Why I hate robo-placed contextual ads on web sites

The trend continues toward advertisements on web sites, placed by robotic “ad dummy clerks” who make their decisions based on other words found on that page.

And with disastrous results, sometimes. As you can see in this screencap from the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday. Note the Universal Orlando ad embedded in this unflattering story about — yep, you guessed it: Universal Orlando.

1310OrlandoSentinelGoogleAd

Thanks to journalism and public relations instructor Kenneth Amos for the tip.

The Sentinel has had a problem before with embarrassing ad juxtapositions on its web site. This one was screencapped six years ago.

Yikes!

This one from Fox News references Hurricane Isabel. That would have been ten years ago last month.

Here’s one from Fox Sports, two summers ago that will make you laugh out loud.

And this one was posted a month or so later by Dagbladet of Oslo, Norway. It, too, is downright cool.

This one last summer by Gawker, you’d swear must be intentional.

But, of course, it wasn’t.

And, yes, these thing happen in print, too. All the damned time.

That was the Times-Telegraph of Tyler, Texas, last summer.

Find plenty more amusing — and, in some cases, horrifying — ad and/or news juxtapositions here.

Longtime visuals leader Bonita Burton back in newspapers again

After an absence of not quite a year, longtime visuals leader Bonita Burton is returning to daily newspapers.

Bo tells us:

I’ve accepted a position as executive editor of the Villages Daily Sun and vice president in its parent company, the Villages Media Group, effective Dec. 3.

The Villages, located about an hour north of Orlando, is the fastest growing small town in America (Forbes, 1/23/12). The Villages Daily Sun is the fastest growing print circulation newspaper in America — its peak print circulation topped 55,000 this year, and they expect it to exceed 80,000 within five years.

   

While I’ve loved my time in the non-profit world directing the communications strategy of Westminster Communities of Florida, the opportunity to lead a growing news operation and guide such a passionate crew was too special to resist. (And yes, we’ll be hiring… )

The Villages is Florida’s largest retirement community with more than 60,000 residents (!) so I’m thrilled that the path that led me into the world of senior living has now led me here. The kids have already picked out our golf cart.

Bonita earned an Associate’s Degree in journalism from Brigham Young University – Idaho in Rexburg in 1991…

Bo in 1991. Photo

by Lee Warnick.

…and then continued her studies at Utah State University in Logan while working first as bureau chief for the Salt Lake Tribune and then as an intern and then a full-time reporter for the Logan Herald-Journal.

After she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1993, she moved to the Union-Democrat of Sonora, Calif., where she worked the courts and cops beat. She did a little page design work on the side, found she liked it and eventually moved into a full-time design spot.

In 1996, she moved to the Los Angeles Daily News, where she designed A1, local and biz fronts. In 1998, she was promoted to features design editor. Later that year, she moved over to the Orange County Register as business designer, winning SND awards for pages as well as her portfolio.

In 2000, Bonita became business design director for the San Jose Mercury News.

   

Three examples of Bo’s award-winning work at the Merc.

She served as part of the team that redesigned the paper, continued to win SND awards and taught news design and picture editing at San Jose State University.

Between 2001 and 2004, Bo served as a regional director for the Society for News Design and then as Quick Course Chair.

Bonita was named deputy managing editor of the Orlando Sentinel in 2004. In 2006, the Sentinel hosted the society’s annual workshop in Orlando.

At SND/Orlando in 2006. Photo by Martin Gee.

In 2008, she assumed her current title — visuals editor — becoming the Sentinel‘s third-ranking editor. In June of that year, Bonita led a major redesign of the Sentinel that was part of a companywide overhaul ordered by the new ownership team.

Bo and design editor Stephen Komives as

they prepare to launch the 2008 redesign.

Stephen is now executive director of the Society for News Design.

In December 2008, Bo was named to the Newspaper Association of America’s “20 under 40” list.

