A look at our 2013 Christmas front pages

The Orange County Register does really wonderful front pages for the holidays. Especially Christmas.

Here’s a look at this year’s OCR Christmas cover, as well as the covers for our sister newspapers in Southern California:

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Here’s another look at that great shot, which was photographed by Leonard Ortiz and art directed by Karen Kelso.

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The Riverside Press-Enterprise:

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Irvine World News:

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Long Beach Register:

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The Current (Newport Beach and Costa Mesa):

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Both The Current and Long Beach Register had great front pages yesterday (Dec. 24, 2013), and were both named to the Newseum’s Top Ten in the Nation for the day:

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Last year’s Christmas cover for the OC Register was pretty fantastic, as well. (It also was shot by Leonard Ortiz and art directed by Karen Kelso.)

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OC Register’s crossword package

From the Dec. 20, 2013, edition of the Orange County Register:

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Our special Focus page, edited and produced by Charles Apple:

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We have an amazing puzzle builder, David Steinberg, who helps us put together an exclusive crossword puzzle every week for the Register’s community/weekly newspapers. He did a special puzzle for the OC Register today.

(If you see this kid show up at a trivia contest, walk away. He will clobber you.)

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And here’s a closer look at his puzzle from today’s paper:

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Charles also did our awesome flag treatment for the front page. Here’s a closer look:

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We talk about giving our readers daily gifts and little moments of serendipity. Delightful and delicious surprises. Yep, this is how we try to do those things at the Register.

(I’m not going to post the answers on here, at least not today. But if you really want to see the answers, email me at rcurley at ocregister dot com.)

Our 2013 Thanksgiving front pages

Six pounds of holiday goodness delivered to your door step this morning via the Register’s daily newspapers … not including our fantastic local weekly papers, that are also mostly delivered on Thursdays.

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High school football playoffs preview … with total disregard for subtlety. (Just how we like it!)

A few weeks ago at one of our news meetings, Long Beach Register sports editor Bob Keisser asked me if I had seen that Sunday’s New York Times. It was a double-truck that spanned the front and back covers of the Times’ sports section.

It looked like this:

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Bob said he wanted to do something similar for the Long Beach Register’s high school football preview coverage that would be published a few weeks later.

After getting the basic idea cleared – both philosophically and technically – by Orange County Register design gurus Helayne Perry and Brenda Shoun, the wheels were set in motion for us to try this in our Long Beach newspaper.

That’s when Bob began working LB Register designer Matt Murray. We ended up getting lots of helpful suggestions all across our design and photo teams, and what was published on Friday was fantastic! (But Bob and Matt were definitely the guys who made sure this happened and did the legwork.)

Let’s start by showing the front of the entire newspaper for that day and work our way back to the sports section.

Friday’s Long Beach Register cover was designed by Anna Berken, based upon a story idea by Bob. Here’s what it looked like:

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Here’s a detail shot of the centerpiece:

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The sports cover then looked like this:

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But if you opened it up, it looked like this:

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That’s the front and back cover of sports. Really fun!

Here is what the inside pages looked like for the rest of the playoff preview:

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And that’s how the Long Beach Register “borrowed” an idea from the New York Times.

🙂

Understanding how readers consume content and then building a front page around those ideas …

When someone is hired into the Orange County Register newsroom, I am asked to explain not only the history of our newspaper, but why we do certain things the way that we do them.

It takes me awhile. And it’s also almost always the highlight of my week. I love that we try to explain our newsroom’s philosophies and strategies to those who join our team. Seems kinda basic, even important, but this is the first newspaper I’ve worked at that does this.

At one point in my talk, I go through these points:

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And here is picture of the chart mentioned in the screen grab above. (It was given to me a few years ago by a wise friend who loves numbers even more than I do.)

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So, that leads us to this …

The front page of this morning’s Orange County Register might not even be the best example of all of this from just this week, but it does really illustrate some of our core philosophies.

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And here are a few detail shots that show what I am talking about:

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Our editors and designers know what we’re trying to achieve, and our A1 editor – Marcia Prouse – does a great job of pulling it all together for us.