The Mario Blog
USA Today’s Richard Curtis retires. Also: Weekend Sequels

TAKEAWAY: We wish Richard Curtis well as he leaves USA Today; also today, our Weekend Sequels: how The Miami Herald looked as a tab (sketches only), one week of new front pages for Wirtschaft Blatt, and the Chicago papers cover a governor’s scandal.

Update, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, 10:45 am, Frankfurt, Germany

blog post image

NY free newspaper on why the press is important

One of New York’s free newspapers, am New York, devotes its cover story to the dismal state of newspapers everywhere, and reminds its readers about the importance of the press.

Here is a portion of the story, which you may read in its entirety here:

In the last week, the Tribune Company announced it will file for bankruptcy, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver is likely to close and the Miami Herald may be up for sale. This comes after years of shrinking newsrooms from the smallest weeklies to behemoths like The Los Angeles Times.“What this means is fewer voices, fewer opinions presented in fewer ways, all of which has a tremendous impact on the public discourse in a very dangerous way,” said Mary Boyle, a spokeswoman for Common Cause.

blog post image

Enjoy your retirement years, Richard

He was there for the birth of USA Today in 1982, and he is still there today, nurturing the baby he helped bring into life and where he has mentored a generation of designers and infographic artists. In a sense, Richard Curtis was there at the creation, and now he is ready to say goodbye to USA Today and to the industry, and go for a well deserved retirement.

We will miss you, Richard, as you have been an inspiration to all of us in the profession. You have left your mark. USA Today continues to be one of the most imitated newspapers worldwide. It is, in many ways, a point of reference. Tell me about it: you could be doing a focus group in a remote corner of Australia, but if the prototype has a variety of colors, someone will immediately say: “That’s like USA Today. ”

Not to mention weather maps. The moment that USA Todayintroduced its giant weather map, with color coding for various temperatures, there was no return to the simple quarter page weather story. Small countries like Austria wanted to have a USA Today-style weather page, even if the page would be larger than the map of the country. It did not matter, there was that weather page from USA Today hanging from the editor’s hand as the model.

But it was in the area of infographics where USA Today helped write the book through daily examples. It pioneered in the concept of telling stories without words. Secondary readings, too, were a part of what distinguished USA Today from so many other newspapers in the 80s and 90s. Today, all of these elements are common place and we owe much of it to the legacy and examples of USA Today.

You were there to present them all to us, Richard, and to train a team that would implement these ideas daily. I imagine after 26 years of this, it is as good a time as any for you to get away from your Mac and pursue other interests.

As far as I am concerned, you are one of the champs of visual journalism. If we had Oscars and Pulitzer Prizes to give to those who have contributed the most to our craft (we should, but that is another story), then I would be sending you both prizes today. For sure, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne to share when I see you next, and my very best personal wishes to you and your family.

blog post image

The Miami Herald as a tabloid?

blog post image

This week one of our blog postings lamented the possible sale of The Miami Herald, as I reminisced about the personal ties I feel for the newspaper in the city I consider home, where I arrived as a Cuban refugee in 1962.

Several of you wrote me very kind personal notes about that Herald blog entry, and two of you inquired as to how I imagined The Miami Herald in a tabloid format.

Not only did we imagine it, but, working with my Buenos Aires team, headed by Rodrigo Fino and Paula Ripoll, we also went as far as to do some mock up sketches of how The Miami Herald could transform itself into an elegant tabloid. The year was 2002, and the discussion did not go very far, as we embarked into a major redesign of the newspaper as a broadsheet.

Here is our handy work. Tell us what you think.

For the original Miami Herald blog entry:

Wirtschafts Blatt: first week of new look

blog post image

One week of the new look, what the managers of the WB call a “soft launch”, and the reaction is positive.

The front pages of Austria’s financial daily are basically a navigator to the top economic news of the day, with only ONE story that is read with full text on page one.

Notice the three levels of navigation:
1. The strip under the logo.
2. One story to read, usually the lead piece.
3. Secondary navigators with some lines of text.
4. The summary navigator, usually towards the bottom of the page.