Bo was working in an office at the Sentinel — one night during an NBA playoff game in May 2009 — when she bumped into a credenza. A heavy hutch fell onto her, crushing her hand. Fingers were severed. Four colleagues led by David Collins applied pressure to the wound and cut off blood flow until paramedics arrived.

Bo posted this picture to Facebook after her accident

in 2009.

She has since recovered much of the use of her hand.

A month later, Bonita — as vice president of the Society for News Designer — stepped in as president after the elected president, her former San Jose colleague Matt Mansfield, resigned. After an extremely contentious summer for the entire society, Bo declined to run for president that fall for the 2010 year.

In December 2010, Tribune company laid off Tim Frank, deputy managing editor of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and gave “design oversight for both Florida newsrooms” to Bonita. Shortly after, Tim signed on to run Gannett’s Asbury Park Design Studio.

In 2011, Bo wrote an opinion piece — “Why mothers like me are obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial” — and then appeared on both CNN and NBC’s Today show to talk about her article.

Bo on CNN Headline News in June 2011.

Also in 2011, Bonita completed work on a Master’s Degree from the University of Central Florida in management and human resources.

In October of that year, Bonita reunited several of the kids who had participated in “the intern” competition at SND/Orlando in 2006 for a panel at the St. Louis SND workshop.

Bonita and her former deputy, Stephen Komives (back

right) with several alumni from the 2006 “the Intern”

contest at SND/St. Louis in 2011.

In February, Bonita told us:

I’ve personally administered five [rounds of] layoffs in my seven years at the Sentinel (this is number six) to a tune of just over 40 people in my area alone.

But this time, she was on the list herself. She wrote:

Still, we did a lot of great work along the way, right up to the end, I’ve got a lot of memories I’ll always treasure. I’m very proud of what we accomplished, and very, very sad to see it come to an end.

She posted this as a goodbye to her staff.

Two months later, Bonita then took a position as director of communications for “the nation’s 8th-largest not-for-profit provider of communities for older adults and persons with special needs.”

Like she says, she begins her new duties three weeks from today.

Find Bo’s web site here. Find her Twitter feed here.

The four faces of Orlando’s election cover

The proximity of President Barack Obama‘s win Tuesday night to press deadline was uncomfortably close for some papers. Early editions all over the country went out with headlines like “undecided” or “too close to call.”

The Orlando Sentinel writes that it had four different front pages for Wedneday’s paper.

The Sentinel‘s first edition deadline was 10:45 p.m. With the electoral vote in Mitt Romney‘s favor at 153 to 123, no winner had yet been declared.

Photo editor Tom Burton reports:

The photos had been selected earlier in the day Tuesday from the candidates’ last appearances on Monday night. Being veterans of the 2000 election deadlock in Florida, we had this page designed in advance, knowing that it was likely this election wouldn’t be clear for our first deadline.

However, none of those pages ever made it to readers. Not long after 11 p.m., the count had changed and Obama was declared the winner by several news agencies. So the page was updated by 11:15 p.m.

Tom reports:

We had pulled portrait-style photos of both Obama and Romney in case we had a winner and no live photos when we had to go to press. The photo of Obama replaced the exact space of the two photos from the first version.

With presses rolling again, interactive and design editor Todd Stewart began to redesign the page. Romney had not conceded the election and Obama had not come out so there were no live photos for consideration.  The photo was made bigger and the headline was overprinted into the image for more impact.

This was the update that went to press at 12:30 a.m.:

Tom continues:

By 1:40 a.m., President Obama and his family were walking on stage in Chicago.  Because all news agencies use digital cameras, the first photos began arriving in about 5 minutes. A photo that moved at 11:53 p.m. was quickly downloaded and moved to the page.

The new design was sent to the presses at 2 a.m.

Here’s a look at all four covers, side-by-side.

Find Tom’s story here.

Average daily circulation for the Orlando Sentinel is 173,576.

