Charles Apple named managing editor/visuals of the Victoria Advocate

Today, I have an announcement of my own: I’m leaving my job as Focus page editor of the Orange County Register and moving to Texas.


Starting in early December, I’ll be managing editor for visuals of the Victoria Advocate — a paper I’ve admired greatly and about which I’ve written often, here in the blog.

Monday, Advocate editor Chris Cobler announced to his staff:

I’m delighted to announce that Charles Apple will be joining our team as managing editor/visuals.

As an industry leader in newspaper design, Charles needs little introduction, but I’ll briefly summarize his wide range of experience: Early in his career, he was a sports stringer for the Rock Hill (S.C.) Evening Herald and later became a graphic artist there. His remarkable work led him to similar positions at the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer, the Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register.

He served for five years as graphics director of the Virginian Pilot until the recession hit in 2008. From there, he further enhanced his national reputation as an international consultant and through his blog, which is a must-read for all newspaper designers…

To bring in a journalist of this caliber, [managing editor] Becky, [design director] Kiko and I discussed how best to structure the newsroom. Through those conversations, we landed on the title of managing editor/visuals… Becky’s title will be adjusted slightly to managing editor/content, but her job description remains unchanged, except that she obviously will be working closely with Charles on the visual aspect of our content.

You might be wondering why Charles would come to a smaller newspaper like the Victoria Advocate from his current position as Focus editor at the Orange County (Calif.) Register. As many of you know, Charles has been a huge fan of the creative work we have done at the Advocate for many years, and that’s how he and I first became acquainted. With the turmoil in the industry, Charles believes community newspapers like the Advocate are the future and appreciates, as I do, the family ownership here.

His first day is set for Dec. 1. He and his wife, Sharon, will be in Victoria Oct. 29-Nov. 2 on an apartment-hunting expedition.

As exciting as my new job sounds, please understand: I leave California with a great deal of sadness. I love my colleagues at the Register and my editors have been very kind to me. Focus page editor has been the most fun job I’ve ever had.

In addition, my daughter and I just love California.


Some of you know I have occasional health issues with asthma, allergies and the like. I’ve never breathed better than I have here in Orange County. I imagine I’ll be allergic to every other molecule in the air in Texas, just as I was in Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina and the rest.

Sadly, my wife, Sharon, never made the move to California. She came to see us a couple of times, but she lingered a bit in Atlanta to help deal with family matters.


But, sadly, it’s time for us to move on. I’m just lucky I have a top-notch outfit like the Advocate — and a top-notch editor like Chris — who’s willing to provide me with a new professional challenge.

The Advocate is a family-owned daily that circulates an average of 26,531 papers on weekdays. The city is about two hours from San Antonio, two hours from Houston, two hours from Austin and two hours from Corpus Christi. It’s maybe 30 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.


Victoria is a gorgeous little city with deep historical roots. You guys know how much I love history. I was completely charmed by the place during my visit there several weeks ago.


The whole small-town, family thing was driven home — almost literally — when my mom drove down from her place in Fort Worth and crashed my interview.


The Advocate likes to surprise and delight its readers as often as possible. As Chris notes, I’ve blogged about the paper frequently over the years.

The plan is for me to continue building Focus pages here in Southern California through Thanksgiving. We plan to move over the holiday.

Chris covered the standard biographical info above, so let’s skip that this time. If you feel compelled to see more details about my career, read this item I posted 20 months ago, when I moved to the west coast.

A great way to sample some of my work here in California would be to read about the two-day Focus page series on the Beach Boys I did back in June.


Or, you can check out my gallery at NewsPageDesigner. I’m several months behind in posting my work, but you’ll definitely get the idea.

Before I got into teaching, I spent several years as a graphics reporter, artist and editor. One of my favorite battle stories is the work my staff did covering the tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003.


Read more about that here.

Before I got into management, I was known for my work as a graphic artist. This was the assignment that really took my career to the next level.


That ran in May 1995.

Not only did I design and draw that page, I also researched and wrote it. I was also known for my work reporting graphics for breaking news stories.

More recently, I’ve done a bit of freelance graphic work. One of my most successful projects has been a big election grid that I originally built in 2000 and have updated for every presidential election cycle since.


In 2012, I sold the graphic to 36 newspapers around the country. Read about that project here.

Chris mentioned I’ve done teaching and consulting work internationally. That’s true: I’ve been to the Philippines, Nigeria (below), Kenya and especially South Africa.


If you put my six trips to South Africa together, it would total more than nine months.

My very first overseas assignment, however, was to England. And the whole thing was a bit of a fluke. I recently wrote about that here.

When I travel, I blog about my adventures. Here’s a sample from my time in Nigeria in March of 2012…


…and here’s my final dispatch from Nairobi (above) in August of that same year.

The last time I was on Johannesburg, it snowed. And it never snows there.


In addition to work, I also manage to get in a little fun from time to time. One time, I went to a nature preserve and got to watch them feed the kitties.


When I’m in Cape Town, I like to drive around and take in the scenery.


