Behind the New York Daily News’ ‘House of Turds’ cover

This morning the New York Daily News made waves with its ‘House of Turds’ cover, which went viral across social networks and media organizations alike. Daily News design director Theo Caviness and senior designer Jill Evans spoke to us about the story behind the cover.

CS_PG001_IDDKyle Ellis: Tell me about how the riff on ‘House of Cards’ was the cover concept you landed on. Were there other ideas you toyed with?

Theo Caviness: It came about like most of our covers. After the afternoon news meeting, we pretty much have winnowed out what story to put on the front page. The process then becomes open ended in that pretty much anyone in the newsroom — from newest to oldest — will shoot out ideas or concepts. In this particular case, Colin Myler, the editor in chief, had an idea and he sketched it out, held it up and asked what we thought. You can tell if something will fly usually by the level of laughs or groans it gets. Being a tabloid in NYC, we find that a healthy mix of both is usually a good barometer for a front page. There really weren’t any other ideas thrown about, honestly. It was a rare day.

KE: Business Insider said, “The Daily News wins for the most vivid shutdown cover,” and The Atlantic Wire said, “You win the morning, Daily News.” Was the goal here to be any more irreverent than what a typical cover might be?

TC: Our goal is to always get people talking. We can  get pretty wild with some of the stuff we put out there. We’re not like a lot of other papers, our market demands us to scream as opposed to whisper or play with nuance. Blunt force can be a great tool.

KEI can’t help but notice Speaker Boehner’s hands … what is that?

Jill Evans: That’s blood on the hands of Kevin Spacey’s character from the original Netflix ‘House of Cards’ cover illustration. I do think it was a nice touch, though.

KEWho handled the photo illustration and design?

JE: Well, Colin put the idea into motion and our photo desk helped me gather the photos of Boehner that would fit nicely into the scene. I chose the best fit and put it all together in Photoshop and InDesign. It took about an hour from beginning to end.

About Kyle Ellis

is Director of Strategic Programs for SND, and a consultant for American City Business Journals.


How about a subhead “D.C. still exempt from Obamacare” with Harry Reid in a massage chair? Congrats on the declined readership.

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