By Amy Wu (Wu Hsiao Mei)
On Saturday, more than 100 Chinese newspaper graphics designers, editors, photojournalists, academics, and industry professionals attended the Society of Newspaper Designers‘ (SND) seminar at the Shanghai Teaching Centre of The University of Hong Kong.
The seminar covered topics from trends in newspaper design to examining the impact of Web 2.0 on the industry and also promoted networking and discussion amongst professionals. In addition, it included an exhibition of newspaper design from all over the world.
Attendees came from Shanghai and nearby cities including Wuxi and Hefei.
The seminar was organized by SND-China, affiliated with the Society of Newspaper Designers, and was supported by the JMSC and the Oriental Daily News, a Shanghai-based newspaper.
“We wanted to prepare news designers and management for the continued rise of new media and we also held this event to get them to think on a deeper level,” said Lily Lu, founder and president of SND-China and a veteran newspaper designer based in New Jersey, America.
SND-China was launched in 2008 by Lu and has grown to nearly 100 members. According to Lu, it is the only professional journalism association in China. Lu is a native of Shanghai and came to the U.S. in 1986. A veteran newspaper designer, she spent 16 years working at the Newark Star-Ledger in New Jersey. Since then, she has devoted her cause to growing SND-China and its mission.
Many of China’s newspaper designers are young people in their 20s and 30s; Lu hopes to keep the industry moving forward by introducing new media and the importance of networking to this next generation of visual journalists.
“What has occurred at American newspapers serves as a lesson to us,” said Wang Qing Guo, Associate Chairman of SND-China and a Graphics Editor at the Oriental Daily News. “This danger hasn’t arrived in China yet but we see this as a turning point for visual journalists due to new media.”
Professor Ying Chan, director of the JMSC endorsed this view: “We must change with the times and learn because the world is changing so quickly, especially with new technologies. We are faced with this reality.”
Speakers included seasoned professionals such as Stacy Sweat, who worked at The Chicago Tribune before launching her own graphics design business in 2006. Sweat talked about how her newspaper experience has helped her business to thrive. Sweat, a long time member of SND, recently came to Asia to work on the University of Chicago’s launch of its centre in Beijing.
Another speaker was Chang He, Vice Chairman of Graphics at the Oriental Daily News. He talked about the power of Web 2.0, especially in social networking. At the Oriental Daily News reporters incorporate the Chinese versions of Twitter and Facebook in their daily work.
Seminar attendees said they were inspired by the seminar. “I wanted to come and learn more about the trends in the industry, especially since newspapers are becoming more and more visual these days,” said Chen Yu Hua a graphics designer at Jiefang Daily News in Shanghai.
Lu considers the latest gathering a success and plans to continue her mission by dividing her time between the U.S. and China. “I am a very lucky person in that I was able to do something that I love and make a living of it too,” she said. “Now I’m devoted to keeping this profession alive and healthy especially for the next generation of visual journalists.”