Charles Apple


A longtime news artist and designer, Apple is the former graphics director of the Virginian-Pilot and the Des Moines Register. He teaches design and graphics workshops, does some consulting work and blogs for the American Copy Editors Society.

George McGovern

How Sioux Falls marked the death of George McGovern

South Dakota war hero, senator, presidential candidate and world hunger relief advocate George McGovern passed away Sunday at age 90.

Here’s how his hometown paper, the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, played the story today on page one.

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How Super Tuesday election maps could be improved

‘Tis the season for election maps. Big ones, small ones. Red ones, blue ones. They’re out there, despite the fact that big maps of the U.S. don’t really come into play until it’s time to tally electoral votes in November.

Have you ever wondered why Democrats are blue and Republicans are red on your typical election night map? Has it always been this way? Should we even be messing with state maps during primary season? How might we begin planning visuals for November?

I addressed these questions and offered related tips in a live chat with Poynter’s Sara Quinn. You can replay the chat here…

<a href=”″ mce_href=”″ >How could Super Tuesday election maps be improved?</a> Read more

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How does the brain perceive & process news online?

Why is it that most news sites are so difficult to navigate? Why does “intelligent Web design” seem like such an oxymoron?

We discussed these topics and more in a live chat with Paul Bolls, associate director and co-director of the Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects Lab at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism.

Bolls is studying how the brain perceives and processes online news and advertising, using equipment that measures physiological responses to what users see on Web pages. He writes that he hopes to discover what will make news and ad content “that users pay more attention to, understand better, and remember longer.”

Here are some interesting excerpts from his recent blog posts:

  • “Product advertisers have known for years that an aesthetically pleasing product will increase approach behaviors — grounded in basic motivational processes in the brain — among consumers, but the news industry has yet to realize its potential as a communication product.”
  • “Somewhere along the line it appears to have erroneously been decided that listing a ton of unrelated bits of information in menu form is great for Web design.
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How the Indianapolis Star plans to enhance its Super Bowl coverage with visuals

In advance of this weekend’s Super Bowl, I chatted with Scott Goldman, director of digital and visuals at the Indianapolis Star.

The Star historically works hard to find interesting ways to cover sporting events, from the 2010 college basketball Final Four to the Colts’ Super Bowl appearances to the annual Indy 500. During the chat, Scott talked about what the Star is working on this week and offered tips on how to use visuals, Web galleries and multimedia to cover a story as big as the Super Bowl.

A 1990 graduate of Syracuse University, Scott spent two years as the Sunday sports editor for the Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y., before becoming assistant sports editor of the Charlotte Observer in 1994. He moved to the Washington Post in 1999 — again, as assistant sports editor — and then to the Indianapolis Star in 2004 as assistant managing editor. Read more


The problem with all those ‘patchwork’ Iowa state maps on Caucus night

As you might have seen Tuesday night, a number of news sites showed county-by-county results of the Iowa Caucus as they rolled in late.

But did the maps actually tell us anything? With seven or eight candidates vying for delegates, color palettes were stretched to design limits showing results across Iowa’s 99 counties. The effect over much of the evening looked less like political analysis and more like a midwestern-style patchwork quilt.

The New York Times:

The Iowa Republican Party’s Google-based map:

The Los Angeles Times:

A fact which caught the eye of pundits, including the New York Times’ David Carr.

Plus, the results came in so painfully, painfully late in the evening. Be honest: Did you ride out the evening, watching the colors fill in the little county map icons? Read more


What Caucus season is really like for journalists in Iowa

It’s not often, living here in Virginia Beach, that I get homesick for Iowa in the middle of winter.

But I do have fond memories of Caucus season — despite the fact that I spent only one election cycle in Iowa, as graphics editor of the Des Moines Register.

You have to understand a little about Iowans: They’re a proud people, but — never mind all the banking and insurance work done there — at heart, the place really is a relatively uncomplicated farming community. I found Iowans to be warm, well-read — thank goodness! — and to have a pretty good sense of humor about themselves. (Unless, perhaps, they are the target of what they consider to be unfair shots. Then: Watch out!)

But Caucus season is Iowa’s one time, every four years, to be in the national spotlight. Read more

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Journalists circumvent LAPD restrictions during Occupy LA evictions

LA Weekly | LA Observed | KTLA 5 | LA Times | LA Daily News
More than 200 Occupy LA protestors were arrested and removed Tuesday night from City Hall Park. Covering the arrests was a media pool selected by the Los Angeles Police Dept. in a meeting announced less than two hours before it began. The pool consisted of 12 journalists, who were asked to share reporting with each other before publishing to their own sites. Read more

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Newspapers spend too little on advertising their product

David Higgerson
Newspapers spend less than 1 percent of their revenue on advertising, compared to Coca-Cola’s 14 percent, says David Higgerson, head of multimedia for Trinity Mirror Regionals in the U.K., who learned that fact at a recent Society of Editors conference. Coca-Cola’s spending, writes Higgerson, “ensures we remember who they are and what they do. Newspapers … have been forgotten by many people.” He suggests that better promotion of newspapers might be in order:

  • Make promotions local.
  • “Don’t over-sensationalise for the sake of it.”
  • Consider promoting anything — even job listings or cartoons, if they merit it.

Earlier: Newspaper Association of America tries to sell U.S. readers on the notion that “Smart is the new sexy” | Does Coke’s ad on New York Times website violate its policy against ads that look like Times content? Read more


Dallas Morning News publisher: 7-day-a-week publication ‘sustainable for another decade’

“We have far from given up on the print model. We’re not modeling how to diminish it,” James Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News, tells Caitlin Johnston of the American Journalism Review. “I still think the seven-day-a-week business can be sustainable for another decade.” Last month, the News’ vice president for audience, Mark Medici, told the Inland Press Association conference that “we know in three years we won’t have a seven-day paper”; Moroney later said that it was all a “misstatement or a misunderstanding.” Related: Medici named vice president of audience and digital strategy for the Austin American-Statesman. Read more


Media criticized for being too hard on Cain, not hard enough on Romney

CJR | New Yorker

CJR’s Brian E. Crowley acknowledges that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain showed ignorance of an immigration issue last week, but he questions how aggressively the national media jumped on it. The issue that stumped Cain this time: Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo asked the candidate how he felt about the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy regarding Cubans trying to come to the U.S. Crowley writes:

The ledes to many a Cain’s Day in Florida stories wrote themselves: grab that familiar (and, not unfounded) Herman Cain is a foreign policy know-nothing story template, plug in fresh anecdote, and, file!

The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, meanwhile, takes Mitt Romney to task for his first paid campaign ad, which includes video of President Barack Obama saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” Lizza points out that Obama was quoting an advisor for John McCain:

This is one of those cases where a candidate has put out something that is demonstrably false.

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