Tampa Bay Times looks back on the Gulf Oil Spill

Five years ago this past Monday, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana. 11 crew members were killed and 26 more injured in the fireball.

Two days later — five years ago today — the rig sank. Millions of barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf before the leak was plugged in mid-July.

The Tampa Bay Times observed the anniversary Sunday with an enormous tag-team graphic on the front of its Perspective section.

Click this for a much larger look:

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Assistant managing editor Ron Brackett tells us:

Jim Verhulst is the Perspective section editor. He wrote the copy. Artists Don Morris, Steve Madden and Cameron Cottrill created the graphics/illustrations and Tom Bassinger was the designer.


UPDATE – April 27

Don sends along this rough sketch of the piece in progress:

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The meat of the piece shows the spill and poses the question: What happened to all that oil?

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The right side of the page takes a look at the effect the spill had on various creatures of the Gulf:

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Average daily circulation for the Tampa Bay Times is 299,497.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Suzette Moyer has moved to the Washington Post

Among the many job moves I’ve fallen behind in posting: Tampa Bay Times art director Suzette Moyer is moving to the Washington Post.

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Suzette posted on her Facebook page last month:

Headed to the Washington Post to join the talented design team. Bittersweet leaving my wonderful family of friends in Florida at the Times.

First newsroom I’ll be in without Bruce but I know in my heart, he’d be proud.

Bruce is Suzette’s husband, Times deputy photo director Bruce Moyer. He passed away in December 2013.

A Washington Post press release quoted design director Greg Manifold and deputy design director Brian Gross as saying:

Suzette is a standout art director and visual leader who joins our management team as a senior designer. She will primarily work on features sections and art directing projects across platforms.

Her social media friends have followed along as she packed up and left Florida a few days ago.

UPDATE: She started work Feb. 2, Suzette tells me.

A 1986 graduate of Ohio State University, Suzette spent eight years as an art director for the Hartford Courant before moving to the Times in 2006. Suzette also served as print publications director for the Society for News Design, editing and designing Design magazine for the Society for News Design.

St. Pete’s Paul Wallen has joined ESPN The Magazine

Paul Wallen — senior designer for the St. Petersburg Times and for the Times’ Bay magazine — has left newspapers to join ESPN The Magazine.

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This apparently happened about a month ago. Memo to self: The tracking collar I put on Paul several years ago needs its battery replaced.

Paul tells us:

The job is senior designer at ESPN magazine, located on the main campus in Bristol, CT. My first day at ESPN was Feb. 10. I’ll be working on the magazine and helping with graphics for digital and social media use.

I’m in temp housing now and Diane and the pets are still in Florida. I’ll be flying down there at the end of the month and we’ll all drive up to Connecticut together. We just put a deposit on a rental property so I guess I can officially say that we’ll be living in West Hartford.

Paul started out as a journalist for the U.S. Navy in the late 1980s. He has worked as sports editor of the Marshall, Texas, News Message, graphics editor of the Evansville (Ind.) Press, design editor for a chain of suburban papers near Chicago, a designer for the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, a designer for the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader, design editor of the Baltimore Sun, managing editor for visuals for the Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal, sports designer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, design director of the Sun Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and then assistant managing editor for design and sports of the Kerrville (Texas) Daily Times.

Paul took a little time off from journalism to serve as a foster parent before moving to the Huntsville Times in 2010 as design director. In 2012, the Times‘ owner, Advance publications, announced plans to consolidate design and production for its Huntsville, Mobile and Birmingham papers in Birmingham. Before any of that happened, though, Paul moved to St. Pete.

A few samples of Paul’s work:

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7A1.eps

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Paul can save ESPN a lot of money this year — money they’d normally spend on cover models.

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Read about the incident on the left here. Go here to read about the one on the right.

Find Paul’s online portfolio here, his NewsPageDesign portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Inside the Tampa Bay Times’ lavishly-illustrated ‘Last Voyage of the Bounty’ series

No, this was not about paper towels.

Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg gives us the story behind a special project his paper published a few weeks ago:

The Times recently wrapped up publishing The Last Voyage of the Bounty, Michael Kruse’s amazing recounting of (spoiler alert!) the sinking of the storied tall ship (the very ship in Mutiny on the Bounty and Pirates of the Caribbean).

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This three-part series was a project months in the making, going all the way back to February, which is when hearings about the sinking were held.

This summer, our online team of senior designer Lee Glynn and intern Alex Sanchez (who graduated from Northwestern in June) set out to build an immersive experience that would weave together story, illustration, photography and video. During the early stages of story drafting, they met with Kruse, editor Bill Duryea, artist Don Morris and photographer/videographer Maurice Rivenbark to create an outline and establish deadlines.

Lee says:

We created what I termed a “parallel story/media flow” – side by side tracks of a story outline, identifying the key moments in the narrative where there would be illustrations, videos and graphics needed.

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To tell this story this way, it was important that we were all on the same page – one script for everyone. We all needed to be looking at this as an integrated story – videos were to be like a paragraph in the story, illustrations were to be like glimpses on the pages of that critical moment in a great nautical adventure book. And because there were no surviving documentary photos of the voyage, illustrations were key to bringing to life the dynamics of the story.

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We would have a final documentary-style video, but the inline videos were not to be “standalone.” They would be “quotes” or “voices” that complemented, explained and illustrated specific moments in the story…

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…graphics would be updates on where the ship stood against the storm at that moment in the narrative, catalogs of how things were breaking down as conditions worsened.

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Ideally, none of it was just repeating the story.

And most importantly, we were not going to do things just because we could. We wanted the story to drive the experience. The media was not to distract but to help tell the story.

Immersive, but not intrusive.

The mobile presentation was a top priority for our online team, and it worked tirelessly to ensure the experience translated to phones and tablets.

Lee says:

As we went along, the responsiveness of every element had to be considered – is this something that would size down well, at which point would it no longer be effective, does this make sense for someone on a phone?

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Then, via media queries and detecting user agents, we tried to serve the best they could for the majority of users on each platform. It is not perfect, but we hope it adapts fairly for most viewers.

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Load speed was a concern, naturally, but then this type of media-rich experience is a commitment both for the producers and for the viewers. We sized down images…

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…and trimmed the code at various points but also conceded (and hoped) that most folks invested in going through a presentation this immersive would not expect it to load in -0.2 seconds.

Thomas picks up the story again:

While our online presentation spectacularly integrated volumes of material, we sought to give the print version its own distinctive design. We had lots of great material to consider, but we chose to use Don’s illustrations almost exclusively.

Here’s the wraparound cover that kicked off the print version on Sunday, Oct. 27. Click this — or any other pages here — for a much larger view.

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Thomas tells us:

Don began illustrating in August and ultimately drew more than 50 pieces for the series.

The roster page is the only photograph we used of the Bounty in print. Don’s art (and Lee and Alex’s diagrams) take it from there.

On the left, here, is page two, the roster page. On the right is page three, Don’s inner cover for Part One.

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Thomas writes:

As you move through the story in print, you paint your own picture of what the crew is like, what the ship is like, what the storm is like, and we wanted to protect that.

