Bios – 2015

nhjheadKeynote Speaker
Nikole Hannah-Jones
New York Times Magazine @nhannahjones
Nikole Hannah-Jones is a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine covering racial injustice. Prior to joining The Times, Hannah-Jones spent the last few years at the non-profit investigative reporting organization, ProPublica, where she investigated the way segregation in housing and schools is created and maintained through official action. Her 2014 investigation into school resegregation won two Online News Association awards, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service, the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting and was a National Magazine Award finalist. She is the National Association of Black Journalists’ 2015 Journalist of the Year. Hannah-Jones lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
MMV HeadshotPlenary remarks followed by a
Press Conference with Press Conference with 
Melissa Mark-Viverito

NYC City Council Speaker

Melissa Mark-Viverito currently serves as the Speaker of the New York City Council, the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold a citywide elected position. She represents the 8th District, which includes El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx. Speaker Mark-Viverito was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She worked for over a decade in local activism, nonprofit organizations and labor before being elected to the City Council in 2005, as the first Puerto Rican woman and Latina to represent her district in the Council. In 2009, she was elected to her second term in the City Council, during which she served as Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation, the founding Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and as a member of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. In 2011, she was one of four Council Members to pioneer the first-ever Participatory Budgeting process in New York City. She is a graduate of Columbia College at Columbia University and Baruch College, City University of New York, where she studied Public Administration through the National Urban Fellows Program.

Dan Adkison got his start as the photo editor of his high school newspaper. Since then, he has been the copy chief of the Village Voice and TIME magazine and has also been a copy editor at Condé Nast Portfolio, City Limits and Eight by Eight. Dan has a B.S. in journalism from Boston University and is currently a staff editor for the business section of the New York Times.

Michael Arena, CUNY University Director for Communications and Marketing, is responsible for planning and implementation of the University’s media, public information and marketing efforts. Prior to joining the University, he was an award-winning special writer and investigative reporter in a career that spanned more than 20 years at Newsday and New York Newsday. He was nominated for Pulitzer Prize in 1987 and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for spot reporting on the downing of TWA Flight 800. He graduated from The City College New York.
Geanne Rosenberg

Geanne Belton (@geanne), a journalist and attorney, is a full professor at Baruch College of the City University of New York, a faculty associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and an innovator in hybrid, online, classroom and workshop-based educational programs relating to finding and verifying quality online information, responsible and empowering use of social media, and media law and ethics. Geanne serves as vice chair and a member of the Board of Directors of the Student Press Law Center, a national organization devoted to supporting high school and college journalists and news producers with legal resources and education. She also is a consortial faculty member at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism where she created and is piloting a hybrid online-classroom-based media law and ethics course for journalism graduate students. Geanne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Columbia University’s Schools of Journalism and Law and is a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

Ilsa CowenIlsa Cowen has recently retired after having taught journalism and English at Townsend Harris High School in Queens and serving as advisor of the school’s award-winning newspaper, The Classic, for over 20 years. Together with student editors, she developed a First Amendment charter for the paper that declares it to be “an open forum for the expression of student views.” Since the charter was signed by the school’s principal in 2000, the school and the paper have won many national and state First Amendment awards. In 2002, the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center selected Ms. Cowen as a Newsweek/First Amendment Schools mentor teacher and she frequently conducts First Amendment and other workshops at journalism conferences for New York City high school students. She has served as Vice President and Acting President of the New York City Scholastic Press Association, remains a member of NYCSPA’s Executive Board, and is an active participant in the NYC High School Journalism Collaborative at Baruch College.

robertseshelmanheadshotRobert S. Eshelman (@RobertSEshelman) is Environment Editor at VICE News and worked on the Emmy-winning climate change series Years of Living Dangerously, which aired on Showtime in 2014. His articles have appeared in The American Prospect, ClimateWire, Columbia Journalism Review, Scientific American, The Nation, and Mother Jones, among other publications.
Joanna-headshotJoanna Fantozzi (@JoannaFantozzi) is a lifestyle digital journalist and 2012 graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Narratively, The Observer, and The Village Voice. Currently, she is working as an associate editor for The Daily Meal where she is responsible for news coverage of “all things food and drink.” Joanna has been lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview culinary icons like Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Anthony Bourdain.
Robert Greenman

Robert Greenman is the author of Words That Make a Difference (2000, Levenger) and, with his wife, Carol, More Words That Make a Difference (2007, Levenger, and now an e-book), vocabulary enrichment books based on words and passages from The New York Times and the Atlantic Monthly. Bob taught high school and college English and journalism in Brooklyn, at James Madison and Edward R. Murrow High Schools, and at Kingsborough Community College. He is a newspaper-in-education consultant for The New York Times, writes for the language Web site Visual Thesaurus and presents talks and workshops nationwide to high school journalism students and newspaper advisers.

