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.

 

A handful of notable Sunday front pages

You saw the pages I posted earlier today out of Alabama, right? Those were outstanding, so please don’t miss them.

However — now that I’ve had a chance to take my daily romp though the archive at the Newseum — I have a few more Sunday front pages I’d like to show you.

In Louisiana, the big story is the flooding along the Mississippi. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened spillways to intentionally flood rural flood plains in order to protect the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

The Times-Picayune today played the story with a photo by staffer Matthew Hinton of the spillways opening up.

Oddly enough, that photo seems small, given the gravity of the story. But look at what else the Times-Picayune felt obligated to squeeze above the fold. A story about the controversy around the city’s police department and the offshore drilling story. Any one of those two would be a centerpiece on another day.

Find further coverage of the flood basin flooding on the paper’s web site. Average daily circulation for the Times-Picayune is 144,294.

Baton Rouge, too, played the story big on page one, but with an aerial photo by staffer Bryan Tuck.

Unlike the Times-Picayune, however, the Advocate doesn’t have a good excuse for not playing the story even larger. There’s very little in that left-side rail that’s going to sell a paper faster than the flooding story today. So why not do away with it?

Average daily circulation for the Advocate is 82,248.

In North Carolina, folks are still dealing with the aftermath of last month’s tornado damage. The Fayetteville Observer — circulation 50,532 — led page one today with a man looking over what’s left of his home.

The photo — by staffer James Robinson — is outstanding, as is the quote headline.

My only beef here is with the skybox promo. with the bottom of the background cropped out — I’m guessing it’s the ocean and possibly a beach — the vast expanse of sky around them has no context at all. My first thought: Man, that couple is awfully excited about saving $166.

The tiny Herald of Sanford, N.C. — circulation 8,162 — also led page one today with a family of four, standing in front of what’s left of their home.

It’s a wonderful six-column-wide portrait by staffer Wesley Beeson, who’s done such great work over the past month.

The story was considerably lighter in Peoria, Ill., where presidential candidate Newt Gingrich addressed graduates of Eureka College. In the rain.

I hope someone warned the pretty co-ed holding the umbrella not to speak to Gingrich. The Newtmeister might decide to leave his wife and ask the co-ed to run off with him.

The photo is by staffer Ron Johnson. Average daily circulation for the Journal Star is 59,597.

Who can resist a picture of a cool car? Even if it’s a black-and-white photo of the car that won the Indianapolis 500, 50 years ago this month?

That’s A.J. Foyt, who was named the greatest driver in Indy history. Go here to find the Star‘s slideshow featuring a 33-person dream field.

Average daily circulation for the Indianapolis Star is 182,933,

The Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif., made me smile today with this look at ancient, ancient technology. Geez, I remember these cell phones. And it was not that long ago.

The timeline across the bottom was a fun walk down memory lane…

The story itself — by the Register‘s Ian Hamilton — addresses how technology adds convenience to things like music and photos and books but we then miss out on tangibility. And humans like tangible things. Or, at least, humans of a certain age do.

The story played out on pages four and five today.

I loved the graphic on page four, showing the change in the cost of music over the years.

Simon and Garfunkel. Heh.

Daniel Hunt — a copy editor for the Register (and also the webmaster for this very web site) — tells me that lead A1 designer Sam Milbee and Sunday Team Leader Marcia Prouse were responsible for the package.

Sam Milbee

Dan calls Sam…

…one of the best guys I’ve had the pleasure of working with. A real class act and a great part of our print team.

Average daily circulation for the OCR is 182,391.

And then there was today’s San Jose Mecury News, which chose to tell today’s page-one story about the budget crisis in California in graphic novel format.

The artwork is by Pai, the Merc‘s graphics director.

Click for a much larger view:

Pai tells us:

That illo came from me, but I’m such a comic artist hack. I couldn’t have done it without Illustrator CS5’s width tool.

