Three huge centerpiece-worthy games. One front page. What’s a sports designer to do?

Tuesday was an uncommonly interesting sports day for the folks in Washington, D.C. — both the NBA Wizards and the NHL Capitols pulled off big playoff wins and the baseball Nationals came back for a thrilling win.

The Washington Post‘s rose to the occasion with an uncommonly brilliant sports front page. Dan tells us:

It was a fun night!

Click for a larger, readable look:


Dan writes:

Last week when I knew all these teams would be playing on the same night I wanted to do something different to give the playoff teams equal play, and thought the Nationals would go on bottom somewhere with the Redskins schedule story.

But at start of Tuesday night, I sold our sports editor, Matt Vita, on stripping the Redskins schedule to make room for this setup of our three live games.

We had staff photogs at each game so I emailed them my cover early in the night on what I was hoping for. Also talked to night editor Greg Schimmel that if all teams win or lose we can do a head treatment to tie it all together.

When the Nats hit their walk-off home run to end the night, we were off and running.


Toni L. Sandys shot the Nats game in D.C. and James Wagner wrote the story.

Dan continues:

I worked with Karl Hente on what I was aiming for with the headlines and we came up with a head for the Wiz and Nats…


Jonathan Newton shot the Wiz game in Toronto and Jorge Castillo wrote the story.

…before Greg Schimmell and Scott Silverstein added the “boost” for the Caps.


John McDonnell shot the Caps game in New York and Alex Prewitt wrote the story.

The games were arranged in the order in which they finished. We highlighted that info in the photo captions.

Lastly, to keep the theme going, our headline for the Redskins schedule was “A blueprint.” in the teez bar at the top of the page.


A graduate of Western Illinois University, Dan Worthington spent a year-and-a-half as assistant sports editor of the Daily Review Atlas of Monmouth, Ill. before moving to the Beaufort (S.C.) Gazette and the (Hilton Head) Island Packet in 2008.


He moved to a sports design position with the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., in 2009 and was promoted to assistant sports editor a year later. He moved to the Post in 2013.

I most recently wrote about Dan’s work at the beginning of March Madness.

A few more samples:



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Find Dan’s web site here, his YouTube channel here and his Twitter feed here.

Longtime WaPo designer moving to Beijing Weekly magazine

Longtime Washington Post visual journalist Pamela Tobey will depart this week for a new adventure.


She posted recently on social media:

I will start a visuals position at Beijing Weekly magazine in Beijing.

It’s an English-language news weekly and I will be in the visuals group, participating in design, graphics training and creating graphics. Their print edition goes to many diplomats and business people, and they have a monthly Africa edition, ChinaAfrique, in French and English.

It will be a challenging and exciting year in Beijing. Especially with being in a Chinese business, so I will need to also learn the office culture, which is different than here. I should also add that the magazine is a part of the China International Publishing Group, founded in 1949, and Beijing Review began publishing in English in 1958.

She received her visa Friday and is scheduled to depart D.C. tomorrow.

A 1981 graduate of Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, Pam spent a year as a reporter and artist for the Beaumont Enterprise-Journal and then two more years at the Austin American-Statesman before moving to the Post in 1984. In addition, she wrote and illustrated for Fashion Doll Quarterly magazine.

Pam left the Post in November after 30 years. Find her Twitter feed here.

An amazing display of data visualization in Sunday’s Washington Post

Did you see this piece of genius data visualization in Sunday’s Washington Post?

The conflict in Syria just passed its fourth anniversary. Over those four years, more than 220,000 people — nearly a quarter of a million — have been killed.

Richard Johnson of the Post took a doubletruck to illustrate just how many lives that is. Running across pages A10 and A11 is this enormous illustration of a Syrian flag, drawn in a form of stipple — it’s made of thousands of little dots.

Click this for a much larger view:


How many dots? 220,000 of them. Each dot represents a life lost in Syria.


Is that amazing, or what?

Richard didn’t just give readers a realistic illustration of a Syrian flag. Note how the red portion at the top turns into droplets of blood…


…while the black parts below depict Syrian citizens in freefall.


Here’s what the artwork looked like before it was converted it into dots:


Richard was kind enough to reply to my queries:

Q. [I was wondering] how you plotted the artwork. Is there software that did that for you?

A. Ha. I wish. Nope, all plotted by hand in Adobe Illustrator. Had it gone black and white, I would have scaled the dots to make the shades in black.


Q. Wow. That’s what I was afraid of! About how much time did you spend on that?

A. I had about six hours on Friday and three [Saturday] to get it ready after the concept was cleared.

Q. Awesome stuff, man. As usual.

I’d invite you to visit the online version of Richard’s piece, where a little magnifying glass allows you to zoom in on various sections of the artwork…


…and see the detail work for yourself.


Those of you who have sat through my slideshows on infographics — and especially my “graphics for word people” sessions — have heard me talk about infographics vs. data visualization.

Typically, infographics quantify and compare, using data to help you get a handle on information that may — or may not — have meaning for you or your family or your career or your government. Or maybe just on something you care about — a hobby or an interest.

