The Mario Blog
The firing of the FBI Director on Page One

It’s the type of news that stuns, surprises and gets the adrenalin flowing for editors in newsrooms everywhere. On Tuesday, May 9, a news of such magnitude happened: President Trump fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly . Let’s look at how the front pages covered the monumental event.

This is a special edition of TheMarioBlog and will remain posted until Friday morning, May 12.

We always prepare for such news events. In some newsrooms, it is called “a 9/11” the day that is not another ordinary day in the news.

That’s exactly the type of day it was Tuesday, May 9, when President Trump fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly. while Comey himself was in Los Angeles, unaware of his firing, conducting a session with his Los Angeles FBI colleagues.

The news dominated online and TV news the rest of Tuesday evening and into the morning of Wednesday.  That is why I continue to be surprised that so many of the printed newspapers I have seen, courtesy of, did not take the opportunity to amplify the story on the headline. As you can see in the selection here, most of them simply said something to the effect that “Trump fires FBI Director”.

What makes this news significant, among other things, is that the fired FBI Director was the the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Best headline by far

Let’s take a look at the pages.  I think that the Florida newspaper, tbt, published by the Tampa Bay Times, in St. Petersburg,Florida, had the winning headline. Why?

Because it is about the only newspaper I saw that played on the second day angle of the story. This is how print can get ahead, by  seducing readers with a headline that does not smell like yesterday’s news.

How the classics did it

Here is how the classically designed, “national”  newspapers handled the story:

By the way, here is an interesting piece on how the Times went about changing its front page to accommodate the Comey bombshell story.

The New Yorker treatment

Finally, a headline that advances the story beyond what we knew the moment the firing of Comey happened.


Bold and all caps

Many editors decided to pull all the stops with headlines in bold, all capital letters.

The “You’re Fired” brigade

Of course, there were those headline writers who could not resist the bait: to use the phrase made famous by Donald Trump in his reality show, The Apprentice, when he was a TV celebrity.



Those fun, irreverent tabloids


The most elegant presentation: Virginian Pilot

These guys always do such an exquisite job. They’ve done it again.


The ones who downplayed the story a bit



And the rest……most of them with exactly the same headline.



Meanwhile, the online heads were quite big too…..




Most interesting crop of the Comey photo: The Daily Beast



Speaking Engagements Coming Up

SIPConnect 2017, to be held in Miami June 21-23, is a program of the Inter American Press Association, IAPA, or SIP (Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa).  The venue will be the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel.


Join us at the SIPConnect Hemispheric Conference 2017. Organized by the IAPA, SIPConnect is a gathering of media and digital businesses to encourage more audiences and higher revenues. It’s a laboratory for new ideas and successful experiences for the digital transformation. As in the 2016 successful meeting that was attended by media from the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, experts in digital businesses and representatives of innovative companies will participate in this event.

For more information



TheMarioBlog post #2624


Blog Post11.17.2017—5am
Paywalls, storytelling highlight Latin American conference
Blog Post11.15.2017—5am
In Argentina: the hot topic is “paywalls”
Blog Post11.14.2017—1am
The NY Times’ Jobs Classified: Really?
Blog Post11.13.2017—1am
At The New York Times: a kids section on Sunday
Blog Post11.10.2017—12am
“I read it on Facebook.”
Blog Post11.09.2017—12am
The flow of a breaking new story in the mobile era
Blog Post11.08.2017—12am
When content hits the spot
Blog Post11.07.2017—12am
When hierarchy makes a statement
Blog Post11.06.2017—12am
When the advertising wraps around
Blog Post11.03.2017—1am
New Hebrew fonts from Typotheque
Blog Post11.02.2017—1am
Favorite branding logos? No surprises
Blog Post11.01.2017—7am
A New York terrorist attack on the front pages
Blog Post—1am
White (space) is the new trend for print
Blog Post10.31.2017—1am
Turkey: the jailing of an art director
Blog Post10.30.2017—1am
Need a job?
Blog Post10.27.2017—2am
The Economist & Snapchat Discover: Respecting young audiences
Blog Post10.26.2017—2am
The Wall: Get ready for the prototypes
Blog Post10.25.2017—5am
The New York Times’ website redesign: less is best and, please, sign in
Blog Post10.24.2017—5am
At The Washington Post, The Lily hits its own chords
Blog Post—5am
The Lily: new Washington Post product hits its own chords
Blog Post10.23.2017—1am
Coloring opinions
Blog Post10.20.2017—1am
Digital Media Conference: First Day highlights
Blog Post10.19.2017—6am
Speaking today at the North America Digital Media Conference
Blog Post10.18.2017—1am
Long narratives still have a coveted place
Blog Post10.17.2017—1am
Some good print-related news
Blog Post10.16.2017—1am
Digital Transformation: no newsroom is too small to attempt it
Blog Post10.13.2017—12am
WAN IFRA: the best of digital awards
Blog Post10.12.2017—12am
Taking your brand to where the young audience is: Instagram
Blog Post10.11.2017—1am
Multitaskers consume more media
Blog Post10.10.2017—12am
Germany’s Sūdkurier: workshops for digital transformation
Blog Post10.09.2017—1am
In Spain’s El Mundo: native ads
Blog Post09.29.2017—1am
For newspaper publishers, not much to sing about?
Blog Post09.28.2017—1am
Interesting reference about new digital story formats
Blog Post09.27.2017—1am
It’s a new mobile-focused redesign for
Blog Post09.26.2017—1am
Three things that caught our eye
Blog Post09.25.2017—1am
Paywalls & newspapers: from leaky to hard ones, and in between
Blog Post09.22.2017—4am
Mexican earthquake: front pages tell the story
Blog Post09.21.2017—1am
Saying adios to The Village Voice in print
Blog Post09.20.2017—1am
Vogue in print: “point of view, attitude”
Blog Post09.19.2017—1am
The Boston Scene
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.