Fred Matamoros re-enters newspapers with the Orange County Register

Longtime graphics editor and illustrator Fred Matamoros — who left newspapers in 2010 — is back in the game: He’s been hired as a senior artist by the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif.

Fred tells us:

This coming Monday, Feb. 4, is my return to journalism! I’ve accepted a great offer to join the Orange County Register in So. California. Kind of a homecoming geographically as well.

The past couple of years I have spent time as the creative director of a city magazine, staff graphic designer at an ad agency and senior designer/artist at a design studio. I found myself unhappy and not creatively challenged whatsoever.

I look forward to working in a newsroom again, especially with the powerhouse team that the O.C. Register is putting together. It feels good to join a publication with such a pure, focused direction and hope for print journalism.

The Register has been on a bit of a hiring spree lately. The man who bought the paper last summer has been staffing up the newsroom, and beefing up the print product. As a former sports reporter, I’m still in awe over what the paper did last fall with its high school football coverage.

Fred will be one of two senior artists in the graphics department there. The other? Infographics superstar Jeff Goertzen.

Back to Fred, though… A 1985 graduate of Woodbury University in Burbank, Calif., Fred spent four years as a designer and art director for a major L.A. ad agency before becoming a staff artist for the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Calif. He spent three years as assistant graphics editor of the Shreveport (La.) Times and five-and-a-half years as graphics editor of the Olympian in Olympia, Wash., before moving up the road to the Tacoma, Wash., News Tribune in 1999 as an artist and illustrator.

A few samples of Fred’s newspaper work:

 

 

 

 

In 2010, Fred moved back to Shreveport to become creative director for SB magazine. He moved to Shreveport design agency Teri Flash Creative in 2011 and then moved again to John Perez Graphics and Design last spring. That firm specialized in working with the oil and gas industry.

Fred told us a while back:

Painting keeps me busy as well. I’m in private collections across the U.S., represented in three galleries and try to keep my website updated often.

A few examples of Fred’s paintings:

 

   

Find Fred’s paintings here and his infographics and illustration web site here.

A look at today’s best Christmas front pages

There was an awful lot of great work out there today. Really, too much to try to take note of.

However, let’s give it a try anyway, shall we?

Take special note of my picks of the ten best pages of the day, mixed into the categories below in no particular order…

__________________________

PHOTO-DRIVEN FRONT PAGES

No. 1: DENVER POST

Denver, Colo.

Circulation: 401,120

The Denver Post today built page one around this beautiful picture of the moon smiling down upon what appears to be a lit Christmas Tree in the open mountains of Colorado.

1212125XmasDenverColo

The picture is by staffer Helen H. Richardson.

No. 2: ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

Not only is this poster-front of a surfin’ Santa and his reindeer fun and gorgeous, there’s also a fun story behind the picture by staffer Leonard Ortiz.

1212125XmasSantaAnaCalif

Staffer Karen Kelso explains in a “how we did it” story in today’s Orange County Register:

We moved everyone toward the water. Tundra [a two-year-old reindeer] followed easily because we discovered he would do just about anything for a graham cracker. Everything was fine until we stepped off the warm beach on to the cold, wet sand. Tundra started to buck and throw his rack around. [Animal rental guy Tim]Connaghan never lost his cool and tried to hold on to the reins. Tundra decided to make a break for it and only calmed down when more graham crackers were dispersed.

Photographing a live animal was going to be a real challenge, especially with the crowd that was forming and Tundra showing his displeasure.

Ortiz photographed Tundra and Santa as they walked, ran and bucked their way down the beach. Tundra demanded more graham crackers at several points during the shoot.

Surfers came out of the water into our shot because they wanted to touch Tundra. Reindeer do not like to be touched, and touching their antlers is a sign of aggression.

The trouble was worth it. What a great picture.

A number of other papers built their front pages around huge, poster-sized photos presumably shot by staffers. Neither of these examples were accompanied by photo credits, sadly. (UPDATE – 10:30 p.m. The Wichita photo was shot by staffer Travis Heying.)

1212125XmasWichitaKan 1212125XmasElyriaOhio

On the left: the Wichita, Kan., Eagle, circulation 67,250. On the right: The Chronicle of Elyria, Ohio, circulation 25,892.

These two papers built  holiday-themed montages with locally-shot pictures.

1212125XmasLansingMich   1212125XmasSalemOre

On the left: The State Journal of Lansing, Mich., circulation 41,330. On the right: The Statesman Journal of Salem, Ore., circulation 36,946, attempted to use pictures to illustrate commonly-known Christmas songs.

In particular, I think the page topper on the right, here — by the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Mass., circulation 74,563 — is particularly attractive.

1212125XmasTauntonMass  1212125XmasWorcesterMass

On the left: The Daily Gazette of Taunton, Mass., circulation 6,703.

____________________________________

FRONTS FEATURING RELIGIOUS IMAGERY

No. 3: THE STATE

Columbia, S.C.

Circulation: 70,980

Naturally, if you’re going to give readers a huge Christmas card on page one, some readers might prefer to see one with a religious angle. Tim Dominick of the State of Columbia, S.C., built this lovely photoillustration for today’s centerpiece.

1212125XmasColumbiaSC

The Dispatch of Brainerd, Minn. — below left; circulation 11,307 — shot a local manger reenactment. The photoillustration is credited to staffers Kelly Humphrey and Jan Finger.

1212125XmasBrainerdMinn  1212125XmasHutchinsonKan  1212125XmasBurlingtonIowa

The Hutchinson (Kansas) News ran a classic piece by Raphael — the painter, not the ninja turtle — supplied by a local church. The Hawk Eye of Burlington, Iowa, used art from a German Christmas card published in 1912.

Average daily circulation for the Hutchinson News is 25,722. The Hawk Eye circulates 15,943 papers daily.

And stained-glass windows depicting the birth of Christ are a very popular page-one topic for Christmas Day.

1212125XmasTopekaKan 1212125XmasCantonOhio 1212125XmasLiberalKan

The Capital-Journal of Topeka, circulation 40,435, and the Repository of Canton, Ohio, circulation 56,789, had staffers shoot windows in local churches. The Leader and Times of Liberal, Kansas, circulation 3,700, ran a huge staff picture taken in a church in England.

____________________________________

FRONTS FEATURING ILLUSTRATION WORK

No. 4: PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 246,571

There are few better things to run on a Christmas Day poster-page treatment, I think, than a staff illustration. Check out this gorgeous piece in today’s Plain Dealer by Andrea Levy.

1212125XmasClevelandOhio

No. 5: SUN-GAZETTE

Williamsport, Pa.

Circulation: 22,795

Likewise, here’s a beautiful painting of a snow-covered Pennsylvania church by who I presume is an artist in the Williamsport area: Mickey Mapstone.

1212125XmasWilliamsportPa

Gorgeous stuff.

The Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee runs an annual contest for art to feature on page one on Christmas Day. This year’s winner: Dottie Morelle Godden. Average daily circulation of the Journal Sentinel is 185,710.

1212125XmasMilwaukeeWis 121225XmasPittsburghPG

The Post-Gazette of Pittsburgh — circulation 188,545 — led the top of page one today with a painting from a local gallery by artist Charles “Bud” Gibbons.

And these two Pennsylvania newspapers elected to go with (what I presume are) staff-generated illustrations to evoke days of Christmast past.

1212125XmasScrantonPa 1212125XmasHazletonPa

On the left: The Times-Tribune of Scranton, circulation 47,663. The art is by Bob Sanchuk. On the right: The Standard-Speaker of Hazleton, circulation 20,008. The art isn’t credited.

___________________________________

FRONTS FEATURING SECULAR IMAGERY

No. 6: DAILY PRESS

Newport News, Va.

Circulation: 57,642

I was especially delighted this morning with this lovely page-one “package” from the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

1212125XmasNewportNewsVa

That’s an old gimmick — I’ve used it a time or two myself — but the Daily Press pulls it off particularly well here. Note the clever promos to stuff inside.

I presume this is stock art of some sort afront the Standard of Aiken, S.C. (left, circulation 15,711). Even so, it’s well-used here.

1212125XmasAikenSC   1212125XmasAnnistonAla

The Star of Anniston, Ala. — circulation 19,563 — elected to create its own Santa Claus image for today’s front-page poster treatment. That was shot by staffer Stephen Gross.

________________________

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STORY

A number of papers took the time today to write truly great front-page stories for Christmas Day — perhaps the one day of the year when hardly anyone will take the time to read them.

Some of these were beautifully done.

No. 7: HUNTSVILLE TIMES

Huntsville, Ala.

Circulation: 44,725

The Huntsville Times today published favorite Christmas memories of days gone by.

1212125XmasHuntsvilleAla

While the presentation itself is a little text-heavy, I’d argue: It should be. In this case, it’s all about the story. At least a clear presentation and liberal use of white space keep all those grey legs of type from overpowering the reader.

The one minus to this page that I’ve found: In my search to find a link to the story — and I was forced to search an awful long time for it — I found that the story here was published two weeks ago.

Not to beat a dead horse on Christmas Day, but: I really don’t understand Advance Publications’ thinking. Digital first is one thing. But running a two-week old story as the page one-centerpiece? That baffles me.

Whatever, though. Ho, ho, ho and all…

No. 8: STAR TRIBUNE

Casper, Wyo.

Circulation: 24,891

In Casper, Wyo., the Star Tribune ran a wonderful story today about the little vacation that all Santa’s local helpers can take now that the season is over.

121225XmasCasperWyo

The wonderful portrait is by staffer Alan Rogers. The page was designed by Will Gay, I’m told.

Find the story here by staffer Jeremy Fugleberg.

The Asbury Park Press also had local folks share Christmas memories (below, left). The Mail Tribune of Medford, Ore., asked readers to list their favorite things, kind of like that song from the Sound of Music.

1212125XmasAsburyParkNJ   1212125XmasMedfordOre

Average daily circulation for the Asbury Park paper is 98,032. Medford circulates 22,292 papers daily.

The York, Pa., Daily Record cited a number of interesting local Christmas facts, all presented on a tree illustrated by staffer Samantha Dellinger.

121225XmasYorkPa  1212125XmasVictoriaTexas

The Victoria Advocate ran a story today focusing on a woman raising five grandchildren who lost her home to fire in September and how the community reached out to help. The pictures are by staffer Frank Tilley.

Average daily circulation for the York Daily Record is 57,738; for the Victoria Advocate is 26,531.

Iowa City built its front around a fiction tale about Christmas, offered in print (and illustrated by the Des Moines Register‘s Mark Marturello) and online in both standard HTML format and in digital storybook form.

