Birthdays for Wednesday, April 23

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


Ani Arambula is a designer for U-T San Diego. A product of the University of San Diego and the California College of the Arts, Anita started at the Union-Tribune in 1989 as a photo lab tech. Over the next 24 years, she worked as a shooter, photo editor, illustrator, writer and art director. Find her photo blog here, her food blog here and her NewsPageDesigner portfolio here. Find Ani’s Twitter feed here.


Jodi Gersh is director of social media and engagement for Gannett in McLean, Va. A 1994 graduate of the University of Maryland, Jodi spent nearly four years as a senior account manager for the Aspire Technology Group before moving to USA Weekend magazine in 2000 as technology manager. She was promoted to director of information services in 2005, to senior systems analyst of USA Today a year later, to social media manager in 2008 and director of social media products in 2011. She assumed her current duties in 2012. Find her web site here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here.


Tony Leys is a reporter for the Des Moines Register. Tony is a 1988 graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Find his Twitter feed here.


Rob Lein is a longtime sportswriter, sports editor and copy editor currently living in Fargo, N.D. A 1979 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, Rob spent three years with the Williston Herald, 22 years with the Bismarck Tribune and three years with the Fargo Forum before leaving newspapers in 2007. He’s currently a sales rep for PepsiCo. Rob turns 58 today.


Thomas Ritchie is “chief fire starter” at Team Creative Fire, a startup web branding, design and marketing company in Sioux City, Iowa. A 1992 graduate of Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D., Thomas spent four years as a reporter and copy editor for the Yankton Press & Dakotan. He moved to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader in 1996 to become presentation editor and then to Sioux City, Iowa, to become managing editor of the Weekender in 2000. He returned to the Argus Leader as lifestyles editor in 2004. He bounced back to Sioux City in 2006 to become director of online news for Lee Enterprises. He also teaches social media at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City. Thomas left Lee in 2012 to make a go at running his own company. Find his Twitter feed here.


Mike Saewitz is membership development manager for the Atlantic Media Company in Washington, D.C. A 2002 graduate of Northwestern University, Mike interned for the Virginian-Pilot, the Register of New Haven, Conn., and the St. Petersburg Times. He spent five years covering cops and courts for the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, Fla., before rejoining the Pilot in 2007. He returned to school in 2010 and earned his MBA degree — with emphasis in strategy and finance — last year from the University of Virginia. Mike turns 34 today.

Ani, Mike, Jodi, Thomas, Tony and Rob share a birthday with actors Harvey Lee Yeary (better known as Lee Majors), Valerie Anne Bertinelli, Joyce Ann DeWitt, Hervé Jean-Pierre Villechaize, Janice “Jan” Hooks, George Lopez, Alexandra Zuck (better known as Sandra Dee), Shirley Jane Temple Black; Scott Hamilton Bairstow, Kalpen Suresh Modi (better known as Kal Penn) and Dev Patel; musician Roy Kelton Orbison and Stephen Maynard “Steve” Clark (of Def Leppard); documentary maker Michael Francis Moore; sports greats Alistair Edward Brownlee (triathlon), Daniela Hantuchová (tennis), Warren Edward Spahn, Andruw Rudolf Jones (both baseball), Anthony James “Tony” Esposito (hockey) and Charles Burnham “Bud” Wilkinson (football coach); terrorist Timothy James McVeigh; physicist Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck and President James Buchanan Jr.

In addition, today is English Language Day, Impossible Astronaut Day, Movie Theater Day, Talk Like Shakespeare Day, Secretarys’ Day and World Book and Copyright Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Tuesday, April 22

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


Katherine Fowler is a graphic designer based in Raleigh, N.C. A 1990 graduate of North Carolina State University, Katherine spent six years as an artist for the News & Observer of Raleigh. Since 1992, she’s worked for a variety of clients in Raleigh, Atlanta, Saint Simons, Ga., and Sweden.


Rob Schultz is a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. He joined the WSJ in 2010 after nearly 29 years as a sportswriter for the Capital Times, the other paper in Madison. Find his Twitter feed here.

