RIT Hosts Media Guru J. Ford Huffman on April 16

Former ‘USA Today’ editor will bring good news about the future of news

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J. Ford Huffman

Lately it seems like the news is all over the news. But in the midst of layoffs, scandals and declining readership and resources, there is someone who sees a bright future in the news media.

J. Ford Huffman, writer, artist, designer and former deputy managing editor of USA Today, presents “Today’s News Media: A Heart-wrenching, Heartwarming World of Staggering Potential,” 4-5:30 p.m. April 16 in Xerox Auditorium, James E. Gleason Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology. His talk, free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception.

“Distinctive, relevant content drives readers to any platform—print or digital,” Huffman says. “Smart editors can keep readers with solid content that’s presented well—so long as the resources are there to produce the content.”

Huffman’s work at USA Today began in 1981, when he helped develop the first prototypes, and continued through 2007, recommending the design and art direction of Page One. A sketch he made in a news meeting on Sept. 11, 2001, became the front-page design of the Sept. 12, 2001, issue, which sold 3.6 million copies.

Huffman has ties to Rochester, where in the mid-1980s he was managing editor of the Democrat and Chronicle and the now-defunct Times-Union.

He co-edited The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The Impact in Studies and Personal Essays for Service Members and Veterans, recently published by the Marine Corps University Press and distributed by the Government Printing Office. His non-fiction book reviews appear regularly in the Military Times newspapers. Hindustan Times of India sought his guidance in editing, writing and presenting the news and he has advised The Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle about strategy, editing, design and management.

A frequent lecturer at colleges nationwide, Huffman has also led discussions at workshops from Nova Scotia to Costa Rica for the Society for News Design, in Budapest and Warsaw for the Freedom Forum, and in Prague for the University of Miami. He has also contributed chapters about design to various print-media textbooks.

Huffman’s talk is sponsored by RIT’s Department of Communication. For more information, contact Sebby Jacobson, visiting assistant professor of communication, at 585-475-5608 or swjgpt@rit.edu.

RIT in the News:
Democrat and Chronicle — April 16, 2012
Longtime editor sees bright future for media on variety of platforms