About Ron Reason

“Design With Reason” is the companion blog (launched in 1997 and relaunched in 2007) to the website ronreason.com, the home page of Ron Reason Consulting. Here you’ll find hundreds of articles and essays with case studies, tips and opinions about editorial design and redesign, strategic thinking, and the culture and communities of the news media.

I am a consultant to news publications, universities and communications companies worldwide, with more than 25 years of experience telling stories via design, redesign, and staff, organizational and strategic training. I’m currently based in Portland, Ore., and work remotely and travel to clients as needed. Magazine clients have included Champion (the magazine of the NCAA), Athletic Business, Advertising Age, Modern Healthcare, Capital Ideas (journal of economics and finance research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business) and many others. Newspaper clients have included The Harvard Crimson, The Dallas Morning News, Emirates Evening Post (Dubai), The Standard (Nairobi, Kenya), Chicago ReaderOrlando Sentinel, Cincinnati Enquirer, Boston Herald, San Francisco Examiner, and numerous other small and medium market papers. For a complete client list with links jumping off to case studies and portfolios, visit this page.

I have appeared around the world as an invited speaker to more than 200 publishing companies, universities and professional groups. I present the inside stories of reinvention from my recent clients, discuss industry challenges, trends and best practices, and even critique and remake attendees’ work. I have lecture at colleges including the University of Oregon-Eugene and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and for trade groups including the Russian Press Federation (Moscow) and the Society for News Design/Scandinavia (Oslo). Coming up next: Chennai, India, in July 2017, where I will work with WAN-IFRA.

At the University of Montana, I was selected by the School of Journalism to serve in its Pollner Distinguished Professorship for Spring 2015, a newly endowed post bringing to the school an expert in visual journalism, digital, and/or the business side of the news. I lived and worked in Missoula from January through June 2015. In addition to helping advise student media across all platforms, I created and delivered a senior-level course titled “Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption.” We had a blast and learned a lot. (Link here for the final course syllabus, with lots of hyperlinks to what we studied, discussed, produced and read.)

For five years I served as Director of Visual Journalism and Faculty Member at Poynter, where I later served as visiting instructor for many years. There I created, directed and taught in hundreds of seminars and conferences dissecting and sharing the best of visual journalism, as well as adjacent programs in writing, ethics, leadership and diversity. I also wrote and edited Poynter books, periodicals and websites, and assisted with research including eyetracking and infographics impact studies. I was among the first to “live report” via instant web publishing out of Poynter programs.

Despite the turmoil in news publishing in recent years, I’ve remained active in editorial design and strategic consulting. Why? I bring a journalist’s perspective for storytelling, along with a sharp interest in maximizing new revenue opportunities. Clients are drawn to my passion for print (though I’m keenly interested in, and advise them on, multi-platform branding and publishing as well). They appreciate that I approach each project as a unique challenge. My references attest to my ability to work well across departmental lines and across cultures, to navigate challenging conversations, and to help manage projects to keep them on track. Among the testimonials found on my LinkedIn profile:

“Ron has a great perspective on how words and images should work together to create an enhanced presentation of news pieces, beginning with a highly visual approach to story planning. Ron is also a great trainer, fully capable of orchestrating engaging seminars, fully sensitive to working in different cultural environments.”

For additional references, link here.

Have questions about hiring a news design consultant, to create or redesign your news publication? Visit this link. Of course, a second opinion is always helpful – for an independent report of how one client viewed their working relationship with me, and how they achieved success, visit this link.

Please visit often and share your comments, especially questions about the industry, and I’ll answer promptly. Just leave them in the comments section, e-mail me at any time at ronreason@gmail.com, or phone (773) 562-7464. Thanks for stopping by!

– Ron Reason
Updated April 2017

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  1. Rob Merwin

     /  April 20, 2011


    “Things to never say …” items are truly poignant, hilarious and painful. Couldn’t have said them better! Thanks for sharing.

    Hope all is well,


    -Rob Merwin

  2. Craig Groshart

     /  April 6, 2013

    The question of jumping stories has come up in the newsrooms of two tabloid papers I edit.
    Information I remember from the past said that readers don’t like jumps and readership can go down. Is that still the thinking? Does it matter? If so, are there ways to handle long stories without jumps?
    Thanks for any information/help/advice you can offer.

  3. Our experience just last month with the Cincinnati Enquirer redesign confirms that readers do NOT like jumps. They reacted with wild enthusiasm to the conversion to “promo only” front pages, with the complete story starting on an inside page, with its own headline. If pages must continue on another page at all, they go to the next page. For exceptions like longer project stories, they can “flip” to a third or even fourth consecutive page, but they must be consecutive. The editors report that readers say they are reading and comprehending more with this approach. Makes great sense – fewer distractions on the way to completing a story. Confirms my prediction of a few years back that newspapers will be adopting more magazine-like approaches, not only in page size and shape but in editorial philosophies like this.

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