Speakers

Will Alford

Will Alford is senior director for content + audience for Fans 1st Media, a digital startup incubated inside parent company Cox Media Group. He’s a founder of Rare.us, one of the fastest-growing shareable news sites in the U.S. — boasting 40 million monthly visits and more than 17 million readers. Dubbed “America’s News Feed,” Rare leverages social media to deliver national news, politics, culture and more, driving conversations with buzzworthy content Americans like to share. Will is a former newsroom director at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he led the paper’s biggest redesign and reinvention to date.

Melissa Angle

As a manager for Fans 1st Media, Melissa Angle is focused on increasing unique, original content and strategically growing overall audience for digital products. She leads a team of videographers, editors, contributors and social media managers responsible for feeding and optimizing Rare’s 20+ social channels. Melissa was previously a newsroom leader and designer at The Atlanta-Journal Constitution and Orlando Sentinel.

Zena Barakat

Keynote speaker: Zena Barakat is a storyteller and designer at IDEO. She works in the Design for Change Studio, helping organizations evolve their cultures and businesses to become more innovative. Prior to joining IDEO, she worked in journalism for 12 years, producing and shooting video for The New York Times, ABC News, National Public Radio, Bloomberg News, National Geographic and the Independent Film Channel (IFC). She created and produced The New York Times’ “Modern Love” animated video series, which was nominated for an Emmy in 2014. As a John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, she explored how to make mobile video more engaging and addictive.

Susie Cagle

Susie Cagle has reported and drawn for ProPublica, the Guardian, the New York Times, Forbes, AlJazeera America, and many others. She is a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine and a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford. Her work has been honored by the Online Journalism Awards and the Society of Professional Journalists. She studied at Columbia’s School of Journalism, which still doesn’t offer a cartooning class.

Alberto Cairo

Alberto Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the School of Communication of the University of Miami (UM), where he heads specializations in infographics and data visualization. He’s also director of the visualization program at UM’s Center for Computational Science, and Visualization Innovator in Residence at Univisión.
He is the author of the books The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (2012), and The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication (2016).

Tiffany Chu

Tiffany Chu is a co-founder and Chief Design Officer at Remix, a mapping platform that helps 80+ cities around the world plan better public transit. Previously, Tiffany was a Fellow at Code for America, went through Y Combinator, launched the UX practice at Zipcar, worked as a designer at Continuum, and wrote for Dwell. She was a founding researcher at the Sidewalk Laboratory at MIT’s Department of Urban Planning, where she developed alternative forms of critical cartography and mapped 100+ street vendors, sidewalk life, and the use of public spaces. She has a background in architecture and urban planning from MIT.

Chris Courtney

Chris Courtney works daily with professional designers and students around the globe to solve problems for businesses and their users. While digital design is his focus, Chris has an extensive background in entrepreneurship and journalism.

Chris Coyier

Chris Coyier is a web designer and developer. He writes about all-things-web at CSS-Tricks.com, talks about all-things-web at conferences around the world and on his podcast ShopTalk, and co-founder at CodePen. He’s an amazing SNDMakes community member and supporter, attended two events (Austin and Chicago), and has described the SNDMakes events as “a hackathon for smart people.”
CodePen is a playground for web designers and front-end developers. The community shares their HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (or one of the many preprocessing languages that compile to those) and designers can see their results as-they-type. Designers can save their work and come back to it at anytime. The platform is great for showcasing digital creativity as well as for sharing.

Josh Crutchmer

Josh Crutchmer is assistant managing editor at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. He oversees the paper’s planning, design and art direction and coordinates enterprise projects across all platforms. His career spans 16 years and includes stops at The Buffalo News, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chicago Tribune and Omaha World-Herald.

Jennifer Daniel

Jennifer Daniel is a graphics editor at the New York Times. Her picture book, “Space!” is an exploration of science through information graphics and is pretty good. Buy it. If your kid likes it maybe you’ll like her new book, “The Origin of Almost Everything” coming out in the Fall of 2016. If you’re still reading this bio congratulations, you win a prize.

