Judges’ Comments from the SSND DC Competition

It’s here! Check out our video to see judges’ feedback on this year’s competition.

The judges in this video are:


Dan Zedek: Assistant managing editor for design
The Boston Globe
Lee Steele: President of SND,
Presentation Editor/Columnist, Hearst Corporation
Marianne Seregi: Magazine Art Director
The Washington Post


Seth Hamblin: Deputy Global Visual Editor
WSJ.com and The Wall Street Journal
Juan Velasco: Co-founder and creative director of 5W Infographics and former Art Director at National Geographic magazine
Mike Swartz: Partner, Upstatement

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SSND DAY #2 : Digital Categories


SSND officers with digital judges, Mike Swartz (left 3): Partner, Upstatement, Seth Hamblin(left 4): Deputy Global Visual Editor
WSJ.com and The Wall Street Journal, Juan Velasco(left 5): Co-founder and creative director of 5W Infographics and former Art Director at National Geographic magazine

We just finished up the final judging rounds of the 2015 SSND Competition with the remaining six digital categories! With a new panel of judges and computers and Ipads galore lining the outskirts of the room, the judges carefully analyzed every entry. We saw a range of work, all which were impressive to the judges and stirred some great discussion.

We started off the morning with:

Overall News Website B1


The first entry was the Fairfield Mirror Vision which the judges found engaging, easy to navigate and scrolled in nice way. They commented on liking the social media built into the interface.

They noticed that this lay-out was a ‘pretty off-the-shelf theme’ similar to wordpress with not a ton of customization.


Next, was the Vanderbilt Hustler. They noticed the large banner at the top of the page right away and commented that that was a ‘tough thing to hold to. The commended producing the site seamlessly but would like to see more standardization especially across aspect ratios and more control over the user experience.


The  SCAD Connector was viewed next.


They commented on the more of a stream approach and more modern way of doing things with the continuous scroll— they really liked that.

The judged also commended this publication for doing some different stuff with color and trending modules being the same as the theme. “They chose a theme and kind of combined it with some unique stuff”

Next,  they viewed the Statesman and immediately called it  “interesting”

The commented on headlines get lost, but commended the building of their own theme and the design choices around it. ‘This site is authentic to the process’ commented one of the judges.

One critique that kept coming up was that this site is not responsive which is important and good next step for this publication.


Fnewsmagazine was the last entry.

They loved the use of illustrations with a lot with photos but the art direction felt visually all over the place at times. They would’ve liked to see a better use of whitespace as well.

not a good use of whitespace— nice illustrations.


Overall the judges loved the original design choices, and among the borrowed themes, there were a few that used it well!

1st — Fairfield Statesman

3rd — Scad Connector

Honorable Mention –F NewsMagazine


Mini-site/special section of a news website B2


There was a lot of discussion among the judges what this category really means based on the variety of entries.

They judges commented on all of the great photo content and awesome video and gallery content as well. They found that a few of the entries struggled with a design and visual hierarchy. In contrast, they commented on how many of these entries were very well art directed!

1st — Vox, Ciera Velarde

2nd— Syracuse, MacKenzie Dunsmoor

Honorable Mention — Vox, Atiya Abbas

Interactive or Animated Infographic B3

This was our most competitive category with the widest variety of entries. The biggest comment that the judges expressed often was the importance of good graphics paired with a good story. They say a lot of amazing designs but that connection with the story was very important in the final considerations.


1st– UNC- Chapel Hill

2nd– Northwestern

Honorable Mention– Saint Joseph’s University

Video or Multimedia Project B4


This category also had quite a bit of variety with more long-form package entries and stand alone videos. The divide was clear between the bigger projects and the smalelr projects with depth of story telling but the judges found the art direction exceptional in some of the smaller entries.

1st – Carolinaphotojournalism.org

2nd- faultlinesnc.com

3rd- wholehognc.org


News Products Appearing on Other Digital Platforms ( ipad, android, iphone) B5

Many of these entries felt very static to the judges who were looking for responsiveness and interactivity in these designs. There is an importance to catering to the platform and not just putting what you print on the web in the same design. There were many issues with poor typography and general visual design that the judges emphasized. Interactivity and attention to detail is important and was the reason that the following entries advanced to the award level.

1– Syracuse, Bellwethr

2– Michigan St University, Glyph

Honorable Mention —University of Missouri,  Vox,


Redesigning of a News Website B6

Stony Brook University, The Statesman

The judges really commend the process of this winning entry and the job well done on this to redesign. “The old site was really bad, but they did some amazing work with this redesign. They did a good thing building in themselves. Now they just have to make it responsive, said one of the judges.

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SSND DAY #1 Recap!