Here are pages four and five, the center spread of the section.

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Don’s artwork painted just enough of the drama to guide your imagination without sacrificing mystery.

Here are pages six and seven…

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…and pages eight and nine.

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Part Two inserted Wednesday, Oct. 30. Here is Don’s cover.

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Thomas tells us:

The roster returns on page two [below, left] but is scaled back significantly.

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The diagram on page three [above, right] catches the reader up on the Bounty’s mounting troubles.

Here are pages four and five…

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…and page six.

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The following Sunday, Nov. 3, Part Three was another ten-page section with another wraparound cover.

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Here are pages two and three.

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Note the watercolor map on page three that shows where the Bounty went down.

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As you can see, pages four and five focused on the rescue effort.

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Here are pages six and seven.

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And the final pages, eight and nine.

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Thomas tells us:

The series concludes with an illustration of Bounty as many will remember her.

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Thomas adds:

And a hat tip to our copy editors Donna Richter, Ron Brackett and Ian Vazquez. Their top-notch work saves us every day.

Find the TimesLast Voyage of the Bounty here.

Today’s baseball playoff pages

Y’know, it’s a bit of a shame that, after all the last-minute effort the Plain Dealer put into their eight-page Wild Card wrap that the Indians then tanked big-time last night in Cleveland.

Small consolation is this gorgeous front page, designed by assistant managing editor David Kordalski.

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The picture by Chuck Crow shows Carlos Santana consoling Jason Kipnis after Kipnis was told he had to pick up all the trash from the dugout.

Here’s today’s sports front, designed by Greg Darroch around a truly wonderful picture by Plain Dealer staffer Joshua Gunter.

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That is the Rays’ Evan Longoria, sliding in for a score in the fourth inning as catcher Yan Gomes stretches for the throw. A pivotal moment in the game, David says.

Wonderful work by the Plain Dealer. Suddenly, I’m sorry the Indians are out.

The two major papers in the Bay area celebrated the Rays’ 4-0 win with the same photo from Getty images.

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Hmm. Do you suppose they got some kind of package deal?

The picture is a good one — that’s Delmon Young, acquired from the Detroit Tigers in August, smacking in a home run in the third inning. But, still.

In particular, it’s interesting how the hockey season preview gets better play in the Tribune than the wild card win. Go figure.

Average daily circulation for the Tampa Bay Times is 299,497. The Tampa Tribune circulates 144,510 daily.

Circulation for the Plain Dealer is 246,571.

These front pages are all from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous blog posts about 2013 postseason baseball:

Inside the visuals for the Tampa Bay Times’ ‘America’s Worst Charities’ series

The insanely talented Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg tells us about the visual side of a fabulous series you’ve been hearing so much about.

The series, Thomas tells us, was …

… America’s Worst Charities, a recent investigative project of the Tampa Bay Times and our partners at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

A yearlong investigation by Kris Hundley (Times) and Kendall Taggart (CIR) found that there are hundreds and hundreds of charities across the country that claim to help cancer patients, dying children, disaster victims and disabled veterans but ultimately contribute next to nothing in meaningful aid.

These charities, which fool donors by adopting names similar to those of reputable charities (for example, Kids Wish Network), hire for-profit telemarketers and write checks to them instead of to the people they purport to help. Over the past decade, our 50 worst paid for-profit solicitors $970.6 million to raise $1.35 billion. Of that $1.35 billion raised, only $49.1 million was spent on direct cash aid – that’s less than 4 cents per dollar raised.

So, how did we present this in print? For the first part of the three-part series – our overview story — I started by designing a few graphics-driven covers that communicated the disparity between $1.35 billion and $49.1 million. Those drafts told the “money” part of the story, but I didn’t feel like they said “charity” well enough. So, I kept grinding and became hooked on two things: the ubiquitous charity ribbon and the idea that “almost nothing” went to those in need.

This is where I ended up:

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There, beneath the money ribbon, sit the isolated words “Almost nothing.”

Inside, we charted donations to the 50 worst charities.

Here are pages six and seven. Click on any of these pages for a much larger look.

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Thomas continues:

The circle graphics run across the middle of each page. Below the circles are sidebars on how we identified the 50 worst charities, how a charity is formed and how to make sure your money goes to a good charity.

The chart picks up on pages 10 and 11:

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Again, Thomas writes:

The second part of the series was about regulation of nonprofits and how these organizations have little to fear. Sometimes, state regulators fine these organizations, but what’s a $500 fine to an organization that raises millions? And other times, regulators have tried to shut them down, but there’s nothing stopping them from reopening elsewhere under a new name.

We further developed the money ribbon concept for Part Two…

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…and inside, a United States map shows the regulatory actions states have taken against charities and solicitors.

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In addition, Part Two had a third inside jump page:

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Thomas continues:

The third part of the series focused on one man – James T. Reynolds Sr. – and how he and his family have founded five cancer charities that pay executive salaries to relatives. The Reynolds’ family charities have raised about $250 million over the past decade, but just less than 2 percent has gone to direct cash aid for patients or their families.

We further developed the money ribbon concept once more.

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Inside, we broke down each of the five Reynolds charities, who works for which charity and Reynolds Sr.’s connection to each organization. In the story, Reynolds Sr. says, “I have nothing to do with these other organizations.” I wonder what he’d say after seeing this graphic.

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This Reynolds network graphic is just one example of the goodness made possible because Kris and our investigations editor Chris Davis were as fully invested in the presentation of the series as I was. I tried several drafts of this incestuous network but couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a better, more informative solution.

A few days before Part Three was to publish, the current version started taking shape. I sent Kris and Chris a PDF one night showing them the new direction and asked whether it would be possible to make it happen. As had been the case through the entire series, they did not hesitate to jump in, offer their ideas and make it better. They are among the best in the business.

Oh, and here’s the Part Three jump page:

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And only because I wanted to see them all side-by-side, here are the front pages for all three stories. From left to right: Sunday, June 9; Monday, June 10 and Sunday, June 16.

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Thomas concludes:

CNN joined the partnership in March and contributed this Anderson Cooper 360 segment on the Reynolds family.

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You can find each part of the three-part series here.

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Our interactive database on the 50 worst charities has been viewed more than 2 million times. You can find that here.

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Average daily circulation for the Tampa Bay Times is 299,497.

A 2004 graduate of Penn State, Thomas served a Dow Jones copy editing internship at the St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press. He spent a year-and-a-half at the Tallahassee Democrat before moving to the Times in 2006. Find his online portfolio here.

Tampa Bay Times looking for a sports designer

The wonderful Suzette Moyer, art director for the Tampa Bay Times, is looking to make a hire. A couple of them, actually, but I believe she’s doing pretty well collecting resumés for the features position there.

But the Times also needs an ace sports designer. Suzette writes:

We’re looking for someone who love sports, loves design, loves creating and brainstorming. And… they need to be able to perform on deadline.

