

Later, Ms. Nichols tweeted:

Anyway, find the gorgeous panorama here. Go here to see the LAT‘s collection of photos of Endeavour flying over California today.

Find the Times‘ story here. Oh, and don’t miss this great shot of Endeavour flying over the Hollywood sign.

Thanks to the LAT‘s Henry Fuhrmann for tweeting about this tonight.

Are question headlines really effective on a day like this?

As you can see from these headlines, there are a lot of questions out there involving the attack this week on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

What I don’t understand is why so many newspapers today led with question headlines.

Hey, I’m not the world’s best headline writer myself — as you can see every day here in the blog — but I’m under the impression that question heads should be used sparingly.

Fact is: A headline like this doesn’t really tell the reader anything.

All these headlines do are rephrase the line of inquiry that investigators are looking into. The reader already has this same question on his mind. The headline doesn’t really do much to sell the story. Or the paper.

And man, there were a lot of them today.

This one is so curt that it practically makes no sense at all.

Targeted to” 9/11? What does that mean?

A tribute to“?

This is still a question head but it includes the two possibilities, at least. Perhaps that’s a bit better than those last few.

The story, as I understand it, was that officials think a terrorist attack was carried out under cover of a protest. Is anyone questioning that theory? Apparently editors are.

At first, I laughed at the use of the word “sinister” here. But the more I thought about it, this headline made sense. In fact, It may be one of the better headlines of the day.

Yet, so many papers questioned the existence of a plot. And so many did it in the form of a question headline on their main stories.

Let this be a lesson to newspaper redesigners everywhere: It’s difficult to write a “doom and gloom” headline when your main headline font is Optima. Which is a very featurey-looking typeface.

Now, a number of papers today chose not to write question headlines. I thought these seemed a bit more accurate to the story — or, at least, to the story as I understood it by late last evening.

Possibly planned” seems about right.

This paper felt confident enough to go without the qualifier “possibly.” The attack appears planned.

No, the attacks were probably planned.

Forget that: It was planned.

Not only that: It’s no longer an attack. It was a siege.

It was deliberate. Which, yes, suggests it may have been planned.

It wasn’t just planned — it was organized.

After all, anyone who’s ever worked in a newsroom knows that planned doesn’t always mean organized.

It wasn’t just deliberate, and planned and organized — it was coordinated.

Aha, that’s what I’ve been longing to see: Attribution.

Finally. Very good.

This headline seems to be appropriate, correct and, y’know, not quite as silly as a question headline.

Good job, Indy Star.

If you can’t suspect or investigate, you can always eye something.

I don’t think it was the raid that was murky. It’s the information that’s murky.

And, of course, many of these headlines are murky.

I’m about ready to ban the word “probe” from headlines.

I mean, really? The angles were probed?

This one seemed to be missing something.

Like, for example, a subject.

This one has a subject but no direct object.

Yeah. Those may be my picks for worst headlines of the day.

Here’s a question head but, at least, it’s not the editor or the paper posing the question. It’s the U.S.

I was truly stunned by the number of papers that put a first-day headline on this second-day story.

Sure, this happened so late Tuesday night that it didn’t make Wednesday editions. But your readers do not live in a vacuum. They saw this story and the political fallout all over TV and the internet yesterday.

These headlines make no sense at all to me.

Again, this is the way you do it:

There. That wasn’t so hard, now, was it? That was from the Boston Globe.

And, of course, a few papers chose to focus on a possible impending military response.

It wasn’t just a garrison of Marines. The military also stationed two destroyers off the Libyan coast.

Granted, though, those were not a lot of marines. Nor are two destroyers a particularly fearsome strike force. Still, it was a fresh angle and good picks on deadline last night.

The best headline of the day, however, was this one by the San Antonio Express-News:

Bravo.

_______________________________

TERRIFYING ART ON PAGE ONE TODAY

By now, you’ve seen the infamous Agence France-Presse picture of Ambassador Christopher Stephens — either a) his lifeless body being dragged through the streets, or b) bystanders desperately trying to get him to the nearest hospital for treatment.

As you know, the New York Times posted this picture on its web site yesterday and declined a request from the U.S. State Department to remove it. The Times did not lead page one with this photo today — “The story had moved forward,” managing editor Dean Baquet reportedly told NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan, and rightfully so — but three papers did put the picture on page one today.

It was prominently displayed atop today’s Los Angeles Times

…and just barely peeked above the fold of today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

By far the most alarming play, however, was given today by the New York Daily News. The tight crop brings Ambassador Stephens out of the page and practically onto your breakfast table.

Awesome design. But questionable taste.

