Gannett/Louisville’s Josh Meo moving to Villages Daily Sun

This week, executive editor Bonita Burton made yet another outstanding visuals hire for her growing team at the Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla.

Her message:

I’m delighted to announce that Joshua Meo, an accomplished designer at the Gannet Design Studio in Louisville, is joining us as our new Associate Managing Editor.


This is another in a string of new positions we’ve created to lead our growing staff in this growing market.

In this new role, Josh will work closely with AME Bill Bootz and Managing Editor Colin Smith to direct the visual storytelling of our full portfolio of products — and those we’ve yet to invent. He’ll oversee a team of six designers and report to Managing Editor Sharon Sullivan.

Josh describes himself as someone who “lives for deadlines, planning for a big event or rebuilding for breaking news.” He has deep experience in special sections and in-depth reports, most recently as a lead designer for the Indianapolis Star, Cincinnati Enquirer and Louisville Courier-Journal.

Before joining the studio, Josh designed A1, news and business pages for the Cincinnati Enquirer for six years and was a graphic designer and copy editor at the Kansas City Star for nearly two years.

Josh is a big thinker who understands the importance of intelligent risk-taking. He’s a thoughtful, collaborative leader who will be a big boost to us on the story conception end.

Most of all, he shares our passion for community journalism, our commitment to innovation and our relentless pursuit of excellence.

(Oh, and he’s a seasoned softball pitcher who just might be talked into join the company team…)

Josh and his wife, Jennifer, are parents to an 8-year-old, a six-year-old and a 2-year-old.

Please join me in welcoming them to the Daily Sun family when they join us – hopefully by early August.

I can’t wait to see where his creativity and ambition will take us next.

There’s not much more I can add to that. A few samples of his work:






Find Josh’s portfolio here.

Recent high-profile hires by the Villages Daily Sun

Somebody, give the Villages Daily Sun a trophy for this fun front page

The Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla., ran a fun piece Sunday on the multitude of sports championships coming to Florida over the next 24 months.

A special report ran inside. Rather than start the report out front and then jump it — which is what most of us would do — the Daily Sun chose to fill Sunday’s front page with what is essentially a synopsis of the story in Alternative Story Form format, illustrated with the kinds of trophies that will be awarded in those championships.

Twenty-three of them.

Click this for a larger look:


Daily Sun editor Bonita Burton tells us:

That’s senior designer Adam Rogers with polish from Colin [Smith, the Daily Sun‘s managing editor for innovation].

It’s the result of the question “what can we do that we haven’t done before?” So that meant no stadium shots, no predictable photos of the new MLS team debuting today, no maps of Florida, etc.

As we were brainstorming concepts for showing the scope of the story, we remembered a World Cup page from the China Daily that Adam saw recently. It was an elaborate hand-drawn graphic detailing how China was “the real winner.” Something about that phrase jogged the inspiration for this approach to showing how Florida is such a big winner. And what says “winner” more than trophies?

After a brief intro by reporter Matt Cote, the visuals kick off with the Super Bowl Lombardi trophy and the national college football championship trophies.


Next up is a soccer trophy — signifying the new soccer stadium nearing completion — and the NCAA basketball championship trophy. Orlando will host March Madness games in 2017.


Next are the MLB all-star game trophy and a tennis trophy, representing a new tennis training facility that will open in 2017.


There are lots of golf tournaments held in Florida. A series of six golf trophies appear on the next row…


…which are then followed by hockey, horse racing and bowling trophies.


Finishing out that row are trophies from three different events held at the Daytona International Speedway.


The bottom row consists of a number of awards: Rodeo, the World Out Games, the National Senior Games, the World Rowing Championships…


…and, finally, a Monster Jam truck event that will be held at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Which is only an hour or so away from the Villages.

Bo tells us the page…

…was a great lead to eight pages inside – about what we typically dedicate to a special report every Sunday.