Pai

The tool allowed me to mimic the variable ink strokes in comic book drawings without having to use a Wacom tablet, which I find awkward to use.

I remember how you use to could use the pen or brush tool in illustrator — in combination with the arrow keys, I think — to get an effect like this. Talk about awkward. This seems much easier and time-efficient.

If you have CS5, that is. A good reason to upgrade, perhaps.

Average daily circulation for the San Jose Mercury News is 225,175.

Find two more great Sunday morning front pages here.

With the exception of New Orleans, all of these images are 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…

The best and the brightest Election Day front pages

Just when you think you’ve seen U.S. papers fall into a huge, huge rut, something like a midterm election comes along and — boom! — just like that, dynamite pages are produced all over the country.

It’s taken me a while to pull this together. But hopefully, I can take you on an interesting tour of the best and brightest A1 work done today.

THE DAY’S MOST OUTSTANDING PAGES

My favorite page in the country today was this one by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., circulation 77,598:

What’s not to like here? I love the way the designer took down the size of the nameplate. I love the three little vignettes across the top. I love the nicely-cropped portraits in the centerpiece. I loved — Loved! — the main headline. The typography here was immaculate.

Editor David Newhouse tells us:

Our front was a Chris Boehke creation.

Given the nationalized election — yet an election in many pieces — I had asked for an [alternative story form] front integrating our coverage of the state with the whole country. Chris labored over how to organize it so it would offer a ton of information and still be clear and clean.

He did the design and supplied me at the beginning of the night with the length of every single hed and text block. I wrote all the copy to fit.

And, of course, this is Harrisburg we’re talking about here. Harrisburg, which runs a SPADEA every day.

So what did today’s SPADEA look like? Here’s what was laid atop the left side of the page:

The SPADEA was designed by Meg Lavey.

Here’s the entire thing, including the back side. Click for a larger view:

And that one was my very favorite page today.

A number of other pages were definitely in the outstanding category. Earlier today, I showed you this one by the Times of Huntsville, Ala., circulation 54,675:

I love the textured section at the top with old-style multiple decks. I love the lead photo by staffer Bob Gathany. Most of all, though, I love the way that the nameplate has been reversed out of red text, to commemorate the huge GOP victory Tuesday night.

Design director Paul Wallen tells us:

Today’s front page was a collaborative effort.

I started working with some images of paper textures overlaid with patriotic patterns a couple weeks ago when our election advance coverage started cranking up.

I first designed the nameplate and front page treatment that ran in today’s paper, then put together some smaller page toppers and logo treatments with different crops that we used throughout our advance coverage. My goal was to tie all the advance and live coverage together, but save the boldest treatment for today’s front page.

The front page and an inside page from Sunday’s edition.

Note the use of the design motif and texture:

I thought the nameplate reversed in the red texture helped lend a “special coverage” kind of feel, and that red also played subtly into the expected big Republican wins. That worked out well in the end, as it really wound up as an election of historic proportions here for the GOP.

I worked with editor Kevin Wendt in advance on what kind of headline treatments, results and story starts we might want on the front. Our goals were to be bold and festive but also flexible and easy to execute on a tight deadline.

Elizabeth Hoekenga designed the front page and jumps last night, while I handled some inside pages and floated around to help others and keep the trains on schedule. She did a great job of staying cool under pressure, juggling lots of moving parts and working to seamlessly fold in changes as the news took shape through the night.

I truly thought everyone at the Times did a great job, it was one of the smoothest election nights I’ve been a part of.

Next up is the Indianapolis Star, circulation 186,127.

What I liked most here were the vignettes across the top and again, a red reverse bar. Instead of the nameplate, however, this one contained the main headline:

The rest of the page is nice and clean and structure.

Assistant managing editor Scott Goldman tells us:

Yeah, we were really pleased with the page as well.

Design director Ryan Hildebrandt was at the helm last night. That was his fabulous work. Honestly, he sketched out about four versions Monday, and this one was his “extreme” scenario. I loved it right from the start, and we went in planning to “go big” with this kind of look. And then the night went as it did, and very early we knew we had the right play.