Data visualization, on the other hand, typically doesn’t really compare data or actually quantify anything in a way that invites analysis. Typically, data visualization is there just to help you get your head around something. It’s more there to make you say Hmm. Or maybe Wow. Or even Holy shit!

Richard’s piece definitely does that.

But that’s not surprising. He’s done this sort of work a lot, over the years. On the left, below, Richard used simple data visualization to show the number of people who had been killed by handguns in just the first month after the Sandy Hook incident.


The piece on the right is equally stunning. This shows the equipment — and especially the ammo — carried by the man who shot up the movie theater in Colorado three years ago.

I wrote about the “31 Days later” piece at the bottom of this blog post. The other graphic ran while I was teaching in Kenya, so I missed it at the time. I use both of these in my slide shows, however. They’re both amazing.

See more of Richard’s infographics work here.

In addition, Richard has made a number of trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to produce battlefield sketchbook work.


Twenty of his sketches, in fact, now reside in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Here’s a Tedx talk from last year in which Richard speaks about his battlefield work:

Richard made his first war zone tour when he was still with the Detroit Free Press. The Freep collected his work into a book.


It normally lists for $19.95 but is on sale right now at the Freep for $12.95. Amazon, too, has discounted the book. Buy it from them for the nice, round number of $16.81.

Richard is really amazing. You saw earlier that he did this Syria doubletruck Friday and Saturday. But what did he do in his spare time Saturday and Sunday mornings?

This little piece…


sketched on-site, of course.


Wow. Again.

See more of his “urban sketches” here.


1989 graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland, Richard was an artist at the Detroit Free Press. He was named graphics editor of the Globe and Mail of Toronto in 2005. He moved to the same position at the Toronto National Post in 2007 and then left newspapers for nearly two years as an Information Management Officer at the United Nations. He returned to the National Post in 2010 and then to the Washington Post in October 2013.

Find Richard’s web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Behind the Washington Post’s fun NCAA emoji page

The Bracket Monday page that seemed to create the most buzz yesterday — and deservedly so — was this one masterminded by Dan Worthington of the Washington Post.


Click that for a much larger look.

Dan wrote Monday via Facebook that he…

…spent an unhealthy amount of time with emoji in my life after Brian Gross said [back in January] “what about emoji?” for our NCAA special section.

Found an amazing illustrator in Julia Heffernan who has a special talent for creating emoji. Cover design and art direction was me. Headline by David Larimer.

Those little emoji icons are cute as can be. Spend some time with them and you’ll find some you love.

One of my favorites is the Alabama-Birmingham Dragon…


…although I might argue the Iowa State Cy looks an awful lot like the Louisville Cardinal.


You gotta love that UC Irvine Anteater, though. Zot!

The Duke University Dookie sure looks as if he’s up to something, doesn’t he?


Also, the Oregon Duck made me smile…


…as did the all-feline Villanova vs. Lafayette matchup…


…and the canines vs. felines N.C. State vs. LSU bracket.


Wonderful illustrations, made even better by the Post‘s eagerness to give them away so fans could add them to their text messages, social media feeds and whatnot.



And if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find the “bubble” teams that had emojis drawn up but then didn’t find their way into the tournament.


Hey, why let perfectly good emojis go to waste, right?

Find the entire set here.

Naturally, the presentation had its naysayers. Indiana fans, in particular, seemed displeased with the emoji that represented their team — as you see here, reported by the Indianapolis Star.


That’s supposed to be a basketball fan with her face painted for a game. Indiana fans complained about the rendering. Never mind no one seems able to explain just what is a “Hoosier” in the first place.

When I think of Indiana basketball, I think of chairs being flung onto the court. But that’s why the Post didn’t hire me to draw the emojis.

The wonderfully talented artist who did draw the icons — as Dan mentioned — is New York-based illustrator Julia Heffernan. Here’s a self-portrait, drawn in emoji style.


Julia specializes in emoji art. Here are a few examples of her work.


Naturally, she does other types of illustration as well:




Julia seemed delighted to get a byline on the front of Monday’s sports front.


Find her web site here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here.

A graduate of Western Illinois University, Dan Worthington spent a year-and-a-half as assistant sports editor of the Daily Review Atlas of Monmouth, Ill. before moving to the Beaufort (S.C.) Gazette and the (Hilton Head) Island Packet in 2008.


He moved to a sports design position with the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., in 2009 and was promoted to assistant sports editor a year later. He moved to the Post in 2013.

A few samples of his work:



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Find Dan’s web site here, his YouTube channel here and his Twitter feed here.

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.


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.

A look at the Washington Post’s ‘N-word’ presentation

In case you missed it: The Washington Post‘s page-one centerpiece Monday was on a certain racial slur you’ve all heard.

Click this for a larger view.


Design director Greg Manifold tells us:

Emmet Smith worked with illustrator Craig Ward on the A1 piece. We had a pair of pair of concepts from Craig – as well as a strong in-house version – but all agreed on the one that appeared on A-1.

That second concept from Craig may be this one he posted on his web site:


Craig is a prolific freelancer. In addition to the Post, he’s worked for Nike, MTV, Calvin Klein, Macy’s, Sony/BMG, the NFL, the Economist, the Guardian, Wired, GQ, Maxim and the New York Times Magazine. Find his portfolio here.

