Birthdays for Friday, May 29

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


Geoffrey Bowman is a “newspaper producer” for the E.W. Scripps newspaper production hub in Corpus Christi, Texas.


Tina Croley is managing editor for content for Stars and Stripes and based in Washington, D.C. A 1982 graduate of Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., Tina spent 17 years at the Herald Leader, starting out as an office clerk, then as a copy editor, a fashion writer, a shopping columnist and then assistant lifestyles editor. She moved to the Detroit Free Press in 1995 as assistant features editor and was promoted to features editor in 1995. She left the Freep in 2009 after 14 years there and joined Stars and Stripes in 2010 as enterprise editor. she moved into her current position last fall. Find her Twitter feed here. Tina turns 55 today.


Dave Elbert is a columnist for the Des Moines Business Record and a writer and editor for Iowa Business 365. He stepped down in 2012 after 36-and-a-half years of reporting, business editing and writing a column for the Des Moines Register. Dave turns 68 today.


Claire Innes is art director of Chicago Parent magazine plus four suburban weekly newspapers and based in Oak Park, Ill. A 1983 graduate of the University of Michigan, Claire worked as an artist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a features designer and art director for the Detroit Free Press before moving to the Chicago Tribune in 1995 as an art director for the Trib‘s Travel and Q sections. She spent four years as creative director of the Post-Tribune in Merrillville, Ind. Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.


Joey Kirk is lead designer for High Gear Media of Palo Alto, Calif., and a curriculum developer for Bloc, Inc., of San Francisco. Both are developers of web, mobile and tablet platforms. The owner of bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech, Joey spent some of his college years working as a reporter for the Wylie News. His final year, he was editor-in-chief of the Texas Tech student paper, the Daily Toreador. Joey served a summer fellowship at the Poynter Institute and then spent more than two years as a sports designer with the Arizona Republic before moving to the user experience team at Tribune Interactive in Chicago, Ill., in 2009. He was promoted to lead designer in 2011 but then started work for High Gear in 2012. In addition, Joey was CEO and creative director of 5M Sports, a branding firm that specializes in athletes and sports organizations. Find his personal web site here. His wife, Chelsea, is a political reporter for the Courier and Press of Evansville, Ind. Find his personal web site here and his Twitter feed here. Joey turns 31 today.


For the past 15 years, Katie Kunert has been a graphics reporter and artist for the Des Moines Register. I hired her myself, out of tiny Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa, where she had been layout editor of the weekly college tab. Those of you who have seen my slideshows have seen samples of Katie’s work. Since I left the Register in 2003, Katie got married, changed her name and became a mom. For a long time, she ran MomsLikeMe, a web site for Des Moines-area mothers. Find Katie’s Twitter feed here.


Joshua Smothers is a designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A graduate of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, Josh went to work for the Des Moines Register in 2004 as a page designer and copy editor who concentrated mostly on sports. He folded over into the studio in 2011. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Joshua turns 34 today.

Joey, Joshua, Katie, Claire, Geoffrey, Tina and Dave share a birthday with actors Annette Carol Bening, Anthony Geary, Frank Theodore “Ted” Levine, Lisa Diane Whelchel, Adrian Paul Hewett (better known as Adrian Paul) and Leslie Townes “Bob” Hope; musicians Melissa Lou Etheridge, La Toya Yvonne Jackson, Daniel Robert “Danny” Elfman, Melanie Janine Brown (better known as Scary Spice of the Spice Girls) and Noel Thomas David Gallagher (of Oasis); sports greats Alfred “Al” Unser Sr., Kenneth “Ken” Schrader (both auto racing), Steve Mason (hockey) and Eric Keith Davis (baseball); authors Gilbert Keith “G.K.” Chesterton and Frederick Schiller Faust (better known as Max Brand); physicist Peter Ware Higgs; cartoonist Aaron McGruder; founding father Patrick Henry; attempted presidential assassin John Warnock Hinckley Jr. and president John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

In addition, today is Learn About Composting Day, International Day of UN Peacekeepers, Put a Pillow on your Fridge Day, Bats Day and Hug Your Cat Day. Seriously.

Best wishes for a wonderful birthday, folks!

Birthdays for Thursday, May 28

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


Nick Feely is associate managing editor for sports at the Villages Daily Sun in central Florida. A 2007 graduate of the State University of New York college at Geneseo, Nick interned at Bleacher Report and at the Trentonian of Trenton, N.J., while earning a master’s degree from Syracuse University. He started work at the Villages in November 2010 as a copy editor, designer, and baseball and college hoops columnist. He was promoted to his current position in 2013. Find Nick’s Twitter feed here.


Joshua Gillin is a reporter for PolitiFact Florida and the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg, Fla. A 1998 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Josh spent a year as a copy editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and three-and-a-half years as a news planner and designer for the Savannah Morning News before moving to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002. He designed page one, served as editor of the Inky‘s Weekend magazine and was presentation editor of sports. In 2006, he moved to TBT — the youth-oriented tabloid of the then-St. Petersburg Times — as a columnist, designer, and web editor. He moved to his current position in 2013. Find his PolitiFact work here, his blogging work for the Poynter Institute here, his personal blog here and his Twitter feed here. Joshua turns 39 today.


