One of the big talkers for this past week was Felix Baumgartner, the man who skydived from the edge of space — 24 miles up.
I wish I had seen this before, but my friends/clients at Grapihcs24 in Johannesburg, South Africa, produced a graphic explaining how the operation would work. Visual journalist Rudi Louw tells me:
Yes, we ran this last week just before the balloon failed on his first attempt.
Click for a larger view:
In addition to the detailed up-and-down diagram on the left, this graphic includes a bit that shows the size of the balloon — when inflated — that lofted Baumgartner into the thin air.
The structure on the left — for comparative purposes — is Telkom Tower, a prominent feature of the Johannesburg skyline.
Rudi also included this look at Baumgartner’s pressure suit.
Another idea might have been to point out all the damn Red Bull logos. At times, this guy reminded me of a race car driver.
Rudi detailed the four records Baumgartner was aiming to break yesterday.
He didn’t quite get that fourth one. Baumgartner was in free fall 4 minutes and 20 seconds: 16 seconds short of the record. However, he did hit nearly 834 mph on the way down: Mach 1.24, or nearly one-and-a-quarter times the speed of sound.
Something that wasn’t answered: How do you yell “Geronimo” when you’re falling at one-and-a-quarter times the speed of sound?
Ah, well. Maybe next time.
Naturally, the event was page-one news in a number of papers today…
Most papers that put this out front today took a similar approach: One picture of Baumgartner stepping out of his capsule and a second picture of him safe on the ground.
This was a particularly nice — and simple — take.
Nearly all of these photos, I might add, are handout pictures from the project itself, Red Bull Stratos and transmitted by the Associated Press.
U-T SAN DIEGO
San Diego, Calif.
U-T San Diego led with the after and then downplayed a different angle of the upstairs shot.
The designer in Minneapolis went the opposite direction.
I like the headline — Back to Earth at 833.9 mph — as well as the little pullouts under the second photo.
Wilmington, too, also ran two clean pictures and a great headline.
In Spartanburg, however, the designers opted for three pictures, adding one of the balloon ascending.
Also, note the “after” picture is one of Baumgartner celebrating with his project chief.
NEWS & ADVANCE
The folks in Lynchburg led with that picture and downplayed the upstairs picture.
Hendersonville, N.C. took completely different approach: An enormously vertical picture.
While I love the different look that page has, I also have a problem with it: The presentation puts too much emphasis on the ascent — which was only a minor part of the story — and downplayed the skydiving portion.
New Bedford, Mass.
I can say the same for this page from Massachusetts.
The Virginian-Pilot played the best picture of the event above its nameplate today, along with a great Fearless Felix label hed.
ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS
But the best headline of the day, perhaps, was this one in the Anchorage, Alaska, paper.
Supersonic speed freak.
Gotta love it.
So, how did the sky dive play in Baumgartner’s home country of Austria?
Kurier of Vienna used a screencap from television for its front-page picture today.
The result was blurry as hell. It’s a shame, given all the great choices that were out there.
Ein historischer Fall
…is fairly easy to understand, I think.
The paper in Bregenz played up a nice crop of Baumgartner waving after his fall.
The big paper in Salzburg opted for a montage of images.
I don’t think this was nearly as effective as some of the pages we saw above. Less is more.
Weltrekord: Felix Baumgartner schaffte Überschallflug
You can probably figure out on your own. “Weltrekord” is obviously world record. I did have to run “Überschallflug” through Google Translate, but once I saw what it meant, I should have realized it meant “supersonic flight.”
And the free paper in Vienna not only used a picture I hadn’t seen anywhere else, but paired it with a terrific headline.
The graphic material came from my friends at Graphics24. The front pages are all from the Newseum. Of course.