Here’s your annual peek at the Toledo Free Press’ Opening Day edition

I know spring is finally here when my pal James A. Molnar of the Toledo Free Press sends me his Opening Day pages. The 115,000-distribution free weekly tabloid goes all-out every year to celebrate the start of the season for the famous Toledo Mud Hens.

James tells us:

We published a 60-page edition on April 12 dedicated to opening day April 16 and I’m excited to share it with you.

Our fantastic cartoonist Don Lee produced some great cover artwork for the third consecutive year, now. The cover idea stems from various promotion nights by the Hens, which include Back to the Future Night, a doubleheader honoring the 30th anniversary of the film franchise.

041215 A01-60.indd

The cover also features a double-headed dinosaur since there will be a Jurassic Park theme night in anticipation of the fourth movie in the franchise, Jurassic World, coming to theaters this summer.

The Mud Hens will even wear special post-retro jerseys for Back to the Future night.

041215 A42-43, 44-45 MUD HENS.indd

Find the online version of that story here.

James continues:

For the inside cover, I had Don Lee send me separate elements to use.

041215 A11 MUD HENS Cover.indd

I thought it would be fun to include his concept drawing and revised sketch for this year. We’re really lucky to have him in our editorial arsenal.

150415ToledoOpeningDaySketches

041215 A01-60.indd

Find more of Don’s work on Twitter and Facebook.

James continues:

You’ll remember the Ghostbusters-themed cover last year…

033014 A01-76.indd

…and the Angry Birds cover from two years ago.)

130407ToledoMudHensCover01

James also sends along a number of inside pages, including the welcome page…

041215 A12-13, 14-15 MUD HENS.indd

…the schedule page…

041215 A12-13, 14-15 MUD HENS.indd

…a page full o’ team member mug shots…

041215 A24-25, 26-27 MUD HENSnew.indd

…and even a fun baseball-themed crossword puzzle.

041215 A57 Comics.indd

James writes:

One of my favorite stories is written by Associate Editor Tom Konecny, who profiles the history of the team.

041215 A16-17, 18-19 MUD HENS.indd

Although baseball has a long history in Toledo, the current franchise is marking 50 years in 2015.

041215 A16-17, 18-19 MUD HENS.indd

Find the online version of that story here.

(Story online: http://www.toledofreepress.com/2015/04/10/current-mud-hens-franchise-marks-50-years/)

Kudos to Managing Editor Joel Sensenig for his hard work organizing the content for the section. Sensenig wrote a story about new food offerings at the stadium this year and you don’t want to miss one of the new treats: A S’more donut.

150415ToledoOpeningDaySmoreDonut

Again, here’s the full story. Click for a readable version.

041215 A28-29, 32-33 MUD HENS.indd

Find the entire Opening Day e-edition here.

The Toledo Free Press recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in print. Read about that here.

A 2009 graduate of Marquette in Milwaukee, Wis., James served as a reporter, designer and then visual content editor for the student paper there, the Marquette Tribune.

1401JamesAMolnarMug

He spent a couple of months as a designer and editor for the Daily of Chatauqua, N.Y. and then seven months as an apprentice optician at Eyeglass World in Toledo before catching on at the Free Press in 2010. He also covers movies for the Free Press.

Find James’ personal blog here, his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

The story behind that stark RedEye cover from Friday

RedEye’s Sara Amato took some time to tell us about the all-type front page her paper ran Friday.

She says:

The end product was the result of a lot of teamwork.

Going into Thursday, I had only one idea for the cover:

1403RedEyeSexAssaultCover02

I ran it by Aly Morris, our design director, and she liked it. But I wanted to try and work something else out.

I went to Getty images creative and searched sexual assault. An image popped up of a woman with a big X over her mouth in red tape. It was an awkward photo, so I pitched the idea to Aly that maybe we could do an x in lipstick and get a photographer to shoot it.

I didn’t hear back from our photo editor until noon-ish. We set up the studio and shot a few photos of one of our reporters as the model.

1403RedEyeSexAssaultCover01

Every day at 4 p.m. we have a meeting to talk about headlines. They had seen the original cover I designed and agreed that was a strong headline. It’s a quote from the story. I changed the original black screen behind the type to more of a dark red that we use from time to time.