Greg was particularly complimentary of the video-driven online version of the story. According to the intro:

After the National Football League made the controversial decision to ban [the N-word] on the field this year, a team of Washington Post journalists explored the history of the word, its evolution and its place in American vernacular today.

When you first open the story, you see a brief video prelude of the subjects of the story preparing to hold their conversations.


You’re then presented with four commonly heard viewpoints on the slur in question.


You’re asked to pick three of the four. The site then pieces together segments of video to give you a somewhat customized experience.


It’s a lot like those “choose your adventure” children’s books. Except with real, live meaningful content.


Interesting stuff. Find it here.

That front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

WaPo’s Katie Myrick moving to Minneapolis Star Tribune

The Washington Post‘s Katie Myrick announced last night via Facebook:

In June, I’m moving to Minneapolis to join the Star Tribune as a project designer.


Working for the Washington Post has been an honor and I’m incredibly sad to be leaving such a wonderful place, but I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes me.

A 2010 graduate of Indiana University, Katie served as art director of the Indiana Daily Student and INside magazine and editor of the Arbutus yearbook. She worked internships at the Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Arizona Republic and the St. Petersburg Times. She was a Poynter Fellow in 2009. She joined the Post after graduation and has worked there ever since.

Sorry, but I have only one sample of her work in my collection:


In addition, Katie is editor of the Society for News Design web site.

Find a 2009 video interview with her here. Find her Twitter feed here.

Boston Globe’s Robert Davis moving to Washington Post

Robert Davis, assistant design director for news at the Boston Globe, is moving to the Washington Post.


Robert posted this weekend on Facebook:

I have accepted a job at the Washington Post, where I will design Sunday page one and projects, and even do some digital design work, too.

It’s a bittersweet move for us. The decision over whether to leave Boston was agonizing; we truly love this city and I’ve never had a more fulfilling job than the one I have held at the Globe. But this opportunity was too good to pass up.

Robert expects to make the move by the middle of June, he says.

A 2002 graduate of the University of North Florida, Robert spent a year-and-a-half as an assistant editor, editorial page editor and designer for the Jacksonville, Fla., Business Journal and then two years as a designer and copy editor for the Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville — first for a community news section and then later for the business section.

He moved to the Globe in 2007, where he designs A1 and metro fronts. He was promoted to his current position last August.

A few samples of his work:





See more in his NewsPageDesigner portfolio.

A great way of showing the depth of the oceans

Surely you’ve seen it by now: The fabulous online scrolling graphic by the Washington Post illustrating the depth of the sea where they think that Malaysian Flight MH370 went down.

The graphic — by the Post‘s Richard Johnson and Ben Chartoff — starts out by comparing the sizes of Flight MH370 — a standard Boeing 777-200 and the ship that’s towing a device searching for “pings” from the black box.


Using that same scale, the graphic then scrolls down, past the deepest point where sea creatures can be found and past the inverted depth of the world’s tallest buildings…


…past the depth reached by the pinger location device…


…and so on.


You get the idea. The depth of the sea floor in this case is just shy of three miles. Much deeper than the Titanic wreckage.

We’ve all seen these tall, scrolling graphics. Many of them are awfully gimmicky — essentially, clickbait to keep you scrolling in order to see more ads.

Not this one. The virtually unlimited depth offered by the web environment plays well with the subject matter. And it works just as well on your phone. Go check it out.

Full disclosure: I saw this Wednesday, loved it and tweeted it. But so many blog readers pointed it out to me over the course of the day that I decided I really should have written about it here. So here I am, a day later.

Side note No. 2: This WaPo piece reminds me a lot of a similar piece I praised three-and-a-half years ago by Karl Tate, formerly of the Associated Press and now with Karl’s graphic explained in detail the depth of the sky: The different layers of our atmosphere and how the air gets thinner as you go up. Or thicker as you go down.


Find that piece here.

Plain Dealer’s Emmet Smith moving to the Washington Post

Award-winning visual journalist Emmet Smith of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is moving to the Washington Post.


Plain Dealer managing editor Thomas J. Fladung announced recently:

Here’s a double-edged staffing announcement that will definitely leave a mark — and big holes to fill. Emmet Smith and Emily Hamlin Smith will be leaving The Plain Dealer.

Emmet has accepted an offer to join the design team at the Washington Post. Emily plans to get the family resettled and then will be exploring what’s available in the D.C. area.

Both have been a huge part of the story of The Plain Dealer for the past decade.

Emmet arrived in Cleveland in early 2004 and immediately began playing a key role in how the paper looked and read. He helped design dozens of memorable front pages (including “Gone”…

…and was a key player in our planning process and in challenging us to think big and bold. About a year ago, Emmet shifted his focus and took on one of our pop music critic roles. It proved to be a successful — if brief — interlude before our needs caused us to ask Emmet to return to his design and production roots, and he eventually became our first ever lead curator.

His other experiences include internships at the Virginian-Pilot and Detroit Free Press and design gigs at the Indianapolis Star and San Jose Mercury News.

Now, he’ll take all those experiences, skills and passion for storytelling to one of America’s great newspapers.