1212125XmasIowaCity  1212125XmasNampaIdaho

The Press-Tribune of Nampa, Idaho, wrote about a local Christmas-themed blood drive. The ribbon-decorated bag of blood was shot by staffer Aaric Bryan.

Average daily circulation in Iowa City is 12,130. Nampa circulates 19,900 papers daily.

And two papers chose to fill their fronts with classic text evoking holiday spirits. The Hour of Norwalk, Conn. (left) chose the lyrics to Silent Night while the Missourian of Columbia, Mo., went with the classic “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter and reply from the New York Sun, 115 years ago.

1212125XmasNorwalkConn  1212125XmasColumbiaMo

Average daily circulation for the Hour is 14,971. The Missourian circulates 21,722 papers daily.

________________________

MY FAVORITE OF THE DAY

My favorite work of the day, however, was the series of snow globe illustrations, custom-built in Gannett’s Des Moines Design Studio for a number of the company’s Wisconsin papers.

In each globe, the imagery depicts something important to that town.

No. 9: GANNETT WISCONSIN PAPERS

Check these out. Here’s the Daily Herald of Wausau (circulation 15,506)…

1212125XmasWausauWis

…the Press-Gazette of Green Bay (circulation 41,767)…

1212125XmasGreenBayWis 1212125XmasAppletonWis

The Press of Sheboygan (circulation 14,246)…

1212125XmasSheboyganWis

…and the Northwestern of Oshkosh (circulation 14,113).

1212125XmasOshkoshWis

The studio also built a Christmas tree ornament treatment for a few of the chain’s smaller papers.

1212125XmasMarshfieldWis 1212125XmasManitowocWis 1212125XmasStevensPointWis

From left: The News-Herald of Marshfield (circulation 8,139), the Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc (circulation 10,253) and the Journal of Stevens Point (circulation 7,845).

Wisconsin design team leader Sean McKeown-Young took a moment from his Christmas celebration to tell us:

Yes, I did all of the illustration. Basically one snowglobe design which was concocted of several images and them each site got a different treatment inside. Same goes for the ornaments.

Check out his Thanksgiving Day illustrations here.

________________________________

A TOUCHING CHRISTMAS MEMORIAL

No. 10: JOURNAL NEWS

White Plains, N.Y.

Circulation: 72,764

And from the northern suburbs of New York comes this reminder of the horror of the past few weeks and what’s really important on Christmas: Our children.

1212125XmasWestChesterNY

That’s a beautiful memorial to the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shootings.

Great work by the folks in Gannett’s Asbury Park Design Studio.

If someone there can tell me who designed this page, I’d love to dole out a little credit here.

UPDATE – 10:30 p.m.

Tim Frank, director of the Asbury Park Studio tells us:

That was the work of team leader Joanne Sosangelis.

Have a great Christmas, everybody!

These pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Jeff Goertzen returns to the Orange County Register

I mentioned the other day that longtime infographics guru Jeff Goertzen‘s byline was on the front of the Orange County Register.

Jeff worked at the Register back in the 1980s. I had heard he was back there again. But the Register — which has worked this year with its new owners to beef up its print edition — never made an official announcement that I know of.

Jeff was kind enough to bring us up to date. He tells us:

I have been hired by OCR as a senior associate graphics artist / consultant full time. My responsibilities include, producing graphics and illustrations, mentor artists and provide training for newsroom staffers.

Cindy O’Dell is my immediate supervisor. She’s the team leader for the graphics department and pretty much paves the way for getting graphics in the paper. No sooner do you mention an idea, and she has it in the pipeline. She’s phenomenal.

I moved my family here from Denver and we have a house here in Aliso Viejo, about two miles from Laguna Beach. I am really excited about my role here in OCR. I’ve met with Ken Brusic, our editor and Aaron Kushner, the publisher and owner of OCR. They are doing some exciting things here and have been really redefining the product and content of the Orange County Register. And graphics is playing a key role in that.

Point and case: The day I arrived, Brusic and Brenda Shoun, managing editor of visuals came to my desk and asked me to design the 1A of our post-election coverage… and it had to be all graphics, no stories. I mocked up several sketches and came up with the page you see here.

OCR-OCR_Broadsheet-11-07-2012-1-1-Cover_D-1-D-Q4444-cci

Just [Wednesday], I worked with our researcher Sonya Quick on a fun 12/12 factoid graphic that I illustrated on deadline.

1212JeffGoertzen12TwelvesPage.jpg

Also, note the huge skybox promo. That, too, refers to a full-page graphic that Jeff created for the Register‘s Outdoors page. Click this — or any of these samples — for a larger look.

1212JeffGoertzenPipelinePage.jpg

Back to that front-page “12 for twelve” piece, though… Jeff writes:

The style and content of this piece would never have run in many newspapers because it’s “too fun.” But that’s the whole idea here at OCR… we’re about having fun and shocking our readers. We are putting our readers first and our personal preferences second. People are tired of negative news — here that stuff goes inside. We’re giving them news about the people of Orange County that’s inspirational and fun — and that’s what will set this newspaper apart from the others.

In the 30 years that I’ve been working in newspapers, I have never turned out so much work in such a short time. Two 1A page designs, two graphics on 1A, two section front illustrations and a full-page graphic. Not to mention the smaller graphics.

We’re having fun here. And we’re hiring!

A 1986 graduate of California State University in Fresno, Jeff has worked at the Orange County Register, the Detroit Free Press, El Mundo in Madrid and El Periódico in Barcelona. He spent several years as a senior artist and graphics reporter for the St. Petersburg Times before moving to the Denver Post in 2005.

A year ago, Jeff was hired as director of graphics for USA Today and Gannett Digital. But then — just three months later — he was cut loose.

Jeff has worked extensively as a consultant, free-lancer and instructor, the latter often in conjunction with the Society for News Design. He created the society’s infographics training program in 1998 and spent 11 years on SND’s board of directors. He’s taught classes in Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Panama, China and South Korea. Jeff has taught for IFRA, SIP, and for the World Association of Newspapers. He’s worked on redesign projects with Mario Garcia and Roger Black. He’s also taught at Poynter.

A few samples of his work:

   

 

Find more samples at Jeff’s web site.

The ‘return’ of a visual columnist

Sharon Roberts, assistant managing editor of the Austin American-Statesman, writes overnight:

I thought you might be interested in the latest from Sharon Henry.

I bet you remember her stunning visual columns that ran in the Orange County Register until about five years ago when she left daily journalism. She is back again.

What caused Sharon Roberts’ excitement was this gorgeous piece that ran on Tuesday’s features front for the OCR, focusing on last night’s Bruce Springsteen concert.

Make sure you click on this for an extra-large view.

Sharon tells the story behind Springsteen’s biggest hit, Born in the USA

…and cites interesting trivia about the history of records and CDs. Did you know that Born in the USA was the first major CD manufactured in the U.S.? I didn’t. Previously, CDs were manufactured in Japan.

Sharon also shows the ticket stub for her own first Bruce Springsteen show in Dallas in 1984.

Seventeen dollars and 50 cents. Heh.

And in the “do you feel old yet” department, Sharon kicked off her piece by noting that Springsteen is 63 years old. She then goes on to put this into perspective.

Sharon Roberts notes:

It is terrific to see a visual journalist welcomed to print as the OCR have in their top of the page tease.

Absolutely. Just another part of the new owners’ dedication to putting out an amazing print product.

Here is Tuesday’s front page, including a huge Springsteen promo up top.

By the way, also note the nice front-page centerpiece graphic by Jeff Goertzen. I’ve been told that Jeff has returned to the Orange County Register, but I have yet to see an official announcement. Hint, hint.

Back to Sharon Henry, though…

A graduate of TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, Sharon spent three years as an artist for the Santa Rosa, Calif., Press Democrat and then six years as a graphics reporter for the Orange County Register. In 2004, she was promoted to a columnist position, in which she produced a weekly “sketchbook” column. She writes in her LinkedIn profile that she covered…

NBA locker rooms, U.S. presidential conventions and tattoo removal clinics.

A few samples of her visual columns:

Sharon writes:

Alas, during this time the haranguing and hand-wringing about old media “disrupters” reached its apex. Those wicked Web 2.0-ers were having all the fun, so in 2007, I left journalism to join the world of scrappy start-ups and high-tech ninjas.

She spent two years as creative director at XPLANE — Dave Gray‘s operation in St. Louis —  then moved to Austin, Texas, in 2009 to work as an information specialist for the city government there.

Find Sharon’s Twitter feed here.

Today’s ten best page-one Turkey Day presentations

Lots of newspapers built elaborate Thanksgiving presentations for page one today.

Here’s a look at my ten favorites…

GASTON GAZETTE

Gastonia, N.C.

Circulation: 24,354

What’s Thanksgiving all about? It’s about family. It’s about being grateful what what the year has given you.

But it’s also about shopping. Or, to be more precise, preparing for a long day of Black Friday shopping. Many papers today were stuffed with enormous amounts of advertising in advance of tomorrow’s sales. Nowhere did we see that played up in more spectacular fashion than on the front of the Gazette of Gastonia, N.C.

It’s a simple photo of today’s inserts, augmented by the paper’s nameplate reversed out of black and some torn-paper effects. But this really makes the point to readers and potential readers: This is all you really want from today’s newspaper. And boy, do we have ’em.

Naturally, the Gazette‘s sister paper — the 14,164 Shelby Star — followed along.

I presume my friend Randy Erwin had something to do with this presentation.

GANNETT WISCONSIN MEDIA

Similarly, the folks at Gannett’s Des Moines Design Studio outdid themselves today with an elaborate page-topper promo+alternative story form for the Wisconsin papers it cares for.

Here is the 38,244-circulation Appleton Post-Crescent.

There’s a reminder of the Turkey hotline by Butterball. Safety tips. A refer to an oversized crossword. But I especially love the football schedule and early shopping tips laid atop the iPad at left.

Very slick. I presume Wisconsin team leader Sean McKeown either designed this or supervised who did. My compliments to the kitchen staff.

The artwork — with minor modifications — were used throughout all the Wisconsin papers today.

   

From left:

  • Green Bay Press Gazette, circulation 41,767
  • Fond du Lac Reporter, circulation 10,186
  • Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, circulation 10,253

   

  • Marshfield News-Herald, circulation 8,139
  • Oshkosh Northwestern, circulation 14,113
  • Sheboygan Press, circulation 14,246

   

  • Stevens Point Journal, circulation 7,845
  • Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, circulation 7,924
  • Wausau Daily Herald, circulation 15,506

I’m not sure what’s going on with that last one. I presume it’s an issue with the PDF at the Newseum and not with the page itself.

BUFFALO NEWS

Buffalon, N.Y.

