Creepy juxtaposition alert

Submitted for your approval: The front of today’s Philadelphia Daily News.


Eek! I’m not sure that sex-slave story works well against the refer in the rail to the “sexy singles swimsuit edition.”

You gotta put more thought into your front page than this.

The image is from the Newseum, of course. And thanks to the Newseum’s Paul Sparrow for the tip this morning via Twitter.

Find a lot more odd — and sometimes funny — juxtapositons here.

This weekend’s most unfortunate juxtaposition

Yeah, six young people killed and 13 more injured in a revenge-fueled killing spree in a college town is pretty awful.

But do you know what would be really tough?


This illustrates a big problem with newspaper design: We need to build our big weekend packages in advance. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, I highly advise it.

But when the rest of the page is filled in later and it’s time to punch the button — it’s important that someone put a fresh eye on the whole. How does that lead package — and headline — fit in with the breaking news of the day that’s been doglegged around it?

Not very well, in this case.

I’m not a Reddit user, but apparently there was a big thread there about this page over the weekend. Thanks to my pal — and recent Syracuse grad — Ankur Patankar for the tip.

Find lots more embarrassing juxtapositions — both in print and online — here.

Why I hate robo-placed contextual ads on web sites

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

But, of course, it wasn’t.

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

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

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

Yet another horrifying gun ad juxtapositon

There was a spectacular shooting incident in Pennsylvania this week. A disgruntled man walked up to a council meeting in Ross Township and opened fire. Two died at the scene, one more victim died later at the hospital and two more were wounded.

When authorities arrested the suspect, the suspect reportedly told them: “I wish I killed more of them!”

It’s a hell of a story. But when you arrived at the bottom of that story by the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, what kind of ad did you find?


Not appropriate.

It’s been fixed now, of course. Thanks to my anonymous tipster for the screencap.

It’d be easy to blame this on contextual algorithms that place ads on some web sites. Like, for example, this one the Hartford Courant had on its web site even four hours after the Newtown shootings in Connecticut last winter.


But I’m sure you remember three similar instances that affected print presentations.

The most spectacular happened in my former newspaper, the Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. Dominating the jump page covering the shootings was a giant ad for a local joint pushing Smith & Wesson for Christmas.


The editor of the paper later issued an apology.

The Allentown Morning Call featured a huge gun ad on the front page of its inside news section the next day.

And a month later, the Advocate of Samford, Conn., ran a story about kids returning to school after the tragedy. What was the big ad on the jump page? You guessed it.


Common sense, people. Get some.

(By the way, a young reporter for the Pocono Record didn’t just witness the Pennsylvania shootings, he was forced to crawl out of the carnage. His first-person account is a must-read.)

…To that same old place that you laughed about

The story on page one of Sunday’s News Times of Danbury, Conn.: How heroin has made a comeback in the area and throughout the Northeast.

The headline:

Heroin, purer, cheaper, makes a return

The unfortunate placement:


Next to a balloon that appears to welcome it back.

Thanks to management consultant, motivational speaker and author Russell White for the tip.

Find more awkward and amusing juxtapositions here.

A spadea can do interesting things to your page-one headline

Here was the front page of Wednesday’s Denver Post.


A perfectly fine front page, right?

Not so much, apparently. Because Denver had one of those dreaded front-page spadea ads yesterday, too. Which turned its fine page-one headline into this:


Linda Shapley, director of newsroom operations for the Post, writes in her blog:

There are some times, in the process of putting out a newspaper, an unfortunate placement of newspaper content creates hilarity — or embarrassment. The front page from Wednesday, I think, falls into the first category.

Find a lot more awkward and amusing juxtapositions here.

A stand-alone photo can leave you open to an uncomfortable juxtaposition

One of the downsides of using a stand-alone picture on page one — we used to call them “wild art” — is that such a picture can visually blend in with whatever is beside it or under it.

For example, let’s take today’s Enterprise of Beaumont, Texas. The “wild art” is a great photo of a local man who plays Jesus in a play, “the Last Days of Christ.”

But I think you’ll agree a little half-point rule doesn’t do quite enough to separate that picture from the story beneath it.


Hmm. Not good at all.

Average daily circulation for the Enterprise is 23,669.

That front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

Other similarly bad juxtapositions you’ll enjoy, from previous posts here in the blog:



Find a complete directory here of all my odd juxtaposition posts.

Today’s horrifying juxtaposition

In a paper called ABC in Madrid, Spain, this ad for erectile dysfunction appeared next to a story about the Catholic Church choosing a new Pope.