Or I’ll just watch the mountain. Table mountain is just incredible.

So I’m looking forward to moving to Texas and I’m looking forward to getting back into teaching+mentoring mode.

This is gonna be fun. Stay tuned.

Birthdays for Tuesday, Oct. 21

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


Thomas Slusser is photo editor of the Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, Pa. A 2000 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pa., Thomas spent five-and-a-half years as a shooter for the Indiana Gazette before joining the Picture People in Chesapeake, Va., as a photography coach and trainer. From 2009 to last year, he freelanced for such clients as the Virginian-Pilot, the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Financial Times and Reuters. He joined the Tribune-Democrat last year. Find his Twitter feed here. Thomas turns 38 today.


Brian Throckmorton is a research editor for the Legislative Research Commission in Frankfort, Ky. A 1983 graduate of Georgetown University, Brian worked as a copy editor for Phillips Publishing and the American Society for Microbiology before joining the Lexington Herald-Leader in 1997. He became copy chief of the features department of the San Jose Mercury News in 2000 but then moved back to Lexington in 2002 as chief of the copy desk. Lexington laid him off in 2009, but Brian caught on in at the Louisville Courier-Journal the next summer. After eight months with the C-J, Brian moved to his current position in 2011.

Thomas and Brian share a birthday with actors Carrie Frances Fisher, Ken Wantanabe and Sofia Vladimiorvna Vassilieva; musicians John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, Steven Lee “Steve” Cropper, Elvin Bishop, Charlotte Irene Caffey (of the Go-Go’s) and Manfred Sepse Lubowitz (better known as Manfred Mann); TV personalities Kimberly Noel Kardashian and Judith Susan Blum Sheindlin (better known as Judge Judy); sports greats Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford, Jorge Antonio Bell Mathey (better known as George Bell), Donald Zackary “Zack” Greinke (all three baseball), Ricard “Ricky” Rubio i Vives (basketball), Morris C. “Mo” Lewis (football) and William Alexander “Bill” Curry (football coach); astronaut Ronald Ervin McNair; Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu; foul play victim Natalee Ann Holloway; poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge; inventor Alfred Bernhard Nobel and legendary advertising executive Leo Burnett.

In addition, today is Celebration of the Mind Day, Reptile Awareness Day and Global Iodine Deficiency Disorder Prevention Day. Seriously.

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

Master artist Fred Matamoros now working for GateHouse center in Austin, Texas

Longtime artist and visual journalist Fred Matamoros is once again working in newspapers.


My former colleague here at the Orange County Register took one of our now-famous buyouts in June and moved back to Texas. Fred tells us:

I am the first artist here at the GateHouse Media Center for News & Design in Austin. CND is now offering informational graphics and illustrations along with page design.

I’m excited to be part of this team, with great people and a real busy and progressive newsroom environment.

Fred started his new job earlier this month.

Joe Greco, the director of the GateHouse hub and Fred’s new boss tells us:

Fred’s done some great work for us already in the short time he’s been here. He’s a complete joy to work with and immensely talented. We’re glad he’s on board.

I wanted to be sure you had at least one piece of work he’s done for us. The attached ran in [Sunday's] Rockford Register Star.


The story was produced as part of our quarterly Pinnacle project series. The stories and Fred’s graphic will be used by a number of GateHouse publications around the country.

A 1985 graduate of Woodbury University in Burbank, Calif., Fred spent four years as a designer and art director for a major L.A. ad agency before becoming a staff artist for the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Calif.

He spent three years as assistant graphics editor of the Shreveport (La.) Times and five-and-a-half years as graphics editor of the Olympian in Olympia, Wash., before moving up the road to the Tacoma, Wash., News Tribune in 1999 as an artist and illustrator.

In 2010, Fred moved to Shreveport to become creative director for SB magazine. He worked for a number of design agencies in 2011 and 2012 and then spent a year as a senior graphic artist here at the OC Register.

Fred with The OC Register’s Kurt Snibbe at a
community graphics workshop in August 2013.

A few samples of Fred’s work:




Last August, Fred illustrated the front page of the launch day edition of the Long Beach Register.


He also did three gorgeous Focus pages for me.


In addition to graphics and illustration work, Fred paints. He told us a while back:

Painting keeps me busy as well. I’m in private collections across the U.S., represented in three galleries and try to keep my website updated often.

A few examples:



Find his paintings here and his infographics and illustration web site here.

Birthdays for Monday, Oct. 20

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


Mark Allen is a freelance writer, editor, instructor and consultant based in Columbus, Ohio. A graduate of Central Michigan University, Mark spent seven years as a copy editor and reporter for the Mining Journal of Marquette, Mich., before joining the Grand Rapids Press in 1995. Ten years later, he moved to the Columbus Dispatch. He went freelance in 2009 and currently teaches copy editing for the University of California at San Diego. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here. Mark turns 49 today.


