Gannett Illustrator Powerfully Frames ‘Prey’ Series

More great work by Merry Eccles.

At the recent annual Best of Gannett awards, designer Merry Eccles claimed the first, second and third prizes for cover design/best cover. Today, in Staunton, Va.’s News Leader, she’s wrapped up another impressive trifecta with her final front-page artwork for the paper’s three-part investigation into child sexual abuse.

Eccles, who works for Gannett’s Design Studio Nashville, has a very distinct visual style. Her Tumblr and NewsPageDesigner portfolios reveal many more clever images. She also recently garnered social media acclaim for a front-page tribute to Merle Haggard.

William Ramsay, news director, editors for the News Leader, introduced the “Prey” series last week by reporter Brad Zinn:

We were fed up with news stories on molestation after molestation.

In staff reporting over six months, we spoke to more than 70 sources and spent weeks analyzing public and private databases for patterns related to child reporting and processing. Zinn’s research stretched to Alabama, then Texas, looking for good ideas in use by other states.

As part of the effort, Jeff Schwaner enlisted 16 readers to take a two-hour online child abuse identification training and help us evaluate it.

Below are the two previous News Leader front pages featuring the “Prey” series, published April 27-28. Eccles sourced the Getty Images stock library for her work on these composites.

Images via: @nashvilleeds

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.