Gannett’s Nashville studio promotes Phonethip Liu Hobson

Lindsey Turner, creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville, Tenn., sent us the word late Wednesday:

I am pleased to announce that we have named Phonethip Liu Hobson to the position of MTV Design Team leader, effective this coming Monday.


Phonethip will manage the team that designs the Tennessean, the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger, the Staunton, Va., News Leader and the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American.

Lindsey continues:

Phonethip is a veteran newspaper designer who’s been with the Nashville studio since its inception. She has experience working in a variety of sections in many different markets will be a great fit for the team thanks to her highly creative and collaborative nature. She’s most recently been working on the Florida team as Fort Myers’ lead 1A and enterprise projects designer.

Here’s a little bit about Thip from Thip herself:

My family migrated to Murfreesboro from Laos in 1980, so Tennessee has been my home for 35 years. I graduated from Riverdale High school and Middle Tennessee State University with a BS degree in Journalism. I was an intern at The Tennessean in college and have been working here since Sept. 11, 2000.

In my tenure at The Tennessean and the design studio, I have had several positions, starting as a features designer, then as art director for All The Rage – a young reader publication — and most recently A1 news and enterprise designer for the Florida team working mostly with The News-Press in Fort Myers.





The News-Press recently was honored with a 2014 Best of Gannett Award for design work on “The Voices of the Everglades” project. The presentation finished second place in Division I Design.

We are excited to have Phonethip lead the team.

See more samples of Phonethip’s work in her NewsPageDesigner gallery.

McClatchy’s Sacramento hub seeks a multiplatform visual journalist

My old pal — and the coding wizard behind this blog — Daniel Hunt asked folks to pass along the word: He’s looking to hire.

Here’s the pitch:

California McClatchy Multiplatform Desk, which is housed at The Sacramento Bee, is looking to immediately hire a strong visual journalist as the design and editing center prepares for the rollout of what will be a high-intensity redesign for Sacramento and our other Central California outlets — The Fresno Bee, The Modesto Bee and the Merced Sun-Star.

This multiplatform designer will be counted on each day to execute layered presentations using CCI NewsGate 3, Escenic and Adobe Creative Suite for print and online. He or she must be comfortable collaborating with any corner of the newsroom, as well as working independently to present stories, graphics, data and photography in creative, compelling and interactive ways.

The designer should be comfortable working in picas or pixels: Coding abilities in HTML, CSS and more advanced disciplines of Web presentation are part of the expectations. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent skills and knowledge are required, with course concentration in journalism, graphic design, English, history or political science preferred.

Above all, the successful hire is driven by the opportunities to learn, master and share skills essential with a talented group of journalists within the California McClatchy Multiplatform Desk, its partner newsrooms and McClatchy as a whole.

The Sacramento Bee, an equal opportunity employer, is committed to promoting diversity within our drug and alcohol free workplace.

To apply for this position, please send a resume, along with a cover letter and salary requirements, to with ATTN: CMMD in the subject field.

Sacramento is a river town, kind of like Pittsburgh. Except a couple of thousand miles to the west and not quite as hilly. The Sacramento and American Rivers meet there on their way to the San Francisco Bay.


About 2.5 million people live in Sacramento, long known as a very diverse city. It’s the capital of California, so government is big business there there. There are several colleges there, including Sacramento State University. UC Davis is a few minutes up the road.


There’s regional light rail and all sorts of culture there — music festivals, museums and such. The city managed — barely — to hang onto the NBA Kings a while back. There’s minor league baseball and pro soccer.

San Francisco is just 90 minutes away — if you disregard traffic. Heh.


Among famous people from Sacramento: Actors Adrienne Barbeau, Max Baer Jr., LeVar Burton, Sam Elliott, Tom Hanks, Molly Ringwald and Brenda Song; musicians Lee Greenwood, James House, Timothy B. Schmit (of the Eagles) and Brie Larson; sports greats Larry Bowa, Dusty Baker, Donte Stallworth, and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Also from Sacramento: Journalists Deborah Blum, Herb Caen, Joan Lunden and Lester Holt. Rush Limbaugh started his radio career in Sacramento, although folks there might not be quite so proud of that.

Find Sacramento’s official municipal website here. Find its tourism site here.

Find the McClatchy company web site here.

Birthdays for Friday, March 6

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to seven wonderful folks…


Aly Colón is the Knight professor of Media Ethics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. A 1975 graduate of Stanford University, Aly spent seven years as executive editor for economy and features at the Herald of Everett, Wash., before moving to the Seattle Times as a diversity coach and assistant managing editor. In 1997, he joined the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., supervising the writing and ethics groups. Aly left Poynter in 2007, worked briefly for Safeco Insurance and then joined Avanade, a business software and technology firm. Aly went freelance in 2010, working with the American Society of News Editors and Public Radio International. He joined NBC News in 2012 as director of standards and practices for the Telemundo Network and for NBC News. He moved to Lexington last summer. Find Aly’s Twitter feed here.


Jordan Fifer is a multimedia web producer for Virginia Tech University. A product of Virginia Western Community College, Jordan spent three years as an online producer for the Roanoke Times and then another three as a general assignment reporter, Jordan also served as editor-in-chief of the Highland Cavalier, the student paper at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He completed his coursework in 2013. He started that fall as a public safety reporter for the Times. He moved to Virginia Tech last fall. Find his MuckRack site here, his web site here, his Tumblr blog here and his Twitter feed here.


