Birthdays for Saturday, Dec. 20

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to ten remarkable visual journalists…

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Garrett Evans is a designer for the Hill newspaper in Washington, D.C. A 2012 graduate of the University of Missouri, Garrett worked for the Columbia Missourian. He joined the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2013 and then moved to D.C. this past fall. Find his web site here and his NewsPageDesigner portfolio here. Garrett turns 25 today.

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Jon Fisch is social media director for Q Nightclub in Seattle. A 2000 graduate of the University of North Dakota, Jon spent four years on the sports desk of the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald before joining the Charlotte Observer in 2001. He spent two years at the State in Columbia, S.C., and then four years at the Post-Dispatch of St. Louis before joining the Seattle Times in 2007. He was promoted to assistant sports editor in 2008 but was then laid off in 2012. He caught on quickly with MSN and was promoted to West Coast news editor later that fall. Jon started work for Q last year. He turns 38 today.

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Jen McCaffery is associate editor at Rhode Island Monthly magazine. A 1994 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., Jen earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1999. She spent six years as a staff reporter covering courts, heath and families for the Roanoke (Va.) Times before moving to a similar beat at sister paper the Virginian-Pilot in 2006. She moved back north in 2010 and worked as an editor for AOL’s Patch in East Providence, R.I. She joined Rhode Island Monthly in 2011. Find her Twitter feed here.

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Nina Mehta is a designer for Pivotal Labs in San Francisco, Calif. A 2007 graduate of Indiana University, Nina interned for Amnesty International, Macrovision, the Indianapolis Star, software company RockMelt, Inc. and served as a Poynter Fellow. She returned to the Star upon graduation but was laid off a year later. She then returned to Indiana for grad school and to serve as assistant editor of Majority Report, a publication of that institution’s Office of Women’s Affairs. She spent her 2010 Christmas break traveling with a colleague in Botswana, observing how folks in emerging countries use computers and software. She earned her master’s degree in May 2011, spent time that summer working in Mountain View, Calif., Tokyo and San Francisco and started at Twilio later that year. She moved to her current position in 2013. Find Nina’s web site here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here. Nina turns 29 today.

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Josh Moore is copy desk chief of the Messenger-Inquirer of Owensboro, Ky. A 2011 graduate of Western Kentucky University, Josh served as editor-in-chief of the College Heights Herald. He moved to Owensboro after graduation.

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Mandi Keown Peebles is a public relations specialist for Kruhu Branding, Design and Creative Agency in Augusta, Ga. A 2002 graduate of the College of Charleston, S.C., Mandi spent two years as a budget analyst for the S.C. House of Representatives before becoming an account executive for Ocozzio business consulting of Augusta. She also spent three years as director of communications and advocacy development for the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce. She joined Kruhu in 2011. She’s one of the few communications professionals I’ve ever run into from my tiny home town of McCormick, S.C. In fact, her stepfather is my own former stepfather (in South Carolina, if you’re not related, we’ll find a way to make you related). Find Mandi’s (really funny) blog here.

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Jay Small is president of Informed Interactive — which creates content for a chain TV stations and newspapers around the country — and based in St. Paul, Minn. A 1984 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Jay started out as a copy editor and designer for the Sun and Daily Herald of Biloxi, Miss., and then the News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., where he became design director. In 1988, he moved to the Rocky Mountain News, eventually becoming art director. In 1991, he was hired as art director of the Indianapolis Star and, four years later, became that paper’s general manager of online services. He worked for a Minneapolis-based consulting firm for a couple of years an then rejoined news media with Belo Interactive in 2001. In 2005, he became managing director of content operations for newspapers for E.W. Scripps Co. of Knoxville, Tenn., where he oversaw editing design and interactive for the entire chain. In 2009 he earned an MBA in business administration from Kennesaw State University. He spent two years as president of Cordillera Interactive — which owns Informed Interactive — and then moved to Informed in 2012. Jay also runs his own consultancy on the side. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.

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Jana Thompson is an English teacher at Northern Illinois University. A graduate of that same institution, Jana worked for the Northwest Herald of DeKalb, Ill., before moving to NIU in 2011.

