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.

How papers in the Big Apple played Mario Cuomo today on page one

It’s not often you’ll find a sameness to the front pages of New York’s largest newspapers. But today is one of the days you will.

Mario Cuomo — former governor of the state and the father of the current governor — passed away Thursday at the age of 82. All three of the major city tabs featured Cuomo on page one today, each with a thoughtful portrait of the man in his prime.

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The Post comes out on top with the most visually appealing presentation: Those red-and-white stripes — a flag, presumably — really catch the eye. But the Daily News also wins for the funniest headline.

The Post‘s photo is from photo service Demotix. The Daily News‘ comes from Getty Images. Newsday‘s cover photo is by freelancer Charles Eckert.

Joining the “thoughtful, hand-on-chin” portraitfest today is the New York Times.

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That one was shot by Times staffer and noted portrait photographer Fred R. Conrad.

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

The 12 Days of Christmas, told via outstanding Christmas Day poster front pages

Hardly anyone runs out and buys a paper from a newstand or a convenience store on Christmas Day. So no matter what you do — no matter what you put above the fold — it’s unlike you’re going to push up single-copy sales on Christmas Day.

For that reason, some papers will essentially “blow off” their typical page-one presentation strategy on this day and give readers a bit of a Christmas Card-like gift for the holiday with a giant poster-page treatment featuring photography or an illustration.

Over the years, I’ve tried to shed a spotlight some of the better examples. Here is this year’s installment…


“TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING

TIMES TRIBUNE
Scranton, Pa.
Circulation: 47,663

Perhaps the day’s most spectacular poster front — certainly the day’s largest — is this enormous illustration by Times-Tribune staffer Bob Sanchuk that wrapped around the paper in Scranton today.

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

The illustration evokes old times, winter weather and the Polar Express. In addition, of course, to being downright gorgeous.

Find more of Bob’s work here.


ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING”

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Santa Ana, Calif.
Circulation: About 160,000

My friends and ex-colleages at the Orange County Register created yet another fun Christmas Day photoillustration for today’s page one:

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That’s Santa, setting up a tree and lighting a bonfire on Huntington Beach. Leonard Ortiz made the photo and Karen Kelso art-directed the shoot. Sitting the door of the trailer is Jitterbug, the dog of copy editor Maryanne Dell.

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.

Karen writes on her Facebook page that she also art directed the front page of the Register’s sister paper, the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

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That picture was shot by Press-Enterprise staffer Terry Pierson. For some reason, that’s not the page that showed up in the Newseum today.

These guys have teamed up in the past for previous treatments. Here was the one they did for 2011:

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Karen said she really hated dealing with the reindeer for the 2012 page. Dirty nasty animal, she said.

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And this is the one they built for last year.

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Brilliant work. Definitely worth tooting your pipes for.


TEN LORDS A-LEAPIN’

PLAIN DEALER
Cleveland, Ohio
Circulation: 246,571

This front page photo of a real, live singing angel was enough to make me leap for joy today.

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Not only is it gorgeous… not only does it perfectly illustrate the season… but also, it was shot live last night during a Christmas Eve pageant. Staffer Lisa DeJong made the picture.


NINE LADIES DANCING

DAILY PRESS
Newport News, Va.
Circulation: 57,642

My friends at the Daily Press have been doing the relocation dance this month, moving into new digs in Newport News, Va.

Their full-page poster treatment today not only illustrates the season but also highlights their new building.

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Note how the sign on the side of the building does double-duty today as the paper’s nameplate. Nice.

The picture is by staffer Adrin Snider.


EIGHT MAIDS A-MILKING

OKLAHOMAN
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Circulation: 130,177

To find maids a-milking, we’ll head to the farmlands of the Midwest.

For its Christmas Day treatment, the Oklahoman today milked the old holiday tradition of a snowglobe.

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This attractive illustration is credited to staffers Steve Boaldin and Todd Pendleton.

Steve and Todd did a great job with their snowglobe. But Sean McKeown-Young of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa, has cornered the market on snowglobes. He’s been building Christmas Day pagetoppers based on snow globe imagery for the past two years. This year, however…

I went a little nuts.

Sean builds his snowglobes to include imagery from each city. He reused the globes he’s built for Gannett’s Wisconsin papers, including Appleton…

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…Fond du Lac…

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…Green Bay…

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…Manitowoc…

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…Marshfield…

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…Oshkosh…

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…Sheboygan…

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…Stevens Point…

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…Wausau…

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…and Wisconsin Rapids.

