Worthy of Note: Front Pages From the Fire Front

October 31st, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Denise Tessier

Back in June, we all were breathing smoke. Elders and those with compromised lung function were advised to stay indoors. At dusk, the entire sky was surreal as atmospheric particulates blazed an otherworldly orange.

We all were aware of the fires at Los Alamos. They affected us. And a dramatic front page of the Albuquerque Journal Tuesday morning, June 28, captured the smoky pervasiveness perfectly.

The page designer had allowed the hazy sky, depicted in a photo of Los Alamos, to “bleed” up into the Journal’s masthead at the top of the page. No index boxes intruded at the top. Instead, a single photograph by Adolphe Pierre-Louis was put to stunning use.

The photo depicted a Los Alamos street, empty save for a lone fire truck and flags straining on their poles in the wind. And the top three-quarters of the photo — smoke shrouding a blazing sun — was allowed to literally permeate the typeface.

Two days later, it was done again, this time with a photo by Eddie Moore, this time of haze hovering over a view from the fire line near Pajarito Ski Area.

I mention those memorable front pages now because that second front page was depicted twice in the Journal this past week. On Thursday (Oct. 27) it was included with a story announcing that the Journal’s June 30 cover had taken first place in the national Inland Press Association’s2011 Newsroom Contest.

A picture of the June 30 front page showed up again Sunday (Oct. 30), this time accompanying news that the Journal had won the General Excellence honor in the 2011 Better Newspapers Contest sponsored by the New Mexico Press Association and the New Mexico Associated Press Managing Editors. Journal Northern Bureau reporter Phil Parker won a first for his reporting “On the Fire’s Edge” that started on the front page that day and Cathryn Cunningham won a first for her graphic illustration of the fire creeping toward Los Alamos, which had run inside.

Several other Journal staffers won awards in the two contests. But this post is about those front pages from the fire front. Having left town immediately after they ran, I did not post anything then and didn’t want to miss the opportunity a second time. The Journal deserves credit for these memorable and extraordinary covers, and the related awards.

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