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August 13, 2010 / Gina D.

Wanted: A1 designer extraordinaire

I received official word last week that we’re promoting our current A1 designer, Nicole (Knight) Spano, to be Assistant Editor over at sister paper Redlands Daily Facts at the end of the month.

Nicole is far too nice to tell you about all the years she’s done my bidding, knocking curveballs out of the park and otherwise just taking care of things without ever having to be asked. She won’t mention the number of shifts she’s had to work up as many as five graphics before jumping into her regularly scheduled “A1 ON/SB” shift. And she’ll refrain from recapping all the mad on-demand revamping and reformatting and tweaking that was asked of her on a regular basis. For covers. And inside pages. And other people’s pages. For two papers. For the next day’s editions. On deadline. While working on her master’s degree.

And Nicole is definitely way too modest to admit she has constantly served as an unflappable touchstone for two (three? four? more?) newsrooms under the rather unassuming (and technically unofficial) title of  “A1 designer.” Nor will she mention how she has — for her entire career — eagerly jumped into any copy desk role she was assigned without a smidge of ego ever showing through.

We don’t have enough room on our applications to list all the things Nicole does for us on a regular basis, nor is it reasonable to assume the next hire would slip right into her routines — but we probably will go ahead and expect it anyway.

So, yes, I’ve buried the lede, here. My bad. The scoop: As far as I know (and until anyone tells me otherwise), WE’RE HIRING. (Does bolding and all-caps…ing… make up for the burying? Let’s pretend it does.)

Will this person step right into the A1 designer seat? There’s no guarantees in this business anymore. We do retain some very capable people in Nicole’s stead, so it’s not as though there’s no competition for the job. But if we find someone with a stellar A-game, I’m sure we’d want to maximize their talents. We’d also want to teach them how to do graphics “our way,” so knowledge of some of the standard designy programs like Photoshop and Illustrator as well as familiarity with the array of Google offerings are definitely a plus.

I won’t kid you: This is a tough job. It’s an integral part of an off-site consolidated copy desk located in West Covina. The entire operation handles all of the news/features/sports production for eight daily newspapers. The Sun/Bulletin A1 designer works closely with yours truly (as closely as one can from about 40 miles away) to keep cover-page design standards high, to get good graphics into the paper, to assist other designers on-site as requested, and to otherwise pick up the slack as needed. (That last one is pretty much a given universal requirement of anyone on a universal desk.)

If this sounds like you, or like someone you know, don’t hesitate to contact me at, and I’ll definitely make certain the information gets into the right hands.

For the record, the Facts is also on the hunt for a couple of reporters, including a sports reporter, last I’d heard. Contact for more information.


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