Orlando Sentinel mines viral gold with NBA-themed ‘Call Me, Maybe’ video

Todd Stewart — head of interactive content for the Orlando Sentinel — writes today:

There’s a lot of ways to tell stories – and, sometimes, the best way is to break out into song.

Our team summed up the ongoing will-he-stay/will-he-go saga surrounding the Magic’s star player Dwight Howard with, well, that song that’s everywhere these days.

The animated, parody video was created by [Todd], senior artist Rich Pope and videographer Sean Pitts. In another example of all the hidden talent in today’s newsrooms, the song is voiced by Sentinel arts writer Matt Palm.

ESPN.comwrote about it on Friday. SportsCenter tweeted it to more than 3 million followers on Monday. And a local TV station made it a highlight in its 10 p.m. newscast:

Orlando Sentinel’s Karen Bellville Beaman leaving the newspaper business

Print and online designer Karen Bellville Beaman is leaving the Orlando Sentinel for the world of academia.

Todd Stewart — the Sentinel‘s head of interactive content — announced today:

I’m sorry to announce that graphic artist Karen Bellville Beaman is leaving the Sentinel to become an Associate Course Director for Design & Computer Graphics at Full Sail University. Her last day will be May 2.

Karen joined the Sentinel four years ago and hit the ground running – remarkably, she won an SND award for her very first project at the Sentinel, a full-page explanatory graphic on “The Science of Storms.” All told she won 10 SND awards for her print and digital work at the Sentinel, and was at the creative and technical core of all the signature projects to come out of the group. From Orlando Dunkman to the 2008 elections to the end of the shuttle era, Karen’s fingerprints and artistic touch are all over all the best work to come out of visuals. She’ll be sorely missed.

Please join me in wishing Karen well in her new endeavor.

Endeavor? No, I think that’s Atlantis.

Full Sail University specializes in teaching art, film, music and even game design. It’s located in Winter Park, Fla., northeast of Orlando. Find its web site here.

A 2004 graduate of Purdue University, Karen studied animation and computer graphics technology. She spent a year-and-a-half at the Journal and Courier of Lafayette, Ind., before moving to the News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla., in 2006. She joined the Sentinel in 2008.

A few samples of her print work:

 

 

 

Find her portfolio site here and her Twitter feed here.

Visuals editor Bonita Burton laid off by the Orlando Sentinel

Bonita Burton is leaving the Orlando Sentinel, where she’s served as the leader of visuals since 2004, overseeing the paper’s photography, graphics, design, wire editing and copy desk.

Technically, what it is, is another round of layoffs. And Bo is on the list this time.

She tells us:

I’ve personally administered five [rounds of] layoffs in my seven years at the Sentinel (this is number six) to a tune of just over 40 people in my area alone. Still, we did a lot of great work along the way, right up to the end, I’ve got a lot of memories I’ll always treasure. I’m very proud of what we accomplished, and very, very sad to see it come to an end.

Bonita earned an Associate’s Degree in journalism from Brigham Young University – Idaho in Rexburg in 1991…

Bo in 1991. Photo

by Lee Warnick.

…and then continued her studies at Utah State University in Logan while working first as bureau chief for the Salt Lake Tribune and then as an intern and then a full-time reporter for the Logan Herald-Journal.

After she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1993, she moved to the Union-Democrat of Sonora, Calif., where she worked the courts and cops beat. She did a little page design work on the side, found she liked it and eventually moved into a full-time design spot.

In 1996, she moved to the Los Angeles Daily News, where she designed A1, local and biz fronts. In 1998, she was promoted to features design editor. Later that year, she moved over to the Orange County Register as business designer, winning SND awards for pages as well as her portfolio.

In 2000, Bonita became business design director for the San Jose Mercury News.

   

Three examples of Bo’s award-winning work at the Merc.

She served as part of the team that redesigned the paper, continued to win SND awards and taught news design and picture editing at San Jose State University.

Between 2001 and 2004, Bo served as a regional director for the Society for News Design and then as Quick Course Chair.

