Building a centerpiece with nothing but numbers

A topic that comes up often in my teaching duties: How does one build a centerpiece when there are no suitable pictures to use?

The answer: You have to resort to using your brain. Or, rather, a lot more of it than you’d typically use.

That was the case Wednesday on page one of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale. Click this for a much larger look.

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Design director David Schutz tells us:

I was responsible for that one. There’s not exactly a sexy back story to it, though. It was one of those “what the *&*%# am I going to do with this” moments.

I had some ideas banging around in my head for a couple days, but the lightbulb didn’t go on until I was talking it through with our director of photography Mike Slaughter. Mike mentioned that it was cool that the numbers went from tiny to huge.

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A few minutes of tinkering in InDesign and I knew it would work.

A 1993 graduate of Boston’s Northeastern University, David spent a year as a designer and copy editor for the Salem Evening News of Beverly, Mass before moving to the Boston Business Journal in 1996 as design editor.

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He moved to the Boston Globe in 1997 as an infographics artist. He moved to a news designer spot in 2001, was promoted to assistant design director for news in 2005 and then to deputy design director for graphics and news in 2007. He was named design director of the Sun Sentinel in April 2012.

Find David’s portfolio site here and his Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation of the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.

A look at Fort Lauderdale’s story about a NASCAR racing medical student

Rachel Schallom of the South Florida Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale writes…

I wanted to let you know about a project we published [Sunday]…

Driven is the story of a 24-year-old man from South Florida who graduated from Harvard and is now in medical school at the University of Miami. In January, he decided to take a year off of medical school to chase his dream of being a NASCAR driver.

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Local columnist Michael Mayo and photographer and videographer Mike Stocker told his story beautifully.

The story started with this expanded centerpiece tease on page one.

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Click this — or any other page here — for a larger look.

Rachel continues:

We requested six additional pages in the A section. Design director David Schutz thought ahead and knew it would be unlikely we would get consecutive color pages so he proposed we do the print pages as a black and white package. To be honest, I was hesitant, but it turned out really nicely.

The package picks up on pages 14 and 15…

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…pages 16 and 17…

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…and concludes on pages 18 and 19.

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Of his seven starts since last August, five have resulted in top-ten finishes. This includes a win in Irwindale, Calif. — just east of Pasadena — in March.

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Rachel tells us:

Online, we complemented the story with a 30-minute documentary by videographer Mike Stocker and video editor Sarah Dussault.

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I handled the web design and development. We wanted to capture the motion and excitement of NASCAR. This is the first time we’ve implemented HTML5 video.

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Find the online version here.

Average daily circulation for the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.

Inside Fort Lauderdale’s look at a ‘honeypot’ sting operation

Rachel Schallom of the South Florida Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale writes:

[Sunday,] we published a six-month investigation of the Sunrise police department. Basically, they pose as cocaine sellers, attract out-of-town buyers to come into their jurisdiction and then seize their money and possessions.

Why? Money, of course. The cops on this unit make thousands in overtime pay, and its borderline entrapment. It’s a really great read.

This story was challenging to tell visually because almost every person mentioned was an undercover police officer or an informant. We didn’t have a lot to work with. Photographer Susan Stocker and I created the cocaine illustration [for Sunday’s page one], and then we relied on graphics.

Presumably, that’s not real cocaine…

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As usual, click that or any page here today for a much larger look.

Rachel continues:

Design director David Schutz designed the print pages. I was very impressed with the end result because I knew how little we had in terms of visuals. I loved the use of white space.

In the last couple days of production, we worked closely with our lawyer to make sure every word and element was legally allowed.

Here’s a graphic by staffer Cindy Jones-Hulfachor  that explains how the sting operations worked:

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Here’s the first jump page in Sunday’s paper…

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…and here are the other two.

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Rachel tells us:

I designed the online version

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…but, in my opinion, the print pages were the design winner of this project.

You might recall that Rachel was recently promoted to a full-time multimedia position at the Sun Sentinel. For now, though, she’s still working on the print side, too.

For Monday’s Day Two, the story stripped across the top of page one.

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Day Two is littered with references to the “alluring” female undercover “informant.” She’s described as a “beautiful, buxom brunette.”

Because of the nature of the job, we’re never really shown how “alluring” she actually is. However, the Sun Sentinel reports that the Sunrise police department has paid her $806,640 over the past five years.

