Tim Ball, Assistant Sports Editor for Design at the San Jose Mercury News, made another one of those announcements today that those of us who call him a good friend are used to.
He’s ready to embark on a new challenge at a new publication.
But this time, he’s really giving himself a new challenge.
TBall, as he’s affectionately known, will leave the Merc in late July to become Creative Director for a group of English-language magazines based in Bangkok, where he’ll start in mid-August. Yes, you read that right: Bangkok. Thailand.
The company’s flagship, Instore magazine, serves American jewelry-industry professionals. “It’s quite well-designed, well-established and, well, it’s a magazine,” TBall said. And who among us in the newspaper world hasn’t dreamed of running our own show at a magazine?!? TBall will get that opportunity, and he’ll get to experience a new culture in Southeast Asia at the same time.
Tim called the move “probably the biggest decision of my decision-filled life,” alluding to the stops along the way in his newspaper career. They’re plentiful, and even TBall says he needs to take a deep breath before reciting them: The Record-Courier (Gardnerville, Nev.); Peninsula Daily News (Port Angeles, Wash.); Oakland (Calif.) Tribune; San Antonio Express-News; the Merc; the Wisconsin State Journal; Indianapolis Star; and the Merc again. Whew, to say the least, right?!?
TBall said the move is not made without some anxiety: “It’s … one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities I’ve heard so much about, so I’m pretty excited about it. And terrified at the same time. So far, excitement is winning out by a nose.”
The Blog has obtained an exclusive excerpt from TBall’s e-mail to colleagues at the Merc, which as of this posting isn’t even released yet. Here’s a peek:
This has, honestly, been the most difficult decision of my life, but it’s one I’m supremely excited about now that it’s becoming reality.
It’s incredibly tough to leave the Merc (even, ahem, tougher to leave it twice), especially right now, in the midst of a redesign. But this is one of those chances I probably won’t see again: To move abroad, to a thrilling city; to break into magazines; and to live, I hope, comfortably while doing it.
The goodbye to the Merc and California will be a long one, thankfully, as there’s a pesky All-Star game keeping me here through most of July, but I plan on using the time to really appreciate the people and the places I’ll be leaving behind.
Matt Mansfield at the Merc said TBall will, to put it mildly, be missed.
“It is an exciting move for him personally,” Mansfield said Wednesday night. “We are sad to see him go, but none of us would ever stand in the way of such an adventurous move. What will we miss most? The amazing conceptual skill and design presence that is TBall. We can’t ever replace that.”
Don’t miss some examples of Tim’s work, which has been awarded by all kinds of professional organizations, not to mention SND.
T-Ball, you will for sure be missed stateside. But you can better believe you will have all kinds of calls and e-mails coming your way from those of us wanting you to show us around Thailand!