Bonita was named deputy managing editor of the Orlando Sentinel in 2004.

In 2006, she served as site chair for the society’s annual workshop in Orlando.

At SND/Orlando in 2006. Photo by Martin Gee.

In 2008, she assumed her current title — visuals editor — becoming the Sentinel‘s third-ranking editor. In June of that year, Bonita led a major redesign of the Sentinel (see here and here) that was part of a companywide overhaul ordered by the new ownership team.

Bo and design editor Stephen Komives as

they prepare to launch the 2008 redesign.

Stephen is now Executive Director of the Society for News Design.

In December 2008, Bo was named to the Newspaper Association of America’s “20 under 40” list.

Bo was working in an office at the Sentinel — one night during an NBA playoff game in May 2009 — when she bumped into a credenza. A heavy hutch fell onto her, crushing her hand. Fingers were severed. Four colleagues led by David Collins applied pressure to the wound and cut off blood flow until paramedics arrived.

Bo posted this picture to Facebook after her accident

in 2009.

She has since recovered much of the use of her hand. Read about the incident here.

A month later, Bonita — as vice president of the Society for News Designer — stepped in as president after the elected president, Matt Mansfield, resigned. After an extremely contentious summer for the entire society, Bo declined to run for president that fall for the 2010 year.

In December 2010, Tribune company laid off Tim Frank, deputy managing editor of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and gave “design oversight for both Florida newsrooms” to Bonita. Shortly after, Tim signed on to run Gannett’s Asbury Park Design Studio.

Last summer, Bo wrote an opinion piece — “Why mothers like me are obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial” — and then appeared on both CNN and NBC’s Today show to talk about her article.

Bo on CNN Headline News in June 2011.

Also in 2011, Bonita completed work on a Master’s Degree from the University of Central Florida in management and human resources.

In October, Bonita reunited several of the kids who had participated in “the intern” competition at SND/Orlando in 2006 for a panel at the St. Louis SND workshop.

At SND/STL. Left to right: Joey Kirk, Billy Kulpa, Nina

Mehta, Carrie Gee, William Couch and Bo. Photo by me.

Bonita tells us:

My official last day was today (along with three other people and one open job that was cut). My immediate plans are to spend a lot of time building sand castles at the beach with my children, ages 4 and 5, although we’re not opposed to leaving Florida for the right opportunity.

UPDATE – 5:30 p.m.

Bonita posted this video tribute to her team today.

Enjoy.

A lot of alliteration in Florida newspaper headlines today

No charts or maps were necessary today to show what happened in Tuesday’s Florida Republican primary. Mitt Romney won by 14.5 percentage points over Newt Gingrich. Which, apparently, qualifies as a good, old-fashioned ass-kicking.

At least, that’s the impression you get by looking at today’s front-page headlines. Editors pulled out their “r” words to provide some alliteration for the victor.

Calling the primary a romp for Romney were Orlando…

…Daytona Beach…

…and Fort Myers.

Instead of a romp it was a rout in Miami…

…the Treasure Coast papers including Stuart…

…St. Lucie…

…and Vero Beach…

…and, amusingly enough, both Tampa…

…and St. Pete.

The results suggested a runaway for Palm Beach.

Sarasota called the victor resurgent, after his loss in the last primary.

And Lakeland held its alliteration to only the first line of its two-deck hed.

I’m not sure anything less than a 20-point victory should be called a landslide. But a number of papers felt differently, including Bradenton…

…the Tampa Bay Times‘ free tabloid, tbt*

…and Pensacola.

Jacksonville said Romney dominated.

Naples went with a boxing metaphor.

And on the space coast, Melbourne had to invoke Neil Armstrong.

Seriously? Yes, seriously. In fact, I’m about ready to pick that one as my favorite headline of the day.

Fort Lauderdale played it relatively straight.

As did Fort Walton Beach…

…the Villages…

…Fort Charlotte…

…and Tallahassee.

