SND 2007: The year that was ...

~ by Matt Mansfield

The end of any given year presents an opportunity to reflect. We're not immune to that impulse here at The Blog, so let's take a look back at 2007, a banner year for the Society for News Design and this here fledgling online publication. In a chunky bits/alternative story form sort of way, we cue the music (and, please, read this with a Bob Costas' intonation) ...

Most Amazing Example of Volunteer Spirit: Witnessing the cast of crew of The Boston Globe pull off the success that was SNDBoston. The annual workshop reached near-record attendance, an amazing feat in a year marked by terrible industry news. SNDBoston was an important reminder of the critical roles we have as storytellers and presenters of the news. Dan Zedek, Emily Kehe, Kristin Lenz, Greg Klee, Chin Wang and what seemed liked a multitude of good-natured New Englanders showed SND members what it means to be giving of your time and talent. The event also gave us all the chance to party in a town that knows how to get down, which we appreciated. The Blog tips its hat (a Red Sox stocking cap, in our case) to SND's Globe (+ Courant) friends for a solid source of inspiration, just when we needed it most.

Sweetest Sweetness of a Sweet Workshop: Seeing design greats Lynn Staley and Rolf Rehe honored with the Society's Lifetime Achievement Awards on the final night in Boston. The Blog has looked up to both these legends for a long time. Being there for their honors was nothing short of astounding.

Best Embrace of The New: Denise M. Reagan, Stephen Komives, Don Wittekind, Jeff Goertzen and Ellen Meany deserve credit for completely overhauling the Society's Quick Course lineup for next year to reflect the shifts in our field, looking hard at our offerings and seeing how SND can help train for the skills all of us will need to be competitive in the year ahead. There's a bunch more hands-on multimedia work planned, as well as added courses on applicable print design skills in the new century. Plus all these courses are staffed by a stellar roster of faculty members. Kudos ... And, um, signing up now!

Most-Convincing Case for a Trip to Spain: The Blog decamped to the friendly environs of Pamplona for the magic that is Malofiej, the world's largest and most-prestigious news graphics workshop and competition. Don't be worried, though, there's not a shard of pretense among the welcoming Spaniards, all of whom are eager to share stories about our craft and the importance of information graphics in showing the world how the world works. They will also take you to the best Irish pub in Spain, the Jumping Jester, where graphics greats hold court each night among a global gathering of people committed to making a difference. A hint: The next Malofiej is March 9-14, 2008!

Best Chance to Get to Know Someone New: The SND board OK'd a new cost structure for international members in several countries where an SND membership is simply not realistic for individuals. (Example: The US $105 membership fee is a month's salary for many designers in Eastern Europe) We changed corporate memberships in these countries, in the hope that more newspapers will purchase memberships for up to three individuals on one account -- creating additional SND members in these under-served countries. So reach out ... and let any of us in the SND leadership know how we can help.

Easiest Chance to Get to Know Someone New: Attend SND/Scandinavia. A bunch of folks from North America made their way to Stockholm this spring for a truly memorable event. By all accounts, the workshop was a great tool for networking and seeing new approaches. Hint: SND/S hosts its next annual gathering in Copenhagen from May 22-24, 2008!

Most-Underrated Performer: Because he's good at what he does and recedes to the background in the way folks like that do, it's easy to forget that Jonathon Berlin actually does orchestrate Design -- and that he's among the great editors of the Society's quarterly journal. Jonathon's deft touch is seen in everything from the provocative story solicitation + editing to the presentation of each edition, which reinvents itself with every issue. In JB's hands, Design has become intent on expanding its global author and illustrator base, something done to great effect in 2007. For making Design a vibrant part of the visual journalism dialogue, JB, we owe you one.

Most-Underrated Performer Whose Name You May Not Know: Because she's good at what she does, too ... Susan Santoro may not be a name that rolls off your tongue. That's too bad. Susan really does it all behind the scenes for SND's members, every step of the way as your advocate in the main office. She's always making sure that member needs come first, a tough act in a far-flung organization. Ever need something (really, just anything)? Send Susan an email. We always do. Thanks, Ms. S, for all you do on our behalf!

Most-Overdue Praise: That would be for outgoing SND prez Scott Goldman of the Indy Star, a swell president during a time of crazy change. Grace under pressure? Check. Ability to move the Society forward? Check. Niceness every step of the way? Check. Check. Check ... You said in Boston that you were honored to serve SND, Scott. Truth is, it's the other way around: We were honored to have you at our service.

Most Chilling Moment: Yours truly and Ms. Reagan delivering an outdoor SND Update video report from the annual competition in sub-zero Syracuse. You can actually see our hands shaking as we read the results. Brrrr .....

Most Heart-Warming Moment: Watching the complete transformation of Mexico City's Excelsior reveal itself on the judging tables at the 28th Best of Newspaper Design competition. The paper went from nearly out to glorious redemption as an example of what we could all do if we thought of our publications in the same holistic, zero-based way. One of the sweetest triumphs of the business case for design in a long, long time.

Best Chance at an Award: Can't win if you don't play, right? Enter the 29th Annual Best of Newspaper Design for a shot at greatness in that brilliant annual book. Deadline happens fast in 2008. Like fast.

OK. That's probably all we have. At least all we can remember. If we forgot something, add it to the comments and know that, when we see you, we will buy you a drink to make up for it. You know we're good for a beverage or three here at The Blog.

Here's to a great 2008!

~ Matt Mansfield is the incoming Vice President of the Society for News Design and a deputy managing editor at the San Jose Mercury News.

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Blogger the SND Directors said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger the SND Directors said...

Well done

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 4:10:00 PM  

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