Hell, that makes her plenty “alluring” right there!

Here are Monday’s inside pages.

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Again, find the online version here.

Rachel and David teamed up back on August on a three-part series about sexual predators in South Florida. Read more about that series here.

Average daily circulation of the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.

Sun Sentinel promotes Rachel Schallom to multimedia position

David Schutz, design director of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, sends along an official announcement distributed there Tuesday:

I’m happy to announce that we are promoting designer Rachel Schallom to a newly created position of Multimedia Designer for South Florida.

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In her new role, Rachel will work on projects for all of our digital platforms from the website to tablet and mobile publications. Rachel brings unique design and programming stills to this new role — her work on sunsentinel.com/SexPredators and in laying the groundwork for the launch of our first iPad magazines are two recent examples of her creativity and technical expertise.

Rachel will work closely with the rest of the digital team and play an important role in traffic and revenue goals. She will also be involved in our most important journalism projects, looking for innovative ways to present them across all platforms.

Please join me in congratulating Rachel.

A 2010 graduate of the University of Missouri, Rachel worked as a reporter, an editor and a designer for the Columbia Missourian before becoming assistant news editor in 2010. She graduated in 2010 and then spent five months as a design intern at the Huntsville (Ala.) Times.

Rachel returned to Mizzou in 2011 and edited the weekly Tiger Kickoff football section for the Missourian. She earned her master’s degree last year, spent the summer interning for the Los Angeles Times and then joined the Sun Sentinel last August.

Since then, her thesis at Missouri got some notice, as did her work this summer on the NBA playoffs.

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And, as David mentioned, her work on the sex predators series in August was remarkable. Read more about that here.

Find Rachel’s web site here and her Twitter feed here.

A fun front cover today in Fort Lauderdale

David Schutz, design director of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, writes today:

I thought I’d share today’s unique front page from the Sun Sentinel. The University of Miami and University of Florida football teams meet today for the final game of their historic rivalry.

Final game, huh? Yeah, right. We’ll see how long that lasts!

Oops. Did I interrupt with a snarky comment about the business of NCAA football? My bad. Please continue, David…

South Florida is just about equally divided into Gators and Hurricanes camps so it’s a big deal down here.

So we took this unique — maybe gimmicky — approach to generate some game-day buzz. Positive or negative, it’s had its desired effect so far.

What the Sun Sentinel went with today: A flippable front cover.

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David didn’t say this in his note, but he masterminded and designed today’s covers himself, staffer Rachel Schallom tells me.

David continues:

The fun part is that the pressroom really got on board with the concept and ran both presses simultaneously, with the pages reversed — they came out on the other end shuffled like a deck of cards. Every other paper in each bundle had the other team face up. To me that’s the coolest thing about this experiment: If you got a Gators paper at home…

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…your neighbor next door got a ’Canes paper.

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Ah. Shouting matches throughout the neighborhood as bathrobe-wearing fans retrieve their papers from their driveways. Fistfights at the 7-eleven. I like it.

The shuffle-every-other-copy is a pretty cool twist. That is indeed a cooperative pressroom.

David himself called the idea “gimmicky,” which I appreciate. Because it is gimmicky. Gimmicky but effective.

We’ve seen flippable covers before, of course. John Turner of the Huntsville Times created this flippable cover for the Alabama vs. Auburn Iron Bowl, two years ago:

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The oldest flippable cover in my collection is this one from before I was born.

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Much more common are covers that are printed front-and-back, with the back cover upside-down. Perhaps some — as much as half — of the inside pages are also printed upside-down. This means you’re essentially printing two half-editions, each with its own front page.

Again, Mad magazine did this very well just before the 1960 election. The press deadline was before Election Day. Retailers could flip the issue to whichever wanker won at the polls.

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A particularly nice touch: The little line at the bottom:

We were with you all the way, Jack!/Dick!

The New Republic used that same trick during last year’s convention season.

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And then Time magazine used the same gimmick in November.

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And back in 2004, RedEye did the same for its “25 greatest Cubs/Sox ever” presentation.

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So yes, this is a gimmick — and one you can’t really use too often. Once a professional lifetime is probably enough. But notice how each of these publications made the idea their own, by putting their own unique spin on it.

As did the Sun Sentinel.

