Category Archives: member moves

J. Ford Huffman joins the Washington Post

J. Ford Huffman, formerly a deputy managing editor at USA Today, is set to join the Washington Post. The memo:

National is thrilled to announce the arrival of J. Ford Huffman, the longtime deputy managing editor for design of USA Today. J. Ford — a true legend in the newspaper design world and one of the founders of USA Today in the 1980s — will work with us to help transform the graphics and all kinds of visual display throughout the A section.

Working closely with Mike Keegan and everyone in News Art as well as Justin Ferrell, the new A section art director, and the rest of the A section design team, J. Ford has volunteered to jump right in and help us think in different ways about all of our visual storytelling.

He’s a terrific source of ideas (not to mention a wise counselor of what works, and what doesn’t), and eager to work closely with National’s editors and reporters to get things done. A longtime DC resident, J. Ford also just happens to be a veteran long-distance runner, currently training for his 23rd marathon…! Please join us in welcoming him.

Susan Glasser, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Bill Hamilton

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Michael Whitley promoted to AME Design at L.A. Times

(Clockwise from top left) Whitley, in an earlier, frosted era, showed the LAT how to inject a little temporary tattoo ‘tude. At the Boston SND conference, he displays his latest hat trick — a stunning Stanley Cup special section. Later at Boston, he and Tyson Evans brought the tech to the closing ceremonies once again.


Michael Whitley has been named Assistant Managing Editor for Design of the Los Angeles Times. He’ll oversee news, features, graphics and the magazine.

“I feel excited and slightly nervous,” said Michael.


Here is today’s memo announcing the news:

Dec. 18, 2007

From: John Arthur, managing editor
To: The Staff

I’m pleased to announce that Michael Whitley has been promoted to Assistant Managing Editor for Design, reporting to me.

Michael is known not only for his outstanding design skills and dignified attire — dark suits, round the clock — but for his easygoing manner, gracious collegiality, deep interest in photojournalism and in stories of all types. In his tenure at The Times, Michael has had a hand in some of the paper’s most important projects and consistently receives praise from colleagues for his high standards and ability to work as part of a team.


Michael joined The Times in April, 2003, as deputy design director for news after serving as team leader for news and projects at the Charlotte Observer for three years. In January, 2006, Michael was named design director for news, overseeing design for the A, California, Business and Sports sections.

Effective today, features design, graphics and magazine design will also will report to Michael. He inherits an incredibly talented group. From the the wonderful work done by Christian Potter-Drury and the features design department, Les Dunseith and the graphics department and Heidi Volpe and the magazine design department, The Times is recognized throughout the industry for both our high-quality journalism and the creative and intelligent ways we present it.

Before joining The Times, Michael was the projects designer at the San Diego Union-Tribune and the deputy design director for news and sports at the Copley Suburban Chicago Newspapers. His first newspaper job was at the Princeton (Ind.) Daily Clarion, an 8,000-circulation paper where he served as reporter, photographer, designer, sometimes plate-maker and even wrote a weekly column.

Michael is from Versailles, Ky., home to thoroughbred horse racing and Woodford Reserve Bourbon, both of which he enjoys in moderation. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Evansville (Ind.) in journalism with specializations in photojournalism and investigative reporting.

Michael lives in Culver City with his wife, Jacqueline, and their dog, Reiley. For two years, the Design Department has reported to Deputy Managing Editor Melissa McCoy, who has ably juggled that assignment, leadership of the entire copy desk and a variety of other tasks. I want to thank Melissa for her contributions to the management of what is clearly one of the best design desks in American journalism. More interesting responsibilities will continue to come Melissa’s way!

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"Intern" Carrie Hoover to The Oregonian

Randy Cox, visuals and production editor for The Oregonian, announced today that The Oregonian has made three new hires: news designers Carrie Hoover (intern, San Jose Mercury News) and Don Renfroe (presentation editor, The Albuquerque Tribune), and photographer Tom Boyd (The Register Guard).

Randy writes:

“The Oregonian has hired two new news-side designers to join our presentation team. Both will juggle nightside responsibilities among our A-Section, Metro, Business and weekly zoned tabloid magazines . . . We’re thrilled all three will be joining us.”

Carrie (left) at her Merc farewell party, with designer Janet Kim (Photo: Martin Gee)

You might remember Carrie from her big win at the first-ever SND “Intern” 2006 competition in Orlando. After winning the competition, she chose to spend her summer (and well into fall/winter) interning at the Mercury News.

Today was Carrie’s last day here at the Merc, and we couldn’t be sadder to see her go. During her summer, she worked in nearly every section of the paper, from Features to News, and made a splash wherever she went. Her colorful wardrobe and cheerful attitude earned her the nickname of the news desk’s “ray of sunshine.”

Kevin Wendt, AME for Design/Copy/Sports at the Merc, said:

“Carrie is a rock star, and Portland should be quite happy landing her. We tried to hold out for a job to open up here, and although things didn’t work out, I’m very glad Carrie is landing in a great spot. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about her good work for years to come!”

On a personal note, Carrie has been an amazing colleague, friend and roommate, and we are all sad to see her go. At the same time, we couldn’t be happier for her amazing new opportunities and wish her the best.

Congratulations again to Carrie, Don and Tom, and best of luck in Portland!

J. Ford Huffman exits USA Today

J. Ford Huffman, deputy managing editor of design at USA TODAY, one of the paper’s original architects and a 25-year veteran, has accepted a buyout — one of as many as 43 rumored to be pending (management sought 45 according to recent media reports). “While I’m excited about the opportunities, leaving something I helped create 25 years ago is sad,” he said.

“I know this paper by heart. But I’m eager for the next chapter in life and glad Gannett is giving me the chance. I’m happy I have the chance to explore new creative opportunities,” Huffman said.

