2012 resolution: Meet five who want to improve themselves this year

In 2012 SND will host a Year-Long Conversation about all things news design. The conversation will take place on the site and at various events around the world.

These five visual journalists have volunteered to take part of an 2012 experiment: to try and improve themselves over the coming year and we’ll document it here. If you’d like to participate, reach out, to the following information to Joe Greco..

And stay tuned to snd.org/conversation for updates.

SHAJAN C KUMAR

  • Age: 46
  • Employment: Art director, IANS
  • Location: New Delhi, India
  • Skills sought: Visual communication, computer graphics
  • What you hope to learn: Tablet content design
  • Why you want to be part of this project: I am going to learn more about Tablet content design. It’s nuances, style and substances. I strongly believe that it is going to be the next thing for all news designers to work on. My being part of this project will give other news designers an inspiration to hold on! 
    Regards.

CARRIE COUSINS

  • Age: 31
  • Employment: Night sports editor, The Roanoke Times
  • Location: Roanoke, VA
  • Skills sought: HTML, web/tablet design
  • What you hope to learn: and why I want to take my love of design (especially print design) to the future and work on designing “print” for tablets, apps and other new media forms.
  • Why you want to be part of this project: Learning is totally collaborative. Just having the support and network of others in the process will help motivate me (and hopefully others) to make this a resolution that will be kept!!

WES WATSON

  • Age: 32
  • Employment: Special Projects Coordinator/Casper Star-Tribune

  • Location: Casper, WY
  • What you hope to learn: Skills sought 3D animation, digital painting, better graphics/illustration storytelling.
  • Why you want to be part of this project: I actually began learning my new skills last year. This coming year will be about honing those skills. I have been learning Lightwave on my own and will be implementing what I’ve learned in that program into our product soon. I’ve also been learning Corel Painter; I’ve only used it fr backgrounds thus far but will be going much further this year. Hopefully I will purchase a new Wacom tablet soon for use with this program; I expect to break a lot of new ground for myself when that happens. Additionally, I have devised what I believe to be a very ambitious plan for myself this year based on creating 12 high-level graphics projects in 2012. They will range from traditional illustration all the way to 3D design. Roughly half of those are firmly in the planning stages already. I’ll be collaborating with several writers in our newsroom, as to incorporate many beats in this yearlong project. Many of these stories are ones I have campaigned for in years past, but did not have the skills to pull off. I think at the Star-Tribune, the time is right. We as a team are functioning at our highest level. It takes years for all these elements to come into focus in this way, so I’m really excited. The story list so far is amazing, and we have an upper management team that is willing to extend enough leash to allow us to do this.

MUTALE CHILESHE

  • Age: 22
  • Employment: Student (4th Year Mass Communication at University of Zambia)
  • Location: Zambia
  • What you’d like to learn: Photo retouching, InDesign, Photoshop, making infographics
  • Why you want to be part of this project: I started newspaper design intuitively through observation and copying digns in the daily newspapers. In my second year (2009), I voluntered to be part of publication, the Lusaka Star (a Mass Communication department publication) and I am now the Chief layout Editor of the same. The only professional contact or advice on layout design I have had was in 2010 with Bob at News Design School. He looked at publication and provided some advice on how it can improved. I have been experiencing alot challenges designing (I use corel draw 12), poor photo quality output, unattractive front page nd sports page layouts. Plus there is alot of emphasis on journalism (writing news) than visual design in my programme. I am hoping through this conference can gain professional advice, improve on design skills and share the practical knowledge to my fellow students ( I recently found a media club which I am the chairperson).

DONNITA NESBIT FISHER

  • Age: 51
  • Employment: Managing Editor/ The Wylie News
  • Location: Wylie, TX
  • What you’d like to learn: graphic design for better content management, how to use social media as part of the print package
  • Why you’d like to be part of this project: I’ve worked for newspapers for 30 years. In my first job (as an SPJ Intern, I might add) we still used IBM Selectric Typewriters to write our stories and printer’s marks to edit them: We used dummy sheets, scissors and waxers to layout our pages and counted m’s, w’s, l’s and r’s to write our headlines. I’ve embraced the changes in the industry but count myself lucky to have “paste-up” experience. As we transition to digital news gathering and dispersal, I know the print product cannot be counted out but needs to look and feel more modern and relevant. Not an easy task for a weekly but there has got to be a way to use all that social media to drive readers – and therefore advertisers – to print, right? I sure hope so. How will this be accomplished? I don’t know .. but I’m looking for suggestions and solutions.