We’re always pushing to think differently on Page 1, and our editor and publisher are really stressing the importance of bold presentation every day. We think this one pressed all the right buttons!

I’d like to second Scott’s endorsement of his editor, Dennis Ryerson. I worked for the man back a decade ago, in Des Moines. He’s top-notch. But, then again, so are Scott, Ryan and the rest of the crew in Indy.

Next in today’s hall of fame is another page that wowed me early this morning: The Tribune of Salt Lake City, circulation 112,585:

I’m fascinated with the way design director Colin Smith connected the bar charts with the photos. A subtle touch, but a very nice one. Again, note the rest of the page is nice and clean and typographically immaculate.

Colin tells us:

Well, I can say those little graphics shaved about two years off my life but, for the most part, weren’t too difficult.

All the charts were created ahead of time in Illustrator with dummy data and, as the night wore on, I subbed in the real stuff. Our front-end system allows for an image to be placed on the page and then updated after the fact, so that’s what I did. The number chunks were just text files updated at the same time as the graphics.

Five of the seven inside pages were designed well ahead of deadline, with reporters writing to length. The two wire pages with ads were started by the night editor, then I hopped in and tweaked the design a bit to match the other election pages. The copy desk was responsible for getting all the live photos on the pages and making sure headlines and stories fit. The graphics editor kept a watchful eye on the especially-needy election agate

The final page ended up looking a lot like one of the three prototypes I generated early on, so that was nice, as well. [Here are] the three original prototypes, just in case you wanted to see how the cover evolved:

Click any of these for a larger view:

And all the pages, including the inside ones, are available on my NewsPageDesigner portfolio.

I should add that the two lead photos were taken by staffers Steve Griffin and Chris Detrick.

Next up: The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, which wrapped its entire paper — including a standard front page — in a special Election section:

The lead photo — of the winner of the county executive race — is by staffer John Kuntz.

Assistant managing editor David Kordalski tells us the page was built primarily by Emmet Smith:

This is a good example of local news first, by the way. Sweeping state and national changes are present on the page, but the big story that we could tell exclusively was right in our back yard… The centerpiece election is the culmination of a radical Cuyahoga County government reformulation in the wake of scandal in the commissioners’ office.

In other words: Yeah, the GOP performance nationwide was huge. The new Speaker of the House, in fact, is from Ohio. And that‘s huge. But after all the corruption and and the huge arrests in the local government, the story the Plain Dealer featured here was even bigger.

Emmet writes:

[Design director] Michael Tribble asked me to respond to your questions about our story play on Wednesday.

While we reflected the Ohio’s role in the gains the GOP made up top, we chose to focus on the culmination of more than two years of intense coverage of county corruption and the resulting reform.

In 2008, the FBI executed early-morning raids the offices of county government officials including county commissioner Jimmy Dimora. The ensuing investigation touched off a furor that crescendoed last year when voters cast their ballots to replace a commission-style system government that pre-dated the Civil War and again this year with federal charges against Dimora of rampant influence peddling for sex, favors and cash.

For context, Emmet sent along four previous Plain Dealer pages. Click any of these, of course, for a larger view.

From left to right: Nov. 1 and Nov. 4 of last year and Sept. 16 and Sept. 19 of this year:

You can also read my post here about that third example, the huge arrest.

Emmet continues:

Tuesday, the citizens of Cuyahoga County cast their ballots for the first-ever leaders of the new county government. For us, it was a truly historic vote.

For our readers, that’s a pretty big deal and something they will only get from The Plain Dealer.

Average daily circulation for the Plain Dealer is 267,888.

And my final A-list paper of the day: The Las Vegas Sun, which is a separate paper that’s inserted daily into the Las Vegas Review-Journal, circulation 170,123.

A great story. A great photo (by staffer Steve Marcus). Nice, clean typography. Even a great headline, which neatly takes off from Barack Obama‘s campaign slogan from two years ago.

