Meet your 33rd edition judges

The first day of judging for the 33rd edition of the Best of News Design™ is under way at the Drumlins Country Club on the campus of Syracuse University. Here’s a look at this year’s 21-member jury. Judges are divided into teams of expertise, with some working across disciplines as the weekend progresses. Meet your 33rd edition judges …

Small Paper / Photo Team

Steve Layton has taught design and graphics courses in the Journalism School at Indiana University (Bloomington for the past two years. Before teaching, he worked for almost 20 years in newspaper graphics departments, including 16 years at the Chicago Tribune, where he was graphics editor and later senior artist.

Adonis Durado is the design director of the Times of Oman and Al Shabiba (Arabic). His work has been recognized by SND, Communication Arts Design, Society of Illustrators, CA Typographics annuals and the TABPI’s Tabbie and FOLIO’s Eddie Awards.

Roxanne Sorooshian is assistant group production editor at the Herald & Times in Glasgow, Scotland. She has been a journalist for 20 years, 17 of them with the Herald group. She joined the Sunday Herald launch team in 1999 and, after 10 years as production editor, was tasked with helping reorganize production across all titles. Her main role is to manage design and production of magazines and features.

Staffan Lowstedt Is picture editor and visual editor for Svenska Dagbladet in Sweden. He has been honored by SND and other professional organizations for visual storytelling, picture editing and photography. He has worked as a photographer for 20 years, both for the newspaper and now as a developer for the iPad magazine SvDInsikt.

Mike Albano is creative director of Long Island Business News and heads the graphic training program for the paper’s corporate parent, The Dolan Company, which operates more than 60 niche publications nationwide. His work has been recognized with repeated SND awards and numerous national, state and local honors. Originally from the advertising world, Mike has worked in the newspaper design field since 2002.

News Team

Dave Elsesser is news and presentation editor at the Omaha World-Herald. He has won numerous writing, editing and SND awards as designer, copy editor, sports writer and sports editor. His 22-year career also includes time at The Wichita Eagle, the Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register and the LaSalle (Ill.) News-Tribune.

Michael Tribble is assistant managing editor of digital and online for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. Before that he was design director at The Plain Dealer and the San Jose Mercury News. A visual journalist for 20 years, he currently serves as SND Region 4 director and is site chair for the 2012 SND Workshop.

Steve Cavendish is the editor of The City Paper in Nashville. Before that, he has was a writer, editor, presentation director and graphics editor at the Chicago Tribune (not all at the same time – that would be insane) and held a number of leadership positions at papers across the U.S. (including the Washington Post, San Jose Mercury News and St. Petersburg Times — you know, before it was the Tampa Bay Times).

Susan Ferguson is design editor at The Montreal Gazette since ’98. She rotates on any given day between page one, section fronts, news pages and print and online graphics. She’s also the newsroom’s primary Super User for the Saxotech content management system, which she helped set up in 2010 and works hard to maintain. Before joining the Design Dept. she was a Macintosh Systems Technician in the newsroom and her primary duty in that job was to lay out Page One every night.

Danny Wong is director of SND Chinese (Hong Kong & Macau) and art and production director of Sing Tao News Corporation Ltd. where he is responsible for the art and production work of Sing Tao Daily, Headline Daily and The Standard. He integrated the Western and Chinese newspaper’s style, forming the distinctive layout design in HK.

Long Form Team

Richard Johnson has been in journalism for the better part of two decades as a graphics editor, news illustrator and foreign correspondent. He is presently graphics editor of the National Post in Toronto. His skills include an eye for detail, a love of raw data and a need to do work that actually makes readers care.

Chris Courtney is the mobile product manager for Tribune Media Group. He’s created more than 40 apps for the company since making the leap to digital in 2008 and scored awards for his work with the Los Angeles Times. Prior to working in mobile, he was design director of RedEye and served as the creative consultant for Hoy and Mash. He recently has been bridging the world of mobile and print design together with The Bulletin, a daily iPad magazine covering the Chicago Bulls.

Tracy Collins is director of Gannett’s Phoenix Design Studio. He was senior director of operations (including design, graphics and photo) at The Arizona Republic and He joined The Republic in 2000 after a 10-year stay in Pittsburgh. At the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he was graphics/design editor and later AME/News.

Tim Ball is an art director for sports and news projects at The Washington Post*. He has worked in journalism for 13 years, and has held management positions in newsrooms large and small (and briefly served as creative director for a magazine in Bangkok). Among those papers: the San Jose Mercury News, The Indianapolis Star and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. *(Ball announced this week that he’ll be leaving the Post at the end of the month to start his own design firm in Atlanta.)

Tiffany Grandstaff is the design director for the Bay Area News Group and oversees visuals in California newspapers including the San Jose Mercury News, the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times. She worked previously at the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer.

Features Team

Alejandro Tumas has been the graphics director of Clarín Newspaper since 2001. He was a senior graphics editor of National Geographic and now continues to work for the magazine from Argentina. His work has been recognized with more than 80 awards and distinctions from the SND and Malofiej.

Daniel Zakroczemski became a staff artist at The Buffalo News in 1998. He has won many awards including honors from SND, the NYS Associated Press Association, the Sunday Magazine Awards, Communication Arts and the Society of Illustrators.

Michael Hogue is an illustrator and graphics editor at The Dallas Morning News. When he’s not busy drawing or doing graphics, he likes to eat mounds of peanuts the size of his head. His work has received more than 70 international awards, including SND, the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts Illustration annual, Print, ADDY and Malofiej.

Sarah Morley is deputy art director for The Independent on Sunday, an award-winning British national newspaper renowned for its design. Working with the art director, editor and editorial team, she is responsible for creating clear, accessible, innovative news and feature pages on tight deadlines.

Mathew Kurian is a designer at The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Before that, he was the chief designer of the Weekend Magazine at Khaleej Times in Dubai, UAE. He has also worked in various newspapers and advertising agencies in India as artist / illustrator. He has won several SND awards, including silver medals.

Generalist judge

(Handles conflict cases across all teams)

Becky Pendergast is the assistant managing editor (Art) at The Chronicle of Higher Education. She has more than 23 years experience in print and digital design. She has held creative and management roles at corporate and nonprofit organizations. She has also designed, managed and executed numerous newspaper redesigns during her 15 years in the newspaper and magazine industry. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.

Second Phase Judging Teams

Many of the judging teams will be recombined tomorrow to focus on their areas of specialty. The competition used to have a fifth team of judges but now manages with just four teams by strategically shifting judges to cover categories as the weekend proceeds. Those second phase teams are:

  • Long Form Team: Tim Ball, Tiffany Grandstaff, Tracy Collins, Staffan Lowstedt, Chris Courtney
  • Features Team: Mathew Kurian, Sarah Morely, Dan Zakroczemski, Adonis Durado, Roxanne Sorooshian
  • Graphics Team: Richard Johnson, Michael Hogue, Alejandro Tumas, Mike Albano, Steve Layton

Stay tuned to

Return to all weekend long for live coverage from the 33rd edition judging site

NEXT WEEKEND: Come back Feb. 11-14 for live coverage from the World’s Best-Designed judging in Syracuse

PLUS: This year we’ll have live coverage from the SND Best of Digital Design competition, hosted by Ball State University in Muncie, IN at the end of February.

About Steve Dorsey

@Gannett VP innovation. Boards: @INMAorg, @SND. He was the 2011 president of the Society; 2015 Lifetime Award recipient. Dad to Fiona; partner to @paprgrl76. Relocated Detroiter. Tigers fan. Designer. Editor. SU grad.

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