Here are a couple of quick samples from my collection:

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Suzette continues:

We cover the Tampa Bay Rays, Bucs and Lightning as well as several major college teams, tennis, gold and even horse racing. The designer must be able to work with reporters, photographers, editors and artists. High-level graphic and typography skills are a must. We work with InDesign through the DTI system.

Hear that, CCI users? Here’s a chance at the easy life!

Suzette writes:

The Times is located in sunny St. Petersburg, FL. We’re the largest paper in the Southeast and our website is growing even faster.

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I’ve been to St. Pete many, many times. It’s a great town and there are fabulous beaches over at St. Pete Beach and Clearwater.

Famous people from St. Pete include actress Megan Fox, musician Billy Corgan, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and baseball greats Kurt Abbott and Dwight Gooden.

I might also add that the paper is the only one I can think of that’s owned by a real, live nonprofit organization: The Poynter Institute. Which, as you know, I’ve done a little work for over the past couple of years. Once, I came this close to working at the Times myself. I have friends who work there or who have worked there (Suzette, for example, or Josh Gillin or Jay Anthony), very very close friends who work there (Hi, Paul Wallen!) and even old college classmates who work there or who have worked there (Hi, Lisa Buie and Mark Wood!).

Interested yet? Suzette writes:

Candidates can send their resumes/online portfolios/anything to Suzette Moyer at…

smoyer [at] tampabay.com

… soon. We’re looking to fill this job ASAP.

Tampa Bay Times’ Jen Hiatt leaving newspapers

Jen Hiatt — for the past seven years, a designer for the Tampa Bay Times — announced last night via Facebook:

After nearly seven years in Tampa Bay, Jake Stewart and I are headed to Orlando! Jake will be teaching at [the University of Central Florida] and I will be joining the Communications and Neighborhood Relations team at City Hall.

We are both super excited about this move and I’m thankful for everyone who has made our time in Tampa Bay enjoyable. We will miss you all!!

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A 2006 graduate of Indiana University, Jen earned a master’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida in 2010. Part of her thesis included building an ecological-themed web site. She’s been teaching as an adjunct at the University of Tampa.

Find her multimedia portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

A couple of baseball Opening Day pages from St. Pete

Tom Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times sends along a couple of baseball pages this morning.

He tells us:

We set up the Tampa Bay Rays season with stylized player images and Opening Day facts and figures. There’s such enthusiasm on Opening Day, and I wanted to see whether we could bring that kind of energy to our presentation.

Click for a much larger view:

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In addition, the Times today inserted a special baseball section. Tom tells us:

The cover story is about how the Rays, despite their limited budget and roster makeovers, have maintained success over the past five years. They’ve let star players walk and traded others but yet have found the pieces to replace them and continue building a winning ballclub.

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Andy Rosenthal designed the section. Artist Steve Madden produced the cover illustration.

Average daily circulation for the Tampa Bay Times is 299,497.

A look at Saturday’s March Madness pages

Well, it’s all over for America’s favorite Cinderella team. Florida Gulf Coast University was stomped 62-50 by the University of Florida Friday.

I think many of us enjoyed the on-court antics of the cool guys from FGCU. I’m not sure who I’ll pull for now…

NEWS-PRESS

Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

After an amazing run of front pages and special coverage (see here, here and here), the News-Press of Fort Myers covered FGCU’s loss with equal aplomb.

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You probably didn’t see that today, because that was a wrap around the A section. The picture is by staffer Andrew West. The design is by Michael Babin, the Florida design team leader at Gannett’s Nashville design studio.

Here’s the front page that was posted at the Newseum today.

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The photos of local fans enjoy the game are by staffers Jack Hardman and Sarah Coward.

NAPLES DAILY NEWS

Naples, Fla.

Circulation: 45,136

The folks down the road in Naples also put a shooter in Texas this week. Instead of the amazing celebration shot the Daily News probably hoped for today, however, it led with a picture of a dejected FGCU team trudging back to its locker room.

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The picture is by staffer Scott McIntyre.

HERALD-TRIBUNE

Sarasota, Fla.

Circulation: 63,864

Sarasota went with an Associated Press picture by Tony Gutierrez.

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TAMPA BAY TIMES

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Circulation: 299,497

St. Pete also went with wire art — this one’s from MCT.

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However, the folks at the Times may have come up with the best Florida Gulf Coast headline of the day.

GAINESVILLE SUN

Gainesville, Fla.

Circulation: 29,583

Meanwhile — inland, just a bit — the scrappy Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast got no sympathy at all in the home town of the Florida Gators.

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That picture is by Sun staffer Matt Stamey.

DETROIT FREE PRESS

Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

While that Florida Gulf Coast loss was heartbreaking, it wasn’t exactly close. The Michigan win over Kansas? Now, that was close.

The magic moment was an impossible three-point shot at the end of regulation time that sent the game into overtime.

Neither of the Detroit papers did much with the game on page one — it was shoved into the skybox — but here’s today’s Free Press sports front, designed by Ryan Ford.

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The lead picture is by staffer Julian H. Gonzalez.

JOURNAL-WORLD

Lawrence, Kan.

Circulation: 27,719

The folks from Kansas, however, were completely stunned. As you might expect.

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That photo is by Journal-World staffer Mike Yoder.

KANSAS CITY STAR

Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

The Kansas City Star, too, focused on Jayhawk shock.

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That picture was made by staffer Shane Keyser.

COURIER-JOURNAL

Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

Notice how most papers tend to lead with reaction shots, pictures of teams walking off the court and so on. The intent is to focus on emotion and on personalities. Which are good things to do.

Sometimes, however, I miss a good action shot on page one. Because that’s what the game is all about, right? The actual game?

Case in point: Check out this great action picture by the Courier-Journal’s Michael Clevenger.

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Great stuff.

HERALD-SUN

Durham, N.C.

Circulation: 21,367

Here’s another one:

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That picture is by Herald-Sun staffer Bernard Thomas.

LANSING STATE JOURNAL

Lansing, Mich.

Circulation: 41,330

I applaud the Lansing paper for opting to put game action — as opposed to reaction — on page one….

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…but I have to question the choice of that particular picture. Generally, it’s best to use an action picture in which we can see someone’s face. Please refer to the two previous examples.

The photo is by staffer Rod Sandford.

MACOMB DAILY

Macomb, Mich.

Circulation: 54,419

Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before: A page-one ad… embedded into the lead package.

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Wow. How unusual.

I sure hope that trend doesn’t spread.

INDIANAPOLIS STAR

Indianapolis, Ind.

Circulation: 164,640

And in Indianapolis, the Star opted to focus on referees.

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The picture of a zebra stretching before a game is by staffer Matt Detrich.

POST-STANDARD

Syracuse, N.Y.

Circulation: 78,616

I couldn’t find enough motivation to post the various skybox treatments for March Madness thsi time around. I’ve not seen many that really excited me.

This one, however, struck me as particularly attractive.

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NEW YORK POST

New York, N.Y.

Circulation: 555,327

And, in a similar vein, the New York Post suddenly discovered today that Syracuse is located in their state.

