24.3.05

About the Hauler graphic

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Who had the idea of doing the graphic -sports newsroom, graphics department? Who did it?
I made an attempt at this graphic a few years ago, but was rebuffed by the team we wanted to profile. They had security/secrecy issues and we only were able to run a photo. So last year, I came to work and asked Layne Smith, DMN Graphics Director to take another stab at it. Layne was able to get schematics from the manufacturer of the trucks, and thus bypassed the teams.
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Who had the idea of putting NewTek logo in the graphic? Layne Smith
Why? The real trucks are covered with logos. The logos are the financial sponsors. Layne and I went to the DMNManaging Editor and I asked if we could cover the truck with Dallas Morning news logos, or Al Dia or Quick (two sister publications of the DMN)...Stu Wilk, Managing Editor at
the time, did not want to mislead any readers that we ACTUALLY sponsor a team. So we were left to add logos of our choosing. Consequently, we happened to be within a week of hosting the first lightwave seminar here in Dallas, and the NewTek company logo was one of many we had close by because we had been using it on promotional materials for the seminar.
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So, in addition to EDS, a local electronics data firm, we added a few motor sports logos, and Layne added NewTek. There really is no detailed reason other than we had to add logos to increase the "feel" of those overly-decorated vehicles, and the NewTek logo was one that probably only a
few people would recognize. But it "looked" like a stylized logo and so Layne added it.
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Did you benefit in anyway for having that logo published? Not at all. In full disclosure, newTek was helpful to us in making software available for training purposes, but this was all handled well in advance of the publication of the graphic. However, company that manufacture the "haulers" asked and was granted the usage rights for the image on their annual report.
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What do you think about the disqualification of the graphic by the SND judges? Do you agree and understand their reasons? We felt it was extreme.
Giving "shout-outs" to friends, family, etc. in published work is not unheard of in the history of journalism, but it is not practiced here and would not be tolerated. In this case, it was an image that DEMANDED colorful, logo decorations and the NewTek logo was one of many we placed into the graphic. But we did not do so with any motives other than splash of color and corporate identity "feel".
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If the judges felt we were attempting to "connect" with this software company, that is their choice. But there is also an Amoco logo on the graphic and we also added EDS, a local Fortune 500 company. We stood to gain nothing from the petroleum company and expect nothing from EDS. We simply needed logos. But because the software we used to draw the graphic happened to be NewTek's creation, there was a connection that was too close for comfort for the judging panel. Note: A close friend was a member of that panel, and he voted to disqualify the graphic. He said it was one of the better graphic pieces in the show, and it pained him to vote to eliminate the graphic, but he felt it crossed an ethical line. Again, I think it can be interpreted many ways, in varying degrees. But without any chance to explain, I think the image screamed exploitation to those who KNEW it was the NewTek logo, and probably extrapolated that we gained in some way by displaying the logo as we did. We did not. It was just readily available.
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Would I have disqualified the graphic if I had been a member of that panel? Probably. Was the logo necessary? No. But neither were the other logos. And we needed splashes of logo-looking color, and had already created a fictitious color scheme for the team (unifoirms, decorative paint, etc.).
We didn't have the time to create a dozen of fake logos. There needed to be a sense of reality, and identifiable logos helped. We just picked the one logo that was identified by one judge as a software logo and thereby we must have had nefarious intent. We did not. We just made a decision.

Chris Morris es director de arte del Dallas Morning News.

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