Sunday editions: A busy ER and a 1980s spy ring

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Josh Renaud, designer: Our main story was an in-depth look at the challenges facing Christian Hospital, which has the busiest emergency department in the area and serves the most Medicaid and uninsured patients.

Sunday A1 came together fairly quickly. We had some strong photos from David Carson. In our afternoon news meeting, one editor threw out a suggested headline “Welcome to St. Louis’ busiest ER.” When he said those words, the headline treatment popped into my head.

Basically I decided to build the package vertically, use some extra white space, and run the photos at roughly the same size. The side-saddle deck gives the package a different feel. We gave the downpage graphic a sidesaddle headline to connect it visually with the rest of the package.

There was some discussion about the lead photo, which shows a patient being seen in an overflow exam area (basically a hallway). This has become necessary because of how busy the ER is. Photo wanted a looser crop to show the context of the hallway; I worried (perhaps unnecessarily) about the frame feeling too empty with the big words “busiest ER” right above it. We found a crop that worked for everyone.

Chris Spurlock put together the graphic inside charting all area hospitals’ ER visits.

The Virginian Pilot

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Paul Nelson, design team editor: This starts a 12-part look at the John Walker spy ring – perhaps one of the most damaging security breaches in U.S. history – that was centered here in Norfolk in the 1980s. Since 2005, we’ve typically focused on an historical topic – something we’ve found our readers really enjoy. It started with a two-week series on the yellow fever epidemic of 1855, and since then we’ve had series on the U-boat war in off the East Coast at the start of World War II, the end of Massive Resistance in Virginia and a recounting of the 1933 hurricane, among others. After they run, we reprint them in booklet form and sell them in our store.

Last year, we discovered a cache of photo negatives in the basement here going back to the 1950s. As our news researchers began going through them, they were asked to look for anything that could be used to support our summer historical projects, and they did indeed find a lot of photos related to coverage of the cracking of the Walker spy ring.

With those pictures in mind, we took note of another espionage case that unfolded here this past December and that had some similarities to the Walker case. At that point, we decided to do the summer series on the Walker ring.

Denise Watson did the reporting and Sam Hundley handled the design. After Day 1, each part will run above the A1 flag with an illustration by Sam. The series won’t run online, but it will run on our new app, the Evening Pilot.

Have an interesting Sunday project to share? Email the PDFs and information to katherine.myrick@gmail.com.