I mocked up a few of the photos with other headline suggestions (Unspoken and The silent treatment).

Our staff was split during discussion. We all felt like both covers were strong but ultimately decided the all-text cover was strongest.

Halfway through the night we decided the type needed to be muted a little bit [in size].

And that’s what we ended up with:

1403RedEyeSexAssaultCover03

I felt both cover options were powerful. We couldn’t go wrong either way.

A 2009 graduate of Indiana University, Sara served as campus editor, design chief, managing editor and editor-in-chief for the Indiana Daily Student. She served internships at the Bedford (Ind.) Times-Mail and in the finance department at Tommy Hilfiger before starting work in 2010 as a designer for the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

1109SaraAmatoMug

In 2011, she moved to the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix and was assigned to work on-site at one of the Gannett studio’s client papers — the Desert Sun of Palm Springs, Calif. — until 2012, when she was moved to Phoenix itself, where she became lead sports designer for the Arizona Republic. She moved to Chicago last summer.

Find Sara’s web site here, her NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

RedEye is the free, youth-oriented tabloid published daily by the Chicago Tribune. Its average daily distribution is about a quarter-million.

The Toledo Free Press celebrates 10 years in print

James Molnar of the Toledo (Ohio) Free Press writes:

You’ve been following Toledo Free Press for most of its 10 years in print, dating back to our Simpsons issue in 2007.

untitled

Heh. I remember that! My pal Bob Voros found it on NewsPageDesigner. Curious, I set out to find out who did it.

That cover was nice enough, but what really made that issue special was the way they used an online Simpsons avatar maker that was making the rounds. Not only did they use it on area celebrities…

1503ToledoSimpsonsInside02

…but also on their own publisher and editor. The Free Press replaced every column logo in the paper that week with a Simpsons-like avatar…

1503ToledoSimpsonsInside03

…and every tint box with that bright yellow Simpsons color.

I thought that was a clever — and inexpensive — way to have a lot of fun. I still use those slides in my Art of Being Brilliant slideshow.

But enough digression. Back to James’ note:

I wanted to share with you that we celebrated our 10th birthday [this week]. Our first issue was published Wednesday, March 16, 2005.

To ring in the occasion, we planned a commemorative edition, which published on Sunday. I worked closely with Editor in Chief Sarah Ottney and Managing Editor Joel Sensenig to develop a strategy that wasn’t too self-congratulatory. After all, there are newspapers celebrating one or two centuries in business.

For us, in this market especially, 10 years is a feat. We are proud to celebrate 10 years of covering this community and sharing its stories and are looking forward to doing that for many years to come.

I think this 40-page edition is a great tribute to that mission.

We went through our entire archive while planning this edition. That’s a lot of newspapers and ink on our fingers! Papers took over our conference room for a good week.

1404ToledoAnnivSarahOttney

That’s editor-in-chief Sarah Ottney.

I also photographed papers for our collages inside the edition.

1404ToledoAnnivPhotoCollage

For the cover, I knew I wanted to do something special so I stripped away the template, leaving only the banner ad at the bottom. My initial concept was to include all 500+ covers we’ve published since 2005. That task proved a little too ambitious since old archives are saved on individual discs and I was running out of time. Plus, I discovered that the covers, at that size, were too small to be anywhere near legible. Instead of having 26 covers across the width of the front page, I decreased it to 13. In the end, I was able to fit in 130 covers.

031515 A01-40.indd

Included in this issue…

Our community ombudsman’s favorite stories:

031515 A6-7, 8-9 10years.indd

How we covered politics…

031515 A10-11, 12-13 10years.indd

…business…

031515 A14-15, 16-17 10years.indd

sports, crime and health and local arts:

031515 A29 STAR Cover.indd

An update on two former interns:

031515 A22-23, 24-25 10years.indd

Some of our cartoonist’s favorite work:

031515 A10-11, 12-13 10years.indd

The first columns written by publisher Tom Pounds and former editor Michael S. Miller:

031515 A6-7, 8-9 10years.indd

A look at the first issue: of the Free Press:

031515 A6-7, 8-9 10years.indd

“Where were they then?” featuring local politicians:

031515 A22-23, 24-25 10years.indd

Find the Free Press web site here.