Dan Barkin is senior editor for online for the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. A product of the University of Virginia, Norfolk’s Old Dominion University (business administration, 1987) and the University of Maryland (master’s degree, 1995), Dan worked as a deputy managing editor for the Virginian-Pilot and assistant business editor of the Baltimore Sun before joining the N&O in 1996 as business editor. He was named deputy managing editor in 2000 and then to his current position in 2008. Find his blog here and his Twitter feed here. Dan turns 61 today.


Barbara Barkley is assistant to the editor at the Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. A 1976 graduate of Winthrop College, Barbara spent several years as a reporter.


Patti McCracken is an independent journalist and international media consultant and an adjunct professor at Webster University in Vienna, Austria. A product of Guilford College and George Washington University, Patti has worked for U.S. News & World Report and the Chicago Tribune. She’s taught classes in more than 25 countries across Europe, northern Africa and southeast Asia on reporting, management and visual journalism. She also writes articles for various newspapers, magazines and wire services and is a two-time Knight International Press Fellow. She’s working on her first book — the Angel Makers, a historical true-crime story — which she’s already sold to Simon & Schuster. Find her freelance and consulting service home page here and her Twitter feed here.

Patti, Mark, Barbara and Dan share a birthday with actors John Burke Krasinski, Viggo Peter Mortensen Jr., Robert “Bob” Odenkirk, Jerome Bernard “Jerry” Orbach, William Christopher and Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó (better known as Béla Lugosi); musicians Thomas Earle “Tom” Petty, Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (better known as Jelly Roll Morton) and Cordozar Calvin Broadus (better known as Snoop Dogg); director Daniel “Danny” Boyle; supermodel Candice Swanepoel; psychologist Joyce Diane Bauer Brothers; sports greats Mickey Charles Mantle, Keith Barlow Hernandez, Juan Antonio Marichal Sánchez (all three baseball), Willis Andrew McGahee III and David Michael Krieg (both football); architect Christopher Wren; physicist James Chadwick; Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta; political commentator Michelle Marie Maglalang (better known as Michelle Malkin) and columnists Arthur Buchwald and Lewis McDonald Grizzard Jr.

In addition, today is Birth of the Bab, Lung Health Day, Miss American Rose Day and National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, all! Have a terrific birthday!

Birthdays for Sunday, Oct. 19

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five brilliant visual journalists…


Michael Beniash is sports editor of the Caledonian-Record of St. Johnsbury, Vt. A 2004 graduate of the University of New Mexico, Michael also served as a correspondent for Sports Illustrated On Campus before becoming an agate editor for the Albuquerque Journal. After a year-and-a-half, he was promoted to copy editor and reporter. He moved to the Courier of Littleton, N.H. as sports editor in 2008 and then to his current position in 2009. He also shoots pictures and designs pages. Find his Twitter feed here and his photostream here.


Bob Britten is a journalism professor at West Virginia University. A 2000 graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., Bob worked as a reporter, graphics reporter, designer, art director and graphics editor at various publications: the Greenville Record-Argus, the Meadville Tribune, the Columbia Missourian and the Seattle Times. He earned a master’s degree and then a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in 2004 and 2008, respectively. He joined the faculty at WVA in 2008. Find his Comics and Beer blog here, his class blog here and his Twitter feed here. Bob turns 36 today.


Amy Hughes is a page designer for the Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster. A graduate of Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind., Amy spent four years as an instructor and newspaper editor at her alma mater. In 2011, she moved to the Times. Amy turns 27 today.


Kathleen Rudell is a magazine designer for Gannett Custom Media in McLean, Va. A 2009 graduate of Ohio University, Kat worked as a designer for the Kennedy Museum of Art and served a Pulliam Fellowship at the Arizona Republic of Phoenix before joining full-time in 2010. She moved to Gannett Custom Media in 2012. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here.


Christopher Smith is photo editor of the Tulsa World in Oklahoma. A 1996 graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, Chris has worked at the Times of Northwest Indiana, the Gary, Ind., Post-Tribune and the Chicago Tribune. Find his blog here and his Twitter feed here. Chris turns 40 today.

Amy, Kathleen, Bob, Michael and Christopher share a birthday with actors John Arthur Lithgow, John Robert Rietz Jr. (better known as Robert Reed), Harris Glenn Milstead (better known as Divine), Jonathan Kolia “Jon” Favreau, Michael John Gambon, Gillian McLaren Jacobs, Desmond Harrington and Christopher Lee “Chris” Kattan; country musician Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson (better known as Jeannie C. Riley); TV handyman Tygert Bruton “Ty” Pennington; sports greats Evander Holyfield (boxing), Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown, José Antonio Bautista, Michael Brian Young (all three baseball) and Clifford Lynn Dickey (football); ESPN sportscaster Bradley Lee Daugherty; pop artist Peter Max Finkelstein; novelist David John Moore Cornwell (better known as John le Carré); animated cartoon producers Louis Scheimer and Randolph Severn “Trey” Parker III; politician Michael Stephen Steele, columnist Jack Northman Anderson and presidential daughter Amy Lynn Carter.

In addition, today is Evaluate Your Life Day, National Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Day and World Toy Camera Day. Seriously.

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