At The Plain Dealer, Emily also has showed off a range of skills. She came to The Plain Dealer in early 2003 as a copy editor, went on to work as a reporter in Metro and Business, eventually became the assistant copy desk chief and then in 2011 took on the job of deputy features editor. In Features, she has led the way on our fashion and shopping coverage and she was a key player in conceiving and executing North Coast, our newest Sunday features section.

Besides her work in Cleveland, Emily has done an internship and then a full-time job at Newsday and worked as a copy editor at the Mercury News.

Some lucky organization in D.C. is about to have a writer and editor of great skill fall into its lap.

Emmet and Emily are aiming at an early March departure. Please join us in thanking them and wishing them well.

Thom’s writeup is so comprehensive that I can offer only links to expand on this:

A few samples of Emmet’s work:













Read more about the Cleveland Rocks set of pages here.

Find Emmet’s Tumblr design blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Washington Post celebrates the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’

Features designer Amy King of the Washington Post writes:

Here’s our Doctor Who cover, if you’re sharing!


Amy adds:

Art direction by me
Page design by Kim Vu
Illustration by Peter Donnelly (of Dublin!)

And the story — a review of a show about the making of Doctor Who — is by TV writer Hank Stuever.

Monday, I posted a nice Doctor Who page by the Syracuse, N.Y. Post-Standard. Find that here.

Richard Johnson of the Toronto National Post moves to the Washington Post

I’m just now getting ahold of this huge hire by the Washington Post

Graphics managers Kat Downs and Laris Karklis wrote:

We are pleased to announce the newest addition to the graphics department, Richard Johnson. Richard joins us in the role of Senior Graphics Editor.


Richard was most recently the Assistant Managing Editor for Graphics and Illustration at The National Post in Canada. There he led a small department of artists creating information graphics, illustrations, video and blogs. During his tenure, Richard helped cover the war in Afghanistan for The National Post, traveling with Canadian and U.S. forces in 2007, 2011, and 2012 as both artist and reporter. You can see some of his work from that time here.

Richard spent two years with the United Nations, heading up a Visual Media Unit tasked with making all kinds of advocacy-based visual media up to and including documentary films. He is also an alumnus of The Globe and Mail in Toronto and the Detroit Free Press. He has been nominated for two National Newspaper Awards in Canada, and has a mound of annual awards from the Society for News Design.  In his spare time Richard is a fanatical urban sketcher and part-time soccer guru.

He was schooled in Art and Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, Scotland. According to him, this was because originally, it just seemed easier than actually working for a living. Nowadays he is an evangelist for good visual presentation and beatific data representation.

His wife and kids remain north of the 49 parallel, but are set to join him soon.

Richard’s been at the Post, now, about four weeks, he tells me.

A few quick samples of Richard’s amazing graphics work:


I gushed about that graphic here.

The “31 Days Later” piece, below, left, Richard built with the help of Andrew Barr. I wrote about that one here.


For the “Man with a Plan” piece, Richard collaborated with Allison Cross and Jonathon Rivait. That one came out last year while I was in Kenya, so I didn’t see it until later.

See more of Richard’s infographics work here.

Twenty of the battlefield sketches Richard made in three trips to Iraq and Afghanistan now reside in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.


Six years ago, Richard was kind enough to submit to a nice Q&A about his battlefield work. Here are a couple of excerpts from his journal that he invited us to share at the time:

Near Millayan

The dismounted soldiers walk only in the tracks of the tank. Constantly sweeping their weapons left and right, up and down, the buildings as we pass. They call out dangers and possible firing lines to one another as they walk. The sergeant keeps them all spaced and reminds them of their jobs. The jigsaw-building gigglers are not here now. We walk on.

The dirt walls either side are mere inches from the width of the tank. The soft talcum of sand rises into the air around us. I realize I forgot my face scarf. I shoot everything non-stop. It is too bright out to see the camera’s screen so I snap blind. I watch my feet. I try not to get in the way. I try and miss nothing.The heat starts to take a toll. Every time the tank stops soldiers alternate turns to drink. Civilian families are waved inside by the interpreters and the ANP. I snag a water from the ever-prepared Corporal Tu. My camera makes one last grinding sand-filled attempt to focus and dies. I grab the spare.

We move on metre after choking metre, after km after km before eventually leaving the buildings for open fields. Gunfire erupts from the lead tank’s coaxial machine gun. It hurtles forward, crushing a stone wall and rumbling into the field. The soldiers duck by the wall. Then they are joined by others, then hustled by their sergeants to work to the right along the road flanking something I cannot see. Gunfire erupts again and I drop to one knee. I am the only one though. Everyone else can tell friendly from enemy gunfire. The tanks continue moving and firing.

Role 3 hospital

During the cleanup, three hours after we began, all the sheets and masking were peeled away and a man appeared from under them again. A rough blanket was thrown over him.

With the stretcher standing by, he was gradually roused by one of the Dutch nurses. He started to shiver and I could see him working to pull the blanket up with fingers that wouldn’t do what they were told. The nurse helped him get it to his chin. I stayed through the whole process until the patient was on the ward and in bed.

I could only imagine the pain he would be in tomorrow.

And I wondered whether anyone had told him yet about his five friends.

