Former San Diego Union-Tribune graphics editor Matt Perry traded coasts over the holidays, moving to Boston to become a senior information designer for the Harvard Business Review.
Just in time for the snowiest winter in the recent history of Boston.
Great timing, huh?
The Harvard Business Review‘s parent unit — Harvard Business Publishing, which was founded 21 years ago — is a nonprofit subsidiary of Harvard University’s business school. It employs about 350 people mostly in Boston but also in New York City, India and the U.K.
In addition to the magazine, the unit publishes books, blogs, webinars and a bunch of other stuff, too.
Matt answered a few questions for us about what brought him to the other side of the contintent:
Q. What can you tell me about your new job? How is it different — if it is different — from the newspaper world?
A. My job at Harvard Business Review is similar, yet significantly different, to what I did in my past newspaper roles.
I’m still creating information graphics — researching, pitching, executing, editing and so on — and still using the same software. But I’m not doing graphics that span the spectrum of topic areas a general-interest newspaper tries to cover. Instead, I’m focusing on subjects more in line with HBR’s mission, which is how to improve the practice of management in a changing world.
I asked Matt to explain the sample pieces he sent me. Click any of these for a readable view.
The orchestrator model (a two-page spread in the magazine) piece is an example of something I did to explain the author’s concept.
My work in newspapers primarily involved data-driven charts and maps, so it’s been nice to expand my skills by working on process/idea graphics such as this.
We try to work a data-driven element into the magazine’s Idea Watch section, and the slopegraph of global connectedness is an example of something I built for that.
This final attachment is an example of a Vision Statement, a self-contained two-page spread in the magazine that is intended to be a data- and/or visuals-driven piece. (And yes, I know Alaska and Hawaii are states, but it was decided that since this wasn’t breaking news – the piece focused on the philosophy of how one approaches visualizing data – having the lower 48 states was sufficient to drive that point home.)
Three of us – Matthew Guemple (a senior designer), Scott Berinato (a senior editor) and me – worked on this piece.
HBR is a sharp, beautiful and insightful magazine/website, and I’m honored to be part of the team here.
Now, let’s pick up with the Q&A. Matt says:
The pacing has been a big change too, in that there’s not a daily print deadline I’m racing (and often staying late) to hit — we’re working far in advance. There are internal deadlines and targets, of course, but there’s a much bigger focus on thinking through multiple options for a graphic and refining approaches.
Along those lines, there are significantly more levels of proofreading and editing too, which is great. And I’ve adapted to getting out of work in time to eat a dinner that’s 1) not always fast food and 2) not always consumed at my desk. That’s pretty awesome.
Q. When did you start?
A. My first day at HBR was Dec. 1. Prior to moving to Boston, I had been working in a freelance capacity for them since May.
Q. What’s it like being on the East Coast again? Tired of the snow yet?
A. My only experience with the East Coast before now was a summer internship and winter holiday temp work in NYC. I grew up in northern Indiana though, so I’m familiar with snow.
That said, this is my first “winter” in 14 years, having lived in either New Orleans or San Diego since 2001. And there’s been an insane amount of snow in Boston this year — I’ve never seen anything like it, both in terms of the amount that’s fallen in such a short window and how much has accumulated because it’s been too cold to melt off.
I can’t say I’m truly tired of it, as I had been missing seasons (and weather in general) after a decade in San Diego, but an occasional non-snowstorm weekend would be nice.
And it turns out that my beagle loves snow — it’s her first true winter after 13 years in Southern California — so she’s had a blast this year.
A 2001 graduate of Ball State University, Matt worked for the student paper there, the Ball State Daily News, served an internship for the Portland Oregonian and freelanced for the Times-Union of Warsaw, Ind., the Star Press of Muncie and the Associated Press.
He spent three years as an artist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune before moving to the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2004 as a news artist. He was promoted to senior news artist in 2006, to graphics editor in 2008 and to director in 2010.
Matt left U-T San Diego in February of last year. A few samples of his newspaper work:
Find Matt’s portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.
Read more about the Harvard Business Review here.