Che Douglas

Che Douglas is Head of Digital Design at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal overseeing a team of visual designers and information architects, focussing on the creation of new digital features and products. Previously Che was the Founder and Creative Director of a leading branding and digital design agency in Melbourne, Australia.

Kat Downs

Kat Downs is the Graphics Director at The Washington Post. She leads a team of designers, developers, reporters and illustrators that create visual stories. She has taught design and development at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Georgetown University. Before joining The Post in 2008, she worked at The Baltimore Sun. She grew up in Franklin, a small town in western North Carolina, and is the youngest in a family of seven girls. She studied visual communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her work has been honored by the Peabody Awards, the Society of Newspaper Design, the Online Journalism Awards and the Malofiej International Infographics Awards.

Ben Fry

Keynote speaker: Ben Fry is principal of Fathom, a design and software consultancy located in Boston. With Casey Reas of UCLA, he currently develops Processing, an open source programming environment for teaching computational design and sketching interactive media software that won a Golden Nica from the Prix Ars Electronica in 2005. The project also received the 2005 Interactive Design prize from the Tokyo Type Director’s Club. Fry’s personal work has shown at the Whitney Biennial in 2002 and the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial in 2003. Other pieces have appeared in the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2001, 2008), at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria (2000, 2002, 2005) and in the films Minority Report and The Hulk. His information graphics have also illustrated articles for the journal Nature, New York Magazine, and The New York Times.

Hilary Fung

Hilary Fung is a visual editor on the Huffington Post data team, which produces news graphics, data-driven investigations and other visual stories. Her design and graphics work has also appeared in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.

Martin Gee

Martin Gee is a Senior Art Director at TIME, freelance illustrator and cat whisperer. His path of destruction includes several newspapers and magazines, a website, and a concert venue / restaurant chain. He has won awards from a few acronyms, an Emmy and a fondue set from presentation karaoke / improv. He enjoys everything Star Wars, building Lego robots and living the dream.

Len De Groot

Len De Groot leads data visualization efforts at the Los Angeles Times with an emphasis on explanatory storytelling. At The Times he transformed a traditional, print-only department into a digital-first group that reported and developed award-winning interactive and print graphics. He also leads the Editorial division’s exploratory efforts in virtual reality journalism.

Tran Ha

As managing director for the Stanford d.school’s media experiments program, Tran Ha draws on her eclectic background in journalism, storytelling, audience-centered design and business.

Tory Hargro

Tory Hargro is a Product design manager at Facebook. Since the fall of 2015 he’s lead design teams responsible for public content and live video. Previously, he was USA TODAY’s editorial design manager where he lead a team charged with creating digital news applications for over 100 affiliate properties. He is a native Mississippian and received his Bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University. He’s also completed fellowships at American University and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Robert Huschka

Robert Huschka is executive editor of the Detroit Free Press and the leader of a newsroom that has grown over the years into a digital-first operation, expanding its reach across the state. He is a native of North Dakota and a graduate of University of North Dakota. He started his media career in 1994 as a copy editor and page designer at the Minot (N.D.) Daily News. Before coming to the Free Press in 1999, he served in design, online and copy editing positions with the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald and with the Kansas City Star.

David Leonard

David Leonard is a UX engineer and front-end developer at Code for America — which is a fancy way of saying he wears a lot of hats and drinks a lot of coffee. He’s lucky enough to contribute to ridiculously interesting problems like making sure everyone who should get help paying for food does, and making tools for police departments to open up their data.
David previously worked as a 2014 Code for America Fellow in San Antonio, TX, where he helped the city make it easier for residents to get building permits for crucial home repairs. In a past life, he was a print and mobile news designer at Gannett and a freelance investigative journalist.

Sanny Lin

Sanny Lin is a product designer at Bloc, working on big problems in mentor-led education and online learning. Bloc offers the modern Computer Science degree: mentor-led, online programs in Software Engineering and Design. She is also a cat enthusiast.

