Robert S. Davis

Designer, photographer, editor

A poirtrait of Robert S. Davis

I was midway through my reporting and photography internship at a small newspaper in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., when the editor asked me to pitch in elsewhere that day.

“Have you ever used QuarkXPress?” She asked, referring to the pagination program. I said I hadn’t. “Don’t worry,” she said, “it’s easy. Go lay out page A5.”

And with that, I was a designer.

I didn’t know my career would follow that trajectory, but I’ve embraced it. After spending several years working in media in my hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., I moved to New England, where I edited stories and designed pages at The Boston Globe, a proud news organization that punched way above its weight. I was at The Globe during the high renaissance of Boston sports and helped tell the story of two World Series, two Super Bowls, two Stanley Cup Finals, and two NBA Finals. I also witnessed one of the city’s darkest periods, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

After seven years in Boston, I made the leap over to the legendary Washington Post — and to digital design. I spent my first two years as a designer on the news desk, focusing primarily on Page One and projects for both print and the Web. In 2016, I bid adieu to print design, and moved to the Homepage Team.

I spent four intense years as a homepage editor, during which I was entrusted with the awesome responsibility or running the page during elections and other huge events. I also kept up my design chops, and my colleagues leaned on me for the presentation of special projects. In a short time, I earned a reputation as, in the words of one of our Politics editors, “the guy who does cool sh*t on the homepage.”

In 2021, my latest adventure got underway when I was tapped to serve as a news product editor, representing the newsroom in the world of product and engineering. Thankfully, my world isn’t all jira tickets and sprints; I occasionally get to contribute to curation experiments with my former homepage teammates. I love every moment of that work.

I live in St. Louis with my wife — a fellow editor — and a dog and a pair of mischievous kittens. When I’m not working or commuting to D.C., I can be found behind a camera, a pastime I’ve been enjoying for nearly 20 years. You can also find me in the kitchen, or out on a long, meandering walk about town.

View my resume below or download it as a PDF.

Professional experience

The Washington Post

2014-present
Senior news product editor, homepage
  • Helped lead the 2022 redesign of The Post’s homepage, partnering with Product, Design and Engineering; collaborating with senior editors to write new curation guidelines; and training homepage editors on the new design philosophy.
  • Writes custom tools for editors on the Curation and Platforms teams.
  • Builds and fosters the relationship between the newsroom and the product and engineering teams.
  • Creates and hones workflows for homepage, app and alerts editors.
  • Helps devise and coordinate curation experiments on the homepage and app.
  • Trains the homepage team and news designers on The Post’s proprietary page layout system and coaches these groups on best practices.
Homepage news editor
  • Managed The Post’s 2020 and 2018 election coverage on the homepage and apps, working closely with editors, designers and developers.
  • Selected stories and wrote headlines and blurbs for the national and regional homepages on desktop, mobile, and the tablet app.
  • Wrote custom coding and worked with photo, video, and graphics editors to elevate projects’ presence on the homepage.
  • Helped to manage The Post’s social media presence at night, selecting stories for promotion and writing engaging headlines.
News designer/art director
  • Primarily designed Page One and projects for both print and the Web; occasionally worked on Sunday Business and Metro.
  • Designed a suite of promotional material for stories, including panels for The Post’s iPad app and images for sharing via social media.
  • Commissioned illustrations and worked with artists to ensure their work complements the narrative.

The Boston Globe

2007-2014
Assistant Design Director/News
  • Designed Page One and projects for the daily and Sunday editions. Contributed graphics and photo illustrations.
  • Supervised a team of six layout editors for news and business.
  • Served as a lead member of the rollout team as the newsroom adopted its content management system, Méthode. Wrote manuals and organized training sessions across the newsroom.
News designer/copy editor
  • Designed the Sunday Metro front and Page One.
  • Copy edited local, national, foreign, and political news.

The Florida Times‑Union

2005-2007
Lead business designer/copy editor
  • Designed and copy edited the Monday tabloid and Sunday business front. Contributed graphics, photographs, and illustrations.
  • Contributed to daily business section design and copy editing. Edited and designed the daily personal finance page.
Copy editor/community news designer
  • Copy edited local and wire news stories. Designed inside pages.
  • Edited, designed, and contributed reporting, photographs, and graphics to a weekly community tabloid, The St. Johns Sun.

The Jacksonville Business Journal

2003-2005
Assistant editor
  • Assisted the Associate Editor in planning and editing the weekly focus sections and quarterly and annual glossy publications.
  • Helped coordinate assignments among 11 freelance writers.
Copy editor/designer
  • Contributed to design and copy editing of the weekly section. Contributed graphics, photography, and reporting.

The Mandarin News

2003
Staff writer
  • General assignment reporter and photographer at a weekly newspaper in Jacksonville, Fla.

Related skills

  • Excellent news judgment.
  • Strong design and typography skills.
  • Strong infographic, photo editing, and photo illustration skills.
  • Solid HTML and CSS skills. Learning Javascript. (I wrote nearly every line of code for this website by hand.)
  • Well-versed in alternative story form editing and presentation.
  • Meticulous copy editing and proofreading skills.
  • Organized and able to meet deadlines while managing numerous projects. Able to adapt quickly and perform well under pressure.
  • Well-versed in Associated Press style.
  • Expert on Méthode and Adobe Creative Suite.

Professional awards

  • 38th Best of Newspaper Design (2016) Four awards of excellence for news design, including recognition of an individual portfolio.
  • 37th Best of Newspaper Design (2015) Two awards of excellence for news design.
  • 36th Best of Newspaper Design (2014) Three awards of excellence for news design.
  • 35th Best of Newspaper Design (2013) Silver Medal for news design; three awards of excellence for news design.
  • 28th Best of Newspaper Design (2006) Two awards of excellence for business page design.
  • Florida Press Association (2004) First place: Graphic design, individual graphic; honorable mention: Front page makeup.
  • Florida Press Association (2002) Honorable mention: Photo series in one issue.

Moonlighting

Education

The University of North Florida

1999-2002
  • Earned a bachelor of science degree in communications, print journalism.
  • Minored in philosophy and psychology.
  • Served as photography editor for the campus newspaper, The Spinnaker.