Curiosity about work from all corners of the world is a wonderful trait in a visual editor — you never know how it will influence your own idea generation. I’m very proud of the way Adam leads the charge!


A 2010 graduate of Youngstown State University in Ohio — where he worked on the student newspaper and radio station — Adam Rogers has worked at the Daily Sun for more than four years.

Find his portfolio here.

A collection of newspaper tributes to Leonard Nimoy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this weekend, then you’ve probably heard that Leonard Nimoy — the actor who played the iconic science fiction character of Mr. Spock on Star Trek — died. He was 83.

Nimoy was originally from Boston and it reportedly took him years to ditch his Bahhstahhn accent. Astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this little tribute from the International Space Station — high above Boston on Saturday.


That, of course, is the Vulcan hand salute, typically used when one wishes another to “live long and prosper.”

I spent this past week in Fargo, N.D., where I taught staffers of the Forum newspaper company. Among the topics we talked about were ways to have fun with skyboxes and when to alter the paper’s nameplate. After my week was over and I returned to my hotel Friday night, I nearly fell out of my chair when I spotted this little gem on Twitter.


Sure enough, that was the Forum’s nameplate Saturday. Outstanding.

Several papers paid homage to Nimoy Saturday or today. Most looked rather like this one, on teh front of Saturday’s Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader.


The Associated Press moved that portrait of Nimoy, shot just a few years ago before his health began to fall off. Note the secondary photo of Nimoy, shot during an appearance at Eastern Kentucky University in 1978, around the time the first Star Trek movie was being made.

Also, note the downpage interview with Walter Koening, who played Star Trek‘s Ensign Chekov,

My favorite front page of the day was this one by the Hartford Courant.


That is essentially a centerpiece promo to a story inside. But it was clearly assembled by someone who had a lot of love for Nimoy and for Star Trek.

The Staten Island Advance led Saturday’s front page with a collection of ten “pithy sayings” from Nimoy’s character.


Here’s a closer look:


The folks in Pensacola, Fla., received the benefit of some great timing: There was a comic book/scifi convention in town this weekend. Sending someone to poll the folks there about the loss of Nimoy was a no-brainer.


My friends at the Villages Daily Sun in Florida went out and asked locals about Nimoy and Spock.


It’s great if you have a science fiction crowd in town. But this proves you didn’t really need one. Nearly everyone loved Star Trek and Mr. Spock.

The two major New York City tabloids were regional twins yesterday. The Daily News used that AP portrait with a rather obvious “Beam me up” headline….


…while the New York Post wrote a similar headline but stuck with a vintage 50-year-old photo from the original TV series.


My former colleagues at the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif., pushed back whatever they had planned for Sunday’s Focus page and spent their Friday putting together this nice page on the career of Leonard Nimoy.


Jeff Goertzen and Kurt Snibbe get brownie points for pulling out a picture of Nimoy singing. Ugh!


Kurt drew this little bit down the right side of the page showing three seemingly mystical aspects — or abilities — of the Spock character.


The Los Angeles Times Saturday led page one with a fairly recent portrait of Nimoy — shot through a window, for some reason — and a very nice obit.


I didn’t quite understand the little graphic at the bottom of the package, though. Here’s that same little graphic, from the web site.


This turned out to be a little refer to a fun online listing of all of Nimoy’s onscreen appearances as Spock, created by Javier Zarracina. There’s a little icon of Spock for every episode in which he appeared.


Mouse over each to find out what episode it was and when it was broadcast.

As you continue to scroll down, you see variations in Spock’s wardrobe for the odd episode here and there — like, for instance, the dungarees and stocking cap he wore when he and Kirk visited Earth in the 1930s in the episode City on the Edge of Forever (upper right). Or his fighting stance in Amok Time (second row, second from left). Or the “evil” alternate-universe Spock from Mirror, Mirror (second row, far right).


The little figures are animated, which is guaranteed to make you smile. Especially the Amok Time figure.