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A 1993 graduate of Boston’s Northeastern University, David Schutz spent a year as a designer and copy editor for the Salem Evening News of Beverly, Mass before moving to the Boston Business Journal in 1996 as design editor. He moved to the Boston Globe in 1997 as an infographics artist. He moved to a news designer spot in 2001, was promoted to assistant design director for news in 2005 and then to deputy design director for graphics and news in 2007. He was named design director of the Sun Sentinel in April 2012.

Find David’s portfolio site here and David’s Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation of the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.

Oh, and by the way:

Miami 21, No. 12-ranked Floria 16

Final game, my ass! If there’s money to be made, the rivalry will resume. I promise you that.

Inside the online and print presentation for Fort Lauderdale’s sex predators project

If you’ve not seen it yet, please take the time to run over to the web site of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and read that paper’s extraordinary Sex Predators Unleashed project.

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The story is shocking and, frankly, will make you ill. But it’s one you need to read.

After a nine-year-old boy was raped and murdered by a man who had been convicted of sexual assault charges and then released from prison, the state of Florida passed a law in 1999 that changed how the state dealt with sexual predators.

But for every one prisoner sent to the state’s special sex predator treatment center, nearly two more are released and then re-arrested on a sex charge. Over the past 14 years, 1,384 offenders have been rearrested. Yes, that’s nearly 100 a year.

It’s a governmental failure of epic proportions. And it’s told well, too. Sun Sentinel designer Rachel Schallom tells us:

It’s our first responsive site, using multimedia in this way — and it’s a damn good story too.

The stories were written by the Sun Sentinel‘s Sally Kestin and Dana Williams.

Rachel tells us how the presentation came about:

About two months ago, this project became my number one priority. We knew it was an amazing story: it was data driven, and we were able to capture so many voices and stories through Mike Stocker‘s amazing photography and videography. It definitely deserved special treatment.

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I set out to display all the elements we had in a thoughtful and meaningful way. To understand this story and all of its pieces, we knew the reader would need a good amount of context, so I wanted to control the order the reader digested the multimedia. By placing them right next to the text that describes the same person or topic, the reader is able to feel the story through multiple dimensions: text, audio, video, photo.

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Sure, the reader can click around and take it in on their own time, but at least it is set up in a way that navigates them through the narrative.

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Naturally, there were a few interactive graphics scattered through the project. To the Sun Sentinel‘s credit, these graphics feature a somewhat understated design, which keeps the reader’s attention focused on the data, rather than the “whiz-bang” effects possible with an online presentation like this.

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There’s also an interactive database page, illustrated with hundreds of perp mug shots.

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Rachel continues:

It’s the Sun Sentinel‘s first fully responsive site, and we’re thrilled with how the final product turned out.

We have a small staff, so pulling off a project like this was not easy, but it was definitely worth it to display the talent of the reporting, photography, videography and database work. I’m grateful the other staff designers were able to cover my other tasks so I could focus on this. I’m also thankful to enthusiastic Rebekah Monson, who consulted on this project and gave me so much guidance. And, of course, it wouldn’t have happened without my wonderful design director David Schutz.

The presentation posted on the Sun Sentinel‘s web site is the complete project. For print, the project is stretched over three days. David designed the print version.

Here is Sunday’s opening piece.

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That jumped inside to two sets of facing pages. Here, you can see how David used all those mug shots.

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The mainbar gives way to a series of sidebars — think of them as chapters in the story. Three more ran on pages 18 and 19, plus an “about the series” rail.

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Here is the front of today’s Day Two presentation.

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A pair of open pages hold the jump of today’s story plus sidebars.

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As you can see, several graphics — including a print version of that interactive piece I showed you earlier — help tell the administrative failure part of the story. Particularly nice is that vertical timeline on page 13. It’s amazing how many times that guy was let out of prison to assault again.

Day Three runs tomorrow. But again, you can read it all online here.

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A 2010 graduate of the University of Missouri, Rachel worked as a reporter, an editor and a designer for the Columbia Missourian before becoming assistant news editor in 2010. She graduated in 2010 and then spent five months as a design intern at the Huntsville (Ala.) Times. Rachel returned to Mizzou in 2011 and edited the weekly Tiger Kickoff football section for the Missourian. She earned her master’s degree in 2012, spent last summer interning for the Los Angeles Times and then joined the Sun Sentinel last August. Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

120426DavidSchutzMug.jpg

A 1993 graduate of Boston’s Northeastern University, David spent a year as a designer and copy editor for the Salem Evening News of Beverly, Mass before moving to the Boston Business Journal in 1996 as design editor. He moved to the Boston Globe in 1997 as an infographics artist. He moved to a news designer spot in 2001, was promoted to assistant design director for news in 2005 and then to deputy design director for graphics and news in 2007. He was named design director of the Sun Sentinel in April 2012.