And, in St. Augustine, the editors opted for a relatively serene headline that worked in the local result as well.

In fact, they didn’t even use a bold weight. An unusual choice for the main headline of the day.

In terms of lead art today, there wasn’t a lot of imagination there at all. And perhaps that’s for the best. Nearly everyone today led with pictures of Romney celebrating with his supporters in the Tampa Convention Center, which is where the Republican Convention will be held in August.

A number of papers today led with this picture by Paul J. Richards of Agence France-Presse and distributed by Getty Images.

Other papers built their fronts around this nearly-identical picture by Gerald Herbert of the Associated Press. Note how Romney’s wife is cropped out on the left.

Several papers led today with this Gerald Herbert picture.

While it’s a great pose of Romney, I dislike the way his arm hides his wife’s face. Yet, it seemed to be a popular choice today.

And a number of papers used various crops of this picture, yet another one by Gerald Herbert.

A few papers cropped in so tight to nearly make it a mug shot. Which makes no sense to me. If you can’t get a sense of the environment last night in Tampa, why not simply use a file mug?

My favorite page-one picture of the day, however, is also the only staff art I saw in the Newseum‘s collection of Florida front pages today. That would be this one by Edmund D. Fountain of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Times ran four nice vignette headshots across the top of today’s front, along with the results. I like how the Times plays up the Florida angle in the deck.

While the main story runs down the right side, two sidebars ride beneath the main story. One is about a Rick Santorum supporter. The other is instant analysis by the Times’ political editor.

Average daily circulation for the Tampa Bay Times is 240,024.

The similarity in that front with the Tampa Tribune‘s front page ends with the main headline. The results are played down, beneath the story.

Really, the only thing I like about this page is the headline and the size of the art.

Average daily circulation for the Tampa Tribune is 138,172.

I don’t like the crop of the lead art for Lakeland — see my comment above. However, I do like the headline and deck, the easy-to-read results box at the bottom of the package and the label/logo at the top.

Average daily circulation for the Lakeland Ledger is 41,309.

In Jacksonville, Gingrich did pretty well. But not quite good enough to win. Therefore, the Times-Union gave him a little more play than most papers, in the deck and as secondary art.

I find that little chart not-so-easy to navigate — perhaps because it contains results from six counties plus the state totals. I might have argued to run the state totals out front with large numbers and then present this inside as a bar chart.

Average daily circulation for the Florida Times-Union is 99,280.

I liked the word choice the editors in Sarasota made today in their main headline. And I loved the way the two decks played off of that.

That great picture is by Chip Litherland of the New York Times.

The main themes of this race are cited in the fat promos at the bottom of the package: Voters said they supported the right wing Tea Party faction of the GOP but voted for Romney anyway. And while Romney’s negative ads helped him defeat Gingrich, Gingrich’s own attacks exposed Romney’s own weaknesses. Which could be a problem for him this fall.

I still think a local results table should run inside. If you do put it out front, however, do it like this one. It’s much easier to read than Jacksonville’s.

I’d also love to see that “Paths to victory” map, if it contains fresh data from Tuesday night. If I can get ahold of it, I’ll add it here.

UPDATE – 1:30 p.m.

Here’s the graphic by graphics editor Jennifer Borresen:

The larger map up top shows Tuesday’s results. Red is Romney; gold is Gingrich. Darker tones show a victory margin in that county of double digits or more.

County maps aren’t important to the results of a primary. But they do allow us to see interesting patterns. For example: Gingrich did indeed do well in the panhandle, where he spent much of his time over the past couple of weeks.

Click that for a readable version. And click here for a PDF version.

Average daily circulation for the Herald-Tribune is 63,864.

Note how the Sentinel played up the result numbers for Romney and Gingrich — at the top left of the page — and played down the other two candidates. That strikes me as a wonderful solution.

A great choice of art, too. Nicely done.

Average daily circulation for the Orlando Sentinel is 171,418.

