Designing on Deadline

Information design is an integral part of news operations. Projects vary from page design to illustrations and infographics to interactive data visualizations. Because of the nature of the news cycle, journalists must do their design work under tight deadlines — often turning ideas around in days or a matter of hours. And all of it must be — no exceptions — accurate. Not just the facts, but the overall context. How do writers and designers in this industry gather material, find inspiration, create and publish so quickly? Four journalists will describe their parts in the process — two from the content perspective and two from the visual design perspective — sharing tips along the way that writers and designers in other industries can employ.

Research, fact-finding and verification.
When the goal is to share important information, the quality of the work, ultimately, depends on the quality of the information being shared. Is it accurate? Complete? Does it answer all the questions your audience will have? Will they trust the information? Will they be able to act on it? In this talk, AmyJo Brown will talk about the information-gathering process and share tips on how to interview subject matter experts and evaluate source materials so that you get the content you need to execute an original design.

Finding the story: How to engage the audience
Every story needs an audience. A reason for being. And that audience is right to demand something worthy of their time and attention. Whether on a real-time deadline or one month away, the goal is the same: capture and engage that audience from the beginning of the story to the end. Narrative, data, transitions, quotes, structure -- all are simply tools to that end. Jacob Sanders will talk about the editing process and how to synthesize information quickly — while managing expectations, reality, and the flow (be it a flash flood or just a firehose) of information.

Designing the news for print
Get good at making something from nothing, every day. Mary Beth Eastman has managed design staffs in newsrooms, coordinating the day’s publishing needs with writers and editors. She will talk about collaborating, shifting goal posts, and working independently and without a net. In short, how to get it right, do it fast, and make it pretty.

Using tech to design your content, and for your audience
In many instances of news design, you, the designer, are working with writers and editors to organize and clean data, and then pair it with stories, both in traditional narrative styles and in ones far more visual (i.e., interactives and data visualizations). What are the best practices to get involved in the writer’s work early and save yourself a headache down the road? How do you then structure the user experience to present your elements in a way that makes sense to readers? Zack Tanner, an interactive news designer, will cover these issues and touch on more aspects of designing digital stories on tight deadlines.

This event is sponsored by AIGA Pittsburgh in partnership with SPJ Pittsburgh. Doors open at 6 p.m. Talks will start at 6:30 p.m.

When & Where
Mon, Feb 19, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM EST
Alloy 26 Auditorium, NOVA Place
100 South Commons
Pittsburgh, PA 15212