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Sharpened thinking. Better teamwork and planning. Improved morale. Smarter use of limited resources. Greater integration of your brand across print and digital products. All are good reasons to consider an in-house workshop. Newsroom training not only helps the folks in the trenches, it inspires art directors, editors and even publishers to think more clearly about their own coaching, critiquing, teaching and leadership all important components of successful publications. A good training program will strive to do the following: Help focus the strategy for the entire news operation, and within that, the mission for design. Share "recipes for success" from other top papers where visual thinking, collaboration and planning are a key part of the culture. Develop a common dialogue where the staff explores ways to make the leap from "good" to "excellent." To read about six reasons to consider on-site skills training, click here. To review a variety of training topics and the news organizations that have benefitted from them, read below. As always, feel free to email me for more information.



Following are titles of workshops I have presented to groups including client news organizations, the Poynter Institute, universities and journalism groups. Presentations are customized to include the work of client papers, and combine slide presentations, analysis, group discussion and hands-on exercises created to elevate the skills of those attending. Titles include:

Leadership/Teamwork/Newsroom Organization

"Lessons from the reinvention process." Variations on this popular presentation take participants inside the change process at news organizations worldwide, dissecting the design process as well as leadership, teamwork, and creative skills required to enact real change.

"Strategy and Leadership for Magazine Reinvention"You may have bright people in-house, but may need a jump-start for your project. How do you clarify your goals? Bring the right people together? Assign the correct tasks to the right people, and create an efficient project calendar? Inspire an environment of creativity and innovation? 

"Strategic change and leadership for newspaper format conversion." Converting from broadsheet to tab, or to the new "super compact/ three around" format, is a chance to make a redesign more than cosmetic. Learn how NOT to just cram the contents of a larger publication into a smaller shape, and create noticeable improvement for both readers and advertisers.

"Innovation in advertising and marketing: How to create excitement and value for clients via a stronger editorial marriage." It's not just about complicated cut-out ads that intrude on and wrap around editorial copy. It's about anchoring simple, impactful, eye-opening shapes that go beyond the standard SAU menu your advertisers may have gotten bored with.

"Social media: Informing and involving readers 24/7"

"Creating convergence for the 24-hour newsroom"

"Social media and the newsroom: It's more than marketing, it's content"

"Coaching, critiquing, and leading the visual staff" (related link)

"Teamwork, collaboration and integration throughout the newsroom"

"Defining your publication's values - and the strategies to get there"

"Sharpening the planning process - forms, meetings, mindsets, and other tools" (sample planning form link)

"Designer/photographer relationships"

"Solidifying your brand from print to web"

"Planning, packaging, and promoting your long-term projects"

"Strategic planning at the corporate and newsroom level" (1-3 day retreat workshops)

"New content brainstorming and re-thinking your product line"

Design & Editing Topics

"Alternative story forms: Segmenting information for a smarter, quicker read"

"Packaging print and web for the converged newsroom"

"Front page promos that tell, compel, and SELL"

"Innovations in advertising placement, design, and sales strategies"

"Design and editing for news pages" (basic and advanced)

"Design and editing for features pages" (basic and advanced)

"The redesign process - what the newsroom can expect" (related link)

"Visual thinking for writers and editors" (related link)

"Information graphics for news: planning, reporting and execution"

"How typography works"

"Type, design, color and graphics for copy editors" (related link)

"Headline writing and typographic display"

"At-a-glance boxes, breakouts and other points of entry: Layering the news"

"Design on deadline"

"Custom design critique -dissecting your pages and process"


"Creativity, art direction, and visual problem solving" (a hands-on workshop and conversation)

"The art of the simple idea" (review of engaging visual solutions from a variety of media) (Visit my online interactive quiz related to this topic.)

"Making something from nothing" (Can you make a page sing with 'justa mug shot?' Of course!)

"Advanced use of photos, illustrations and infographics"


Extensive staff training is an important part of my redesign work. In addition to training provided to all of my full redesign clients, I have been commissioned to conduct training in newsrooms small and large, including the following:

Cincinnati Enquirer

Arkansas Business

Chicago Reader and newspapers of Creative Loafing, Inc.

