J. Ford Huffman, a legend in newspaper design and one of the architects of USA Today, will visit classes at West Virginia University March 3-4 as part of the P.I. Reed School of Journalisms Journalist in Residence program.
Huffman, USA Todays former deputy managing editor in the design department and a WVU alumnus, will share his experiences with students in magazine production, visual journalism and publication classes at the School of Journalism and the College of Creative Arts.
As deputy managing editor of USA Today, he recommended the design and art direction of the newspapers front page, working with artists, content and layout editors, reporters and photographers to conceive and develop art and presentation.
He designed the front page of the top-selling Sept. 12, 2001, issue (3.6 million copies) that Society for News Design magazine calledan unprecedented national statement.He also directed the presentation of the entire millennium issue (Dec. 31, 1999) that sold 3.3 million copies.
Last year, Huffman was on the team that developed the initial concept for USA Todays active lifestyle monthly magazine, due out later this year. He also has helped facilitate the merger of the newspapers print and online visual departments.
Huffman is one of nine expert contributors to Jennifer George-Palilonistextbook, A Practical Guide to Graphics Reporting. He has led discussions at workshops for the Society of News Design in Nova Scotia, Costa Rica and Poland and for the Freedom Forum in Hungary.
In addition, he has taught at the Defense Information School at Ft. Meade, Md., the American Press Institute and Poynter Institute and at universities from Miami to South Dakota. He regularly teaches in USA Todays continuing education program.
Huffman has been invited to Gannett newsrooms more than 50 times to lead discussions about writing and design. His reviews appear in the books section of USA Today. In early 1981, he was in the group that developed the first prototypes of USA Today. At the papers start in 1982, he was a content editor of the life section.
Huffman began his career at the Wheeling News-Register and started with Gannett News Service in 1977. He was managing editor of the afternoon Rochester Times-Union from 1984-86 and managing editor of the morning Democrat and Chronicle in 1986.
He became the first managing editor for features, graphics and photography at Gannett News Service, where he later directed the newsroom effort to distribute the Gannett Graphics Network via the Internet.
Huffman was part of the group that designed, edited and published USA Today books at Gannett News Service until he returned to USA Today in late 1999. He is a 10-year member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors program committee.
Huffman recently joined The Washington Post to assist in transforming graphics and visual display throughout the A section.
Outside the newsroom, he has designed sets for Oglebay Institutes Towngate Theater in Wheeling.
In addition, he is a former two-term president of the 200-member D.C. Front Runners, and he has finished 22 marathons. The U.S. Marine Corps selected his illustration as the branding image for its 2004 marathon.