We mourn the passing of the SND Scandinavia president and SND board member, a former editor-in-chief, renowned journalist, traveler and compassionate leader
We were saddened to learn that career journalist, former editor-in-chief of Nordjyske and Århus Stiftstidende, Society for News Design international board member, president of SND Scandinavia since 2013, and chairman of the Best of Scandinavian News Design competition since 2002, Flemming Hvidtfeldt, 66, died near Aarhus, Denmark, on Dec. 17.
He and his wife, Tar, had settled in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he continued work as a journalist for Danish media outlets. Over the past 10 years, he also spent time with his sister and brother-in-law in Åbyhøj (Aarhus, Denmark).
In February 2020, he returned to Denmark to attend a conference, but could not travel back to Thailand due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. After becoming ill over the summer, his wife came to Denmark and cared for him before moving him to the hospital in Skejby, Aarhus and eventually to hospice care at Hospice Søholm.
He leaves behind his wife and two grown children, Mikkel and Trine.
A designer from early on
Until the 1970s, the pages of Danish newspapers looked very different than today. Back then, it was often only the front page and a few other pages that were designed with a proper layout and design.
That changed in the 1980s. Hvidtfeldt belonged to the generation of young journalists at the time who focused on newspaper design, and that came to shape a large part of his career.
From 1977 he was employed as a journalist at Vendsyssel Tidende and in 1982 he started working at Jydske Tidende as a journalist and later as a front page and feature editor.
Editor-in-chief — at three organizations
In 1991-98, he was employed by Jydske Vestkysten as editor-in-chief with responsibility for the newspaper’s design. He would go on to become editor-in-chief of Nordjyske Medier (1998), Dagbladet Ringkøbing-Skjern (2005) and Århus Stiftstidende (2008).
From 2012 to 2014, he wrote for Midtjyske Medier at the media house’s Public Content Bureau. In 2014, he established Chutikan, his own media company, Chutikan, which supplied material to several dailies, including JydskeVestkysten.
For many years Hvidtfeldt was a member of the committee of judges for Newspaper Page of the Year in Denmark. In 1997 he became a member of the Society for News Design Scandinavia, SNDS, and the same year became a member of the association’s program committee. In 2002 he became chairman of the design competition Best of Scandinavian News Design and in 2013 president of SNDS.
Hvidtfeldt had a passion for news design and shared it with his colleagues and media peers by organizing and leading trips to design conferences in the United States. Diplomas with his signature for “Best Design” can be found in newsrooms throughout Scandinavia.
He served on SND’s international board as the director of SND’s region comprised of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
Hvidtfeldt was known to always be a friendly and sociable person with a great focus on quality.
“I got to know him through SNDS 20 years ago. He was a good listener and when he spoke he always had wise views, comments and reflections. He was a person of experience and knowledge that he would gladly share. And although it has been many years since we last met, we have kept in touch via Facebook. He cared for his fellow human beings. May he rest in peace! See you next life.” — Anna Östlund, Kommunikationsansvarig at SSAB
“It was really sad to hear about Flemming’s passing… I’m really sorry, Mikkel and Trine [ his children]. Flemming was a good friend and colleague during all our years within SNDS. Always honest and we shared the same kind of humor. Miss him.” — Anders Tapola, Design Editor at Smålandsposten and former SND and SNDS leader
“His objective always was to showcase, promote, and pave the way for innovative and extraordinary news design, involving all partners possible in the struggle for SND and SNDS ideas and values.” — Lars Pryds, Art Director, former editor of SNDS Magazine, Sakskøbing, Denmark
“Flemming has been the face of SNDS for many years, he shaped the presence of our Society in Europe. He will be missed throughout the continent, not just in Scandinavia.” — Hans-Peter Janisch, international visual journalist and news consultant, long-time SND leader
“What sad news. Over the years I’ve met Flemming countless times. Back in 1999 we were together in hosting the Society for News Design global workshop in Copenhagen. Here Flemming was an amazing sparring partner. His efforts in SNDS were great. Flemming was a fine person and a good friend.” — Carsten Gregerson, former journalist at Berlingske Tidende, SNDS past president, SND board member and site chair
“Fleming was a good friend, honest and caring. I got to know him during my years on the board of SND/S where Fleming was active for many years.”
— Svenåke Boström, SNDS past president, SND past president
“Such an amazing person. I had the honor of being able to serve on the SND board with Flemming for 6 years. What he did for the visual journalism industry, through SND and by leading SND Scandinavia, will remain for years to come. My prayers to his family and friends.” — Paige K. Connor, SND, immediate past president
Contributors: SND Scandinavia newsletter; Frank Stjerne, SND-S treasurer, Denmark; Mads Sandemann and Hans Petersen; Søren Stidsholt Nielsen, DK; Anna Östlund; Anders Tapola; Hans-Peter Janisch; Ole Munk; Carsten Gregerson; Svenåke Boström; Lars Pryds and Paige Connor.
Link: “He helped bring design into the newspaper.” Read Hvidtfeldt’s obituary in his former newspaper, JydskeVestkysten. (Original in Danish).