Daily Archives: April 12, 2012

This cover of tomorrow’s Cleveland Plain Dealer Friday Magazine has caricatures of all 542 performing artists who’ve been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1986. (This year’s induction ceremony will be held Saturday in Cleveland.) Art director Chris Morris spent 8 weeks on the cover art, and he tells Romenesko readers about the project in an email below.

“The beauty of these [caricatures] is that you can’t tell which ones he did first and which ones he did last because they stitch together so well,” says Plain Dealer AME/Visuals David Kordalski. “This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever worked on.”

Chris Morris writes:

Back in February, Deputy Design Director Emmet Smith and I kicked around ideas for a big visual. We discussed various graphic approaches, maybe linking the genres, influences, shared histories, etc.

As you may know, at the ceremony there is a big jam session. I said to Emmet “You know that song by the Righteous Brothers about a ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ where they sing about what a great band there must be with all the musicians in heaven like Jimi and Janis and Jim and Otis? What if we drew everyone in the Hall, on one stage? One massive jam session?”

So we looked at the numbers. There are something like 875 people total IN the hall. But they aren’t all performers. There are managers and promoters and early influences and DJs… How would they fit on the stage? Why would they be there? We pared it down to just the performing acts, and that number is not small, something like 550. That’s when Emmet looked at me and asked “think you can draw that many people by April 13th?”

The most I’d ever drawn (in a single illustration) before was about 45 people.

So on February 13th I started with Elvis in the 1986 Class, and exactly two months later I finished with Axl in the 2012 Class. I was fortunate that I could work on only this to get it done. I contributed a few illustrations to the paper along the way when needed, but it was nice to be able to focus on just this for the most part. There was great support from our visuals team and the other illustrators.

Emmet designed the 29 consecutive pages in the Friday magazine, and did so as a continuous image. The pages could be cut and taped to make a 22-foot wide seamless illustration. He also designed the cover with David Kordalski. The cover has all 542 people I drew on it.

In short, we set out to do something epic, had buy-in from the front office the moment the idea was pitched, and had time and support to get it done. We finished it a week before deadline which has been nice because we’ve had time to proof and refine and follow through with the web team.

* Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yearbook project
* Check out Morris’s “Rock Hall Rewind” illustrations in the Plain Dealer store
* Some of the color posters by Plain Dealer graphics artist Ted Crow

* Fox News lawyers to Gawker: Stop publishing stuff that’s been unlawfully obtained by the Fox Mole. (Gawker)
* Gawker paid the Fox Mole $5,000 for his brief posts. (
* Check out the 51 proposals that are moving to the next round of the Knight News Challenge. (News Challenge)
* The FBI started monitoring NYT’s Tom Wicker after he wrote, “What Have They Done Since They Shot Dillinger?” (Capital New York)
* Warren Buffett has been buying Lee Enterprise’s loans, now owns over 4% of the newspaper chain. (
* Developer wants to turn Philadelphia Inquirer-Daily News building into casino complex. (
* Don Hayner retires as Chicago Sun-Times editor-in-chief. (Sun-Times)
* Will somebody please buy the Village Voice from that Phoenix-based alt-weekly chain? (Capital New York)

The tech bloggers (Credit: SF Weekly)

Dan Mitchell says his SF Weekly piece about tech bloggers “really took off” after Kara Swisher tweeted it on Tuesday. “I don’t have any personal knowledge of traffic numbers, since I’m not on the staff,” he says in an email, “but in terms of tweets, this one drew many hundreds as counted by Twitter’s URL search, where normally I think I get anywhere between 10 and maybe 80, tops.”

SF Weekly online news editor Erin Sherbert tells me that Mitchell’s “Are People Finally Getting Bored with the Tech-Blog Circle Jerk?” piece has been the number one story on the site since Tuesday; as of about noon Thursday, it’s gooten 28,528 hits. “It’s been getting 200-plus active simultaneous users, when a good story usually gets 20.” For SF Weekly, “anything great would be 60-plus.”

Mitchell says of his piece about “tech circle-jerkers” Michael Arrington, Sarah Lacy, MG Siegler, and Paul Carr:

I don’t think it would have grown like that if I hadn’t tapped into a commonly held feeling. Much has been written about these people’s mercenary natures and their amorality when it comes to basic journalistic ethics, but there hasn’t been much focus on their outrageous — and rather hilarious — preening and self-regard. Because they’re so popular and have so many fans constantly praising them in their comments sections, I was really relieved to see that lots of people — most of them not journalists, but consumers of tech news — agreed with my assessment. The negative reaction to my piece was nearly zero, which surprised me. A lot of people actually thanked me for writing this.

* Are people finally getting bored with the tech blog circle jerk?

-- New York Times

The folks at Slate believe auto-correct is to blame for what happened here. I asked New York Times reporter Damon Darlin — the author of the piece — if they’re right, and he referred me to his paper’s PR people. Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in an email this morning: “I’m traveling but will look into it and let you know what I find out.” Of course, I’ll be posting that.

Is The Maneater finally done apologizing for its “Carpeteater” April Fools’ issue?

Its managing editor said she was sorry last Friday and again on Tuesday, when she resigned. The paper’s editor-in-chief followed with a Wednesday apology and resignation column. Today it’s the University of Missouri newspaper’s editorial board that says it’s sorry:

This incident has opened our eyes to the influence of our paper in the MU community. With this influence comes a responsibility to serve the community’s best interest. As we continue forward, we will keep a heightened awareness of our readership in mind.

The Maneater is determined to uphold journalistic integrity and to do right by our readers. We once again would like to express our sincerest apologies to any readers, sources and community members we might have offended in past weeks.

Here’s what we learn from this: Editors shouldn’t try to be funny on April 1.

* A statement from the Maneater editorial board
* Former Maneater editors face possible university repercussions

He's the Fox Mole

* The author of Gawker’s Fox Mole column is “O’Reilly Factor” associate producer Joe Muto. (New York Times)
* Will Chicago Tribune be able to find enough “members” to support its new book section? (Chicago Reader)
* Bay Citizen ends relationship with New York Times after merging with Center for Investigative Reporting. (New York Times)
* LAT editors agree with readers: Paper’s tweet sounded too much like a George Zimmerman endorsement. (Los Angeles Times)
* Winners of the Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Journalism have been named. (
* Herb Greenberg: If anyone should be longing for journalism’s good old days, it should be me – but I’m not. (