Previous blog posts featuring the Toledo Free Press and the Free Press Star:

The Chicago Sun-Times launched a redesign Wednesday

The Chicago Sun-Times launched a redesign this week.

On the left is Tuesday’s front page, the final edition in the previous format. On the right is Wednesday’s launch day front page.

1503ChicagoSunTimesBA

Looks like new typography — that superbold compressed headline font makes room for a new superbold extended headline font.

Here is today’s front page.

150313ChicagoSunTimes

But the most striking change — on page one, at least — is the new nameplate. The Sun-Times has seen a number of nameplates just since the mid-1990s, when I lived in Chicago. Forgive me if I missed one:

1503ChicagoSunTimesNameplates

Quite a change. With the exception of the most recent one — the one with the dot com in it — each seems like an improvement over the one before.

My only remaining contact at the Sun-Times told me there was no consultant involved in the redesign, suggesting it was done totally in-house. I asked him if I could get some before-and-after inside pages — a sports “front”, for example, which traditionally is on the back page of the Sun-Times — but he told me to not expect anything. Hence, this rather thin blog post today.

A reason for that, perhaps — but I’m only speculating here — is the Sun-Times‘ new partnership with USA Today, which will reportedly result in the Sun-Times running up to 12 pages a day of USA Today-branded national and international content. Here’s a closer look at the little blurb at the bottom of Wedneday’s front page:

1503.ChicagoSunTimesBlurb

This move doesn’t seem to have gone over too well with most Chicagoland media critics. (Find examples here, here and here.)

It hasn’t been all that long since the previous redesign of the Sun-Times. That happened just 21 months ago.

Since then, the Sun-Times is probably best known to visual journalist-types as the paper that axed its entire photography department a couple of years ago. The paper later re-hired four of them but then let them go again a couple of weeks ago.

Fun fact: The editor of the Chicago Sun-Times is a very nice fellow by the name of Jim Kirk. He used to be a business columnist for the Tribune. Every time I walked by his desk, I greeted him as “Admiral Kirk.”

The guy probably thought I was nuts.

Average daily circulation for the Sun-Times is reportedly 422,335.

Those front-page images are from the Newseum. Of course.

‘Let’s give the terrorists just what they want’

“Hey, I’ve got an idea: Let’s give the terrorists just what they want!”

As far as I can tell, that was the thinking last night at the two major New York City tabloids.

Just in case you haven’t seen them yet, here are the front pages of today’s editions of the New York Post and the Daily News.

140820NYCtabs

I post those with a bit of reluctantance. And only because it’s awfully hard to talk about them in a visuals blog, y’know, without the visual.

I’m not the only one having a strong reaction to this today. Both YouTube and Twitter were removing images and videos of the beheading of freelance journalist James Foley by the Islamic State. At one point yesterday, Twitter even blocked the account of Zaid Benjamin, the Washington correspondent for Radio Zawa. Foreign Policy‘s Shane Harris writes:

After his account was reinstated, Benjamin reported that he lost 30,000 followers during the time he was blocked from the social media site. Benjamin told Foreign Policy that he received no explanation from Twitter for his suspension. A spokesperson for the company, when asked, didn’t provide one.

Even Mediaite wouldn’t post the NY Post cover. Mediaite’s Evan McMurry writes:

In the meantime, let’s return to simpler days, like yesterday, when all the Post was doing was telling women to suck it up and accept their objectification like slaves.

I would argue putting these images on page one breaches most of what I’ve read and learned about visual journalism ethics. But then again, I don’t think most of what I’ve read about visual journalism ethics applies to NYC tabloids.

I would argue very strongly against using either of these images in a newspaper, magazine or web site aimed at a general audience. And especially not on page one.

Still, please take note this happened today. If you’ve never discussed the use of shocking images on page one, today might be a good day for it.

Those images are from the Newseum, of course. Which, by the way, named both pages to its daily Top 10 list.

Ew.

James Molnar of the Toledo (Ohio) Free Press writes:

You may have heard Toledo made national headlines last week with news of a do-not-drink water advisory.