Together, they have the effect of saying:

Sex is vital… while waiting for the new Pope.


Thanks to Alberto Cairo of the University of Miami for passing that one along via Twitter.

Find more odd and horrifying newspaper juxtapositions here.

Dogleg headlines and stand-alone photos don’t mix well

The problem with a dogleg front page: You have to take steps to make it clear to the reader that the lead art doesn’t go with the lead headline.

Some papers are more successful at this than others. Take, for example, today’s Daily Mail of London.


Blog reader Mariette Low passed along a tweet this morning in which someone asked:

The front page of the Daily Mail is terrifying. They let the Queen out of hospital to kill?

Granted, the designer put a thick black line around the stand-alone photo of the Queen in order to try to make it clear it’s not part of the lead story. But does that border do the job? I think you’ll agree: It does not.

That’s only slightly worse than the Scottish version of the Daily Mail, in which the Queen exited the hospital only to raise taxes to benefit herself.


Note the black border is much thinner here. I’m guessing the Scottish Daily Mail is an earlier edition.

Even the Daily Express had the same issue today.


But is the Queen battling to keep out immigrants? Or is she trying to move to Germany? I’m still unclear.

These front pages are all from Press Display.

Today’s horrible juxtaposition

The huge headline across the bottom of today’s Herald Sun of Melbourne, Australia, involves accusations of doping by rugby players. Another 150 people face tough questioning: “Grilling.”

What made that weird: The big photo and story across the top of the page. About two firefighters who were killed working a brush fire yesterday.


Average daily circulation for the Herald-Sun is about 515,000.

Thanks to my Australian-based tipster.

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

Psst. Hey, Headline News: Wrong obnoxious teenager.

Sheena Brings Plenty of the Cherokee One Feather — who’s sent us several cool errors and juxtapositions — writes today:

Horrible juxtaposition this morning…


The story was about that kid who posted on Facebook that he was driving drunk, so his friends alerted the police. The picture, however — unless I’m mistaken — is of Justin Bieber.

Sheena adds:

Good job, Headline News! Get your stories and headlines straight!

You know who else needs a copy editor?