Circulation: 147,085

This wonderful illustration afront today’s Buffalo News by staffer Daniel Zakroczemski depicts a family much too occupied with early sales to worry about enjoying its Thanksgiving Day meal.

CALLER TIMES

Corpus Christi, Texas

Circulation: 46,015

The folks in Corpus Christi built today’s front around a nice infographic that shared interesting trivia and numbers regarding the holiday.

Here’s a closer look.

The designer — uncredited, sadly — did a wonderful job of sticking with fall-themed colors. Excellent work. And a fun read.

UPDATE – 12:20 p.m.

Scripps Howard Central Desk senior news editor Jacque Petersell tells us:

Thanks for including the Caller-Times. I can give you the designer on the Thanksgiving graphic. It is our graphic artist, the wonderfully talented John Bruce.

CLARION-LEDGER

Jackson, Miss.

Circulation: 57,710

Lots of papers went with stories that cited what local folks might be thankful for this year.

In the past, papers might run a sentence or two with mug shots. This year, the cool way to present this seems to be with readers holding signs that state what they’re thankful for.

I love the fact that no captions or IDs are necessary. Who the people are isn’t as important as what they’re saying.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

The Orange County Register did the same thing today, but emphasized the content by dropping the paper’s nameplate down to the center of the page.

As you can see from the note along the bottom, this is a wrap — the “regular front page” is inside in the page three position.

This trend may have been helped along by this really nice Election Day front page from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 246,571

Meanwhile, what did the Plain Dealer do today? The paper listed what area folks are thankful for today but didn’t bother with mug shots.

Instead of mugs, the space is spent on a nice — but uncredited — illustration of a cornucopia made of newspaper.

NEWS LEADER

Staunton, Va.

Circulation: 13,236

The News Leader of Staunton — in the mountains of western Virginia — led today with a huge photo of a political convention of a turkey farm.

Notice the steam rising off the turkeys.

The photo is by staffer Katie Currid.

THE RECORD

Stockton, Calif.

Circulation: 33,675

The Stockton paper today ran local residents’ memories of Thanksgivings past. All this was arranged around a nearly-life-sized plate of a yummy-looking turkey dinner.

COURIER-POST

Camden, N.J.

Circulation: 46,547

But the Courier-Post of Camden, N.J., today too the completely opposite approach: It asked readers to share their horror stories of Thanksgiving debacles.

The lead element for this story — uncredited, sadly — is a scream. Poor bird.

UPDATE – 1 p.m.

Tara Bender of Gannett’s Asbury Park design studio tells us via Twitter:

I did the Camden, NJ Courier-Post centerpiece with Joanne Sosangelis… She gets the illustration credit.

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

A backlash to ‘digital first’? Or a zig while everyone else zags?

Marla Jo Fisher, the bargain-hunting “Deals Diva” columnist and blogger for the Orange County Register, reveals something interesting in her most recent post.

The paper’s new owners have invested a lot of money lately in the print product, she writes, such as adding a business editor, a daily business section and a full-time restaurant reviewer.

Marla Jo writes:

As a result, they have decided that most of us should devote our time to the print newspaper, and either reduce or eliminate the effort we are making to work on blogs like this one.

…Some of you may know that I’m already writing a Sunday deals column each Sunday for the local section of the Register. I will continue to write that. However, I will not be continuing to update this blog. (frowny face here)

She’ll continue to connect with readers via her Facebook page, she says. In the meantime, she’s been promoted to a full-time columnist position for the features section. She’ll write a “Frumpy Mom” column for Mondays, a home-and-garden column for Saturdays and she’ll continue her “Deals Diva” column for Sundays.

Find Marla Jo’s “goodbye” blog post here.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the amazing investment the OCR has made in high school sports coverage.

I don’t have to tell you, this is 180 degrees opposite of what we’re seeing in the rest of the industry, most notably Digital First — which is going, y’know, digital first — and Advance Publications, which has beefed up its web sites and has begun taking its print products down to just three times a week.

Even more amazing — or, perhaps, puzzlingonline news guru Rob Curley has been working at the Orange County Register since June. Just last month, Curley — who’s been uncharacteristically low-profile for the past year or two — gave an address to student journalists at the University of Oklahoma. Read more about that here.

Thanks to Southern California-based designer Autumn Heep for the tip.

Today’s five best Fourth of July front pages

Fireworks, hot dogs and American flags. What did you put on page one today?

Here’s a look at today’s five best Independence Day-themed front pages, as found in the daily archive at the Newseum.

#5

KANSAS CITY STAR

Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

In the category of kids running back flags, this wonderful centerpiece photo by staffer Keith Myers gives a wonderful red, white and blue effect to the front page of the Kansas City Star. Especially when you take into account the Star’s blue nameplate.

The red, white and blue baseball skybox just adds to the effect.

#4

GAZETTE

Charleston, W.Va.

Circulation: 35,621

Lots of papers led today with fireworks pictures shot locally Tuesday night. Some papers ran them downpage. A few ran them up top, above the nameplate.

My favorite of the batch was this one from Charleston, W.Va.

The picture was by staffer Lawrence Pierce.

That’s twice this week that the Gazette has appeared here in the blog. Somebody there is doing some awfully good work.

A close runner-up is this fireworks-themed poster-front from the Los Angeles Daily News.

The picture is from Getty Images.

Average daily circulation for the Daily News is 94,016.

#3

NEWS JOURNAL

Pensacola, Fla.

Circulation: 40,435

Today’s lead story was a brief essay by staff editorial cartoonist Andy Marlette , answering the question: How Do You Draw a Patriot?

How better to illustrate that kind of a topic than with an illustration by Andy himself?

Andy cites plenty of examples of Patriotism from his own family. For example, he writes about his…

…great grandmother, who in 1934 was stabbed by a bayonet of a National Guardsman sent in to put a stop to a labor uprising at a sweatshop of a textile mill in Burlington, N.C.. Her crime? Singing in protest; speech. Sometimes the patriot is attacked by the very country she cries out for.

Find Andy’s essay here.

#2

INDIANAPOLIS STAR

Indianapolis, Ind.

Circulation: 164,640

The Indianapolis Star today asked its readers to share their vision for America. Staffer Janet Schneider placed the replies and mug shots atop a textured flag illustration.

#1

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

But today’s very best Independence Day front page is from the Orange County Register, which turned this gorgeous Getty image into a poster front that truly makes you want to stand at attention.

The Register also designed last year’s best Independence Day page as well — this one from July 3, 2011:

That one was built around an iStock Photo image. Read more about it here.

Go here to see more July Fourth pages from last year.

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

Under new ownership, Orange County Register hires new media guru Rob Curley

New media journalist, manager and strategist Rob Curley has reportedly been hired by the Orange County Register.

Rob stepped down last month as chief content officer of Greenspun Media, owners of the Las Vegas Sun.

Today’s announcement to staffers was a little unclear as to just what Rob will be doing at the Register, other than planning coverage across all platforms. [UPDATE: Jim Romenesko posted the entire memo.]

Earlier this week, Freedom Communications announced it is selling the Register and six other dailies to a privately-held Boston firm that had originally attempted to buy the Boston Globe from the New York Times company.

Rob has mentioned the new appointment in neither his blog nor his Twitter feed. He reportedly begins work Monday.

A 1996 graduate of Emporia State University in Kansas, Rob started out as a political reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal and an education reporter and online editor for the Ottawa Herald before returning to Topeka as new media director.

According to his personal bio, Rob’s work in Topeka was…

…recognized in 2001 when the Newspaper Association of America named Curley the industry’s New Media Pioneer of the Year, making him the youngest person to win the award.

Rob was eventually put in charge of both the paper’s broadcast and its print news operations — one of the first new media editors to do so empowered. Editor & Publisher recognized the Capital-Journal in 2004 as one of then papers that “do it right.”

In 2005, he was named to a similar position at the Naples (Fla.) Daily News. A year later, however — and with a flourish of publicity — Rob moved to WashingtonPost.com and Newsweek Interactive as vice president of product development. Poynter’s Julie Moos wrote last month that at the Post, Rob…

… was responsible for an unsuccessful hyperlocal effort, LoudounExtra.com.

That closely watched project was eventually declared a failure by the Wall Street Journal, among others. Rob later wrote about it in his blog:

I thought the two biggest problems with LoudounExtra.com were poor integration of the site with washingtonpost.com and not enough outreach into the community — ala basically me speaking with every community group that would have me.

And that both of those problems were my fault. Completely.

Despite this, Rob’s personal bio states:

In 2007, Curley was named to Washingtonian Magazine’s annual list of the Washington D.C. metro area’s “40 under 40.” In the March issue of Creativity Magazine, he was named to the magazine’s annual list of the 50 most creative people in the world.

Rob moved to Greenspun in 2008, reportedly taking nine employees with him from the Post. Rob’s bio states:

During [the four years he was there], the Las Vegas Sun became the first news organization in the world to win the top awards in digital journalism (the ONA and EPpy), the top award in broadcast journalism (the duPont) and the top award in print journalism (the Pulitzer).

A Las Vegas alt-weekly, CityLife, once quoted Rob as saying:

The only thing I love more than journalism is capitalism.

Julie Moos adds:

He created a costly (and ultimately short-lived) video program called 702.tv, which lasted only four months.

CityLife documented a number of other contentious factors about Rob’s time in Vegas. Find a lengthy report here.

Brian Greenspun‘s official memo last month stated:

We’ve had him longer than we expected, but now the day has arrived when the Midwest beckons. Rob has decided he has done what he can here and it is time for him to move on. He’s focusing his efforts on getting back home or, at least, closer to home.

For further reading…

A gallery of gorgeous page-one pictures of Sunday’s eclipse

Unless you’re unlucky enough to get socked in by clouds or fog — and that happened Sunday to some folks on the West Coast — an eclipse can make for gorgeous front-page art in the next day’s paper.

My five favorite eclipse front pages…

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

Salt Lake City, Utah

Circulation: 105,746

Granted, Salt Lake benefited from being smack in the path to see a near-perfect “ring of fire.” But I love the way the designer lined up a sequence across the top of the man with his binoculars.

All of the photos are by staffer Kim Raff.

ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL

Albuquerque, N.M.

Circulation: 87,109

A similar approach in Albuquerque, which also was in the center of the path of the eclipse.

The sequence across the top is by staffer Morgan Petroski. The fabulous shot of a family enjoying the eclipse…

…was by Adolph E. Pierre.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 280,812

Orange County wasn’t near the path of maximum coverage. But it pulled a near-pristine front-page picture, despite a bit of cloud coverage.

The photo by staffer Mark Rightmire was shot at the UC-Irvine observatory.

REVIEW-JOURNAL

Las Vegas, Nev.

