So today is an interesting convergence for me: It’s both World Press Freedom Day and National Teacher Day.
I’m not alone — and other journalists have certainly suffered far worse than me. I think of the situation in Russia, or the brave reporters in Ukraine.
But we here in the U.S. can’t ignore what’s happening in our own backyard. Public officials increasingly misuse their power to intimidate or attack journalists. Across the country, we see our public discourse is infected with demonizing, dehumanizing rhetoric.
In 2014, I was in the strange position of working at a newspaper covering racial unrest that was erupting in the little suburb 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.”
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.
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.
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:
Some of these photos were published in the Monday morning Post-Dispatch, and a gallery with more photos is available at STLtoday.com.
Hard to believe that one year ago tonight was Good Friday. My parents were at church. I was at work. My family was at home. And they were right in the path of a tornado that cut across north St. Louis County.
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:
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:
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.
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.