Ian Lawson is lead sports designer for the World-Herald of Omaha, Neb. He spent three yeas as an editor and designer for the Ledger Independent of Maysville, Ky., before moving to the Gannett design studio in Louisville, Ky. in December 2011. He moved to Omaha in 2013. Find his portfolio here. Ian turns 35 today.

Ian, Joshua and Nick share a birthday with actors Jesse Bradford Watrouse (who normally goes only by his first two names), Cameron Boyce and Joseph Michael Cross; musicians John Cameron Fogerty, Kylie Ann Minogue, Gladys Maria Knight and Wendy Orlean Williams; TV host Elisabeth DelPadre Filarski (better known as Elisabeth Hasselbeck); sports greats Jacobus Franciscus “Jim” Thorpe, William Percival “Percy” Harvin III, Michael Jerome Oher (all three football), Jerry Alan West and Glen Anthony Rice (both basketball) and Ben Howland (basketball coach); funny doctor Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams; authors Walker Percy and Ian Lancaster Fleming; politicians Rudolph William Louis “Rudy” Giuliani, Marco Antonio Rubio and Marshall Clement “Mark” Sanford Jr. and cartoonist Lynn Johnston.

In addition, today is Sierra Club Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have a wonderful birthday!

Birthdays for Wednesday, May 27

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


John T. Garcia is an editor and writer currently seeking work in the Los Angeles area. A 1989 graduate of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif. — maybe five or six miles east of Camarillo — John spent nearly six years as assistant business editor and then two-and-a-half years as a designer and copy editor for the Ventura County Star in Camarillo, Calif. In 2006, he was named the Star‘s coordinator of niche publications. He left the star in October. Find his Twitter feed here. John turns 48 today.


Mauricio Gutierrez is design director for the Detroit Free Press. A 1993 graduate of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores in Monterrey, Mexico, Mauricio spent five years at Monterrey’s el Norte newspaper, three years at Roger Black Studios and then two years with the Orange Country Register before joining the Freep in 2000 as features design director. He was promoted to his current position in 2009.


Sam Twarek is associate art director for Cleveland magazine. A 2010 graduate of Kent State University, Sam worked as a photographer for the student paper there, the Daily Kent Stater, as well as for several on-campus magazines. He interned for Cleveland magazine in 2009 and briefly served as design editor for the Chautauquan Daily before moving to Gastonia, N.C. — just west of Charlotte — to become a designer and copy editor for the Gaston Gazette in September 2010. He moved downtown a year later to become a designer for McClatchy’s editing center in Charlotte. He moved again to Cleveland in 2012. Find his Twitter feed here.

Sam, Mauricio and John share a birthday with actors Christopher Paul Colfer, Vincent Leonard Price Jr., Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, Lee Ann Meriwether, Bruce Peter Weitz, Richard Schiff, Peri Kay Oldham (better known as Peri Gilpin), Joseph Alberic Iscariot Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (better known as Joseph Fiennes), Vanessa Blue, Ash Hollywood, Todd Anthony Bridges and Louis Cameron Gossett Jr.; musicians André Lauren Benjamin (better known as André 3000), Lisa Nicole “Left Eye” Lopes, Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis Jr., Bruce Douglas Cockburn and Susan Janet Ballion (better known as Siouxie Sioux of Siouxie and the Banshees); sports greats Samuel Jackson Snead (golf), Jeffrey Robert Bagwell, Frank Edward Thomas Jr. (both baseball) and Jeremy Allen Mayfield (auto racing); TV and radio host Adam Carolla; politicians Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr., Christopher John “Chris” Dodd and Henry Alfred Kissinger; wild West legend James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, authors Herman Wouk, Samuel Dashiell Hammett and Harlan Jay Ellison and former British tabloid editor Rebekah Mary Wade Brooks.

In addition, today is National Senior Health and Fitness Day, World Multiple Sclerosis Day and Cellophane Tape Day. Seriously.

Have a truly great birthday, you three! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Tuesday, May 26

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


Andy Bechtel is a professor at the University of North Carolina, where he teaches editing, writing and alternative story forms. A 1989 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Andy earned a master’s degree from UNC in 1993 and then spent five years as a copy editor with the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. He moved to Baton Rouge to teach journalism for three years at Louisiana State University but then returned to the N&O in 2001 to lead the paper’s wire desk. Andy became a full-time teacher in 2005. Find his blog — which focuses on editing for print and online — here and his Twitter feed here. Andy turns 48 today.


Doug Jessmer is a graphic designer for the Tampa Metro YMCA and for the YMCA of the Suncoast in Clearwater, Fla. A 1994 graduate of Marietta College, Doug spent four years with the Alliance (Ohio) Review and then another four at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review before moving to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2005 as a page designer. He joined the Detroit (Mich.) News but then returned to Florida in 2007. Since then, he’s spent time with the Pinellas News — a weekly in St. Petersburg — the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg — and the Daily Sun of the Villages, Fla. He started at the Y a year ago. In addition, Doug is the national marketing and public affairs officer for the Civil Air Patrol, in which he’s a lieutenant colonel. Doug turns 43 today.