Find David’s portfolio site here and David’s Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation of the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.

A look at today’s final NBA Finals pages

I would have sworn that the Spurs would have won this one. They came so incredibly close on Tuesday. And then again last night.

Anyhow, the Miami Heat prevailed, 95-88, earning its second straight NBA title and its third in eight years. LeBron James scored 29 points, grabbed nine rebounds and was named most valuable player.

Thus endeth an NBA season that seemed to go on forever. I believe the preseason starts in a week or two, doesn’t it?

Here’s a look at today’s final NBA finals pages…

SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

The Sun Sentinel celebrated the win with this huge, wraparound cover featuring the Heat’s “big three” of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

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The picture is by staffer Jim Rassol. The pages were designed by Tammy Wheatley and design director David Schutz. Thanks to social media coordinator Lori Todd for sending that to us overnight.

Rachel Schallom took a few moments out of probably one of the busiest weeks of her young career to send along the six pages she put together for today’s sports section.

The sports front leads with another trophy shot starting  James and Wade. The two combined for 60 points, the caption says.

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The picture is by staffer Robert Duyos.

Page three features a nice third-quarter action shot of LeBron by Jim Rassol.

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Page four contains a number of significant sidebars, including one about Rashard Lewis, who pretty much rode the bench all the way through the series.

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Both pictures there are by staffer Robert Duyos.

Pages six and seven faced each other, so let’s look at them that way. Click on these — or any pages here today — for a closer look.

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Page six holds a few quick stats. Page seven, however, gives us a bit of a laugh with that headline:

This time, nobody left early

The fan-oriented photos are by staffers Carline Jean and Adam Sacasa.

And page eight concludes coverage with a fun story about the stars who came to see the show. Both the picture of Lenny Kravitz and the one of an off-balance LeBron James are by Jim Rassol.

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Note the tweets down the right side by other NBA stars.

Finally, the folks in Fort Lauderdale shot a little video footage last night as the final pages came together.

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I tried to embed it for you here, but my efforts resulted in an auto-playing video. Therefore, I’ll have to settle for giving you a link.

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

I think we expect to see celebration and trophy-hoisting shots on the front of Miami-area newspapers. But this picture by el Nuevo Herald staffer Pedro Portal is particularly nice, with all the kids and Wade hugging James.

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EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

Now, the painful missed opportunity of the night for the Spurs was the one in this wonderful page-one photo:

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That’s Tim Duncan. With the Spurs down by only two with less than a minute to go, Duncan missed a shot that would have tied the game. He then got a second opportunity — a chance to tip in his own missed shot. But he missed that, too.

Staffer Jerry Lara was there to make the picture. And designer Emilio Rabago used that picture to great effect on page one.

So the headline has a double meaning: It applies to the very moment you see in the picture. And it also applies to both Games Six and Seven — either of which the Spurs could have won, but didn’t.

After absorbing all that, disappointed Spurs fans turned to the sports front to find a follow-up picture by Jerry Lara: Tim Duncan beating himself up right after that missed pair of opportunities.

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What a great shot. And played perfectly by designer Jim Martinez.

Bonus: That little graphic sidebar at the top of the page showing the Spurs’ Tony Parker. During games One through Five, Parker shot 49.3 percent from the floor, leading the Spurs to victories. But during the last two games, Parker shot only 25.7 percent.

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It’s a telling stat. But notice how the telling didn’t require a bar chart or, God forbid, a bubble chart. Simple text worked just fine.

Masterfully done.

The front pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.

Earlier, here in the blog:

Opposite approaches for these two NBA championship game preview covers

The papers in Fort Lauderdale and San Antonio were about as far apart as they could be in previewing the game today.

SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

The Sun Sentinel was awfully serious in stating what’s at stake tonight: Not just a championship trophy, but the entire legacy of the team.

And it’s all on the shoulders of LeBron James.

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The photo is by Sun Sentinel staffer Robert Duyos. The design is by Rachel Schallom, who’s designed all the paper’s preview covers for the series.

EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

In San Antonio, however, the Express-News‘ own preview cover today is a bit less, um, reverent. [UPDATE: This is actually a poster page and not a “cover,” I’m told.]

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That’s sister Rosalba Garcia, 85 — one of the Salesian sisters of St. John Bosco in San Antonio. They’ve been praying to “the fan upstairs” for victory during the series.

Some nights, evidently, “the fan upstairs” has complied. Other nights, however, even He can’t force the Spurs to hit their free throws.

The Express-NewsDean Lockwood tells us:

Crazy concept by yours truly. Endearing photo by Bob Owen. Poster design by Adrian Alvarez.

Game Seven is on for tonight at 9 p.m. EDT.

Earlier, here in the blog…

A look at today’s NBA Finals pages

The Heat won last night in overtime, 103-100. So the NBA season that just won’t end will stretch just a little longer…

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

This is the shot of the day, I suppose: The Heat’s Ray Allen, watching the shot he made that put the game into overtime.

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Note how he’s clinging to the front of Tony Parker‘s jersey.

The picture is by staffer Charles Trainor Jr.

EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

The Express-News, on the other hand, focused on the “bitter taste” of defeat the Spurs felt after coming so close to clinching a title.

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The picture of Parker taking a quick breather is by staffer Edward A. Ornelas.

SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

For her Tuesday pregame wrap cover, Sun Sentinel designer Rachel Schallom put the emphasis on LeBron James — or, rather, this quote from James about the significance of Tuesday’s game.

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Unfortunately, the Sun Sentinel didn’t contribute its front page to the Newseum today.

The front pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.

Earlier, here in the blog:

A look at today’s NBA Finals pages

Last night’s score: Spurs 114, Heat 104. The Spurs are just one game away from an NBA championship.

A look at today’s front pages…

EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

Last night was another big 3-point performance for the Spurs’ Danny Green. Today’ front-page picture by staffer Jerry Lara shows Green in a long shot in which you can see Spurs fans celebrating in the background.

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SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

The preview cover Sun Sentinel staffer Rachel Schallom designed for Sunday’s paper featured a superb file shot from USA Today.

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That’s the Heat’s Chris Bosh going for a rebound.

Today’s front page is a different story entirely. There’s nothing but frustration in the faces and body language of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Dwyane Wade.

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That picture is by staffer Michael Laughlin.

Oh, and that’s an interesting treatement for the picture of U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, in the skybox. Hopefully, the page didn’t actually print like that.

Today’s sports front again shows just how frustrating Sunday’s game was for the Heat. Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard are all over Wade here.

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The picture was by staffer Michael Laughlin. Rachel Schallom designed the page.

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

The Herald today led with a great picture of LeBron James being overpowered by the Spurs’ Danny Green.

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The picture is by staffer Charles Trainor Jr.

So the Heat must win both games Six and Seven if it wishes to win this years’ NBA title. About the only good news for them: Both games will be played in Miami. Tuesday’s Game Six will be at 9 p.m.

The front pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.

Earlier, here in the blog:

A look at today’s NBA Finals pages

Thursday’s score: Heat 109, Spurs 93. This ties the series again and sends it all back to Florida. For the next two games, at least.

Today’s pages, however, seem a bit subdued from what we’ve been seeing in the series so far…

EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

The Express-News led today with a picture of a dejected Tim Duncan, trudging back up the court. The picture is by staffer Edward A. Ornelas.

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The real winner of the night, the Express-News says, is the 11-year-old boy who was brought back to sing the National Anthem again. After he did the same on Tuesday, the kid found himself the target of a bunch of racist tweets.

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

The Herald today led with a great Charles Trainor Jr. shot of Dwyane Wade blocking a shot by Tiago Splitter.

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Greg Cote‘s lede made me smile, and not just because the error in repeating the very first word:

The The new Superman movie happens to open in theaters nationwide on Friday. I think we might have seen a sneak preview playing exclusively in this mid-Texas city Thursday night.

You wanted a superhero, Miami?

You got two.

Their names: Dwyane Wade and LeBron James — in that order.

Superman saves the girl. Wade and LeBron just saved the season.

Classic.

SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

Going into Thursday’s game, LeBron James knew he’d have to pick up some slack.

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The picture, as far as I can tell, is uncredited. Rachael Schallom designed the page.

There were no breathless Superman similes on the front of the Sun Sentinel today. In fact, the series was given its smallest footprint yet on page one of this paper.

