The Newseum featured my work

In 2014, I was in the strange position of working at a newspaper covering racial unrest that was erupting in a little suburb — the same one where I happened to live. As I wrote that year, “That weekend was intense and surreal: I designed the front page of the Post-Dispatch each night, while watching on TV as my town convulsed with anger.”

The final front page for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s  Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 edition.

I designed numerous Ferguson-related Sunday and Monday A1s for the Post-Dispatch in the subsequent weeks, months and years (See some here). I remain proud of all that work. But it was the one from the second night that will forever be ingrained in my memory.

The Newseum is a unique museum in Washington D.C. dedicated to the role of the free press and the First Amendment in our country. I had heard from coworkers and friends that the Newseum prominently featured (and, I believe, continues to feature) Pulitzer Prize-winning photos from the Post-Dispatch’s Ferguson coverage. For a short time, the museum also had a Ferguson exhibit which included my front page.

Although our family has visited Washington somewhat regularly over the years, we never made it to the Newseum. It was so expensive and we were a young family. Even though it would have been personally meaningful to me given my profession, we couldn’t justify the cost the couple times we had a chance.

Earlier this year, I reached out to the Newseum to ask if they had any photos of the Ferguson exhibit featuring my page. They sent me this:

The “Protesting Ferguson” exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The panel at the left features a front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch designed by Josh Renaud. (Republished with permission of the Newseum)

Pretty cool to see my work featured in that way.

Unfortunately, it seems I have run out of chances to visit the Newseum. Last week, the museum announced it would close at the end of this year. This is disappointing news and a sad mirror of the reality of our shrinking industry.

If you’re out there reading this, subscribe to a newspaper, would you? The free and independent press is a cornerstone of our democracy. We journalists need your support.

Finding Fire Capt. Frank J. Becker

Frank Becker. Photo reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Frank Becker. Photo reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

My great-grandfather Frank Becker was a fireman. I knew that he had been promoted to captain at some point, and some relatives had once told me they thought it had been covered on TV or in the newspaper.

I wanted to see if I could find a news story about the promotion.

Continue reading “Finding Fire Capt. Frank J. Becker”

Still thankful for the Rams

I’m definitely feeling all the outrage over the Rams leaving St. Louis to return to Los Angeles.

They were, overall, terrible for most of their years in St. Louis. They fleeced us to come here in 1995, and they fleeced us when they left, as we wasted millions hoping to keep them.

Joseph has a Rams jersey that he loves to wear. The older girls want to hate the Rams for going away. Hopefully I can get them all to embrace the Cowboys.

Still, I’d like to remember the bright spots. The “Greatest Show on Turf” years will remain amazing. For me, the Rams run to their second Super Bowl appearance is particularly meaningful.

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Church signs in Ferguson

Just over a week after the Michael Brown shooting, I was struck by the idea of photographing church signs in and around Ferguson. I figured many of them would have messages related to the shooting and its aftermath.

On Sunday afternoon, I drove around for a couple hours visiting churches in Ferguson, Dellwood, Berkeley, Cool Valley and St. Louis County. I found some interesting, relevant signs, but not as many as I had hoped.

Here are some of the signs I photographed:

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Some of these photos were published in the Monday morning Post-Dispatch, and a gallery with more photos is available at STLtoday.com.

The cartooning beat

A panel drawn by Bill Watterson from the Friday installment of "Pearls Before Swine."
A panel drawn by Bill Watterson from the Friday installment of “Pearls Before Swine.”

Whenever I get together with extended family, inevitably someone will say “Oh, what do you do at the Post-Dispatch? Write stories?”

The answer, of course, is “no.” My job is to design newspaper pages and develop web projects.

But next time I can give a different answer. This week I had not one but two hard-hitting, investigative stories published in the Post-Dispatch.

So, what topic did I scrutinize with journalistic fervor?

The comics.

Continue reading “The cartooning beat”

An October to remember

This has been a crazy month on all fronts:

  • Our house has been under construction, and is nearing completion. We had thought that it might even be ready to move in by the end of October. That didn’t happen, but we will be moving in soon.
  • At work, I had a special news project that I designed. That was a big deal on its own … but then the Cardinals made a little playoff run that became a World Series championship.
  • World Series Game 7 was played on International Josh Day Eve. That was a long night, which meant festivities for International Josh Day were delayed in order that I might nap.
  • I had a couple opportunities for public speaking: talked with a college class on design, and taught some preschoolers the sunday after the World Series.

In case you are curious about some of the projects I worked on for the P-D this month, here are some links:

Deadly Day Cares

Deadly Day Cares was a three-day series focusing on the inordinate number of child deaths which occur in unlicensed Missouri day cares. It has provoked reaction from the public and politicians, which is good. I designed all of this series in print and online. Check out these links to explore some of the series:

Cardinals scouting reports

As the National League Division series began, I produced an interactive scouting reports for the Cardinals and the Phillies. For each successive round, we produced reports for the Cardinals’ other opponents. Take a look at how they turned out:

Pujols’ 3-HR game

I worked late the night of Pujols’ amazing performance in Game 3, putting together a compilation of videos showing 3-home-run performances in the World Series by Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols.

Cardinals 11 championships

Finally, after the Cardinals won the World Series, I put together an interactive look back at all 11 of the Redbirds’ championships. It includes recaps, photos, and videos.


Let’s go Cardinals!

The World Series is in full force! The girls have been following excitedly (except when the games are actually on at night. They would rather watch “Angelina Ballerina” instead) and I have been hard at work at the Post-Dispatch.

I have prior experience working at the P-D during the World Series and the Super Bowl. October becomes a fun yet frenetic and fatiguing month.

The girls know nothing of this of course. All they know is that they see less of their Papá (since he comes home very late and takes naps to make up for it), and that the Cardinals might be champions!

So what about those masks? Well, they are called “Face Cards” and they were created by some of my colleagues at the P-D. Numerous players are available, and you can download them from stltoday.com. Yoli and the girls cut them out and assembled them. The only modification they made was to glue the papers to cardboard cereal boxes for reinforcement before cutting them out.

The Current passes swiftly

Ten years ago I was swept away by the current.

Make that The Current.

Time’s swift flow always catches me off-guard. Was it that long ago that I was using a wax machine to paste strips of paper onto pageboards? “Coffee and donuts with your paper” at the MSC? Zip disks? Blanche? The bowling nights? The Ecchers? Coming in second at College Bowl? Was it all that long ago?

Well, yes. It really has been a decade since perhaps the pivotal year of my life. During the 2000-01 academic year, I was editor-in-chief of UMSL’s student newspaper, The Current.

I remember a time in my office at The Current when I was looking at the “editor’s mug.” It was a metal drinking vessel inscribed with the names of editors of The Current, going back to Michelle McMurray, who had been editor exactly 10 years before me. I thought at the time, “Wow. Ten years. That’s really long.”

And now it’s been ten years for me!

Continue reading “The Current passes swiftly”

Search old St. Louis Post-Dispatch stories (1874-1922)

Hey, family history buffs and amateur genealogists in St. Louis County!

Get out your library card, and check out an awesome new resource:

ProQuest’s Historical St. Louis Post-Dispatch database

It includes searchable full text and full image articles from 1874 – 1922, though there are some gaps.

This is just one of many helpful databases you can search from the St. Louis County Library’s genealogy databases page. All of these databases are free, but some (like Ancestry.com or Footnote.com) require you to search from within a library branch. But this Post-Dispatch database can be searched from home!

Continue reading “Search old St. Louis Post-Dispatch stories (1874-1922)”