Wednesday, April 23, 2014
About Our Discussion Leaders

Richard Longworth is a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former Distinguished Visiting Scholar at DePaul University. He is the author of the book Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism, published in 2008. Longworth joined the Council after a career in journalism, most recently as senior economics correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Longworth, an Iowa native, graduated from Northwestern and won NU’s Alumni Merit Award in 2000. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, won the Overseas Press Club award twice, for series on globalization and the UN, was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1980 and 2003 and has won every major national award for economic reporting.

Michele Weldon, assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, has been an award-winning journalist for 30 years and has written news and features for scores of major daily newspapers, websites and radio such as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Dallas Times Herald, The New York Times and Minnesota Public Radio. She has also written for major magazines such as Woman’s Day, Parenting, Dial, Seventeen and many others. She is the author of Everyman News: The Changing American Front Page, published in 2008. Weldon holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern.

Thomas Koetting is deputy managing editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he oversees the metro news desk as well as the capital bureau in Madison and national bureau in Washington, D.C. Koetting earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and his master’s degree – as a Kiplinger Fellow in Public Affairs Reporting – from Ohio State University. He worked at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Wichita Eagle before joining the Journal Sentinel in 1997. During his tenure in Milwaukee, he has been the primary editor on more than a dozen national award-winning reporting efforts, and the oversight editor on many more.

Celeste Watkins-Hayes is associate professor of sociology and African-American studies at Northwestern University and a faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. Her research focuses on urban poverty; social policy; HIV/AIDS; non-profit and government organizations; and race, class, and gender. Watkins-Hayes is also principal investigator of the Health, Hardship, and Renewal Study, which explores the economic and social survival strategies of women living with HIV/AIDS in the Chicago area. She holds doctoral master’s degrees in sociology from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College.

Bill Glauber is a general assignment reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where he has trailed storm chasers on the Great Plains, broken bread during a kosher tailgate at Lambeau Field and tromped through a barn filled with 1,000 cows while searching for the future of farming in Wisconsin. Previously, he worked at the Baltimore Sun, where he was the newspaper’s London bureau chief and covered stories as diverse as the death of Princess Diana and the arduous Northern Ireland peace process. He also worked on the local news desk at the Chicago Tribune. He has covered four conflicts, dodging bombs and bullets in Kosovo, the West Bank and Iraq, and reporting from the USS Carl Vinson as the U.S. launched air strikes against Afghanistan.

Nancy Wajler is director of adult learning at Harper College in Palatine, Ill. She is responsible for the Career Stimulus programs and the development of additional adult learning initiatives. She previously served as director of career services at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill. for 18 years. Wajler has produced a monthly cable TV program, “Career Paths,” seen on local access cable by DuPage County residents, and she created the DuPage Executive Network (The DEN), a networking service for senior executives in career transition. Wajler holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from DePaul University.

Edward E. Gordon, president of Imperial Consulting Corp. in Chicago and Palm Desert, California, is an expert on talent, training, careers and education related to business and economic development. In a consulting career spanning more than 40 years, Gordon has assisted clients including Microsoft, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Federal Reserve, Motorola, and the U.S. departments of Education and Labor. He is the author or co-author of 17 books including Winning the Global Talent Showdown, The 2010 Meltdown, and FutureWork and has taught at DePaul, Loyola and Northwestern universities.

Linda Grist Cunningham has served as executive editor of the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star since 1991. During her more than three-decade newspaper career, she also worked as a reporter, copy editor, wire editor, editorial page editor, assistant managing editor and executive editor at newspapers in Virginia and New Jersey. She is a regular discussion leader for the American Press Institute, has served as a judge for writing contests sponsored by ASNE, Scripps-Howard, and Gannett and has served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize. Cunningham is a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va.

Jane Stevens, director of media strategies at The World Co. in Lawrence, Kan., has been a science/ technology/health journalist for more than 30 years. After working in newspapers for 12 years, she founded a sci-tech feature service with 20 newspaper clients worldwide, including the Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, and Asahi Shimbun’s AERA magazine. Stevens moved to digital journalism in 1996, as part of the first group of videojournalists at The New York Times Television, and did multimedia reporting for The New York Times, Discovery Channel, and
About our Participants

Lindsay Betz is a staff writer at Sun Newspapers in Cleveland, Ohio. She covers city governments, police departments and feature stories for the weekly newspaper chain. She is also a member of a content strategy team made up of reporters, editors and managers from The Plain Dealer, and Sun Newspapers working to design, launch and manage 16 hyperlocal community news websites. Lindsay graduated from The Ohio State University in 2008 with degrees in journalism and English literature.

Marga Kellogg Cooley is the online editor and covers county government for Lee Central Coast Newspapers in California. Her 30-year journalism career has included reporting, design, and editing positions at the Fresno Bee, San Diego Union Tribune, and North (San Diego) County Times. Marga graduated from Cal State Fresno with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 and received the Paul V. Sheehan Award for Distinguished Service. While at Cal State Fresno, she was editor-in-chief of the Daily Collegian.

Elizabeth Cooper: After working in the museum field for a dozen years, Elizabeth realized she was more interested in what people are doing today. She pursued a career in journalism, working first at a news digest, then at a weekly in Queens, NY. She joined the staff of the Observer-Dispatch in Utica, NY eight years ago and has covered county government much of that time. Elizabeth also served for a year on the paper’s editorial board.

