Birthdays for Tuesday, Oct. 13

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


Marc Davis is media and communications manager for the city of Virginia Beach. A 1980 graduate of Northwestern University, Marc spent five-and-a-half years as a reporter and columnist for the Staten Island Advance before moving to the Virginian-Pilot in 1985. He worked there for the next 22 years and six months in a variety of positions, most notably reporter and city editor. He left the Pilot in 2008. He also blogs about jazz music. Marc turns 56 today.


Tom Hess is editor of AAA Colorado, which publishes a bimonthly magazine, a web site, two monthly email newsletters and a weekly TV show. A 1979 graduate of the University of Colorado, Tom has been at AAA Colorado since 2010. Find his Twitter feed here.


Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft is a designer for the Forum of Fargo, N.D. A 2009 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, Alicia was a workplace analyst and served as a teacher at the N.D. School for the Deaf before she joined the Forum in 2012. I’ve written about her twice just this year — here and at the end of this post. Find her portfolio here.

Alicia, Marc and Tom share a birthday with actors Sacha Noam Baron Cohen, Kathleen Erin “Kate” Walsh, Douglas Christopher Judge, Grady Demond Wilson and Kelly Kamalelehua Smith (better known as Kelly Preston Travolta); musicians Paul Frederic Simon, Olive Marie Osmond, Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas (who normally goes by just her first name), Robert William Lamm (of Chicago) and Sam Roy “Sammy” Hagar; TV producer Christopher Carl “Chris” Carter; TV host William Hall “Billy” Bush; comedian Leonard Alfred Schneider (better known as Lenny Bruce); supermodel Beverly Johnson; sports greats Nancy Ann Kerrigan (ice skating); Ian James Thorpe (swimmer), Glenn Anton “Doc” Rivers, Paul Anthony Pierce, Norris Gene Cole II (all three basketball), Edwin Wee “Eddie” Mathews (baseball), Brian Patrick Dawkins, Jerry Lee Rice (both football) and Jerral “Jerry” Wayne Jones (NFL team owner); media strategist Lawrence Ari Fleischer; British prime minister Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher and retailer Leon Leonwood “L.L.” Bean.

In addition, today is English Language Day, National Chess Day, International African Penguin Awareness Day and the International Moment of Frustration Scream Day. Seriously.

Side note: Four-and-a-half years ago, I got to see some African Penguins in their natural habitat near Simonstown on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.


There were kajillions of ’em.


Very cute. Read more about that little adventure here.

Best wishes, you three! Have a wonderful birthday!

Birthdays for Monday, Oct. 12

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

Mark Blackwell is a freelance graphic artist. He spent four years with the Dallas Times Herald, six years with the Kansas City Star, and then 11 years at the Express News of San Antonio. He left newspapers in 2009. Find his Twitter feed here.


Brian Giandelone is a public relations specialist at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, La. A 2006 graduate of Louisiana State University, Brian spent two years as assistant sports editor of the Griffin Daily News — in the southern suburbs of Atlanta– before moving across town to Lawrenceville, Ga., in 2008 to become a copy editor and designer for the Gwinnett Daily News. He moved back to Baton Rouge in 2014. Find Brian’s portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.


Paul Horn is a cartoonist, illustrator and freelance graphic artist based in San Diego, Calif. A 1991 graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Paul spent a year as an illustrator for the Daily Sparks Tribune of Sparks, Nev., before becoming assistant graphics editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1990. He moved to the San Diego Union-Tribune in 1994 and worked there nearly 12 years before “retiring” in 2006 to concentrate on his free-lance graphics work and on his brilliant web-distributed comic strip, Cool Jerk. He’s published six books…


…four of them collections of Cool Jerk and two that are not. Find those books here. Find his Twitter feed here. His wife, Darlene, is a designer and food blogger. Paul turns 47 today.


Bianca Montes is a government reporter for the Victoria (Texas) Advocate. A 2013 graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, Bianca served as content managing editor for the student paper there, the Longhorn. She interned for the Texas Music Journal of Dallas, HM Magazine of Austin, Meals on Wheels and she edited the Richland Chronicle of Garland, Texas. She joined the Advocate shortly after graduation. Find her story archive here and her Twitter feed here.

Brian, Bianca, Mark and Paul share a birthday with actors Hugh Michael Jackman, Kirk Thomas Cameron, Susan Ellen Anton, Joshua Ryan “Josh” Hutcherson, Tyler Blackburn and Adam Rich; musicians Luciano Pavarotti and Martha Elenor Erwin (Martie Maguire of the Dixie Chicks); sports greats Samuel Bode Miller (skiing), Anthony Christopher “Tony” Kubek (baseball player and announcer), Adrian Lemar Wilson, Christopher Mark Chandler, (both football), Charlie Ward (football and basketball), Ned Jarrett (auto racing) and Marion Lois Jones (track and field); comedian Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory, WWII hero Doris “Dorie” Miller and Fox News anchor Christopher “Chris” Wallace.