Ramla Mahmood

Ramla Mahmood is a senior product designer at Vox Media. She is one of the SNDMakes Co-Directors and an SND board member. She cares deeply about diversity, community and harassment-free online experience.
SNDMakes is a series of rapid-prototyping events that use the principles of design-thinking to create solutions for modern news and media companies. SNDMakes is about community, not competition. and we want to be known as the friendliest and most considerate event. Find us out in the wild and follow along: #SNDMakes on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

Michael Martin

Michael Martin is a Managing Partner at Code and Theory, one of the largest remaining independent digital creative agencies in the U.S. For the past 6 years, he’s been closely involved in some of the most innovative digital projects in publishing, with clients including The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, Hearst Magazines, Nautil.us, NBC, Mashable, The Verge, Vanity Fair France, and many others.
Based in San Francisco, Michael works with a team of Digital Strategists, UX Designers, Visual Designers, and Creative Technologists to create effective and immersive digital products and brand experiences. Prior to joining Code and Theory, Michael worked in the private equity group of 
Apollo Management. He graduated with High Honors from Dartmouth College with a degree in Comparative Literature.

Chris Mihal

Chris Mihal is the Creative Director of Variety, overseeing art, photography and design across all brands in Los Angeles. After studying journalism graphics at Ball State University, he worked at newspapers in Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta and the Northeast, working on numerous redesigns, rebrands in editorial, marketing and advertising. Despite moving all over the place, he has yet to pick up a Southern, New Jersey or California accent. Chris has been recognized by Society of Publication Designers, Society for News Design, American Photography, American Illustration and Communication Arts.

Rebekah Monson

Rebekah Monson is co­founder and VP of Product of WhereBy.Us, a local media startup that connects people to their cities through storytelling and experiences. Its first publication, The New Tropic, produces an email newsletter, original journalism and events in Miami that reached more than half a million curious locals in 2015. WhereBy.Us achieved profitability in its first year of operation and will scale to new markets in 2016.

Steve Motzenbecker

Steve Motzenbecker is a design manager at Facebook in New York City where he focuses on Facebook’s news and publishing products like Instant Articles. Before joining Facebook in 2015, he was the digital design director for New York Media which publishes web sites such NYMag.com, Vulture, and The Cut.

Miranda Mulligan

Miranda Mulligan is a news design veteran and digital specialist. She is one of the SNDMakes Co-Directors and an SND board member. She is passionate about digital communities and, currently, she is consulting with media and civic tech as well as designing media innovation events.
SNDMakes is a series of rapid-prototyping events that use the principles of design-thinking to create solutions for modern news and media companies. SNDMakes is about community, not competition. and we want to be known as the friendliest and most considerate event. Find us out in the wild and follow along: #SNDMakes on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

Kate O’Rourke

Kate O’Rourke is an Associate Senior Designer at Huntsman Architectural Group located in San Francisco, CA. She has over ten years of experience in the Architectural and interior design profession. Kate’s expertise includes high-technology, corporate office, public sector, hospitality and residential projects. Her recent work includes the planning and design of corporate offices for Medium, Google and Lithium. Her work for Medium was featured in Metropolis Magazine, “A Workspace for Wordsmiths” in November 2014.

Silvan Reinhold

Silvan Reinhold oversees Engineering process and all technical aspects on client engagements as Senior Technical Director at Code and Theory San Francisco. He has worked with a variety of clients, including A&E Television Networks, Aol, Daimler AG, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, HP, Intel, Levi Strauss & Co., Siemens, Time Warner, and The Tribune Company.

Alex Remington

Alex Remington, product manager at The Washington Post, led the Post’s 2014-2015 Institutional Fellowship at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. He has managed numerous digital projects at The Post, including story tools, partnerships, and the paywall. He previously worked on Riptide, an oral history of news organizations going digital, and he is also a SABR-nominated baseball writer for The Hardball Times.

Sarah Sampsel

Sarah Sampsel recently left the journalism world to become the Design Director at Work & Co, a digital product design studio, in New York City. She’s a hands-on designer that helps to shape concepts and direction for a variety of products for clients.
Prior to this role she was the Director of Digital Strategy and Design at the Washington Post, where she founded the New York-based product development office, WPNYC. She also taught web design at the Graduate School of Journalism at Georgetown University.