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Now, that’s enough about today’s pages. Let’s end this post back where we started — with the…

NEWS-PRESS

Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

The aforementioned Michael Babin of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville was kind enough to send me today’s wrap front — I led today’s post with it — as well as the 16-page special section the News-Press published Friday.

He went sideways with staffer Kinfay Moroti‘s gorgeous shot of practice in the venue.

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In order to save you from straining your neck, here’s that same page oriented so you can read it. Click it — or any of these special section pages — for an extra-large view.

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Michael tells us he and staffer Melissa Koenigsberg designed the section.

Page two features a fun illustration by Doug McGregor.

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Page three holds a great graphic by staffers Scott Sleeper, Craig Handel and Michael Donlan on the Dallas Cowboys Stadium where Friday’s game was played.

Again, here’s another look at the same page.

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The graphic focuses mainly on scale. Cowboys’ stadium is so much bigger than anything Florida Gulf Coast has ever been associated with before.

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That’s FGCU’s entire basketball area. Tucked neatly onto the playing surface at Cowboys Stadium.

Pages four and five served as a detailed breakdown of the upcoming game with Florida.

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Pages six and seven zero contain a selection of sidebar-like material…

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…including a large takeout on the school’s assistant coaches.

Here is the center spread on pages eight and nine. Eight serves as a rundown on the players of both teams.

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Nine is a closer look at Florida.

Ten looks at other times Florida and Florida Gulf Coast have met in competition. The lead art shows a big women’s softball win over Florida last year.

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The half-page on 12 is a bit of wishful thinking: It’s a look at Michigan, who the folks in Fort Myers (correctly) thought would beat Kansas and might serve as FGCU’s next opponent.

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Full-page ads occupy 13, 14 and 15.

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And the back page gives a little perspective on the school. The file art shows the day before the school’s first basketball game in 2002.

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With the exception of the Fort Myers material and the Detroit sports front, all of these front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

A familiar name in a brand-new role

Who is that familiar name appearing on items posted in the Poynter Institute’s MediaWire blog this week?

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Why, yes: That’s visual journalist Joshua Gillin — who, for the past six years, has served as a columnist, designer, and web editor for TBT, the youth-oriented tabloid of the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg, Fla.

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Josh tells us:

I already write an entertainment news blog for the Times and tbt*, so I’ll be helping out on MediaWire during the search for Julie Moos‘ replacement. It’s already been great working with Mallory Tenore and Andrew Beaujohn, who really know their stuff, so it’s been a pretty smooth transition. I should be posting a couple of times a day for at least the next few weeks.

Poynter’s MediaWire really ought to be a daily read for you. Find the blog here.

Find a quick directory of just Josh’s items here.

A 1998 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Josh spent a year as a copy editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and three-and-a-half years as a news planner and designer for the Savannah Morning News before moving to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002. He designed page one, served as editor of the Inky’s Weekend magazine and was presentation editor of sports. He moved to TBT in 2006.

Find his personal blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Full disclosure: I did some fill-in work myself for the Poynter MediaWire team, a year-and-a-half ago after Jim Romenesko left. For a (very brief) while, in fact, I was on a list of possible full-time blogging candidates there.

The coolest thing I’ve seen lately: A 16-page snake

While I’m on my cross-country trek this week, a number of visual journalists around the country are lending a hand by telling us what is the coolest thing they’ve seen lately.

Today, Paul Wallen — art director of Bay magazine, a publication of the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fla. — shares a snake. That ran across 16 pages of a recent issue.

Paul tells us:

During a planning meeting for a Floridian cover story about pythons in the Everglades, I started wondering exactly how long a Burmese python is and how it would compare to the length of our section if all the pages were laid end to end. Turns out the longest recorded length for a python found in Florida is 17 feet, 7 inches — pretty darn close to the length of our section!

So senior artist Don Morris did a playful illustration of a winding python, drawn to actual length.

We started the tail on the cover…

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…and showed pieces of the python winding in and out below the folios on every page…

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…with an occasional running measurement…

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…concluding with the head that helped illustrate the essay on the back page.

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Don also did the python infographics, Mellisa Lyttle took the python photos and Michael Kruse wrote the python story.

Find the story online here.

Floridian was converted from a weekly Sunday section to a monthly magazine-style tabloid in November, with a redesign by Suzette Moyer.

The section is edited by Bill Duryea.

Click on any of those pages for a much larger view, by the way.

Earlier in our series of “the coolest thing I’ve seen lately”…

The only headline of note today was, in fact, an accident

I had such high hopes for today’s front pages. I wanted to see creative headlines. Perhaps have a little fun with the way Mitt Romney came out and ran all over President Barack Obama during last night’s debate. Maybe even work in a Big Bird reference.

Instead, for the most part, we got a collection of obvious headlines that could have been written earlier in the day. Or earlier in the week.

The only headline I saw today that really excited me was an accidental juxtaposition — I think — on the front of tbt, the youth-oriented tabloid published by the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The debate was pushed into a skybox promo…

…while the lead story is about the hot new expression, “Really?” With a wonderful photo to perfectly illustrate that phrase.

But, in fact, those two headlines work very, very well together. Check it out:

And that’s the way I felt about nearly all of today’s headlines.

I dunno, folks. Should I invest the time into picking them apart for you? Or just let it go? Let me know what you think.

That front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

What did your paper do for the 11th anniversary of 9/11?

Last year, nearly everyone went all-out on 9/11 anniversary covers. It was, after all, the 10th anniversary of this enormous — and tragic — landmark day in American history.

But this year is the 11th anniversary. How did papers play the anniversary this year?

________________________

NEW YORK CITY NEWSPAPERS

As you might expect, a number of the New York City papers ran full-page pictures. Newsday (circulation 397,973) used a picture of the nighttime light tribute to the original twin towers.

As did Newsday’s sister publication, AM New York (free distribution 345,053).

The Daily News (circulation 579,636) went with a picture of the new tower that’s rising on the site.

And the New York edition of Metro focused on how 9/11 is being taught in schools, to children who aren’t really old enough to remember much about that day.

But check this out: Today’s New York Times:

Did you see 9/11 on page one today? Perhaps you should scroll back up and look again. Or perhaps you shouldn’t bother — because you won’t find it. It’s not there. At least, it’s not on page one today.

Margaret Sullivan — the Times‘ brand-new public editor who just moved over from several years as editor of the Buffalo Newswrites in her blog today of the problem posed by this year’s anniversary:

There is an important sense of duty about [putting anniversary stories out on A1], said Wendell Jamieson, the deputy metropolitan editor, but also an effort to bring something new to the readership.

“You look for an angle that has news value,” he said, “and you ask can we mark this day in a creative, exciting and journalistically meaningful way.”

The Times did have an A1 story this past Sunday regarding 9/11, Margaret points out. The angle was the political infighting that still holds up progress on a memorial Ground Zero museum.

But that’s her point. That story had a news angle that merited page-one play. Today, the news angle — other than the fact that, yes, today is the anniversary — is much weaker. Hence, no front-page play. Margaret writes:

This year, editors say, coverage will be modest. A story today describes what is happening around the city. Wednesday’s paper will offer coverage of the reading of the names, an event at which emotional photos are very likely. One of those could easily earn its way to the front page, as editors evaluate the images of the day.