In addition to Columbus Day, today is Free Thought Day, National Kick Butt Day, Native American Day, Spanish Language Day and World Arthritis Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, y’all! Have an excellent birthday!

Birthday for Sunday, Oct. 11

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to Monty Cook, vice president and chief communications officer at FastYeti, Inc., and based in San Antonio, Texas.


A 1986 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Monty spent two years as a student assistant in the University’s sports information office before becoming art and graphics editor of the Sun News of Myrtle Beach, S.C. He became that paper’s sports editor in 1988 and then assistant sports editor of the Washington Post in 1996. He spent four years as assistant managing editor for presentation of the Orlando Sentinel before moving to the Baltimore Sun as deputy managing editor in 2004. He was named the Sun’s director of content development in 2007 and then became editor of the Sun in 2008. He moved to UNC in 2010 to lead the school’s Reese Felts Digital News Project. He joined Three Ships Media of Raleigh, N.C., in January 2011 and then moved to Avue Technologies later that year. He moved to FastYeti in 2013. Find his Twitter feed here.

Monty shares a birthday with actors Emily Erin Deschanel (star of the TV series Bones and older sister of Zooey), Jane Krakjkowski (better known as Jane Krakowski), Michael John Nelson, Michelle Christine Trachtenberg, Matthew Staton “Matt” Bomer, Kristy Wu, Coy Luther “Luke” Perry III, Arthur Steven “Artie” Lange Jr., Joan Mary Cusack, Sean Patrick Flannery and Dawn Roma French; musicians Petra Haden and Daryl Franklin Hall (of Hall & Oates); sports greats Michelle Sung Wie (golf), Mario Esther Andion Bueno (tennis), Terrell Raymonn Suggs and Jon Steven “Steve” Young (both football); novelist Elmore John Leonard Jr.; comic book creator Joseph Henry “Joe” Simon; condiment magnate Henry John Heinz and former first lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. (Whose last name, I might add, was Roosevelt before she married her husband, Franklin. He was her fifth cousin, once removed.)

In addition, today is Clergy Appreciation Day, Gen. Pulaski Memorial Day, the International Day of the Girl, National Coming Out Day and National Food Truck Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, Monty! Have a wonderful birthday today!

Birthdays for Saturday, Oct. 10

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


Tiffany Butler is a visual journalist based in Brownsville, Texas. A 2007 graduate of the University of Alabama, Tiff interned at the Dothan Eagle, the Asbury Park Press, the Tuscaloosa News and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before moving to Durham, N.C., in 2009 to become a designer for Baseball America magazine. She moved back to Tuscaloosa in 2011 first as a marketing assistant and then events coordinator for the university’s school of music. You might remember her as Tiffany Schwarz — she got married in 2013. Find her online portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.


Elizabeth Merab is a features reporter for the Nation newspaper of Nairobi, Kenya. She’s a 2014 graduate of Kenyatta University. Find Elizabeth’s blog here and her Twitter feed here.


Renee Petrina is an instructional design and technology specialist for Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Ind. A 2004 graduate of Penn State University, Renee interned with the Washington Post and the New York Times. She spent a year-and-a-half as a copy editor for the Times Union of Jacksonville, Fla., before moving to the copy desk of the Indianapolis Star in 2006. She left in 2009 to teach at Ball State University in Muncie. For six months, she drove back to Indianapolis on the weekends for additional work at the Star. In 2010, she became an instructor in the public affairs department of the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Md. She moved to her current position in 2013. Find her Twitter feed here.

Tiff, Elizabeth and Renee share a birthday with actors Rachmil Pinchus Ben Mosha Cohon (better known as Peter Coyote), Bradley Whitford, Julia Anne Sweeney, Mario Michael Lopez Jr., Aimee Richelle Teegarden, Helen Hayes Brown, Benjamin Augustus Middleton (better known as Ben Vereen) and Ibsen Dana Elcar; musicians Tanya Denise Tucker, Mýa Marie Harrison (who normally goes by just her first name), Una Threasa Imogene Healy (of the Saturdays), David Lee Roth, Thelonious Sphere Monk and Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi; B-movie director Edward Davis “Ed” Wood Jr.; hair stylist Thomas John Kummer (better known as Jay Sebring); sports greats Robert Dean Silva Burnquist (skateboarding), Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. (auto racing), Patrick Brian “Pat” Burrell, Andrew Stefan McCutchen, Troy Trevor Tulowitzki (all three baseball), Ryan Jefforey Mathews, Eugene Cyril “Geno” Smith and Brett Lorenzo Favre (all three football); romance novelist Eleanor Marie Robertson (better known as Nora Roberts) and murdered Wall Street Journal bureau chief Daniel Jacob Pearl.

In addition, today is National Costume Shop Day, National Family Bowling Day, National Handbag Day, World Homeless Day, World Mental Health Day, the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction and International Newspaper Carriers Day. Seriously.

