James Smith

James Smith

I am ...

A 25-year veteran of the media industry whose ideas, passion and leadership have helped media organizations gain respect, acclaim and - most importantly - readers throughout my career.

Work experience

Work experience
2006 - Present

Senior Editor, Content & Presentation

Chicago Sun-Times

Art direct, design and edit for the nation's ninth-largest daily newspaper.  I am responsible for driving the content and presentation that makes up the most important page of the Chicago Sun-Times – Page One.

  • Content development and coordination – I communicate with the other top editors in the newsroom to develop a page that contains: Emotion, Humor, Attitude and Power of Presentation.
  • News Judgment – I continually search through available resources (internet, television, radio, newspapers) to find stories that we may not have and develop them into our own.
  • Page development – I select the photo, write the headline and refer copy for page 1.
2001 - 2006

Deputy Managing Editor/Design

The Herald News

Responsible for the design and implementation of new projects for 40,000 daily newspaper. Through my hyper-local content initiatives, the paper gained circulation every year I was on staff. Among those initiatives were:

  • The creation of GRIDIRON – a high school football supplement to the daily sports section. Developed this publication from an idea – to a 12-page media kit for advertisers – to printed product within one month. The section contained feature stories, game previews, columnists, profiles of past players and in-depth statistics. Brought a new-age advertising mindset that developed built-in sponsorship ideas on pages which generated revenue through local advertisers. Contributed to the promotion of this product through local media outside of the newspaper. Responsible for the visual presentation of the entire section - which included accompanying photographer on location for art direction of cover photo shoots.
  • Zoning of the news section – Redesigned the news section with the idea specialized placement of zoned, local stories. This idea lead to the zoning of the newspaper across 6 different areas. Circulation in all areas increased as a result.

Management duties included: 

  • Staff management – Responsible for scheduling and delegation of duties for 5-person copy desk staff. 
  • Content management – Responsible for the slotting and story placement of news section.
  • Design Editor – Responsible for the quality of visual presentation for the entire newspaper.
2000 - 2001

Lead Designer


Contributor to award-winning redesign of Nevada's largest newspaper (175,000 circulation). Helped implement concept of sports specialty pages. Duties included:

  • Designing Page 1
  • Designing and art directing the sports cover and sports specialty pages
  • Designing the entertainment cover and In Depth packages.
1996 - 2000

Design Editor

Copley Newspapers

Contributor to the redesign of four northern Illinois daily newspapers with a combined circulation of 120,000. Among my many responsibilities in the central design operation were:

  • Features Design Editor – Supervisor of three-person staff. Responsible for maintaining the quality of design and production of features sections. Duties included designing as many as 25 broadsheet pages daily, scheduling of staff, art direction and facilitating of content with designers and section editors.
  • News Design Editor – Responsible for the daily news section design for any of the four suburban Chicago titles. Designed as many as 12 broadsheet pages daily.
1995 - 1996

Lead Designer

The Herald News
  • Designed A1, A3 and Sports cover daily on deadline. Major contributor to content decisions for pages. Also designed Business and local feature covers off deadline.
  • My work earned the paper its first award of excellence from the Society of News Design.
1989 - 1995

Sports Desk Staff

The Beacon-News

Key contributor to team that produced Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 daily section (under 50,000). Among my many responsibilities during my time on staff were:

  • Lead Designer – Responsible for the art direction and design for the entire sports section.
  • Writer – Responsible for coverage of prep sports including game stories, players of the year and all-area selections. Also, my passion for boxing brought interviews and stories with the sport's biggest stars to our readers.
  • Slot Editor – Responsible for the budgeting of stories and assignment of high school sports coverage.

My Portfolio




Working knowledge and skills in Adobe Flash.


Highly proficient in Apple film-editing application iMovie.


Highly proficient in graphic design application QuarkXPress.

Adobe CS

Highly proficient in Adobe CS programs InDesign and Photoshop.