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The little picture of Wade laughing with his teammates during a first-quarter time out is by staffer Michael Laughlin.

Rachel led today’s sports front with a fairly tight shot of Wade, who scored 32 points last night.

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The picture is by staffer Michael Laughlin.

Game Five will be Sunday at 8 p.m. EDT in San Antonio.

The front pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.

Earlier, here in the blog:

A look at today’s NBA Finals pages

The San Antonio Spurs demolished the Heat last night, 113-77. It now leads the NBA championship series two games to one.

Here’s how papers in San Antonio and South Florida played the game on page one today…

EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

“Not in our house.” “The only thing higher than the rafter seats was the score.”

Great headline writing. The lead photo of the backside of last night’s standout performer, Danny Green: Not so much.

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The picture is by staffer Jerry Lara.

SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

It was a very long night for the Heat. And you can see that clearly here in the face of Dwayne Wade.

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The picture is by staffer Michael Laughlin.

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

And the Herald might have had the best headline of the day.

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The picture of LeBron James getting stuffed is by David Santiago of the Herald‘s Spanish-language paper, el Nuevo Herald.

The front pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.

Game Four will be Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT.

Earlier, here in the blog:

A look at today’s NBA Finals pages

Miami thrashed San Antonio 103-84 last night, tying up the NBA championship series at 1-1. Here’s a look at how papers in Florida and Texas played the game today…

EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

Here’s what I’m liking about the Express-News’ presentation of the finals series: The way the front page is using action shots, as opposed to reaction or celebration pictures.

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That’s LeBron James stuffing the Spurs’ Tiago Splitter like at Thanksgiving turkey. The picture is by staffer Kin Man Hui.

Today’s sports front features two great shots by staffer Edward A. Ornelas.

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The page was designed by Jim Martinez.

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

The Herald led today with a picture of LeBron hanging on the rim after a spectacular late-game dunk.

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LeBron got off to a slow start offensively last night. He scored 17 points, but 13 of those were in the second half. Instead, he wowed everyone all night with his defensive play.

The photo is by Charles Trainor Jr.

SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

The Sun Sentinel‘s Rachel Schallom sends along the preview cover for Game Two that ran Sunday, in which the paper puts the spotlight on LeBron’s teammates Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade — each of whom have taken a hit, statistically, with the presence of LeBron James.

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Notice the declining numbers for each, across the bottom of the page.

Here is today’s front page, featuring all three enjoying a moment together on the bench.

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That photo is by staffer Michael Laughlin.

Slightly puzzling is the headline on columnist Dave Hyde‘s piece in which he refers to a “cold LeBron.” Sure, he was cold in the first half. But a) He warmed up quickly enough in the second half. And b) He was only cold offensively. He stood out defensively, right?

Remember that picture of LeBron blocking a shot by San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter? Here’s a similar picture but much larger and from a much better angle.

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Notice how even the deck refers to that moment.

The picture is by staffer Jim Rassol. The page was designed by Rachel Schallom.

The front pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.

Earlier, here in the blog:

A look at today’s NBA Finals pages

Here’s a look at Game One coverage of the NBA Finals in South Florida and San Antonio…

SUN SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

The Spurs drew first blood in the series, winning by four points last night, thanks to an amazing at-the-buzzer shot by San Antonio’s Tony Parker.

The Sun Sentinel led page one today with fans in the stands — including this one gentleman in a fright wig.

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It’s a pretty good picture by staffer Mike Stocker, but I’ve always questioned leading with happy fans when the team loses.

The sports front features a huge play of a great picture by staffer Michael Laughlin of LeBron James being jammed up by the s Spurs.

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Now, that’s pretty awesome. The page was designed by Rachel Schallom.

My minor complaint here: There is just a bit of a disconnect between the visuals and the headlines. LeBron is being held up — is he even being fouled here? But the headline — and the column at bottom left — is all about the Parker’s heroics. Seems like a big picture of that buzzer-beater might be in order here.

Perhaps it came too late for color deadline or something. These NBA games can run awfully late.

Rachel also sends along this ront she designed fro the front of Thursday’s pregame wrap.

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Click these — or any pages here today — for a larger view.

MIAMI HERALD

Miami, Fla.

Circulation: 160,988

The Herald went with a great action shot on page one today. While the photo by staffer Al Diaz shows Dwayne Wade scoring, the headline addresses how the Heat was unsuccessful last night.