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This year, Sean added snowglobe treatments for Des Moines, Iowa…

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…Iowa City…

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…Sioux Falls, S.D. …

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…Springfield, Mo. …

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…and a whole bunch of papers further south. Sean tells us:

We used one basic Louisiana snowglobe…

…for Alexandria…

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…Baxter…

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…Lafayette…

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…Monroe…

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…Opelousas…

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…and Shreveport…

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SEVEN SWANS A-SWIMMING

THE EAGLE
Wichita, Kansas
Circulation: 67,250

I’m certain it had been done before, but I first noticed Christmas Day poster treatments by watching the Wichita Eagle. They’ve been doing this sort of thing longer than most papers and they do it as well as anyone.

Here is this year’s gorgeous swan of a front-page Christmas card to readers.

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Unfortunately, the photo isn’t credited.


SIX GEESE A-LAYING

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

If you’re gong to fill the role of a goose a-laying, then you might as well lay golden eggs.

That’s just what the Colorado Springs Gazette did today with this photo of Santa greeting kids, shot from outside a window.

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The photo is credited to staffer Jerilec Bennett.


FIVE GOLDEN RINGS

A number of papers chose to illustrate page one today with religious-themed imagery. Taking the place of golden rings today are two of the better ones…

HERALD-JOURNAL
Spartanburg, S.C.
Circulation: 31,940

The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, S.C., typically runs large art of a stained glass window on its Christmas Day front. They went sideways with today’s version.

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My only beef with this page: There’s no credit. I suspect this window — gorgeous as it is — is from a cathedral in Europe. But with no cutline or credit, we’ll never know.

THE HUTCHINSON NEWS
Hutchinson, Kansas
Circulation: 25,722

The Hutchinson News also has a Christmas Day tradition: It makes a full-page Christmas card out of classic paintings from long ago.

This year’s painting is 479 years old.

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Note the nudity. I think you’ll find that unusual for a small-town newspaper.


FOUR CALLING BIRDS

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

Yesterday, I highlighted a really fun Christmas Eve page from my friends at the Villages Daily Sun.

Today, they fill the spot of calling birds with this gorgeous illustration of Santa, drifting through the sky with balloons of love.

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The art was not credited, so I asked executive editor Bonita Burton about it. She replies:

It was a mashup I did of stock images.

If you ever feel you can’t possibly build a poster front with stock images, please come back and look at this example.


THREE FRENCH HENS

NEWS-JOURNAL
Longview, Texas
Circulation: 24,481

Sometimes, simpler is better.

No, strike that. Often, simpler is better.

Taking the place of simple French hens today is the News-Journal of Longview, Texas, which illustrated the tale of the birth of Christ from the New Testament with a very simple illustration of the wise men, following the birth star through the desert.

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The art is listed only as a staff illustration.


TWO TURTLE DOVES

DAILY NEWS
New York, N.Y.
Circulation: 579,636

Doves are symbols of peace — appropriate for this holiday and especially for the troubled social and political times we live in.

So filling the role of turtle doves today is the New York Daily News, which delighted me this morning with this wonderful photoillustration.

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Outstanding.

Unfortunately, it’s not credited.


AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE

The final spot in our Christmas Day countdown of the day’s most remarkable pages — the partridge in a pear tree — will be played today by a pair of pages that are not poster pages but still interesting treatments of note.

COLORADOAN
Fort Collins, Colo.
Circulation: 19,864

The paper in Fort Collins, Colo., today did a story on ugly Christmas sweaters. To illustrate that, they dressed staffers in the ugliest sweaters they could find.

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The story is by Erin Udell. The portraits are by Erin Hull.

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

Remember what I said about simpler being better? After the visual Christmas dinner feast you’ve enjoyed here today, let’s go in an opposite direction for our dessert: This gorgeously simple treatment from the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.

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The Clarion-Ledger asked staffers to write personalized stories about the holidays and Christmas traditions. Note that the little tree art is made of little quote boxes — what cartoonists call dialogue balloons.

Gorgeous stuff. Once again, sadly, it’s not credited.


PLUS, A LITTLE SOMETHING OF MY OWN

In all the years I’ve been posting roundups of Christmas Day pages, I’ve never had one of my own to post.