Rodrigo Sanchez

Keynote speaker: Rodrigo Sánchez is Art and Creative Director of the El Mundo daily newspaper and the Magazines Division of Unidad Editorial (Madrid, Spain). A journalist and a newspaper graphic designer, Rodrigo has always thought that journalism is the essential foundation upon which mass media can transmit reality, and that art and design are an accessory capable of creating an attractive and unique reality. His work is the masterful convergence of both journalism and art.

Darren Sanefski

Darren Sanefski is an Assistant Professor at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. He also teaches summers at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He serves on the board of The Society of News Design as education director. He is also the Art Director for New York Horse magazine and Presentation Editor for Via Corsa magazine. He has won numerous national and international awards for his graphics, illustrations and designs. Sanefski worked for many years at The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, NY. Most recently, he was the paper’s sports design editor.

Mariana Santos

Mariana Santos is the founder of Chicas Poderosas, a digital training community to bring more women journalists to technology in media. She is the director of interactive and animation at Fusion and a recent graduate from JSK Knight fellow at Stanford 2015 and Knight International Journalism Fellow 2013-14 where she worked all across Latin America in major newsrooms and with independent journalists. She is a visual storyteller, who did groundbreaking work as a member of the interactive team at The Guardian in London. A trained animator, she pioneered the newsroom’s use of motion graphics to make data stories more compelling. She leads design thinking workshops to increase multidisciplinary approach to storytelling, and she is a leader in community transformation via digital training.

Alissa Scheller

Alissa Scheller works on the Huffington Post’s data team, focusing on researching and creating data visualizations and information graphics. Before HuffPost, she worked as a graphic designer at the Center for American Progress, and with the Investigative Reporting Workshop. She studied journalism, design, and art history at American University in Washington, DC.

David Sleight

David Sleight became ProPublica’s first design director in May of 2014. Previously, he worked with numerous startups through his Brooklyn-based design consultancy, Stuntbox, specializing in user experience and responsive web design. Before that, he led the interactive design team at BusinessWeek.com, and helped build some of the first web-based textbooks at Pearson Education. He’s been a regular columnist for A List Apart magazine and a member of Readability’s board of advisors.

Dave Stanton

Dave Stanton runs development teams building mobile projects with Mobiquity. Currently he is the manager of the Gainesville delivery center and the senior manager of tools, process and IP. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Florida using stochastic models to understand user-interface behavior and cognition. He frequently presents at international conferences on the topics of usability, design thinking and mobile accessibility. He talks about workflow, design, HCI and cats on Twitter.

Brian Steffens

Brian Steffens is director of communications for the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. For more than four decades, he’s led change and innovation in photojournalism, color, typography, design, packaging and editing, information graphics, new media/digital initiatives, new product development and new business models. A faculty member of SND’s first Flying Short Course and a judge of SND’s Best of Newspaper Design, Steffens had tours of duty at the Detroit News, Miami Herald, St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Orange County Register, San Diego Union and Los Angeles Times. Prior to joining RJI, he was executive director of the 2,000+ newspaper National Newspaper Association.

Dai Sugano

Dai Sugano is an Emmy Award-winning photojournalist, documentary filmmaker and senior multimedia editor at the San Jose Mercury News. He covers a wide range of daily assignments and projects which have included: “Drugging Our Kids,” an investigative project on the use of psychotropic drugs on California’s foster children; a rising economic inequality in China; “Cost of Dying,” a series on end-of-life care issues in the U.S.; poverty in India; and “Torn Apart,” a 30-minute documentary on a Bay Area family divided by immigration rules.

Mike Swartz

Mike Swartz is a Partner at Upstatement, a design and engineering studio in Boston, MA. Upstatement has worked on major redesigns and new product launches for clients like The Boston Globe, Global News, The Star Tribune and ESPN. Before founding Upstatement, Mike worked as an editorial designer at The Boston Globe, Complex Magazine and the San Jose Mercury News.