Print judges, Lee Steele (left): President of SND,  Presentation Editor/Columnist, Hearst Corporation.  Marianne Seregi (middle), Magazine Art Director, The Washington Post. Dan Zedek(right): Assistant managing editor for design, The Boston Globe 

Well it’s been quite the day full of so many amazing layouts and impressive designing! It was a gloomy day here in DC, but the judging room was buzzing with excitement as we went through the entries and got to see some of the best student news design in the country. As we mentioned in a previous post the winners of Newspaper Cover Design A1:

1st Place Roselyn Adams Celebrating Veterans day University of Missouri
2nd Place Mara Corbett Advocating for answers Syracuse
3rd Place Sarbani Ghosh Shalala University of Miami
Honorable Mention Missourian Staff Rockstars University of Missouri

Next, came Newspaper Page Design A2. The judges discussed that there was a lot of ambition and energy in all of these entries! There were some issues of clutter and not staying on a grid in the designing, but overall the judges had a lot of confidence in their final decisions.

Newspaper Page Design A2:

1st Place Missourian Staff Growing District faces decreased state funding Mizzou
2nd Place Katherine Sotezo Midterm Elections Syracuse

The following category was Features Page Design A3 which was the biggest category thus far! The judges were positive after the first round that this was going to be a super competitive category and all agreed to hold the highest of standards. They expressed that they loved the innovative more magazine style type entries. After 20 minutes deliberating and going over the top six entries, they reached a consensus:

Features Page Design A3:

1st Chloe Meister The Myslice and Beyond Syracuse
2nd Michelle Cook Murica University of Miami
3rd Alex Cordahl Not Otherwise Specified Northwestern
Honorable Mention Meghan Morris The Camera as Testimony Art Institute of Chicago

The Sports Feature followed. This was a very small group of entries. The judges were tough on this one and overall were not very impressed. They commented on liking the ESPNness of some of these features and the ambition behind these designs, but they also said many were very sloppy. For this category they agreed on one third place and an honorable mention.

Sports Feature A4

3rd Carlos Mella Man from the lights University of Miami
Honorable Mention Lihua Yu Tigers do just enough to get to Homecoming Mizzou

The next category was another features event A5. This one was another smaller pool of entries. There was a lot of discussion about text in this category— specifically about when there is too much cluttered text on the front page, meaning is lost. They chose one winner out of the handful of entries.

Features A5

1st Jordan Martin Its Not Just About Charlie Chicago Art

Multi- Page Features A6

1st  Michelle Cook  Murica  University of Miami
2nd Roselyn Adams Bone Headed Fan Boys Mizzou
3rd Allison Lewis Missouri Spotlight Mizzou

For Categories A7 and A8 the judges decided not to award any entries.

Photostory Design A9 was judged next and stay tuned for those results and the rest of the competition results!

Photo Story Design A9

2nd Monica Burciaga, Jordan Martin A hundred rubies Chicago Art
3rd Missourian Staff Loren Reid’s life Mizzou
Honorable Mention Roselyn Adams Out of Reach Mizzou

Overall Use of Photography A10

1st Staff of Spoon Cheese, Please Northwestern
2nd Staff of Spoon Ice pop Northwestern
Honorable Mention Tara Hotwinick Baked Fall 2014 Syracuse

Another large entry category, the Illustration category was very competitive. The details in the entries were strong, however, overall the judges were underwhelmed. One judge even said in the first round “I didn’t sink any of my voting chips with gusto”. In the category sweep from Chicago Arts the judges found all of these entries provocative and culturally interesting.

Illustration A11

1 Anna B. Smylie Ayotzinapa Chicago Arts
2 Anna B. Smylie Command + P Chicago Arts
3 Megan Prya not that kind of writer yet Chicago Arts
Honorable Mention Anna B. Smylie Startups versus astronauts Chicago Arts

This winning entry was actually entered in another event (which it received an honorable mention for) but the judges were overwhelmed by the quality of this piece that they amended to have it the winning design for a category that they had previously deemed no placing designs for. Information Graphics A12

1st Ainslie Perlmutt, Bridget Walsh, Sarah Delk, Anna Tang, Nan Copeland, Sarah Hoehn, Lorraine Besse, Jenna Stout, Caleb Wilkie, Cassie Schutzer, Amansa Hayes, Jessica Karsner, Justin Chang, Daniel Lockwood, Caroline Smith Forensics UNC, Chapel Hill

Alternative Story Format A13

The overwhelming idea in this discussion was that the judges decided that many of the students didn’t understand the concept of this category, but these two entries prevailed as quality work in concept and execution.