Circulation: 213,078

Reno was in the path of maximum coverage, but Las Vegas was not. The Review-Journal ended up with a beautiful front-page picture by having staffer David Becker shoot the eclipse with a carnival ride in the foreground.

Here’s a closer look at David’s picture.

Click this — or anything today, for that matter — for a larger view.

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Tucson, Ariz.

Circulation: 96,682

My favorite eclipse front page of the day, however, is this one by the Arizona Daily Star of Tucson.

That photo — by staffer Benjie Sanders — of the partially eclipsed sun sinking behind the Tucson mountains is just gorgeous.

Wonderful work.

In addition, there were a number of really great photos today that ended up on pages that didn’t particularly impress me. One of my favorites was this picture by Johnny Hanson on the front of today’s Houston Chronicle.

Another was this photo of the eclipse lurking behind clouds in Cheyenne, Wyo.

That was shot by the Tribune-Eagle‘s Michael Smith.

In fact, it was fun to run through the Newseum today, just checking out all the local staff eclipse pictures. There was a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and angles. And that’s just what we saw on page one today.

This would make an interesting collage, would it not?

   

   

   

   

   

   

Credits for all these, left-to-right…

  • ROW ONE: Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle; David Becker/Las Vegas Review-Journal; Sherri Larose-Chiglo/St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer-Press.
  • ROW TWO: Michael Schumacher, Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News; Michael Smith, Cheyenne Tribune-Eagle; Benjie Sanders/Tucson, Arizona Daily Star.
  • ROW THREE: Clifford Oto/Stockton, Calif., Record; Mark Rightmire/Orange County Register; Howard Lipin/U-T San Diego.
  • ROW FOUR: John Walker/Fresno (Calif.) Bee; Alex Horvath/Bakersfield Californian; Joe Kline/Bend, Ore., Bulletin.
  • ROW FIVE: Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times; Josh Peckler/Yuma (Ariz.) Sun; Kelly Hertz/Yankton, S.D., Press & Dakotan.
  • ROW SIX: Tim Dunn and Marilyn Newton/Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal; Morgan Petroski/Albuquerque Journal; Kim Raff; Salt Lake Tribune.

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

More baseball Opening Day front pages

Yesterday, we took a look at a big batch of baseball Opening Day front pages.

Here’s another set. Enjoy…

JOURNAL SENTINEL

Milwaukee, Wis.

Circulation: 188,819

Our “aw, cute” moment of the day is by Journal Sentinel staffer Michael Sears, who captured third baseman Aramis Ramirez teaching his two small children the correct way to stretch.

The Journal Sentinel wisely used that shot big today, across four columns.

PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 243,299

The Indians celebrated Opening Day with a flyover by military helicopters. The moment was captured by the Plain Dealer‘s Chuck Crow.

It’s a wonderful picture. And again, it was played large across four-and-a-half columns on page one.

By the end of the game, the Indians probably wished those copters had dropped a few hits. They lost to the Blue Jays, 7-4.

CINCINNATI ENQUIRER

Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 140,877

The Enquirer followed it’s wonderful Thursday poster front page with this great candid moment starring right fielder Jay Bruce.

The picture is by Jeff Swinger. You can tell by the headline that the Reds won.

Also in today’s Enquirer is this faux movie poster, illustrated and designed by Clay Sisk.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Circulation: 187,875

Tops in the “wow, what a great place to watch a major-league game” category, check out this terrific photo of the Pirates’ PNC Park with Pittsburgh in the background.

Andrew Russell of the Tribune-Review made the picture. And the editors wisely ran it large across the top of today’s front page.

DES MOINES REGISTER

Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 105,151

Ditto what I just said, but now for a minor-league stadium: Here is Principal Park in Des Moines, with the sun setting on the left and the gold-domed Iowa state capitol high upon a hill in the distance.

Yet another gorgeous photo — this one is by the Register‘s Justin Hayworth.

And yes: It was used huge.

Notice the Opening Day stories running down the left side of the page. The other three stories on A1 today are unrelated.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 270,809

And in the “are you kidding me?” category, you’ve probably read how the Orange County Register planned to send 70 — yes, 70 — reporters to tonight’s Angels game.

Here’s how that “news mob” plan played out on page one this morning.

The portraits themselves are handout pictures from the club.

NEW YORK POST

New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 512,067

The best headline of the day was this one by the kings of snark, the New York Post.

Very cute.

WORLD-HERALD

Omaha, Neb.

Circulation: 135,282

And our bonus page today is Thursday’s sports front of the World-Herald of Omaha.

That was designed by Jay St. Pierre.

The Omaha sports page is from that paper. The rest here are from the Newseum. Of course.

Find Thursday’s roundup of baseball Opening Pages here.

As I was finishing this post, a very interesting baseball preview section came in to blog central. I’ll post that a little later this evening.

Twelve wonderful Christmas Day front pages

In honor of the Twelve Days of Christmas, here are the 12 most outstanding newspaper front pages as seen today at the Newseum

PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 243,299

The Plain Dealer sent its outstanding photography team out into the area and asked them to take Christmas card-like pictures. The best — by Lynn Ischay — ended up atop page one today.

Find all the other staff Christmas card pictures here.

POST-GAZETTE

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Circulation: 173,160

The Post-Gazette continued its tradition of featuring winter-themed art atop page one on Christmas Day. Today’s art showing Boyd’s Hill near Pittsburgh was painted by Martin B. Leisser in 1892.

Read more about the painting here.

TIMES-TRIBUNE

Scranton, Pa.

Circulation: 48,216

In Scranton, the Times-Tribune gave full-page play to an illustration by staff artist Bob Sanchuk.

Note the newspaper’s own building in the background.

WILLIAMSPORT SUN-GAZETTE

Williamsport, Pa.

Circulation: 22,839

And — also in Pennsylvania — the Williamsport paper played up a painting by Mickey Mapstone.

Williamsport also had some fun today with a story suggesting that should Santa decide to relocate from the North Pole, he might be wise to consider the Williamsport area. A “study” shows its strengths are toys, cookies, milk and lettercarriers. Find the story here by Joseph Stender.

WICHITA EAGLE

Wichita, Kan.

Circulation: 67,003

In Wichita, this Christmas card effect was created by a photo, rather than a painting.

Unfortunately, the Eagle didn’t credit the photographer.

THE STATE

Columbia, S.C.

Circulation: 71,181

The huge picture on the front of the Columbia, S.C., State by staffer Kim Kim Foster-Tobin shows lit trees reflected in a Hugo Pond, northeast of the city.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 270,809

In California, the Orange County Register gave readers presents under a tree, beautifully lit by the setting sun.

The picture is by staffer Leonard Ortiz.

DAILY NEWS

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 89,990

A “polar” opposite approach was taken by the nearby Daily News of Los Angeles.

The sideways picture is by staffer David Crane.

ANNISTON STAR

Anniston, Ala.

Circulation: 19,563

Hey, look! It’s Tim Tebow!

The picture is uncredited.

MISSOURIAN

Columbia, Mo.

Circulation: 6,003

The Missourian ran the classic 1897 New York Sun editorial response to eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon who asked if Santa Claus was real.

The twist: The Missourian shaped the copy block to look like a Christmas tree ornament.

REVIEW-JOURNAL

Las Vegas, Nev.

Circulation: 213,078

The Las Vegas Review-Journal gave readers plenty of reasons to not ignore the paper today. The paper ran a giant crossword puzzle on page one, reflecting the largest stories of the year.

The puzzle theme carried through the paper. The nation and world page ran a “match the face to the name” puzzle, the state news page featured a Cryptogram quote, the sports page went with a word find, the biz section relied on a “guess the image” and the features section played up a word jumble.

THE RECORD

Stockton, Calif.

Circulation: 35,356

But my very favorite Christmas Day page-one treatment today was this one from the Stockton, Calif., Record.

The Record asked area kids what they wanted for Christmas this year. The designer laid them out atop a Santa Claus suit motif.

Very attractive. And a lot of fun.

So what did the kids of Stockton want for Christmas this year? A lot of it, you could guess.

Some of the requests really make you stop and think.

But some of them are stunning.

Wow.

What an awesome way to make us all stop and think today, Stockton. Great job.

All these pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Find four creative Christmas Eve pages here.

A quick look at Tuesday’s stock market front pages

It’s awfully late tonight, but I hated to let the day pass without drawing your attention to a few notable front pages, as found today at the Newseum

BEST USE OF FEVER LINE

It may have been a little difficult to go with the standard huge red fever chart on page one today, given that so many papers led with that very thing for Friday’s editions.

Despite this, a couple of papers did the ol’ fever line beautifully today. One was…

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 182,964

The folks at the Register showed the numbers over the course of the day, pulling out key moments. The black area beneath the chart worked well as a place to embed the pullouts, a couple of decks and a nice, bold, scary headline.

Now, you could argue that coloring in the area beneath the line turns the standard Dow fever chart into an area chart. And if this is an area chart, this would be an inappropriate way to display Dow data. Because a) This isn’t a zero-based chart. Area charts need to have “zero” as a baseline, because the data you would be showing is the “area” in black.

And b) The Dow isn’t an absolute number anyway, it’s an index. So I’d argue it doesn’t need to be a zero-based chart in the first place.

I think we see Dow charts enough that most folks understand them. So that doesn’t bother me in the least.

Meanwhile, a slightly different tack was taken by the…

KANSAS CITY STAR

Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 209,258

The Star chose to go back a week or so.

There’s no hard data — as in pullout numbers — tied to the chart. Instead, we see five vignettes illustrated with small photos. This package serves as a Dow Jones Industrials graph as well as a timeline of the Dow’s recent woes.

It takes a lot of discipline to pull something like this off well. Because the tendency can be to jam too much material into the chart.

And then there was a completely different approach taken by…

STAR-LEDGER

Newark, N.J.

Circulation: 229,255

Instead of one big Dow Jones chart, the folks in Newark focused on the markets around the world.

We see six smaller fever lines and a large number showing how much lost over the past five days or so. The “Global meltdown” headline makes it clear we’re looking at the larger picture here.

AND, JUST FOR FULL DISCLOSURE…

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Circulation: 190,625

I wouldn’t necessarily call it one of the best. But because I did happen to have a small hand in working on this fever chart front page…

I helped brainstorm and, eventually, did the actual work on the line itself. The page — and package — itself was designed by the very eager and talented Jennifer Johnston. Helping to direct and to nudge the page along was Elizabeth Jackson.

The whole thing came together with a fabulous headline by managing editor Jim Cuddy.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO ‘HMMM’…

TELEGRAPH HERALD

Dubuque, Iowa

Circulation: 27,546

I couldn’t help but notice this big red numeral on the front of the paper in Dubuque, Iowa, today.