The WB is also experimenting with different ad positioning, as shown on this page where a “belt ad” crosses the page, with editorial content above and below it, as in this inside page shown here.

blog post image

For original blog entry about the WB, go here:

Scandal on Page One

blog post image

We show you here front pages from The Chicago Tribune and Red Eye which caught our attention this week as we followed the story of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whom federal prosecutors charged with bribery for allegedly trying to sell to the highest bidder the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Obama . The Red Eye does it best. Hard to resist picking up this front page to see what it is all about.

blog post image
To read TheRodrigoFino blog, in Spanish, go:

blog post image

Today Rodrigo Fino discusses what every designer has faced sometime: staring at the blank page or empty screen, waiting for creativity to make the move…….
In a piece titled “Fear of the Simple”, Fino writes that perhaps all creation starts with some level of uncertainty.

blog post image

In Frankfurt, at Lufthansa lounge, while waiting to fly to Dubai later in the day.

TheMarioBlog posting #153

Blog Post02.21.2017—3am
In Dubai: Gulf News launches Sponsored Content
Blog Post02.20.2017—2am
Newsroom technology survey: important to participate
Blog Post02.17.2017—8am
Trumpian front pages
Blog Post02.16.2017—2am
Ties that bind: storytelling, design, coding
Blog Post02.15.2017—2am
Wanted: A Bring-Back-the-Copy Editors campaign
Blog Post02.14.2017—2am
Trump chaos incites newspaper marketing strategies
Blog Post02.13.2017—2am
In the era of fake news, fake photos?
Blog Post02.10.2017—6pm
The Economist does it again
Blog Post02.08.2017—1am
Voices in the news
Blog Post02.07.2017—2am
The quickly disappearing art of copy editing
Blog Post02.06.2017—2am
Some of my favorite e-mail newsletters
Blog Post02.03.2017—3am
Behold the Apple Watch : it’s still here, going strong
Blog Post02.02.2017—3am
News as a 24-hour event
Blog Post02.01.2017—3am
Visual storytelling innovation: key to progress in 2017
Blog Post01.31.2017—2am
Digital Design Challenge: Those article pages move up front
Blog Post01.30.2017—3am
Pages we like: Spain’s ABC
Blog Post01.27.2017—2am
It’s a new sports printed newspaper in Germany
Blog Post01.26.2017—3am
The new Axios: worthy of a look
Blog Post01.25.2017—3am
Mobile storytelling: fast, furious and simple
Blog Post01.24.2017—2am
New semester, new emphasis on visual storytelling
Blog Post01.23.2017—2am
The role of WED in creating a rich palette of visual storytelling for mobile
Blog Post01.20.2017—3am
Digital storytelling, Part Two: A linear fusion of narrative, imagery
Blog Post01.19.2017—5am
Digital storytelling, Part One: The fusion of writing/editing/design
Blog Post01.18.2017—2am
Designers of all ages: Let’s rethink, reinvent and recharge
Blog Post01.17.2017—2am
Those email newsletters (or briefings) gain importance
Blog Post01.11.2017—6pm
It’s always been about change
Blog Post01.03.2017—2am
Brutalism in web design: hoping it is not a forever trend
Blog Post12.19.2016—3am
Two predictions for journalism in the new year: Virtual Reality and Sponsored Content will thrive
Blog Post12.16.2016—3am
‘Tis the season for good media news
Blog Post12.15.2016—2am
Haptical, virtual reality and subscription service
Blog Post12.14.2016—2am
These media predictions resonate
Blog Post12.13.2016—2am
Austin Design Summit today
Blog Post12.12.2016—3am
In Denmark: great redesign of mobile, website for Politiken
Blog Post12.09.2016—3am
Sponsored content: Getting started (Part Five)
Blog Post12.08.2016—2am
Sponsored content: how much to charge (Part Four)
Blog Post12.07.2016—2am
Sponsored content and the local newspaper (Part Three)
Blog Post12.06.2016—3am
Sponsored content: who produces it? (Part Two)
Blog Post12.05.2016—3am
Sponsored content: the promising new frontier (Part One)
Blog Post11.27.2016—6am
The death of Fidel Castro: how newspapers covered it
Blog Post11.26.2016—11am
Adios to the man who made me a refugee
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.