RTDNA 2022 Board of Directors Elections: Meet the Candidates


Ballot Links



Chair Elect

Sheryl Worsley
Vice President of Podcasting, KSL Podcasts
I believe responsible journalism has never been more important in our country. As chair of RTDNA, I will make sure our organization protects press freedoms while supporting, recognizing and honoring great journalism. I also believe in investing in the next generation of news leaders as we adapt to an instant and an ever more connected future.
 
The latest surveys show local news still has a level of trust and we can take steps to reclaim trust in areas where we have lost ground. We can make strides here- by showing the rigor behind our work and serving communities which have been under-served and featuring voices that have not been represented in a more nuanced and contextualized way.
 
The work of journalism is tough and getting tougher. Safety has to be a priority as news directors still report a concerning level of attacks on journalists, especially in larger markets. We are seeing newsrooms impacted by the ‘great resignation’, so crews are doing more with less and feeling the impacts of being short-handed. Those who are left to lift the weight are certainly not in it for the glory. You are the core of journalism and we need you. We need you because of your commitment to the truth and your passion to do great work for the right reasons; To keep your communities informed, no matter the thanks that does or does not come. 
 
I believe we need to protect and strengthen journalism at all levels, and RTDNA is here to do that. It means making sure students are picking our profession and feeling the passion to do great reporting. It means buoying up journalists in the trenches and already in the grind, making sure they have the brain resources and strength to recharge. It’s helping the newsroom leaders with trainings and a network of colleagues who can offer up ideas because we are so much stronger together. It means fighting against laws that strip away press freedoms and impede our constitutionally protected right to inform our communities. As I served as an RTDNA board member for the last 12 years (Go region 3!) I have year-in-and-year-out participated to stop the erosion of press freedoms at the local level. This work continues. RTDNA leaders are now proactively meeting with governors all over the U.S. to improve relations and dialogue about threats to the First Amendment on the state level. And RTDNA remains proactive in national Press Freedom efforts as well.
 
I have seen incredible things in my 23 years in journalism and I believe we have some amazing years ahead, although not easy ones. We have much to be proud of and much to work for. As chair of RTDNA, I would encourage more of this banding together through networking, fighting side-by-side for press protections and supporting new leaders to meet the challenges ahead. I thank you for your support. 
 


Director-at-Large

 

Monika Diaz
Director of Content, TEGNA

I am running for RTDNA’s Director at Large and would be honored to have your vote. RTDNA stands for responsible journalism, defending First Amendment Rights and celebrating outstanding content. I am ready to promote and support that mission. I have been in the industry for 28 years and my passion for journalism remains strong. From reporter to news director to executive leader — the journey has been extremely rewarding and I want to give back. I want to help you and future journalists find innovative approaches to tackle the challenges in our rapidly changing industry. I am committed to protecting, defending, and promoting our values because you and your work matter. Thank you for your support.


Laura Evans
News Director, WHIO-TV/CMG Ohio

I am a Murrow, Scripps and Emmy Award winning journalist who helped lead the team who earned a 2020 Peabody for coverage on systemic racism in the Pacific Northwest.

I am currently the News Director for CMG Ohio in Dayton, with 23 years of experience working with a multitude of U.S. and Canadian media companies; CMG, Tegna, Hearst, Fisher Communications, Tribune, CBC Vancouver, Global BC, and CTV News.

I have worked in 6 U.S. cities (Seattle, Sacramento, Tucson, Colorado Springs, Dayton, and Albuquerque), 5 states (Ohio, Washington, California, Arizona, and New Mexico), and three countries (along with the U.S., 4 years in Canada, and two years in Germany - interning for CNBC in Munich.)

I am a forever learner with a strong digital background (I have a Master of Science in Digital Audience Strategy from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU), and I am working towards a Doctorate in Business Administration with an emphasis on leadership. My dissertation topic focuses on how the pandemic (and the newsroom cracks it revealed), forced many women out of our industry; the impact the loss of women has on present-day newsrooms, the affect it will have in the future when looking for diverse leadership, and what needs to change immediately to stop the talent drain.

The challenges facing newsrooms have made me double-down on my passion to continue down this path and lift up my journalism colleagues as I go. I’m not afraid to have crucial conversations about where our industry is headed and what needs to change to keep this vital profession strong well into the future.


Sean McLaughlin
VP of News, Scripps

I have worked in local news for nearly 30 years now (I can’t believe that as I type it!).

In that time I have worked as a reporter, an anchor, an executive producer a news director and in my current role as Vice President of News at EW Scripps.

I’ve been in that role since 2014. I was first elected to serve on the RTDNA Board in 2020.

I live in Cincinnati, OH with my husband, 3 kids and a lot of pets.


Alex Silverman
Director of News and Programming, KNX News 97.1 FM

At this critical time for our mission as journalists, it has been my honor to serve for the past year as RTDNA Region 11 director. Because of a change in employment that is taking me to the west coast, I can no longer serve in that role, but with leadership experience in New York, Philadelphia, and soon Los Angeles, I am uniquely suited to serve the organization as an at-large board member.

I currently serve as the chair of a task force to craft the future of the Murrow Awards program, a role for which I was honored to be chosen and one which I consider critical to the future of the organization. I have also served on Conference Programming Committee and Safety Committee, which has made strides in forging relationships that will help make all our members and their teams safer in their increasingly difficult work.

