Birthdays for Friday, Feb. 27

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five gifted visual journalists…


Curt Chander is a multimedia instructor for Penn State University. A 1979 graduate of Northwestern University, Curt spent four years as a photographer for the Ogden Standard-Examiner and then ten years shooting for the Cleveland Plain Dealer before moving to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1995 as editor for online innovation. He left newspapers in 2007. Find Curt’s web site here.


Tarina Coetze is a designer and editor for print and digital, via her company — mcrMEDIA — based in Johannesburg, South Africa. A 1987 graduate of the University of the Free State, Tarina spent several years as a sub-editor and designer for Sake24, Media24′s business news operation in Johannesburg. She left Media24 in 2011 and has since worked for Interact Media Defined and served as chief subeditor for the Citizen, a nationally-distributed tabloid. Her husband, Réhann, is also a freelance journalist. Tarina turns 47 today.


Kristen Gray is assistant director of marketing for the Principal Financial Group of Des Moines, Iowa. A 1994 graduate of Grand View University in Des Moines, Kristen spent eight years as director of advertising for the Younkers retail chain before being named communications and marketing manager for RAGBRAI, the Des Moines Register’s bike ride across Iowa. She spent nearly as year as marketing planner for all of Gannett’s midwestern properties before joining Principle Financial Group as a senior marketing consultant. She spent a year-and-a-half asdirector of communications for Iowa Public Television before returning to Principal last fall in her new position.


Nate Little is a freelance artist and designer and an arts, media and entertainment instructor for the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program. A 2008 graduate of UC Irvine, Nate earned a masters degree from Claremont University. He spent a year as a designer for the community papers of the Orange County Register. Find his blog here. Nate turns 28 today.


Lisa Suhay is a free-lance writer and children’s book author based in Norfolk, Va. A 1988 graduate of Monmouth University in New Jersey, Lisa has written eight children’s books including Pardon Me. It’s Ham, Not Turkey, Dream Catchers, Tell Me a Story, Haddy the Doorstopasaurus and There Goes a Mermaid: A Norfolk Tale. When I went to South Africa, in fact, I insisted on taking a batch of that latter book to hand out as gifts. Lisa was kind enough to autograph them all for me.


Lisa free-lances commentary pieces for a number of publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times and the Virginian-Pilot. Her passion lately: NICE, the Norfolk Initiative for Chess Excellence, in which she uses chess as a way to reach out to kids.


Her husband, Robert Suhay, is a designer for the Pilot and a seafaring adventurer. Find Lisa’s chess project blog here and her Twitter feed here.

Nate, Curt, Kristen, Tarina and Lisa share a birthday with  actors Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, Howard Hesseman, Mary Frances Luecke (better known as Mary Frann), Adam Baldwin, Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward, Van Zandt Williams and Kate Mara; musicians Joshua Winslow “Josh” Groban and John Roy “Johnny” Van Zant (of Lynyrd Skynyrd); sports greats Gene Sarazen (golf), James Ager Worthy (basketball), Anthony David “Tony” Gonzalez and Raymond Emmett Berry (both football); TV personality Jennifer “Jwoww” Farley; politicians Harvey LeRoy “Lee” Atwater, John Bowden Connally Jr. and Ralph Nader; Supreme Court justice Hugo Lafayette Black; poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; novelist John Ernst Steinbeck Jr.; lead Apple designer Jonathan Paul “Jony” Ive; NBC founder David Sarnoff and broadcast journalists Chelsea Victoria Clinton and Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

In addition, today is Read Me Day, the National Day of Action and International Polar Bear Day. Seriously.

Have an excellent birthday! Best wishes, all!

Birthdays for Thursday, Feb. 26

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to four tremendously talented visual journalists…


Anne Carothers-Kay is managing editor for the weekly Des Moines Business Record. A 1979 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Anne spent 27 years at the Des Moines Register as a reporter, legislative editor, community editor, assistant metro editor and health editor. She left the Register in 2008 to join Meredith Corporation as a senior editor of Heart-Healthy magazine. She went free-lance in 2010 as a writer, editor and marketing expert and worked briefly for in Urbandale, Iowa, in the suburbs of Des Moines, before signing on with the Business Record in 2012. Find her Twitter feed here.