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The disconnect isn’t so bad here, because a) Wade doesn’t look so damned happy, and b) the deck on the page-one column reinforces the idea that the game didn’t end so well for the Heat.

EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

The San Antonio paper — graced with an extra hour for being in the Central time zone — did manage to get Tony Parker’s amazing shot on page one today. And the headline played off of that perfectly.

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The photo is by staffer Kin Man Hui.

Even more amazing, however, is the reverse angle of that same moment, shot by the Express-News‘  Edward A. Ornelas and played to perfection last night by Jim Martinez.

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Note the headline below: Yeah, LeBron had a trouble-double last night. But who cares? This last-second shot made that whole thing moot.

The format for playoff coverage was designed by Adrian Alvarez and Chuck Blount.

In addition, here’s an inside photo page designed by Carrie Stiles-Flores.

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My favorite is the picture midway down the right side that shows a little moment between Parker and Tim Duncan. The vignette is by Edward A. Ornelas.

The front pages here are from the Newseum. Of course.

NBA fans in South Florida watch the birdie

The Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., did something interesting Wednesday.

Design director David Schutz tells us:

The Heat’s Chris Anderson is a larger-than-life personality — who stands out by his tattoos, mohawk, and famous “Birdman” massive wingspan. So the challenge was how to present our profile of him with same impact as the man himself.

We made his reach go around the fold into the back cover where the story jumped.

Click for a much, much larger look:

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It looked great on the newsstand and was a cool surprise to readers who flipped the page over.

Average daily circulation for the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.

That page is from the Newseum. Of course.

Riddle me this: When is a bird not ‘the bird’?

It happened at Wednesday night’s NBA playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat.

With the Heat up by 41 points — 41 points! — the Bulls’ Joakim Noah fouled out.

As he exited the court, he was booed by Heat fans, including this one woman who felt compelled to extend a middle finger nearly in front of Noah’s face.

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Bonus points: The woman was identified Thursday as Filomena Tobias, widow of former CNBC financial commentator Seth Tobias. Tobias drowned in his swimming pool in 2007 with a mixture of alcohol and sleeping medication in his system.

Screencaps of the incident went viral Thursday. Today, both Miami-area dailies put stories about the incident on page one.

On the left, here, is how it looked at the bottom of the front page of the Miami Herald. On the right was how it played in the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.

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Which answers the question posed by my headline: When is a bird not “the bird”? When it’s covered by a big purple dot.

I’m a little surprised that the Sun Sentinel felt the need to cover the offending digit this morning. A middle finger is something that’s become so common, so ubiquitous that it hardly seems necessary to shield readers from its harmful effects. Especially since the gesture was what the story was all about in the first place.

But whatever. Perhaps it was the location of the picture — above the fold — that was the tipping point.

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Average daily circulation for the Miami Herald is 160,988. The Sun Sentinel circulates 147,860 papers daily.

Both of those front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Thanks to Bill Cooke for the tip.

Five more fun March Madness pages for you

Monday, we looked at a handful of great March Madness front pages and special sections.

Today, we have a second batch for you. Click any of these for a much larger look…

NEW YORK TIMES

New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 1,586,757

Wayne Kamadoi tells us:

Sam Manchester working on these bubbles until the final buzzer before deadline.

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By now, you guys know how I feel about bubble charts. But if the theme for your section — and your cover illustration — is carbonated soft drinks, then you have to go with a bubble chart on the front.

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You just have to.

STAR TRIBUNE

Minneapolis, Minn.

Circulation: 300,330

Part of the brilliance of that Times section was playing off a completely unrelated but very popular — and timely — story in the news: New York Mayor Michael Boomberg‘s proposed ban on large soft drinks.

The folks at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis took a similarly oblique approach: The infamous Harlem Shake in place of “the big dance.”

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Chris Carr tells us:

Our NCAA “Atlanta Shake” theme was a fun team effort, in print and in our video. An extra nod goes to retiring graphic artist Jim Freitag, who for over 30 years at the Star Tribune has tackled an incredibly wide range of design and graphic and art projects.

For this project, Jim drew us 134 mascots – 67 (minus Goldy Gopher) standing-around mascots (for the Shake’s first portion) and 67 dancing mascots (for the Shake punchline portion). We ended up using 82 of them after we downsized our plans as the Gophers went into the tank down the stretch. But thankfully, they made the tournament (the idea was toast if they would have been out) and we were able to uncork a fun themed presentation in print and online.