Wednesday morning, we were going through photos, trying to figure out what would work for a cover. I was not loving the options so I asked our managing editor, Sarah Ottney, to contact our staff photographer, Christie Materni, and have her go to the lakefront with a glass and get a gross photo for me.

What Christie submitted Thursday morning looked awesome and incredibly gross.

081014 A01-28.indd

Per your mantra, we ran the photo big and got the hell out of its way. We got rid of refer boxes and masthead coloring for the week. We also ran the headline small so as not to district from the photo.

Let me know what you think.

I think I won’t be drinking any water for a long, long time.

For fun, compare James’ cover with that of the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail back in January.

140810TwoCoversCompared

You can find the Free Press‘ online digital issue here. An opinion piece kicks off the issue on page three.

140810Toledo02

The editorial cartoon by Don Lee is pretty funny.

140810ToledoCartoon

The opinion piece wraps up on page four.

140810Toledo04

That “Lorax on the Lake” bit is a letter from a resident noting that Dr. Seuss originally mentioned Lake Erie in his 1971 book about environmental awareness, the Lorax.

Locals reportedly approached Seuss, pointed out that environmental efforts had worked on Erie and asked him to remove the reference. He reportedly did.

Sarah Ottney also shot this picture of the president of the National Wildlife Federation pointing out something among the algae bloom in Lake Erie.

140810ToledoAlgaePhoto

That picture leads the main news story on page six.

140810Toledo06

The story jumps from page seven to page eight…

140810Toledo08

…and then to pages 10 and 11…

140810Toledo10

…before wrapping up on pages 12 and 13.

140810Toledo12

Find the Free Press web site here.

Previous blog posts featuring the Toledo Free Press and the Free Press Star:

Two more cool pages from the Toledo Free Press

James Molnar tells us about his most recent project for the Toledo Free Press Star:

I love collecting vintage postcards (or at least postcards with vintages designs) when I’m  visiting a different city. I was inspired to come up with something like that for our annual guide to “101 ways to spend 101 days in Northwest Ohio.”

072014 A01-32.indd

I’m really happy with the results. It was a great lesson in Illustrator and Photoshop.

We also requested photos and ideas from our Instagram followers (with the hashtag #TFP101).

072014 A4-5 Opinion-STAR Cover.indd

This key to the pictures ran on page seven.

072014 A6-7, 8-9 OneHundredOne.indd

James writes:

This is similar to what we for 419 day back in April. We went with a photo grid on the inside cover and sprinkled their photos throughout the guide.

072014 A6-7, 8-9 OneHundredOne.indd

072014 A6-7, 8-9 OneHundredOne.indd

If you’re ever in the area, the 101 list has some great ideas for exploring our region. Our project editor Jordan Finney, an intern from Hillsdale College, did a fantastic job compiling the list.

Find our complete digital version here.

A 2009 graduate of Marquette in Milwaukee, Wis., James served as a reporter, designer and then visual content editor for the student paper there, the Marquette Tribune.

1401JamesAMolnarMug

He spent a couple of months as a designer and editor for the Daily of Chatauqua, N.Y. and then seven months as an apprentice optician at Eyeglass World in Toledo before catching on at the Free Press in 2010. He also covers movies for the Free Press.

Find James’ personal blog here, his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Cool cover photoillustration

Check out the wonderful photoillustration afront this week’s City tabloid of Rochester, N.Y.

1405RochesterCityPaperIllo

The illustration by staffer Matt Deturck uses a photo by freelance photographer Mark Chamberlin. They’re both graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The topic is Jamal Rossi, the new dean of the Eastman School of Music. Find the cover story here.

Thanks to Paul Sparrow of the Newseum for pointing this out to us this morning via Twitter.

A cover montage made of crowdsourced photos

A couple of weeks ago, James A. Molnar of the Toledo Free Press Star shared his annual Opening Day baseball covers.

Now, he shares his crowdsourced 419 Day cover. Click for a larger look:

041314 A17, 18-19 STAR.indd

The local area code in Toledo is 419, James tells us, so April 19 has now become a local holiday of sorts. He writes:

Toledo City Council officially recognized the celebratory day two years ago “to showcase Toledo, Ohio, foster civic pride, and to create an epicenter for an annual citywide celebration…”

When I was informed the story was going to be our Star cover, I wanted to do an area photo grid. We reached out to our Instagram followers and asked them to use #TFP419 and we would select our favorites to put on the cover.