Local TV news operations. Chicago’s WMAQ-TV in particular. And WLS-TV, also of Chicago. And Harrisburg’s Fox43 TV news. And WDAY-TV 6 News in Fargo, N.D. And Local 15 News in Mobile, Ala. And WMAR-TV in Baltimore. And WBAL-TV in Baltimore. And Fox 4 KDFW in Dallas. And KTLA channel 5 in Los Angeles. And KNBC channel 4 in Los Angeles. And KCBS channel 2 in Los Angeles. And Charlotte’s WBTV. And KXAN-TV of Austin. And WFSB channel 3 in Hartford, Conn. And KOKI-TV, Fox23 in Tulsa. And Fox23 of Tulsa again. And Huntsville’s WAFF-TV. And Miami’s WSVN channel 7. And KUSA 9 News in Denver, Colo. And 7News, also in Denver. And KSL channel 5 in Salt Lake City. And KCRG of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And KGMI News Talk radio in Bellingham, Wash. And local Fox affiliates. And other local TV news operations. And CBS local media. And CBS/DC in Washington. And the web operation for DC101 radio. And the Huffington Post. And the Huffington Post again. And CNN (and CNN again)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and a huge one here) and CNN Money and CNN mobile and Fox News (and Fox News again)(and Fox News yet again)(and again!)(and again!)(and yet again!)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and again, for cryin’ out loud)(and yet again) and Fox Business and MSNBC (and MSNBC again) (and MSNBC again) (and MSNBC yet again)(and MSNBC yet again) and ABC News and NBC news and NBC News again and NBC News yet again and the Weather Channel and the Weather Channel again and the BBC and the BBC again and German news channel N24. And the Canadian Broadcast Corp. And Fairfax media of New Zealand. And Dagsrevyen, the evening news broadcast of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. And Martha Stewart’s TV operation. And the Disney Channel. And AOL. And AOL’s Patch. And Patch again. And creators of mobile apps. And Yahoo News. And Yahoo News again. And the fictional TMI! web site on the Newsroom TV show. And Google News’ bots. And baseball jersey manufacturers. And football jersey manufacturers. And sports ticket counterfeiters. And the NCAA. And the Big 12 Conference. And Georgetown University. And Kansas State University. And the University of Iowa. And the University of North Carolina. And the University of Texas. And Nebraska Wesleyan University. And Appalachian State University. And high school diploma printers. And the New York Jets, the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota Twins the St. Louis Cardinals, the Seattle Mariners, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals (boy, do they need a copy editor). And the Brooklyn Nets. And Manchester United. And the National Hockey League (and the NHL again). And the NHL Network. And NBA Premium TV. And ESPN (and ESPN again)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and three more times!)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and yet again) and Fox Sports (and Fox Sports again)(and Fox Sports one more time)(and Fox Sports yet again)(and yet again). And NBC Sports. And NBC Sports again. And CBS Sportsline. And TBS Sports. And CNN.SI. And Sports Illustrated (and again) (and again). And college athletic department ticket offices. And the NCAA. And Leaf trading card company. And the Virginia general assembly. And college alumni magazines. And pharmacies. And the makers of Sudafed. And Borders bookstore. And the U.S. Postal Service. And government agencies and political candidates. And Tea Party candidates. And the Newt Gingrich campaign. And the Mitt Romney campaign. And the Mitt Romney campaign again. And the White House. And the Vice President. And the President himself. And city and county Boards of Elections. And Congressmen from South Carolina. Both the state of Pennsylvania and its department of transportation. And Costa Cruises. And Pittsburgh skywriters. And road paving contractors in Durham, N.C. and in New York City. And the city of Norfolk, Va. And the Ohio Dept. of Transportation. And the Maryland Dept. of Transportation. And the West Palm Beach, Fla., police dept. And Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. And Sunrise-McMillan Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas. And Canadian school districts. And planners for Charlotte, N.C.’s Festival in the Park. And South African traffic cops. And the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico. And gas stations. And billboard companies. And bumper sticker manufacturers. And sign painters. And Home Depot and manufacturers of “hoodies.“ And T-shirt designers. And more T-shirt designers. And Old Navy. And Old Navy again. And Kohl’s. And Lids. And Adidas. And Mazda. And rubber stamp designers. And glass etchers. And stone carvers. And hotels. And more hotels. And manufacturers of custom-printed hotel accessories. And Starbucks. And Wendy’s. And Applebee‘s. And DaVanni’s Pizza. And restaurants, breakfast joints, Chinese restaurants and cake decorators. And more cake decorators. And drive-in movie theater managers. And auto dealers. And auto body shops. And romance novelists. And Capcom, the makers of Resident Evil video games. And 2K Sports, the makers of NBA 2K13 video games. And the Ku Klux Klan. And American Idol. And book cover designers. And editorial cartoonists. And business page editors. And South Africa’s New Ageand Sunday Independent newspapers. And City Press of Johannesburg. And Dublin’s Sunday Business Post. And the Echo of Gloucestershire, England. And the London Daily Mail. And the National Post of Toronto, Canada. And the South China Morning Post. And the Air Force Times. And the Washington Post (Hey! Another repeat offender!), the Post’s Express tab (Hey! Yet another repeat offender!), the Washington Examiner, Boston’s Metro, the New York Times (Wow! Yet another repeat offender!)(Hey! A third offense!)(Hey! A fourth offense!), A.M. New York, the Los Angeles Times (and the LAT again), the New York Post, the New York Post again, the New York Post yet again, Wall Street Journal Europe, Newsday, USA Today, (and USA Today again), the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times (and yet another!), the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat & Chronicle, the Daily Mail of London, the Echo of Liverpool, England, the Seattle Times, the weekly Manila Mail of San Francisco, the Miami Herald (and again!), the Portland Oregonian, the Durham, N.C., Herald-Sun, the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. (and the News & Observer again!)(and again!), the Chapel Hill, N.C., News, Advance Publications’ Birmingham design hub, the Tampa Bay Times, the Missoula, Mont., Missoulian, the Duluth, Minn., News Tribune, the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, the Reformer of Brattleboro, Vt., the Bangor (Maine) Daily News, the Advocate of Stamford, Conn., the Times-Record of Denton, Md., the News-Herald of Willoughby, Ohio, the Reporter of Lansdale, Pa., the Times-News of Erie, Pa., the Tribune-Review of Pittsburgh, Pa., the Wilmington, Del., News Journal, the Dispatch of Casa Grande, Ariz., the Amarillo (Texas) Globe News, the Laredo Morning Times, the El Paso Times, the Daily Telegram of Temple, Texas, the Independent of Rayne, La., the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Daily Times of Weirton, W.Va., the Waynesboro News Virginian, the Virginian-Pilot (and the Virginian-Pilot again), the Des Moines (Iowa) Register, the Coon Rapids (Iowa) Enterprise, the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Gannett’s N.Y. Central Media hub, the Greenville (S.C.) News, the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Denver Post, the Olympian of Olympia, Wash., the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, the Carbondale, Ill., Southern Illinoisian, the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger (Hey! Yet another repeat offender!) and the Canarsie Courier of New York City. And Politico. And the Associated Press. And the Associated Press again. And the Associated Press again. And the Associated Press again. And the Associated Press yet again. And the Associated Press yet again. And Mann’s Jeweler’s Accent magazine. And New Scientist magazine. And Investment News magazine. And Time magazine (and Time magazine again). And Editor & Publisher.