Bill Pliske is digital presentation editor for the Arizona Republic of Phoenix, Ariz. After spending a year as graphics editor of the Victoria (Texas) Advocate, Bill moved to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1994 as design director. He became news design director of the Republic in 2006 and moved into his current position in 2009. Find his Twitter feed here. Bill turns 50 today.


Bill Reiter is a columnist and sportswriter for Fox Sports in Los Angeles. A 2000 graduate of the University of Missouri, Bill spent a year studying at the Imperial College of London and interning with the Daily Express. He also served internships with the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Washington Times and the Chicago Tribune. He spent two years as a reporter for the Democrat-Gazette of Little Rock, Ark., and then three-and-a-half years at the Des Moines Register before moving to the Kansas City Star in 2006 as a sports enterprise reporter. He leaped to Fox in 2010 and is the resident NBA Insider guy on FOX Sports 1 TV and Fox Sports Radio. Find his columns here and his Twitter feed here.


Angeli Wright is a staff photographer for the Victoria (Texas) Advocate. A 2010 graduate of Michigan State University, Angeli served as assistant photo editor for the student paper there, the State News. She’s been at the Advocate since 2011. Find Angeli’s portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

Angeli, Bill, Bill and Anne share a birthday with actors Arthur Leonard Rosenburg (better known as Tony Randall), Herbert Walton “Jackie” Gleason Jr., William Clement “Bill” Frawley, Christianne Carafano (better known as Chase Masterson) and Mark Alan Dacascos; musicians Michael Bolotin (better known as Michael Bolton), Antoine Dominique “Fats” Domino Jr., Erica Abi Wright (better known as Erykah Badu), William S. Levise Jr. (better known as Mitch Ryder), Nathaniel Joseph “Nate” Ruess (of Fun) and John R. “Johnny” Cash; sports greats Marshall William Faulk (football), Jack Thomas “J.T.” Snow Jr. (baseball) and Charles “Chuck” Wepner (boxing); novelists Victor-Marie Hugo and Edward Hamilton Waldo (better known as Theodore Sturgeon), politicians Ariel Scheinermann (better known as Ariel Sharon) and Timothy Michael “Tim” Kaine; TV journalist Robert David Sanders Novak; industrialist Herbert Henry Dow; wild west personality William Frederick Cody (better known as Buffalo Bill); clothing manufacturer Löb Strauß (better known as Levi Strauss) and animator Frederick Bean “Tex” Avery.

In addition, today is National Chili Day, National Bacon Day, World Pistachio Day, National Personal Chefs Day, Levi Strauss Day, For Pete’s Sake Day and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, y’all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Wednesday, Feb. 25

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


Konstantinos Antonopoulos is a senior interactive producer for the al Jazeera Media Network in Doha, Qatar. Previously, Konstantinos was an editor, artist and videographer with various TV organizations and then spent nearly four years with Exedra, a sports newspaper also based in Athens. I did a nice Q&A with him during the 2010 soccer World Cup. More recently, he was an interactive infographics designer for Lambrakis Press SA of Athens, Greece. He moved to the Middle East in 2013. Find Konstantinos’ portfolio here, his web site here and his Twitter feed here. Konstantinos turns 45 today.


Robin Johnston is director of operations and design for the McClatchy Publishing Center in Charlotte, N.C. A 1993 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Robin spent three years as an art director for the Chicago Tribune before joining the News & Observer of Raleigh in 1996. She was promoted to design director of features two years later and then made the move to the Charlotte Observer in 2003 as deputy design director. She was promoted to design director in 2007, shifted to director of the universal desk in 2008 and then was named senior presentation editor for print and online in 2009. She was promoted to her current position when McClatchy combined print and editing desks for Charlotte, Raleigh and Rock Hill, S.C., in Charlotte.


John Naughton is a sportswriter for for the Des Moines Register in Iowa. He’s worked there 27 years. Find John’s Twitter feed here.


Betsy Pollard Rau is an instructor at Central Michigan University and Michigan State University and faculty adviser for Grand Central Magazine. A 1975 graduate of Central Michigan, Betsy has taught ever since. She also spent 21 years as workshop director for the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. Find her blog here and her Twitter feed here.