Why could I not help noticing it? Because it contrasted a bit with the big red numeral on the front of Iowa’s largest paper, the Des Moines Register.

 

Which number was correct? I found more front pages today with “-635” than “-634,” so I presume the Register had it correct. But I wouldn’t know for sure.

Seemed odd, however.

And if you thought that was amusing…

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO ‘HMMM,’ NO. 2

JOURNAL & COURIER

Lafayette, Ind.

Circulation: 27,546

Last week, a number of papers used headlines with puns on the words “Dow” and “down.” It only stands to reason that a few more might use it today.

But this one caught my eye.

Mostly because of its close, close similarity to a couple of pages I’ve seen before.

On the left is the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., on Oct. 7, 2008. In the middle is the Journal Star of Lincoln, Neb., on Feb. 20, 2009. I chewed out Lincoln, at the time, for what I thought was a pretty blatant ripoff of Harrisburg.

   

On the right, of course, is today’s front by Lafayette. I don’t think they ripped off Harrisburg nearly as bad as Lincoln did. But still, that’s awfully close. Kudos to the designer for at least changing the color, losing one of the “downs” and forgoing the fever chart.

BEST USE OF FACEPALM PHOTOS

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Madison, Wis.

Circulation: 87,629

After the fun we had last week looking at stockerbroker facepalm photos, I was delighted to find someone building a montage of them today.

BEST USE OF A CARTOON ILLUSTRATION

TAMPA BAY TIMES

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Free-distribution daily

So what do you do — if you work at a fun-lovin’ tabloid — to illustrate the roller-coaster ride the markets have have been on lately?

Exactly.

I can’t find a byline on this sucker, which is too bad. The artist or designer — it might have been the same person — deserves some credit.

BEST HEADLINE

HUNTSVILLE TIMES

Huntsville, Ala.

Circulation: 47,366

And while I loved the headline Jim Cuddy came up with for us in Pittsburgh, I thought this one was the best headline of the day.

Nicely done.

Go here to find my look at front pages resulting from last week’s stock crash.

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

Thirty notable front pages showing the final space shuttle launch

Our mission today: To dig through today’s archive at the Newseum and look for 30 interesting front page treatments featuring Friday’s space shuttle launch — the last of the program — as a way of commemorating the 30 years (plus three months) since the first shuttle flight.

That’s a lot of pages, so I’ve tried to organize them for you and to keep the discussion brief today…

————————

HUGE DISPLAYS

As you’d imagine, a number of papers played the launch of Atlantis huge today. Nearly impossibly so. For the most part, this happened in communities where the shuttle program plays an enormous role. The homes of NASA centers, for example. Or where components were assembled or serviced.

HUNTSVILLE TIMES

Huntsville, Ala.

Circulation: 47,366

By far today’s most outstanding shuttle front page was by my good friends at the Huntsville Times.

Design director Paul Wallen tells us:

The front page was art directed by me with a lot of staff collaboration that included Andy Rossback, Bethany Bickley, Elizabeth Hoekenga, Kevin Wendt and Curtis Coghlan.

The photo is by Chris O’Mera of the Associated Press.

There’s no argument that this was big news in Huntsville. The shuttle was developed by engineers at the big NASA facility there. So the Times blew everything else off of page one today and played up the launch.

They even included the top of page one from April 1981 to show how the paper played the first shuttle launch.

Paul also sent us three of today’s inside pages — facing pages from the A section…

 

… and a photo page from today’s B section.

All three were all designed by staffer Andy Rossback, Paul says.

HERALD-TRIBUNE

Sarasota, Fla.

Circulation: 83,085

The paper in Sarasota also gave poster treatment to the launch today.

The photo is by Philip Scott Andrews of the New York Times.

ORLANDO SENTINEL

Orlando, Fla.

Circulation: 187,841

You know it’s truly the end of an era when you see the very last Red Huber shuttle launch photo that on the front of today’s Orlando Sentinel.

Again, the Sentinel also chose to go with a poster treatment. Given the importance of the Shuttle program to Florida, that certainly seems appropriate.

HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Houston, Texas

Circulation: 364,724

I dare say it’s a bit more unusual for the Houston Chronicle to give poster treatment to anything.

But if they’re going to do it, this would be the day.

The picture is by staffer James Nielsen.

DAILY PRESS

Newport News. Va.

Circulation: 62,610

The very first NASA center was at Langley, Va., just a stone’s throw from Newport News. So the Daily Press here in Hampton Roads has been playing up the end of the shuttle program this week.

Today’s installment: Poster treatment of a photo by Chip Somodevilla of Getty Images.

Now, I love the design of that page and the way the photo was played. But I have a small quibble with the photo itself.

The photo is taken from a vantage point from which the camera can’t see the actual shuttle orbiter itself. All you can see of Atlantis is the right wing. The rest of it is hidden by the huge orange-brown external fuel tank and the two strap-on solid rocket boosters.

The only solution, unfortunately: Find another photo.

RECORD

Stockton, Calif.

Circulation: 38,194

As you can see, the Stockton, Calif., paper had no such problem with this picture by Morry Gash of the Associated Press. You can see Atlantis itself quite well here.

I love the headline: We’ll never see that again.

That’s a quote by launch director Mike Leinbach, from deep in the story. It was a great idea to pull it out and use it as the main headline.

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

Salt Lake City, Utah

Circulation: 113,032

The aforementioned solid-rocket boosters were built in Utah. So the Salt Lake City paper played the story huge today as well.

The photo is the same one — by the AP’s Chris O’Meara — used by Huntsville.

VICTORIA ADVOCATE

Victoria, Texas

Circulation: 28,300

But by far the largest treatment today was that of the Victoria (Texas) Advocate. Which took the opportunity to wrap its entire A section in a huge launch photo.

Click on that one for a much, much larger look.

At that size, the photo comes to life. You could spend all day, just admiring the way the light of the exhaust plume plays off the billowing clouds and off the service tower.

Amazing stuff. Great job today by Kimiko Fieg, the presentation editor of the Advocate.

—————————————-

HORIZONTAL TREATMENTS

For years, I’ve been teaching folks to use dramatic vertical or horizontal shapes whenever they can. Dramatically-cropped pictures can make for dramatic pages.

A number of papers went that route today with launch photos…

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

Philadelphia, Pa.

Circulation: 343,710

Here’s a severely horizontal crop of a picture by Chip Somodevilla of Getty Images.

NEWS TRIBUNE

Tacoma, Wash.

Circulation: 83,199

Same idea, just a bit further downpage in Tacoma.

In fact, the designer could possibly have tightened that crop just a little more to maximize the impact. The photo is by Terry Renna of the Associated Press.

DES MOINES REGISTER

Des Moines, Iowa

Circulation: 108,247

Not only does Des Moines successfully use that same trick, it tosses in some brilliant alliteration to boot.

The picture is by Michael R. Brown of Florida Today.

DAILY HERALD

Arlington Heights, Ill.

Circulation: 104,053

The Daily Herald — in the suburbs of Chicago — used an AP shot that, I suspect, is just a frame or two after the one used by Tacoma.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 182,964

The Orange County Register chose the same photo used by Philly…

… shot by Chip Somodevilla of Getty.

WASHINGTON POST

Washington, D.C.

Circulation: 550,821

And the Washington Post made excellent use of its extreme horizontal treatment today by backing up to include folks watching and taking pictures of the launch from a nearby pier.

That picture is by Gerry Broome of the Associated Press.

———————————–

VERTICAL TREATMENTS

Not quite as many papers found ways to use dramatic verticals today. But those that did found a nice visual payoff.

PATRIOT-NEWS

Harrisburg, Pa.

Circulation: 71,834

The Harrisburg, Pa., paper stacked a black box below its left-side photo, making for a very dramatic presence today.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 2,117,796

In what is a very unusual move for them, the Wall Street Journal did the same. Except without the text box. It simply ran the photo all the way down the page.

The picture is credited to Agence France Presse and Getty.

SPOKESMAN-REVIEW

Spokane, Wash.

Circulation: 72,479

Spokane didn’t quite run its picture all the way down the page. But the vertical treatment still worked well here.

That’s an AP photo.

DAILY NEWS

Los Angeles, Calif.

Circulation: 94,192

And the Daily News of Los Angeles took its liftoff photo smaller and used its page-one real estate to play up a nice picture by freelancer Gene Blevins to show Atlantis‘ smoky trail.

—————————

UNUSUAL SHAPES

Severe horizontals or verticals just weren’t enough for some papers. Some papers resorted to some very unusual shapes in order to built their front pages.

FORUM

Fargo, N.D.

Circulation: 47,500

The “Hot L” is so last decade. New hotness, perhaps: The “Hot C.”

Hmm. Perhaps not.

VIRGINIAN-PILOT

Norfolk, Va.

Circulation: 152,198

And the Virginian-Pilot led page one today with a triangular-shaped shuttle launch photo.

I looked at this page for a long time this morning — you’ll recall that this is the paper I get here at home — and I still can’t decide whether or not I like it. I guess you do, if you especially want that local investigative piece out front about the garbage trucks.

Interestingly, the photo — by Phil Sandlin of the Associated Press — has the same problem the Newport News’ lead art did, with the Atlantis orbiter actually hidden by the external tank and the booster rockets.

——————————————————–

THE SEARCH FOR A DIFFERENT ANGLE

Part of the problem with space shuttle launches is that they tend to look the same after a while. After you’ve run a few launch photos on page one, you begin to look for an unusual angle or crop that can make your report look different from the last time a shuttle was launched.

SUN HERALD

Biloxi, Miss.

Circulation: 36,385

The folks in Biloxi chose a very long shot — by Chris O’Mera of the Associated Press — that emphasized the swampy surroundings of the launch pad.

It looks more like an art shot than a news photo. But it seems perfect for this launch in particular.

TAMPA TRIBUNE

Tampa, Fla.

Circulation: 164,568

The Tampa Tribune chose an AP shot that was framed by swamp trees.

UNION LEADER

Manchester, N.H.

Circulation: 46,939

The Manchester, N.H., paper found a local man who was on a passenger jet that happened to fly near Cape Canaveral just after the launch.

The photo isn’t quite as iconic as the one from last May (and displayed on the front of the St. Petersburg Times). But still very nice.

It was taken by Ryan Griff of Bedford, N.H.

ST. PETERSBURG TIMES

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Circulation: 292,441

Speaking of the Times, that paper used a most unusual crop today — one that seemed to focus more on the exhaust cloud than on the shuttle stack itself.

The picture is from the Associated Press.

NEW YORK TIMES

New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 916,911

Likewise, the New York Times focused not so much on the final launch of the shuttle, but on the final main engine start of the shuttle.