1st Berke Yazicioglu Famous Hook-ups Chicago
2nd Mande Younge Where should you take your date for coffee Northwestern

Cover of a Magazine or Newspaper Special Section A14

During the middle of this judging the question arose if the judges were judging colors or illustrations as a joke, but with a more serious tone. They were looking for a cohesive narrative that had many layers and that was not just a beautiful image.

1st Jordan Martin You did it Chicago Arts
2nd KK Rebecca Lee Ice Pop Northwestern
3rd Lindsay Pierce Curb Appeal Mizzou
Honorable Mention John Whitney Martin Let’s Pretend Chicago Arts

Overall Magazine A15

1st Staff of Spoon Ice Pop Northwestern University
2nd Lindsay Dawson Turning Points Syracuse
3rd Staff if Spoon Cheese, please Northwestern University
Honorable Mention Ainslie Perlmutt, Bridget Walsh, Sarah Delk, Anna Tang, Nan Copeland, Sarah Hoehn, Lorraine Besse, Jenna Stout, Caleb Wilkie, Cassie Schutzer, Amansa Hayes, Jessica Karsner, Justin Chang, Daniel Lockwood, Caroline Smith Forensics UNC, Chapel Hill

Overall Design Of Magazine Group A16

This was our smallest category yet, with just one entry, but the judges made a quick decison saying that this quality was worthy of a first place award.

1st FNewsmagazine Multiple Chicago

Overall Design of a Newspaper A17

As the judges neared the end of the competition, they knew what they were looking for with focus. This was a quick round of judging and the judges were unanimous on the decision, with the top entry being the most clean and clear of all the other entries. The judges even commented that they would’ve liked to see the other special sections mentioned on the cover of the newspaper included in the winning submission.

1st Edmund Heaphy Multiple entries Trinity College Dublin
2nd The Daily Orange Staff Multiple entries Syracuse
3rd Jenna Wengler Multiple entries Vanderbilt

A18 Redesign of Magazine or Newspaper there were no awards given to the entries in this category.

Designer of the Year

After looking through extensive portfolios the following received Designer of the Year awards:

1st Anna B Smylie Design Chicago Art
2nd Tracee Tibbits Designer Vox, Mizzou
3rd Jordan Whitney Martin Designer Chicago Art

Annnnnd…that’s a wrap for Day #1 at the SSND Competition and concludes the print design categories. Stay-tuned with us tomorrow as we judge the digital entry categories!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SNDMizzou for more updates!

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Newspaper Cover Design (A1)

The competition has officially begun! The judges have begun placing their chips and choosing the winners of our first category: Newspaper Cover Design (A1). This is one of the largest category with over a dozen schools represented. As the category is narrowed, the discussion gets heated and it comes down to issues of ‘clumsiness’ in design and slight imperfections in the quality of photos.

The winner of this category is 
Roselyn Adams:  ‘Celebrating Veteran’s Day’ — The Columbia Missourian

Stay tuned for more updates from other categories!

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2015 College News Design Contest

The Missouri Student Society of News Design hosts a juried contest to honor excellence in design and graphics. The contest is co-sponsored by the Society for News Design.


Entries must have been published on or after March 16, 2014, and on or before March 15, 2015. You may enter if you are a student enrolled at a two- or four-year college, or if you were enrolled when the work was published. All published student work is eligible, whether done for a student or professional publication or project. Double bylines or “staff” bylines are permitted, except in Division C.

How To Enter

Every individual designer gets one free entry. Any entry credited to a staff rather than a specific person must be paid. After that, most entries are $8 each. Entries in categories A16, A17 and A18, along with Division C entries, are $14 each. Please include payment with entries, unless otherwise arranged with Ying Wu. Make checks payable to Missouri SSND. Purchase orders are accepted. Our federal ID number is 

All the print entries and digital entries must be sent through the snail mail and received in Columbia by Monday, March 23, 2015. And all the print entries and digital entries senders must submit the e-form by Monday, March 23, 2015.
The e-form link is: http://goo.gl/forms/g7GCstzarA

Mailling address:

College News Design Contest
c/o Ying Wu

313 Lee Hills Hall, 221 S. Eighth St.
Columbia, MO 65211


Print an entry form (above) for each entry.

Tape the entry form to the upper left-hand corner of the back of each entry. For multi-page entries, please tape the pages together so they can be seen all at once or can be easily turned.

Imagine the judges walking by them on a table, and remember that it’s in your best interest that the entries stay together and be easily navigated. For multi-page entries, please tape an entry form to the back of every page.

For Division C, please make sure each design example is self-contained. For example, if a four-page spread is one example, tape those four pages together. Then clip your examples (up to 10) together and tape an entry form to the back of each.

Division A: Print Awards

Entries are $8 each unless otherwise noted (A16–A18).

The following awards are for work designed by a student, appearing in either a student newspaper or a professional newspaper during an internship.