OK, I’m ready now. This is indeed my favorite headline of the day:

Again, this paper covers the space coast, so folks there “get” the reference — especially after how Gingrich pandered to them with his talk of a base on the moon by 2020. I like the red-number treatment of the results and the photo-illustrated refers.

That’s also a pretty wicked pun on that shrimping story at the bottom of the page.

UPDATE – 3 p.m.

Chris Bistline of Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio writes:

Thanks for your comments on our page today. We loved that headline, too!

And he sent me inside pages. Click for a larger look:

 

Chris writes:

We decided to go with a large refer package on 1A and start all the stories inside. We felt we’d be able to give our coverage more impact on the front by not cluttering it up with too much type. The combination of a strong wire celebration photo of Romney and a local photo showing reaction from Brevard Republicans gave us a strong national/local balance.

I designed all three pages with the assistance of Florida Today team leader Krista Volenski and the advice of Nashville Design Studio Creative Director Javier Torres.

Eric Garwood, the night delivery news editor in Brevard had this to say:

I remember one of the first things everyone here said when we heard about design studios was “how are we gonna do election nights?”

Well, this is how you do election nights. Couldn’t have been smoother.

I love that huge picture atop page six, on the left.

That’s yet another one by Gerald Herbert of the Associated Press.

Average daily circulation for Florida Today is 59,038.

The next few dates to put on your calendar:

Feb. 4: Nevada caucus

Feb. 4-11: Maine caucus

Feb. 7: Colorado caucus, Minnesota caucus, Missouri primary

Feb. 28: Arizona primary, Michigan primary

March 3: Washington caucus

And then, of course, March 6 is Super Tuesday.

These front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Other recent posts here in the blog about political coverage…

Jan. 4: A look at the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Caucus coverage

Jan. 7: Today’s hot story out of New Hampshire: Fashion on the campaign trail

Jan. 10: Online ads: A smart play by Obama reelection folks

Jan. 10: A great political preview map of New Hampshire by the Washington Post

Jan. 12: Best take yet on the Mitt Romney “I like to fire people” comment

Jan. 12: Nashville Tennessean shows us what’s inside President Obama’s head

Jan. 13: A really bad placement for a Mitt Romney ad

Jan. 15: How South Carolina papers presented the upcoming GOP primary

Jan. 19: Why Vice President Joe Biden needs a copy editor

Jan. 19: The Iowa Caucus results are finally in. The loser: The Iowa Caucus.

Jan. 20: A wild, wild day for the GOP primary campaign in South Carolina

Jan. 21: How South Carolina papers played the GOP primary on page one

Jan. 21: Who’s buying political ads on S.C. newspaper web sites today?

Jan. 21: Don Asmussen‘s take on the GOP primaries

Jan. 21: Interesting tweets from the S.C. GOP primary

Jan. 22: How S.C. papers played their GOP primary results on page one

Jan. 22: More about Newt Gingrich pun headlines

Jan. 23: Presidential Bingo and GOP debate bingo cards by Erica Smith

Jan. 24: A look at State of the Union address pages

Jan. 28: More policial belly-laughs by Don Asmussen

Jan. 29: How Florida papers played the upcoming primary on A1

Jan. 31: Political infographic goodness in the Washington Post

How Florida papers played the upcoming GOP primary on page one today

Let’s take a look at front pages today in Florida that advance that state’s Republican primary on Tuesday…

HERALD-TRIBUNE

Sarasota, Fla.

Circulation: 63,864

My favorite front-page treatment of the day was this one by Sarasota. The stories emphasize the strategies employed by the candidates: 1) Don’t mention Social Security. And, if you’re Mitt Romney, 2) Take every opportunity to get Newt Gingrich to blow his stack.

The real meat here, however, is in that fabulous graphic by Herald-Tribune graphics editor Jennifer Borresen. Click for a readable version:

Romney must do well on the coast and in the larger cities. Gingrinch hopes to do well in the lesser-populated areas. And Ron Paul has pretty much given up on Florida.

