Mark Johnson on innovation, personalization and user-experience design in media

I first met Mark Johnson at SND St. Louis in September 2011. The now 35-year old CEO of Zite — a personalized magazine app acquired by CNN earlier that year — was the definition of unassuming. Sporting a curly fro, eyebrow ring, t-shirt and backpack, I actually mistook him for a college student. Our first conversation had us discussing everything from cocktails and news design to architecture and taxidermy. Here, Johnson talks innovation, personalization and user-experience design in media.

From designer to pop-music critic, Emmet Smith shares his story

Music critic at the Cleveland Plain Dealer is not a job that comes open very often. Now a well-known name in newspaper design circles joins this Plain Dealer short list. After a decade as a designer, Emmet Smith recently began his new role as pop music critic. He chats with Paul Wallen about his transition, as well as similarities between his old and new gigs.

Welcome to a new year: Meet the new appointments to SND’s board

With the start of the new years comes a number of new appointments for the Society for News Design board. These folks are taking over for former board members whose appointments ended in 2012 or who moved to other positions.

SND’s board is made up of more than 20 volunteers who focus on different parts of making SND go, whether a geographic area or an area of expertise, like the website or training.

REMINDER: IT’S TIME TO ENTER YOUR BEST NEWS DESIGN FROM 2012

Print entry deadlines: U.S. submissions, Jan. 16, 2013; international submissions, Jan. 23, 2013.

Digital entry deadlines: 12 a.m. EST., Jan. 16, 2013

Digital competition categories: More on the changes to this year’s competition, categories and rules

Digital entry form: Register first and then click on “submit entries.”

What sites are the World’s Best Designed? We’re looking for your ideas for the World’s Best Designed websites and mobile apps. A group of judges will go over all submissions and ideas in February, but first we’d like to hear from you. Send us your ideas.

Print competition Call for Entries: Instructions, categories and forms English and Spanish

Storify founder Burt Herman on how design fuels start-ups, disruptive change and what journalists need to know

Burt Herman was a real foreign correspondent. As a reporter and bureau chief for the AP, Herman covered the world beat for 12 years. The front page of his website features a photo of him crouching behind a stone wall next to a man holding a gun the size of a fourth grader. His tagline? “Entrepreneurial journalist stoking media revolution.” A few years ago, Herman took a leave from his AP job, to become a John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford. He met Xavier Damman and the two of them co-founded Storify, an online tool used to curate bits and pieces of social media into one story.

Herman took a few minutes to talk with SND as part of our Year-Long Conversation about design.

Mandy Brown talks design, news and, ahem, reading

Is the web a good place to read? We spend more time than ever digesting digital text from sites and feeds, but is it a good reading experience? Especially for those who spend clicks on news sites, it seems there is much stacked against the simple, and central, act of reading.

Today we talk with one of the web’s best, Mandy Brown, about readability, and design. Mandy’s passion for reading is what fuels her design. Read her work on A List Apart, A Working Library. Our interview is on the jump.

This is our second dispatch in SND’s Year-Long Conversation. Find last week’s post here.

Eye-trap: What happens when you trace over the reading wells on popular news sites? Check the results of our eye-trap readability study.

Join the discussion: We’ll host an ongoing discussion of readability on the web on Twitter with the hashtag #readme. More on that discussion here.