  • A1. Newspaper cover design (broadsheet and tabloid formats).
  • A2. Newspaper page design: single inside page or double truck.

The following awards are for work designed by a student, appearing in a student newspaper or MAGAZINE or a professional newspaper or MAGAZINE during an internship:

  • A3. Features page design: one page or one spread.
  • A4. Sports page design: one page or one spread.
  • A5. Multi-page story package (news or sports topic).
  • A6. Multi-page story package (features topic).
  • A7. Breaking news. A single page or group of pages CREATED ON DEADLINE and published in the news cycle nearest to a breaking news event. Do not enter planned projects in this category.
  • A8. Special topics. Submit single page, series or package on the following topics:
    • A8a. MH370
    • A8b. Ebola
    • A8c. Ferguson
  • A9. Photo story design: one page or one spread.
  • A10. Overall use of photography: one entire issue of your choice.
  • A11. Illustration: can be hand-drawn, computer-generated or photographic.
  • A12. Information graphics: a single graphic or a combination of closely related graphics packaged together.
  • A13. Alternative story format: one page or one spread.
  • A14. Cover of a magazine or newspaper special section
  • A15. Overall design of a magazine or newspaper special section. Enter one complete issue.
  • A16. Overall design of a magazine. Enter three entire issues of your choice. (Three issues constitute one entry, at $14.)
  • A17. Overall design of a newspaper: Submit three entire issues of your choice. (Three issues constitute one entry, at $14.)
  • A18. Redesign of a magazine or newspaper: Submit one complete issue published prior to the redesign and two complete issues after the redesign. (Three issues constitute one entry, at $14.)

Division B: Digital Awards

The following awards are for work designed by a student or students, published in a student or professional news product or project. Please submit a published URL.

The URL should be either associated with an official publication OR a free-standing project. If the latter is true, please include a one-paragraph explanation attached to the entry form explaining the goals, affiliation and scope of the project.

  • B1. Overall news website
  • B2. Mini-site/special section of a news website
  • B3. Interactive or animated infographic
  • B4. Video or multimedia project
  • B5. News products appearing on other digital platforms, including iPad, Android and iPhone applications
  • B6. Redesign of a news website: Submit the URL of the current published website and URLs of screenshots of at least three separate pages from the site prior to the redesign.

Division C: Student Designer of the Year

Entries are $14 each

  • C. Submit a portfolio with up to 10 examples of your work. The work must have been published in a student or professional publication. All work must have been done by a single designer. The portfolio is one entry.

2015 SSND judges


Dan Zedek
Dan Zedek: Assistant managing editor for design
The Boston Globe

Steele, Lee 5789.JPG
Lee Steele: President of SND,
Presentation Editor/Columnist, Hearst Corporation

Steele, Lee 5789.JPG
Marianne Seregi: Magazine Art Director
The Washington Post


seth_400x400 (1) copy

Seth Hamblin: Deputy Global Visual Editor
WSJ.com and The Wall Street Journal

Juan Velasco

Juan Velasco: Co-founder and creative director of 5W Infographics and former Art Director at National Geographic magazine


Mike Swartz: Partner, Upstatement

More info:http://ssnd.missouri.edu/enter-contest/

Please follow us @sndmizzou

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Digital judges general comments

Teaming up with computer science students:

Larry: I think it would be great to see websites more considered and developed and for student newsrooms to reach out to students in computer science programs/telecommunication programs who can code and push what can be done on the web and not necessarily what can be done in an iPad.

iPad magazines:

Larry: A lot of interactive magazine were beautiful but I struggled to see who downloads them. Some took a long time to load. It’s a great exercise for students to do but i don’t know if it’s practical in the real world.


Julie: I would ask students to take a hard look at what their doing and ask themselves if they would want to watch that. There were editing issues — some were really long. Others needed to take a step back and stop being too literal. Editing would strengthen all of these videos. Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s important.


Luke: More consideration needs to be given to performance. If readers are having trouble downloading or it won’t work on all browsers, it kind of defeats the purpose. There’s too much reliance on templates — in this case, Wordpress templates. Maybe with more help from computer science students they could customize it more to meet their needs and desires.

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Redesign of a news website

1st place: dailyorange.com, Chris Voll, Syracuse University, The Daily Orange

A fantastic website. The typography is tight, grid is elegant and flexible. The site embraces white space which helped elevate it. Made it feel more accessible and readable at a glance. Wasn’t overwhelming. Very professional looking.

HM: Montana Journalism Review, Sage Knox and Allison Bye, University of Montana

A great improvement over the old site. It’s clean and simple. Just needs refinement — slideshows need better integration and column widths are too wide. Need to work to make it feel more like it’s not a template. Featured stories need to feel more like featured stories.

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