In his autobiography "Drawn from Memory," cartoonist John T. McCutcheon, who won the Chicago Tribune's first Pulitzer prize in 1932, writes that his friends always seemed to be amused by the expressions he made as he sketched. The faces that appear throughout this website are McCutcheon's self-portraits.
I met McCutcheon's son, Jack, while working on an exhibit of newspaper graphics. He was a retired newsman himself, helping out part-time in the Tribune's archives, and was delighted to see so much of father's work included in the show.
The faces, so simple yet so expressive, captured the essence of The Art of the Message—the name of the show—and were used for the the signage.
Jack generously gave his blessing for me to use them personally. These wonderful drawings have served as an inspiration and reminders of the elegance and power of simplicity. They also make me smile every time I see them.
I wear a lot of hats: writer, editor, managing director of a suite of children's media properties, curator, producer, photographer. The challenge is always the same: to present information in ways that are compelling, useful and, depending on the project, entertaining as well.
Each of the four main sections of this website is a digital portfolio with a background essay, captioned slideshows, photographs and videos:
There are also digital versions of two exhibitions: the first, Mickey Pallas Photographs, is a retrospective that covers the work of the Chicago-based photojournalist from the mid-1940s through the early 1960s, and the second, The Art of the Message, looks at the evolution of the modern newspaper as a graphic medium.
Projects in one area have often inspired or otherwise informed projects in others. The Art of the Message, for example, sparked an idea for a nationally syndicated newspaper children's section called curiocity. Work on a television documentary, Wildlife Wars, led to a special report on invasive diseases for BusinessWeek magazine. And my ongoing work with children's author and visual learning strategist Stuart J. Murphy has deepened my understanding of design and visual communication, with implications across the board.
I am interested in connections that bridge disciplines and platforms that combine media. The TrackerNews Project (which I developed for InSTEDD, an independent spin-off of Google.org's humanitarian practice) was an aggregator covering the health, humanitarian and tech beat. Topics ranged from epidemiology to climate change, mobile tech to energy grids, and agriculture to demographic trends. Suites of links combined news stories, research papers, videos, podcasts, websites, digital tools and books.
Media are being redefined and reinvented from every angle: content, format, delivery. The lines have blurred between exhibition, newspaper, magazine, broadcast, book, textbook, lecture and conference. I have experience in all of those formats and am excited about blending them in new publishing platforms.
I look at everything now through a digital media lens. A city, a university class, an energy-smart building, a business, a trade show—I think about information flows, collaborative potential and how media can play an active integral role, providing context and connection. My media past and present are prologue for the media future. I am interested in working on projects that can make content more useful, better target distribution, with the potential to make a real difference.