(And, I might add: The anniversary was also not on the front of today’s Los Angeles Times. Nor the Wall Street Journal. The only mention on the front of today’s Washington Post was a small promo at the extreme lower left of the page. So it’s not like the Times was way out in left field today.)

So is this the way it should be? Or did the Times do a disservice to the memory of 9/11 victims by not giving prominent visual play to the anniversary out front today?

At what point does 9/11 cease to merit poster play treatment on page one around the rest of the country? At what point does 9/11 get pushed inside?

That was the topic of a Poynter Institute live chat this afternoon. Margaret and I were the guests. Find a transcript of the chat here.

What follows is just a sampling of papers from around the country…

_____________________________

HUGE PLAY ON TODAY’S FRONT PAGE

I must admit, I was surprised myself that so many papers out there gave the anniversary huge play on page one today. Especially after the massive treatments we saw last year before, during and after the 10th anniversary.

Was this a sense that yes, 9/11 is still fresh in the minds of most readers? Was this some idea that we had to “top” last year’s coverage? Or was this simple inertia?

Or is 9/11 still indeed worthy of near-poster-front treatment?

As we said in the chat today: There is no clear answer to that. Newspaper editing is still very much an art, as opposed to a science. That was apparent today. Boy, was it.

Page one of the San Jose Mercury News (circulation approximately 225,175) was typical for some papers today: A huge picture of the new tower and a story wide enough in scope to actually lead with the raid on Osama bin Laden‘s hideout last year.

At first glance, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch front seems similar: Another picture of the new World Trade Center building.

However, this was a wire project: The picture is from the Associated Press, as is the story — one that got wide play today, about the interjection of politics in annual 9/11 observances.

Average daily circulation for the Post-Dispatch is 187,992.

The Star-Ledger of Newark — obviously much closer to New York City — used a huge amount of real estate today on a picture and story that emphasized the memorial around the site of the original towers.

Average daily circulation for the Star-Ledger is 278,940.

This four-column by length-of-the-page treatment by the Los Angeles Daily News — which also ran in all the Daily News‘ sister papers on the west coast — is just the sort of keepsake-like, near-poster-like treatment I didn’t expect to see this year.

That doesn’t mean it’s bad. That doesn’t mean the Daily News was wrong with its approach. It just means it’s different from what I thought we’d see today. My impression was that we all put so much emphasis on 9/11 last year — and put so many resources into presentations — that it wouldn’t be quite as big a deal on page one this year.

And again, that was the case for many papers. But not for these.

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

The folks at the Gannett Design Studio in Asbury Park cooked up an illustration that draws a parallel between the Twin Towers and the number “11.”

Average daily circulation for the Asbury Park Press is 98,032.

In Appleton, Wis. — a long, long way from New York — the Post-Crescent also played with numbers, ran its main story in two columns — to evoke the image of the Twin Towers — and reversed the entire thing out of black.

Circulation for the Appleton paper: 38,244.

Here’s another poster-like treatment from a small paper — in this case, the Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho, circulation 18,244.

A white background for this one. But still, the story in two tall columns of grey. Also, note: The paper pulled its orange branding color out of its nameplate today.

And while lots of papers ran that AP story about politicans who make appearances at 9/11 memorial events, the Advertiser of Montgomey, Ala. — circulation 32,847 — actually made those very politicians the visual focus of page one today.

Which gave the story a little more immediacy, from a news point of view. This is more a news analysis story and less of a generic-feeling anniversary story. Or, at least, that’s the impression the reader gets from this visual.

That’s good… if you want a news analysis of the 9/11 anniversary. It’s bad, I suppose, if you want poster treatment that would address your emotional needs.

____________________________________

USE OF BREAKING NEWS IMAGERY FROM 9/11

It’s not that I’m unsympathetic to these huge 9/11 displays today. Hey, I was an editor that day. I worked hard, as did my staff, under very trying conditions. And whenever I stop and think about that day, I feel a tightness in my chest. I can get very emotional about 9/11.

Nothing pushes my buttons like actual pictures from that day, of towers smoldering. That’s why I can’t tell you I’m unprepared to see the lead art that appeared on the next three pages. It’s probably more accurate to admit I’m not sure I’ll ever be prepared to see these pictures.

I’ll give the folks at the Morning Telegraph of Tyler, Texas — circulation 26,155 — this much: “Old scars” was the perfect headline to run with that picture.

But that page also sums up some of my reservations about giving 9/11 such huge play on page one today. Sure, that’s a lot of real estate. But then look at the skybox promos: There’s a local politics story, a administrative-like angle on the big college football team and a golf story that didn’t even get a headline.

If the anniversary was big enough to merit that much space on the front, would it also not have merited dumping those skyboxes? Won’t “Old scars” sell more papers today than, say, “Aggies discuss SEC move”? If not, then why give “Old scars” so much play?

This presentation by the Gazette of Gastonia, N.C. — which I’ve featured here in the blog several times over the past month or so — was built around a moody shot of the New York City skyline, featuring the Twin Towers. Thankfully, still intact. So the effect — on me, at least — is less gut-wrenching and more melancholy.

From a pure design standpoint, that page suffers from competing lead art. If you’re going to play 9/11 that large, then the centerpiece art — in this case, file art of a bike race — needs to be played down quite a bit more. In addition, the nameplate would have popped more had it been left white.

Despite these flaws, Gastonia came up with a very moody result. One of my favorites of the day, in fact. Average daily circulation for the Gazette is 24,354.

The Tennessean led today with a great story about some of the same issues we’re talking about here today in the blog: How do we — or how should we, as a society or as a nation — remember 9/11 as time goes on?

Lead art was another gut-wrenching shot from 11 years ago. With a photo from Pearl Harbor morticed into it.

Average daily circulation of the Nashville Tennessean is 118,589.

____________________________________

A COLLECTION OF NICE SKYBOX TREATMENTS

We just saw Gastonia, which put a large photo atop page one but then refered from that to its 9/11 anniversary story inside.

Perhaps that’s closer to what I might have expected today. Or pushed for, had I been in a newsroom last night.

This skybox from the Tribune Eagle of Cheyenne, Wyo — circulation 14,267 — was very simple and very effective.

Granted, that same skybox could have played atop A1 on Memorial Day or Veterans’ Day or the Fourth of July. But I thought this worked pretty well today.

Slightly less effective — because it’s difficult to see the “9-11” against the grass — but nice because it was local was this above-the-nameplate treatment in today’s Herald-Leader of Lexington, Ky.

Average daily circulation for the Herald-Leader: 92,626.

The Daily Journal of Vineland, N.J., went with an illustration depicting the pre-9/11 skyline of New York…

…while the 10,802-circulation Lufkin (Texas) News went with a recent nightime shot of the city…

…and the 19,900-circulation Press-Tribune of Nampa, Idaho, went with a daytime shot.

