The Society for News Design is excited to announce that Randy Yeip will be facilitating a panel discussion with the three Lifetime Achievement winners — Cheryl Pell, Darcy Greene and Randy Stano — at the SND Charlotte workshop on April 19-21 in Charlotte, N.C.
Yeip graduated from Michigan State undergrad in 2000 and received a masters in journalism in 2002. He is now graphics editor for the national politics team at the Wall Street Journal.
SND.org editor Aviva Loeb chatted with Yeip to talk about his favorite memories of this year’s Lifetime Achievement winners.
CAN YOU TELL US A LESSON DARCY OR CHERYL TAUGHT YOU THAT YOU DRAW ON IN YOUR CURRENT JOB? I’d love to cite an anecdote here that would make me sound human and relatable, but I have a very academic answer (and they would expect nothing else from me!). I credit them with an important “metalesson” about what should be an absence of daylight between visual and verbal communication. I don’t say that just to be pedantic. It is an essential concept that needs to be internalized, but too often is treated as rote. Because every practical design choice — typography, color, proportion, shape — must be in service of that theory. That’s especially true in news design. As J-school faculty, Cheryl and Darcy were acutely aware of that and made it integral to their lessons.
WHEN YOU THINK OF THE GREAT 2-3 TEACHERS IN YOUR LIFE, WHAT ARE SOME COMMON TRAITS? I love this question because it transcends academic discipline. My top three are all in the journalism realm, but I’ve worked with great educators at all levels and been friends with countless others. They all share a deep commitment to maximizing the potential of their students. Great teachers have an uncanny knack for individualizing lessons. They can see what a particular student wants and what she needs and they can tailor their approach to best suit her. The overachiever can get challenged a bit more, and the struggling student can get the assist he needs. That’s why teaching is more art than science. And great teachers are incredible artists.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW CHERYL AND DARCY WERE SPECIAL? CAN YOU SHARE A MEMORY OF THEM? I think anyone who has ever met them knows in an instant that they’re special! Separately they are impressive; together they are a force of nature. I met Cheryl first, when she was executive director of the state scholastic press association, and I was a finalist for high school journalist of the year. A few months later, I was a freshman at Michigan State and attending the “meet the J-school” orientation. There were Cheryl and Darcy, soliciting for the new student chapter of SND. I signed up on the spot. They had a serious message about the role of visuals in news design but an endearing quirkiness that also made you feel like there was room for fun, too. So many of my best memories of college involve trips and activities with these two amazing ladies that I can’t imagine how boring my college stories would be if I hadn’t signed up that day.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN AT MSU THAT’S HELPED YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY? Do you have all day? My time at MSU was the most important time of my life and made me who I am. That’s true both as a professional as well as a person. Once I decided in high school that journalism was my future, MSU was the obvious choice. And I couldn’t have asked for a faculty more committed to the core principles of our craft. But right from the start they also took an interest in my personal success. I suddenly found myself supported by so many allies, Cheryl and Darcy chief among them. It’s empowering to know that these people are deeply invested in you. It leaves you no choice but to succeed, to make good on their investment.
HOW DO YOU KNOW RANDY STANO? CAN YOU SHARE A MEMORY WITH HIM? My friendship with Randy has been one of the most wonderful surprises of my life. I met him in 1998 when he was coordinating the SND Quick Courses, and the MSU SND affiliate began hosting regular installments. Cheryl and Darcy invited me to get involved in planning the event, so we had a lot of correspondence with Randy. As was his special talent, he crafted an A-list lineup of speakers. To a person, they were generous with their time when it came to advising students, offering on-site critiques or just inviting us to ask them about their work and the industry. Later that same year my fellow MSU students and I were at the SND workshop in Philadelphia when we happened to run into Randy at a bar. We ended up hanging out with him the whole night. He was so willing to engage us, even with just one previous meeting under our belt. From there, Randy and I developed an ongoing correspondence over Quick Courses, workshops and student affiliate activities. Twenty years later, we still get together when he’s in New York or I’m in South Florida. (He also sends the most unique Christmas cards of anyone I know!)
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT SND CLT? Reconnecting with folks. SND workshops feel like extended-family reunions. It’s invigorating to spend a few days with so many talented professionals, folks who will give your own creative spirit a kick in the pants. And it’s also beneficial just to be around other people who do what you do. Most of us have everyday contact at work with like-minded people, but it happens within the silo of your own organization, and that necessarily comes with guardrails about how “we” do things. Getting exposed to how other teams approach the same challenges and opportunities can be the best means of creative rejuvenation.
WHAT CAN ATTENDEES EXPECT DURING THE PANEL? WHAT CAN THEY EXPECT TO GET OUT OF IT? I’m thrilled to facilitate a conversation with three legends who just happen to also be dear friends. Through the thousands of students they have influenced, all three Lifetime honorees have their fingerprints on newsrooms and design centers around the world. And I think what is particularly unique to these three is the symbiosis they have with former students. They maintain close contact with many of them, and they draw lessons from those working in the industry to better inform their teaching so that the next batch of grads will be armed with what they need to know about where the business is heading next. So I hope we’ll have an engaging session that explores what lessons endure, what needs to change as the medium changes, how that evolution in the industry reshapes the way we prepare students, and what hiring managers expect out of those entering the field.
About SND Charlotte
• Don’t miss your chance to UNITE & REBEL, register today: Register
• Book your hotel room (before they run out!): Use the SND discount link
• Check out the lineup of speakers we’ve announced for the workshop. What a team!
• Don’t miss the Think Before You Make pre-conference day at the U.S. National Whitewater Center