Our coverage of the budget showdown from this morning’s newspaper

Back in September, before the federal government shutdown, I wrote a post about how the Orange County Register was working hard to make sure the broccoli tasted pretty darn good. 

(Here’s a link to that post.)

Over the last few weeks, our government and politics team – led by editor Mark Matassa – along with lots of help and suggestions from the rest of our OCR crew, has continued to make a complex story very accessible.

Even interesting.

Today’s paper was a great example of what we’re trying to do with our coverage. Here are a few examples from Wednesday’s seven-section, 88-page paper.

Front page:

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Here’s a closer look at the A1 timeline, which was the brainchild of Register A1 editor Marcia Prouse:

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An explanation of what would happen if the U.S. government defaulted on its debt:

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There were all sorts of great stories on our local cover, but come on, if you find an 18-foot fish, you play that sucker up:

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Here’s a look at Fred Matamoros’ graphic for the package:

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And here’s Taylor Hill’s story on the “sea serpent,” I mean oarfish:

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Then check out this great food package on spicy cocktails, with fantastic photos from Kate Lucas:

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Today’s Irvine World News was pretty incredible

The Orange County Register’s daily newspaper for Irvine is the Irvine World News. (I’ve written a lot about the transformation of our Irvine paper in previous posts, if you’re interested.)

Today’s paper was notable because it was the biggest edition of the Irvine World News since it became a daily – 40 pages! Unless you count the spadias. If you do that, it was a 46-page paper. 

But that’s not why I wanted to write something quick about today’s edition.

Please check out this centerpiece package by Michael Katz on youth sports injuries, with amazing design from Chris Lusk.

Irvine World News editors Paul Danison and Jeff Rowe – along with OCR community design editor Helayne Perry – are masters at telling stories using much more than just text and photos. This package shows this perfectly.

Here is the front page:

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Here is the first page of the story:

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And here are a few detail shots:

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And here is the second page of the package:

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And here is a detail shot from that page:

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Making sure the broccoli tastes great: How the OC Register covered the possible government shutdown in this morning’s newspaper

One of the things that has always fascinated me about the Orange County Register is the newspaper’s commitment to storytelling that does not just involve 50-inch narratives and a black-and-white, two-column photo.

Our editor, Ken Brusic, seems to ask once a week if we have told a story in a way that gives our readers clarity through the chaos.

I relate to that. Have we not only made something complex understandable, but have we also made it so that people want to read it?

Readers’ lives are complicated. They have a lot going on, with tons of things vying for their attention. And most folks aren’t saying: “Boy, I hope the newspaper has a whole lot of words in it today about the possible government shutdown, because I can’t wait to read as much about that as possible.”

So, if newspaper editors feel like something really weighty is important, I’ve always felt like they had an obligation to make it worth our readers’ time. Make it compelling. I’ve written about this before, but we need to make sure that the broccoli tastes great so that folks want to eat healthy things.

Working closely with our Washington bureau, our design team, our Page One editor, our local editor and our wire editors, here is how the Register made the broccoli (a possible government shutdown dripping with politics) taste amazing today:

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Here is a close-up on the centerpiece:

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Every day, we have one or two Focus pages in the Register’s print edition, where the goal is to take a story that might typically be told as a text-based wire story and we try do something interesting with it.

The mainbar for today’s budget showdown package is a Focus page, except that Matthew Fleming from the Regiser’s Washington bureau wrote it:

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And here are some more detailed looks at the page:

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Even with our related coverage from the wires, we tried to make sure we had elements like “3 things to know” …

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But one of my favorite things we do at the Register is to try to have “learning moments.” What if we viewed Orange County as a classroom with 3 million people in it and we wanted to teach them things?

That’s the idea behind our “Living Textbook” packages. They typically run in our University sections and we reach out to local professors to help us teach our readers about something going on in the news or just something interesting.

How do we demystify something that seems super complicated?

Here is our “Living Textbook” for the possible government shutdown:

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Here is closer look at the top of that page:

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As someone who may or may not have eaten Buffalo wings, onion rings and Krispy Kreme donuts last night for dinner, I can tell you that right there is some tasty broccoli.

🙂

A look at the first issue of the Long Beach Register

On Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, we published our first edition of the Long Beach Register. It was a two-section, 32-page paper – the main news section was 22 pages, and the sports section was 10 pages. And it was loaded with ads.

Here are the editorial pages, but not all 32 pages. I haven’t posted any of the pages that were full-page ads.

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Our very first centerpiece story was written by the uber talented Greg Mellen, with an amazing illustration from the Register’s Fred Matamoros. The page was designed by our team’s senior designer, Helayne Perry.

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One of my favorite details on our Page Two package is the custom weather graphics from Chris Morris. And having a standing place to put a cool photo from Jeff Gritchen and our other talented photographers is wonderful.

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Here’s a close-up of that Long Beach Register family photo taken by Ed Cristostomo:

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Here’s the beginning of the centerpiece jump from the cover. Greg Mellen wrote the heck out of this great story, and the page was designed by Anthony Mendoza:

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To go with the centerpiece, we also developed a double-truck historical timeline that was written by Josh Stewart and designed by Jorge Medina:

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The centerpiece story then jumped to Page 14, also designed by Anthony:

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Here is our first opinion/voices page:

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Here is the final jump page for the front-page centerpiece by Greg:

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Then the sports section began. For the first few weeks, we’re doing previews of the local high school football teams.