Meanwhile, a number of other papers today managed to get nearly the same impact, but a) without a picture of a dead or dying government official, and b) in a way that didn’t seem like 24-hour-old news.

This image of a flaming vehicle inside the U.S. compound that night was terrifying.

That’s another AFP picture on the front of Newsday of Melville, N.Y., circulation 397,973.

This AFP picture of a man running rampant in front of that same vehicle got lots of play around the country today, but nowhere was the image used in a more “explosive” way than on front of the Boston Herald.

Average daily circulation for the Boston Herald is 108,548.

________________________________

THE BEST SIX FRONT PAGES OF THE DAY

MORNING CALL

Allentown, Pa.

Circulation: 100,196

I loved the way the Morning Call laid the president’s quote into the top of the photo.

Also, note the man in the foreground of the picture is taking a picture of his own with his cell phone camera. The photo is by Esam Omran Al-Fetori of AFP.

FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER

Fayetteville, N.C.

Circulation: 49,163

I hadn’t seen this AP picture — of protesters in Cairo, as opposed to Libya — anywhere else, so it seemed a bit fresher to me this morning than some of the other commonly-used art.

The Observer of Fayetteville, N.C. is one of my favorite smaller newspapers. They know how to play big stories there.

UPDATE – 1:20 p.m.

Rogelio Aranda of the Charlotte Observer tells us via Twitter:

It’s worth noting that Fayetteville led with a two-day-old photo from Egypt.

Hmm. In fact, I did not catch that. And yes, that matters. I don’t think a two-day old photo is of any more use to a reader than a first-day headline on a second-day front page.

WASHINGTON POST

Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 555,327

The Post used a picture of smoldering remains in the consulate, which added to the second-day feel of its page. The headline tied into this perfectly.

That’s another photo by AFP’s Esam Omran Al-Fetori.

PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 246,571

The Plain Dealer went with a political angle. The photo of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also worked perfectly with the “crisis in Washington” headline.

The picture is by Alex Brandon of the Associated Press.

KANSAS CITY STAR

Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

My second-favorite treatment of the day was today’s display atop the Kansas City Star. I loved the four vignette AP pictures and the quote headline.

Although this was clearly a second-day story, this treatment gave immediacy to the package.

That was designed by Charles Gooch.

DES MOINES REGISTER

Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 101,915

My favorite front page of the day, however, was this one by my former paper, the Des Moines Register. The Register put the biggest emphasis on the quote by Hillary Clinton.

Nice work. If someone in the Des Moines Design Studio could tell me who was responsible, I’d be much obliged.

UPDATE – 1:30 p.m.

My old pal Nicole Bogdas of the design studio tells me the page was…

…my advance work with refinement by Erin Baker-Crabb.

UPDATE – 4 p.m.

And another old pal — Nathan Groepper, who’s now creative director of the Des Moines design studio — writes:

Thanks for the kind words, Charles. We really liked the page, too.

The centerpiece was designed by Iowa Team designer Nicole Bogdas. Early in the day on Wednesday, the Register editors identified that they wanted to go big with the Libya story. Nicole’s main objective was giving the page some visual impact without having to rely on photos our readers had seen all day online and on TV.

Nicole is a master at coming up with creative presentation for big, breaking news on deadline. (I don’t know if you remember her Osama Bin Laden cover from 2011.)

I do indeed. Click for a larger view:

All these pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Six interesting sports-themed front pages

A number of papers published interesting sports displays on page one today…

THE OKLAHOMAN

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Circulation: 132,294

The Oklahoma City Thunder goes up against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals starting tonight.

This championship series is huge for Oklahoma City. Huge.

How huge is it? It’s huge enough to merit this fun, full-page treatment on page one today.

That was created by sports designer Bill Bootz, who tells us:

Not sure I’ve had more fun doing a page, and keeping it simple was a key!

SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

The Sun Sentinel kicked off its NBA Finals coverage with an amusing Alternative Story Form that compares and contrasts Miami to Oklahoma City.

Naturally, the presentation — written by staffers Jake Cline and Diane Lade — is as unflattering as possible to the Okies:

Their state reptile is the collared lizard, which eats insects.

Our state reptile is the American alligator, which eats anything it wants: dogs, raccoons, golfers — and probably collared lizards.

Click this for a larger, readable view.

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

In Miami, today’s front page is built around a fairly typical photomontage of the star players from each team.

Particularly nice is the typography on the players’ names.

DAILY NEWS

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 94,016

In Los Angeles, of course, the L.A. Kings stomped the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to win the Stanley Cup. The Daily News responded today with a huge poster-sized celebration shot of Anze Kopitar.