Until today…

ADVOCATE
Victoria, Texas
Circulation: 26,531

Ten years ago today, it snowed in Victoria. In fact, the town got 12.5 inches between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

That was pretty unusual. It’s snowed only 18 times in the 100+ years the National Weather Service has collected data in this city. The 12.5 inches was the greatest 24-hour snowfall this area has ever seen. The fact that it happened on Christmas and then pretty much melted off quickly afterwards was a big bonus.

We at the Advocate commemorated the tenth anniversary of this with an eight-page special section in today’s paper plus a big poster front on page one.

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We didn’t really have a lot of file photos of the snow. That picture of the town square here in Victoria was shot by Miguel Luna, who was a staffer here at the time.

Side note: Check out the little daily bug at the bottom of the page showing local gas prices. They’re below $2 a gallon here. WooHoo!

But, back to the snow…

Several weeks ago — long before I arrived here — the Advocate began running items in the paper reminding readers it had been ten years since this snow and asking them to send in their snapshots and their memories via email, Facebook or whatever. And dozens did.

We used this in our local section today. We pushed all the usual B-section material into the A-section and opened up eight full pages for readers’ memories.

I built another big display for page B1, using the same typography and color scheme, plus another photo by Miguel Luna — this one, of Victoria’s historic old county courthouse.

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The secondary art was contributed by a reader. Staffer Natassia Bonyanpour wrote the nice essay for the front.

On the inside, pages two and three were both black-and-white. I tried to pick only photos I thought might reproduce well with no color. The Glass family of Victoria sent in a very nice collection of pictures, so I ganged five of them for a visual sidebar at the top of page three.

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I used another of Miguel’s photos for the snowman cutout on the left side of the spread.

Also, note the page headers. How often can you use that song in this area? Not very. So I thought that would make a nice running gag throughout the section.

Pages four and five was the color doubletruck. I sidestepped any possible production headaches by building two facing pages instead of filling the gutter.

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Here, I used only the best, clearest, and highest-resolution pictures we were sent. The one at upper right — “Wyatt’s first Christmas” in the nearby town of Goliad — was professional portrait quality. Building a section like this is a lot easier when you have top-notch ingredients like this.

Also, note the “Lawnmower powered sled” picture at upper left. That makes a lot of sense: We’re very close to the Gulf of Mexico and the land here is very flat. How else are you going to use a sled?

Across the bottom of both pages, I cooked up a little timeline graphic showing the 18 snowfalls in Victoria history, going back 125 years.

Now that I had established a nice flow of stories and some gorgeous visuals, I used the next two black-and-white pages to display the nicest art I could find that would play well without color. On page six, below left, I played off the “beautiful sight” lyric by going with landscape shots.

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Note the take on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem sent in by one reader at upper left.

On page seven, above right, I tried to mix some of the more interesting and unusual pictures readers sent us: A cow in the snow. Towels, frozen on the clothesline. A man who, to this day, has kept a bag of 2004 snow in his freezer.

For the color back page: Yes, I went there.

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Although I had used a few snowman pictures on pages two and three, I ganged 12 more of them here. A couple of the pictures here were awfully murky. But combined with several others, they didn’t seem so bad.

I hadn’t really intended to build the entire section myself. But when I found our lead designer and our lead copy editor were planning to come in on their days off to work on this project, I urged them to take their days off. Thanks to all that experience I gained this year building photo pages every other Monday at the Orange County Register, I could knock this out myself.

The parallel to my OC Register work is even stronger when you consider I’m still not yet up-and-running on our editorial system here. I built all nine pages the same way I built my Focus pages in California: In Adobe Illustrator. We saved the finished pages as EPS files and then plopped them into place as full-page images.

Lead designer Kimiko Fieg then returned the favor Tuesday night by building a sports front for Sunday I had intended to work up on Christmas Eve. Which, in turn, made Wednesday a very easy day for me. This reciprocal gift-giving was quite nice.

With the exception of my own pages from Victoria, all these pages are from the Newseum.

Previous Christmas Day page roundups:

For your consideration…

They want to halt low-level marijuana arrests in New York. The mayor and chief of police held a press conference Monday to show how much pot you can carry in the city, now — 25 grams — without fear of being busted.

Naturally, the pictures of this conference made for easy pickins for the New York City tabloids.

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Cute. Some days, these guys just have too much fun.

Those pages are  from the Newseum. Of course.

For your consideration…

Overall, I’m a bit disappointed with today’s front pages. I’m seeing nowhere near the creativity, the cleverness or the visual impact we saw the last time Republicans ripped up the Democrats, in the 2010 midterms.