Bill Wachsberger is design director for the Baltimore Sun. A 1997 graduate of the University of Miami, Bill spent a year as a copy editor and designer for the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and three years as a news design planner at the Morning News of Savannah, Ga., before joining the State of Columbia, S.C., in 2001 as an A1 and special projects designer. He moved to the Baltimore Sun in 2004 as news design director but was laid off in 2009. He spent two years working off and on as a temporary contract designer for the Washington Post before signing on in 2011 with Gannett’s design studio in Nashville, Tenn. He returned to the Baltimore Sun in 2013. Bill turns 45 today.

Robin, Bill, Konstantinos, John and Betsy share a birthday with actors Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni (better known as Téa Leoni), Isabelle Fuhrman, Sean Patrick Duke (better known as Sean Astin); James Gilmore “Jim” Backus and Herbert Manfred “Zeppo” Marx; musicians George Harrison, Julio Iglesias Jr. and Thomas Penn “Tommy” Newsom; TV writers Larry Simon Gelbart and Jack Handey; comedians Chelsea Joy Handler, Lee Evans and Scott Thompson (better known as Carrot Top); painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir; sports greats Christian Ponder, Donald Francis Vincent “Don” Majkowski (both football), Jeff Fisher (football coach), Ron Santo (baseball), Joakim Simon Noah (basketball), David Carl “Davey” Allison (auto racing), Robert Larimore “Bobby” Riggs (tennis) and announcers Todd Alan Blackledge and Anthony William “Billy” Packer; wrassler Richard Morgan Fliehr (better known as Ric Flair); novelist John Anthony Burgess Wilson (better known as just Anthony Burgess); politician John Foster Dulles; talk show host Sally Angeline Lowenthal (better known as Sally Jessy Raphael), Nancy Evelyn Humphries (better known as Entertainment Tonight‘s Nancy O’Dell) and longtime CBS news anchor Bob Lloyd Schieffer.

In addition, today is Inconvenience Yourself Day. Seriously.

Have a truly great birthday today! Best wishes, all!

Birthdays for Tuesday, Feb. 24

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to six gifted visual journalists…


Lynn Campbell is a communications specialist for the College of Human Sciences of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. A 1994 graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Lynn spent nearly five years as Des Moines, Iowa, legislative reporter for Lee Enterprises. She moved to the Des Moines Register in 1998, spending ten years as a staff writer covering government, politics and education. In 2008, she became the Des Moines bureau chief for, a subscriber-based service for political news. She moved to Iowa State two years ago. In addition, she taught reporting as an adjunct at Drake University. Find her Twitter feed here. Lynn turns 43 today.


Tony Gonzalez is a reporter for the Tennessean of Nashville. A 2008 graduate of Hillsdale (Mich.) College, Tony was a merit scholar and editor-in-chief of the student paper. He interned at the Toledo Free Press, the Detroit News and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. After graduation, he spent three years with the Waynesboro, Va., News Virginian before moving to Nashville in 2011, where he specializes in stories about family issues. Find his Twitter feed here. Tony turns 29 today.


Murray LaVita is a columnist for die Burger, the Afrikaans-language daily of Cape Town, South Africa. A graduate of nearby Stellenbosch University, he’s just one of the very gracious staffers at that paper that have put up with the nutty ideas I come up with during my occasional trips there. His book — Gesprekke Met Merkwaardige Mense, which means Conversations with Remarkable People — was published in 2011. Find Murray’s Twitter feed here.


Sean McKeown-Young is creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Sean served as presentation editor for the Green Bay Press-Gazette and then spent several years at the Toledo Blade. He moved to Gannett’s Louisville studio in 2011 as assistant team leader for features and then moved to the Des Moines studio in 2012 as Wisconsin team leader. He was promoted to his current position in November. Sean turns 42 today.


J.R. Ortega is delivery desk chief of the Victoria (Texas) Advocate. A 2009 graduate of Texas-Pan American, J.R. served as editor-in-chief of the student paper there, the Pan American. He served a Maynard Fellowship and then came to the Advocate as a health and ranging reporter. He left in 2012 to become general manager and editor of a weekly in Matagorda but then returned later that year to work on the features and diversity beats. He moved into his current position last fall, in which he runs the copy desk. Find his Twitter feed here.


