Graphic Designers Animate the News

Graphic Designers Animate the News
By: Dave Courvoisier

(Cape Girardeau, MO)--They're artists, they're computer experts, and for you and me and everyone in the newsroom, they're indispensible.  

Computer-capable graphic designers are the new generation of tv news and production.
That animation "thingy" and just about every other visual you see on the news that is not shot by a news photographer is generated by Deana Todt, using her considerable talent, and this special graphics-equipped computer.

For instance, yesterday, Mary-Ann Maloney was working with Deana on something she needed for her "Everybody in the Heartland Has a Story" report.

Naturally, in TV news we need pictures to tell our stories, but once in a while there just isn't enough to cover all the gaps.  That's when we turn to Deana.  She can conjure up crystal-clear digital images out of ones and zeros.

"Mary-Ann was in here just a little while ago, telling me how she visualized me creating the segment she needed from me, and we talked about it.  She ended up saying 'I don't know what you're going to do with this, but I trust you.'...and that is very nice," says Deana Todt, News Graphic Designer.

In fact, Deana's contribution to our news is so pervasive, that we've come to take it for seamless that we sometimes wonder what's been recorded on camera, and what she generates in her computer.

Her counterpart on our production staff is Teresa Connell....their equipment is almost identical, and so is their backgrounds.  Both were accomplished artists before computers ever came along.

"Actually, I never touched a computer till my last semester in college," admits Teresa Connell, the Creative Services Graphic Designer for KFVS 12.

Teresa's work is just as ubiquitous as Deana's...only you see it in commercials, and you see it in our publications.

"Certainly in my position, if you ever get a job you don't really like, it will go away in about 24 hours, so then you get to do womething different," stresses Connell.

So what's the difference between what Deana does, and what Teresa does? In a word..deadlines.

"For me, news is very strict, if I go into the 2 o'clock news meeting, and they say I need a 3-D basketball spinning by 5 o'clock, and it's the  top story of the day, if I get it there at 5:01, it's too late....I mean there is not a minute that I can be late," says Todt.

But both agree, what they like most about the job is the fact that no two days are alike.

"There's always somethign new, so for me personally, uh, because I get to do print, I get to do a lot of our web materials, and stuff, as well as animations and logo work, and things like that, it's always somethig different.  Literally, I can switch across three different media in one afternoon without any problems," says Connell.

"But I have learned one thing about working in this business, one thing about what I do...everybody will have an opinion about it....and some people will really like this one thing, and they they'll say no no no, you really needed to do it completely different," Todt adds, laughing.