The response was overwhelming. We had more than 140 photos to choose from 48 hours later.

Here’s the print version of the story…

041314 A17, 18-19 STAR.indd

…and here’s a closeup of the key to the contributions for the cover montage.

140419Toledo419DayKey

Go here to find the online version of the story.

A 2009 graduate of Marquette in Milwaukee, Wis., James served as a reporter, designer and then visual content editor for the student paper there, the Marquette Tribune.

1401JamesAMolnarMug

He spent a couple of months as a designer and editor for the Daily of Chatauqua, N.Y. and then seven months as an apprentice optician at Eyeglass World in Toledo before catching on at the Free Press in 2010. He also covers movies for the Free Press. Find his personal blog here, his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye seeks a design director and a copy editor

Those of you looking to a) recover from or avoid a layoff or b) make a move to a very interesting operation, here’s a huge heads up: RedEye is hiring.

They’re looking for an design director and a copy editor.

140410RedEyeCover

As you probably know, RedEye is the free, six-days-a-week commuter+youth tabloid published by the Chicago Tribune. It’s one of the oldest and — I think it’s fair to say — more successful such tabs in the country. There was a time, 10 or 12 years ago, when nearly every newspaper company in the country was trying to copy their success. Hardly anyone succeeded.

Average daily distribution for RedEye is a quarter-million copies.

Ace designer Jay St. Pierrewho joined RedEye last June — asked very kindly:

I was wondering if you would be able to put something out on your site about our design director and copy editor positions. I know it says the deadline to apply is April 11, but we’re going to extend that if we get good candidates who want to apply.

That’s code for: You have a little bit more time. But if you’re interested, get off your ass and contact them now.

Here are the official want ads:

DESIGN DIRECTOR

RedEye, Chicago’s go-to news source for 20- and 30-somethings is looking to hire a Design Director for its daily paper and our weekly tablet edition.

In this role, you’ll be responsible to determine the visual direction of RedEye across all platforms and to supervise and manage this on a daily basis.  In addition, you’ll be directly supervising the design team.

Our new design director must possess superior design skills, vision, initiative, self-direction, creativity, superior news judgment, design-software skills, teamwork skills, an attention to detail and a commitment to accuracy, the ability to multitask and meet deadlines, the ability to lead a staff, the ability to manage own time and the time of others, superb organizational and planning skills, the ability to perform well under high-pressure deadlines, technical troubleshooting skills, and editing skills that conform to accepted journalistic techniques, ethical standards and the style of the publication.

The ideal candidate is in tune with and enthusiastic about delivering on RedEye’s unique news philosophy and on our mission of informing, engaging and entertaining  our target audience of 20 to 30- year-old Chicagoans.

All interested applicants must apply by 3 PM on Friday, April 11, 2014

Any issues or questions? Please contact our Recruitment on Twitter @CTMGjobs or Facebook.com/ctmgjobs.

Primary Duties:

  • Guiding the design philosophy for RedEye on iPad, print and the Web, and enforcing consistency.
  • Spearheading redesigns and design changes.
  • Designing pages for all platforms.
  • Supervising design staff, with performance-review responsibilities.
  • Developing less-experienced designers and leading design meetings.
  • Working closely with all designers to improve their design skills.
  • Recruiting new design talent.
  • Assigning future design projects to designers; ensuring development and engagement.
  • Being an active liaison to Tribune’s design and graphics departments.
  • Working with the section editors and platform managers, helping edit high-profile photo shoots, encouraging reporter-designer and photo editor-designer communications.
  • Guiding staff use of typography and ensuring typographical continuity.
  • Carrying out RedEye’s mission through unique and ground-breaking design.
  • Keeping abreast of current events and newsmakers in news, sports and pop culture.
  • Keeping open lines of communication with supervisor, direct reports and colleagues.
  • Maintaining and updating RedEye’s design templates.
  • Dealing with personnel problems, navigating ethical issues, crisis management.

