You may recognize The Patriot Ledger's front from the roundup of Valentine's Day-themed pages. The page has completely different look from the everyday with the huge 6-column photo at the top of the page, shot by staffer Ameila Kunhardt.
By the way, love that photo! The couple has been been married for just 18 months, but were first engaged 64 years ago. (Read Sue Scheible's story here.) What a genuine moment — the smiles and apparent laughter, the embrace — captured in natural light. What a fantastic frame to be used at this size at top of the page on Valentine's Day.
The Ledger doesn't normally run photos at this size and in this position. As a matter of fact, I can't recall a Ledger front that used a photo at this size and in this position.
Editor Chazy Dowaliby said the impact of the front page was felt inside the paper and out.
"Feedback was a lot of oohs and smiles from anyone who saw it," Dowaliby said. "And our VP for Circulation came by to say it really popped on the newsstands."
The large skybox photo isn't a new idea.
"We took inspiration from some of the great use of this design structure at other GateHouse papers," Dowaliby said. "Our colleagues in the Midwest seem to use the dropped flag/large image format to great advantage from time to time."
She's referring, most likely, to the Journal Star, which used that treatment most recently here and here.
Take chances like this depends on having two things: a good story and, more importantly, a great photo.
"Visuals editor Jen Wagner thought this particular image ideally lent itself to the design," Dowaliby said.
Because of the photo, other considerations were made, naturally, for the front page — the rail had to be reduced, as well as the story count. All good and necessary choices.
The centerpiece, though in a smaller space, still had some nice touches, such as the "take our poll" item seen in the yellow bar.
Love the ASF used at the bottom that informs readers of the honors the paper received in the latest New England Newspapers and Press Association awards. The visuals make their great work look, well, great!
Joe Greco is corporate design director for GateHouse Media.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missed front page of the day? Find the archive here.