Thoughts from the Society for News Design president about the 29th Best of Newspaper Design

By Gayle Grin

As always, the competition was exciting, stimulating and tiring as the hard-working judges pored over more than 14,000 entries in three long days of debate and discussion. And before the judging could begin, the entries had to be sorted and categorized by a dedicated group of helpers.

It was an intriguing process. Initially I felt there was so much of the same good stuff but at the same time, I recognized that newspapers have reached a level of maturity in design and we have taught each other so much. I could see quality in design was being identified. With a lot of work to be reviewed, the judges quickly began acting as a unit recognizing the elusive excellence. The judges, with a good international mix, were a tough bunch!

In the beginning, no one paper or trend wowed us. There was consistency and high caliber in visual editorial reporting with the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. They led the competition in total awards. They were followed by the National Post of Canada and a small paper, Zaman, from Turkey won the 4th highest number of awards.

By the last day, it was apparent this was a competition where illustration shined. More than ever, illustration was part of the story telling, even on page one and very effectively on editorial pages. On the last day, nearly a 1000 illustrations were judged. Illustration is becoming a key part of the ever-changing role of newspapers as they appear to becoming more analytical.

With over 1162 winners from 14,816 entries, and with this coming weekend seeing the final selections in Category 1, another SND design competition has been successfully organized. What a challenge! What a process! What a team! And after the long gritty hours of judging there was even a little time for some much-needed fun!

My thanks go to David Rubin, Dean of Syracuse University; Marshall Mattlock, Competition and Site Director; Shamus Walker, Audit and Entry Director; Greg Swanson, 29th Edition Coordinator; Ron Johnson, SND Book Editor, and to the international and national judges; and to all those who helped and gave of their time, handling such tasks as internet coverage, data entry and even ironing the winning pages for inclusions.

Once again, I was proud to be part of SND and working along side such dedicated people.


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