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World-Herald designer thrives on unpredictability of page design

Brady Jones, a page designer at the Omaha World-Herald since 2011.

By Alicia Mikoloyck
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Brady Jones is a page designer at the Omaha World-Herald in Omaha, Nebraska’s largest city.  He is originally from Harrisburg, Neb., one of the state’s smallest communities.

He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2011, where he majored in journalism and history.

He talked about his first post-college job in an interview.

Q: What is your title at the OWH and what does it entail?

A: Page designer; I usually do the front page layout and design Living section and Local pages. I will occasionally do some copy editing if we are running low on time or if an extra person is needed.

Q:  How did you get this position?

A: It kind of came out of nowhere. I was supposed to get a job at the Lincoln Journal Star when my boss (now) called me and asked if I was interested in a design job. I said yes and sent in my resume and some designs that I had previously done. I found out later that someone I knew mentioned my name to him and he took matters from there.

Q: What made you decide to pursue design?

A: I have always loved all aspects of journalism. I love reporting, taking photos and videos, editing, and designing/illustrating. But page design allowed me to apply both my artistic background and my love of journalism while I learn and develop my tablet/Web design skills.

Q:  Being a page designer, what hours do you usually work?

A: My day starts at 3 p.m. and generally ends at 12 a.m. Those hours, especially the ending hour, tend to vary drastically at times.  The last edition goes out at 12 a.m. and I will usually stay to make sure that it goes through on time and without many issues. One night a couple weeks ago, I was there until 5:30 in the morning working on a huge layout for the next day’s paper.

Q:  What does a typical shift look like?

A:  I will start out brainstorming with what the page will look like and figure out where each story will be placed. Once I figure out how I want the page to look like, I will usually have people who are higher up than me look over the design to make sure it’s OK, especially if it is a big news day.  I do this just in case they end up not liking the layout once it’s done just so I don’t have to start over again. Once it goes through we get everything fitted the way it should be and then it gets sent off to the printer. I have learned that at the end of the day, it’s my page and I have to be prepared to defend it.

Q:  Have you had to make any major editing decisions or helped to make any major editing decisions?

A:  I have had internships in the past where I would have to make more intense decisions. At my present job, doing a front page is something where I have to make a lot of decisions, like story placement and how the page will flow and look. Not necessarily editing decisions. If it is important, it needs to be at the top of the page. One night we had four stories above the fold, so it was packed. It was crazy.

Q: Do you enjoy your job?

A: Oh yeah, everyday is a new challenge so it stays interesting. I don’t really see myself getting bored with it.

Q:  Any advice for editing students or those graduating and going out into the field?

A: I can’t stress enough how important networking is. You definitely want to keep in touch with professors and past employers; you never know when they could help you find a job. Also, just have fun with your job, it should never feel like a chore.

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