Photo credit: Alex Johnson, WNYC

Rafer Guzman (@raferguzman) is the film critic for Newsday and a former rock critic for the paper. He is also a regular guest film critic on “The Takeaway,” a nationally-syndicated news show from WNYC. He was previously a staff writer at The Wall Street Journal. His work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Blender, The San Francisco Bay Guardian and the late, great Option magazine. Recently, Rafer won first place for arts writing from the New York State AP Association for his look at the effects of Sept. 11th on the movies. He is the founder and co-host of “Movie Date,” a podcast through WNYC.
Tedpic-4-15Theodore (Ted) Hamm (@HammerDaily) is chair of journalism and new media studies at St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn. He was a co-founder of The Brooklyn Rail and editor from 2000-2013. Over the past year he’s written for publications including Vice News, NY Daily News, the Columbia Journalism Review, City Limits and Gotham Gazette. His books include Rebel and a Cause (2001), The New Blue Media (2008), and Pieces of a Decade (co-edited with Williams Cole, 2010). His current projects include a history of freedom of the press.

Jere HesterJere Hester (@jere_hester) is Director of News Products and Projects at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where he started the award-winning NYCity News Service, which feeds student-produced stories about New York neighborhoods to news organizations. Hester was previously City Editor of theNew York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Hester received his BA in journalism and politics from New York University in 1988. A lifelong Brooklyn resident, he began his journalism career as an intern at the Downtown Express, a lower Manhattan weekly, eventually rising to editor. He currently writes about pop culture for NBC Local Integrated Media, and is the author of Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family.
10997993_10101765433294597_5058790579139204220_nKatie Honan (@katie_honan) is a reporter with DNAinfo New York, the city’s leading online news site, where she covers neighborhoods in Queens. She joined DNAinfo from NBC 4 New York in 2013, where she was the TV station’s first social media editor and also worked as a web editor. While at NBC 4 she won two local Emmy awards, one national Emmy award and an Edward R. Murrow Award for team coverage of the shooting at the Empire State Building and Hurricane Sandy. She is a graduate of St. John’s University and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. In another life she worked in film and television production.

