J. Ford Huffman

Independent Consultant


J. Ford Huffman, an editor, designer, art director, writer and media-strategy consultant, graduated from WVU’s School of Journalism and was managing editor of the Daily Athenaeum.

His anthology of service members’ writings about the impact of the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is out this month from Marine Corps University Press. He designed the cover, too.  And the new edition of Susan Eisenhower’s memoir, Mrs. Ike, features his cover design.

He has advised the Hindustan (India) Times on writing, editing, managing and presenting the news, the San Francisco Chronicle about presentation and content and The Washington Post about graphics, design and presentation including alternative story forms. In 2009, he taught publication design at the USDA Graduate School in Washington. He is an adviser to Visual.ly of San Francisco.

Until December 2007, he was a deputy managing editor at USA TODAY, where his responsibilities included recommending the design and art direction of Page One. His sketch became the front-page design of the top-selling Sept. 12, 2001, issue (3.6 million copies), which Society for News Design (SND) called "an unprecedented national statement."  He directed the millennium edition (Dec. 31, 1999) that sold 3.3 million copies.

Huffman is one of nine "expert" contributors (including Nigel Holmes) in A Practical Guide to Graphics Reporting (2006). He wrote a chapter about layout for Creative Editing for Print Media (1996) and edited a chapter in the 2011 edition.

He has led discussions at workshops from Nova Scotia to Costa Rica for SND, Warsaw and Budapest for the Freedom Forum and Prague for the University of Miami.

He has taught at the Defense Information School at Ft. Meade, Md., the American Press, Maynard and Poynter institutes and at universities from Florida to South Dakota. He has led discussions about writing and presentation in more than 60 newsrooms, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force Times, which were redesigned and Marine Corps Times introduced in 1999.

His nonfiction book reviews appear in the Military Times and have appeared in USA TODAY and S. F. Chronicle. His interviews with 10 Carnegie Corporation beneficiaries including Justice Clarence Thomas are in last spring’s Carnegie Reporter magazine.

In early 1981, he was design director of the group that developed the first prototypes of USA TODAY, including the first weather map.  At the paper's start in 1982, he was a content editor in Life. In 1984, he was on the full-time task force exploring Gannett's online future.

He began his career at the Wheeling News-Register and started with Gannett in 1977. In 1986 he became the first managing editor for features, graphics and photography at Gannett News Service, where he directed the effort to start Internet delivery the 40,000-graphic Gannett Graphics Network and was presentation editor for the child-abuse series that won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1991. He was part of Gannett New Media, publishers of USA TODAY Books.

He is a member of ASNE's program committee, SND, and is a past director of NLGJA.

He has designed sets for Oglebay Institute's Towngate Theater in Wheeling and interned at Shaw Festival in Ontario in 1990. He's a former president of the 300-member D.C. Front Runners. The U.S. Marine Corps selected his design as the brand for the 2004 marathon.

Images of his studio art are at  www.pbase.com/jfordhufffman/stages. His exhibits include a solo show at a Georgetown gallery.

He is a graduate of Paden City (W. Va.) High School and is a resident of the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C

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