Candidates for the RTDNA Board of Directors are encouraged to submit a brief candidate statement. This list includes all of the declared candidates as of 60 days before the opening business session of the Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, Calif., September 7-9, as required in the Association by-laws. Additional candidates may be nominated from the floor at the RTDNA opening business session at the national convention. The full ballot of candidates is below.
 
Chair-Elect
 
  • Jerry Walsh: Vice President, Local Content Development, Nexstar Media Group, Inc.
The chair-elect serves one year in that position, then automatically becomes chair of RTDNA for one year, then serves one year as chair of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation. All voting members are eligible to cast ballots.
 
Treasurer
 
  • Loren Tobia (incumbent): Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Weather Metrics, Inc.
The treasurer serves a three-year term. All voting members are eligible to cast ballots.

Loren Tobia candidate statement: Since 2001 I have served as your Treasurer. We have gone through some difficult times and weathered the storms. I am happy to report that we are in sound financial shape, debt free, and working to aggressively be your voice on all issues related to the First amendment and beyond. I also had the pleasure of serving you as Chair in 1996 and started on the board back in 1982. My 25 plus years as a News Director have helped me understand the pressures you face every day. I continue to work closely with our current and incoming Executive Directors, the Executive Committee and the board. My long tenure and historical knowledge bring value to RTDNA as it focuses on the future.  I remain committed to the goals of this organization which I love and hope to have the pleasure to serve you for another three years.
 
Director-At-Large (2 positions)

 
  • Ellen Crooke: Vice President, News, TEGNA, Inc.
  • Scott Diener: News Director, KMOV-TV St. Louis, Meredith Corp.
  • Bernice Kearney: News Director, KSAT-TV San Antonio, Graham Media Group
  • Tim Lambert: Multimedia News Director, WITF Radio, Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Sean McGarvy (incumbent): Assistant News Director, KMGH-TV, Denver, CO, E.W. Scripps Co.
  • Mark Willis: National News Anchor and On-Air Host, SiriusXM Radio Dallas
  • Kimberly Wyatt (incumbent): News Director, WEAR-TV Pensacola, Fla., Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
Directors-at-large serve two-year terms. All voting members are eligible to cast ballots.

Ellen Crooke candidate statement: Dear Colleagues, I’m proud to announce my candidacy for RTDNA At-Large Board member. I am devoted to journalism and have spent more than 30 years in newsrooms, 21 as an award-winning news director, fighting for what is right and telling stories that make a difference in our communities. As VP of News at TEGNA, I currently represent more than 2,000 journalists across 38 markets. I understand the needs and concerns of journalists across the country. That is why, as an At-Large RTDNA Board member, I will be your voice and a champion for all journalists. I understand and recognize that we must be relevant, bold and progressive as we face the revolutionary changes in the way journalism is consumed. We must shine brighter than the storm of mistrust clouding the image of journalists in our country today. RTDNA has a remarkable history and I hope to build on that legacy by focusing on two key guiding principles: innovation and trust. New journalists must look to RTDNA as the source of training and networking as they begin their career. Together, we have the ability to transform the way news leaders teach and revolutionize the way we create and share information. That is why we must also embrace the vast changes in how our content is consumed. By doing this, we will all be stronger. High-quality, impactful and innovative journalism must be shared, liked, seen, heard, and read more than content that lacks journalistic integrity. That is how we will become more trusted.  As an At-Large Board member, I will work tirelessly to improve the reputation of journalists and journalism – for everyone. I will be an advocate for local new gatherers who are exposing injustices, celebrating what is great about our communities and telling stories that unite us. I have devoted my career to transforming local news and developing deep, local investigations that change lives. If honored to be elected, I promise to be your voice and encourage forward-thinking that pushes us into a new age of journalism. Together, we can redefine what Americans think about journalists and rebuild trust in our profession.

Scott Diener candidate statement: Scott Diener is the news director for KMOV-TV (Meredith ownership and CBS affiliate), the news operation with the most watched local newscast in Missouri and the fastest growing digital operation in the region.  Scott has more than three decades experience as a reporter, photographer, producer, digital journalist and news manager.  Besides St. Louis, Scott has served as a news director in Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Louisville.  Scott’s career highlights include a George Foster Peabody Award and Alfred I DuPont Columbia Award for investigative journalism and numerous regional Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards.  California State University of Northridge honored Scott by naming him to its Commerce of Creativity Distinguished Speaker Series---recognizing him for his “significant contributions to the art of communications.”   With journalism practices under scrutiny from both the public and the government; Scott believes it is crucial for organizations like RTDNA to provide leadership in defending the First Amendment, training a new generation of journalists and demanding ethical decision-making practices.   Scott is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  Scott and his wife Jean are the proud parents of Bradley, EJ and Robbie.