My favorite skybox treatment of the day, however, was this lovely one atop today’s News & Record of Greensboro, N.C., showing a flower placed at the Ground Zero memorial and fountains in New York City.

Average daily circulation for the News & Record is 57,274.

Here’s what all those front pages look like in their entirety. Click on any of them for a larger view.

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PAPERS THAT FOUND A LOCAL ANGLE

The best way to play any anniversary — whether a tragic one like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor or a fun one like a big sports event or the first man on the moon — is by finding a terrific local angle. And then playing that angle for all you can on page one.

We’ve seen a few of these already. But a modest example today might be this stand-along picture of a forest of flags that make up a local 9/11 memorial.

The picture is by staffer Steve Griffin of the Salt Lake Tribune. Average daily circulation for the Tribune is 110,546.

Similarly, the folks at tbt* — the youth-oriented tabloid published by the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg, Fla — played up an interview with a local man who was on the 68th floor of one of the towers that day.

The Tampa Bay Times itself also started this story out front today, but the big visual pop today was a photo of the new WTC tower. Not nearly as effective, I think.

Similarly, the Observer of Fayetteville, N.C. — circulation 49,163 — found three people who explained how 9/11 changed their lives forever: A mother, a soldier and a young woman.

Find the story here by staffer Michael Futch.

Earlier this week, I read a story in the Stamford (Conn.) Advocate that left me completely stunned. It was another of those gut-wrenching, tightness-in-the-chest moments I mentioned earlier when something mashes that emotional button inside me marked 9/11.

The story is about a family that — ten years after the fact — discovered that the husband/dad did not die instantly when a plane rammed into the World Trade Center. In fact, he survived. And sought a way out of the tower with 11 others.

This note — in the man’s handwriting — was found after the disaster. The spot at upper left tests positive for the man’s blood.

Wow.

The Hartford Courant picked up that story for its front-page centerpiece today. A smart call, I’d say.

Average daily circulation for the Hartford Courant is 132,006.

And finally: This front page from the Courier News of Somerville, N.J.

In addition to a fabulous picture by staffer Augusto F. Menezes of a beautiful 9/11 memorial in Jersey City, this page features something very interesting. Perhaps you’ve seen this suggestion before, but I haven’t:

The idea proposed by the architect of that monument and reported today by staffer Larry Higgs: Sept. 11 is a day we honor the victims of the attacks. But how about making Sept. 10 a day we honor the lives of those victims? As opposed to the deaths of those victims.

An interesting notion. And one that gives us a great stopping point today.

________________________________

SO, WAS THE NEW YORK TIMES CORRECT

TODAY IN PLAYING THE STORY INSIDE?

Yes and no. I think the Times might have put something outside today. A refer, at the very least. Perhaps.

But the Times is not a paper that places stories on A1 just because readers expect to find them there. Stories must earn their way on page one.

Today, that didn’t happen. And you gotta love ’em for staying true to what the Times is.

At the very least, though, what we put on page one — and why and how we play it — are things that should never become automatic functions. We should discuss them and pitch our ideas and make our arguments. And construct those arguments around what our readers need to see. tomorrow.

And we should do that every day. Because that’s the way the best decisions will get made. In the long run, at least.

You can’t have too much discussion.

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

For more reading:

And previously, here in the blog:

Who needs to hire a model? Grab the guy at the desk next to you.

Here’s an arresting image for you: The cover of the Weekend front of today’s Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The topic: Fanatical football fans.

The New Orleans-style beads are a particularly nice touch, I think.

The designer of that page was Samantha Puckett — an no, she’s not the actress who co-stars on the Disney Channel TV show iCarly. That’s another Sam Puckett.

Samantha tells us the story behind this page:

The Tampa Bay area was exhausted after the Republican National Convention, and so were we. Beyond that, we were in the final weeks of the summer doldrums here, where it’s too hot to do anything. So a week out from publication, we didn’t know what our weekly entertainment section cover story would be.

One of our tbt* editors and frequent Weekend contributors, Jay Cridlin, had gone to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason game in search of a story on “The Bucs Fan Experience.” Between the RNC madness and the Labor Day weekend, he wouldn’t have the story in until Tuesday, our deadline day. We decided to go with it.

I needed a cover concept that was generic enough to work with whatever story Jay produced but that was still visually interesting, and that hadn’t already been used by our sports section. We batted around some illustration ideas — an amusement park-style map of the stadium, for example — that were appealing, but couldn’t be done well with the limited information and time we had. Photographer Cherie Diez was available for two hours on Friday, so we decided to create a close-up studio shot of a Bucs fan.

Not knowing what the story was actually going to say, [art director] Suzette [Moyer] suggested we take several photos of this person expressing different emotions — in effect, illustrating the Bucs Fan Experience. We didn’t end up using those with the story, but we had a lot of fun taking them. We did get our cover shot, though, which lent itself to some fun typography.

 

Jay’s story ended up focusing on what the Bucs organization is doing this year to try to fill the seats, along with a sidebar of five suggestions for improving the fan experience at Raymond James Stadium. Entertainment editor Kelly Smith and copy chief Dawn Cate came up with the words to tie the cover photo together with the story.

What especially caught my eye about the front cover, however, was the model. Samantha tells us:

Our victim — er, model — was Paul Wallen, the talented designer who joined us this summer from the Huntsville Times.

 

He was a great sport. I owe him a beer.

Funny thing is: Paul has done this sort of thing before. Last Halloween in Huntsville, Paul allowed his ace designer Bethany Bickleywho’s now at the Virginian-Pilot — to dress him as a spork.

Naturally, this brings up a question for Paul. Which he was kind enough to answerl:

Q. Did you go to the Tampa Bay Times to be a model? Or to design pages? Just curious.

A. I’m doing some page design on the side here, but of course, my primary focus is on modeling. And this shoot has already generated some interest from magazines like Clown Hair Weekly and Rounder Faces.

Paul joined the Tampa Bay Times just a few weeks ago to design the Times‘ Bay and Latitudes sections. Find his online portfolio here, his NewsPageDesign portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

No word yet on when he’ll have his modeling portfolio posted.

A look at the Tampa Bay Times’ RNC pages

Jennifer Wright of the Tampa Bay Times was kind enough to pull together a big bunch of high-resolution PDFs of a few pages from her paper’s GOP convention coverage from this week

She also sent along some commentary from assistant managing editor Ron Brackett.

Ron writes…

Plans had been under way for more than a year for a partnership with Politico to produce a live, daily section of coverage from the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. The convention was held in the Tampa Bay Times Forum [the big arena in Tampa that famously bore the St. Petersburg Times name. Obviously, it was re-named along with the paper last year], so we had to present ourselves especially well in the building with our name on it.

We produced two versions of the section each day: a convention-edition that would have full-page ads sold by Politico and full color on every page, and a home-edition in which the full-page ads dropped out and we lost some color. The convention section was to wrap around the complete paper. About 30,000 copies of the convention-edition were delivered to the Tampa Convention Center and all of the hotels where delegates and guests were staying. Both sections closed at midnight.