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,505

This graph on the front of today’s Miami Herald shows the latest polling numbers. Romney leads Gingrich by 11 percentage points.

However, the margin of error for each value is plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points. Meaning Romney could possibly have a lead of just two percentage points.

Or, he could have a lead of 20 percentage points. We’ll see on Tuesday.

Given what we just saw in that graphic, however, I’m not sure I agree at all with the headline the Herald chose today.

Lead art was dueling Getty Images pictures of the frontrunners.

ORLANDO SENTINEL

Orlando, Fla.

Circulation: 171,418

The Sentinel also went with dueling images, however a) these are both staff pictures — specifically, by the Sentinel‘s Joe Burbank. And b) Joe’s library of work over the past few days was scoured to find two shots that played very well together. In this case, nearly mirror images.

NEWS-PRESS

Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

Instead of candidates, the Fort Myers paper focused on local supporters of the four candidates.

Those four portraits, sadly, aren’t credited. That’s a great approach, however.

TAMPA BAY TIMES

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Circulation: 240,024

The former St. Pete Times took its campaign pictures inside and led the story stripped across A1 today with a small graphic.

According to this graphic, Romney leads in every region of the state.

The source of that data — Mason-Dixon — was also the source for the Miami Herald’s chart. So that 4.5 percentage-point margin of error for the overall numbers at the bottom left still apply.

I’m guessing the margin of error in each of the regions would be quite a bit higher, since the number of folks polled in each region would be considerably smaller.

NEWS JOURNAL

Pensacola, Fla.

Circulation: 40,219

As we’ve seen, Romney is doing better in the more populated, southern areas of the state. He’s not doing quite as well in the northern section or in the panhandle.

Therefore, Romney’s campaign is probably delighted with the play he got today afront the Pensacola paper.

That picture by staffer John Blackie shows Romney campaigning Saturday at a local resturant the Fish House, along with John McCain and actor Jon Voight. Poor Newt is pushed into a little breakout box.

FLORIDA TODAY

Melbourne, Fla.

Circulation: 59,038

On the other hand, Newt — or, at least, his shadow — is lead art today in Florida Today.

The blob in the center is Gingrich, according to the cutline. That’s an Associated Press picture.

PRESS JOURNAL

Vero Beach, Fla.

Circulation: 83,969

ST. LUCIE NEWS TRIBUNE

Fort Pierce, Fla.

Circulation: 29,261

STUART NEWS

Stuart, Fla.

Circulation: 38,956

And the Gold Coast papers today played up a Saturday swing through their area by Gingrich.

The lead picture there is of Mr. and Mrs. Gingrich at the “Two Scoops for Newt” ice cream rally in Port St. Lucie Saturday.

A list of voting precincts occupies most of page one. That seems to me something that might have worked better inside.

The Port St. Lucie paper itself used the same lead art, of course, and dropped the precinct list.

   

The paper in Stuart used a picture by staffer Eric Hasert of Gingrich at a local golf club Saturday.

It, too, ran a lengthy list of polling places out front.

These front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Other recent posts here in the blog about political coverage…

 Jan. 4: A look at the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Caucus coverage

Jan. 7: Today’s hot story out of New Hampshire: Fashion on the campaign trail

Jan. 10: Online ads: A smart play by Obama reelection folks

Jan. 10: A great political preview map of New Hampshire by the Washington Post

Jan. 12: Best take yet on the Mitt Romney “I like to fire people” comment

Jan. 12: Nashville Tennessean shows us what’s inside President Obama’s head

Jan. 13: A really bad placement for a Mitt Romney ad

Jan. 15: How South Carolina papers presented the upcoming GOP primary

Jan. 19: Why Vice President Joe Biden needs a copy editor

Jan. 19: The Iowa Caucus results are finally in. The loser: The Iowa Caucus.