I am blown away by how many stories Bob Keisser and the rest of our sports staff wrote. And Jeff Gritchen’s photos were kick-ass fantastic.

The sports pages were designed by Andres Cardenas and Matt Murray.

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Well, that was the first edition of the Long Beach Register. It was fantastic and I was so proud of our team. But Tuesday’s paper was even more impressive. I’ll try to post a few pages from that paper later in the week to show where we’re heading with the design and content.

A behind-the-scenes newsroom look at the launch of Long Beach Register

I’ve always felt like newsrooms are magical places. But I have never experienced the thrill of being in a newsroom that was about ready to launch a new, daily, subscriber-based newspaper in a major metro market until last night.

It was beyond amazing to work with so many people to literally make a new newspaper: the Long Beach Register.

The Long Beach Register’s chief photographer, Jeff Gritchen, took these awesome photos last night:

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LB Register editor Paul Eakins, designer Matt Murray and a nerd named Rob all look over assistant editor Jody Collins’ shoulders as she makes final changes to a page.

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Matt holds up the proof page of a double-truck from the first issue’s main story package, as Jody laughs at Matt’s description of the layout’s awesomeness.

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Paul and I read over a proof of the front page.

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Once all of our pages had been sent to the production department, we all headed over to watch the plates being made. There was some high-fiving.

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One of the plates being taken to the press.

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Dork heading to the press room.

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Plates from our centerpiece package on the press.

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Press operator working on sports front page.

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The first copies coming off the press.

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Looking over one of the first copies with our senior designer Helayne Perry and LB Register publisher Ian Lamont.

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Enjoying the first paper with Matt and senior writer Greg Mellen.

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Ian shows off our front page and sports page.

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Paul, Freedom Communications president Eric Spitz and Ian look over the first edition.

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A pressman examines the paper.

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A group of us from all different parts of our company wait for the press to start again as lots of still cameras and video cameras capture the moment.

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Eric shows me something on his phone, which — BTW — seems to be big enough to hold a full-sized image of our paper.

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Paul holds up a stack of our very first papers.

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And here’s Jeff, the great photographer who took all of these photos, holding up our paper.

What a night! I’m so proud of everyone who worked on this, and honored that I got to be around their creativity, talent and spirit as we did this.

Now let’s do it again today. Only without the TV cameras.

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Here’s a video that is from the Register’s website about the first night of production for the Long Beach Register from Mark Eades:

http://www.ocregister.com/video/c/1125998380/news/2615331843001/

Is it swag or schwag? Either way, we have some of it for our new Long Beach newspaper

After a few quick web searches, I’m still confused whether free promotional items are called “swag” or “schwag” and I will be the first to admit that I’m not the essential copy editor. (However, those web searches did reveal a definition to “schwag” that I have never heard before, though some of my friends who were in my college rock bands may have.)

That being said, check out this stuff, whatever it is supposed to be called …

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And here’s a shot of some of us (including Long Beach Register editor Paul Eakins and Long Beach Register publisher Ian Lamont) waiting for our staff photo to be taken last week. I think the child in the background was there with his mom checking out the scenery, though I haven’t met all of our interns yet. The interns all look so young to me now.

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I love this front page …

The stories. The visuals. The headlines. Today’s front page totally illustrates what Ken Brusic told me on my very first day at the Register a year ago: “We are the nation’s largest community newspaper." 

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This front page also shows another of the Register’s strategies: Not just being the "paper of record,” but in specifically being the “paper of interesting.”

The whole paper was strong and definitely filled with lots of interesting stuff today.

Really great health and business sections. Very good local section. Super informative and practical weekend guide section. And a cool sports story the revisits some of our famous Orange County Olympians, one year after they kicked tailfeathers in London.

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How big was today’s Orange County Register?

Well, that depends a little on where you live in the county. The main paper was seven sections with 90 pages. But I live in Anaheim, so my edition of the Register also included this morning’s Anaheim Bulletin, one of our weekly papers, which was 24 pages.

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So, I guess my local OC Register was either 90 pages or 114 pages, depending on how you count them.

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How does that compare with other newspapers this morning?

New York Times – 60 pages.

Wall Street Journal – 42 pages.

Washington Post – 48 pages, plus 28 tabloid-sized pages in the “Living Local” section that is delivered with the Thursday paper.

Detroit Free Press – 56 pages, plus 24 tabloid-sized pages in a weekend entertainment preview section. (The Freep is home delivered three days a week, and today’s paper is one of the home-delivery papers.)

Seattle Times – 30 pages.

Kansas City Star – 26 pages, plus 32 tabloid-sized pages in a weekend “Preview” section.

Los Angeles Times – 50 pages.

San Diego U-T – 42 pages, plus 36 tabloid-sized pages in the weekend entertainment section.

Long Beach Press-Telegram – 30 pages.

(Some of these page totals were from papers I counted, and others were given to me by friends throughout the newspaper industry.)