Basic Foundation Skills:

  • Participation in daily news meeting; leading regular designers meeting.
  • Developing the design for new product initiatives.
  • Carrying out all job duties following RedEye’s/Tribune’s ethics code, editing the paper free of bias, and recusing his or herself from conflicts of interest,
  • Representing RedEye at conferences, seminars, professional meetings and other events where company presence is deemed desirable.
  • Fixing errors of grammar, spelling, punctuation, clarity, fact, and libel.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Minimum of 3 years experience as a news designer
  • Previous design and management experience at a daily publication or website
  • Knowledge of and dedication to RedEye’s unique mission
  • Excellent command of verbal and written English

Go here to apply for this position.

I gotta tell you folks: That’s a mighty juicy opportunity. I’d be tempted to apply for that myself. If it weren’t for the restraining order.

Here’s the info on the other job:

COPY EDITOR

RedEye, Chicago’s go-to news source for 20- and 30-somethings is looking to hire a Copy Editor for its daily paper and our weekly tablet edition.

In this role, you’ll be responsible for editing, rewriting, and proofreading all copy for RedEye’s print and iPad editions. RedEye staffers also contribute to all aspects of the paper, as well as our Web site and iPad edition, and this person might also be called on to write and create content for the Web site or paper as well.

The ideal candidate is in tune with and enthusiastic about delivering on RedEye’s unique news philosophy and on our mission of informing, engaging and entertaining our target audience of 20 to 30- year-old Chicagoans.

Deadline to apply: April 11, 2014

Responsibilities:

  •  Editing articles and graphics for grammar, punctuation, clarity and accuracy; proof reading others’ work; and writing headlines, captions and refers appearing in RedEye. Working with reporters and editors to clarify information to be published.
  • To work one-on-one with reporters, free-lance writers and other contributors to clarify points, obtain missing information, and generally produce copy ready for publication. The nature of the changes at this point may range from minor touch-ups to substantial rewrites to improve wording and organization.
  • Meeting production deadlines and maintaining ideal page flow under minimal to moderate supervision.
  • Employing creativity and independent news judgment to text editing, designing, photo editing, and otherwise preparing work for publication.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree; a minimum of 3 years editing experience at a daily news publication or Web site.
  • Professional-level grasp of proper grammar, spelling, punctuation. Ability to write accurately, with clarity, without bias. Knowledge of libel laws and adherence to the Tribune’s and Editorial’s codes of ethics.
  • Familiarity with InDesign and basic design skills.
  • Copy-editing, headline-writing and proofreading experience is required.
  • Social media and Web production experience required
  • Maintaining up-to-date skills on various digital platforms and keeping abreast of current events and newsmakers in news, sports and pop culture.

Go here to apply for this position.

Normally, in a post like this, I’ll take a few moments to tell you more about the paper and the city. That hardly seems necessary here. Most of what you need to know about RedEye as a publication — the quality of its presentation and the tone it sets for its readers — you can see right here:

140410ChicagoRedEyeSamples

I think the message is clear: If your A game isn’t at the very top level in the field, don’t embarrass yourself by applying.

If, on the other hand, you’re an experienced manager and you know how to kick the ass of all those pesky little pixels, then bring it. Now.

Likewise, surely I don’t have to tell you much about Michigan Avenue and downtown Chicago. If you’ve never seen it, the Tribune Tower is one of the most picturesque newspaper buildings in the world.

120120ChicagoTribuneBuilding

There’s a freakin’ moon rock set into a little bulletproof glass window embedded in the wall of the first floor.

A freakin’ moon rock!

I worked in that building for two-and-a-half years in the late 1990s. It was a thrill just walking in the front door every day.

Plus, there’s now a huge 120-tab beer bar in the former pressroom.

 

‘Who ya gonna call?’ The Toledo Mudhens, of course.

Our pal James A. Molnar sent us the multiple covers his papers run every year to commemorate the start of baseball season for the famed Toledo Mud Hens.

James tells us:

As is our annual tradition, we published our Brobdingnagian edition dedicated to our local Minor League Baseball team.

The Toledo Free Press’ outside cover features…

…illustration by cartoonist Don Lee; idea by our editor-in-chief Michael S. Miller.

033014 A01-76.indd

The cover stems from various promotion nights by the Hens, which includes Ghostbusters Night, an evening honoring the 30th anniversary of the film franchise.