Francisco Tavares

Francisco Tavares is Design Director at Code and Theory’s San Francisco office. After graduating with honors from the University of Arizona where he studied Communication Design and was president of the university hip-hop club, he has been in digital agencies including EVB, R/GA and Code and Theory since 2005 and has taught at Miami Ad School. He has done work spanning several verticals for clients like Microsoft, Office Max, Adidas, Target, Taco Bell, Nike, Intel, Bleacher Report and Communication Arts. He’s also an award-winning home brewer, avid surfer and runner.

Millie Tran

Millie Tran is the director of global adaptation at BuzzFeed, which means her job is to make the best of BuzzFeed available to anyone, in whatever format, language, platform. Before that, she was on the mobile news team, where she started the BuzzFeed News newsletter and was one of the launch team editors for the news app.
Previously, she was the editorial coordinator at the American Press Institute, where she helped restart the non-profit and created its ‘Need to Know’ daily morning newsletter. She also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she wrote, edited, and produced a weekly podcast. Prior to that, she helped launched launched National Journal’s Membership program as a marketing and design associate.

Lucio Villa

Lucio Villa utilizes his web development and visuals skills to build interactive stories. He is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists where he empowers journalists to code. Prior to joining the Chronicle, Lucio spent several years in Chicago working as a News Application Developer for Hoy and a photojournalist for the Chicago Reporter.

Kawandeep Virdee

Keynote speaker: Kawandeep Virdee works on Product + Strategy at Embedly, leading him into the world of technology and journalism.  He manages the design and direction for Embedly’s offerings, building partnerships with companies across tech and media.
He founded Hacking Journalism, a series of events bringing together journalists and developers to prototype ideas for the future of news. He is a trustee of the Boston chapter of the Awesome Foundation. He makes interactive art, and helps organize Boston Tech Poetics, exploring new ways of expression through technology.
Previously, he researched at the New England Complex Systems Institute, using data mining and sentiment extraction to explore media sharing in social networks.

Sascha Wagner

Sascha Wagner is the President and CEO of Huntsman Architectural Group located in San Francisco, CA. With more than 18 years of experience in the design profession, he has been involved with the design process for over 3 million square feet of space. He is experienced with high-technology, media production, and corporate facilities which require specialized programs such as video and audio recording, editing, and broadcasting. Recently, Sascha has completed work for Medium, Lucasfilm, Google, Pixar and Lithium. His work for Medium was featured in Metropolis Magazine, “A Workspace for Wordsmiths” in November 2014.

Bryan Walker

Keynote speaker: Bryan Yuji Walker is a Partner and Managing Director at the IDEO San Francisco office. He leads the Design for Change studio, helping leaders transform their organization culture and business in pursuit of innovation, adaptability and impact. To this end, he has worked with companies in consumer electronics, fashion, financial services, food and beverage, health care, hospitality, and retail industries.
Bryan, an IDEO veteran, is curious about the future of work and how design can affect and support massive change within complex human systems. What can corporate leaders learn from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists? How is technology, a new generation of employees, and a shifting marketplace redefining the workplace experience? How can we bring the “human” back to human resources? How can leaders drive change by movement as opposed to mandates? These are a few of the questions Bryan is currently exploring.

Sisi Wei

Sisi Wei is an investigative journalist, designer and developer at ProPublica, where she builds interactive stories that serve the public interest. Her work, which has ranged from investigating student debt in the United States to monitoring how often China blocks international news outlets, has won numerous digital design and infographics awards. She is also the co-founder and co-president of Code with me, a high-impact, nonprofit workshop focused on teaching journalists how to code. Prior to joining ProPublica, Sisi created data-driven interactive graphics as a Graphics Editor at the Washington Post, where her work on campaign finance won the 2013 Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism.

Katie Zhu

Katie Zhu is a product manager and engineer at Medium. Previously, she’s worked on the interactive news team at The New York Times, the news applications team at NPR, and the product team at GOOD. She cares about media and technology’s ability to strengthen connections among individuals and better the world around us. Katie lives in San Francisco and spends her evenings trying to channel her inner Beyoncé.