And again, we seen decorative bunting that is played in a subtle way. It’s not so much in my face. And I like that.

Design director Rachel Perkins tells us:

Spencer Holladay and I jointly designed the front today, which went through many crazy versions for the page topper and concept.

We thought when we got in to work yesterday that we likely would not know the outcome at night’s end. So, we had three clever options built for the “Too Close To Call” scenario and two built for what would happen if [Harry Reid] lost.

But he won, so we went with what we have now. There was a lot of discussion over what the headline should be. Kicked around were:

  • Re-Reid
  • In for a 5th
  • Survivor
  • He Did It

…and some not-so-publishable funny ones about that crazy Sharron Angle. Haha.

But then he gave the quote and we all agreed to go with that!

We also had a great Chris Morris illustration that ran inside, showing the budget monster that faces new governor Brian Sandoval.

Rachel posted that today over on the SND Region 2 Facebook page, if you’d like to check it out.

WONDERFUL USE OF PHOTOS

While those were my favorite pages of the day, that doesn’t mean I have any less respect of a number of other Wednesday fronts. Here are a few examples that I thought used photography particularly well.

The big news Tuesday night in Gainesville, Ga., northeast of Atlanta: A local man was elected governor.

The appropriate response for the Gainesville Times: A poster front, featuring a shot by staffer Sara Guevara:

I might have recommended a very slight drop shadow behind that white text, just to lift it off of the light spots in the picture. Despite this, the page is well-done and a fitting tribute to the local hero.

Average daily circulation for the Times is 22,000.

The Journal-Sentinel of Milwaukee showed us Wisconsin’s new governor in a sea of supporters:

That awesome picture is by staffer Michael Sears.

Milwaukee’s Ed Brud tells us:

As most front pages are, it was a bit of a committee effort.

I steered. Sherman Williams, the deputy managing editor of visuals, picked the election photos. Graphic artist Enrique Rodriguez made the graphic fit into that skinny little space. The top editors decided the play. And then I talked them into playing the cool photo the width of the page.

That’s the way it should work. We’d be lucky to make all big-news fronts look this good.

Average daily circulation for the Journal-Sentinel is 190,841.

Next up are a trio of California papers. It’s been a huge week for the San Francisco Chronicle, circualtion 241,330:

That’s a great photo of Gov. Brown and his wife, taken by staffer Brant Ward. I love the arrangement of the downpage text. The only thing I don’t like here is the main headline font, which strikes me as awfully clunky. Can’t fault the designer for that, however.

Down the coast in San Diego, the Union-Tribune — circulation 249,630 — zoomed in on a fabulous shot by Paul Sakuma of the Associated Press:

Again, all the elements are here. Great typography. A very clean page. I especially like the little cutout of the man with the sign in the upper right.

As nice as that is, however, notice how the same photo has just a bit more impact on the front of the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, circulation 236,770:

And, y’know, I’m wondering what kind of optical illusion is causing this. Because the San Diego photo is actually cropped tighter. I suspect that the three super-bold headlines are part of the reason. Perhaps the bunting adds to the effect as well, although that’s actually my least favorite part of the page.

The OCR‘s Daniel Hunt tells us the page was designed by:

Sam Milbee and Scott Albert. Photo editing by Michele Cardon. We got great kudos from the senior editors for hitting every deadline.

In Richmond, the Times-Dispatch — circulation 133,161 — played up a huge picture of one of Virginia’s new Congressmen. Because of the slight motion blur, the photo has an energy or a sort of charm to it that one doesn’t normally see on page one:

The picture is by staffer P. Kevin Morley.

That ad across the bottom, I have to say, is awfully distracting. I feel like Kroger is telling us: Surprise! Didn’t think the Republicans would win, did you?

And down I-95 in Fayetteville, the Observer — circulation 55,412 — performed a fabulous demonstration on why it’s not always good to take my advice.

