Chris Ballard G’12

November 9, 2017

“Newhouse prepared me to be open-minded and always prepared for new assignments, new technology and new challenges. Because we were grounded in fundamentals and taught to approach new ideas thoughtfully and carefully, I’ve had a leg up on my peers.”

Chris Ballard G'12

Chris Ballard G’12 graduated from Newhouse with a master’s in magazine, newspaper and online journalism. He currently works as the senior product designer at the Washington Post. He has held positions at other publication companies such as the Arizona Republic in Phoenix as a digital designer and the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix as a newspaper designer. Ballard has led teams and collaborated on various design projects for the Washington Post.

Visit ChrisBallard.com>>

What are your job responsibilities?

I am a designer focused primarily on our iOS and Android apps, but also work with some emerging platforms like Apple News, Snapchat and new technologies like Amazon Alexa and chatbots. I’m responsible for researching, pitching new ideas, designing and maintaining the look and feel of our products and conducting research to make sure our products meet our customer’s needs.

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job?

Newhouse prepared me to be open-minded and always prepared for new assignments, new technology and new challenges. Because we were grounded in fundamentals and taught to approach new ideas thoughtfully and carefully, I’ve had a leg up on my peers. Also, to be so well-versed in journalism as a designer for the Post has been invaluable. Because our department is diverse, and includes designers with MFAs and visual design degrees, I often have an advantage in knowing and understanding the journalism process and the company’s goals

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions you may have not considered when applying?

Yes! When I started at Newhouse, I wanted to be a reporter. After taking Claudia Strong’s design class and designing for a few other SU publications, I realized design married two of my skillsets and I fell in love with it. Newhouse is the best place to organically find what interests you because it has so many opportunities to just try things out.

What was unique about your graduate program?

I don’t know about other cohorts, but I felt like our class became so tight knit. If we weren’t in class together, you could usually catch a group of us out at Taps in Westcott, downtown at Al’s or roaming the campus together.

Describe your most valuable/significant experience at Newhouse.

The relationships I made with other students, professors and advisors were incredibly valuable to me. They have helped me far beyond the confines of Syracuse as a great support network.

How did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you? What internships or volunteer opportunities did you do while at Newhouse?

I had an internship with a local paper set up through them that was helpful. I utilized the center while hunting for an internship in the summer and they were always friendly, always helpful and always willing to do everything they could to help you get an internship in your field. I’m awful at résumé and cover letter writing and generally selling myself, so their resources were extremely helpful!

What advice do you have for current or incoming students? Any classes or professors that you recommend?

Be open-minded. If something even generally interests you, try it out. Go to a meeting, write a story, design an article, make a podcast, do a radio show, use some cameras from the Cage to start a YouTube series, find some passionate people and make something cool. If it doesn’t take off or doesn’t interest you, no sweat. There’s so much available to you and this is your time to take advantage of that!

If you’re interested in design, find Claudia Strong. And take any class Jon Glass offers!

Keep an open mind, be there to get better. You’ll have an amazing year.

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