From time to time, Michael Beniash — sports editor and photographer at the 10,129-circulation Caledonian-Record of St. Johnsbury, Vt. — sends me a batch of pages to critique. He told me back on June 8:
Here in Vermont, we are in the final week of baseball and softball playoffs. It’s been fun.
I didn’t realize quite how much fun Michael and his colleague Paul Hayes — managing editor and photographer for the Caledonian-Record‘s sister paper, the Record of Littleton, N.H. — had with last weekend’s playoffs until Michael sent me four pages from last Monday’s sports section.
What I’m seeing here: Lots of events over the weekend of June 9 and 10. Way too much for a tiny staff to cover, in fact: Two baseball title games, three softball tile games and a big regional track meet. The paper only publishes six days a week, so there was no Sunday edition in which to stuff some of this news.
Yet, I’m seeing wonderful photography played very, very well.
Check it out for yourself. Click any image below for a much larger view.
Featured high on Monday’s sports front: The Vermont Division IV state baseball championship, won by local Danville High School.
Danville didn’t just win — they won big: 12-0. It was the second consecutive state title for the school.
The game was played Sunday. The gorgeous lead picture was shot by Paul Hayes.
The three players leaping into the air is good enough to make a great photo. But that leap is framed by three other players rushing in to celebrate.
Lower on the page was the Northeast Regional track and field meet in Maine, which was held Saturday. Michael himself shot the small picture that ran there.
On page two: The New Hampshire Division III softball championship, which was won on Saturday by White Mountains Regional High School.
The four celebration shots are all by Paul Hayes.
The young lady picking up her teammate there is the same shown in this vignette shot…
…Rebecca Hicks. She went four-for-five with three doubles and four RBI. The smaller pic is of her reaction after she caught the final out of the game.
Downpage was the jump from the baseball story, with another picture that Paul shot on Sunday.
Page three, on the other hand, shows sadder news. The local Lyndon Institute dropped the Vermont Division II softball championship on Saturday.
It was a rough day for Lyndon. Lyndon allowed unearned runs in the fifth inning, which proved to be the margin of victory. Here, Lyndon’s third baseperson reflects during that inning.
That picture is by Michael Beniash.
Downpage was a sidebar on the game.
And then page four showed two more playoff losses. Up top is Blue Mountain Union High School’s 10-1, two-hit loss in the Vermont Division III baseball championship game Sunday night.
Paul Hayes shot that game. Here, see the Blue Mountain Union’s catcher dropped the ball in a collision with a baserunner, allowing a run to score. You can see the ball there by the baserunner’s right shin.
The secondary photo showed the Blue Mountain Union first baseman in action.
Downpage was the New Hampshire Division IV softball title game, in which local Wilton-Lyndeborough lost 1-0 to an undefeated team.
That gorgeous picture by Paul Hayes might have made lead art on any other day or in anyone else’s section. Only on a weekend like this does it get pushed to the bottom of page four.
So, let’s count everything up…
On Saturday, Paul Hayes shot two softball games in Plymouth, N.H.: The Division III and Division IV title games. Michael Beniash shot the Division II softball title game in Poultney, Vt., and the New England track and field meet in Saco, Maine.
On Sunday, Paul then shot two baseball championship games in Burlington, Vt.: The Division IV game featured on Monday’s sports front and the Division III loss shown on page four. Meanwhile, Michale edited and designed these pages.
Man. Those are two hardworking shooters.
And the design itself? Magnificent. Again, when you have great art, you run it as big as possible and you get the hell out of its way.
Other important things to remember:
- Label everything.
- But don’t use so many little labels, logos and doo-dads that the pages become cluttered and that the reader’s eye is drawn away from your photos.
- Make sure your secondary photos aren’t so large that they take away from your lead photos.
- Use the best art big and then use restraint in choosing secondary photos. You can use everything in a web gallery if you wish.
And that’s just what Michael did here.
A great job by a tiny little 10,129-circulation paper. On one of the biggest sports weekends of the year.
A 1998 graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Paul Hayes spent four years as a development researcher at Tufts University before being named sports editor of the Caledonian-Record in 2004. He was promoted to managing editor of the Littleton (N.H.) Record in 2009, but, in fact, he edits the paper, reports, designs pages and shoots photos. Obviously. Find his Flickr photostream here, his SportsShooter portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.
A 2004 graduate of the University of New Mexico, Michael Beniash served as a correspondent for Sports Illustrated On Campus. He spent three years at the Albuquerque Journal as an agate editor, reporter and copy editor before moving to the Littleton, N.H., Courier in 2008. He moved to the Caledonian-Record in 2009 to replace Paul as sports editor. Find his Flickr photostream here, his page design portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.