Meet the judges of SND39

The annual SND Best of News Design competition brought 27 professionals to St. Petersburg to judge the best work of 2017. The judges are broken into five groups — News, Features, Long Form, Visuals, and World’s Best. There are also two conflict judges.


Judging front pages, news, sports, metro and business section, as well as breaking news and redesigns.

  • Syed Mohammad Arshad is the Design Editor at Gulf News, the most widely read English-language newspaper in the United Arab Emirates. Arshad joined Gulf News in 2003 as designer before being promoted to design editor in 2011, and his work has been recognized by SND with more than 30 awards — including a silver medal. He was the first Gulf News designer to be awarded gold and silver medals from the IFRA/World Newspaper Association.
  • Michael Babin was LeBron James before there was a LeBron James. The Cleveland native took his talents to South Beach as a sports designer and presentation editor for The Miami Herald (but cannot dunk). After seven years, a few SND awards and too many brushes with hurricanes in the Sunshine State, Babin hightailed it to Nashville and helped launch a Gannett Design Studio. Although Music City is his home, he couldn’t shake his Florida connection: Babin has been a design team leader with Gannett for the past seven years, overseeing editorial design for eight of its Florida properties. He’s still dodging those hurricanes and still can’t dunk (on the court).
  • David Schutz is Assistant Managing Editor and Creative Director of the South Florida Sun Sentinel and But Schutz will always be a Bostonian — before joining the Sun Sentinel in 2012, he was deputy design director for news and graphics at the Boston Globe.
  • Gigi Suhanic is the Design Editor for the Financial Post, visualizing business news and numbers for print and the web. Suhanic has been with the National Post since its inception in 1998, starting as a copy editor.
  • Tammy Yttri, an Omaha native, has worked at the Omaha World-Herald for the past 12 years and is currently the Copy Desk Chief. Yttri started her career in advertising and has worked in every section of the newspaper with a main focus on 1A design. Throughout Yttri’s career, she has won multiple SND and Great Plains Journalism awards.


Judging arts, entertainment, lifestyle, travel and food pages and sections, as well as opinion.

  • Jamey Fry has been Creative Director at the Washington Business Journal for six years. Before that he was Art Director at CQ Roll Call, Boeing and front-page designer at the Chicago Sun-Times. Fry led the redesign of the WBJ four years ago, and his work has been honored in SND’s annual Best of News Design competition each of the past four years.
  • Elizabeth Burr is the Design Director at the San Francisco Chronicle overseeing the daily presentation of news, weekly features and premium magazines. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Burr grew up reading the Chronicle and has been a part of their visual team for the past 20 years. Her work has been recognized by several design organizations and has won multiple awards from The Society for News Design.
  • Nuri Ducassi is a Cuban-born art director, designer and illustrator. Ducassi has worked as art director, designer and illustrator at El Nuevo Herald, The San Jose Mercury News, The Miami Herald, The Montreal Gazette and The Toronto Star. After three years as AME design at the Star, Ducassi continues to work as its creative director for print from her Florida home. She has taught at The Poynter Institute, and in Europe, Latin America and Asia. She has been recognized by SND as a designer and illustrator on multiple occasions and has twice received the highest honor in Canadian journalism, the NNAs.
  • Carrie Gee is an award-winning art director, designer and typographer based in New York City. Gee is a Senior Art Director at TIME. Formerly, she was a Design Director at Adweek and an Art Director for Font Bureau and its affiliates. Gee is a creative champion who loves great stories, smart design and beautiful type. She’s also a bonafide cat lady and doughnut connoisseur.
  • Rodrigo Sánchez is the Art and Creative Director of the El Mundo daily newspaper and the magazines division of Unidad Editorial. A journalist and a newspaper graphic designer, Sánchez is, above all, the former. With a journalism degree from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Rodrigo warn born, lives, dreams and works in Madrid. Sánchez’s Metrópoli covers were named one of the 25 Influential Moments in News Design, and he has been awarded best in show of SND’s creative competition twice and was a 2014 recipient of the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. His work has also been recognized by the Society of Publication Designers and the Type Directors Club.

Long Form

Judging multi-day projects, special sections and Category 20: Combination print/digital presentation.

  • Fred Bierman, a lifelong New Yorker who started at The New York Times as a clerk in 1999, has spent the past five years working on enterprise and special news sections. Bierman is the father of two, a Brooklyn resident and a long-suffering Knicks fan.
  • Arne Depuydt joined De Morgen as a freelance designer after graduating from the Design School in Ghent in 2007. Depuydt combined his freelance position at first with a job as a boatbuilder and other freelance work, but he later after started working more frequently at the newspaper and became a full-time designer. In 2010 he was appointed Assistant Art Director and in 2013 as the General Art Director. A year later, he started redesigning De Morgen with design consultant Jacek Utko. De Morgen has been cited as “World’s Best Designed Newspaper” and was “European Newspaper of the Year.”
  • Kristin Lenz is an art director and designer who specializes in creative direction, storytelling and data visualization. With more than 15 years of experience at major media companies such as The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, Lenz’s visual editing conveys complex information with simple, elegant and meaningful solutions. She is currently Art Director at Inc. Magazine in New York and her work has has been honored by The Society of Publication Designers, Best American Infographics, the American Society of Magazine Editors, the Society of Illustrators, The Society of News Design and Print’s Regional Design Annual. She likes chocolate chip cookies and running, one more than the other.
  • Jan Kny started his career 1998 as an Art Director in Mario Garcia’s European Office. Kny worked with the legendary designer for more than 10 years in more than 15 countries — redesigning and consulting with a wide variety of publications. Since 2012, Kny has been the Deputy Art Director of the print edition of Die Zeit. He helps manage the team and does a heavy amount of creative work for the heavily awarded German weekly, which has been named World’s Best Designed nine times. Kny has also helped redesign the daily Hamburger Abendblatt, developed some iPad apps and likes colorful socks.
  • Frank Mina is Design Director at The Seattle Times, leading a team of designers, artists and developers responsible for the presentation of the newsroom’s most impactful stories across platforms. After a long career and multiple design positions at the San Francisco Chronicle Including Deputy Managing Editor for Presentation, Mina left San Francisco for Seattle in 2015. Since joining The Times, Mina’s work has been recognized by SND and other organizations for excellence in print and digital design.


