Meet the Best of Digital Design judges

The annual SND Best of Digital Design competition brought 14 professionals to Washington, D.C., to judge the best work of 2019. The judges are broken into four groups — news, features, graphics and World’s Best. There also are two conflict judges.

Follow along all weekend for more updates on Twitter by searching #SNDdigital and at


Sohail al-Jamea, McClatchy

Sohail is an award-winning motion graphics artist and documentary filmmaker at The McClatchy Company. He has previously held design positions at NBC News, ABC News, CNN and The Washington Post. His recent documentary short, “Hollywood’s Greatest Trick,” examines the unsettling plight of visual effects artists has been screened at six film festivals in North America. When not at the mercy of his Wacom pen and tablet, Sohail enjoys spending time with his two children and pretending to be a rock star in Sacramento bands Ember Valley and Poly Holiday.

Tiffany Middleton, ESPN

Tiffany Middleton is a designer on the Content Creative team at ESPN. She was born and raised in Childersburg, Alabama, where she discovered her love for sports and design. In the past, Tiffany has worked for Auburn Athletics and Panini America. During her free time, she runs a Twitter account, Trenches, where she shares sports design inspiration and highlights different creatives.

Umi Syam, The New York Times

Umi Syam is an Indonesian-born interaction designer and visual storyteller. She’s currently a graphics/multimedia editor at The New York Times, where she helps produce a wide range of interactive articles. Projects she was involved with have earned several awards and honors from SND, Malofiej and SPD. Previously, she was an adjunct faculty at Parsons School of Design, and prior moving to NYC, she spent five years working for Microsoft.


Jan Diehm, The Pudding

Jan Diehm is a journalist engineer with The Pudding, where she uses data to craft visual stories. Before joining The Pudding, she had stops at CNN, The Guardian US, ABC News, HuffPost, the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant. She appreciates the finer things in life: LEGO sets, southern delicacies like pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes and good bourbon, and vintage Britney Spears. She lives in San Antonio with her wife and two cats.

Simon Scarr, Reuters

Simon Scarr is Deputy Head of Graphics for Thomson Reuters, the world’s largest multimedia news provider. Simon is responsible for directing information graphic and data visualization products, managing award-winning graphic desks in Singapore and London and working on a range of graphics from breaking news to investigative reports. He has held previous roles with Reuters, as well as newspapers in the UK, and more recently, Hong Kong as Graphics Director of the South China Morning Post.

Kennedy Elliott, National Geographic

Kennedy Elliott is a developer and journalist who reports, designs and creates graphics and data visualizations for the news. She covers a range of topics relating to science, climate and culture. She is the director of interactive storytelling at National Geographic and has previously worked at The Washington Post, the Guardian US and the Associated Press.


Jeremy C.F. Lin, Bloomberg

Jeremy C.F. Lin is a graphics data journalist at Bloomberg News where he focuses on visual storytelling, charts and maps. Previously, he worked at POLITICO, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Texas Tribune. He received his master’s degree from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. And no, he has never played in the NBA. 

Libby Bawcombe, NPR

Through user-centered design methods, Libby creates digital designs, conducts user research and facilitates design thinking. Currently, Libby works at NPR as the Manager of Design Research & Strategy in Digital Media, where she believes design is a public service. Past lives include Digital Design Director at The Atlantic and Manager of Multimedia at the Newseum. Libby enjoys writing about design, judging design competitions and volunteering for her local library.

Martin Frobisher, Tampa Bay Times

Martin Frobisher has been an online designer since 2001. He was the designer of and several other Pulitzer-winning projects. He started his design career at the Beach Peoples’ Easy Reader in Hermosa Beach, California, in 1975. A couple of newspaper jobs later, he found himself working at the St. Petersburg Times, now at the Tampa Bay Times, in Florida. He has experience in the newsroom, pre-press, marketing and IT.

World’s Best

Shazna Nessa, The Wall Street Journal 

Shazna Nessa is the Global Head of Visuals at The Wall Street Journal. Shazna started her career in technology and interaction design. Prior journalism roles include: Director of journalism at Knight Foundation; Deputy Managing Editor, visuals and product at the Associated Press; and Executive Producer overseeing the design, video and graphics teams at Conde Nast Shazna was born in London and graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris. She was a 2009 Sulzberger fellow at Columbia University, and a 2014 John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University.

Darren Long, South China Morning Post

Darrren Long has led the SCMP graphics team’s transition from print to digital since 2014. Along with the magazine team, which he also manages, they have won many international awards. Before rejoining the Post, he specialized in launching and rejuvenating the design of over 20 newsstand, custom and trade titles in Britain and Asia. His own design and illustrations have won awards on three continents.

Scott Klein, ProPublica 

Scott Klein is a deputy managing editor at ProPublica. He oversees ProPublica’s visual and data journalism. He also manages ProPublica’s Electionland project, which is a large-scale, cross-newsroom collaboration that covers voting and election integrity. Scott also is a co-founder of DocumentCloud.


Monica Ulmanu, The Washington Post

Monica Ulmanu is a graphics editor for the Washington Post, where she helps lead the team cover the news and produce highly collaborative and innovative storytelling. She previously worked for the Guardian UK, Reuters and the Boston Globe. Her work has been recognized with a Murrow Award, and top honors from Malofiej, the Society for News Design, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Renate Rognan, NRK

Renate is a visual journalist and motion graphic designer at the Norwegian Public Broadcaster, NRK. She has worked in a variety of productions for both TV and online during her 13 years at Norway’s largest news and sports broadcast. Lately, she has worked mainly on information graphic, visual storytelling and art direction for web stories and social media.

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