Have you ever wondered what kind of equipment it would take to do this sort of work? Richard build a large graphic to show just that. Find that here.

Richard made his first battlefield tour when he was still with the Detroit Free Press. The Freep collected his work into a book.


It’s still available, I think, for $19.95.  Go here to buy it directly from the Freep. Or, just get it from Amazon.

Ten interesting takes on the end of the federal shutdown

A deal has been struck. The government shut down has been — well, shut down. A deal to raise the debt limit has been reached.

The Republicans went into this debacle having made unrealistic promises to the citizens who elected them and they came out of it looking petty and foolish. The Democrats came out of it looking marginally better — but only because they didn’t talk themselves out of losing their advantage of numbers.

But not from a lack of trying. Man, those Democrats sure run their mouths a lot.

Make no mistake, though: The Democrats didn’t win — Instead, the Republicans hurled themselves off a cliff. I’d argue that there were no winners at all here. Certainly not the American people.

And in just a few months, we’ll do it all again. Sigh.

In the meantime, here is a look at ten interesting takes on the most important government news since… well, since the Fiscal Cliff deal on New Year’s Eve.

Rochester, N.Y.
Circulation: 114,502

For the past two weeks, a lot of papers have turned stock art of the Capitol building into centerpiece art. The D&C does it well here, but that’s not why I like most about this page.


What I like most is the main headline. Especially the “finally” bit.


UPDATE – 8:45 a.m.

This was designed by Abby Wescott of Gannett’s Asbury Park studio, who proudly tells us:

The headline was also my idea.

McAllen, Texas
Circulation: 32,086

I’m not crazy about the layout of this page. It’s got a number of flaws:

  • Too many elements are crammed above the fold. A little white space might have helped.
  • I don’t like the way the photos seem to shift to the left when you get to the sidebar.
  • The lead-in deck seems a bit too wordy


What I like about this page — and why I bring it to your attention — unlike many of the front page treatments you’ll see around the country today, this one acknowledges the political battle over U.S. fiscal policy is not over. This was just one more round in what will be a long, long war.

That’s not fun, but that’s the truth. The less we sugar-coat that for readers, the better informed they’ll be.

Fargo, N.D.
Circulation: 45,298

The champion today at making this very point, however, has to be the Forum of Fargo, N.D.

Savvy observers complained that Wednesday’s deal didn’t solve anything; it just kicked the can down the road. The Forum actually illustrated this.


St. Louis, Mo.
Circulation: 187,992

Rather than use its front-page real estate on huge stock art of the Capitol building or of oversized mugs of Boehner and Obama, the St. Louis paper went with a retro-like series of decks to relay the day’s major talking points to readers.

This was placed under a headline that, yes, implied that this was just one round of a longer war.


Interestingly, the Cardinals’ failure to clinch a World Series berth was pushed to the bottom of today’s front page.

The young man wearing the baseball jersey could almost be reacting to the main news package above.

Greensboro, N.C.
Circulation: 57,274

The Greensboro paper picked up this thread I’m advocating here and took it a step further: It went out and asked local folks what they think about the partisan battles in D.C. this month. That became the focal point of the front-page presentation, rather than the deal itself.


Bitter squabbles are not likely to stop.” Right.

However, consider this: North Carolina is in the middle of its own Tea Party-like political battles at the state level. I’d be curious to see that same treatment, but talking to folks who say stuff like: “Hell, yeah! I elected my Congressman to go up to Warshington (sic) to repeal Obamacare, and I don’t care how he does it. I’m GLAD they shut the government down. I say KEEP it shut down.”

I’ve spent most of my life in the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia. I know these folks are out there. I see their comments attached to the bottom of online news stories.

But I’m not seeing them very often on page one.

This isn’t to criticize what the Greensboro paper did today — I like it quite a lot. This is just an observation.

Omaha, Neb.
Circulation: 135,223

The Omaha paper decided to focus on the vote itself.


The little box at right summing up the deal is quite nice.

Davenport, Iowa
Circulation: 46,824

This is the only non-front-page I’ll show you today. And I’m showing it to you because a) The editor/designer sent it to me overnight. And b) I think it’s very, very nice.


Nate Bloomquist of the Quad-City Times tells us:

I was inspired by NPR’s graphic from a week ago that was making the rounds on Facebook, so I made my own debt graphic.

I pulled pieces from AP stories and other sources for the explainer at the top. There were several sources to find the raw data, but the best is the Government Accountability Office. There is all kinds of useful stuff there.

It was great to get plenty of feedback from the Lee design hub in Munster, Ind., and a designer there, Claire Moreno, built my icons at the top of the page after I decided on the color scheme. Everything came together really well, and I’ve quite pleased with what I have here.

I’ve featured some of Nate’s stand-alone inside-page work before: For the presidential inauguration in January and for a golf tournament in July.

Des Moines, Iowa
Circulation: 191,915

A number of papers went with photoillustrations today. One of the better ones was this one by my old friend Mark Marturello of the Des Moines Register.


Mark’s work was used by the Gannett Design Studio on two other papers that I could find: The Press Citizen of Iowa City (circulation 12,130) and the Daily Advertiser of Lafayette, La. (circulation 29,368).