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Bill Walsh is a copy editor for the Washington Post. A 1984 graduate of the University of Arizona, Bill worked as a reporter and editor for the Phoenix Gazette before moving to the Washington Times in 1989. He left in 1997 as chief of the Times‘ copy desk and leaped to the Post — where he’s worked for nearly 18 years since.

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However, you might know Bill better as the author of books about grammar: Lapsing into a Comma: A Curmudgeon’s Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print — and How to Avoid Them (2000), the Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English (2004) and his latest, published last year — Yes, I Could Care Less: How to be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk. Find Bill’s web site here and his Twitter feed here.

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Suzanne Yada is a web and social media strategist based in Berkeley, Calif. A 2004 graduate of the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., Suzanne spent four years as a copy editor for the Visalia Times-Delta before heading to San Jose State for a degree in journalism. She served as social media director for the Public Press of San Francisco, managing editor of the Global Media Initiative — in London and Paris — and as a reporter for the Spartan Daily. She graduated in 2010 and interned at the San Jose Business Journal before joining the Center for Investigative Reporting as a senior web producer. She produced two projects that were judged to be finalists for a Pulitzer prize, but was laid off last summer. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here.

Garrett, Nina, Jana, Suzanne, Jon, Josh, Mandi, Jen, Jay and Bill share a birthday with actors Jonah Hill Feldstein (better known as Jonah Hill), Michael Badalucco, Nicole de Boer, John Benedict Hillerman and Charlie Callas; musicians Christopher Mark Robinson (of the Black Crowes), David Roland Cook, Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque (better known as JoJo), Stephen William “Billy” Bragg, Alan Parsons and George Peter John Criscuola (better known as Peter Criss of Kiss); director George Roy Hill; TV producer Richard Anthony “Dick” Wolf; models Lara Catherina Stone and Jillian Grace; sports greats Richard Joseph “Rich” Gannon, Jack Leroy Christiansen (both football), Aubrey Lewis Huff III, Cecil Celester Cooper and David Wright (all three baseball); tire dealer Harvey Samuel Firestone; alleged spoon-bender Uri Geller and politicians Harry Flood Byrd Jr. and George Ervin “Sonny” Purdue III.

In addition, today is Game Day, Mudd Day, National Sangria Day, the World Day of Prayer and Action for the Children and International Human Solidarity Day. Seriously.

Have an terrific birthday today, folks! Best wishes!

Gannett’s Des Moines design studio promotes Bill Wambeke

Sean McKeown-Young — creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa — sends along yet another bulletin.

He writes:

I can’t overstate how thrilled I am to announce that Bill Wambeke is taking over my beloved Wisconsin Team as Team Leader.

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This was a position near and dear to my heart. Bill doesn’t just meet the high expectations that we all have for Wisconsin Team Management, he far exceeds them. He’s also a really spectacular guy with really spectacular ideas. I can’t wait to see where he takes them. We made the announcement at the studio exactly 7 minutes ago [Thursday] – so you are the first, outside of the studio, to know.

Bill Wambeke is a 2004 graduate of Valley City State University in Valley City, ND. He was born and raised in north central Wyoming.

Bill started in newsrooms immediately after graduation. He was county government reporter and part-time copy editor/paginator at the American News in Aberdeen, S.D. In May 2006, he moved on to the Sheridan Press in Sheridan, Wyo., where he again was a county government reporter and outdoors editor. Then in October 2006 he moved to the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho, where he was a copy editor/page designer and then news editor. In May 2010, Bill moved to the Journal Star in Lincoln, Neb., where he was a copy editor/page designer.

In April 2011, Bill became the presentation editor of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in Fargo, N.D.

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Finally, he joined us at Gannett’s Des Moines design studio in June 2013. He has led Green Bay’s design since his arrival.

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He is greatly respected and admired in the studio and newsroom.

Find more of Bill’s work here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Birthdays for Friday, Dec. 19

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to three excellent visual journalists…

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Dan Buettner is the founder of Port 80 Productions, a company that creates custom web-based software. A graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, Dan worked for a company called Outsell, Inc., and then spent several years as IT manager for the Des Moines Register. Find his blog here and his Twitter feed here.

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Brian Cleveland is a multiplatform editor for the Washington Post. A 1997 graduate of the University of Missouri, Brian spent four years as a copy editor for the News Tribune of Duluth, Minn., before joining the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., in 2005 as a copy editor. He was promoted to chief of the Pilot’s copy desk in 2007 but left in 2011 to join the Post. Find his Twitter feed here. Brian turns 36 today.

