DATE: Sunday, Nov. 8, 1992
NEWSPAPER: Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon
ROLE: Design editor, Page One
SIGNIFICANCE: This was a big deal. Treating a centerpiece story in a non-traditional way had not been done before at the Statesman, and I remember having to make a passionate pitch to the managing editor to even attempt it. In hindsight, I’m surprised he trusted an idealistic twentysomething without seeing at least a sketch. I must have been persuasive back then.
After reading Diana’s story about domestic violence, I remember imagining a broken china cup on a tiled kitchen floor. To create that image, I borrowed a sheet of watercolor paper from the staff artist, scribed pencil lines in a grid, broke a china cup in a paper bag and arranged the shards on the paper. I tore the edges and burned them in a few places after staining the sheet with warm tea. (So arty!) I had Gerry, one of our photographers, shoot the image on the floor of the photo studio with one light to create a shadow. The type was set in Quark after measuring by hand the margins from the original art.
Why all the handwork? This was all before Photoshop. We also were in the transition from hand composition of pages (stripping in headlines and columns of type) to film output (full-page negatives). Macs and Quark were a novelty in our newsroom then. We used them primarily for specialty output; the bulk of page copy and headlines were produced on a proprietary system on equipment that dated to the 1970s.
LESSONS: Pre-visualization works. So does believing in an idea and doing everything it takes to make it real.
REGRETS: OMG, the straight quotes. How in the hell did we not catch that?