The picture is by Times staffer Philip Scott Andrews, who also scored that lead poster-front photo in Sarasota today.

FLORIDA TODAY

Melbourne, Fla.

Circulation: 67,970

Yet, this page may be the most unusual of the day. Despite having folks on-site shooting the launch itself — see the front of the Des Moines Register, above — Florida Today led A1 today with a surfing coach pointing out the launch to a couple of his students.

The picture is by staffer Malcolm Denemark.

Cowabunga, dude

—————————————

INTERESTING HEADLINES

And finally, a few papers managed to find headlines or typographical treatments that seemed out of the ordinary today.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC

Phoenix, Ariz.

Circulation: 337,170

The Arizona Republic ran a headline below its lead photo. But no headline, label or deck above the photo. Instead, it ran the dates the shuttle program started and ended, not unlike a tombstone.

The lead photo there is by Don Emmert of Getty.

GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE

Green Bay, Wis.

Circulation: 43,278

The Green Bay paper found a way to say this was the last blastoff without having to use both words.

Very clever indeed.

The lead art is yet another by Getty’s Chip Somodevilla.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

Charlotte, N.C.

Circulation: 155,497

The headline atop the Charlotte Observer‘s shuttle package today is a reference to a song. A song that was a No. 1  in 1945.

It’s a cute idea, perhaps. Pop references can make for great headlines. This one just seemed… dated. Despite the fact that the reference was originally by a NASA commentator.

The lead photo is by John Raoux of the Associated Press.

TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT

Tallahassee, Fla.

Circulation: 36,178

By the same token, then, this headline — also a reference to a very old Broadway musical — should fail. But it works for me, simply because I can’t believe the folks at the Tallahassee Democrat dared to try to use it.

The play Bye Bye Birdie opened in 1960, launching the career of Dick Van Dyke. Not quite as old as “Sentimental Journey.” But still, older than yours truly. Which is pretty damned old.

Still, though, it makes me laugh. While the Observer headline just makes me scratch my head.

What might not work here is the quote. I wondered if that was a NASA administrator or a famous astronaut or one of the engineers who helped develop the shuttle.

Nope. That’s a quote from the president of Florida State University. Who apparently saw the launch.

Hmm

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

I’ve published quite a bit of space shuttle work this week.

It’s hard to beat a Fourth-of-July presentation like this

Wow! What a deliciously lush Fourth-of-July presentation that is, wrapping around today’s Orange County Register:

Never mind the fact that today is only the third of July.

Isn’t that outstanding?

The page is part of a wrap. “Today’s front page is on News 3,” that second reverse bar promises readers.

The story: OCR staffer Theresa Walker and poses the question: What does it mean to be an American? A mixture of photos and short essays from local folks provide a variety of answers. Find the online version here.

And no, the lead art here is not any particular U.S. flag from any of the folks in the story. In fact, that’s from iStock Photo.

Average daily circulation for the Orange County Register is 182,964. The paper is based in Santa Ana, Calif.

It’s a struggle, especially on holidays: What do we put out front?

I don’t know about your papers, but places where I’ve worked have problems with rack sales on holidays. It seems that folks are more interested in hitting the road and braking out their grills or heading for the beach and not so enthusiastic about stopping to buy or read a paper.

I’ve written about this phenomenon extensively over the years — here and here and here — and I’ve shown you a number of newsrooms that decided: If we can’t move single-copy papers on a holiday, then let’s do something extraordinary. Something that’s a talker. That will create buzz.

Like the Virginian-Pilot‘s Memorial Day gravestone rubbing. Or the Rock Hill, S.C., Herald‘s Fourth of July U.S. flag front. Or the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle‘s Christmas Card.

All three of those happen to be from 2008. But they’re great examples of what I’m talking about.

Go here to see some fabulous Independence Day front pages from 2009.

The OCR front page, above, is from the Newseum. Of course.

Today’s notable Memorial Day presentations

Sunday, we took at look at ten outstanding Memorial Day presentations.

Today, we’ll look at 16 more, published on Memorial Day itself.

POST-STAR

Glens Falls, N.Y.

Circulation: 25,705

While not quite as stunning as Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer portrait of the Medal of Honor, this centerpiece shows us some of the military’s most distinguished decorations.

The presentation is labeled as a photo illustration by staffer Todd Kehoe.

My only beef with it: Should the actual Medal of Honor itself have been labeled? Or is it recognizable enough?

FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER

Fayetteville, N.C.

Circulation: 52,698

The Observer of Fayetteville, N.C. — home of Fort Bragg — focused on a solder who was killed in Afghanistan. Lead art is a snapshot, turned into a photoillustration by an uncredited staffer.

Find the story here by staffer John Ramsey.

SEATTLE TIMES

Seattle, Wash.

Circulation: 253,742

In Seattle, the TimesHal Berton writes about a son who is preparing to follow his father to Afghanistan. His father was killed there last year.

The photo by staffer Steve Ringman shows mom and the two kids holding a portrait of war hero dad. The woman on the right is the son’s wife.

Read the story here.

NEWS TRIBUNE

Tacoma, Wash.

Circulation: 83,199

The Tacoma paper led with a story about runners who are honoring troops by wearing blue. But the lead visual today is this uncredited woodcut-like flag wrapped around a roster of fallen troops from the region.

The runner photos are by staffer Steve Ringman.

ATHENS BANNER-HERALD

Athens, Ga.

Circulation: 23,526

The roll-call approach is a popular one. For the second year in a row, the Banner-Herald of Athens, Ga., ran a list of all area folks who have died in wars going back to World War I.

The photo is by staffer Richard Hamm. See last year’s page here.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 182,964

Lead art for today’s OCR is three generations visiting the grave site of a World War II soldier. But the main feature is a roster of all the area’s fallen soldiers from the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The picture is by staffer Michael Goulding.

POST-CRESCENT

Appleton, Wis.

Circulation: 38,805

The Post-Crescent of Appleton, Wis., went with with a wall of mug shots.

Those are all area soldiers who have fallen in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

BUFFALO NEWS

Buffalo, N.Y.

Circulation: 154,748

Ditto for the Buffalo News. The mugs here are smaller but there’s quite a bit more information about each.

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

San Diego, Calif.

Circulation: 224,761

A number of papers focused on tombstones and grave markers this year. The Union-Tribune of San Diego — another huge military city — told the history today of the large military graveyard there, Fort Rosecrans.

The picture is by staffer Nelvin C. Cepeda. Find the story here by staffer Gretel C. Kovach.

BULLETIN

Norwich, Conn.

Circulation: 17,752

In Connecticut, the Bulletin took at look at 150-year-old tombstones of Civil War veterans.

The centerpiece is credited to James Craven, Aaron Flaum and Dan Goodwin.

STAR-LEDGER

Newark, N.J.

Circulation: 229,255

My favorite page of the day is this one by the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

The Star-Ledger combined the roll-call with tombstone pictures in a four-page, pull-out insert today.

AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

Akron, Ohio

Circulation: 94,811

A number of papers today built their front pages around pictures of relatives mourning their loved ones in military cemeteries. One of the better pages of this type was by the Akron Beacon Journal, thanks to the eye of shooter Phil Masturzo.

My only beef with this page: The “dad” referred to in the deck is not the one in the photo.

Granted, the deck doesn’t say it is. But still, readers tend to draw these conclusions. We have to be mindful of this when editing our pages.

COMMERCIAL APPEAL

Memphis, Tenn.

Circulation: 134,562

Mike Brown of the Memphis paper also brought back a photo with very interesting geometrical things going on in the background.

Note how the crop on that photo follows closely along the horizon line. That accentuates the geometry going on there.

STAR-TELEGRAM

Fort Worth, Texas

Circulation: 151,753

The Star-Telegram of Fort Worth reached back just a bit to tell readers the story of four local men who died in Vietnam.

The picture is by staffer Max Faulkner. Find the story here by Chris Vaughn.

NEWSDAY

Melville, N.Y.

Circulation: 298,759

Newsday reached back just a bit further to World War II.

OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

Omaha, Neb.

Circulation: 142,283

The best read of the day, however, is the centerpiece story afront today’s Omaha World-Herald. The story is about three old men, all World War II veterans who went through their own hells 60 years ago. Now, they all hang out together in Omaha. But they hardly ever talk about the way.

Lead art today is vintage mugs of the three men. This current shot by staffer Matt Miller is on the web version of the story and, presumably, ran inside.

Staff writer Matthew Hanson went to the trouble of pulling the stories out of the three men, however. And it’s most definitely worth your time to take a look. Read it here.

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

Go here to see ten outstanding Memorial Day pages from Sunday.

Check out last year’s outstanding Memorial Day pages here.

The best Memorial Day page I’ve ever seen is still this one by the Virginian-Pilot, three years ago.

Ten wonderful Memorial Day front pages

Lots of papers published wonderful Memorial Day treatments today on page one.

Here’s a look at ten of the best.

GAZETTE

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Circulation: 76,030

The folks in Colorado Springs focused on a Korean War veteran. The man’s face reflected in the frame holding his medals is a bit haunting.

That lead photo is by staffer Jerilee Bennett.

Also nice is the flag draped across the top.

FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER

Fayetteville, N.C.

Circulation: 52,698

Fayetteville — the home of Fort Bragg — chose to honor solders currently serving in Iraq. The nice shot of troops taking a quick break is a contributed picture.

The patch art up top is nice. However, that’s not the flag patch that servicemen and women wear on their uniforms. It would have been nice to see one of those, instead.

TIMES UNION

Albany, N.Y.

Circulation: 66,835

Mug shots of the dead is a common theme on Memorial Day. The Albany paper showed 19 local troops who lost their lives over the past year in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The artwork is wonderful. But uncredited.

PIONEER PRESS

St. Paul, Minn.

Circulation: 193,549

Another common theme on Memorial Day is to show folks visiting the graves of their loved ones. One of the best of this type today was by St. Paul. Focusing on just the feet and the hand brushing along the top of the marker might not be the conventional way to design this page. But it sure makes for a moving result.

The picture is by staffer Jean Pieri. Nice subtle photoshop work as well on the vintage shot of the veteran.

CAPE COD TIMES

Hyannis, Mass.

Circulation: 37,522

Another thing you see a lot on Memorial Day weekend: Folks going around military graveyards, placing U.S. flags on each grave. There must have been a dozen of these around the country today. One of the most stirring was this one by the Cape Cod Times.

I love the design of that page — the typography is wonderful, the shapes are unusual and interesting — that tall tint box breaks up everything downpage very nicely. I especially like the skybox promo.

The best part, however, was the picture by staffer Steve Heaslip.

Nicely done.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Santa Ana, Calif.