Sunday’s debut convention special section front, featuring an illustration by freelancer John M. Fletcher:

Yet, Ron writes…

Isaac, changed our plans for the Sunday, Aug. 26, edition. Given that the storm news was greatly affecting the RNC, along with having one of America’s heroes, Neil Armstrong, die that Saturday, we made the call to bring 1A out as the first section of the paper and tuck the RNC section inside.

Therefore, this was actually Sunday’s front page. Note the blurb at the upper left. Also note, the Politico label stayed atop the page.

Ron tells us:

The rest of the week, the convention section did wrap the paper.

Designer Candice Bosworth and Paul Alexander, our deputy design director, worked together on the new 1A. Candice designed 1A each night of the week after that, working with A section news editor Donna Richter.

And Paul completed the front of the RNC section.

Page two of the RNC section featured a big story on PolitiFact.

Page three looked at local Republican heroes.

But the huge hit in Sunday’s section was, Ron tells us…

…a doubletruck 3D guide to the Tampa Bay Times Forum by senior artist Steve Madden.

Click for a much, much larger view.

As you know, most events were canceled Monday because of the proximity of the hurricane. Here was Monday’s front which, as Ron said, wrapped around the paper.

The huge picture of entertainment at Tropicana Field was by Times staffer James Borchuck.

This was Tuesdays’ front page, which led with a protest picture by staffer Dirk Shadd.

And Wednesday’s front contained a huge photo of the Romneys after Ann‘s speech the night before.

The photo was by Daniel Wallace.

Ron tells us:

Paul Alexander continued to design each of the RNC covers for the rest of the week.

The inside pages were designed by designers Jennifer Wright and Tom Bassinger, Chris “Koz” Kozlowski, director of design and multimedia, and Suzette Moyer, our art director.

Patty Yablonski was our picture editor for the week. Sports news editor Anthony Perez, who has had experience with major events like Super Bowls, worked with us all week to set page and copy flow deadlines and keep the train moving on time. And every other designer and copy editor at the paper pitched in, either with early deadlines on their sections or hands-on work with the RNC copy.

And, of course, Ron himself oversaw the entire operation.

Here are a typical pair of facing pages. These happen to be pages four and five from Wednesday.

Note the Politifact analyses at bottom left.

This was inside page 25.

The map was by Darla Cameron and Rich Shopes.

Wednesday’s page 32 held a fun feature on the kinds of hats seen at the convention.

Even better than the Kentucky Derby. And with only a fraction of the wagering. The big photo of the Texas delegation was by staffer Daniel Wallace.

Here was Thursday’s front, featuring a photo of the Ryan family by staffer Dirk Shadd.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the Politifact page from Thursday. I’d like to have seen what they did with Paul Ryan‘s somewhat fact-challenged Wednesday-night speech.

UPDATE – 6 p.m.

Hold that thought. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

On page 28 was a fun piece on in what restaurants one could spot various GOP celebrities throughout the week.

Thursday night was the grand finalé, of course, featuring the nominee himself: Clint Eastwood Mitt Romney.

Here is Friday’s front, with yet another lead picture by Daniel Wallace.

Page five contained excerpts of speeches and other sound bytes from the night before.

Page ten addressed protestors and the somewhat laid-back approach taken by local law-enforcement officials at dealing with those protestors.

The picture of Tampa’s police chief laughing with Planned Parenthood supporters was by staffer Eve Edelheit.

Average daily circulation of the Tampa Bay Times is 299,497.

UPDATE – 6 p.m.

OK, remember my wish to see Politifact’s take on the actual campaign speeches?

Well, those didn’t run the day after. I didn’t think about it, but there was no way to do scholar-level research on deadline. So they ran two days after.

Here is the page that held the fact checking on Ryan’s speech from Wednesday night. In fact, it ran Friday. Click for a readable view.

False, half-true and mostly false. Hmm. Actually better than I expected. No “pants on fire” for Mr. Ryan.

And here is the scoring on Romney’s Thursday night acceptance speech. This appeared in today’s paper:

There’s a half-true and a true at the bottom: What you’d expect from a major-party candidate. But the lead story occupying the top half of the page? Sorry, Mitt. You’ve got a bad case of the burning britches. The smoldering slacks. The s’more-toasting sansabelts.

Great stuff. Thanks again to Jennifer Wright who spotted my blog post moments after I posted it and then — ahem — made my day by rushing me these two pages.

A big day for illustrations on page one

Today seemed to be a great day for illustrations on page one of newspapers around the nation…

CLARION-LEDGER

Jackson, Miss.

Circulation: 57,710

I loved this school-related illustration afront the Jackson, Miss., paper today by Martha Stroud of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville.

However, I was struck with a huge case of déja vu. Sure enough, back in June, the Sun of Jackson, Tenn., ran the illustration you see here on the right.

 

The foreground has been changed. But the background remains the same.

Having said that: I love the work this artist does. See another sample of Martha’s work midway down this post.

PLAIN DEALER

Cleveland, Ohio

Circulation: 246,571

Speaking of people whose work I love: Andrea Levy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Find more samples of Andrea’s work on her web site. Find her Twitter feed here.

Find the Plain Dealer‘s Not-So-Plain-Dealer visuals blog here.

 

RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL

Reno, Nev.

Circulation: 43,095

The big story in Reno today: How the city managed to land a big fish like an Apple computer company data center.

The art to accompany such a story: A fish bait motif.

Clever, but not so far out there that folks can’t understand it immediately. The Gazette-Journal gets bonus points for nice pullout box detailing the deal.

My only beef: No credit here for the photoillustration.

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL

Providence, R.I.

Circulation: 1124,013

Speaking of photoillustration… how does one illustrate binge beer drinking without, y’know, depicting toilets and college students hugging toilets?

Sandor Bodo of the Providence newspaper found a way to do this without being disgusting.

There ya go. However it does make me weep for the beer lost down the drain.

KANSAS CITY STAR

Kansas City, Mo.

Circulation: 200,365

The Star today built page one around yet another brilliantly executed piece by master illustrator by Héctor Casanova.

See a couple more examples of Héctor’s work here. Find his Facebook fan page here and an extensive Q&A with him here.

TAMPA BAY TIMES

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Circulation: 299,497

Also along political lines was this amusing Mitt Romney illustration by David Brinley of the Tampa Bay Times.

David has also worked for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, Billboard, ESPN the magazine, Newsweek and Time. Find David’s web site here.

FLORIDA TODAY

Melbourne, Fla.

Circulation: 63,087

On the other end of the difficulty spectrum is this very simple — yet effective — graphic image of a G.O.P. elephant holding the torch of liberty. The story is about local Tea Party candidates.

TENNESSEAN

Nashville, Tenn.

Circulation: 118,589

Also heavy in simplicity is this silhouette drawing of a race horse, on the cover of today’s Nashville newspaper.

Again, my only beef: No art credit.

SPOKESMAN-REVIEW

Spokane, Wash.

Circulation: 69,161

Moving out of the realm of page-one illustrations and into page-one design, I found a lot to love in this presentation of the anniversary of the Ruby Ridge incident on the front of today’s Spokane, Wash., paper.

