Birthdays for Monday, Sept. 1

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


Kiely Agliano is art director for the Home Shopping Network in Tampa, Fla. A 1994 graduate of Florida State University, Kiely began work at the Tampa Tribune in 1997 — first, as a features designer, then as senior editor for design and graphics, then audience editor for visuals and finally planning editor for the paper’s tablet edition. She left the Tribune in 2013 to work for Find her Twitter feed here.


Danny Paskin is assistant professor of journalism and new media at California State University, Long Beach. A 1997 graduate of Faculdades Integradas Helio Alonso in ‪Rio de Janeiro‬, Brazil, Danny earned a master’s degree (2000) and then a PhD (2006) from the University of Miami. He also worked at the Miami Herald a year and at the News-Press of Fort Myers a year and taught as an adjunct at Miami. He moved to the West Coast in 2008. Find his Twitter feed here.


Lee Steele is design editor for Hearst’s Connecticut Media Group, based in Bridgeport. A 1986 graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., Lee worked at a number of newspapers before getting into internet design and marketing with as art director for Meckermedia, Primedia Business (now called Penton Media) and Primedia. He joined the Connecticut Post in 2003 as design editor. When the Post‘s corporate parent combined regional design and editing operations, he assumed duties over four other dailies and seven weeklies as well. He also teaches news design as an adjunct professor at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. Since 2009, Lee’s served as Region One director for the Society of News Design. The society named him training director in 2012. He’s currently vice president. Find his blog here and his Twitter feed here.

Kiely, Lee and Danny share a birthday with actors Mary Jean “Lily” Tomlin, Margaret Yvonne Middleton (better known as Yvonne DeCarlo) and Robert Scott Speedman; musicians Harold Lloyd Jenkins (better known as Conway Twitty), Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García (better known as Gloria Estefan), Barry Alan Crompton Gibb (of the Bee Gees), Jason Dean Bennison (better known as J.D. Fortune of INXS), Jasmine Alexandria Sagginario (who normally goes by just her first name), Archie Lee Bell (of Archie Bell & the Drells), Lecil Travis Martin (better known as Boxcar Willie) and Seiji Ozawa; sports greats Rocco Francis Marchegiano (better known as boxer Rocky Marciano), Joshua Clark “Josh” Davis (swimming), Timothy Duane “Tim” Hardaway (basketball), Garry Lee Maddox (baseball), Zachary Michael “Zach” Thomas, Jason Paul Taylor and Clinton Earl Portis (all three football); TV psychologist Phillip Calvin McGraw (better known as “Dr. Phil“); politician Dorothy Ann Willis Richards, comic book writer Jhonen Vasquez, comic book artist Eugene Jules “Gene” Colan and novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs.

In addition to Labor Day, today is Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day, Chicken Boys Day, Emma M. Nutt Day and Executive Toy Test Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have an excellent birthday today!

Birthdays for Sunday, Aug. 31

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


Robert Ahrens is a freelance graphic artist based in Chicago, Ill. A 1987 graduate of Elgin Community College, Robert spent a year as a production artist at Elgin’s Joseph Spiess Company before joining the Northwest Herald of Crystal Lake, Ill. He spent two years there as an advertising artist and then three-and-a-half more as a news artist before moving to the Courier News of Bridgewater, N.J., in 1993 as a news artist. He became graphics editor of the Times of Munster, Ind., in 1996 and then moved again to the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., in 1999. He joined USA Today in 2001 and worked there for 12 years before going freelance last summer. Find his personal web site here and his Twitter feed here. Robert turns 48 today.


Mark McTyre is sports editor of information and content experiences for Microsoft in Bellevue, Wash. A 1997 graduate of the University of Oregon, Mark worked at the Olympian and the Eastside Journal of Bellevue, Wash., before landing in 1998 as lead sports designer for the Fresno Bee. He became sports design editor of the Seattle Times in 2000 and was promoted to assistant sports editor for presentation in 2006. He left newspapers for the online side in February 2008, working as senior editor for and He moved to Microsoft two years ago. Find his old print portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Mark turns 41 today.


Jeff Patterson is assistant sports team leader for the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville, Ky. A 2005 graduate of the University of Kentucky, Jeff spent two years as a sports reporter for the Danville, Va., Register & Bee before joining the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., in 2007 as lead sports designer. He moved to the Louisville Courier-Journal in 2010 and slid over to the design studio in 2011. Find Jeff’s portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.


Todd Stewart is head of interactive content for the Orlando Sentinel. A 1999 graduate of Kansas State University, Todd spent two years as news design editor of the State Journal-Register of Springfield, Ill., before becoming lead A1 designer for the San Antonio Express-News. He moved to the Sentinel as a page designer in 2005 and was named design editor for A1, graphics and multimedia in 2007. He took on his current duties in 2011. Find his Twitter feed here. Todd turns 38 today.