Chicago, Ill.
Distribution: 250,000

Perhaps the most fun today was had by youth-oriented tabloid versions of major metros.

This wacky cover illustrated by the Chicago Tribune‘s RedEye reminds me very much of the kind of work you find at JibJab.


Unfortunately, the illustration is not credited.

Washington, D.C.
Distribution: 183,916

Perhaps the most amusing photoillustration of the day, however, is this one afront the Washington Post‘s Express tab.


Amusing… if you’re not a Republican, that is.

All these pages but the one from the Quad-City Times are from the Newseum. Of course.

Washington Post promotes Greg Manifold to design director

The Washington Post announced yesterday it has promoted Greg Manifold to design director. Greg replaces Janet Michaud, who moved to Politico two months ago.


The official announcement, sent out by the newsroom management team Thursday:

We are very pleased to announce that Greg Manifold is our new Design Director.

Greg is tireless in his pursuit of superior journalistic design and knows more about our complex publishing systems than almost anyone. Greg (along with Chris Meighan) demonstrated remarkable leadership during the relentless pace of the election.  And lately Greg has been leading the effort as our talented group of print designers carry their work across all platforms, particularly with the enterprise template and panels for tablets.

Greg came to The Post from the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2005 as a sports designer, and rose through the ranks to become Deputy Design Director for News in 2010. Greg has served as the main designer for investigative projects, such as Top Secret America; has produced numerous special sections; and led the design coverage for big news events including the election, inauguration, Navy Yard shootings, and now the government shutdown. Greg’s work has been recognized with multiple awards from the Society of News Design, Print magazine and others.

We appreciate Greg’s sense of visual scale, attention to detail, as well as his commitment to smooth production. His aesthetic is pitch perfect for the continued advancement of The Post‘s journalism in all forms.

Please join us in congratulating Greg in his new role.

A 1999 graduate of (deep breath) California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, Greg spent nearly two years as a copy editor and sports designer for the San Luis Obispo Tribune before moving to the Union-Tribune in 2001.

Find Greg’s Twitter feed here.

Is this REALLY the kind of ad you want on your home page…

… on a week like this?


Maybe it is. I don’t know anymore.

Once upon a time, it was enough that we worked hard to stay impartial and we had sharp editors reading behind us to weed out any unfairness.

Then, we had to bend over backward to avoid even the appearance of bias.

And then it became: Oh, screw it. Just take the money and run the ad.

Read more about online ads during the last presidential election here and here.

Newark Star-Ledger’s Dan Worthington to join the Washington Post

Dan Worthington — assistant sports editor of the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. — is joining the Washington Post as a designer.


Dan posted on Facebook Tuesday:

It is with great excitement to announce my move to The Washington Post.

But it also doesn’t come without the obligatory sadness of moving on from other great things. In the past four plus years at The Star-Ledger, I have worked with many great and talented people.

However, I owe one million thanks to a great boss, friend, mentor and teammate, Drew van Esselstyn. My career would not be the same without you.

He begins his new job on June 24.

A graduate of Western Illinois University, Dan spent a year-and-a-half as assistant sports editor of the Daily Review Atlas of Monmouth, Ill. before moving to the Beaufort (S.C.) Gazette and the (Hilton Head) Island Packet in 2008. He moved to a sports design position with the Star-Ledger in 2009 and was promoted into into his new position three years ago.

A few samples of his work:

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Find his portfolio site here, his blog here, his YouTube channel here and his Twitter feed here.

A look at a few notable NCAA Tournament pages and sections

Scott Goldman — director of content at Advance Digital and a former sports designer for the Washington Post — writes today via Facebook:

In case you were wondering how you should design an NCAA Tournament section, look no further. This is how you do it.

The section that caught his eye today: The one from the Washington Post. Which always puts out a fabulous tourney section.

Click for a much larger view.


What you can’t see unless you zoom in: Those aren’t just team logos. those are tiny little infographics. Each shows the number of times a team has been to the Big Dance, the number of times it’s made the Final Four and the number of championships each has won.



Very slick.

Brian Gross led the design of the section, design director Janet Michaud tells me. Chris Rukan and Des Bieler worked on it as well.

Pages two and three take a fun look back on star players of previous tournaments going back to 1940 and the growth of the tournament field.

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Page four focuses on the East Regional. Page five looks at the Georgetown Hoyas, which face Florida Gulf Coast in their first-round game on Friday.


Pages six and seven present the entire bracket, as well as one “filled out” by sports columnist Tracee Hamilton

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…who, by the way, reluctantly picks Kansas to win it all.

Page eight is a bit of a preview to the women’s seedings. Page nine jumps back into regional previews.

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Pages 10 and 11 finish up the regional previews.

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And page 12 contains the last few conference tournament stories of the year.


Average circulation of the Washington Post is 507,615.


Fort Myers, Fla.

Circulation: 54,761

Michael Babin — the Florida design team leader at Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio — writes:

I wanted to share some pages that the Nashville Design Studio produced for the News-Press as the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team earned its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Sunday’s paper looked back at how the team got to this point…


Click, of course, for a much larger view.

Here is Sunday’s sports front, previewing the selection show…


…and here are two inside pages looking back on the Florida Gulf Coast University season.