Having said that — No one had as much fun with the midterm elections today as did the New York City tabloids.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this done before — ahem! — but it’s still amusing.

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But today’s New York Post — Man, what a scream this is.

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Perhaps the most interesting front page of the day — certainly the most interactive — is this one by RedEye, the Chicago Tribune’s commuter+youth tabloid. It asks readers to fill in the blank with what issues they’d like to see the governor address and then post them via Twitter or Instagram.

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Very clever.

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

Meanwhile, today in the Big Apple…

So, now that the World Series — of interest in the Heartland and on the West Coast — is over, what’s the big news in the Northeast?

In New York City yesterday, a construction crew was using a giant drill when it suddenly — and accidentally — punctured the top of a subway tunnel. The bit actually came into contact with an occupied train on the MTA’s F line.

Oops!

Luckily, no one was hurt. Therefore, we can enjoy the headline afront today’s Daily News.

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Meanwhile, the New York Post is drumming up interest fear for next week’s Midterms.

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Pretty funny. I’m sure they’ll be running an illustration over the weekend making fun of Republicans, too. Fair and balanced — right, Mr. Murdoch?

‘Let’s give the terrorists just what they want’

“Hey, I’ve got an idea: Let’s give the terrorists just what they want!”

As far as I can tell, that was the thinking last night at the two major New York City tabloids.

Just in case you haven’t seen them yet, here are the front pages of today’s editions of the New York Post and the Daily News.

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I post those with a bit of reluctantance. And only because it’s awfully hard to talk about them in a visuals blog, y’know, without the visual.

I’m not the only one having a strong reaction to this today. Both YouTube and Twitter were removing images and videos of the beheading of freelance journalist James Foley by the Islamic State. At one point yesterday, Twitter even blocked the account of Zaid Benjamin, the Washington correspondent for Radio Zawa. Foreign Policy‘s Shane Harris writes:

After his account was reinstated, Benjamin reported that he lost 30,000 followers during the time he was blocked from the social media site. Benjamin told Foreign Policy that he received no explanation from Twitter for his suspension. A spokesperson for the company, when asked, didn’t provide one.

Even Mediaite wouldn’t post the NY Post cover. Mediaite’s Evan McMurry writes:

In the meantime, let’s return to simpler days, like yesterday, when all the Post was doing was telling women to suck it up and accept their objectification like slaves.

I would argue putting these images on page one breaches most of what I’ve read and learned about visual journalism ethics. But then again, I don’t think most of what I’ve read about visual journalism ethics applies to NYC tabloids.

I would argue very strongly against using either of these images in a newspaper, magazine or web site aimed at a general audience. And especially not on page one.

Still, please take note this happened today. If you’ve never discussed the use of shocking images on page one, today might be a good day for it.

Those images are from the Newseum, of course. Which, by the way, named both pages to its daily Top 10 list.

Do I hear an echo?

New York City kept its schools open Thursday despite a pretty dire weather forecast.

If I were a petty guy, I’d point out this was the same kind of lamebrain decision that got Atlanta into such trouble a couple of weeks ago. But you won’t hear that kind of talk from me.

Instead, I’m gleefully pointing out that the two major NYC tabloids attempted to use the same joke with today’s main cover headlines:

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After the winter deluge started, someone asked school chancellor Carmen Fariña about schools not being closed. Buses were involved in accidents all over the city and attendance was poor. Yet, the schools chief replied:

It’s absolutely a beautiful day out there.

Shortly after, Fariña canceled a town hall meeting in Brooklyn. The reason given: Inclement weather.

Hence, the Marie Antoinette headlines.

Read more about it in today’s Daily News.

Which paper pulled off the gag better? The Post, I’d say: Their photo worked better. And the little cartoon voice balloon was a hoot. Although I’m really digging the use of the word “flakes” on the Daily News.

Digging? See what I did there?

Both of these pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Five notable Obamacare/shutdown front pages. And one I don’t like at all…

Today, the biggest features of Obamacare kick in. Not coincidentally, the Federal government has shut down in a sea of fingerpointing and wishful thinking — mostly, on the part of Tea Party Congressmen wishing to repeal Obamacare.

Here’s a look at five notable front pages and one — the one that everyone appears to be talking about today — that I despise…


EXPRESS
Washington, D.C.
Distribution: 183,916

Instead of focusing on the shutdown — which, after all, a) Many papers put on page one Monday, and b) Could potentially have been averted not long after press deadline last night — The Washington Post’s Express tabloid put the ongoing political battle over Obamacare on today’s cover, in the form of giant pills.