The photo is by staffer Andy Holzman.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 616,575

The LAT also built its front around the Kings’ first Stanley Cup victory. The large, five-column picture was made by staffer Robert Gauthier.

I don’t have inside pages for you but as they came together last night, assistant managing editor Michael Whitley tweeted tantalizing snapshots of work-in-progress via Instagram. Click either of these for a larger view.

 

That “Majestic” headline ended up at about 180 points, Michael wrote.

In addition, there will be a Stanley Cup special section in Thursday’s paper, Michael tweeted. Find his feed here.

DAILY JOURNAL

San Mateo, Calif.

Circulation: 14,800

And finally, we have this very odd entry from the tiny Daily Journal of San Mateo on San Francisco Bay.

At first glance, this looks like a front-page ad for the Avengers movie.

Instead, however, it’s a promo to the paper’s high-school baseball wrapup. The player of the year was featured with a movie-poster treatment that did indeed play off of the Avengers theme.

I’d love it if someone out there could tell me a) whether or not this Freddy Avis poster actually ran in the paper today, and b) who designed it.

UPDATE – 12:45 p.m. EDT

Julio Lara tells us via Facebook:

I had everything to do with the Avengers thing in our paper today.

We started our Athletes of the Season today. For the last three years or so, I’ve been in charge of a visual theme. Some ideas pop into my head faster than others. This time around, I decided to give the Avengers thing a shot.

Unfortunately, the size of our newspaper doesn’t lend itself to a tremendous amount of resources — we have to work with file art (since our schedules are too tight to set up a formal shoot and we don’t have the budget to hire anyone for a shoot or an artist to draw something out for us). The idea basically had to be executed with typography and on a tight, tight schedule. The front page look was very simple … the inside of sports, took some more time.

Here’s what the Daily Journal‘s sports front looked like today:

Julio continues:

We’ll be running nine more athletes (Softball tomorrow and then track and field, swimming, golf, tennis, even badminton), so I’ll be kept busy cutting out and doing some more typography work.

These front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Los Angeles Times jumps the gun on congratulatory Stanley Cup ads

What’s good: Having ads in the paper the next day congratulating the local team on winning the Stanley Cup.

What’s not so good: Ads in the paper the next day congratulating the local team on winning the Stanley Cup… when the team didn’t win.

That’s what happened this week in Los Angeles. The Kings lost to the New Jersey Devils 3-1 Wednesday night, losing an opportunity to sweep the four-game series. Yet, a pair of congratulatory ads from a store called 99¢ Only appeared in Thursday’s Los Angeles Times.

This ran at the top of the back page of the L.A. Times Extra section, the one that includes the latest news…

…and this ran at the bottom of the page, below the daily weather map graphic.

It’s a shame, because both of these ad modules are pretty funny. Especially the spoof one up top, advertising leftover game tickets.

Read more about the snafu here.

A similar thing happened last year during the NBA Finals. The Mavericks beat the Heat in Game Six, winning the championship. Yet, the next day’s Miami Herald included a full-page ad from Macy’s congratulating the Miami team.

Not good. Read up on last year’s error here.

Today’s big story: The L.A. Times’ front-page photo of soldiers and dead insurgents

The big story this morning: The Los Angeles Times ran a photo of U.S. troops posing with dead Afghan insurgent suicide bombers. On the front page.

As you might imagine, this has caused quite a ruckus today.

The TimesDavid Zucchino reports:

The 82nd Airborne Division [from Fort Bragg, N.C.]  soldiers arrived at the police station in Afghanistan’s Zabol province in February 2010. They inspected the body parts. Then the mission turned macabre: The paratroopers posed for photos next to Afghan police, grinning while some held — and others squatted beside — the corpse’s severed legs.

The Times used one photo of that incident on its web page today.

A few months later, the same platoon was dispatched to investigate the remains of three insurgents who Afghan police said had accidentally blown themselves up. After obtaining a few fingerprints, they posed next to the remains, again grinning and mugging for photographs.

Two soldiers posed holding a dead man’s hand with the middle finger raised. A soldier leaned over the bearded corpse while clutching the man’s hand. Someone placed an unofficial platoon patch reading “Zombie Hunter” next to other remains and took a picture.

Here’s a picture from that second incident:

And here’s how the Times used it on the front today.

The photos were among 18 reportedly sent from a soldier in that division to Zucchino.

The soldier who sent the pictures is reportedly unhappy about the safety of troops based in Afghanistan. A lot of folks are going to be unhappy that we’re seeing more pictures of troops celebrating with corpses and body parts. Naturally, the Pentagon is upset the Times ran the photo in the first place — because, after all, if you don’t report it, then it’s not an issue, right? (Yes, sarcasm is intended in that last point.)