As you scroll to the early 1970s, you find icons for the animated Star Trek series from that era…


…and then the Star Trek movie series, which debuted my last year in high school.


Here, you see the final original Star Trek movie in which Spock appeared, his two appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation and then his surprise appearance in the Star Trek reboot movie in 2009. Note the 18-year time gap.


I didn’t quite understand the little figure in 2012 until I read up on it: That year, Nimoy voiced a vintage Spock action figure in an episode of Big Bang Theory.

Fun, fun stuff. Go here to see it for yourself.

And then there’s this fine tribute to Nimoy by the Washington Post — which I would have never seen had it not been for my monitoring Twitter during my travel layover Saturday at O’Hare.

First, there’s this great headline atop the job of Nimoy’s obit in Saturday’s paper.


But the truly outstanding part was this fabulous illustration on the front of Saturday’s Style section.


That was created by London-based freelance illustrator Noma Bar.

Noma writes, on his web site:

I am after maximum communication with minimum elements.


Right. Well, he certainly pulled it off with this Spock piece.


Find Noma’s Twitter feed here.

The coolest Christmas Eve page of the day

Colin Smith, managing editor for innovation at the Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla., writes:

I thought I’d pass along this front page we published today in The Villages Daily Sun. It was super-enjoyable to put together, and it was the first front page I’ve done in a while — it’s definitely the most fun I’ve had.

This is our attempt to create a news-y breakdown of the recently declassified NORAD documents about Santa Claus.

Click this for a much larger look:


I augmented the NORAD information with some of the most recent theories about how Santa Claus delivers all those presents on Christmas Eve (Quantum mechanics! Ion shields! Resonance curves!)…




…and paired it with a woodcut illustration created in Illustrator based on an actual 1800s sleigh patent.


Fun facts: The patent date of June 28, 1870 is the actual date Christmas was officially recognized as a Federal holiday…



…and patent number 104, 111 and the ASCII codes for H and O respectively.

As a finishing touch, Bonita Burton, who was instrumental in planning and steering the project, really helped me massage the display copy to create the proper mood for the page.

Fun touches included the amount of caloric energy Santa requires to deliver gifts…


…and a quick look at the jolly ol’ guy himself.


Colin tells us:

Anyway, I had a ton of fun putting this page together and thought you might get a kick out of it.

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful new year!


A 2000 graduate of the University of Southern California, Colin spent six years as presentation editor of the Salt Lake Tribune before moving to the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix in 2011. He helped his pal Josh Awtry redesign two papers in two years: The Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho, in 2011 and then the Coloradoan of Fort Collins in 2012. He created much of the structure for the Arizona Republic‘s redesign back in April.

Colin moved to Florida in June. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

The three best 9/11 anniversary front pages ever

Today is what I call an “odd-year” anniversary — rather than the 5th or 10th or 20th, this is the 13th — of the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11.

A handful of papers did large front-page displays today. The best I saw was this one by the Villages Daily Sun of Florida:


That page was designed by senior designer Adam Rogers. The image is from the Newseum. Of course.

If you’d like to see more, Poynter’s Kristen Hare compiled a roundup of 9/11 anniversary pages. Find those here.

Three years ago, many of the nation’s newspapers went all-out observing the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I thought I’d observe the day by showing you two of those plus an earlier anniversary page.

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Andrea created what I called “the most stunning 9/11 image” of the day on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with this illustration for a special section cover.


Andrea told me that day:

The editors at the paper told me a while ago that I would be doing this cover. So I had been carrying it around in my head. I knew it was going to be practically impossible for one image to say enough.

Finally, I decided to just make an image that expressed how I felt and hope others could relate. I tried hard to make something that didn’t exclude others in the world, even though it is an American tragedy.

The editors had me write some words to accompany the art. The whole experience was just a terrific opportunity.

Here are those words, that also ran in the section:

I made many drawings for this, but in the end, I was left with no flags, no planes, no buildings. Just the human toll.