After all, I usually urge folks to get their lead art higher on the page. Certainly, high enough to be seen above the fold and in the newsrack.

Fayetteville today ran a huge celebration shot — by staffer Paul R. Rubiera — six columns, but where? At the very bottom of A1:

Don’t try this at home, folks, because normally, this won’t work. Never mind the fact that it did work — and very well — this time.

NUMBERS AND CHARTS AND BEARS, OH MY

A few papers had great success today featuring charts or ASF — alternative story form — material on A1 today.

The Los Angeles Times made a particularly baffling choice for its lead A1 photo today — I mean, compare this to the San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County pages above.

But never mind that. Check out the “big number” material, looking particularly elegant downpage:

Very clean. This is pornography for typographers, people. Just wonderful stuff.

Pity about that photo, though.

Average daily circulation for the Times is 616,606.

In Omaha, editors at the World-Herald — circulation 153,340 — chose to downplay Election Night celebration shots and play up the before-and-after Congressional balance charts:

Not what I would have recommended or expected. But it works pretty well. Nice job.

The Beaver County Times of western Pennsylvania went a step further, populating its front page with nothing but headlines, fat refers, mug shots and thumbnail bios of the winners:

Careful attention was taken — you can tell — to make sure the headlines cascaded downward in size as you move down through the page.

Beaver County’s Christopher Ream tells us:

The modular design and teaser concept came from Executive Editor Keith Briscoe. He wanted compartments that I could combine for a bigger display if need be, which I did for the Toomey spot.

I designed the graphics, wrote the teasers and paginated the sucker.

Again, this isn’t something I would have recommended anyone do on election night. But you can’t deny it works.

Average daily circulation for the Beaver County Times is 32,905.

And speaking of ASF material, I was thunderstruck by the inventive approach taken atop A1 today by the News-Press of St. Joseph, Mo.:

That is wacky. Off the wall. Perhaps even slightly insane.

And I love it.

News-Press design director Paul Branson tells us:

What you’re seeing there is basically what happens when I run headlong in the other direction of a vertical rail.

Don’t get me wrong, rails have their place. I just hate them on the front page. They are too confining.

We had a bunch of races that people needed to know about when they walked out their front door and picked up their morning paper. There was no way we could fit that information above the fold into a regular story or even a vertical rail format. So this is what I came up with.

The secret here: [Whether or not] designer Dana Heldenbrand [would be] able to take that energy above the flag and keep it going down the page. If we didn’t pull that off, the whole page would have fallen flat.

I also had all of the pics in place early in the day. I really ought to move to Vegas. I didn’t have to change out one single pic. I basically chose people for whom I didn’t vote. It was that kind of night.

The News-Press does lots of interesting things above its nameplate, in fact. I really need to dig into this paper a little deeper and figure out how they do this stuff. Average daily circulation there is only 29,295.

HISTORIC GUBERNATORIAL FRONTS

Three states made history last night in their choice of governors. Naturally, papers responded appropriately today on A1.

The Albuquerque Journal — circulation 95,469 — focused on New Mexico’s first Hispanic female governor:

The bunting at the top is decorative, but without being too obtrusive. The nice photo is by staffer Roberto E. Rosales.

My beef with this page is that the red labels step on the red-colored Republican numbers in the box at bottom. Better to go with grey or black labels in this case.

Oklahoma elected its first female governor. Here’s the World of Tulsa, circulation 101,508:

The photo is by staffer Matt Barnard.

I like the page except for the gold header above the online refer. Why suddenly introduce a new color into that color scheme? A red-and-blue — or, perhaps, a black or grey — reverse bar might have worked better here.

And my home state of South Carolina, too, elected its first female governor. Here’s the State of Columbia, S.C., circulation 83,923:

The photo is by staffer David Goldman.

In New York, history of a different kind was made when Andrew Cuomo — son of former governor Mario Cuomo — was elected governor himself. I liked very much the fact that three papers chose to look forward to the task ahead.