Judging individual photography, graphics, illustration and magazines.

  • Chloe Cushman is an illustrator, writer and artist based in Toronto. Previously an Illustrator and Visual Journalist for Canada’s National Post newspaper, Cushman’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and in books for Penguin Random House and House of Anansi Press.
  • Kat Downs Mulder is a Director of Product at The Washington Post. Mulder leads a team of product managers and designers who work on The Washington Post’s website, native apps, video, email, newsroom tools and subscription products. Previously, she led The Post’s Graphics team. Mulder 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. Her work has been honored by the Peabody Awards, the Society of Newspaper Design, the Online Journalism Awards and the Malofiej International Infographics Awards.
  • Paul Gonzales is a Deputy Design Director for features at the Los Angeles Times newspaper. As such, Gonzales leads a team of designers in producing the newspaper¹s lively and creative Sunday Calendar, Arts & Books and Travel sections. In his 20-plus-year career at the Times, his design work, art direction and photo illustration have been recognized by SND, Communication Arts, Print and the Society of Publication Designers.
  • Deb Pastner is Director of Photo and Multimedia at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. During her tenure, the photo and video team’s work has been recognized by POYi, Best of Photojournalism, SND, the Edward R. Murrow Awards, ONA and the Midwest Emmys. Pastner has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror and POYi judge, and she is currently a member of the Associated Press Photo Managers Board.
  • Anne Farrar is the Director of Photography for National Geographic Travel. Farrar has been a photo editor with news organizations for more than 20 years, including The Washington Post, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Dallas Morning News. When she’s not in the office you’ll find her exploring mountains and looking for her next cup of coffee.


Judge in all categories in the event of a judging conflict.

  • David Kordalski, Creative Director for Crain’s Cleveland Business and Crain’s Detroit Business, has been a visual journalist for more than 30(!) years. Prior to Crain’s, Kordalski was the AME/Visuals of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. He’s an avid woodworker and bonsai enthusiast. Kordalski served as SND president in 2014. Find him on twitter @kord or on Instagram @kord440.
  • Mike Rice is the Features Design Director at the Star Tribune. Rice was a graphic design major who happened to be in the right place at the right time and stumbled into a career as a visual journalist. He has been a graphic artist, illustrator, page designer and a manager at award-winning newsrooms in Indiana, Arizona and, now, Minnesota.

World’s Best Designed Newspaper

  • Tim Ball is creative director for Politico Europe, based in Brussels. Prior to joining Politico in 2015, Ball led the photography and design staffs as visuals editor for the Bay Area News Group in California, crisscrossed the United States as a consultant for Digital First Media and worked as an art director at The Washington Post. Over the course of a 20-year journalism career, Ball has held editing, reporting, design and management positions in 14 newsrooms spanning 10 states and three countries.
  • Ana Gueller is Art Director of La Nación in Argentina. Gueller is in charge of the design, graphic, visualization, photography and illustration departments. She was responsible for the format change of the newspaper’s printed version which, in the past two years, has gained recognition as the Best in Journalistic Design in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world by ÑH Awards, the Spanish Chapter of SND. La Nación was named a finalist for World’s Best Designed in the 37th and 38th editions of SND in 2016 and 2017. Gueller’s work is primarily focused on the digital transformation of the visual area. La Nación’s visualization team was awarded with Best of Show by Malofiej for its print edition, and by LATAM Digital Media 2017, SND and ÑH2017 for digital productions.
  • John Koning started working as a graphic designer in 1998 after studying history and cultural studies. Koning worked together with several cultural organizations, made posters and books, and made some magazines before starting as Art Director for Het Parool in 2009. After a redesign in 2016, this Dutch newspaper won the European Newspaper Award in 2017 and the World’s Best Designed Newspaper in the same year.
  • Greg Manifold is the Design Director for The Washington Post, leading a team responsible for the presentation of the newsroom’s most ambitious stories across the newspaper, online and on social platforms. The Post has been an SND World’s Best-Designed finalist in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • Deborah Withey attended her first workshop a few months after graduating with a visual communications degree from Syracuse University. Withey remembers how amazed she was that an art director from The New York Times (Ron Couture) could think her portfolio was any good. After that special SND moment, she became an award-winning illustrator and design director who had a dedication to teaching. Withey worked in some of the most creative newsrooms in the world in Dallas, Detroit and Norfolk, to name a few. Withey is a past president of SND and runs a studio in Wales called Cheese + Pickles; she is also a graduate student in Emerging Media Design and Development at Ball State University.

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