Jeff, Todd, Mark and Robert share a birthday with actors Richard Tiffany Gere and James Harrison Coburn Jr.; musicians Deborah Ann “Debbie” Gibson, George Ivan “Van” Morrison, Jerry Ivan Allison (of the Crickets), Regina Ann “Gina” Schock (of the Go-Go’s), Alan Jay Lerner and Itzhak Perlman; comedians Christopher “Chris” Tucker, Julie Ann Brown and Leonard Hacker (better known as Buddy Hackett); TV and radio host Arthur Morton Godfrey; sports greats Edwin Corley Moses (track and field), Isao Aoki, Pádraig Harrington, Charl Adriaan Schwartzel (all three golf), Frank Robinson, Matthew James “Matt” Adams (both baseball), Scott Niedermayer (hockey), William O. DeWitt, Jr. (baseball owner), Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr., Lance Andrew Moore (both football) and Thomas Richard “Tom” Coughlin (football coach); activist Leroy Eldridge Cleaver; prosecutor Marcia Rachel Clark; photographer Amy Stein and radio journalist Daniel Louis Schorr.

In addition, today is Pony Express Day, International Overdose Awareness Day and Love Litigating Lawyers Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, folks! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Saturday, Aug. 30

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to nine top-notch visual journalists…


Meril Anand is principal visualizer for Hindustan Times in New Delhi, India. A 2005 graduate of SIGA Polytechnic College, Meril previously worked at the Deccan Chronicle in Chennai and the New Indian Express in New Delhi. Find his Twitter feed here.


Leslie J. Ansley is editor and chief of, a web-based proofreading and editing service based in Raleigh, N.C. A 1983 graduate of Ohio State University, Leslie worked as a reporter, copy editor and editor at a number of papers, including the Dayton, Ohio, Journal Herald, the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette, the Cincinnati Enquirer, USA Weekend, the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal and the Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer. She left newspapers in 2001. Find Leslie’s web site here, her company’s Facebook page here and her Twitter feed here.


Bert Dalmer is an investigator with the Iowa state Ombudsman’s office in Des Moines, Iowa. A 1994 graduate of the University of Illinois, Bert spent three years with the City News Bureau of Chicago before joining the Register Star of Rockford, Ill. In 2000, he moved to the Des Moines Register, where he worked for six years. Bert turns 43 today.


Randy Erwin is director of communications for Gaston Christian School in Gastonia, N.C. A  1993 graduate of Western Carolina University, Randy spent a year as a technician at a printing company before signing on at the Gaston Gazette of Gastonia. He started out as an ad designer, was promoted to manager and then assistant managing editor for design and graphics. He left there this summer after 19 years. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Randy turns 44 today.


Nikki Life is creative manager for marketing at the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg Florida. A 1994 graduate of Indiana University, Nikki has been at the times since 1997. She spent four years running the Times’ features design department and redesigning the Latitudes, Bay and Baylink sections. She was the Times’ design director before moving to marketing in 2011.


Tom Peyton is vice president of Kids Sea Camp family dive adventures of Columbia, S.C. A 1985 graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Tom spent two years as editorial cartoonist at the Danville (Va.) Commercial-News and a year as lead designer of the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. He spent six years as visual editor of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel before moving to The State newspaper of Columbia as managing editor of visuals. He and his family have operated Kids Sea Camp since 2010 but left newspapers last summer to devote his attention to it full-time.


Nasser Othman Al Raisi is associate art director of the al Shabiba newspaper in Muscat, Oman.


Genevieve Ross is a free-lance photographer in Sacramento, Calif. A 1995 graduate of Cal State University, Sacramento, Genevieve spent nine years shooting for the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk. Find her online portfolio here and her photography Facebook page here.


Dan Zedek is assistant managing editor of the Boston Globe. A graduate of Columbia College, Dan served as a design director for Parenting magazine, the Dallas Observer, Seattle Weekly and Natural Health magazine before joining the Globe in 1997. Find the Boston Globe visuals Tumblr here and the department’s Twitter feed here.

Meril, Leslie, Nikki, Genevieve, Bert, Randy, Nasser, Tom and Dan share a birthday with actors Cameron Michelle Diaz, Timothy James Bottoms, Michael Charles Chiklis, Marco Giuseppe Salussolia (better known as Mark Strong), Michael Michele Williams, Peggy Lipton, Frederick Martin “Fred” MacMurray and Marjory Ford (better known as Shirley Booth); musicians John Edward Andrew “Papa John” Phillips (of the Mamas and the Papas) and George Ryan Ross III (of Panic! At the Disco); comedians Lewis Niles Black and Frank Conniff; TV host Lisa Ling; sports greats Andrew Stephen “Andy” Roddick (tennis), Jean-Claude Killy (skiing), Robert Lee Parish (hoops), Shaun Edward Alexander (football), Clifton Phifer “Cliff” Lee, Adam Parrish Wainwright, Theodore Samuel “Ted” Williams and Frank Edwin “Tug” McGraw (all four baseball); zillionaire Warren Edward Buffett; retailer Roland Hussey Macy Sr.; novelist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; astronaut John Leonard “Jack” Swigert Jr.; physicist Ernest Rutherford; politician Huey Pierce Long; actor-turned-politician Ben Lewis Jones; columnist Mary Tyler “Molly” Ivins and cartoonist Robert Dennis Crumb.

