Blogs > The Back Page

The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

So you're saying there's a chance for the Lions?

Venerable video game maker Electronic Arts ran the annual "sim season" in anticipation of the release of the most recent installment of the "Madden" franchise. And guess what? The Lions not only made the playoffs, but they won the Super Bowl! Detroit drops 2006 champion and reigning AFC champion Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLV.
Quite a bold prediction. I think most people in Michigan would just settle for a playoff berth, let alone the franchise's second playoff victory ... EVER.
All this AND the Lions made Final Jeopardy this week. Apparently two of the contestants didn't even know the Lions had never won a Super Bowl! In fact, they're one of only four — and of those four, Detroit is the only non-expansion franchise (thanks Cardinals and Saints BTW) that hasn't even sniffed a Lombardi Trophy.
The celebration is quite detailed, especially when it mentions the "doom and gloom" parallels between the franchise and the forlorn city which berthed it. The last NFL championship I won was on Tecmo Super Bowl, which I hear is being remade (woo-hoo!) for XBox 360. As I recall, the extent of the victory was the QB high-fiving someone, a quick rundown of the team's roster in some gaudy, unimaginative font and then the bastardization of some poor programmer's life's work in a version of short-form credit scrolls. And for the record, I won the Super Bowl many times with the Barry Sanders Lions.

Friday, July 09, 2010

LeBron's move a great day for design

The front of today's Cleveland Plain Dealer is one of the best fronts I've ever seen and it's earning praise around the country. Here are a few examples of how the situation was handled around the nation, and for even more LeBron front pages, read Charles' Apples' design blog.
Also included is the Morning Journal, a JRC sister paper of ours in Suburban Cleveland.
Notice the effective use of white space as well as the little note poking out of LeBron's right ring finger. It reads "7 years, $62 million, no rings." That was changed slightly for a later edition of the paper to say "7 years in Cleveland. No rings."
Poynter published a thorough interview with the Plain Dealer's designers, who said they also had an alternate version planned in case 'Bron went against the rumors and actually stayed in Cleveland. They were each asked if/when they would leave Cleveland, too.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Possible LeBron ... headlines

As the ESPN event "The Decision" nears, take a moment to preview some headlines you may or may not see across the nation depending on which team he signs with. (Eds. note: Are the Clippers still in the running?)
"LeGone" All but CLE
"King is dead" All but CLE
"Dethroned" All but CLE
"Witness protection" N.Y.
"Drama king" CLE
"New, new Big Three" MIA
"A team come true" MIA
"Can't beat the Heat" MIA
"King of N.Y." N.Y.
"Empire state of mind" N.Y./N.J.
"Bull market" CHI
"Playing in the shadows" CHI
"The Decision maker" All
"King looks to add ring to crown to complete jewelry collection" All but CLE
"East-bound and crown" N.Y./N.J.
"Finally" All
"Empty nest" All but CLE
"Running away from home" All but CLE

Executing the Ben Franklin Project

Did you catch the Fourth of July edition of The Oakland Press? Weeks of dedication finally came to fruition, as we and 18 other daily papers belonging to Journal Register Company produced our products, web and print, to the best of our ability without using our usual software.
Gone were Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. Gone was our normal e-mail system. Goodbye web platform Town News. Hello Scribus for page design, Gimp for photo editing, Gmail for e-mail service and WordPress for our website.
All these tools were recruited online in the theme of the Ben Franklin Project for our patriotic-themed edition.
SportsBeat was full of stories geared toward AAU programs and their influence on high school athletics as well as follow-up blogs by resident prognosticator Kosmo.
Crowdsourced columns from Paula Pasche and Pat Caputo lined the inside as well as fans' guesses at the Lions' 2010 record.
We left a couple pages open for the live news of the day Saturday and sent the final pages to the press when the Tigers wrapped up another quickie over the Mariners.
The one thing we didn't have that day: LeBron coverage. Ah. Maybe we should do this every day.
Where will this lead us from here, who knows, but it's been interesting so far.

We're listening

After deadlines had been increased by 2 1/2 hours in an attempt to print our paper at the building of our sister paper, The Macomb Daily, our readers responded with furor this weekend after our Saturday edition missed the Tigers' Friday night game against the Mariners.
It was a speedy game, completed by 9:45, but still too late to make it into the paper. Readers took notice:
wrote on Jul 3, 2010 12:02 PM: " The home delivery edition has a note that the Tiger game was incomplete at press time. The frigging game lasted two hours and 32 minutes, which would make it end about 9:40 PM. When is press time so early that you cannot even get the local night games into the print edition? Another reason to discontinue the subscription. "
A note to Craven, the many readers who called our sports editor and even went to the paper's publisher with their complaints, as well as any other readers who were concerned with the missing Tigers coverage, the earlier deadlines have been nullified and we will continue on with our regular timing.
That means Tigers coverage all summer long, Pistons and Red Wings in the fall/winter and high school football and basketball all season long.
A crisis has been averted and we have you, the readers, to thank. Thank you for the opportunity to continue bringing you exceptional local coverage.