Tracy Collins hired 40 of the 63 designers on his staff in one fell swoop last summer, getting many of his new employees directly out of college.
They joined him at Gannett’s Phoenix Design Studio, where an average of 14,000 pages are produced each week for nine daily newspapers.
- Tracy Collins
That’s a heck of a lot of pages, and a pretty young staff.
The Phoenix studio is one of five U.S. design centers that produce Gannett papers — the others are Nashville, Tenn.; Des Moines, Iowa; Asbury Park, N.J.; and Louisville, Ky. This hub system for design is becoming more common as news organizations downsize, consolidate and seek more bang for their buck—Cox Media, McClatchy, and Media General have all pursued similar strategies.
The conversion hasn’t been pain-free for Gannett, Collins said in an in-person interview. But design directors like him continue to fine-tune the process, seeking coaching strategies that will develop their designers’ skills quickly by offering them regular feedback in highly visible ways. In Collins’ case, that means giving the designers a forum to talk about what they’re doing and constantly raising the bar for what he expects.
“The young designers might have worked on their school paper, doing three pages each issue,” said Collins.… Read more