Here’s the free Metro daily of New York:

The photo is by Andrew Harrer of Bloomberg. The design is by Stephanie Hinderer.

Yeah, winning was the easy part. Now comes the hard part, says the Post-Standard of Syracuse:

The photo is by Mary Altraffer of the Associated Press. Average daily circulation for the Post-Standard is 89,819.

And Newsday of Melville on Long Island — circulation 334,809 — was even more direct: Fix state government. Now, please:

The nice portrait is by Charles Eckert.

RED HEADS

As predicted, Republicans pretty much cleaned up last night. Sure, there were a few exceptions. But for the most part, it was a huge red-side victory over the Democrats.

We see lots of interesting language used in today’s headlines.

Yes, Tuesday was a landslide.

The Republicans swept…

…rolled…

…surged…

…galloped…

…stampeded…

…romped…

…painted…

…and just plain ol’ took their victory.

I found only one paper that used this tired old political cliché:

A quick glance at the papers that ran those headlines:

  • Detroit Free Press, circulation 224,429
  • Yakima (Wash.) Herald Republic, circulation 38,077
  • Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, circulation 170,179
  • Norfolk, Va., Virginian-Pilot, circulation 164,454
  • Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, circulation 140,602
  • Asbury Park Press of Neptune, N.J., circulation 121,412
  • Nashville Tennessean, circulation 131,960
  • Dallas Morning News, circulation 260,659
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune, circulation 157,068
  • Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, circulation 39,013

But now let’s give props to the very best headlines of the day, shall we?

One of my favorites was one I showed you earlier — afront the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa.:

About the headline, editor David Newhouse tells us:

I actually wrote the (tentative) main hed last week. It was one of those that popped into my head in about a half second. The best kind.

Of course, we had an alternative in the wings if the Democrats did better than expected.

Again, average daily circulation for the Patriot-News is 77,598.

I loved the headline in today’s Kansas City Star, which summed up last night pretty well, I think:

Lead A1 designer Charles Gooch tells us:

The main head was written by our news editor, Chick Howland.

The lead photo is by staffer Shane Keyser. Average daily circulation for the Star is 210,000

The Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., pulled no punches in pointing out what happened last night:

Ouch.

Average daily circulation for the Voice is 47,160.

The Cape Cod Times of Hyanis, Mass., got a belly laugh from me with the boxing pun it made in reference to the state’s 10th Congressional district:

The lead photo is by staffer Christine Hochkeppel. Average daily circulation for the Times is 38,386.

The opposite was the case in Delaware, as you know, where Christine O’Donnell — one of the nation’s most famous Tea Party candidates — did not win. The News Journal of Wilmington — circulation 91,962 — pointed this out with a fabulous headline:

One of my favorite headlines of the day was this play on the old derogatory nickname given years ago to former — and future — California governor Jerry Brown. If Brown ever needs a campaign slogan, this would be the one to use:

That’s the free-distribution San Francisco Examiner, average daily distribution about 200,000.

But for pure out-and-out cleverness, I was thunderstruck by this headline in the Herald of Sanford, N.C., circulation only 8,162:

Isn’t that cool?

Herald editor Billy Liggett tells us:

Thanks, though the story behind it isn’t much.

I wanted either a one- or two-word big headline, and as a place setter, I simply typed the word “Republicans” in because I knew that’d be the theme of the night. When I typed it, I noticed the word “can” at the end and said, “What the hell.” So I highlighted it red and grayed the surrounding letters … still thinking it was a place setter until a more “brilliant” headline came along.

And there you have it. Brilliance by serendipity. You gotta love it.

That lead photo, by the way, was by staffer Wesley Beeson.

Let’s close our look at the day’s best headlines with a special award for this very simple headline. The editor — very wisely, in my opinion — didn’t even try to do anything other than use the simple verb, “beat.”

Feast your eyes on this tongue-twister:

That’s the Herald of Bradenton, Fla., circulation 46,030.

