SNDVegas: The annual awards gala is a wrap

Magician? Check.

A dancing medley of 30 years of SND workshops? Check.

Robin Leach, champagne wishes and caviar dreams? Check, check, check.

SND celebrated the best in newspaper design, multimedia and years of service to the Society and the industry at its annual awards dinner Monday night.

Four newspapers were honored as the World’s Best-Designed Newspapers: Akiza from Moscow; Expresso from Paço de Arcos, Portugal; Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagseitung from Frankfurt, Germany; and The Guardian from London.

Judges noted that “If print is dead, it’s a pretty lively corpse” in lavishing praise upon the four winners. (The judges comments and SND’s coverage of the competition earlier this year can be found here.)

SND also honored two of its own with Lifetime Achievement Awards, Phil Ritzenberg and Bill Gaspard.

For 50-plus years, Ritzenberg has been an innovator and a tireless volunteer for the Society and designers. He has been a behind-the-scenes leader, helping found SND 30 years ago, and served as president from 1980 to 1982.

“On more than one occasion, he has helped the Society get back on track,” said SND vice president Matt Mansfield.

“His tireless commitment to design has often put him at odds with those who might seek to trivialize the advancements that design has brought to newsrooms everywhere. Thank goodness for us we had Phil’s passionate, powerful voice speaking up on our behalf.”

Phil rose from a copy boy for the Cleveland Press in the early 1950s to be Assistant Managing Editor for Design at the New York Daily News, one of the first such management roles at a major U.S. newspaper.

In 1971, Phil wrote a pioneering article for Print magazine — eight years before the Society was founded — called “Rethinking Newspapers: The Journalist as Designer.”

That article was later reprinted in The Bulletin of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and has been widely credited with helping to introduce design into the mainstream of America’s newsrooms.

Bill Gaspard, similarly, has been a giant for SND and for visual journalists in newsrooms everywhere.

He has served as president of SND, the SND Foundation and (in what some may call sheer lunacy) has served as site chair for the annual workshop twice — here in Las Vegas and also in San Diego in 1997, still the best-attended workshop in the Society’s history.

SND founder Richard Curtis of USA Today praised Gaspard for his work to keep SND at the forefront of the industry.

“SND is about to celebrate 30 years of its history, and 30 years from now, when some of us will reflect on the entirety of its existence, we’ll see that Bill’s involvement and leadership were the definitive years that kept SND relevant despite all the forces affecting our industry,” he said.

SND past president Nanette Bisher of the San Francisco Chronicle noted his ability to involve literally everyone in getting things done for SND.

“How many of you have found yourself involved with SND because Bill looked at you with those eyes, or called you and used THAT voice?” Bisher said. ” And you found yourself volunteering to do WHATEVER Bill wanted to get done.”
Gaspard got his start at his hometown paper, The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill. At stops in Kansas City, San Diego, Los Angeles and now in Las Vegas at the Sun, he has served in virtually any role SND has needed.

SND also announced a number of other awards:

Kate LaRue from the University of Missouri was named Student Designer of the Year in the daily category and Rob Byrd from Coastal Carolina University won in the non-daily category.

Now in its 20th year, the College Designer of the Year competition is co-sponsored by SND and the University of Missouri at Columbia.

The awards were presented by Joy Mayer, assistant professor of journalism at Missouri.

– University of North Carolina professor and director of SND’s Best of Multimedia Design Competition Laura Ruel presented SND’s 7th annual Best of Multimedia Design awards. The competition, held in Chapel Hill, N.C. in late August, awarded gold medals to nytimes.com for its outstanding work.

– SND president Gayle Grin gave President’s awards to a number of people for their service and volunteerism:

… to Tyson Evans of the Las Vegas Sun, for the creativity and dedication he put into the SNDVegas Web site and the online and printed program, which Tyson balanced with his role as the multimedia editor of the Society’s Update blog.

… to Laura Ruel, for her extraordinary efforts in 2008 in relaunching SNDies as the Best of Multimedia Design with new quarterly deadlines; revamping the competition winner’s database; and providing valuable input into the proposal to create an award for the World’s Best-Designed Web Site

… to Lily Liu of the Newark Star-Ledger and SND’s executive director Elise Burroughs, for their dedication in setting up and following through with SND Chinese as an SND regional affiliate for Chinese-language newspapers.

… to Scandinavian trio Anders Tapola, Stig Orskov and Soren Nyeland, for the SND/S workshop, Copenhagen Crash 2008. “It was exciting, innovative, inspirational and completely entrancing,” Grin said.

… to Javier Errea, president of SND’s Spanish affiliate, for his stewardship of the world’s largest and most influential infographics competition and summit, Malofiej.

… to Oliver Bourgeois, president of SND Francophone, for the first combined workshop from SND and IFRA.

… and to Marshall Matlock of Syracuse University, for his continued service to the Society and its membership by taking the Best of Newspaper Design Competition to a new audience at the first joint workshop of SND-Fr and IFRA in Paris this spring.