IU’s Danielle Rindler named 2011 SND Foundation Scholarship winner

Danielle Rindler

Danielle Rindler

The SND Foundation is pleased to announce the winner of the 2011 SND Foundation Scholarship: Danielle Rindler of Indiana University in Bloomington.

A panel of five SND leaders selected Rindler for the $2,000 award based on her thoughtful answers to two essay questions, the quality of her portfolio, the breadth of her experience, her professor’s recommendation and her strong grade point average. Rindler was also selected as one of ten travel grant recipients from the SND Foundation.

“News design was something I fell into accidentally while reporting for my high school newspaper,” Danielle wrote in an email interview. “Since then, it’s become a passion for me and has led to so many wonderful opportunities, including these. I’m so grateful to SND and the Foundation for these wonderful opportunities, and the recognition from such an outstanding organization means so much to me.”

Rindler has been very involved with the Indiana Daily Student newspaper. As general-assignment editor, she served on the front lines training more than 100 incoming staff members, many of them with no high-school journalism experience. She and her co-editor made story assignments and edited and critiqued their work.

“Honestly, I’ve never seen a designer tackle this assignment, let alone so well,” Ron Johnson, director of IU student media, wrote in his recommendation letter.

Rindler became special-sections editor at an important transition, as the newsroom took more responsibility to improve its many crucial revenue-generating sections, from homecoming to housing guides to visitor guides.

“Danielle’s dependable leadership and exceptional news judgment energized the publications with alternative story forms and sharp, crisp features that pleased both readers and advertisers,” Johnson wrote.

As art director of the IDS, Rindler led a redesign for a narrower web width.

“This process made me think critically about everything from typography width and readability to story formats and nameplate design,” Rindler wrote in her appliation essay. “The result was a cleaner, more college-friendly newspaper that took more risks and utilized more alternative story formats.”

“The quality of the daily never slipped with this huge project churning in the background,” Johnson wrote. “The result? A student-produced redesign that reaches across the spectrum, respecting our rich narratives and dramatic visuals while infusing our tightened news hole with alternative story forms and crisper features.”

Rindler is currently Pulliam Fellow for design at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix where she works with other designers and editors to design tabloid sections for 19 community papers as well as pages for the broadsheet Republic. Previously she was an art and production intern at Indianapolis Monthly magazine. In the fall, she’ll be a print and web designer for INside magazine.

SND is already the beneficiary of Rindler’s leadership. She serves as president of IU’s SND affiliate chapter, working with faculty members Steve Layton and Bonnie Layton to expand SND’s presence there.

As an incoming freshman at Indiana University, Rindler was one of 18 people directly admitted to the IU Journalism School through the Ernie Pyle Scholars honors program. Through this program, she been part of several honors classes, including a media ethics class where her final project was a thesis paper on SND’s code of ethics.

“When I spoke to Kenny Irby about the Society for News Design’s code of ethics for a research paper last fall, one of the points he made very clear was that the adoption of the code in 2006 was, in part, an attempt to legitimize visual journalism in the eyes of the rest of the industry,” Rindler wrote. “This was a noble first step, but the challenge still exists. As is the case with the rest of contemporary media, practitioners must be prepared to change and expand what it means to be a visual journalist. As definition expands and web producers and designers, multimedia practitioners and videographers all begin to practice visual journalism, it is even more imperative that the field be recognized as a legitimate and integral part of any newsroom.”

Additionally, the Ernie Pyle Scholars program took her to London for two months to intern at a small international and humanitarian communications firm while studying foreign media. Rindler expects to graduate in May 2012.

Rindler has won awards for page design through the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the Collegiate Media Advisors. She has served as an IU School of Journalism Ambassador and a counselor for the Indiana High School Journalism Institute.

Rindler’s wide range of experience is what made her the strongest candidate for the scholarship.

“While I hope to pursue a career in visual journalism, my ability to understand and edit a story allows me to better present it,” she wrote. “My experience in marketing and communications gives me an understanding of how to best reach people at a time when fewer people are reading actual printed media.”

Rindler understands the challenges facing the industry, but she has a positive outlook about where she fits in.

“Visual journalists are crucial now more than ever, as they have a significant effect on the reader experience,” she wrote. “And as more and more ‘unofficial’ media join the flow of online information, the reader experience is a crucial way for professional media to set themselves apart.”

You can check out some of Rindler’s work here.

Annually, the SND Foundation Scholarship is awarded to deserving students interested in and showing promise for pursuing a career in visual journalism. SNDF received applications from students at four different universities. The selection panel included:

Denise M. Reagan, SND Foundation president
Steve Dorsey, SND president
Jonathan Berlin, SND vice president
Rob Schneider, SND secretary/treasurer
Stephen Komives, SND executive director

SND U.S. education director Jennifer George-Palilonis organized the call for applications.

The SND Foundation is the charitable arm of the society. In addition to awarding student travel grants to the annual workshop, SNDF funds initiatives such as training grants for SND members, university scholarships, prizes for the SND student competition and other education, minority and research programs.

All of the Foundation’s money comes from grants and donations from people just like you. You can donate by going here.