FUN STUFF

A few papers did manage to have a lot of fun with the results today.

Anyone old enough to remember a) the old song MTA by the Kingston Trio, and b) the old TV commercials for Star Kist tuna, will get a laugh out of this one:

That’s the Boston Herald, circulation 132,551. That photo was by staffer John Wilcox.

We looked at the New York edition of Metro a few minutes ago, but check out how the Philly edition illustrated the GOP takeover of a traditionally Democratic state:

The photoillustration was by art director Benn Storey.

The Daily News — also of Philadelphia; circulation 110,000 — took that same idea a step further:

I’d love to establish credit for that illustration. If you know who did it, please drop me a line.

And we’ll close with the cover of Express, the free commuter tab owned by the Washington Post, with an average daily distribution of 183,916.

Express really nailed what comes next:

Express’ Ernie Smith tells us:

[Art director] Lori Kelley did the work, but she gave credit to the whole freaking design staff. Here’s what she had to say:

Really a team effort since Adam [Griffiths] pitched the story idea and Scott [McCarthy] finessed the type approach. The Express SEAL of approval.

Oh, and I did the inside page…

Click for a (hopefully, readable) larger view:

…I know, I know, I was told not to point growing up, but I honestly can’t help myself.

One other thing I’ll note: Express has an unusual deadline for a daily newspaper: 7 p.m. (Yeah yeah, we know, we know, it’s unfortunate.) That meant we had to lean on a feature like this. And this was really the right choice – it pushed the story forward while preventing us from looking out-of-date the next day.

Nicely done. And a great one to go out on.

With a few exceptions — most duly noted above — the images here are from the daily archive at the Newseum. As aways, Newseum, thanks for maintaining this service for the visual journalism community

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.

Today’s front pages: Rain, storms, smog and dumbasses

Pages that jumped out at me during my morning spin through the Newseum

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY…

While we here in the South are begging for rain, folks up in Wisconsin seem to have a lot more than they need (click either for a larger view):

On the left is the Post-Crescent of Appleton, Wis., circulation 52,605. The lead photo is by staffer Dan Powers. On the right is the Northwestern of Oshkosh, circulation 20,140. The lead photo is by staffer Shu-Ling Zhou.

But what really caught my eye today was this unusual and interesting treatment by the Green Bay Press-Gazette, circulation 55,987:

The designer was Eric Ebert, who tells us:

We originally had a different centerpiece set to run in Friday’s paper, but we got word around 4 p.m. that the record was broken. At the time, the rain was wrapping up and it was up in the air whether we could get art, so I immediately started working on an illustration, with the idea that any art — good or bad — could supplement the illustration. The art eventually fell through, but I felt the illustration was strong enough to hold the page.

To be honest, the sale wasn’t difficult. We had already held our afternoon news meeting, so it was more of an on-the-fly substitution. It helped that the metro and desk editors liked the idea, though.

Speaking of weather, wasn’t this a great way to show the forecast path of Tropical Storm Bonnie in the Gulf of Mexico?

That beats the visual snot out of the standard map. You can’t go with a satellite map every time. But they’re great to work with from time to time. Click this one for a larger view:

The paper is the News Journal of Pensacola, Fla., circulation 65,360. The artist is veteran visual journalist Ron Stallcup. I love the way Ron tosses in an extra note about the system over mainland Mexico.

BEST USE OF A FILE PHOTO

I saw this page, loved it and decided to put it into the blog. But then I was disappointed when I found the lead photo was “only” file art from the Associated Press:

But then, I reconsidered. I mean, how different can smog look in the skyline of Los Angeles? Because the photo is so cool and the use of it is dynamite, into the blog the page goes.

The paper is the Orange County Register, circulation 236,770. The designer was Sam Milbee.

DUMBASSES OF THE DAY

And I don’t mean the designers, who are awesome. I mean the subject matter of the cover stories.

