Sharp, eye-catching graphics earn Mehlville High graduate four Emmys
By SHANNON BURKE
For the Call
He may not be as recognizable as Dan Gray or Mike Bush, but viewers of KSDK Channel 5 newscasts know his Emmy award-winning work.
Richard Witzofsky is a graphic designer at KSDK, one of the masterminds behind the sharp, eye-catching graphics that help news anchors report the day's events.
From "over-the-shoulders," graphics that appear next to the anchors as they report, to advertisements for the station, Witzofsky has a hand in many of the graphics and animations that give the station its own unique style.
"I get to help deliver information and help people understand the news while still getting to be creative," Witzofsky told the Call. "We're not trying to sell anything. We're trying to help distribute in-formation."
A 1987 graduate of Mehlville Senior High School, an interest in drawing prompted Witzofsky to earn his degree in visual communications from Truman State University. He got his start in the advertising department at Call Newspapers.
In 1998, KSDK became his home after he helped remodel the studios while working at the DeSIGNery Shop. A friend who worked at the station was leaving and told Witzofsky his position would be vacant.
"I was hanging a sign, I got interviewed after that, and two weeks later, I was working at Channel 5," Witzofsky said.
Now, instead of hanging signs, Witzof-sky has gotten the hang of working in the television industry, preparing graphics for the noon and evening newscasts on KSDK.
Although he has only been in television for four years, Witzofsky has been nominated for seven Emmys from the St. Louis/Mid-American Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sci-ences.
Winning an Emmy in both 2000 and 2001 and two in 2002, Witzofsky said that the Emmys make him realize that others appreciate his work, especially his 4-year-old son Matthew.
"My son might be impressed with the Emmys when he goes through the stage when he doesn't like me, but that's a long way off,'' said Witzofsky, who lives in Fen-ton with his son and his wife, Anne.
Witzofsky's success in the industry comes with an ability to meet almost hourly deadlines and deal with the daily pressures of working at a television station.
"The most demanding part of the job is trying to come up with a creative idea to help express the ideas and emotions of the story. Once I figure that out, I may have two hours to create 10 graphics," Witzofsky said. "The pressure is incredible."
Besides newscasts, Witzofsky also does work for commercials and friends with graphic design companies, as well as community events.
Witzofsky has worked with Kurt and Brenda Warner on their Winter Warm-Up, a campaign to collect and donate coats to area homeless. Witzofsky created a 30-second animation as the only advertisement for the effort and more than 10,000 coats were donated.
"The most rewarding part of my job is being so involved with the community. At KSDK, we get to do so many things for people in the community that need help," Witzofsky said.
Even with three Emmys on his desk and another one at his mother's house, Witzofsky is not aiming toward recognition for his work.
"I know my work is successful when no one mentions it. My graphics have to be smooth and flow and match the story. The only time I hear feedback is when something goes wrong, so it's good when things are quiet,'' Witzofsky said.