This image is at once a plea, a scream, an admonition. It is loss of innocence. But it is also conviction. Conviction that we will reach past this and any other tragedy.

San Jose Mercury News

This one, too, published on the tenth anniversary.

Initially, I was a bit confused by this cover: Words? What th’…

But then I downloaded the PDF and took a closer look. Boom — the next 20 minutes instantly disappeared. This page really sucked me in. But I had to actually read it to “get” it.

So please click on this and check out the readable version:


This wrapped around the Merc — in fact, it wrapped around all three of the Bay Area News Group papers that day.

Design director Tiffany Pease told me:

The story is really amazing.

Our reporter, Julia Prodis Sulek, was given access to voicemails left for Flight 93 passenger Mark Bingham as the events of 9/11 were unfolding. The cover is the transcript of those voicemails, which were provided by Bingham’s mom (the hands at the top).

The page was designed by Tiffany, deputy design director Alex Fong — whose birthday happens to be on 9/11— and picture editor Jami Smith.

The entire story is still posted on the Merc‘s web site. Find that here.


Unlike those first two pages, this one ran on the fifth anniversary of 9/11.


That won a gold award from the Society for News Design.

I wrote about this page at the time, but that blog post is long gone. Instead, let’s take a look at what Sam wrote on his portfolio web site about this page…

While trying to come up with an idea for the front page of The Virginian-Pilot on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, I sketched out four vertical lines with a diagonal line crossing through them, showing “5″ – and it dawned on me that there was something there, something important, but I didn’t know what. I remember that as I looked at the sketch, I actually heard a voice, rising up from my subconscious, screaming at me from within, “It’s the Twin Towers! And a plane!”

I was mortified. I felt that “thud” in my heart, as if all the horror of that day was happening again, for the first time.

If possible, I wanted other people to feel that way when they looked at this front page.

It continues to amaze me that Denis Finley, the editor of The V-P, and Deb Withey, then Director of Presentation, got behind this very subjective graphic image and cleared everything else off the front. They put a lot of faith in the readers to make that leap. Underneath the image, in small type are the words, “The World Trade Center | 2,749 killed.”

It was controversial, to be sure, and I’ll never know what percentage of readers saw the double image. But I hope a majority did…

I was graphics editor at the Pilot when this page ran. I had nothing at all to do with this page. But I can vouch for what Sam said: The first time I saw a proof of it, I felt the air suck out of my body — as if I had been punched in the stomach. The page just seemed so… perfect.

There was a bit of discussion on how to render the five lines. Sam tried several. In the end, it was decided the spontaneity of Sam’s original sketch worked best. So that’s what they went with.

The second thing that stunned me about this page: There’s no nameplate. Just a tiny folio line across the top. This was the first time I had ever seen anyone do this.

What a page by Sam. What boldness by Denis and Deb.

What a result.


The ninth anniversary…

The tenth anniversary…

The eleventh anniversary…


  • Go here to see the Newseum‘s collection of pages from the day after 9/11
  • Go here to see the Newseum‘s collection of tenth anniversary pages from Sept. 11, 2011.

For your consideration…

One hundred years ago today, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This was the official start to what would become known as the Great War and, later still, World War I.

The Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla., commemorated this with a gorgeous poster display on page one today:


Editor Bonita Burton gave credit today to designer Adam Rogers.

So why did Austria-Hungary declare war on Serbia?

The previous month, the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne had been assassinated by Serbian nationalists in Sarajevo. That assassination had turned into a bit of an Inspector Clouseau operation itself: A bomb failed to do the job. The Archduke and his wife went on to make their daily appointments. A gun attack later that day also failed.

At some point, however, the Archduke’s driver made a wrong turn and doubled back, giving one lone assassin — a 19-year-old kid — yet another opportunity. Which he took.

In return for the assassination, Austria-Hungaria made a series of ultimatums. Serbia failed to honor those ultimatiums — in fact, no one was really surprised when they didn’t.