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Michael resumes his story:

…while Monday’s paper provided a bit of instant analysis for the team’s matchup against heavily-favored Georgetown.


Here’s an inside A page with the jump and with more reaction shots from the selection show.


Michael tells us:

The Nashville Design Studio produced a live 8-page special section in the News-Press for the NCAAs in addition to blown-out coverage in the A-section. With most of the live art going to A1, we payed homage to those fun Sports Illustrated covers that capture all the Madness of March while still playing up the home team making their debut in the Big Dance.


I became a bit of a Bracketology nerd throughout the past week so that most of the photo-illustration could be quite far along leading up to Sunday night’s Selection Show in order to turn this around on deadline for Monday’s publication.

Here’s the doubletruck of the inside section, focusing on the opening-round game.


Hey, it’s only Georgetown. Piece of cake, right? Just ask Syracuse.

Michael writes:

Special thanks to designers Chris Bistline, Melissa Koenigsberg, Kayla Golliher and a team of editors, reporters and photographers back in Fort Myers for ramping things up for the weekend.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Circulation: 144,165

And among the papers putting the start of March Madness on page one today, this one stood out as one of the more colorful and more interesting.


That page was designed by David Leonard, I’m told. Click to zoom in and read the little blurbs by Paul Daugherty.

In addition, here’s today’s sports front designed by Dustin Frucci.


Thanks to Ryan Hildebrandt, creative director of Gannett’s Louisville Design Studio, for sending those pages as well as the next one…


Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

The Louisville studio’s Jeff Patterson went with a horse-racing theme to illustrate this year’s 64-team tournament field.


Make sure you click on that one and enjoy all the little silks.

Now, no slight on this fine, clever page. But if you’re wondering where you’ve seen an idea like that before: Perhaps it was here.


St. Joseph, Mich.

Circulation: 14,139

Andy Steinke of the Herald-Palladium in St. Joseph, Mich., writes:

I wanted to send along a couple of pages designed by one of co-workers, Crystal Myers, at the Paxton Media Group pagination superstation in St. Joseph, Mich.

The pages are of particular interest to me because I wrote the main “story” and sidebar featured on the page. I work full-time on the copy desk, but earlier this year I talked the features editor into letting me write the occasional ASF story. (I’m a former reporter). This is my second story so far.


A lot of people get really excited about the Final Four tournament, so I wanted to find a new way to get readers excited about it. I came up with the idea of a crossword puzzle featuring the past champions. I went through a couple of rounds of clues before settling on these ones. I think they’re challenging without being too hard for readers to figure out.

Here’s the jump page, including the solution to the puzzle.


Did you do something cool for March Madness? Send PDFs and design credits to:

chuckapple [at]

A look at today’s Pope front pages

[Freshly updated with a few more credits that rolled in throughout the day Thursday…]

As you know, we have a new Pope. He’s from Argentina and is the first Pope ever from the Americas.

As you might imagine, papers in Argentina went crazy with the story today. But you can spot right away why I’m reluctant to spend a lot of time trying to analyze today’s front pages.

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That’s right: The photo opportunities Wednesday were so limited that only a few shots emerged from Vatican City. Which gave today’s front pages an extremely homogeneous feeling.

Now, the good news is that those three papers…

  • Clarín of Buenos Aires, circulation 332,601
  • La Nacion of Buenos Aires, circulation 160,000
  • El Territorio of Posadas, circulation unknown

…each wanted the iconic shot of the day on page one. And they got it. Readers throughout Argentina will save today’s newspaper as a keepsake.

So even though, for news design purposes, I’m not thrilled with today’s front pages, readers probably are. And that’s what matters.

In addition — as you can see there — the Newseum expects today to be a high-traffic day with plenty of hot-linking and bandwidth stealing. So they slapped watermarks on everything today.

In the past, I’ve had a no-watermark rule here in the blog. But that’s just not practical, sadly enough. So we’ll grit our teeth and dive into a few notable front pages…


…was used by many, many U.S. newspapers. Most were smart enough to use it well — even those that built enormous page-one packages.

Here are four of my favorites:

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The picture itself is by Gregorio Borgia of the Associated Press.

Top row:

  • Boston Globe, Boston Mass.; circulation 225,482
  • Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis.; circulation 185,710

Bottom row:

  • U-T San Diego, San Diego, Calif.; circulation 230,742
  • Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.; circulation 142,476

I realize I’m only showing my ignorance and unfamiliarity with Latin, but I wonder how many young people will look at that Virginian-Pilot headline and wonder: Why is there a line from Harry Potter on that page?


Papers that didn’t use that yellow-backed AP picture likely used this one: A photo made by L’Osservatore Romano and also distributed by the Associated Press.

Interestingly, however, several papers that used this picture also chose to run secondary art where you could see the new Pope’s face.


That’s the Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, circulation 246,571.

Here are two more examples of that same approach…

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…from the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa. (circulation 70,446) and the Star Ledger of Newark, Pa., (circulation 278,940).

It’s just a coincidence that all three of those papers are Advance publications. I think.


A few newspapers managed to find lead art that most papers did not run on page one today.