Jan. 20: A wild, wild day for the GOP primary campaign in South Carolina

Jan. 21: How South Carolina papers played the GOP primary on page one

Jan. 21: Who’s buying political ads on S.C. newspaper web sites today?

Jan. 21: Don Asmussen‘s take on the GOP primaries

Jan. 21: Interesting tweets from the S.C. GOP primary

Jan. 22: How S.C. papers played their GOP primary results on page one

Jan. 22: More about Newt Gingrich pun headlines

Jan. 23: Presidential Bingo and GOP debate bingo cards by Erica Smith

Jan. 24: A look at State of the Union address pages

Jan. 28: More policial belly-laughs by Don Asmussen

Behind today’s cool Orlando Sentinel nameplate

Did you see this today?

That’s the nameplate of today’s Orlando Sentinel. Click it for a much bigger look.

The occasion: A new Lego-themed amusement park opened today in Orlando.

Here’s that nameplate, side-by-side with the Sentinel’s regular nameplate.

 

You’ll see one difference right away: The color. Yellow letters instead of white.

The reason for that, most likely: The availability of lego bricks. Design, graphics and multimedia editor Todd Stewart writes in today’s paper:

We didn’t want to build a Star Wars TIE fighter or a pirate ship. And we didn’t want a bunch of red Legos. It feels like Legos are everywhere, but you don’t realize how hard it is to find specific Legos until you desperately need them.

Eventually we were turned onto Lego.com’s Pick-a-Brick site that lets you pick specific sizes and colors of every type and size of lego known to man. We thought we’d hit the mother lode — until we tried to finalize the purchase. The site promised delivery in 18 business days, but when we called and inquired we learned that it was much longer than that.

The helpful Lego associate told us that there had been issues with customs in Poland — seriously, we have to get our Legos shipped from Poland? â– and the delivery times have been much slower than that.

So, Todd and his folks had to modify their blueprints…

…make a run to their local Lego store…

And stock up on whatever they could find to make their wickedly fun idea happen.

Todd’s crew consisted of artists Karen Bellville Beaman and Rich Pope.

 

They even shot time-lapse of the construction itself:

The result hit readers today like a ton of bricks. Brightly-colored little plastic bricks.

Read Todd’s piece-by-piece piece here. You’ll find the video there, as well.

Find the story about the park opening here.

The 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…

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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.

Orlando Sentinel’s Bonita Burton on today’s Today Show

UPDATE: As I reported earlier today — see below — Orlando Sentinel deputy managing editor Bonita Burton will be making an appearance on the Today show this morning, discussing the Casey Anthony verdict.

Here’s a video:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Today’s a huge, huge day for the Orlando Sentinel. I’ll be posting two or three items about their Wednesday paper.

First of all, though, I have some time-sensitive information for you.

Orlando Sentinel deputy managing editor Bonita Burton will be making an appearance on the Today show this morning. The segment will reportedly air sometime in the 10 a.m. hour, EDT. That’s less than an hour from now. So be alert.

Bo will be discussing this piece she wrote for the June 26 Sunday paper

…in which she explains the fascination the Casey Anthony trial has had for her and for other mothers like her. The picture there is of Bo with Bailey and Nate “a picture taken a few months before Caylee Anthony disappeared.”

Bonita writes:

Every mom who’s run the sickening race through the Target aisles, calling for a lost child, has a special connection to this case. And every mom who’s sacrificed her fitness routine, TV shows and social life for Yo Gabba Gabba marathons and Friday nights at Birthday World has a special outrage.

…Because among all the insults directed at women, “unfit mother” cuts the deepest. All of us who wrestle with the guilt of leaving our living, healthy children with a sitter for a few hours are mesmerized by a woman who prosecutors say is capable of stuffing her dead baby in a garbage bag and, shortly afterward, participating in a “hot body” contest.

Bo has already appeared on CNN discussing this column.

Find the column here.

More coming soon on today’s edition of the Sentinel