Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to eight superlative visual journalists…
Will Alford is senior director of content and audience for Cox Media Group and based in Atlanta, Ga. A 1995 graduate of the University of Florida, Will spent a year as a copy editor and designer for the Fort Pierce/Port St. Lucie (Fla.) Tribune and then two years as a page designer and night editor for the Scottsdale Progress/Mesa (Ariz.) Tribune. He moved to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1998 and served as the paper’s product design chief until Cox consolidated its production work into hubs in 2012. That August, Will was named Cox’s manager of new product and business development. He was promoted to his current position in 2014. Find Will’s Twitter feed here.
Jerry Allegood is a freelance writer based in Greenville, N.C. A 1972 graduate of Francis Marion College in Florence, S.C., Jerry spent 35 years as the eastern North Carolina correspondent for the News & Observer of Raleigh. He retired in 2008. Jerry turns 66 today.
Toni Guagenti is a communications, social media and crisis management manager and consultant via her company, the Guagenti Group. A 1990 graduate of the University of Maryland, Toni spent four years as a state house reporter and a senior editor for the Carroll County (Md.) Times before joining the Virginian-Pilot in 1997. She worked as a community news reporter, teen editor, editor of the Pilot’s weekly TechTalk section and coordinator of the Pilot‘s work with local TV channel 13, WVEC. After the Pilot laid her off in 2009, Toni worked as a proposal writer for ICI Services Corp. of Norfolk, Va. She took on communications duties for the office of Virginia Beach mayor Will Sessoms‘ office in 2011 and social media management for Norfolk mayor Paul Fraim in 2013. Toni turns 48 today.
Ian McLean is a teacher-librarian for an elementary school in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia. A 1988 graduate of the University of Sydney, Ian earned a master’s degree from the University of Technology — also in Sydney — and has worked as a teacher or teacher-librarian, off-and-on, for the past 30 years. He spent four years as editor of the NSW Department of Education and Training’s professional journal, Scan. His professional learning blog, Booked Inn, was nominated for an award in 2011. Ian also blogs about Star Trek and science fiction.
Miranda Mulligan is creative director of digital at National Geographic. A 2002 graduate of the University of Miami, Miranda interned for Ocean Drive magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer and taught a graphics class at Ball State University before earning her Master’s degree from that institution in 2006. She then interned at the Sun-Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale before starting work at the Virginian-Pilot that fall. The Pilot promoted her to multimedia presentation editor in 2009. She moved to Boston in 2010 to become digital design director for the Boston Globe. The relaunch of the “responsive” Boston.com — a project she oversaw in 2011 — was a tremendous success, making her a huge rock star in the digital news world. In 2012, she moved to the Knight Lab at Northwestern University as executive director. She moved to National Geographic earlier this year. Find Miranda’s Twitter feed here.
George Rorick is a longtime news artist, graphics editor and visual journalism instructor. A 1960 graduate of Eastern Michigan University, George spent 12 years as an artist, illustrator, photographer and ad sales rep for the News-Palladium and Herald-Press of Benton Harbor, Mich. In 1972, he moved to the Denver Post, where he was promoted from artist to art director. He became art director of the Lansing State Journal in 1974.
Around 1980, George became involved in the startup of USA Today, which launched in 1982. He assured himself a spot in visual journalism history by creating the original USA Today weather page. In 1985, he became graphics director of the St. Petersburg Times and, a year later, became assistant managing editor for graphics of the Detroit News. In 1988, he took over directorship of what was then known as the Knight-Ridder/Tribune Graphics Network, creating KRT’s groundbreaking News in Motion animated graphics studio.
Throughout many of these years, George taught graphics classes around the country and especially at the Poynter Institute in St. Pete. George left KRT in 1999, spent a year as a consultant at el Mundo in Madrid and then joined the Poynter faculty full-time in 2000. George retired in 2004 and was honored in 2005 with a lifetime achievement award from the Society for News Design.
Kiersten Schmidt is a Roy H. Park Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, worrying on a Master’s degree. A 2010 graduate of the University of Miami, Kiersten served as sports editor of the school’s yearbook, the Ibis, and worked an internship with the Cape Cod Times of Hyannis, Mass. She spent a year as a designer and copy editor with the Northwest Florida Daily News and the Panama City News Herald in Florida before moving to the Gannett Design Studio in Asbury Park, N.J., in 2011 as a sports designer. She shifted over to the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger in 2013 as lead sports designer. She left to go back to school this past fall. She hopes to graduate in 2017. Find her web site here, her NewsPageDesigner portfolio here and her Twitter feed here. Kiersten turns 27 today.
Anton Vermeulen is graphics editor for Huisgenoot, South Africa’s highest-circulation magazine (a close second is You, the English-language version of Huisgenoot) and based in Cape Town. A 1996 graduate of North West University, Anton spent 12 years as a graphic artist for Media24 newspapers in Johannesburg, most recently its large Sunday national papers, Rapport and City Press. He moved to Huisgenoot in 2010. Find his Deviant Art gallery here and his Twitter feed here. Anton turns the big four-oh today.
Kiersten, Anton, Miranda, Toni, Ian, George and Jerry share a birthday with actors Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Tammy Blanchard, Paul Finley Zaloom (better known as Beakman), Theodore “Ted” Raimi, Anna Marie “Patty” Duke, Lee Ann Remick, Moritz “Morey” Amsterdam and Frances Elizabeth Bavier; musicians Charles “Charlie” Rich and Lindley Armstrong “Spike” Jones; agent-turned-movie-producer Michael Ovitz; sports greats William Joseph “Bill” Buckner, Craig Alan Biggio (both baseball), Charles Louis “Charley” Trippi, Ernest “Ernie” Davis (both football), Stanley Roger “Stan” Smith, Patty Schnyder (both tennis), Joseph Brian Gay (golf) and Alan Dennis Kulwicki (auto racing); World War II hero James Harold “Jimmy” Doolittle; astronomer Tycho Brahe; apothecary Michel de Nostredame (better known as Nostradamus) and TV news producer Donald Shepard Hewitt.
In addition, today is Green Monday and Monkey Day. Seriously.
Best wishes, all! Have a terrific birthday today!