Circulation: 182,964

Many times these flags are placed by Boy Scout troops. Case in point: This Cub Scout on the front of today’s Orange County Register.

The picture is by staffer Mindy Schaver.

You just don’t get any cuter than that.

REVIEW-JOURNAL

Las Vegas, Nev.

Circulation: 166,182

And speaking of Boy Scouts, these three fellas exhausted themselves placing flags on graves in Las Vegas.

The picture is by staffer Jason Bean.

They’re clearly pooped. And then you see all the flags behind them and you realize why they’re pooped.

SUN

Baltimore, Md.

Circulation: 178,692

The Baltimore Sun ran a front-page story today about a couple of men who were college roommates at Annapolis. They now lie side-by-side at Arlington National Cemetery.

The lead photo is by staffer Karl Merton Ferron. Find the story here by staffer Childs Walker.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Chicago, Ill.

Circulation: 437,205

The Tribune ran a story about a Vietnam vet who has tracked down the families of all his fallen comrades. A1 art is rubbings from the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The story is by one of the Tribune‘s finest columnists, Mary Schmich. Read it here.

PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 254,372

But the most memorable Memorial Day front page published today is this gem by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

That’s a handout photo from the Library of Congress of the Medal of Honor.

What an outstanding way to present it.

Every one of these page images is from the Newseum. Of course.

 

Do you or do you not run a photo of a dead bin Laden on page one?

Any minute now, the U.S. military might — just might — release a photo or photos of a deceased Osama bin Laden.

Will you run it on page one? Will you run one at all, anywhere in your paper? It’s being debated around the U.S. right now. Some of the arguments are finding their way onto Twitter and Facebook.

The helpful folks at the Poynter Institute — led by Al Tompkins, Bob Steele and Kelly McBride — conducted a live chat Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Some of the ground they covered:

Will it sell more papers? Probably not.

Will it be newsworthy? Perhaps. Especially if it confirms or throws into doubt the official version of what happened in bin Laden’s compound.

Will the public react negatively? Possibly. That’s less likely if the picture is smaller, black-and-white or inside. Or all three.

What’s the alternative? You could refer to your website, and then require a clickthrough of a warning screen before the reader gets to the pic.

If you’re having these discussions, then read up on it here.

In the meantime, I thought I’d show you a few examples of the last time this may have come up: When al-Quida bigwig Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was killed in a missile strike in June 2006.

The St. Pete Times ran the photo about a column-and-a-half wide but at the very top of A1.

The Orange County Register ran the picture quite a bit larger but still above the fold.

I might point out that this is actually a picture of a framed picture. If that makes any difference to you.

Also: Those of you who have seen my infographics presentations might recognize this page. Yes, that’s a graphic with which I have serious, serious content issues.

The Rocky Mountain News of Denver ran it huge.

Even my paper at the time — the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk — ran the photo-of-a-photo of a deceased Al-Zarqawi on page one. It’s fairly low on the page. But there it is.

What you should not do is something like this:

No. That’s just tacky.

Find the Poynter discussion here.

You probably know this already. But those death photos of bin Laden that have been going around this week are fakes.

Those pages are more than five years old. But, at the time, they all came from the Newseum.

A look at Tuesday’s graphics-heavy bin Laden presentations

Anybody ready for another spin into the world of Osama bin Laden aftermath?

While yesterday’s fronts were — in some cases — big and bold, they didn’t have a lot of story to tell. That’s partially because of the late hour at which the story broke. Read much more detail about that — and how several papers ripped up their existing front pages — in last night’s post.

Today, however, details were available on just how a special team of U.S. Navy Seals brought down bin Laden. And many papers told to tell that story graphically.

TOP FIVE FRONTS OF THE DAY

Because I want to spend our time together today looking at infographics, I thought I’d cut our look at the best designed fronts to just five today. Um, in addition to the one I showed you last night. Which I liked quite a bit.

I thought the Citizen’s Voice tabloid of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., found an interesting way to promote their inside stories today.

Talk about your magazine fronts. That’s very nice.

Average daily circulation for the Citizen’s Voice is 47,160.

And I was delighted the Sacramento Bee found a way to use that cool New York firefighters picture by Michael Appleton of the New York Times.

The Bee also showed a lovely use of white space today. Again, there’s hardly any urgency here at all — the editors are quite aware you’re going to buy the paper. So they’re settling in to tell you the story of how it happened, but with narrative and features. Be prepared to do some readin’, this front says.

Average daily circulation for the Bee is 205,531.

By contrast, the paper I get here — the Virginian-Pilot, circulation 156,968 — went loud and big with the story of our Navy seals.

Why “our” Navy seals? Because the team that did the deed in Pakistan Sunday is based right here in Hampton Roads. Making this a local story for the Pilot.

The photo is the the Associated Press file photo I referred to yesterday as “the smiling portrait.” The graphic is a very heavily modified one from MCT. We’ll be discussing graphics in much greater detail in a bit.

The Buffalo (N.Y.) News — circulation 160,316 — also found an interesting way to crop a file shot of bin Laden into something striking and creepy.

Both the creepy eyes and the photo of bin Laden’s compound are from Getty. The graphic is from the Associated Press.

My favorite front page of the day, though — for the second day running, in fact — was by the Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio.

The Plain Dealer used, to good effect, a picture of the compound by Anjum Naveed of the Associated Press.

Assistant managing editor David Kordalski tells us today’s page was by…

Emmet Smith, of course, with Michael Tribble and me tweaking. New managing editor Thom Fladung wrote the headline, which is what made it work so smartly.

Yep. The headline is the best part, asking the question that we all want to ask.

Side note No. 1: David has begun posting the Plain Dealer‘s bin Laden pages — including inside pages — on his new web site. Check ’em out here.

Side note No. 2: Today happens to be Emmet’s 31st birthday.

A PHOTOSHOPPED LEAD PICTURE

A number of papers led with this handout art, taken by Pete Souza of the White House…

…, showing President Barack Obama and his security advisors watching from the White House situation room. That was the Chicago Tribune, circulation 441,506. Here’s the Trib’s sister paper, the 600,449-circulation Los Angeles Times.

What made this photo so unusual is that it had been photoshopped at the source. Before it even hit the wires.

Here’s the entire photo by itself…

…and here’s a closeup of the altered bit — the stack of papers in front of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not sure I’d have advised anyone to not use this photo. And — especially in this setting — I understand why the photo might have to be altered.

But still, I find it surprising this has happened. And that so many papers used it prominently today.

From left to right:

  • Burlington (Vt.) Free Press, circulation 32,405
  • Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, circulation 149,420
  • Las Vegas (Nev.) Review-Journal, circulation 150,403

  • Minneapolis Star Tribune, circulation 297,478
  • Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer, circulation 130,555
  • Baltimore, Md., Sun, circulation 178,692

Of the eight pages I’ve shown you here, only one did not mention the alteration in the cutline or credit line.

This is a great example of how that line — of what we will and won’t use in our papers and on page one — keeps moving around. We have to be nimble enough to know when to move the line and when to make an exception. And when not to do either.

Looks like most folks did it right today. Kudos to everyone.

AN ALTERNATIVE SHOT, HOWEVER

Granted this other photo by Pete Souza of the White House isn’t quite as compelling as was that last photo. But still, it’s pretty decent and visually interesting.

The Salt Lake Tribune — circulation 109,703 — used it very well, as you can see.

At least two other papers used it today as lead A1 art, as well:

Left: San Francisco Chronicle, circulation 223,549

Right: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, circulation 181,504

HUGE INFOGRAPHIC-LIKE TREATMENTS

As I mentioned earlier — and as you’re beginning to see — a number of papers ran infographics on A1.

Three papers, however, ran such large graphical treatments that it damned near turned A1 into a graphic itself.

The first of these was the News Journal of Wilmington, Del., circulation 87,138. The News Journal created what I’ll call a “comic book” approach, with illustrated panels walking readers, step-by-step, through the entire incident.

While there are some graphic elements there, this isn’t really what I’d consider a big infographic. More like an alternative story form. These can be quite effective.

In this case, I’d have suggested punching up the numbers in each copy block. Make the larger and, say, in red or something, to tie in with the other little graphic doo-dads on the page. This might have helped the reader through the piece.

Next up is the News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla., circulation 56,834. Staff artist Michael Donlan used elements from a variety of sources — the graphic of the compound is from the AP, I’m pretty sure — to give us a graphical look at what happened.

But you see the problem here, don’t you? To read the story in order, you have to begin down at the very bottom left: “Leading up to the raid.” Then, you go to No. 1 — the number is on the map near the bottom; the corresponding text is about halfway through the piece on the left.

It’s not until we get to No. 2 that our eye is directed back up to the top left of the graphic. Where we wanted to start reading in the first place.

Making the numbers red helps them pop out at us. But also making some of the walls of the compound red then takes away from that. In the end, the reader ends up having to hunt for which copy block to read next.

But notice how the Union-Tribune of San Diego — circulation 224,761 — solved those issues. It ran the background material and map up top. The map leads into a timeline showing how the attack progressed through the planning and approval stages.

The timeline then ends at the situation room handout photo. The numbers pick up in the cutline to that photo and lead directly into the compound diagram.

Hold on; Time out. Let me insert a subhed here, please…

WONDERFUL INFOGRAPHICS

There. That’s better.

Here’s just the graphic itself, by staffers Beto Alvarez, Shaffer Grubb, Matt Perry and Aaron Steckelberg.

Also notice the monochromatic color scheme the U-T folks used. Nothing in the diagram draws our eyes away from the important part… which is telling the story.

A masterful job. And ingeniously incorporated into page one.

Now, that’s just one of a big batch of nice compound graphics we have to show you today. This one is by Alicia Parlapiano, Todd Lindeman and Laris Karklis of the Washington Post.

As you can see, the Post used their wonderfully-rendered 3D diagram only to label the parts. The tick-tock of what happened runs beneath.

See how your eye immediately goes to the orange bits? I think the artists were trying to approximate the actual look of the compound. The Post team might have been better off ignoring this color and using a monochromatic color scheme.

Which is essentially what the New York Times folks did today. Again, note the Times didn’t try to give you an actual tick-tock in the compound diagram itself.

The Times shows you where stuff happened, but doesn’t feel compelled to lead you through the piece in step-by-step order. The Times knows you’ll get all that from the narrative.

Unfortunately, this piece was uncredited today.

Now, check out this one by Raoul Rañoa of the Los Angeles Times. The ground and grass-like textures Raoul uses gives his piece just a little more visual authenticity. It looks more like an aerial photo than a 3D diagram.

Who knows whether or not every blade of grass is in the correct spot? That level of detail isn’t vital in this case. And where it is important — like over on the left, where clearly Raoul wants you to think of dirt, as opposed to grass — you, in fact, see dirt. This is where the illustration part takes over in an infographic.