As a result, thanks to a dizzying array of treaties throughout Europe, a series of dominoes began to fall…

  • JULY 28 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Russia immediately begins mobilizing
    for war.
  • AUG. 1 Germany declares war on Russia …
  • AUG. 3 …and Russia’s ally, France.
  • AUG. 4 Germany starts toward Paris via the quickest route: Attacking Belgium.
  • AUG. 4 England honors a 75-year-old treaty with Belgium by declaring war on Germany. England’s entry into the war, in theory, pulls in its colonies and dominions: Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa.
  • AUG. 19 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declares the U.S. to be neutral.
  • AUG. 23 Japan honors a treaty with England and declares war on Germany.
  • AUG. 25 Austria-Hungary retaliates by declaring war on Japan.

Eventually, 40 countries were dragged into the conflict — including the United States, somewhat reluctantly — in 1917.

That list was part of a Focus page I built last month to run on the anniversary of the assassination:


Perhaps the very best take I’ve ever seen on this topic, however, was by the Onion. Check out the decks on their faux page:


That pretty much sums it all up.

Average daily circulation of the Villages Daily Sun is 44,624.

That Daily Sun page is from the Newseum. Of course.

An interesting, no-headline treatment today for a page-one Maya Angelou story

My favorite Maya Angelou front page today was from central Florida — the Villages Daily Sun used a series of pictures of the famed poet who passed away this week.

But only a series of pictures.


No headlines. No story. Hardly any text, other than that outstanding quote and very simple timeline-like descriptions beneath the five sequential portraits.



There is a little refer, just under the quote, directing readers to a story inside:


A bold choice by Bonita Burton and her folks at the Villages Daily Sun.

Bo tells us:

That was a Bill Bootz special — I’m sure he could elaborate. My only direction was “make it poetic,” which he certainly did.

Bill, the Sun‘s AME for design, explains:

It started with an image that was quintessential Maya, the Maya we remember: the stoic yet inspired look, the head wrap … the photo was beautiful.

Then we talked about the display type. We were looking for something, well, poetic. But also something reflective, reverent, respectful. Less is more.

The timeline was pretty easy to execute, just finding the right photos took some time. It was longer but was edited down to succinct yet informative.

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

Gannett’s Colin Smith moving to Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun

Bonita Burton of the Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla., announced yet another huge hire Tuesday:

I’m elated to announce that media revolutionary Colin Smith will be joining The Daily Sun as Managing Editor for Innovation.


In this new role, Colin will work closely with Managing Editor Curt Hills and me on in-depth projects, content reinvention, special sections, redesigns and the launch of new initiatives.

Colin brings tremendous vision and intelligence to our newsroom — one of the few that is still growing. Colin is know for transforming both products and people, and his leadership is going to rocket-fuel our enlarging ambition.

For the past two years, Colin has overseen the news design of The Arizona Republic and four newspapers produced at Gannett’s Phoenix Design Studio. Last month, he created the structure for the Republic’s smart redesign.

Previously, he was Design Director at The Salt Lake Tribune and produced writing, editing, design and marketing work from California to Illinois. Along the way, he’s become a well-known champion of journalistic excellence, especially in his work with the Society for News Design.

He’s the most recent coordinator of SND’s international competition (he has multiple SND awards of his own), and serves as a trustee for SND’s charitable Foundation.

Colin is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where he majored in urban planning and minored in architecture.

What really distinguishes Colin beyond his resume though, is his relentless optimism for the future. He thinks quickly, acts swiftly and makes everyone feel better about themselves just by entering the room. Please make him feel welcome when he joins us in early June.

Meanwhile, we’re making some a few other changes in our leadership structure to support our growth strategy:

  • AME Thomas Marcetti will take the point on our evolving Features and niche product design, while…
  • AME Bill Bootz will zero in on News and Sports design.
  • Our colleagues from marketing will become more involved in coordinating our internal recognition events, while…
  • Managing Editor Matt Fry will assume responsibility for outside recruiting in addition to his oversight of newsroom production.