Just check out the Ghostbusters jerseys the Mud Hens will wear May 30:

130403ToledoBaseballJerseys

Hmm. Has Uni Watch blogger Paul Lukas seen this yet?

Find the story here.

Here’s the Free Press‘ inside cover…

033014 A11 InsideCover HENS.indd

…and the Star cover.

033014 A67, 68-69, 70 STAR.indd

Both of those were designed by James.

James also recommends…

… a story about how the weather has given the ground crew quite a bit of work to do in preparation for Opening Day.

Click these for readable versions:

033014 A24-25, 26-27 MUD HENS.indd

033014 A24-25, 26-27 MUD HENS.indd

Find the online version of that story here.

In all, the Free Press presented 76 pages of preseason baseball coverage, James says. Find the entire e-editon here.

Cool superhero cover alert

It’s Comic Con time in Boston this weekend. The alt-weekly tab there, Dig Boston, celebrated with variant covers.

This one by noted comics artist Ed McGuinness shows Superman and a grown-up Fionna from the Adventure Time TV show…

1531Cover.indd

…while this one by Shelli Paroline — an artist for Adventure Time — depicts Fionna in a bit more recognizable form, returning the favor.

1531Cover.indd

Both Paroline and McGuinness live in the suburbs of Boston. And both artists will be at the convention.

Read more about the covers here. Find an interview with the founder of the Boston Comic Con here.

When pun headlines go bad

At first glance, this might seem like a pun headline on a breaking news near-disaster story.

All but two lived in this frightful plane crash. It was a fright, right?

120707ChicagoSunTimes

Unless you’re Asian, that is. In which case you’re well aware of all the uncool jokes about Asians not being able to pronounce the letter “l.” And you also consider this flight originated in China and it passengers were mostly Chinese and Korean.

In that case, this seems like a racist pun headline.

Bobby Calvan of the reports for the Asian American Journalists Association:

In a brief telephone conversation on Sunday, Sun-Times Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk said it didn’t dawn on his editors that the play on words could be construed as offensive.

“There was nothing intentional on our part to play off any stereotypes. … If anybody was offended by that, we are sorry,” Kirk added.

“We were trying to convey the obviously frightening situation of that landing,” Kirk said.

We’ve seen truly awful, racist pun headlines before. Like this one from ESPN, for example, during the Jeremy Lin craze last year:

120218JeremyLinEspnHeadline02

And I remember only too well a headline the Chicago Tribune used on the front page of sports the day after Tiger Woods won the Masters golf tournament. Instead of Da Man!, someone got cute and wrote Da Master! to tie in with the name of the tournament. Completely forgetting about that whole slavery-and-Civil War thing. I can’t say I would have caught it had I seen the headline before it published. But we sure knew about it once the phones started ringing the next day. Yikes.

Hey, I’m the first to succumb to the temptation to use a pun headline. But these days, I mostly work on backgrounders and featurized treatments. It’s always tricky using a pun on a news story in which lives were lost. I’d say that was the Sun-Times‘ first mistake.

And secondly: Yeah. You have to watch for all the possible meanings of a pun headline. The more people who see a headline like this, the better. As Calvan writes later in his story:

If the Sun-Times’ copy desk is like many others in newsrooms across the nation, it probably lacked the diversity of voices on staff that might have questioned the appropriateness of the headline.

That Sunday Sun-Times front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

Chicago Sun-Times launches a redesign

The Sun-Times of Chicago, Ill., launched a redesign this morning.

On the left is Tuesday’s front page. On the right is today’s.

130618ChicagoSunTimesOld 130619ChicagoSunTimesNew

The most obvious change, of course, is the new nameplate. That part, I like quite a bit.

1306SunTimesNameplateOld

1306SunTimesNameplateNew

The rest of the page, I can’t really offer much of a critique for. The large ad still takes up nearly a fifth of the cover. And today’s stack of right-side refers is larger than Tuesday’s stack, leaving precious little room for the cover story. But the Sun-Times has been doing this a lot lately, anyway.

Editor-in-chief Jim Kirk — not the captain of the USS Enterprise, but the former business editor of the Chicago Tribunewrites:

We are rolling out a new contemporary design in print that we believe will help you navigate the paper better while better connecting related information and content on our website. In fact, that enhanced integration with our digital content is now reflected on our front page.

