On Leap Day, Feb. 29, storms twisted through southwest Missouri. They hit north and south of Springfield, which is one of the papers I design at the studio. This area is no stranger to storms (i.e. the Joplin, Mo., tornado last May), but when one devastates a town, it's still a big deal.
In case you're not keeping track (and why would you?), Feb. 29 was also my first day back from my furlough. I was slotted to handle Springfield's A section that night. Welcome back, right? Thankfully, I had a lot of help from other staffers in the studio. It was actually a living reason why these studios are such a good idea: extra hands when needed and people with experience teaching those with less. I got a lot of help from a Des Moines Register designer who handled a lot of the Iowa flooding fronts back in 2008.
Springfield cleared off 1A and essentially six ad-free pages inside for their coverage, and they could have had at least one more for my tastes. One of the pages was very text-heavy, I would have liked to spread it out a bit. You don't need to see that one. But here's the front page and the doubletruck photo spread.
With the front, Springfield rightfully wanted as many entry points as possible. They had so much stuff inside, so they needed some refer space, which I placed on top of the photo so it would read well above the fold. I also crafted a QR code refer next to the flag to draw attention to all the web coverage above the fold. The photo placement took some conversation and coercing, too. Initially, there were three destruction photos on the cover, but no people. After I switched out the secondary photo, I was able to use the first-choice secondary really big for the doubletruck. It definitely got more play there than it would have on the front. I also played the gray bar and label headline you see on the second clip on all of the storm pages in the section.
Overall, I'd say it was a success. It wasn't until after I'd sent all the pages to press that I got up from my desk. That's a good nine hours of straight designing and coordinating and critiquing and tearing apart to build new pages. I'd say it paid off. Visual journalism blogger Charles Apple even mentioned my work on his blog. I'd say that's something, right?