So yes, we’re going to be hearing a lot about this one over the next few days.

A look at today’s Academy Awards front pages

Oscars night is always huge for lovers of fine entertainment everywhere.

Here’s a look at some of today’s notable Oscar ceremony front pages from Los Angeles and around the country…

DAILY NEWS

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 89,990

The Daily News placed the five individual big winners across the top of its front page and led that front with a huge picture of the Artist, winning Best Picture.

That great group shot is by Robyn Beck of Getty Images.

Executive news editor Brian Harr was kind enough to send along the doubletruck he built for the inside. Click for a much larger view.

The big picture of the Cirque du Soliel is by Getty’s Kevin Winter. The shot of host Billy Crystal is by Mark J. Terrell of the Associated Press. Daily News staffer David Crane took the red-carpet shots at left.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 572,998

The Times reversed its entire front-page Oscar package out of black this morning.

The lead picture of Meryl Streep is by staffer Al Seib.

PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 243,299

The Cleveland paper produced one of the day’s most attractive fronts, also resorting to reverse treatment. The picture here is by the AP’s Mark J. Terrell.

OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

Omaha, Neb.

Circulation: 135,282

And a number of papers stripped larger displays across the top of A1 today and referred into packages inside. The best I saw today was this one by the Omaha World-Herald.

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER

Montgomery, Ala.

Circulation: 31,495

The subject matter of the Help and the performance Octavia Spencer gave in that movie meant that her big win for best supporting actress wasn’t a total surprise. But still, her hometown paper in Montgomery blew out the win on page one.

That’s yet another picture by Mark Terrell. Ditto for the next two pages.

BIRMINGHAM NEWS

Birmingham, Ala.

Circulation: 102,991

Here’s how the largest paper in the state of Alabama played Spencer’s win.

CLARION-LEDGER

Jackson, Miss.

Circulation: 59,106

The Help was based on a novel by Jackson, Miss., native Kathryn Stockett. In addition, the screenwriter and the producer are from Jackson. And part of the movie was filmed there. Therefore, the Clarion-Ledger blew out the win on page one, as well.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

Chicago, Ill.

Circulation: 389,353

Meryl Streep picked up her third Oscar. I love the way the Sun-Times played this Getty photo and I especially love the headline.

NEWSDAY

Melville, N.Y.

Circulation: 404,542

Newsday cropped in very tight on this AP photo for this great front featuring Streep.

NEWS & ADVANCE

Lynchburg, Va.

Circulation: 26,300

The best Meryl Streep picture of the day, however, might be this one by the Associated Press and played nice and large by the paper in Lynchburg, Va.

tbt*

St. Petersburg, Calif.

Free distribution

And the Tampa Bay Times‘ free-distribution tabloid, tbt*, chose to go after low-hanging fruit today: The format of the Oscars’ TV broadcast.

I will admit, that’s a great picture to run with that headline.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

You can’t help but notice that both of the Los Angeles metro papers used the same “silent night” gag for their main headlines today.

 

Brian Harr of the Daily News tells me:

Our A1 hed was Silent Night. Our sister papers (the Long Beach Press-Telegram and Torrance Daily Breeze) spun it to Silent Might.

I was tempted but I stuck to my guns. We used Silence is Golden for the Golden Globes or I would have used that.

Also using the Silent Night theme were the St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press

…the Chicago Tribune

By far the most common “silence” pun use today, however, was “Silence is golden.” Among the papers using that one: The Cherry Hill, N.J., Courier Post

…the Peoria, Ill., Journal Star

…the Allentown, Pa., Morning Call

…the Scranton, Pa., Times-Tribune

…the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Times Leader

…the Lodi, Calif., News-Sentinel

…the Bergen County Record of Hackensack, N.J…

…the Las Vegas Review-Journal

…the Sacramento, Calif., Bee

…and the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The News-Herald of Willoughby, Ohio, found a more subtle approach for its headline…

…as did the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Sun of San Bernadino, Calif., came up with this nice headline.

The Modesto, Calif., Bee used a sledgehammer to pound this one home.

And after all these others, I couldn’t help but laugh at this headline in the Stockton, Calif., Record.

Good job, all.

NEW YORK POST

New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 512,067

One headline I didn’t enjoy quite so much was this one in today’s New York Post.

That might have worked, had the awards won by the Artist been unexpected. But many critics had expected it to win big last night. You’re stretching, Post.

The inside L.A. Daily News spread is from that newspaper. All the rest are from the Newseum. Of course.