First up are the paperpushing administrators of the state of Florida, who want to spend all sorts of money making the lifeguard stations there handicapped-accessible:

Sort of Stupid,” indeed. Read the story here.

That the Tampa Bay Times, the free tabloid published by the St. Petersburg Times. Average daily distribution for TBT is about 370,000.

The picture, in case you’re interested, is from iStock photo. With that white sand and that azure blue water, it sure looks like Clearwater, though.

Our second dumbass of the day is this woman in Chicago who’s going to jail for 18 months. Because she struck and killed a motorcyclist.

Because she — not the motorcyclist — was doing her nails while driving:

The paper, of course, is the Chicago Sun-Times, circulation 268,803. The photo is by Times staffer Michael Schmidt. Find the story here.

A big day for strange and unusual front page photos

Call me silly, but I get the willies when I see a photo of a naval ship afire on the front of a Honolulu newspaper:

That is the front of today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, as posted by the Newseum.

The story was this: The Navy took a decommissioned old helicopter carrier and used it for target practice. Simple enough. But still kinda creepy to see. (Click for a larger view):

The photo is credited to the Australian Defense Force. There’s even a gallery of additional shots on the Star-Advertiser‘s web site.

Average daily circulation for the Star-Advertiser is 115,000 copies.

Now that you’re in a World War II/Pearl Harbor frame of mind, get a load of this A1 photo (click for a larger view):

That’s lead art today in the News Tribune of Duluth, Minn., circulation 40,305:

The A1 display is about a huge air show this weekend. And that’s a mighty catchy picture. But it’s apparently a handout photo, credited “copyright Scott Slocum.” Because of that, this package might have been a better choice for displaying someplace other than A1.

It was kinda cool — but very strange — to find a sinking carrier and “Tora, Tora, Tora” planes on front pages, thousands of miles away today.

You’re familiar, of course, with the running of the bulls. But have you ever heard of the running of the humans? (Click for a larger view):

That’s a photo by Scott MacDonald of the Salinas Californian. It was lead art on today’s page one:

Average daily circulation for the Californian is 18,000.

Speaking of running humans… well, here (click):

The photo is by John King of the Salisbury, Md., Daily Times.

You have to give the Daily Times credit. The conventional choice would have been to display a photograph female lifeguards racing on page one:

Sexual equality strikes again.

OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one: A blue-colored monkey and a banana get onto a ski lift together…

The photo — observing the opening day of the Orange County Fair — was by Mark Rightmire of the Orange County Register:

You have to admit it, though: It’s very strange.

Average daily circulation for the Register is 236,779.

Wanna see something really strange? Check out the size of this hailstone (click):

That photo — uncredited, unfortunately — was the lead art today for the Tribune of Bismarck, N.D., circulation 25,783.

Yes, that was one hail of a stone. And one hail of a punny headline, as well. Presumably, they wouldn’t have used the pun if the stone had landed on someone’s head, rather than a car window:

Wow. Now, that’s strange. Find the story here.

Friends and colleagues: Behold! The perfect four-column photo!:

The picture is by staffer Rod Aydelotte of the Waco Tribune Herald. Average daily circulation of the Tribune Herald is 36,708.

There was also a strange photo treatment today on the front of RedEye, the Chicago Tribune‘s free commuter tabloid:

The pointer purportedly shows Chicago-based extras in the background of a Transformers movie. Fun stuff.

Average daily distribution for RedEye is 250,000.

And clearly today, the Huntsville Times was intense. (Please read that last sentence out loud):

Click this one for a larger view of the Photoshop work and the texture:

Average daily circulation of the Huntsville Times is 54,675.

Finally today, the Kitsap Sun of Bremerton, Wash. — circulation 28,792 — celebrated its 75th anniversary with what I suspect is a commemorative A1 wrap (click for a larger view):

It’s fun to see all those radically different nameplates together. I wonder if there were any more between 1953 and 1985.

As always, these images came from the archive posted daily at the Newseum. I simply can’t thank those guys enough for providing this service.