This image was floating around the intertubes on Friday morning. At least 10 of my facebook friends posted it the day after LeBron-apalooza. It's the A-1 page from Friday's Cleveland Plain Dealer. The little text pointing at his hand reads "Seven years in Cleveland. No rings."
This is a remarkable page for two reasons. One, it shows how simplicity in page design (hell, in all things) can be so effective. Just one picture, a headline, a little caption* and a ton of white space tells the story so perfectly, so efficiently. Mrs. Sports Media Guy is a graphic designer who did newspaper pages back in a former life, and when I showed her the page, she loved it.
(*-I'm not a huge fan of the caption. I think it reads very catty - especially since Cleveland would have cheered had he returned. More importantly, it's unnecessary. The picture and "Gone" tell the story exquisitely. But it doesn't ruin the page at all.)
The other reason it's remarkable is that it shows that a print newspaper can still be an effective medium.
One of my pet peeves is how print people and digital people are always arguing with each other. Print people view digital people as uninformed losers living in their mothers basements.* Digital people view print as the cantankerous old bastards yelling at the kids to stay off his lawn.
(*-My wife wants to become the head of the national grammar police. When this happens, I want to be the minister of cliche eradication. This image of bloggers would be one of the first to go.)
No one's ever explained to me why it has to be an all-or-nothing decision. Why can't newspapers use print and online together, using them in a complementary fashion to play off the strengths each one brings?
The internet can inform people of news around the world at incredible speeds and bring new voices to the fold. Social media tools, when used properly, can foster a connection between reporters and readers that has never been there before. And print, with its traditions and deadlines, can lead to thoughtful, well-rounded stories.
And even in this day and age when everyone already knew where LeBron was going, had already read opinion pieces and reacted to it themselves on Twitter, the daily print paper in Cleveland still effectively told the story in a new, wonderful way.