For example, the New York Times chose this picture by Alessandro Bianchi of Reuters.


The Washington Post went with an over-the-shoulder, wave-at-the-crowd shot, but not the same one we saw a moment ago. this is another handout from L’Osservatore Romano but distributed by Reuters.


Average daily circulation for the Post is 507,615. The Times circulates 1,586,757 papers daily.


Because of the scarcity of variety of art, I’d imagine, what I call “regional twins” popped up all over the place today. This is what I call situations in which two papers with overlapping readership areas end up with similar front-page pictures and headlines.

My favorite example of this: Right here in Southern California. My own paper, the Orange County Register, cropped in tight on that picture you just saw on the front of the New York Times while the Los Angeles Times used a picture by Luca Bruno of the Associated Press. Yet, the pictures were shot from a similar angle. And check out the headlines.

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Average daily circulation for the LAT is 616,575. The OCR circulates 280,812.


Speaking of headlines, I didn’t see many clever ones today. This one from the 12,387-circulation Pocono Record of Stroudsburg, Pa., struck me as one of the best.


That was written by staffer Tom Ostrosky, I’m told.


A few papers chose pictures that were more loosely-cropped. To show off the pageantry of the event, I’d imagine.

Three of these papers appealed to me a great deal. I liked the orderly, structured feel of the 57,710-circulation Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.


That photo is from AFP/Getty Images. I’m not sure where this one is from because the designer of today’s Star Press of Muncie, Ind., left off the credit.


Note, however, the way the designer — Catherine Pomiecko from the Louisville Design Studio, I’m told — placed the story and sidebar into that little white square at the bottom of the picture. And then echoed that with a transparent box at the top of the picture to hold the headline.

Average daily circulation for the Star Press is 20,305.

My favorite of these pages, however — and, indeed, my favorite page of the day — is this presentation by the Advocate of Victoria, Texas.


Wow. Now, that’s a poster front.

Advocate editor Chis Cobler tells us:

Presentation editor Kimiko Fieg [designed the page], although we discussed it a lot as a design team.

Average daily circulation for the Advocate is 26,531.


And three papers — that I know of — let their huge Pope photos spill over onto the back page of their papers, creating a huge wrap.

The first two of these suffer from the same problem: While the entire wrap is quite nice, look at what readers are getting with their page-one display:


Yep. The picture of the back of a Cardinal’s head.

When you design page one of a broadsheet, you have to stay mindful of what’s above the fold. Ditto for a tabloid wrap — you have to remember that some readers might only see page one in a news rack or in a convenience store.

That was Hoy, the Spanish-language daily published by the Chicago Tribune. Interestingly, the Sun-Times today had the same issue.


Average daily circulation for the Sun-Times is 422,335. Hoy circulates about 60,000 papers daily.

Here is the only broadsheet wrap I saw today, and you won’t see it at the Newseum. The Beaver County Times of Beaver, Pa., didn’t contribute its front page today.


As the TimesEric Hall explaines:

 The newsfolk let the sports editor give it a whirl.

And, sure enough, you see Eric’s approach: This is essentially a photo illustration, with a picture of the pope at the bottom and a huge shot of the crowd as a background.

Note how the Beaver County Times took its nameplate down to tiny size and placed it at the bottom of the page.


While a few papers managed to show the enormous throng in St. Peter’s Square, this one paper scored points today by focusing on the rapturous look on the face of this woman in Argentina, reveling in the news that the new Pope is from Argentina.


The photo is from Reuters. I wish we knew more of her story. Does she know the new pope? Has she attended any of his services?

Perhaps it’s not important. But as I looked through today’s pages, that one brought me to a full stop. Which is the point, of course. Great job by the 108,548-circulation Boston Herald.

With the exception of Beaver County, all of these front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Take inspiration from anywhere you can find it

Late last summer, Jane Burns of the Wisconsin State Journal traveled to Washington, D.C., where she happened to take in a baseball game at Nationals Park.

She wrote via Facebook:

This press box in D.C. made me smile because I am reminded of the story that Val Monson, best writer in the world, once told.

Val started in sports and was inspired to be a sports writer because if a woman named Shirley Povich at the Washington Post could do it, Val thought, so could she.

Some of you would get the irony of that immediately, but Val took that inspiration to heart, worked in sports and eventually learned that legendary Washington Post sports writer and columnist Shirley Povich was a man who just happened to be named Shirley.


Not exactly the way you want to be on page one of the N.Y. Times

Did you see skier Lindsey Vonn on the front of today’s New York Times?


That’s her — that tiny little lump attached to the end of the cable hanging below that medical evacuation helicopter. Vonn was airlifted out of an Austrian mountainside venue Tuesday after she wiped out during the Alpine World Championships. She tore two ligaments in her knee, the Times reports, and fractured a bone in her leg. She’ll need reconstructive surgery, with the 2014 Olympics just one year away.

The photo is by Alexander Hassenstein of Getty Images.

I was immediately reminded of the time she crashed during the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver. The Washington Post ran one of the largest photos I’ve ever seen on page one of that paper.



Find Lindsey Vonn’s official web page here.

Both today’s NYT front and the three-year-old WaPo front are from the Newseum. Of course.