I build and launch new products at The Washington Post.
I’m the Design Director for Emerging News Products at The Washington Post. Our team’s goal is to find new audiences for and subscribers to our journalism. We create new experiences and products and work with third party platforms in order to distribute The Post’s journalism to as many people as possible.
I have over 10 years of experience as a visual journalist and five years of experience leading a team. In my time at The Post, I’ve been a part of four major launches. One of those launches was thelily.com, a web site I proposed and developed the editorial and creative mission for. Each of these launches is outlined below.
I studied journalism and visual communication at The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and launched my career at The Arizona Republic in 2008 as a news page designer. I started working at The Washington Post in 2013 as an art director for the Arts & Style section. I joined the Emerging News Product team when it was formed in 2014, becoming a full-time digital journalist and leader in the newsroom.
I live in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Previously, I’ve lived in Phoenix, New York and Nashville. I grew up in North Canton, Ohio.
Photo above by Jesse Dittmar.
With each product launch, there are specific goals and audiences in mind. The editorial and design strategies continue to evolve for each of these.
1. The Lily
My role: Founder, Editor in Chief, Creative Director
In 2016, I pitched that we revive The Lily, the very first U.S. newspaper by women. In 2017, we launched. Our mission is two-fold: to empower women with news and information, and to elevate a diverse set of women’s voices. Our goal is to bring Post journalism to a new audience. Only two years later, The Lily has become an instantly recognizable brand beloved by millennial women — and a lot of others, as well. I developed both the visual identity and the editorial voice for The Lily.
Like most media sites, we publish several stories a day on our site. Unlike most media sites, every single one comes with a custom design treatment. But we don’t stop there. Our experiments come in the form of murals, twice-weekly comics, an Instagram-only book club, a short documentary about turning 30, a highly visual, award-winning newsletter called Lily Lines, and an ever-growing presence on the most visual social media platform of all — Instagram.
We’ve won several awards for our work on The Lily. I’m most excited about being named one of six finalists in the Society for News Design’s “World’s Best Designed” category. We lost to The New York Times — there are worse people to lose to. We also won a Webby in our first year in the “best email newsletter” category for our newsletter Lily Lines. See the rest of our awards and nominations here.
2. Washington Post select App
My role: Design Director
When the Washington Post Select app launched in 2014, I was part of the team. I worked as an art director, designing around 20 custom editorial images a day for the app. I eventually became the Design Director for the app and now lead the visual team working on this project. I work closely with Deputy Design Director Amy Cavenaile who recently created and implemented a design refresh, which I oversaw. The goal of our app is to create a unique, clean reading experience with an emphasis on visuals. You can also see these custom designs on The Washington Post’s new Fire TV app.
3. By the Way
My role: Design Director
After the successful launch of The Lily, our team had the opportunity to launch another vertical. By the Way is a new travel destination from The Washington Post, featuring city guides written by locals as well as travel news and tips. By the Way Editor Amanda Finnegan brought the idea to Emerging News Products and worked closely with our leadership team to develop it out. I oversaw and guided the visual brand strategy, created by design editor Rachel Orr. We worked closely with the product team on the UI/UX of the site. I commissioned and art directed the logo, which was made by Heads of State. Our goal was for By the Way to have its own visual identity but to still fit naturally within the ecosystem of washingtonpost.com.
My role: Design Director
I co-lead the team that launched The Washington Post’s Discover channel on Snapchat, working closely with the company to shape our channel for its platform. We were the first breaking news platform to launch on Snap, in February of 2017. Today, we create five editions a week, and I oversee the design team.
LEADING A TEAM
Building the right team is one of the most important things I can do as a manager — and also one of my favorites.
I lead a team of 18 people within the Emerging News Products group. My team is made up of design editors, art directors, multiplatform editors, a video editor and a writer. I had the pleasure of having a role in hiring each of their positions and couldn’t ask for a better team. They are ambitious and curious and full of so many ideas. My goal is for my team to be excited about their work and for everyone to feel like they are always evolving. I encourage open communication and tell everyone ideas can come from anyone, regardless of their role in the organization. I am energized by all of them.
always a project
I love leading a team, but I make sure to always have a project going on that I’m excited about. Here are two big ones from the past year.
1. I co-directed a short documentary
My role: Director, Producer, Creative Director, Interviewer
Together with my coworkers Neema Roshania Patel and Maya Sugarman, we co-directed and produced our first film: “The Jessicas are turning 30.” The short doc weaves together six compelling narratives of people who were born Jessica in 1989. The film captures what it’s like to be 30 in America today. For millennial women, the milestone has become an age heavy with expectation. Thirty-year-old American women today are far less likely to be married and have children than they were 30 years ago – they’re also more likely to have a four-year degree and a full-time job. “The Jessicas are turning 30” will premiere at the BendFilm Festival on Oct. 10, 2019.
Read more about the film here. Watch the trailer below.
2. We painted a mural live on election night.
My role: Project manager, Creative Director
While other outlets were simply posting stories during the 2018 midterm elections, The Lily live-painted a mural of an eagle with 184 feathers, one for each of the 184 women who were first-time candidates for congressional or gubernatorial seats, or sought a higher office in Congress. Each time a female candidate won her seat, a feather was colored in. The final product conveyed how many non-incumbent women were elected to office. This took place at The Line Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Here is a fancy video, with the best stock music we could find, of the night unfolding:
Email me at amynking [at] gmail.com