By Donald R. Winslow
News Photographer magazine
WASHINGTON, DC - NPPA member David Griffin, creative director for U.S. News & World Report, was today named as the new senior editor of photography and illustrations for National Geographic magazine. "What a great opportunity and challenge," Griffin said after U.S. News editor Brian Duffy made the announcement to the staff. "I'm hanging up my design tools and going home to photography," Griffin told News Photographer.
While Griffin looks forward to working for Geographic's new editor in chief, Chris Johns, and new associate editor Dennis Dimick, he still has high regard for his old boss. "Brian Duffy is one of the best editors I've ever worked for, no kidding," Griffin said. "He's been great, very supportive, challenging as a journalist, and I'm really going to miss working with him, both as an editor and as a person. This place is held together by his glue."
At Geographic, Griffin will report to Dimick, who was promoted to associate editor of Illustrations - the number two position in the masthead - by Johns in January as part of a broader reorganization of editors and their responsibilities.
"Photojournalists of David Griffin's quality come along perhaps once a generation," Dimick said today. "An articulate and highly accomplished advocate for the communicative power of photography, David brings back to National Geographic
a deep and diverse set of invaluable talents and skills."
"Along with editor Chris Johns, I am excited about working with David again as we build creative teams and manage the story-building process. Great work lies ahead as we all collaborate to produce compelling contextual journalism that illuminates the why and how of complex issues and emergent trends increasingly unfolding in the news of the day."
Dimick will continue to lead the magazine's environmental journalism agenda as he did previously as the senior editor for Environment. In addition to Griffin, those reporting to Dimick after the reorganization include Valerie May, senior editor of New Media; Kathy Moran, senior editor of Natural History; and the newly-hired senior editor of Technology, Ken Geiger, from The Dallas Morning News.
Asked what he expects from his new editor, Griffin said: "Chris (Johns) is clearly not afraid to make decisions and to make changes, and if that's any precursor to how he's going to be as an editor, that's a good thing. I'm thrilled that his changes at Geographic dovetail with my interests, and that's in doing journalism that's a little more aggressive and relevant."
Duffy praised Griffin in a memo to the U.S. News staff today. "During his five years at U.S. News, David has literally remade the magazine, overseeing four separate redesigns, the last of which he will be completing in the coming weeks, before he moves over to the Geographic. But far more than his great technical prowess, David's passion for aggressive news coverage, his insistence on excellence in every phase of the magazine's presentation and his innate sense of class and elegance have contributed enormously to the great success U.S. News now enjoys among both readers and advertisers," Duffy wrote. "For someone who contributes so much over such a broad range of activities there are damned few suitable words of acknowledgement. The only one that comes to me at this time is, 'Thanks.' Please join me in wishing David every success in his new position."
In 2003, Griffin redesigned News Photographer magazine as a gift to the NPPA, and since then he has continued to volunteer his time as a frequent design consultant to the publication.
Griffin has a degree in journalism from Ohio University's Visual Communication program (which predates the School of Visual Communication), and he had college photography internships at The Courier Journal and Louisville Times, The Topeka Capitol-Journal, andThe Herald in Everett, WA, as well as a layout internship at National Geographic. He was the Ohio Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1978, the College Photographer of the Year in 1978, and a Gold Medallist in the Hearst Collegiate Photojournalism Awards in both 1977 and 1978.
In 1972 he was a part-time photographer for Today's Sunbeam in Salem, NJ. In the early 1980's he was a photographer, and then graphics editor, at the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri, before moving on to be the assistant director of photography at The Herald. From there he made the leap to art director at The Hartford Courant and then art director of Inquirer, the Sunday magazine of The Philadelphia Inquirer. His first job at National Geographic was as a layout editor; then he became the associate director of layout and design, and then the design director of the book division.
Along the way, David was the NPPA Newspaper Magazine Picture Editor of the Year in 1987 and 1988; on the NPPA Magazine Picture Editor of the Year team awards in 1996 and 1998; and recipient of an NPPA Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year Special Recognition award in 1983. Of the many books he designed for National Geographic, two exceptional ones are Portraits of America by William Albert Allard andCuba by David Alan Harvey.
Also, last week Bill Marr was named to the new position of associate editor for Layout and Design at National Geographic magazine. Associate editors Marr and Dimick both report to editor in chief Johns. Marr, who was the designer for The Best Of Photojournalism 2000 for the National Press Photographers Association, has been working as a publication designer in Edgewater, MD. He's the founder of Open Books, LLC, along with his wife and partner, photojournalist Sarah Leen. Previously he was a layout editor at National Geographic magazine; the art director for Inquirer, the Sunday magazine of The Philadelphia Inquirer; and a photographer and picture editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, MO. Marr was also a College Photographer of the Year (his honor came before Griffin's, in 1975).