Katherine and Rob share a birthday with actors John Joseph “Jack” Nicholson, Sheryl Lee, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Michelle Claire Ryan and Edward Albert Heimberger (better known as Eddie Albert) and Marilyn Ann Briggs (better known as Marilyn Chambers); musicians Peter Kenneth Frampton, Glen Travis Campbell and Daniel Paul Johns (of Silverchair); director John Samuel Waters; producer Aaron Spelling; model Bettie Mae Page; aviator James Stephen Fossett; sports greats Marshawn Terrell Lynch (football) and Terry Jon Francona (baseball manager); physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer; novelist Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov and Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

In addition to Earth Day, today is Girl Scout Leaders Day, National Jelly Bean Day and “In God We Trust” Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday today, you two! Best wishes!

A look at the National’s all-visuals edition from last Thursday

As we noted last week, the National of Abu Dhabi in the UAE published its Thursday edition with no narrative. Instead, the paper was full of pictures and infographics.

National editor-in-chief Mohammed Al Otaiba wrote the day before…

…a newspaper is not all words. We are visual creatures and pictures taken by talented photographers have the power to capture in a single image the absolute essence of a story, be it a heart-rending tragedy or a joyous triumph of the human spirit.

Tomorrow, The National turns six. Tomorrow the pen stops. Tomorrow we will show the news and let you, our readers, share with us what we see.

Thursday’s front page featured a montage of various images.

Laura Koot, managing editor and art director of the National was kind enough to send us a nice care package of PDFs. Click on any of the pages below for a much larger look.

Again, Thursday’s front page featured a montage of various images.


Note the little QR code in the middle of the page. Readers who wanted a little narrative with their stories Thursday could scan that code with their mobile device to read a story.

Directions on how to do this ran atop page three.


Notice the stories in the A section: Pictures and cutlines, with headlines beneath. No stories.

Page seven was a graphic look at a staple in the area, the date palm tree.


The center spread of the A section was this gorgeous look at fishing by staffer Antonie Robertson.


Page 11 was another graphic — this one is a look at separatist movements going on around the world.


Page 12 was another big photo essay — this one on a city in Gaza that houses 6,000 refugee Palestinians.


The photos are by famous war photographer Heidi Levine.

The sports section kicked off with an enormous wraparound photo of a cricket stadium by staffer Pawan Singh.


As was the case in South Africa during my visits there, cricket is big in the UAE. This double-page graphic on sports pages four and five looked at some of the biggest cricket stars in the world.


Here’s a closer look at the South African bowler at the far bottom right.


Pages six and seven hold a collection of photos from the previous night’s big win over Mumbai.


The pictures, like the cover wrap shot, are by Pawan Singh.

Pages eight and nine were about the Chinese Grand Prix Formula 1 race in Shanghai. The track diagram is cleverly presented as a traditional Chinese dragon.


Those are little caricatures of each of the 22 drivers around the sides, along with information such as world titles, wins in China, podium finishes and so on.


A little segment at the upper right also very cleverly shows what time the race will be on TV there in the UAE.


This is some brilliant work. Staffer Matthew Kurian is credited on the piece.

The business section starts out with an enormous portrait of a national bank president.


Pages four and five take a graphic look at the growing financial center of al Maryah Island.


Biz page eight contains a look back at world markets over the past ten years. That green line that does so well and the nosedives is the Dubai Financial Market.


Also very nicely done. Like several of the other big pieces, however, I see detailed source attribution but no credit line.

After all that visual news, it’s time for a little fun. Th front of the arts and life section illustrates some of the world-famous celebrities who can be found in Abu Dhabi these days. Kind of a Where’s Waldo? approach.


Among the folks hidden in that crowd scene:

  • Elvis Costello
  • Jeff Dunham and what appears to be a green-painted version of his puppet Peanut


  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Ozzy Ozbourne
  • Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone
  • Justin Timerlake

That, too, is by Matthew Kurian.

And on page three, this flow-chart graphic helps you decide: Should you or should you not go to see the Lionel Richie concert Thursday night?


Again, there’s some pretty amusing stuff here.