The pictures are all file images from either the paper’s own files or from the Associated Press. The lead element, however, is the greyed-back headline and three grafs of lead-in text.

Nicely done.

HUNTSVILLE TIMES

Huntsville, Ala.

Circulation: 44,725

And because I’ve spent so much time this summer showing off examples of good skyboxes or top-of-the-page promos, I thought I’d toss in two great ones from today. First up is this from the Times of Huntsville, Ala.

Normally, I’m not one to indent the sides of a lead package — especially if it runs the entire width of the page. But in this case, you just about had to indent. If the lead story wasn’t indented, it might give the impression that skybox is part of the lead story. Which, of course, it is not.

THE HERALD

Everett, Wash.

Circulation: 46,481

Secondly, here is a gorgeous sunset picture atop today’s Herald of Everett, Wash.

I also like the lead package, with the three vertically-cropped pictures that bind together and attract the eye as if they’re one picture. But that skybox photo: Wow. What a shot. It’s a shame that the Herald uses a red nameplate on Sundays. Can you imagine what this might have looked like with a blue nameplate?

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

‘Perfect’ baseball game. But a sameness to regional front pages.

Yet another perfect baseball game was thrown Wednesday. I was looking forward to posting front pages featuring creative displays and creative headlines.

No such luck. The four metros in Washington state that led A1 with baseball today ended up with front pages that looked very, very similar. Much to my disappointment.

They weren’t ugly. They just looked similar. Without taking the time to query editors at each paper, I don’t know if this is because of cutbacks in sending shooters to Mariners games or simply because of deadlines and such.

Left-to-right here are the Daily Herald of Everett, Wash. — circulation 46,481 — and the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., circulation 69,161. Both led with the same picture by Ted S. Warren of the Associated Press. The Daily Herald, at least, ran a staff-written story. The Spokesman-Review used an AP story out front.

 

The News Tribune of Tacoma also used that same Ted Warren picture out front today. The lead column by John McGrath is about watching the perfect game from a sports bar. Where, he admits, he wandered into as the game was in progress.

 

Of these four, only the Seattle Times did not use that same AP photo as lead art. Instead, it used art by staff photographer Larry Stone Mark Harrison [sorry; Larry was the reporter]. Who, yes, tripped his shutter at exactly the same moment as did Ted Warren.

The victims of the perfect game were the Tampa Bay Rays — in fact, this was the third perfect game the Rays have suffered through in the past four years.

Still, the 299,497-circulation Tampa Bay Times gave the accomplishment the front-page space it deserved with a large picture by Getty Images that refers into coverage in sports.

And the Tampa Tribune, circulation 144,510? Don’t ask.

These front pages are all from the Newseum. Of course.

This is the fourth blog post I’ve written this year featuring baseball “perfect game” pages. The others:

  • April 22: A perfect headline for a perfect baseball game
  • April 22: How the Chicago Tribune played Saturday’s White Sox perfect game
  • June 14: Another ‘perfect’ baseball game but very few perfect front pages

Huntsville Times’ Paul Wallen moving to Tampa Bay Times of St. Pete, Fla.

As it turns out, Paul Wallen of the Huntsville Times— for my money, one of the best designers working in newspapers today — will not lose his job when Advance Publications consolidates design and editing for its Alabama papers into Birmingham.

Because he won’t be in Alabama much longer anyway.

Suzette Moyer, art director of the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fla., announced tonight:

We are so excited to have Paul join the Tampa Bay Times. I met Paul about 12 years ago at an SND event in Hartford, Conn. He was working in Maine at the time. We immediately clicked and I’ve been a fan of his work ever since.

He will be a senior designer and work on Bay magazine, a glossy publication that the Times launched five years ago. He’ll also work on the Latitudes section, one of the more popular Sunday sections. Latitudes features literature, arts and travel. Paul will contribute to other sections as well and I know will be a huge asset in helping other designers raise the visual bar in St. Petersburg.

He starts July 23.

Paul started out as a journalist for the U.S. Navy in the late 1980s. He has worked as sports editor of the Marshall, Texas, News Message, graphics editor of the Evansville (Ind.) Press, design editor for a chain of suburban papers near Chicago, a designer for the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, a designer for the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader, design editor of the Baltimore Sun, managing editor for visuals for the Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal, sports designer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, design director of the Sun Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and then assistant managing editor for design and sports of the Kerrville (Texas) Daily Times. Paul took a little time off from journalism to serve as a foster parent before moving to the Huntsville Times two years ago.

A few samples of Paul’s work:

   

   

 

 

   

Find Paul’s online portfolio here, his NewsPageDesign portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Today’s very best Facebook IPO front page is also the funniest

A number of papers ran cute front pages today advancing the public stock offering by Facebook. We saw plenty of “like” thumbs-ups, thumbs-downs, Facebook app icons and pictures of founder Mark Zuckerberg. In addition, the faux Facebook wall or timeline is in danger becoming a bit of a design cliché.

Despite this, reporter Jeff Harrington and A1 designer Jennifer Dickens Wright of the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg, Fla., went there anyway today and still managed to hit it out of the park.

Here’s today’s front page…

…and here’s just the centerpiece. Click to enjoy the hilarity.

The TimesSuzette Moyer tells us:

I approached business editor Graham Brink last week about a Sunday centerpiece on the Facebook IPO. We couldn’t generate an idea in time for last Sunday so we thought we’d try for an A1 centerpiece or inside biz centerpiece for May 18.

I went to A1 designer Jennifer Wright and told her the idea and asked if she’d mock up a Q and A (something like Bloomberg Businessweek does) or something in a chart form. Jennifer came up with the Facebook idea.

Assistant managing editor Ron Brackett picks up the story:

Graham enlisted Jeff Harrington, a business reporter who usually writes about banking and employment, to work on the copy on Wednesday. Jennifer showed several of us senior editors a draft of the idea by Wednesday afternoon. (All of the senior management was heading to a retreat on Thursday, so we wanted to see something in advance.) Jeff polished the copy on Thursday, and Jennifer presented the completed front page at our 5 o’clock meeting.

In her first version, the Facebook package extended the full depth of the page. We discussed ways to tweak the design and the copy to make room for one more story on the page. Jennifer’s willingness to listen to questions and concerns and Jeff’s quick adjustments went a long way toward getting buy-in of the idea.

Also, the Facebook page, while fake, does include a lot of real facts about the IPO.

Suzette finishes:

Jennifer was able to convey the Facebook page with great typography and produce a clean, yet very surprising, front page. It was a talker around the building today.

A 1993 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Jennifer worked at the Star News of Wilmington, N.C., the Orlando Sentinel, the Herald of Rock Hill, S.C., and the State of Columbia, S.C. before joining the St. Pete Times in 1997 as a page-one designer.

Jennifer moved to the Indianapolis Star in 2006 but then returned to the Times last June.

A few samples of her work:

Find her NewsPageDesigner portfolio here.

Average daily circulation for the Tampa Bay Times is 299,497.

The front page image is from the Newseum. Of course.