Kara Haupt on art directing for daily news websites

Haupt is senior art director for the websites of NBC News, Today and MSNBC. Here she talks about the importance of commissioning and the pressure of millions of viewers every day

When scrolling through news websites and clicking in and out of stories it can be easy to dismiss the curation and the aesthetic considerations that have gone into creating an article with imagery, or a homepage that contains both illustrations and photography. 

“I’m absolutely thinking about how the artwork is going to look in all sorts of contexts, like homepage. But try to remember that the homepage is a small subsection of traffic, we also need to be thinking about how this artwork looks in search results, on social, I’m thinking about all these different places and trying to specialise them to whatever kind of contexts they might be in,” says Kara Haupt, senior art director for NBC News, Today and MSNBC Digital. 

Based in New York, Haupt works across all three websites to deliver visuals and she leads a team of photo editors, designers, and art directors to make it all happen. “I think between the three brands we’re publishing about 80 to 90 articles a day,” she says. “And so every single one of those articles needs either a photo, an illustration or a combination of the two.” 

Top: The Great American Sandwich Relay by George Wylesol for Today.com. Above: NBCNews.com screenshot