There are only a few nuggets I can add to all that…

A few samples of Colin’s work:





Find Colin’s portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Recent high-profile hires by the Villages Daily Sun

Orlando Sentinel’s Tom Burton moving to the Villages Daily Sun

Bonita Burton — executive editor of the Villages Daily Sun and a VP in Villages Media Management — sent this memo to her staff Wednesday:

I’m delighted to announce that master storyteller Tom Burton will be joining us as Associate Editor on March 10.


Tom and I worked together in Orlando for 8 years, where he consistently defined the gold standard for media leaders of the 21st century.

His values are equal parts mad scientist (wildly creative and experimental), human cannonball (ambitious and relentlessly optimistic) and bear tamer (fearless and incredibly agile).

And he possesses a long history of directing journalistic excellence and change management with ethics and integrity.

Most recently, Tom has overseen the Orlando Sentinel’s photo/video group — directing coverage of major news events such as Super Bowls, the Casey Anthony trial and end of the shuttle program. He’s no stranger to television partnerships and has pioneered the use of interactive panoramas in the popular Florida360 blog.

Previously, Tom traveled the globe as a writer and photojournalist covering the Aristide coupe in Haiti, leftist rebels in Columbia, medical missions in Venezuela and Armenia, the end of the Bosnian war in Croatia, the Noriega regime in Panama, and earthquake aftermaths in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Tom is a native Floridian and graduate of the University of Florida. He’s served on the advisory council for 13 years, mentoring both educators and students in inventing the career paths of the future.

He and his wife, Susan, a program coordinator at Full Sail University, are parents to three grown children. They’re a family of cinema and soccer fans, and just super nice people.

You’ll find that Tom is deeply invested in his staff’s development at the individual level. Just about everything he touches turns to gold, especially the people under his direction. I can’t wait to see how his leadership will rocket fuel the wonderful momentum we’ve built in our newsroom.

Please join me in welcoming Tom to our team!

Find Tom’s Blog here and his Twitter feed here.

What are “the Villages”? When Bo moved there a little more than a year ago, she described it to us this way:

The Villages, located about an hour north of Orlando, is the fastest growing small town in America (Forbes, 1/23/12). The Villages Daily Sun is the fastest growing print circulation newspaper in America — its peak print circulation topped 55,000 this year [2012], and they expect it to exceed 80,000 within five years.

Last summer, she hired Bill Bootz away from the Oklahoman to be deputy managing editor for design.

Oklahoman’s Bill Bootz named AME of Florida’s Villages Daily Sun

Bill Bootz, lead sports designer for the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, has been named assistant managing editor for design at the Villages Daily Sun in Florida.


Bill tells us:

I am just humbled by this whole deal. Getting a chance to work under Bonita Burton is a career high for me, and I can’t wait to get to work with Thomas Marcetti, the ME for design and graphics. Publisher Phil Markward, as well as Bo, Thomas and all the good folks at The Villages Daily Sun, really made this deal. My visits with them were easy like Sunday morning, they made me feel at ease from the moment I first arrived. And to work for a growth company in this era of newspapers (current circulation 60K) is hard to turn down.

It’s an honor, and I am excited to put my experience in design and teaching to work for them.

It’s always hard to pull up roots, and to leave a place I have been at for so long. But this deal is a chance not only to elevate myself, but my wife also. She’s a wound care nurse, and opportunities for her in The Villages have already come easy for her. And my kids get to go to an elite charter school system in The Villages, so they are elevated, also.

I’m really, really looking forward to this!

Bill’s last day at the Oklahoman will be July 26. He hopes to start in Florida on Aug. 5.

A 1998 graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, Bill spent three years as a sports copy editor for the Oklahoman and then three more years as sports news editor. He was promoted to presentation editor in 2003.