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Dan Taylor is a freelance comic book writer in Orange County, Calif. You might know him as the writer and co-creator of the web comic Hero Happy Hour. A graduate of California State University in Long Beach, Calif. Dan spent two-and-a-half years as an editor with IDW publishing before going it alone. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Brian, Dan and Dan share a birthday with actors Jacob Benjamin “Jake” Gyllenhaal, Alyssa Jane Milano, Amy Rose Locane, Marla Lynne Sokoloff, Jessica Steen, Jennifer Beals, Timothy L. Reid, Cicely Tyson and Robert Michael Urich; musician Walter Anthony Murphy Jr.; magician Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos (better known as Criss Angel); sports greats Reginald Howard “Reggie” White, Warren Carlos Sapp, Randall Cornell McDaniel, Jason Steven “Jake” Plummer, Robert Lawrence “Bobby” Layne (all five football), Kevin Edward McHale (basketball) and Albert William “Al” Kaline (baseball); paleoanthropologist Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, WABC-TV news anchor Lizabeth Aimee “Liz” Cho; talk show host David Susskind and former Soviet leader Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev.

In addition, today is Underdog Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have a wonderful birthday today!

Newport News, Va., Daily Press seeks ‘a strong visual journalist and wordsmith’

My friend Shana Gray — deputy night editor of the Daily Press of Newport News — writes to say:

The Daily Press has some copy desk openings.  was hoping you could do a blog post about it.

For you, Shana? Absolutely.

Here’s the job listing:

The Daily Press is looking for a strong visual journalist and wordsmith who can act as page designer, digital producer and copy editor for its combined print and digital night operation.

  • Can you design eye-catching print pages with an emphasis on strong, storytelling headlines?
  • Can you make content sing on desktops, tablets and mobile devices using digital content management systems?
  • Can you get content noticed using SEO tactics and strategies?
  • Are you a social media whiz who understands the different platforms, their audiences and how to speak to them?
  • Do you have strong skills in Photoshop and/or Illustrator and the creative know-how to produce striking illustrations?
  • Do you enjoy the challenge each day of working with a blank page and creating something different?

If so, we’re eager to speak with you.

The Daily Press is a darned good paper. They have you-know-who in their backyard — just across the Chesapeake Bay — so they know they have to be at the top of their game visually.

And they are. Just a few samples from my collection:

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In addition, the Daily Press redesigned four months ago. Read all about it here.

Back to Shana’s ad:

The Daily Press Media Group is located in Newport News, Va., on the Virginia peninsula. We are surrounded by the York River, the James River and the Chesapeake Bay.

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Among the communities we cover: Hampton, Gloucester, Mathews, Williamsburg and Smithfield. We are the home to Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown. If you’re a history buff, you’ll never be at a loss for places to see.

If you like great seafood, beaches and still want to watch the leaves change in the fall, this is the place for you. In addition, we are the home to many colleges and universities including Hampton University, Christopher Newport University and the College of William and Mary. We offer a great place to live as well as a great place to work.

Shana might also add that the Daily Press moved into a brand-new location this very week in downtown Newport News. A few excerpts from a gallery the paper posted Monday:

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Find the Daily Press web site here and the city’s official web site here.

Shana writes:

Please email your resume, design clips and digital experience to Shana Gray at

sgray [at] dailypress.com

Gannett’s Des Moines design studio hires one and seeks to hire two more

Sean McKeown-Young, creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa, announces:

We have a new designer starting here in early January: Piper Haugan.

She is really cool. I’m excited to work with her.

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A 2011 graduate of the University of Montana, Piper grew up in Valdez, Alaska. She worked as a local government reporter for the Independent Record of Helena before joining the Montana Standard of Butte.

Find Piper’s Twitter feed here.

Sean tells us:

We’re also hiring – which makes me a happy man.

I just posted our positions on the SND Job Board, but I can talk directly to anyone interested.

We’re looking for page designers and finishers. We’re looking for creative, clever, smart, engaging people that get as excited about great journalism and design as I do, and you know what a spaz I am.

Read more about Sean and his work here and here.