And, of course, I need a copy editor myself.

I’ve always needed a copy editor. Which is why you’ll see me fight so hard for them.

Today’s horrifying ad juxtaposition

One day, perhaps, enough time will have passed after the Newtown, Conn., shootings for a newspaper in that area to run an advertisement for a gun show on the same page with a story about the aftermath of the shootings.

Today, however, is not that day.


That’s from today’s Stamford Advocate. Stamford is less than 40 miles away from Newtown.

Thanks to the several folks who tipped me off about this.

There is no excuse whatsoever for this stuff

I spent five years as an artist and designer for the Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. I’ve always taken great pride in the fabulous work done by that paper after my departure, nearly 20 years ago.

Today, not so much.

This is the jump page in today’s paper, addressing the horrifying shootings in Connecticut. But dominating the page? A giant ad. For a local joint selling Smith & Wesson.


There’s no excuse for this. No excuse at all.

Herald editor Paul Osmundson writes this afternoon:

We at The Herald should have recognized the unfortunate juxtaposition of the advertisement with stories and a photograph about gun violence.

Multiple editors worked on the page and should have noticed the problem. We all made a terrible mistake, and for that I apologize.

Thanks to WCNC-TV news reporter Diane Gallagher for posting this today via Twitter.

Jim Romenesko posted a similar problem today in the Allentown, Pa., Morning Call. And, of course, we saw a similar problem yesterday on the web site of the Hartford Courant.

For your consideration…

I understand these banner ads are sold in advance. I also understand it takes folks in digital news operations a while to get under the hood and remove an ad that creates a bad juxtaposition with horrifying news.

But really, Hartford Courant? This was reportedly still on the Courant‘s web site at 2:30 this afternoon. That would have been nearly four hours after news of the tragedy broke.

Thanks to the half-dozen or so folks who sent me that screen snapshot.

In addition, Facebook had a little issue with this today — at least on the timeline of reporter Tyler Francke of Newberg (Ore.) Graphic. Tyler tells me:

Of course, it was just a horrible coincidence with the timing; if I had signed on a few minutes earlier or later this juxtaposition probably would have never occurred.

But it made me wonder how often stuff like this happens on social media these days. It seems like it would be at least theoretically possible to code some sensitivity in to the ads for gun pages when stories about mass shootings start trending…


A horrible — but funny — billboard ad juxtaposition

A bad juxtaposition can really kill an advertisement.

Check out these two billboards in Cherokee, N.C.

Hmm. If I were Ruth’s Chris Steak House, I’d demand my money back.

Thanks to Sheena Brings Plenty of the Cherokee One Feather for the picture.

I have a number of fun ad juxtapositions in my collection. But only a few, though, that involve billboards.

This one, however — from the outfield wall at a baseball stadium — is one of my all-time favorites.

It’s a bit subtle. But still delicious.

Find more fun juxtapositions here.

Not a great magazine advertising juxtaposition

Nope. Not great at all.

Evidently, this appeared in the October issue of Cosmopolitan. It was tweeted earlier today by benjimmin of Manchester, U.K. and then retweeted about a zillion times.

Benjimmin tweets:

For the record, I found the magazine picture elsewhere on t’internet. Don’t want people to think a) I deserve credit or b) I read Cosmo.

Find more fun juxtapositions here.

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.

The county’s solution might be closer than you think

The citizens of Lake County, Ohio, have a problem. They need a bridge demolished and removed.

Suggestion: Call the local FBI office. I’ll bet they know where to find someone who’ll take out the bridge for you. And cheap.

Yes, those two stories appeared side-by-side on the bottom of today’s News-Herald of Willoughby, Ohio, circulation 33,340.

Thanks to my anonymous tipster for, y’know, the tip.

You gotta love juxtapositions. Find more odd — and, sometimes, fun — juxtapositions here.

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