Olivier Bourgeois is managing editor of the Southwest European profit center of WAN-IFRA in Lyon, France. A 1990 graduate of the National Engineering School of Saint-Étienne, Oliver spent three years as IT and technical director of the Info Regie group of newspapers and then four years as project manager of Progress, another regional newspaper group. He joined WAN-IFRA in 2004. Find his Twitter feed here.

Bourgeois, Doug and Andy share a birthday with actors Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Wilton Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Philip Michael Thomas, Pamela Suzette “Pam” Grier, Harold J. Smith (better known as Jay Silverheels), James King Arness and Marion Robert Morrison (better known as John Wayne); musicians Randall Hank Williams (better known as Hank Williams Jr.), Stephanie Lynn “Stevie” Nicks, Miles Dewey Davis III, Leonard Albert “Lenny” Kravitz, Norma Deloris Egstrom (better known as Peggy Lee) and Asa Yoelson (better known as Al Jolson); comedian Robert Francis “Bobcat” Goldthwait; sports greats Zola Budd (track and field), Wesley Darcel Walker (football), Darrell Wayne Evans (baseball) and Brent Woody Musburger (announcer); astronaut Sally Kristen Ride; animator Matthew Richard “Matt” Stone; counter-spy Aldrich Hazen Ames and photographer Dorothea Lange.

In addition, today is World Lindy Hop Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have a terrific birthday!

Birthdays for Monday, May 25

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five terrific folks…


Damon Cain is managing editor for presentation and design at the Denver Post. A 1977 graduate of the University of Iowa, Damon worked as a reporter at the Charles City (Iowa) Press, an editor at the Cedar Valley Times in Vinton, Iowa, news editor for the Courier of Ottumwa, Iowa, and then assistant managing editor at the Herald & Review of Decatur, Ill. He spent nine years as director of news design for the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., before moving to Denver in 2002. He was the site chair for the Society of News Design’s 2010 annual workshop in Denver.


Brian French is a copy editor for the National Journal of Washington, D.C. A 2001 graduate of Norfolk’s Old Dominion University, Brian spent a year or so with Link, a youth tab published by the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk. After the Pilot shut down that project, he spent a year-and-a-half as a senior writer and editor for the National White Collar Crime Center in Richmond, Va. He rejoined the Virginian-Pilot in 2012 as a copy editor, left after two-and-a-half years and started work in D.C. in February.


Frank Michael Russell is a grad student and an instructor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. A graduate of San Jose State University, Frank spent four years on the business desk of the Seattle Times before moving to the San Jose Mercury News in 2001. He worked as a reporter, designer, copy editor and assistant business editor before becoming online editor for breaking news. He earned a master’s degree from San Jose State in 2012. He left the Merc in 2013 to serve as Missouri’s Knight visiting editor and visiting assistant professor and to pursue a Ph.D. Find his blog here and his Twitter feed here.


Scott Walker is director of strategic initiatives for Advance’s Alabama Media Group in Birmingham. A 1992 honors graduate of the University of Florida, Scott worked as a designer and assistant news editor for the Independent-Mail of Anderson, S.C., the Tribune of Fort Pierce, Fla., and the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, Fla., before moving to the Birmingham News in 2001 as page one editor and designer. He was promoted to presentation editor in 2002, to assistant managing editor in 2004 and then to managing editor in 2010. When Advance hubbed its papers in 2012, Scott spent a year as statewide publications manager. He was named news director of enterprise and investigation in 2014 and took on his new duties in December. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.


George Finley is a retired postmaster who splits time between homes in Texas and South Carolina. He’s a national representative for NAPUS, the National Association of Postmasters of the United States. Plus, he’s my stepdad.

Brian, Frank, Scott, Damon and George share a birthday with actors Michael John “Mike” Myers, Ian Murray McKellen, Cillian Murphy, Anne Celeste Heche, Karen Valentine, Concetta Sellecchia (better known as Connie Sellecca), Leslie Uggams, Claude Marion Akins and Dixie Virginia Carter; musicians Lauryn Noelle Hill, Thomas “Tom T.” Hall, Paul Weller, Adam Wayne Gontier (of Three Days Grace) and Belle Miriam Silverman (better known as Beverly Sills); dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson; fashion consultant and TV host Stacy London; puppeteer Richard Frank Oznowicz (better known as Frank Oz); skateboarder Ryan Gallant; sports greats James Joseph “Gene” Tunney (boxing), Alexandra Rose “Aly” Raisman (gymnastics), Kendall Cedric Gill (basketball), Brian Keith Urlacher and Carlton Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist (both football); poet Ralph Waldo Emerson; authors Robert Ludlum and William Patrick Kinsella and cartoonist Stan Sakai.

In addition to Memorial Day, today is National Tap Dance Day, National Missing Children’s Day, Buddha Day, Towel Day and Geek Pride Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, folks! Have a wonderful birthday!