Pattie Reaves is user experience and audience manager for the Daily News of Bangor, Maine. A 2008 graduate of the University of Maine, Pattie worked as a design intern for the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale and then as a new media product manager for the Daily News before moving to the Lewiston Sun Journal in 2009 as a web editor. In 2013, she was promoted to digital platforms manager for the Sun Media Group. She moved back to Bangor in 2013. Find her old print portfolio here, her fitness blog here and her Twitter feed here. Pattie turns 30 today.

Tony, Pattie, J.R., Sean, Lynn and Murray share a birthday with actors Edward James Olmos, Kristin Landen Davis, William George “Billy” Zane Jr., Abraham Charles “Abe” Vigoda, Barry Knapp Bostwick, Adolphus Raymondus Vernon Agopsowicz (better known as John Keith Vernon) and James Farentino; musicians Rupert Holmes, George Thorogood, Michel Jean LeGrand and Enrico Caruso; sports greats Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner, Eddie Clarence Murray, Michael Averett Lowell (all three baseball), Jeffrey Jason Garcia (football), Michael Rob “Mike” Fratello (basketball coach), Floyd Sinclair (better known as boxer Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr.), Zachary Harris “Zach” Johnson (golf) and Alain Marie Pascal Prost (auto racing); Admiral Chester William Nimitz; politician Joseph Isadore Lieberman, TV journalist Paula Ann Zahn and the late, great co-founder of Apple computer, Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs.

In addition, today is National Cupcake Day, Spay Day USA, Single-Tasking Day and World Bartender Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Monday, Feb. 23

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


Jose Franco is entertainment editor of the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, S.C. A 1988 graduate of Texas State University-San Marcos, Jose went to work right away for the Herald-Journal — first, as a reporter and then moving to his current position in 2007. Find his Twitter feed here.


Deny Howeth is a photography and design consultant based in Lewes, Del. She spent six years as a newspaper photographer and then two years as a designer for a food magazine. Find her web site here.


Libby Roerig is assistant director of communications at Indiana State University. A native of Walterboro, S.C. — where my mom was postmaster for a couple of years — Libby studied at the University of South Carolina Salkehatchie before graduating Charleston Southern University in 2002. She spent a couple of years as a writer, editor and photographer for the Press and Standard of Walterboro and interned on the design desk of the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. on the way to earning a master’s degree from the University of Missouri in 2007. She spent a brief time as a designer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel before settling in as a designer and copy editor for the Savannah Morning News in 2008. She left Savannah in 2011, moved back to Missouri and spent two years as a communications specialist for Citizens Electric in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., before moving to Indiana State last spring.


Gareth Sleger is a designer for the Lee Enterprises regional design center in Madison, Wis. A graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., Gareth spent seven years as a sportswriter and copy editor for the Rockford, Ill., Register Star and then a year as a sports reporter for the Herald & Review of Decatur, Ill., before returning to Rockford in 2012 to work in the GateHouse Media common content center as a sports editor and designer. He moved over to Lee in 2013. Find Gareth’s portfolio here, his Tumblr blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Jose, Gareth, Libby and Deny share a birthday with actors Hannah Dakota Fanning, Peter Henry Fonda, Majel Leigh Hudec (better known as Majel Barrett-Roddenberry), Emily Olivia Leah Blunt, Aziz Ansari, Carol Denise Ensley (better known as Niecy Nash) and Patricia Castle Richardson; musicians John Dawson “Johnny” Winter III and George Frederic Handel; director Victor Lonzo Fleming; activist William Edward Burghardt “W.E.B.” Du Bois; author John Sandford; poet Donna J. Stone; World War II pilot Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr.; sports greats Andre Ward (boxing), Roberto Martin Antonio “Bobby” Bonilla (baseball), Frederick S. “Fred” Biletnikoff, Ed Lee “Too Tall” Jones (both football) and Thomas William “Tom” Osborne (football coach); radio host Thomas Edward “Tom” Bodett, celebrity blogger Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. (better known as Perez Hilton) and computer inventor Michael Saul Dell.

In addition, today is Iwo Jima Day, Museum Advocacy Day, Diesel Engine Day and National Dog Biscuit Day. Seriously.

Best wishes for a truly great birthday today, folks!