Kayle-400pixelsKayle Hope is a video journalist, photographer and media educator based in New York City. She have worked as a reporter and teacher in Cambodia, China and Bhutan. Her work has appeared in The Cambodia Daily, The Mott Haven Herald and in film festivals around the world. One of her shorts was recently screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Puppets on Film Festival. Kayle is currently a Master’s Candidate at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism where she focuses on international reporting and video storytelling.
Lonnie IsabelLonnie Isabel (@lonniei) is a special lecturer at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former deputy managing editor of Newsday, and was responsible for supervising the national, foreign, state, Washington, health and science staffs. During his 16-year career at the newspaper, Isabel also served as assistant managing editor, overseeing coverage of the September 11th aftermath and the Iraq War, and as national editor, covering the 2000 presidential campaign and the Oklahoma City bombing. Earlier in his career, Isabel worked as a reporter and assistant city editor at the Oakland Tribune, and as a political reporter at the Boston Globe. He was appointed a Poynter Ethics Fellow in 2006. He has taught news writing at Hofstra and San Francisco State universities. He received a B.A. in African Studies from Amherst College.
Sandeep Junnarkar (@sandeep_nyc) is an Associate Professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the former New York bureau chief of CNET, and has specialized in writing about technologies used in different industries. In April 2003, his three-part report on the security risks of online banking was named “Best in Business Projects among Real-Time Publications” by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Junnarkar helped to create online editions of The New York Times, working as breaking news editor, writer, and web producer when the paper went live on the Internet as The New York Times on the Web. Junnarkar is founder and editorial director of, a multimedia web site that features stories on underreported issues. The site received a New Voices grant for 2008-2010 from J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. He received a B.A. in Social Science from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
CathyKCathy Kaczmarek has been teaching at Midwood High School in Brooklyn for 28 years and the adviser of Argus for 25 years. She teachers a yearlong journalism class. Students who complete the course then choose to become editors to work on the newspaper as seniors. The paper is published nine times a year and online. In 2011 Argus was the Newsies! winner for Best Overall Newspaper. She is a 20-year veteran of the New York City Scholastic Press Association, where she is currently president. She inspires students to be good consumers of news and to take an active role in reporting the news at Midwood by embracing the First Amendment.
kravitz2Derek Kravitz (@derekkravitz) is a research scholar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, working on a forthcoming book project and assisting with teaching and curriculum for graduate-level journalism courses. Kravitz is also a contributing writer and news editor at The Wall Street Journal, focusing on politics, crime and business in greater New York. He was a fellow at Columbia University’s Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism in 2012-13 and graduated from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs with a master’s degree in international security policy.
luisLuis Fernando Llosa is a Peruvian American writer, editor, speaker, investigative reporter, youth sports consultant and full time father-coach. He is the co-author of Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment (Lyons Press). He has written for Fortune Magazine, Money Magazine and Sports Illustrated. His first investigation, in 2001, exposed Little Leaguer Danny Almonte’s age fraud, ranked among the top 10 sports scandals of the past century. In 2006 he conceived and co-wrote “The Mexican Connection” which exposed the largest steroid pipeline in history. Llosa was the most sourced journalist in the Mitchell Report on Steroids in Major League Baseball. He broke stories on boxer Shane Mosley’s use of EPO and testosterone and the federal indictment of New York Mets clubhouse employee Kirk Rodomski. In 2008 he co-wrote “Sins of a Father” an SI exclusive about a 13-year-old in-line skater injected with HGH and testosterone by his father, who became the first parent ever convicted and jailed for providing his child with steroids. He lives with his wife and five children in New York City.
kevin-headshot-1-700Kevin Loker (@kevinloker) contributes to research and manages a handful of projects at the American Press Institute, a nonprofit center for insights, research and tools for people interested in innovative and sustainable journalism. Among other projects, this includes research on the Millennial generation and news, the center’s college-related programs, and efforts to encourage the thoughtful news consumption. It also includes managing the center’s Thought Leader Summits, unique invite-only events to facilitate learning among industry peers. He previously worked at the Online News Association, one of the largest professional membership associations for journalists.
Michael Lydon (@franklinstpress), known to millions as “The Handsomest Man in the World” is a writer and musician who lives in New York City. A founding editor of Rolling Stone and author of Rock Folk, Boogie Lightning, Ray Charles: Man and Music, Writing and Life, Lydon has written for many periodicals as well, the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Village Voice and others. He is also a songwriter and playwright and, with Ellen Mandel, has composed an opera, Passion in Pigskin. A Yale graduate, Lydon is a member of ASCAP, AFofM local 802, and on the faculty of St. John’s University.
mebandwNicholas Martinez (@mongonyc) became a journalist because he wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem. An alumnus of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, he used the skills and fundamentals acquired from the program’s innovative curriculum to be the voice of the voiceless, to give the little man a bullhorn to tell his story. His efforts have led him to work for major institutions like the adidas Grand Prix, NBC News and the American Red Cross; while his multimedia articles have graced the digital and print pages of the New York Daily News, AM NY and the New York Times’ Local Blog just to name a few.

Joshua Mills worked as an editor and writer at The New York Times for a decade and as a reporter or editor at The Associated Press; The New York Post, the New York Daily News, Newsday, Bloomberg News and The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.). He has written on a wide variety of subjects for magazines ranging from Playboy to Boys’ Life. He continues to do occasional editing for The Times, as well as on book projects. Professor Mills has long been involved in training journalists. He served as chair of the training committee of Society of American Business Editors and Writers, as well as a board member. He also was on the Board of Academic Advisers of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and has led Reynolds workshops in cities around the country. Co-author (with Peter Fornatale) of Radio in the Television Age, Mills has written frequently about broadcast ownership and regulation. He has also worked as a writer and editor for several radio and television documentaries. Before joining the Baruch faculty, Professor Mills taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, N.Y.U. and Pace University. He earned a B.A. and an M.A. at City College of New York.
IMG_5407“NewsBreak” is the daily news broadcast of Spirit Lake High School in a small resort area surrounded by several lakes. The five-minute show is produced by the journalism class, which also creates the bi-weekly production of “Indian Inquire,” the student newspaper page; contributes regularly to a countywide magazine; and uses Twitter to keep students, faculty, parents and community members up-to-date on what is happening at SLHS. Last February, the class set a Guinness World Record for the longest uninterrupted live video webcast (43 hours).
Katina ParonKatina Paron Katina Paron (@katinaparon) is a journalism educator with 20+ years of youth media experience. She is the director of the NYC High School Journalism Collaborative at Baruch College and the editor of Teen Voices, a global girl news site at Women’s eNews (@TeenVoices). As the co-founder and former managing director of the youth news agency, Children’s PressLine, she has worked with thousands of students to develop professional quality media that has been published in the Daily News, Newsday, Metro, Ebony, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and, among other places. She has written for The New York Times, WNYC SchoolBook, Voices of New York and the Youth Media Reporter. Her work has been recognized by NY1 as “New Yorker of the Week” and by WCBS-TV as a “Hometown Hero.” Ms. Paron received her B.S. in journalism from Boston University.