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The little pointer boxes — a la those ubiquitous pharmaceutical ads with all the warnings and disclaimers — are a nice touch.

The photoillustration is uncredited.


LAS VEGAS SUN
Las Vegas, Nev.
Distribution: 220,619

“No, no no. It’s a suppository!”

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That’s the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Chris Morris, illustrating for his former paper.


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

While many, many papers today used pictures of the Capitol building on page one today, the Virginian-Pilot managed to turn that visual cliché on its head today.

Um, literally.

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That cover was designed by Josh Bohling.

The Pilot has a long history of pushing big stories above the nameplate like this. That works particularly well when there’s a big story that deserves centerpiece play — like the shutdown — but when they also have big local news: The sentencing after a high-profile local conspiracy trial.


THE FORUM
Fargo, N.D.
Circulation: 45,298

Yes, this has been done before. But it’s still a fairly fresh way to signal “shutdown” without using the Capitol building or a “Sorry, we’re closed” sign.

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Note how the two little icons below match the red of the shutoff symbol. Most of us would be tempted to keep the little U.S. flag in its natural colors.

The only downside on this page that I can find: The clumsy wording of the refer. Say “inside” or “back page,” but not both.


NORTHWESTERN
Oshkosh, Wis.
Circulation: 14,113

My favorite front page of the day is this one by the Northwestern of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This would have been designed in the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Several papers, over the past few days, have used images of the power players in Washington. But the designer here — I’m told it was Dave Lafata, a recent graduate of Central Michigan — used an old trick to focus on just the eyes of John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and Harry Reid.

Think of it as a cinematic treatment, but on paper.


DAILY NEWS
New York, N.Y.
Circulation: 579,636

And, of course, everyone is talking about this page today.

Sigh

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Note the, um, unidentified material dripping from John Boehner’s hands.

Don’t get me wrong: I laughed as hard as anyone else today when I saw this page.

But consider this: This metaphor comparing Boehner to the consummate power player is a bit weak. In this particular instance, Boehner seems as much a victim as anyone: As House majority leader, he’s caught between factions of his own party he can’t — and, most likely, will never be able to — please. Even the copy at the upper right of the photoillustration admits this.

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The GOP isn’t holding the country hostage. The Tea Party is holding the country — including Congress and John Boehner — hostage.

Unlike the last time, when Newt Gingrich was clearly at fault for faulty brinksmanship.

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Secondly: Daily News, if you’re going to create a talker cover like that, please take the time to have a copy editor look over the little cover blurb. You’re missing at least one word there: An “a,” perhaps, on the second line between “and” and “Tea Party.

Here it is again:

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Despite all this, everyone seems to be loving this cover today:

So despite the poor metaphor, despite the poor copy editing, despite the potty humor, the Daily News seems to have succeeded in creating another talker.

What a poor, poor reflection on those of us who are media critics.

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

Come on, N.Y. Daily News. How do you REALLY feel?

Evidently, the New York Daily News doesn’t care much for Eliot Spitzer.

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Ask me how I know.

That was Sunday’s front page, which refered to an endorsement of Scott Stringer, the man who’s running against Spitzer for controller (or comptroller) of New York City.

The Daily News reports:

Pugnaciously, he swats away inquiries as intended to violate the privacy of his sex life and marriage. This is a two-fisted defense against legitimate scrutiny of his violations of criminal codes and of his oaths of office. Those were of concern only to historians until Spitzer suddenly asked again for public trust.

Once Spitzer crossed that threshold, how he broke the law and how he broke his bond with New Yorkers matter again as much as anything on his résumé — and both questions demand the full ventilation that he evades to the point of issuing easily disproven falsehoods.

After considering the drive and intelligence that live side-by-side with Spitzer’s defects of character, The News strenuously recommends that New Yorkers spurn his bid for election.

That page is 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.

Maybe Martha should just call Tim

As much as I dislike the New York Post — and whatever it is that passes for journalistic ethics there — I have to grudgingly admire its headline writing today.

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Curious, I had to go read that Martha Stewart story. That’s not what she said at all. However, she did come out and tell the Today show yesterday that she wanted to try an online date service and find “sleep with somebody.”

So, y’know, she didn’t really say that. But she kind of did.

And then there’s that Tim Tebow headline, which is fall-out-of-your-seat-laughing funny. But only if you’re not Tim Tebow, I suppose.

That page is from the Newseum. Of course.