In addition, today is National Holistic Pet Day, National Toasted Marshmallow Day, International Whale Shark Day, Franchise Appreciation Day and Bacon Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, all! Have a wonderful birthday!

Birthdays for Friday, Aug. 29

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


Nancy Jones Francis is a freelance artist and editor based in Albuquerque, N.M. A 1987 graduate of Syracuse University, Nancy spent a year as a features editor for the Times of Munster, Ind., and then nearly a year at a design firm before landing at the Press of Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1989. She worked there for nearly 20 years. She now calls herself “a former journalist who is transitioning into the urban planning field.” You might know her better as (former) blogger Annie Oakley of Pecos. Find her quasi-current blog here and her Twitter feed here.


Michelle Collins is a designer for Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio. You might know her as Michelle Irwin. A 2003 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Michelle spent four years as a designer and artist for Freedom Communications papers in Havelock and Kinston, N.C., before moving to the News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla. in 2007, where she illustrated features pages and art directed the weekly food section and a weekly magazine, Coastal Life. She migrated to Nashville in 2012 as part of Gannett’s production consolidation efforts. Find her portfolio here.


Gert K. Nielsen is an independent multimedia graphic producer based in in Copenhagen, Denmark, via his company, Emotion. A 1992 graduate of the Graphic Arts Institute of Denmark, Gert spent 14 years as a page designer and graphics editor for Ekstra Bladet before jumping to 24timer in 2006. Four yeras ago, he started up GraficGert — which seems to have evolved into Emotion. Find his portfolio here. His web site, Visual Journalism, covers topics of interest to news designers and graphic artists. Find his Twitter feed here. Gert turns 47 today.

Nancy, Michelle and Gert share a birthday with actors Lea Michele Sarfati, Rebecca J. Pearch (better known as Rebecca De Mornay), Elliott Goldstein (better known as Elliott Gould), Lanny Barby, Ingrid Bergman and Eloise Gwendolyn “Isabel” Sanford; musicians Michael Joseph Jackson, Liam James Payne (of One Direction), Michelle Lynn Johnson (better known as Meshell Ndegeocello) and Charles “Bird” Parker; directors Richard Samuel Attenborough, Joel T. Schumacher and William Friedkin; TV hosts Adam Donovan Sessler and Robin Douglas Leach; philosopher John Locke; sports greats Carl E. Banks, Christopher David “Chris” Simms (both football), Robert “Bob” Beamon, Wyomia Tyus (both track and field), Roy Edward Oswalt (baseball), Gary Gabelich and James Simon Wallace Hunt (both auto racing); White House press secretary-turned-gun control activist James Scott “Jim” Brady; inventor Charles Franklin Kettering; Canadian astronaut Chris Austin Hadfield, mathematician Stephen Wolfram and politician John Sidney McCain III.

In addition, today is According to Hoyle Day, National College Colors Day, Individual Rights Day, More Herbs Less Salt Day and the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have a terrific birthday!

Catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world

That first line of a classic Beach Boys song from 50 years ago comes to mind when I look at the front pages today of the newspapers for which I work.

There’s a hurricane — Marie — churning off the coast of Baja this week. It’s created some of the largest waves Southern California has seen in more than a decade.

In short: The surf was up.


Run it big and get the hell out of its way. You gotta love it.

That amazing picture was shot yesterday morning by staffer Jeff Gritchen at Outer Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, just on the other side of Long Beach.

The page was designed by my old friend Chris Soprych.

If you think that’s good, check out this stunning picture afront today’s Orange County Register:


Is that awesome, or what?

Those were surfers braving “the wedge,” a spot near a jetty in Newport Beach, where the waves kind of bounce back across each other, magnifying themselves. The picture is by Foster Snell. Scott Albert designed the page.

Want to see more pictures of the waves? We have ‘em here.


We’ve seen this storm coming for days. The huge waves were forecast back on Monday. For Tuesday’s paper, Jeff Goertzen put together this graphic that explained how the waves would work.



Jeff’s done several surfing graphics over the years for the Register. Last year, he did a graphic on “the wedge.”


That ran in June of last year.


I don’t work on section fronts, so I had nothing to do with either of those pages. I sit near the news desk, though — in fact, I’m just two desks down from my old Chicago Tribune buddy, Soprych.

However, I wasn’t around when these pages came together yesterday. I had the day off: I was photographing the wedding of my brother-in-law, who flew in from Georgia to get married.

Yesterday. On Little Corona Beach, less than a mile from the wedge.


When Jim (right) planned this thing a couple of months ago, he had no idea this storm would come along and shut down the beaches.


Luckily, we were able to get in and out with no problem. Just a whole lot of noise behind us.


What a day to be out at the beach, though. Wow.