Scott Fybush is a radio writer and consultant based in Rochester, N.Y. A 1992 graduate of Boston’s Brandeis University, Scott worked as a reporter for WCAP in Lowell, Mass., WBZ in Boston, R News in Rochester and WXXI, also in Rochester. In addition to his freelance work, he edits radio trade publications such as the Radio Journal, NorthEast Radio Watch and Find his Fybush Media web site here and his Twitter feed here.


Scott Johnson is communications and engagement manager for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City. A 1989 graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University, Scott spent two years as graphics editor for the Bulletin of Norwich, Conn., and then a year as art director of Current Science and Weekly Reader before joining the Hartford Courant in 1991. He became art director of the Associated Press in 2000 and then moved up to director of graphics two years later. He was briefly AP’s director of design and branding before he left in 2008 to become director of communications and branding for the Central Park Conservancy, a nonprofit. He moved to Sloan-Kettering in 2011. Find his web site here.


Don’t let Jordan Rubio‘s stern expression there fool you. He’s probably watching the live stream of a TCU football game.

Jordan is digital editor for the Victoria (Texas) Advocate. A 2014 graduate of TCU, he worked as a reporter, a multimedia reporter and managing editor for the student media there, the Daily Skiff and TCU 360. He served internships at the San Antonio Express-News and a fellowship at News21 before joining the Advocate last August. The poor guy shares a workspace with me. Find his Twitter feed here. Jordan turns 23 today.


Evelina Warren is a senior graphic designer for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in Austin, Texas. A 1985 graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, Evelina spent three years as an editor and director of publications for the diocese of Austin. She moved to Syracuse to become senior editor of the diocese there before returning to Texas in 1990 to join the Beaumont Enterprise as features designer and editor. She moved to Austin two years later and then spent 20 years at the American-Statesman as a features designer until Cox consolidated editing and design of its papers in 2012. She freelanced until catching on with the Comptroller’s office a year ago.


Arthur Apple is a retired textiles manager residing in Thomson, Ga. And he’s my dad. He turns 72 today.

Evelina, Jordan, Jordan, Scott, Scott, Aly and Dad share a birthday with actors Eli David Marienthal, Constance Elaine Womack (better known as Connie Britton) and Benjamin E. “Ben” Murphy; musicians David Jon Gilmour (of Pink Floyd), Tyler Gregory Okonma (better known as Tyler the Creator), Kiri Janette Te Kanawa and Pauline Matthews (better known as Kiki Dee); comedians Darryl Lynn “D.L.” Hughley, Thomas Duane “Tom” Arnold and Louis Francis “Lou” Costello; talk show sidekick Edward Peter “Ed” McMahon Jr.; actor-turned-director Robert Normal “Rob” Reiner; model Nicole Fox; sports greats Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal (basketball), Richard Douglas “Dick” Fosbury (track and field), Wilver Dornell “Willie” Stargell, Octavio Victor “Cookie” Rojas Rivas (both baseball) and Andre Bernard Gurode (football); astronauts Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr. and Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova; economist Alan Greenspan; convicted felons Ivan Frederick Boesky and Marion Shepilov Barry Jr.; poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning; artist Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni and cartoonist William Erwin “Will” Eisner.

In addition, today is Oreo Cookie Day, Employee Appreciation Day, the World Day of Prayer, the National Day of Unplugging and the Day of the Dude. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, all! Best wishes!

‘What I love about his work is how absolutely unexpected it is’

Sean McKeown-Young, creative director for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa, writes to tip us off about some great work being done there.

He tells us:

I wanted to make sure that you noticed Dave Lafata’s work. He has rapidly become an ‘uber-designer.’


Aside from being a really great guy with some really exciting ideas about what newspapers can look like, he has a stunning talent. These first two examples are just from [Wednesday]. I am blown away.


He’s originally from Warren, Michigan – so he’s another Detroit-metro dude. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Fine Arts in 2012. He started in the studio in 2012 designing Wausau/Wisconsin Rapids/Stevens Point/Marshfield Sports. It’s amazing how fast he grew.

He is now the lead designer for Green Bay. That is huge for a young designer.

We’ve been so lucky to have some tremendously forward-thinking editors that have really collaborated to let his vision shine.  Dave is also really lucky to work with Bill Wambeke, the Wisconsin Team Leader. Bill has been a huge influence on Dave’s career, allowing him the room to grow and the coaching to hone his statement.

What I love about his work is how absolutely unexpected it is. It feels relevant and relatable but totally fresh. I think that’s rare. He is a tremendous artist and his work increasingly has elements of his fine arts work; he’s blending hand drawn work with digital.

I get really excited when I see new talent and designers coming into ‘their voice.’

Sean has bragged on Dave before — when Dave built a series of covers about a huge air show in Oshkosh. I posted a batch of these covers in 2013 and again in 2014.

A few samples:





Gannett’s Dave is not the David Lafata who is an internationally known soccer star. As far as I know.

A Q&A with the Harvard Business Review’s Matt Perry

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.

Matt writes:

The orchestrator model (a two-page spread in the magazine) piece is an example of something I did to explain the author’s concept.

JulAug14 SPOT Arons.pdf

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.

1001 Mar15 IdeaWatch.indd

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.