Bernice Kearney candidate statement: Restrictive access to public officials, threats of physical violence to members of the media, delay tactics that routinely fly in the face of open records laws – these are but some of the challenges we face as multi-platform journalists. And while the anti-media rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C. is at an all-time high, on the local level we fight for open access, transparency and accountability every day. My name is Bernice Kearney, and I am proud to be a candidate for an At-Large position on the RTDNA Board of Directors. Since 1989 I have been on the frontlines of local news and information, first as a newscast producer, now as News Director at KSAT12 News, where I have worked for 23 years. While my background is in broadcast news, I’ve earned a reputation within Graham Media Group of being an innovative leader and strategic planner who’s always looking for new opportunities to grow our business and our relationship with our collective communities. As one of the first early-adopters of digital and social media to complement our broadcast efforts, I embrace the opportunities that come with new technology. Technology can help in our quest for truth. Technology can help journalists reach new audiences and inform their understanding of our community. Technology can help us take complex issues, facts and data and turn them into compelling stories that directly relate to our audience and help them make their own informed decisions. Technology doesn’t, however, take the place of solid news judgement. It doesn’t replace ethical decision-making. Technology doesn’t give us a pass on treating people fairly. As RTDNA moves into a new year under new leadership, I believe we have an opportunity to circle back to some of the fundamentals of journalism, and remind the public that journalism matters. Truth matters. Efforts to strip away the public’s access to information isn’t just a ‘media issue.’ It’s a democracy issue. As journalists, we have a responsibility to provide a variety of points of view to the public. If we’re stymied in our efforts to provide those opinions, or if we’re subjected to stall tactics in our efforts to bring to light the actions of the powerful, we aren’t the only ones who suffer. The public suffers. Democracy suffers. Truth suffers. I look forward to working with RTDNA and its members to protect the rights laid out in the First Amendment. Information is power, and when information is withheld, blocked or twisted, our communities suffer.

Tim Labmert candidate statement: As the news director WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (a 13-time National Murrow honoree), I have watched media organizations cut staff and reduce their coverage of issues facing our region. All the while, the pressure on journalists to feed the beast on-air, online and on social media, grows while they are asked to do more with less. So, I have worked to find ways my organization can fill the “news gap” – through strategic deployment of resources and collaborative partnerships with both public and commercial news organizations.  I have also spent the last several months connecting with the public at events and through social media to discuss the importance of a free press and pointing out when journalists’ rights are threatened or violated. As a candidate for the RTDNA Board of Directors, I would bring my experience in guiding a small, nationally-recognized newsroom through these challenges along with my passion and dedication to finding a way to grow and defend local journalism. Journalism remains the cornerstone of a strong Democracy. It would be an honor to help strengthen it on a national level as we move forward in the 21st Century.


Region 1 Director

 
  • Corey Hanson, Executive News Director, KPTV-TV Portland, Ore., Meredith Corp.
  • Erica Hill (incumbent): News Director, KCPQ-TV Seattle, Tribune Broadcasting
Regional directors serve two-year terms. Region 1 is comprised of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Only voting members in those states may cast ballots.   

Region 2 Director
 
  • Brandon Mercer (incumbent): Executive Producer, SFGATE San Francisco
Regional directors serve two-year terms. Region 2 is comprised of California, Guam, Hawaii and Nevada. Only voting members in those states may cast ballots.

Brandon Mercer candidate statement: Over my past 5 years with RTDNA, we have dramatically increased our role on the national stage fighting for everything from your First Amendment rights to allowing drone operation for the media. As your Region 2 Director for California, Nevada, Hawaii, and of course, Guam, I’m actively working for you. This includes speaking to journalism students and professionals to recruit and train the next generation of media leaders. Every week I am approached for resume critiques, career advice and professional connections, and I always help fellow journalists using RTDNA’s resources and my statewide connections. I’ve travelled to Russia on behalf of transparent and objective journalism, training television executives and bloggers alike on new media opportunities. I continually connect local leaders to national resources to help support the journalism you do. As a television news director who transitioned to running digital for TV and radio, and now running digital for the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGATE website, I know all three parts of the R and the T and the D in RTDNA. I look forward to continuing this work on your behalf.
 