130619ChicagoSunTimesNew

…We are delivering more content across multiple platforms so that you can stay connected with the day’s top news any way you want. That includes more video, more breaking news, news alerts and email newsletters.

But, of course, no mention of news photography. Perhaps for obvious reasons.

Average daily circulation for the Sun-Times is 422,335.

Those front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Chicago Sun-Times lays off entire 20-person photo staff

Robert Channick, media reporter for the Chicago Tribune, tweets this morning:

1305ChicagoSunTimes

In the story Robert later posted, he reported that 20 shooters are now gone. The resources will be redirected toward video.

Additional twitter traffic out of Chicago suggests that reporters have been told to shoot with their cellphone cameras. And that the photo editors have been let go as well.

Let’s check out the front of today’s Sun-Times:

130530ChicagoSunTimesFront

That’s the winning shot from last night’s playoff game vs. the Red Wings. But it’s an awkward angle. And an awkward crop. And an awkward headline placement.

This particular change can’t possibly be a good thing.

That front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

It looks like Jim Romenesko will be following this story throughout the day. Read more here.

Omaha’s Jay St. Pierre moving to Chicago Tribune’s RedEye

Sports designer extraordinaire Jay St. Pierre announced via Facebook this week:

Well, it’s official: I took a design job at RedEye, a Chicago Tribune publication, and am moving to The Windy City in June!!!

1210JayStPierreMug

It’s been an amazing two years in Omaha, and I cannot thank the people at The World-Herald enough for everything they did for my career.

A 2009 graduate of Louisiana State University, Jay worked as a sportswriter, a copy editor, a page designer and as associate managing editor for the school’s student paper, the Daily Reveille. He also served as a sports stringer for Sports Illustrated On Campus, as a design intern for the Colorado Springs Gazette and as editor of Legacy magazine.

He spent several months as a designer and copy editor for the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., before moving back to Colorado Springs in 2010. He moved to the World-Herald of Omaha in July, 2011.

A few samples of his work:

 

130317NebraskaSpringFootball

1302CoolThingOmahaSuperBowl

07_Feb.WH01SRC.indd

   

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

Our first ‘Iron Man 3’ features treatment

My pal James A. Molnar of the Toledo (Ohio) Free Press Star writes:

I’m excited to share with you our Summer Movies package. Once again, Iron Man is center stage.

050113 S01-52.indd

 

I found a cool photo of Iron Man sitting on a couch and thought I’d add popcorn, as if he’s watching a movie. My editor, Michael S. Miller, asked me to put him in a theater and we went from there.

For the inside, I was given a bounty of room (even if two were black-and-white pages).

Here’s page four…

050113 S4-5, 6-7.indd

…page five…

050113 S4-5, 6-7.indd

…page seven…

050113 S4-5, 6-7.indd

…and page eight.

050113 S8-9, 10.indd

James adds that he…

…can’t wait to see Iron Man 3 on the big screen. I’m hoping for cool 3-D glasses, too.

1301JamesMolnarMug

A 2009 graduate of Marquette in Milwaukee, Wis., James served as a reporter, designer and then visual content editor for the student paper there, the Marquette Tribune. He spent a couple of months as a designer and editor for the Daily of Chatauqua, N.Y. and then seven months as an apprentice optician at Eyeglass World in Toledo before catching on at the Free Press in 2010 as lead designer.

A few previous blog posts featuring James Molnar’s work at the Free Press Star:

April 12: Pro tip: Never made a ‘mud hen’ angry

Oct. 31, 2012: A handful of happy Halloween page treatments

April 30, 2012: Stirring up a little visual excitement with the Avengers movie

April 5, 2012: A starting lineup of the day’s best Opening Day front pages

Oct. 28, 2011: Four great Halloween features page treatments

May 11, 2011: A fun summer movie package by a Toledo weekly

Nov. 19, 2010: Just wild about Harry …Potter movie treatments, that is

Oct. 29, 2010: More BOO-tiful Halloween-themed pages

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

So, are you doing anything cool for the new Iron Man 3 movie that opens Friday? Send me the page.