The Standard of Nairobi, Kenya

NEXT: a 24-hour newspaper, web and mobile news operation, Lagos, Nigeria (See related blog post about my newsroom training program in Lagos.)

Santa Fe New Mexican

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Infoworld magazine

St. Petersburg Times

The Dallas Morning News

Des Moines Register

The Harvard Crimson
Straits Times (Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore)

New Paper (Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore)

The Business Times (Singapore Press Holdings,Singapore)

Jyllands-Posten, Aarhus, Denmark

Folha de S. Paulo, S�o Paulo, Brazil

The Baltimore Sun

Wisconsin State Journal

South Bend (IN) Tribune

Von Holtzbrinck Newspaper Group (Konstanz, Germany)

Sound Publishing Group, Puget Sound, Wash.

Racine (Wis.) Journal-Times and Lee Newspapers staffs

Chicago Sun-Times

Howard Newspapers

Mobile (Ala.) Register

"We brought Ron in to help set the framework for story generation at NEXT in Lagos, Nigeria. Ron has a great perspective on how words and images should work together to create an enhanced presentation of news pieces, beginning with a highly visual approach to story planning. Ron is a great trainer, fully capable of orchestrating engaging seminars, fully sensitive to working in different cultural environments.

I would highly recommend Ron to any media organization that is looking to improve its content/brand and adopt the most contemporary design and presentation standards." [Jeremy Weate, Vice-President/Digital at Timbuktu Media, Nigeria]


In addition to ongoing work with the Poynter Institute, I have been an invited speaker to universities, news organizations and other groups for more than 20 years. These include the following:

Florida Magazine Association 

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies

Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association  

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

South Dakota Newspaper Association 
Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association

Indiana University School of Journalism, Alumni Advisory Board to Dean Bradley Hamm and informal alumni advisor to student publications.

Columbia College School of Journalism Advisory Board

Inland Press Association, Small Newspaper Publishers Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Ball State University, visiting lecturer.

Russian Press Federation, keynote speaker (three sessions), annual design conference, Moscow.

American Press Institute, design workshop. Topic: "Innovations in News Design and Editing."

Inland Press Association annual editors' symposium.Workshop topic: "News Design and Packaging: What's New?"

SND Quick Course, Ottawa. Topics: "Visions of aNewsroom" and "Lessons from Redesigns"

National Newspaper Publishers Associationconference, Dallas

"Design, Graphics and Visual Thinking." Customthree-day workshop for Prenttknistofnun Graphic Arts Institute,Reykjavik, Iceland.

"Three Designs for Three Cities." Featured presentation for the Society for News Design international design conference, Minneapolis.

Folio Show: Midwest Conference (for magazine designers)

Illinois College Press Association.

Indiana University-Bloomington, School of Journalism. Co-directed annual faculty development week under a Knight Foundation grant.Topic: teaching visual literacy and developing visual thinking in the newsroom.

College Media Advisers/Associated Collegiate Press.

Association of Travel Editors and Writers.

Society of Food Editors and Writers.

Society of News Design annual conference. Panel discussion on "branding the newspaper."

DjE Training Institute, "Creativity and Content:Workshop for Sub-Editors." (Aarhus, Denmark)

Society for News Design-Scandinavia convention. Three sessions: Keynote address, "The Art of the Simple Idea," plus "What Makes a Good Designer?" and "Redesigning Smaller Papers." (Oslo, Norway)

Society of American Business Editors and Writers, "Design, Graphics, Packaging andTeamwork for Business Sections." (Orange County, Calif.)

National Writers Workshop, "Visual Thinking for Writers and Editors." (OrangeCounty, Calif.)

SND Quick Course - St. Petersburg, conference co-director and presenter, "Art of the Simple Idea" and "Newspaper Redesigns."

Alaska Press Club

Society for News Design, "Art of the Simple Idea"

Society for News Design, "Typography - Basic and Advanced"


AEJMC. Topic: Teaching Online Design.

ASNE. Topic: Poynter/ASNE Copy Editing Project.

Kentucky Copy Editors Conference

College Media Advisers


Travel Writers and Editors Conference

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