All three of the majors used their 3D graphics prominently today.

From left to right:

  • Washington Post, circulation 545,345
  • New York Times, circulation 876,638
  • Los Angeles Times, circulation 600,449

Now, this next piece ran afront the Times-Picayune of New Orleans. The main drawing of the compound is actually a piece by McClatchy-Tribune Graphics.

But — unlike those last three examples — what the Times-Picayune did was to put the tick-tock of the day’s events smack into the diagram itself.

The downside is that the reader has to read a copy block, then cast his eyes back over to the diagram to see where the next little number goes. And then bring his eyes back over to the copy. This approach requires a little more work on the part of the reader.

The upside is that the diagram is now better integrated into the sequence of events — or, rather, into the narrative part of our graphic.

So, it’s a trade-off.

David Badders and Dan Aguayo of the Portland Oregonian did the same thing today. Notice how this allows David and Dan to create some motion in their graphic by adding an arrow to represent the helicopters. See the little No. 3 floating at the bottom of the diagram? That’s where one of the helios crashed.

My only beef here is the inclusion of the second aerial photo at extreme upper right. That’s a closeup of the compound. Rather redundant, I think, given the actual 3D diagram.

And again, note that David and Dan used a monochromatic color scheme. That allows the little red numbers to pop out all the more.

Now, contrast that with this graphic, which ran on the front of the Times-Dispatch of Richmond, Va. Artist John G. Ownby did not clutter his piece with the numbers or arrows or such. He simply ran the compound diagram — which looks like it may be a modified version of the Associated Press version — with simple labels and then put the tick-tock beneath.

This makes for a cleaner read of the diagram. But I wonder how many readers will wade through all that text at bottom left. Looks like it might could have been trimmed quite a bit. Perhaps punch up the size of the numerals. Or turned them a color.

Just like in those previous examples, these last three papers all used these graphics prominently, above the fold on A1.

From left to right:

  • New Orleans, La., Times-Picayune, circulation 144,294
  • Portland Oregonian, circulation 239,071
  • Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, circulation 118,489

The Hartford Courant made a graphic an important part of A1 today. But they didn’t make it the primary element. Meaning artist Wes Rand had less room to work with.

But this may have been a good thing. Look how elegantly brief the copy is. Can you imagine this copy on one of those larger pieces, above? Sometimes, more is not really more. Sometimes, less is more.

And here is the uncredited A1 graphic that ran afront today’s Columbus Dispatch. Columbus dispensed entirely with the tick-tock, leaving that to the story. All we’re meant to do here is get a sense of place.

Because this piece ran so small, the artist didn’t bother including any visual details at all. That’s the good part.

The not-so-good part was the color choice. By now, you’ve seen several of these graphics an a number of photos of the compound itself. Why turn the whole thing blue, brown, orange and gold? Using false colors here makes no sense at all.

Here’s how these two papers use their graphics today:

From left to right:

  • Hartford (Conn.) Courant, circulation 134,751
  • Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, circulation 149,420

WIRE GRAPHICS

We’ve already seen a number of papers that made great use today of graphics from the wire services. Here are a few more…

Perhaps the largest use of the Associated Press diagram was by the Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer, circulation 157,574.

Again, I think you can see why I despise the color choices the AP made in their diagram. The diagram is all dark brown, light yellow and pale orange. Yet, in the photo tucked beneath the diagram, you can see the actual compound. Which is mostly white and light tan, with just a few stray walls painted a brick-red. This page would have looked — and, I think, worked — so much better with a more authentic color scheme.

The Post-Standard of Syracuse — circulation 85,015 — Used this same AP graphic, also without altering those terrible colors. In fact, Syracuse may have compounded the problem by turning all the pointer boxes blue.

I do like the way the tick-tock is lined up horizontally across the bottom of the diagram. And I like the actual composition of the page. It’s just that the colors don’t work here at all. They’re much too bright and gaudy Sigh

The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News — circulation 225,175 — solved its graphic issues by simply shopping the New York Times wire service.

In this use, the Merc might have been better off shrinking the mountain part of their wire graphic another 20 to 30 percent. The way it is here, we’re not getting much info out of the bottom segment compared to the amount of space it takes up.

And I found a great man papers today using the aforementioned MCT graphic, created by Judy Trieble, Melina Yingling and brand-new assistant art director Robert Dorrell.

For those of you out there without much graphics experience, please note how each paper modified the graphic to match its own font style and color palette and moved elements around to meet the needs of the page.

Here is the way it looked in the Baton Rouge, La., Advocate.

The Orange County Register completely reworked all the colors and even the strokes used in the diagram itself. The breaks in the copy blocks are more apparent, thanks to bullets. The headline pops more.

The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, Calif., went with a much cooler palette — mostly blues.

The colors in the Times-Union of Jacksonville, Fla., are so subtle that, at first, you might think you’re looking at a black-and-white graphic.

In St. Paul, Minn., the compound is back to its original warmer tones and backed by a grass-like green gradient.

And in the Seattle Times, the colors have been punched up just a bit but then all the strokes removed for a slicker look. Oh, and the locator map — which was mostly brown — is now mostly green.

Here’s how each one of those papers used their MCT graphics today.

From left to right:

  • Baton Rouge, La., Advocate, circulation 82,248
  • Santa Ana, Calif., Orange County Register, circulation 182,391
  • Palm Springs, Calif.,Desert Sun, circulation 34,419

  • Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, circulation 188,926
  • St. Paul., Minn., Pioneer Press, circulation 185,736
  • Seattle, Wash., Times, circulation 251,697

OTHER VIEWS

Want to see a really awesome, thoughtful analysis of content in today’s bin Laden graphics from papers around the U.S. and the world? By the very awesome Alberto Cuadra of the Washington Post?

Go here, then, and learn some mighty big things.

Meanwhile, news design consultant+guru Ron Reason says his favorite today was the St. Pete Times.

Hmm. A page I didn’t include at all. Very interesting. Read along here as he explains his logic.

Most of these pages are from the daily archive posted at the Newseum.

Previous posts about visual journalism and the Osama bin Laden story…

Front pages show skepticism over recession news

Not only is the recession over, it actually ended last year.

Or so says the National Bureau of Economic Research. The rest of the country — including many of the nation’s editors, evidently — aren’t so sure.

Here’s a look at the six best recession-themed front pages, as seen in the daily collection posted at the Newseum.

My favorite today was by the Kansas City Star, circulation 210,000 (click any of today’s pages for a larger view):

The Star‘s Charles Gooch tells us:

Greg Branson and I collaborated to design it. The concept came out of desperation… but isn’t that always the case with economic stories as centerpieces?

Our art was OK, but not visually stunning. It worked with our story but didn’t immediately say “recession is over.” But by converting the key indicators into quick-glance graphics and adding an “is it really over” head treatment, the whole package come together.

Agreed. The photo low in the centerpiece is by staffer Garvey Scott. But the real workhorse here is the collection of small charts…

…working in tandem with that headline. The graphics are very small and very simple. The trends are easy enough to spot. No further details are necessary.

Up the road in Indianapolis, the Star — circulation 186,127 — took a similar approach, but with numbers and stock art instead of graphs:

The Star‘s news design director, Ryan Hildebrandt, tells us:

That would be Amanda Goehlert. Lacking a main display at 3:30, we handed her some economic data, and she turned it into a pretty nice A1. She seems to always step up to the challenge!

And again, note the great headline:

The Recession: Definition vs. Reality

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk took a similar approach, stripping the story across the top of A1 to make room on the front for huge local stories. The main headline:

America’s Recession is Over! Try Telling It to Them.

The lead art is AP file art of folks waiting in line at a job fair earlier this year in Melville, N.Y.

Average daily circulation for the Virginian-Pilot is 164,454.

On the other coast, Dan Hunt of the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif., also used the theme of folks in line and a skeptical headline:

Dan tells us:

That would be me. It was my first day doing A1 at the Register, the first time I’ve done A1 since I left Wilmington (more than 10 months ago) and the first day I did A1, A2 and the Local section. Busy day of firsts, for sure.

The silhouettes at the top are credited as a staff photoillustration. The graphic at the bottom of the package is from McClatchy-Tribune.

Average daily circulation for the Register is 236,770.

Perhaps the most gorgeous recession front today was by the Las Vegas Sun. The Sun — which inserts into the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal, circulation 170,123 — wrote about “unscrupulous managers” who charge unemployed people for jobs:

The illustration, of course, is by telecommuting art director Chris Morris, who rejoined the Sun just a few weeks ago.

Chris tells us the page…

…was designed by Spencer Holladay.

Late last night he asked me for the layered file, saying he needed to pull parts of the illustration for inside page elements. I’m curious to see how that went.

In fact, Spencer just won first place in the state contest. The Sun took all three spots.

And finally, the strangest — and perhaps most interesting — recession front today was courtesy of the New York Post, circulation 525,004.

The Post featured a lengthy quote — designed in comic book-style — from a woman at Mondays’ televised “town hall” meeting with President Barack Obama.

Conventional wisdom would have been to paraphrase and clean up this quote. But the Post elected to run it the way she said it. And you can practically see the emotion dripping off of it.

Despite her pain, I think the main hed was a bit heavy on the hyperbole and light on accuracy. Which is what we’ve come to expect from the Post.

Find these pages — and more — posted at the Newseum.

Orange County Register to run reporters’ mug shots with all stories

Last week, LA Observed‘s Kevin Roderick published a memo from Orange County Register deputy editor Brenda Shoun, announcing that all staff-written stories will soon be accompanied by mug shots of said staffers.

NOT the staff of the Orange County Register.

The memo says, in part:

Recently-released MORI research recommendations told us that we need to better promote our talented writing staff. Images were specifically called out by the research team as a good way to do this.

You’ll remember months back we reworked the online sigs and at that time said print would be next. We’re there!

The biggest change is that every story written by a staff writer will have that writer’s picture and byline indented into the text.

This doesn’t strike me as a terribly bad idea. However, I have a feeling this new decree will end up being loosely enforced. Just think of how many times a single reporter’s byline ends up appearing two or three times on the same page. They’ll have to find a way of dealing with this.

A better point: Does the OCR never run multiple bylines? It’d be mighty awkward to set up one of these notched mug shot deals with, say, three mugs in it.

Also: Will this apply to large graphics packages? How about photographers? Will they be exempt?

The Baltimore Sun‘s John McIntyre came up with perhaps the best line about this on Friday. John writes:

There are a number of reasons that print reporters did not go into television, and I’ll let you guess what one of them is.

Read Kevin Roderick’s story — including the original memo — here. Find John McIntyre’s blog here.