SND and Kassie: What I learned this weekend

As the judges in my group took their time with each entry, pouring over every little detail on the page, I strolled around the tables taking photos of anything I considered pretty. Most of the time, “pretty” meant colorful. But when the uncapping began I watched as entry after entry that I had picked out as the best of the best were outed. Left behind were regular old newspapers. At least that’s how I saw them. When our first medal discussion came, I was excited to see what the judges thought of the few pieces I liked that had slid through the uncapping. But again, I was disappointed when the design I liked best remained an Award of Excellence. Our group was the first of the symposium to give a gold, and it was for a design I barely glanced at in the first round. The New York Times covered the story of a girl, I’m not even sure what happened to her, but I know it was bad because the judges spoke about how emotional the story was and how well the New York Times layed it out. They chose the perfect photo each day, made it large so we could connect with the subject, and kept it consistent. It was classic newspaper design. It was so interesting to hear them talk about it in that way. Listening to them made me see why it was special: because it was simple. The designs I loved, with their flashy colors and clever headlines, were good—but they didn’t enhance the story in the same way as did this simple design from the New York Times. That is probably the biggest lesson I learned this weekend, and that was all within an hour.

Of course I learned other things as well, talking to the judges and the facilitators in my group taught me many things. I learned that sports designers have more creative freedom than most other designers on a paper. I learned that even in a world that spouts off digital first, a printed newspaper is revered. I learned that good designers can be anywhere (the Omaha Globe Herald won many awards—I was not expecting that). I learned that Heads Up is a really fun game (and helped us kill a little time). And I learned lots of great things about ethics and diversity in news design, but you’ll hear more about that in my presentation.



Humor: I don’t know what this says…but I’m sure it’s funny.

Compelling photo: I thought this photo was compelling because in any other context it would be a picture of a woman who looks a little mean, but with the headline “One survivor speaks out,” it takes on a whole new meaning and suddenly this woman looks strong.



Bad Thinking: While I do like the whole page photo on  the A1, this page puts Margaret Thatcher’s face right on the fold. From certain angles it looks like she has no nose.



Innovative Thinking: I found this both innovative and cute because they changed their name to the Gotham City Chronicle to match the story and carry on what the city did for this little boy.



Judge who traveled > 1000 miles: He came from Denmark, definitely more than 1000 miles. 🙂



Best thing I ate: Those potatoes and green beans were delicious.

magazine cover


Best magazine cover: This was my favorite magazine cover because 1) it has to do with science 2) they take a simple image and concept to connect with the idea of the feature story.


Best A1: I liked this A1 simply because it doesn’t look like a typical A1. I like that they used a large, almost full-page photo and a creative headline.



Photo illustration: This photo illustration is super interesting and well drawn. I had to look twice before realizing it was a photo illustration.



Favorite foreign language page: This might kind of be cheating, because I was torn between this page and the science news page as my favorite magazine cover…but then I noticed that there was a category for favorite foreign language page so I decided to put this here! I just think it is so beautiful the way used type to create this design.

trend1 trend2 trend3


A trend I noticed: The trend I noticed was that a lot of the sports pages were very red.



Best headline: This headline definitely stood out to me and captured the horror of the Boston Marathon bombings.



Classmate I spent the most time with: Even though we weren’t on the same team, I spent the most time with Insher (sorry if that’s not spelled right!) because of the bus. We got there almost an hour before the bus left on the first day and then the bus crashed on that night so we spent another hour together then.



Iconic SND Scene: The long form judges voting on a gold!


Me in a pile of discarded papers: It was the first day, so the pile was small…but it definitely grew by the end!


Kassie Brabaw

One Comment

  1. Wow … Sounds like you learned a lot, Kassie. I happen to love Heads Up! too. : )

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