Huffman’s current responsibilities include recommending the design and art direction of USA TODAY’s Page One. But he’s played many roles during his career — both at USAT and before:

  • He designed the front page of the top-selling Sept. 12, 2001, issue (3.6 million copies) that Society for News Design magazine called “an unprecedented national statement.” Earlier he directed the presentation of the entire paper’s millennium edition (Dec. 31, 1999) that sold 3.3 million copies.
  • In 2007, Huffman was on the team that developed the initial concept for USA TODAY’s active-lifestyle monthly magazine, due in 2008. Also, he has helped facilitate the merger of the print and online visual departments.
  • Huffman is one of nine “expert” contributors (including Nigel Holmes) in Jennifer George-Palilonis’ textbook, A Practical Guide to Graphics Reporting (Elsevier, 2006). He’s led discussions at workshops from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to San Jose, Costa Rica, for the Society for News Design, and in Warsaw, Poland, and Budapest, Hungary, for the Freedom Forum. He’s taught at the Defense Information School at Ft. Meade, Md., the American Press and Poynter journalism institutes and at universities from Miami to South Dakota. He regularly teaches in USA TODAY’s continuing-education program.
  • He’s been invited to Gannett newsrooms more than 50 times to lead discussions about writing and presentation and to advise on design, including Gannett’s military Times newspapers. The Army, Navy, and Air Force Times were redesigned and the Marine Corps Times introduced in 1999.
  • His reviews appear on the books pages of USA TODAY and the military Times.
  • In early 1981, he was in the group that developed the first prototypes of USA TODAY. At the paper’s start in 1982, he was a content editor in Life. In 1984, he was on the full-time corporate New Media Task Force exploring Gannett’s online possibilities.
  • Before that he worked at the Wheeling, W. Va., News-Register, the afternoon Rochester Times-Union, the morning Democrat and Chronicle in 1986, and Gannett News Service. He is a 10-year member of ASNE’s program committee and a past national director of NLGJA.

Outside the newsroom, he has designed sets for Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theater in Wheeling, W.Va. The Left Hand of Justice debuts in January 2008. He’s a former two-term president of the 200-member D.C. Front Runners and has finished 22 marathons. The U.S. Marine Corps selected his illustration as the branding image for the Corps’ 2004 marathon.

JB’s first day in the Windy City

Jonathon Berlin goes all Jeffy-from-Family-Circus with his “I Didn’t Do It” stance next to some spilled fruit dip in the Presidential Suite at SND Boston. (MattE Photo)

The Region 4 Blog was stumbling around downtown Chicago on Monday and wandered into the illustrious Tribune Tower on North Michigan Avenue.

And whaddayaknow — it was Jonathon Berlin‘s first day at the Chicago Tribune as the paper’s new Design Director. Jonathon recently left the San Jose Mercury News to return to the Midwest, where he went to school (University of Illinois) and where he has plenty of family.

The Region 4 Blog couldn’t help but go all multimedia and talked to JB as well as some of his new colleagues at the Trib.

You can read all about it and check out the 3-minute video over at the Region 4 Blog.

Joe Torre’s out of NY… And John V. Smith is leaving too


Joe Torre wouldn’t stay for 5 mil. So John V. Smith is out too. (Rumors hint at some sorta package deal.)

John V. Smith is leaving his Newsday sports design position of 2.5 years to become the Assistant Sports Editor at the Asbury Park Press. “My wife, Alison Kistler Smith, will be the Assistant Night Editor. She’s currently at TV Guide.”

When asked for comment about Smith’s move back to his old haunt (he had been the sports designer at the APP for four years earlier in his career), ME for Everything, Harris Siegel sent an email with the lyrics to Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?.”

Who says you can’t go home
There’s only one place they call me one of their own

Just a hometown boy, born a rolling stone, who says you can’t go home

Who says you can’t go back, been all around the world and as a matter of fact

There’s only one place left I want to go, who says you can’t go home

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, its alright

REGION 3: Alison Powers joins the Times-Union

The Florida Times-Union announced today that Alison Powers will join its staff as a designer.

Alison is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism where she played many roles at the Columbia Missourian daily newspaper. She was a graphic artist, designer and art director on many pages including the Tiger Kickoff preview sections before each home football game.

Before her time with the Missourian, Alison was a designer, production manager and graphics editor at the student-run Maneater. During that time, she won an honorable mention in the Student Society for News Design designer of the year competition, a huge deal in the world of college news design. She won several more SSND awards during her time in Missouri.

This summer, Alison interned at The Virginian-Pilot, where she designed pages, wrote headlines and edited proofs for six community news tabs.

Mark Kozak, her supervisor at the Pilot, had this to say about her work: “During the summer, I have given her all of our most difficult/complicated cover stories, design-heavy pages, picture pages, etc., and she has done them all with aplomb.” He added, “Alison always asks for work to do, but she is so fast that I couldn’t keep her totally busy all the time — unless we were shorthanded. Early on, I decided she needed to get more experience on our daily paper, so she started spending Fridays handling our business section.”

Mark also praised Alison for her attention to detail, a compliment echoed by Joy Mayer, designer editor of the Columbia Missourian. “When it comes to typography, she’s really good at the small details.”

In addition to her love of sports, Alison also enjoys musical theater. She has appeared in many productions and is a talented dancer. She is a native of St. Louis.

(For those of you keeping count, the T-U has a LOT of Missouri grads: Brandy Hilboldt Allport, Carole Fader, Patrick Garvin, Karen Mathis, Gary Mills, Erin Patterson, Mark Woods, Stefanie Zimmerman.)

Alison will be designing pages for news and lifestyle. She will start later this month.

Please congratulate Alison on her exciting new challenge.