Pamela Dempsey is a lead reporter for (, a grant-funded online news and information site that coordinates coverage of social and economic issues with local media, the News-Gazette, a 40,000-circulation daily that serves Central Illinois, and WILL, an NPR affiliate. She has worked as a daily reporter and covered several social and economic beats among underserved populations, including the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni tribes in the Southwest, as well as in small towns in Central Illinois.

Melissa Griffy Seeton is an award-winning reporter at The Repository in Canton, OH. Melissa leads the newspaper’s coverage of education issues and covers Canton City Schools, one of Ohio’s largest urban school districts. She also has headed up special projects, including a recent report documenting the rise of the newly poor in Canton, where the unemployment rate is in double digits and 25 percent of children live in poverty. Melissa received her master’s degree in media management from Kent State University.

Matthew Hensley is a staff writer for The News Herald in Morganton, NC, currently in his third year of reporting. He graduated from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in 2007 with a B.A. in political science and history.

Jen Judson is a reporter for the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University. While a graduate student, she worked as the MetroWest Daily News’ State House correspondent, where she covered the debate surrounding the interim Senate seat following the death of Ted Kennedy and the subsequent primary special election. Jen holds a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College where she majored in history.

Dean Kahn is an editor and columnist at The Bellingham Herald, in Bellingham, Wash. A Herald newsroom staffer since 1986, he previously covered legislatures and state agencies in Missouri and Washington for United Press International. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Washington University, in Bellingham, and a master’s in print journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, in Columbia.

Skye Kinkade is a reporter for the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers. Skye is part of a two-person newsroom, and enjoys reporting because she gets to interact with the community and write stories that are meaningful and relevant. She covers a variety of local issues, including city council and school board meetings, crime, breaking news, elections, investigative and environmental/agricultural reporting. Skye is a graduate of the College of the Siskiyous.

Bruce Krasnow is an assistant city editor at The New Mexican newspaper in Santa Fe where he supervises a small staff of reporters and writes about the economy. A native of Chicago, he’s worked as a reporter or editor at the City News Bureau of Chicago, The Florida Times-Union, The Gainesville Sun and The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and Columbia University.

Kevin P. Craver is senior reporter for the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill. He has won more than two dozen first-place journalism awards, and was named Suburban Newspapers of America’s 2008 Journalist of the Year for his investigative coverage of a small-town brain cancer cluster blamed on industrial chemicals leaking from two nearby factories. A native of Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran, Craver lives five minutes from the newsroom.

Amber Krosel is a news editor with Suburban Life Publications, supervising and coaching a reporting team that writes for three weekly newspapers covering the Cook County suburbs. Amber has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield and a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Linda Leicht has been a journalist since 1978, working at both weeklies and dailies in reporting and editing positions. She has been with the News-Leader in Springfield, Mo., since 1998. As a senior writer, she specializes in covering religion and non-profits, but writes on many other beats when necessary. She also writes editorials and occasional columns. Originally from Chicago, she studied linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as religious studies at Missouri State University.

Michael Malik covers government for The Herald-Times in Bloomington, IN. He frequently uses data to write investigative, explanatory and trend stories. Michael always tries to show how the operations of government impact the people in his community. Before working at The Herald-Times, he was the city government reporter at the Lafayette Journal & Courier and also worked at the Indianapolis Star. Michael is a 2006 graduate of Indiana University.

Lyle McBride has been at The Ledger 13 years after stints at the Tampa Tribune, Arkansas Democrat, Arkansas Gazette, Texarkana Gazette and Temple (TX) Telegram. He’s covered a variety of beats and has also worked as a special projects reporter and editor. Lyle is now in a new role aimed at strengthening his paper’s work as a watchdog and at finding new ways to develop databases for use on the Web. Lyle attended Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Kennebec Journal City Editor Bob Mentzinger has 20 years in the publishing industry, including stints as arts editor of the Taos (N.M.) News, business reporter with Gazette Newspapers of Maryland and copy editor with the New Haven Register. He has an M.A. in writing from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in journalism from George Washington University, and is a graduate of the Kennebec Leadership Institute.

Jennifer Noblit is a reporter at ThisWeek News and covers the Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Dublin as primary writer for the Dublin Villager. Jennifer earned her B.S. in journalism at Bowling Green (OH) State University, and learned the tricks of the trade during two college internships at her hometown paper, The Fulton County Expositor. She started her journalism career with a two-year stint as a reporter at the Columbus-based Suburban News Publications.

Marilyn Odendahl is the business reporter at The Elkhart Truth, the daily newspaper in Elkhart, Ind. She joined the paper in August 2004. Prior to moving to Elkhart, she was a correspondent for Business First, a weekly business newspaper in Louisville, Ky. She has also worked as a stringer for the Kentucky Bureau of the Associated Press and as a reporter for The Madison Courier, the daily newspaper in Madison, Ind. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and a master’s degree from the University of Louisville.

Amanda Reavy has worked at The State Journal-Register for six years. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she worked as a staff writer for the Daily Illini. Amanda graduated with a B.S. in journalism. In 2007, she received both the Illinois Press Association Award for feature writing and the Illinois AP Editors Association Award for features for a two-day series on girl-on-girl bullying.

Dan Shearer is the editor of the Green Valley News and the Sahuarita Sun in Arizona. The communities are 40 miles north of the Mexico border and packed with terrific issues stretching from immigration to mining to growth. Green Valley is a highly rated retirement community while Sahuarita -- which has half the median age of Green Valley -- is the second-fastest growing community in Arizona. Dan worked at the state’s largest newspaper, The Arizona Republic, for more than 20 years before moving south two years ago.

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