Election season is upon us. We’ve asked the candidates for the 2016 SND office of secretary-treasurer to share their personal SND stories. The candidates are:
• Tyson Evans, editor for newsroom strategy, The New York Times
• Jennifer George-Palilonis, professor, Ball State University
Bios for all the candidates, and more election info, can be found here.
SND has been my like my second family for a decade. Early in my career, the Society inspired me to become a better designer and recalibrate my career ambitions. It has introduced me to some of my closest friends and most respected colleagues. The organization plays an essential role, linking our profession’s past to its future and creating bonds between students, professionals and educators that transcend disciplines and geography.
Not many journalism organizations have remained relevant for more than 35 years. Now it’s time to pave a path ahead for the next few decades. Strengthening SND is a surefire way to bolster and elevate design’s role in this incredible and transformational moment in media.
* We need to grow and strengthen our competitions, both print and digital. They’re singular and essential initiatives that capture the best of the best and kindles innovation around the globe. The digital competition, in particular, has such potential to include new types of publishers and platforms into the field.
* We need to find ways to better partner and extend our reach with universities and other organizations such as ONA, Hacks/Hackers, IRE, Mozilla, AIGA.
* We need to acknowledge and embrace the increasing amount of news design that is occurring outside the walls of traditional and new publishers. The Society can and should be a resource to designers at Buzzfeed, Vice and Quartz just as much as it can be a conduit to designers working at Facebook, Twitter or Google. SND needs to incubate and elevate the next wave of storytelling.
* We need to keep evolving and growing our events, particularly with partners like universities and foundations. The year’s workshop in D.C. this year was incredibly forward-looking and next year in San Francisco will be just as inspiring. This is the moment to rekindle our approach to regional meet-ups, international workshops and imagine how to infuse the spirit of the incredibly smart SND Makes series into a broader lineup of training, leadership and creative events.
Ultimately, we need to find ways to scale SND’s reach and utility to accommodate the dizzying pace of change and innovation reshaping our industry. It’s our only path toward fiscal stability and, more importantly, to remaining relevant to our membership.
Like many of our core membership, I started my career as a journalist in news. I was a would-be writer turned news designer and graphics reporter, and my professional growth has been profoundly influenced by some of SND’s greatest leaders. Now, I carry with me into the classroom all of the great lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) from those mentors. I like to think that because of that, it’s not just me teaching tomorrow’s visual journalists, but it’s all of you as well. Your love for our craft fuels me as an educator, and your great work serves as the foundation for every class I teach.
I believe strongly that in spite of the uncertainty and instability that sometimes threatens today’s newsrooms, never before has it been more exciting to be a visual journalist. The rise of data visualization and interaction design, for example, has not only made our existing skills more valuable, it has also challenged us to be better journalists. Around the world, visual journalists have met that challenge by learning to code, getting advanced degrees in statistics and GIS technologies, and finding innovative ways to make a difference in the world by applying what we know to other disciplines.
In this spirit, my vision for the future of SND includes two central ideas:
Evolve and increase membership
The Society is rooted in a tradition of newspaper design and graphics reporting, and a love for news still burns deep in my soul. However, as a visual journalism educator, I have to share with you that more and more of my students are getting jobs outside of traditional news organizations. I see this as a good thing. In fact, I believe this is proof of the value and demand for visual storytelling skills across a wide range of professions.
As a result, I believe that our leadership must work hard to promote a more inclusive environment for a wider variety of communication designers and developers. We can protect our commitment to news while still making the Society more inviting and valuable to others. Existing members will benefit from the diversity this brings. And new members will benefit from a long history and expertise in promoting design as content.
Facilitate collaborative opportunities among members, publications and universities
As the new co-director of Ball State’s Center for Emerging Media Design & Development (EMDD), I have spent the past three years helping develop a program that pairs a traditional graduate curriculum with a hands-on lab experience in which students work with public and private partners to solve real problems through design thinking. We will focus on strategic communication design, transmedia storytelling, and human-computer interaction. More and more, journalism programs like ours, professional publications and individual SND members are looking for ways to collaborate and innovate. SND is poised both to facilitate and benefit from partnerships that involve short- and long-term project teams that seek to address real-world problems through innovation in communication design.