Region 7 Director
 
  • Jam Sardar (incumbent): News Director, WLNS-TV Lansing, Mich., Nexstar Media Group, Inc.
Regional directors serve two-year terms. Region 7 is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Only voting members in those states may cast ballots.

Jam Sardar campaign statement: My name is Jam Sardar, and I’m running for re-election as your Region 7 representative. My dedication and devotion to the RTDNA stems from the fact that the organization has been there for me since early in my career. With the help of friends, mentors, and fellowships, I made the transition from a reporter to manager. Now I’d like to help make sure that we have the best and brightest in news management positions and that we’re prepared for the challenges facing this new generation of journalism. I’m also proud to be a part of an organization that’s devoted to freedom of the press and access to information of public importance, and I’d like to continue to be a part of that fight.
 
Region 8 Director
 
  • Andrea Stahlman: News Direcor, WLKY Louisville, Ky., Hearst Television, Inc.
Regional directors serve two-year terms. Region 8 is comprised of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. Only voting members in those states may cast ballots.

Andrea Stahlman candidate statement: While it is rare in our business to stay at one station for an entire career, I have worked at WLKY in Louisville, Kentucky since 1993. I am proud to work in a highly competitive news market, packed with strong journalists. I appreciate your consideration to serve as the Region 8 Director for the RTDNA Board. It is more important than ever for journalists to speak up and ask the right questions. It has also become just as important to continually educate the public on the critical importance of true journalism. I am fortunate to work for a company, Hearst Television, which actively participates and leads that conversation both publicly and among our own management teams. We are passionate about not only impacting our communities through the power of local television, but leading our industry through innovation and integrity. I am passionate about the impact local news has in a community, and I am frustrated at the way our business is being broad-brushed.  As a RTDNA Director, I would like to get more involved in the key issues and initiatives that will not only help preserve journalism, but propel it forward.  It is my hope as a representative of the 8th region I can establish productive, collaborative relationships with other leaders in our industry with the purpose of furthering the mission of RTDNA and fighting for the First Amendment. Thanks for your consideration.
 
Region 11 Director
 
  • Tim Scheld (incumbent): Director of News and Programming, WCBS-AM New York, CBS Radio, Inc.
Regional directors serve two-year terms. Region 11 is comprised of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Only voting members in those states may cast ballots.

Tim Scheld candidate statement: These are exciting times in the news business. Now more than ever - good journalism matters. I'm proud of the work the RTDNA has been doing to both support good journalism and to promote a free press. I've enjoyed my time on the board representing Region 11 and I recognize there is much work to be done. If re-elected I pledge to work tirelessly to support the efforts of the board to strengthen the organization, to defend the ideals of a free press, and to promote the great work of our member journalists serving communities across the country. 
 
Region 12 Director
 
  • Mark Kraham (incumbent): News Director, WHAG-TV Hagerstown, Md., Nexstar Media Group, Inc.
Regional directors serve two-year terms. Region 12 is comprised of the Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Only voting members in Region 12 may cast ballots.

Mark Kraham candidate statement: Mark Kraham has proudly served on the Radio Television Digital News Association for fifteen years. He has served on several committees including the convention planning committee, governance, and First Amendment Awards committee. Mark served as Chairman of the Association and Foundation and guided the organization during a very critical time period. Mark strongly believes in the RTDNA and the work the organization is able to accomplish. At a time when journalists are being challenged while simply doing the job they love, RTDNA stands ready to support and protect the First Amendment as exercised by today's news organizations and individuals. Mark has worked with all news platforms from radio, to television, to the latest digital technologies. He is News Director at WDVM TV and serves a large four state area west of the DC metro.  Mark also serves as a Regional News Director for Nexstar Broadcasting. Mark stands ready to serve in the RTDNA Region 12. Please vote for Mark.

 
New This Year: Online voting by secret ballot begins Tuesday, August 8, 30 days before the opening business session at the Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday, September 7. The RTDNA Bylaws allow for additional candidates to be nominated from the floor of the opening business session, which will be held at 11:45 a.m. PDT on September 7, however votes cast prior to that time may not be changed. Voting concludes at 11:00 a.m. PDT on Saturday, September 9. The elections results will be announced at the closing business session of the Excellence in Journalism conference at 1:45 p.m. PDT on September 9.