coverphotoTatsha Robertson (@TatshaRobertson) worked on her high school newspaper staff in South Carolina and later earn a MA in Journalism from Ohio State University. She has more 20 years of experience handling investigative, feature and news stories for digital and print media. As the first female New York City Bureau Chief for The Boston Globe (1998 – 2006), she covered the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and many other major news events. Additionally, she has been an adjunct instructor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU from 2006 to 2014. She’s worked for Essence Magazine and People Magazine. Since becoming an editor, Robertson has won many awards, including Time Inc.’s Henry Luce Award for Public Service (2008, 2010, 2013), 10 awards (of which 6 were for first-place) for news coverage from the National Association of Black Journalists; New York Association of Black Journalists, and was a finalist in the Henry Luce Award for Reporting (2014). Robertson recently co-authored Media Circus: A Look at Private Tragedy in the Public Eye, with Kim Goldman, the sister of Ron who was killed alongside Nicole Simpson, the wife of OJ Simpson.

Michael Ruhlman (@Ruhlman) is the author of more than twenty books, primarily on food, cooking and the work of the professional chef. He has created two cooking apps for smart phones and a line of kitchen tools. He has appeared on numerous television shows, including Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and PartsUnknown. In Short Measures (fall, 2015) is his fiction debut. He lives in Cleveland, OH.
Leslie Seifert was editor of the Sunday Opinion section of Newsday for nine years and edited bloggers and columnists for Advertising Age. He was an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism from 1985-2000, and in the mid-1990s founded a unique program in which at-risk students at a public alternative high school in Queens published a school newspaper that they managed in collaboration with professional journalists. In the past several years, he has worked to create independent newspapers and websites in half a dozen New York City public high schools. The paper that his students published at Frank McCourt High School was named Best New Newspaper in the 2014 Newsies! awards. Seifert has won two national awards for opinion editing and was arts and media reporter on the staff that launched the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS. He also runs In Your Voice, a coaching service for students writing application essays. Seifert is a graduate of Harvard College, with a master’s in U.S. history from Columbia University.
John SmockJohn Smock (@photogogo) is a visual journalist based in New York City. He is a visiting professor teaching photojournalism and interactive journalism the CUNY Graduates School of Journalism. Smock has worked for the Associated Press and SIPA Press, a photo agency with offices in New York and in Paris. His work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Paris Match and Der Siegel. His educational experience also includes work as a journalism trainer in several former Soviet Republics, Cambodia and most recently Afghanistan. In 2005 he was awarded a Knight International Press Fellowship to the Middle East, where he assisted regional publication in developing the visual components of their publications. Prior to becoming a photographer, smock worked as a reporter, an editor and as a consultant for New York Today, the predecessor for The New York Times Online. He received his M.S. degree in journalism from Columbia University.
12244623_900576880026192_6726511696429919931_oSince 1984, Townsend Harris High School’s student newspaper “The Classic” has enjoyed its status as a student-run publication. Following the Hazelwood Supreme Court decision, which limited the autonomy of scholastic periodicals across the country, the students and faculty at Harris worked to ensure that student press freedoms remained in tact. This led to the creation of a charter that every principal of Townsend Harris has since signed and renewed. The charter ensures students retain control over “The Classic,” and its existence has motivated many different editorial teams to produce publications that have received praise from numerous sources around the city and the country. The current version of “The Classic” has received praise for its mixture of online, print, and social media publications.