Even the QC codes throughout the section have little pictures embedded in them.


Evelyn Lau, a features web editor for the National, tells us:

A bigger version of some of the graphs or charts can be seen in the Interactive section of the site.

Birthdays for Monday, April 21

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


Kurt Helland is the Register’s assistant news editor. A 1983 graduate of Iowa State University, Kurt spent two years as a copy editor at the Owensboro (Ky.) Messenger-Inquirer before moving to Des Moines in 1999. Kurt turns 54 today.


Warren Taylor is a freelance photographer in Des Moines, Iowa. A 1970 graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Warren spent 38 years as a photographer, picture editor and director of photography for the Register. He retired in 2008.

Kurt and Warren share a birthday with actors Rosalie Anderson Andie MacDowell, Anthony Salvatore Iadanza (better known as Tony Danza), James McAvoy, Charles Grodin, Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca (better known as Anthony Quinn); musician Robert James Smith (of the Cure), James Newell “Jim” Osterberg Jr. (better known as Iggy Pop); sports greats Edward John “Ed” Belfour (hockey), Carnell Lamar “Cadillac” Williams and Antonio Ramiro “Tony” Romo (both football); naturalist John Muir; novelist Charlotte Bronté; comic book artist Michael Layne Turner; U.S. Congressman Gary Adrian Condit; Johan Anthoniszoon “Jan” van Riebeeck, the founder of Cape Town, South Africa; Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, the Queen of England and HLN Morning Express anchor Robin Meade.

In addition, today is Kindergarten Day, National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day, National Surprise Drug Test Day and Bulldogs are Beautiful Day. Seriously.

Have a great birthday, gentlemen! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Sunday, April 20

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


Linda Grist Cunningham is owner and editor of Key West Watch, a multimedia news service aimed at non-resident Key West homeowners. A 1972 graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., Linda spent two years as a staff writer for the Times & World News of Roanoke, Va., before becoming assistant managing editor of the Daily Record of Morristown, N.J. She was named executive editor of the Trenton (N.J.) Times in 1982 and held that post for six years before moving back to the Daily Record as executive editor. In 1991, she moved to the Rockford Register Star and served as executive editor of that paper for 20 years until she stepped down in 2011. Key West Watch launched in 2012. Find the project’s web site here and its Twitter feed here.


Michael Stowe is managing editor for the Roanoke (Va.) Times. A 1992 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth, Michael spent three years as a reporter for the Times before jumping to the Times-Dispatch of Richmond in 1995 as Sunday business editor. He moved back to the Times a year later as a metro editor. He was promoted to New River Valley editor in 1999, to sports editor in 2004, to assistant managing editor in 2005 and then to managing editor in 2007. Find his Twitter feed here.


Russell J. White is president of Banking Agility, a professional training and coaching consultancy based in Charlotte, N.C. A 1981 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Russell spent ten years as a manager in a textiles plant while earning an MBA from Winthrop University. He began teaching and consulting in 1991. He’s written five books, including one illustrated by yours truly (left)


…and his latest: The Agile Advantage: Mastering Business in the New Economy. Find his web site here and his blog here.

Michael, Russell and Linda share a birthday with actors George Hosato Takei, Joseph “Joey” Lawrence, Tara Leigh Patrick (better known as Carmen Electra), Shemar Franklin Moore, Andrew Clement “Andy” Serkis, Crispin Hellion Glover, Veronica Cartwright, Charles Patrick Ryan O’Neal Jr., Harold Clayton Lloyd, Jessica Phyllis Lange and Clinton Howard; musicians Luther Ronzoni Vandross and Lionel Leo Hampton; Victoria’s Secret model Miranda May Kerr; skydiving daredevil Felix Baumgartner; sports greats Danny Granger Jr. (basketball), Donald Arthur “Don” Mattingly (baseball) and Stephen Orr Spurrier (football coach); Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens and meglomaniac Adolf Hitler.

In addition to Easter Sunday, today is Chinese Language Day, Plum Pudding Day and National Pot Smokers Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you three! Have an excellent birthday!