The video is fun a waste of 30 seconds; it stars 93-year-old sports columnist/local celebrity Sid Hartman and former Gopher and NBA’er Quincy Lewis:

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PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 246,571

Here’s an illustration by Chris Morris for the cover of Monday’s bracket special section in the Plain Dealer.

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Find that — and a handful of nice inside pages — on the Plain Dealer‘s Not-So-Plain-Dealer visuals blog.

SUN-SENTINEL

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Circulation: 147,860

Next up: Designer Rachel Schallom of the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida sends along this Monday sports front:

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The old-school illustrations are by local freelancer Jane Tasciotti. Find more of Jane’s work here.

EXPRESS-NEWS

San Antonio, Texas

Circulation: 139,099

And our last March Madness page includes just a bit of news. Josh Trudellwho exited the newspaper business five years ago — writes:

I’ve been working part-time at the San Antonio Express-News and was assigned last Sunday’s sports front. The centerpiece is about the lackluster regular season being bailed out by the excitement of the tournament.

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My illustration, story by Tim Griffin.

Are you doing something cool for March Madness? Send PDFs and design credits to:

chuckapple [at] cox.net

Inside the Sun Sentinel’s BCS Championship Game special section

Rachel Schallom — a designer for the South Florida Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — writes to tell us:

The Sun Sentinel is producing special pages all weekend long for the BCS National Championship on Monday.

The game is in Miami. Every day this weekend we will start our sports section with four special BCS pages. We kicked it off in today’s paper with a 8 special pages of coverage.

Rachel used the team logos in the headline of the cover…

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…as well as repeating patterns in the main illustration. For those of you not familiar with it, the fill of the Alabama elephant is supposed to remind you of the hats legendary coach Bear Bryant wore.

Page three held an Alabama preview…

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…while page four contained a Notre Dame preview.

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Rachel designed the entire section herself except for these two graphics pages, which were built by the Chicago Tribune.

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Note the chart occupying the bottom quarter of the page. That shows the weekly Top 10, as ranked by the Associated Press. The thick red line traces Alabama, which was ranked No. 1 most of the season until the Tide fell to Texas A&M on Nov. 15.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, started the season ranked way down at No. 22. The Irish shot up in the rankings after defeating No. 10-ranked Michigan State on Sept. 15 but didn’t hit the top spot until Nov. 18.

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The final page consists of tips for folks in town for the game.

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Much of this material — the prose bit, anyway — is online. Find the Sun Sentinel‘s BCS Championship Game coverage here.

It wasn’t that long ago when I was posting football pages Rachel designed at the University of Missouri. Thanks for making me feel old today, Rachel. She moved to the Sun Sentinel this past August.

Find Rachel’s portfolio here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation for the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.

Clever headline alert: Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel

The story: How older writers have used new self-publishing tools to get their work out there in front of new readers.

The headline:

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That’s just inspired.

That was Monday’s centerpiece headline for the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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Design director David Schutz tells us:

That was Jeremy Lang, assistant night editor, and one of our best headline writers.

Average daily circulation for the Sun Sentinel is 147,860.

That front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

Missouri graduate Rachel Schallom headed for Fort Lauderdale

Among the several job changes I’m way behind in announcing…

Rachel Schallom — who completed her masters degree in journalism and newspaper management at the University of Missouri a few months ago — is headed to the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Design director David Schutz told me (nearly three weeks ago):

You’ll be pleased to know that we have hired Rachel…

She is incredibly bright, creative, and enthusiastic and will be a fantastic addition to our print and digital design teams. She made a big impression at her internship in L.A., and we can’t wait to have her on board in Ft. Lauderdale later this month.

In fact, Rachel has now finished her internship at the Los Angeles Times and she’s headed to Florida at this very moment. She tweeted this morning:

She begins work at the SunSentinel a week from today.

As an undergraduate, Rachel worked as a reporter, an editor and a designer for the Columbia Missourian before becoming assistant news editor in 2010. She graduated in 2010 and then spent five months as a design intern at the Huntsville (Ala.) Times. Rachel returned to Mizzou last summer and edited the weekly Tiger Kickoff football section for the Missourian last fall.

   

   

 

 

 

 

Find her portfolio here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here.