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

Birthdays for Friday, Oct. 9

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


Mike Beckom is a freelance editorial cartoonist based in Greenwood, S.C. A 2010 graduate of Piedmont Tec, Mike worked in a food production plant before becoming a quality assurance technician for FujiFilm Graphic Systems. He earned a degree earlier this year from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He freelances cartoons to the Greenwood Index-Journal and to four or five weeklies around the state. Find his Facebook fan page here. Mike turns 48 today.


Zack McDermott is a sales rep with Paycom. A 2012 graduate of Gannon University in Erie, Pa., Zack spent a year-and-a-half as a copy editor for the Erie Times-News and then six months as a reporter for the Oswego, N.Y., Palladium-Times. Find his Twitter feed here. Zack turns 26 today.


Christine McNeal is pastor for member care and connections at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Ill. A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Missouri, Christine was assistant managing editor of the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star before becoming deputy managing editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 1997 and serving as president of the Society for News Design in 2006. She left Milwaukee after ten years to start a new career in the clergy. Christine graduated in 2011 from Chicago’s Lutheran School of Theology, and interned at Milwaukee’s Capitol Drive Lutheran Church. After a year of residency there, Christine became the hospice chaplain for Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill. She moved to St. John’s in 2012.


Chris Olds is an editor, writer, blogger and designer based in Dallas, Texas. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Chris spent five years as a designer, copy editor and columnist for the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News before moving to the San Antonio Express-News in 2004 to become a designer and “page-two” columnist. He spent three years as a designer, copy editor and sports memorabilia blogger for the Orlando Sentinel before moving to Dallas in 2008 to work for Beckett Media, publishers of popular sports collecting magazines. Chris edited the company’s flagship baseball monthly, Beckett Baseball, and also Beckett Sports Card Monthly and Beckett Basketball magazines. Chris was laid off last month. Find his design portfolio here, his Nick Swisher collecting blog here and his Twitter feed here.


Morgan Phillips is a design researcher for for Lextant, a design and user experience firm in Columbus, Ohio. A 2005 graduate of Kent State University, Morgan spent three-and-a-half years as a news designer for the Detroit Free Press. While working on a master’s degree at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, she interned with Chrysler and BASF. She earned her degree in 2011, worked briefly with Cross Country Automotive Services in Boston, Mass., and went to work for Lextant in 2011. Find her web site here. Morgan turns 33 today.


Laura Ruel is an assistant professor of visual communication and multimedia at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Many of you know her, however, as the founder and then director of the Best of Multimedia Design awards for the Society for News Design, known for several years a the SND.ies. A 1985 graduate of Colgate University, Laura obtained a master’s degree from the University of Missouri and worked as a reporter, editor, designer and manager at the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the Omaha World-Herald and the Rocky Mountain News of Denver. She taught journalism at Creighton University and the University of Maine before moving to North Carolina in 2004. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here.


Poh Si Teng is a video journalist for the New York Times. A 2007 honors graduate of San Francisco State University, Poh Si interned with the New Straits Times of Malaysia, the Oakland Tribune, the Columbus Dispatch, the Virginian-Pilot and the Miami Herald. As a freelancer based in New Delhi, she worked with a number of clients including the Times, CBS, the Wall Street Journal, Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press and UNICEF. She joined the Times full-time in 2012. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here. Poh Si turns 31 today.


Tracey Trumbull is manager of digital content for WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tenn. A 1981 graduate of the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies, Tracey spent six years as director of photography at the Boca Raton News. He became deputy director of the KRT photo service in 1990 and then moved again to the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale in 1994 as assistant director of photography. Two years later, the Sun Sentinel made him a multimedia producer and then put him in charge of its Mac publishing systems in 2000. He moved to the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel in 2005 as director of photography and then moved to the Times Free Press of Chattanooga in 2009 to become visuals editor. He slid over to the world of television in 2012. Find Tracy’s personal web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Zack, Poh Si, Morgan, Chris, Tracey Laura and Christine share a birthday with actors Scott Stewart Bakula, Anthony Marcos “Tony” Shalhoub, Brandon James Routh, Erin Cohen (better known as Erin Daniels), Zachery Ty Bryan, Brian Blessed, and Steven Michael Burns (the original host of Blue’s Clues); musicians John Winston Lennon, Clyde Jackson Browne, Scott “Scotty” McCreery and John Alec Entwistle (of the Who); musical relatives Sharon Rachel Levy Osbourne (wife of Ozzy) and Sean Ono Lennon (son of John); director Guillermo del Toro; TV host Gok Wan; sports greats Annika Sörenstam (golf), Lauren Davis (tennis), Kenneth “Kenny” Anderson (basketball), Michael “Mike” Singletary (football), Joseph “Joe” Anthony Pepitone, Brian Jay Downing (both baseball) and Walter Francis O’Malley (baseball owner); C-SPAN founder Brian Patrick Lamb, U.K. prime minister David William Cameron; politicians Chester Trent Lott Sr. and Everett Howard Hunt Jr.; cartoonist Michael Bartley “Mike” Peters and historian Charles Bruce Catton.

In addition, today is National Chess Day, National Pro-Life Cupcake Day, World Egg Day, World Post Day and Leif Erikson Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, all! Have a wonderful birthday today!