In 2007, he became assistant managing editor for presentation of the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, but family matters brought him back to Oklahoma City the next year.

A few samples of his work:


1305BillBootzSample01.jpg 1305BillBootzSample02.jpg

1305BillBootzSample03 1305BillBootzSample04.jpg

1305BillBootzThunderGraphic01 1305BillBootzThunderGraphic02 1305BillBootzThunderGraphic03 1305BillBootzThunderGraphic04

1305BillBootzSample05.jpg  1305BillBootzSample06.jpg 1305BillBootzSample07.jpg


1305BillBootzSample09 1305BillBootzSample10.jpg

Find Bill’s portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

I wrote about him most recently here.

The best ‘peeps’ page I’ve seen all week…

…is this one, from the Villages Daily Sun, not far from Orlando, Fla.


Along the bottom of that package are results of a local (and, I’d imagine, somewhat informal) poll on which specific type of Peep one likes best. Click this one for a much larger, readable view.


What a scream.

I don’t know for sure who designed it, but my old pal Doug Jessmer — who works there now — tells me:

I’m fairly sure that was Thomas Marcetti Jr. I know it was on his screen a bit the last few days.

Whoever worked on this page: Please let me hear a peep from you.


UPDATE – 4:15 p.m. PDT

Executive editor Bonita Burton tells us:

Thanks! Thomas Marcetti, Managing Editor of Design & Graphics with Designer Amy Johstono. It was Thomas who spotted the story and knew how it would resonate with our largely retiree readership who grew up with the candies.

Average daily circulation for the Villages Daily Sun is 44,624.

That page is from the Newseum. Of course.

Doug Jessmer hired by the Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun

Designer and graphic artist Doug Jessmer is joining the staff of the Villages Daily Sun — in the Villages, an enormous retirement community about an hour north of Orlando — as a senior designer.


This is the fast-growing paper that hired Bonita Burton — former assistant managing editor of the Orlando Sentinel — late last year to serve as executive editor and vice-president of the parent company.

A 1994 graduate of Marietta College, Doug spent four years with the Alliance (Ohio) Review and then another four at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review before moving to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2005 as a page designer. He joined the Detroit (Mich.) News in 2006 but then returned to Florida the next year.

He spent a year with the Pinellas News, a weekly in St. Petersburg, initially redesigning the paper for free, then moving into a part-time position. He was later named editor of the paper. If you’ve ever sat through one of the presentations I give oriented specifically toward small papers, then you’ve seen a bunch of his work.

Doug was pretty much a one-man staff at the News. My message in those presentations: If Doug can produce high-quality work, crisp pages and cool alternative stories — with literally no resources at all — than a 15,000 or 30,000-circulation paper can, too.

The St. Petersburg Times hired Doug in 2010 for a temporary assignment and then made him full-time in 2011. He left the now-Tampa Bay Times in November.

A few more samples from his portfolio:

1301DougJessmerSample01  1301DougJessmerSample04

1301DougJessmerSample03  1301DougJessmerSample02  1301DougJessmerSample05

1301DougJessmerSample06  1301DougJessmerSample07

In addition, Doug is national marketing and public affairs officer for the Civil Air Patrol.

He’s a lieutenant colonel, in fact.

Doug starts his new job today, I’m told.

Find Doug’s Twitter feed here.

Longtime visuals leader Bonita Burton back in newspapers again

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

Bo tells us:

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

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


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

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

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

Bo in 1991. Photo

by Lee Warnick.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Bo and design editor Stephen Komives as

they prepare to launch the 2008 redesign.

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

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

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

Bo posted this picture to Facebook after her accident

in 2009.

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

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

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

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

Bo on CNN Headline News in June 2011.

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

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

Bonita and her former deputy, Stephen Komives (back

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

contest at SND/St. Louis in 2011.

In February, Bonita told us:

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

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

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

She posted this as a goodbye to her staff.

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

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

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