As a leader of large-market newsrooms including KYW Newsradio, WCBS Newsradio 880, and soon, KNX News 97.1 FM, I have confronted many of the challenges we face as an industry. Journalists face growing pressure to do more, and at the same time face the burden of justifying their critical function in our democracy. I led a campaign to join with other news organizations to speak with one voice when a reporter was treated unfairly by a public official, an effort many recognized as the first effort of its kind in the Philadelphia market. I've led two heritage newsrooms through visual and sonic re-branding campaigns to position them for the modern competitive landscape. As a reporter and anchor based in New York City, I led coverage of such life-changing news events as Hurricane Sandy, the marriage equality decision, and the Pulse nightclub tragedy, and won a national Murrow award for coverage of New York's crumbling mass transit infrastructure.

The journalists of our time need protection, support, and leadership that can leverage the equity of our iconic institutions to promote news literacy. The RTDNA's work promoting, protecting, and recognizing journalistic achievement is of paramount importance to that effort, and I would be honored to continue to contribute to its vision on the Board of Directors.


Region 3 Director

Becky Bruce
News Director, KSL NewsRadio

I’ve worn a lot of hats in the last 22 years across three states — reporter, anchor, producer, digital content manager, now news director. I’ve weathered economic upturns and downturns, layoffs and budget cuts, six presidential elections, one too-close-for-comfort campus shooting, and a number of fires and floods. But I can tell you I’ve never experienced the newsroom climate we’re living in now. Our teams are struggling. But we’re not broken. We know at a time when even facts are up for debate, our work is more important than it’s ever been. Who else will speak up for those without a voice? Who else will shine a light on the things politicians want to keep hidden? Who else is going to find out whether a city is misusing taxpayer money? RTDNA’s own code of ethics points out that journalism’s obligation is to the public. We’ve got work to do, and RTDNA has our backs.

When I was a young, broke college student in the late 90s and wondering how in the world I was going to afford another semester, RTDNA gave me a much-needed lift in the form of a scholarship and a trip to their convention. It would have been easy at that point to give up, but RTDNA gave me the boost I needed to keep going. 22+ years later, I’d love the opportunity to pay it forward and see other future journalists get that hand up. The work RTDNA does in supporting working journalists and especially the next generation of journalists is critical.

As Region 3 Director, I promise to be part of the solution as we figure out how to navigate one of the most challenging times we’ve ever faced as journalists, from rebuilding trust to rebuilding morale.


Misty Montano
Digital Director, 9NEWS, KUSA/KTVD

Journalists are fighting every day for relevancy amid distrust, disruption, and disinterest. Combined with personal burnout, these factors threaten the very future of journalism. RTDNA is a vital part of the solution.

As Digital Director at 9NEWS/KUSA/KTVD, our people are my main priority. I focus on helping our team and our audience find balance and connections. I actively work to ensure work/life balance for my team members to head off burnout. I strive to balance the right use of digital platforms and products to make authentic connections with our community and audience. Through authentic connections, I believe we build trust and interest in our journalism.

As your Region 3 Director, I will advocate for solutions that build trust and relevancy, and share mental health and wellness resources that you can implement in your newsroom.


Region 4 Director

Colin Benedict
VP of News, Morgan Murphy Media

In love with storytelling in all forms — especially TV, online, mobile and social. As VP of News for Morgan Murphy Media, I help our local market teams develop strategies to build audience in six markets. From 2008 to 2020, I led a group of talented journalists as news director at WISC-TV in Madison. We focused on market-leading coverage and unique storytelling across all platforms. Our website, channel3000.com, is one of the most influential local sites in the country. We are committed to continuous improvement and leading through journalism's changing times. In my time as news director, WISC-TV was honored with a six national Edward R. Murrow awards by the RTDNA, including the top honor for overall excellence in 2016. 2011 graduate of the 10-month, MBA-style Broadcast Leadership Training program from the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation. 2007 graduate of Poynter's Leadership Academy.


Region 5 Director

Kim Wilhelm
News Director, KWCH/KSCW

Step inside any newsroom today and you'll encounter challenges. Whether it's hiring, training, figuring out how to tell a more impactful story, or even lively editorial discussions, our job is challenging every single day.

Holy cow, we've seen it all in the past few years. Fake news. Riots. Pandemic. Shootings. Crazy weather. Security for news crews. Social media comments that make you want to pull your hair out. The list goes on and on. And yet, we keep at it. Telling the good stories, pushing for the truth, and above all - serving our communities. We make a difference.

I've been a journalist for 25 years from MMJ to ND and everything in between. I love and believe in what we do. I would like to represent you on the RTDNA board to help you - whether that's guidance on an issue or another challenge you are facing. The better our teams, the better our industry. The better work we can do for those we serve.


Region 6 Director

 

Blaise Labbe
Group News Director, Sinclair Broadcast Group

My name is Blaise Labbe, and I am running for Region 6 Director. My roots here are deep I have spent 35 of my 38 years in broadcasting working at stations in Region 6. It is also home as I grew up most of my life in Oklahoma and Texas. I started my career as a photog in Lawton, OK. I have worked my way up the ladder doing a bit of everything. Besides being a photographer, I was a reporter, weatherman, ran the assignment desk, was a special projects producer, and a news operations manager. I have worked in every size market in the region. Lawton, OK, Wichita Falls, TX, Amarillo TX, Houston TX. I have managed newsrooms in San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

Now as a Regional News Director based in San Antonio, I oversee the news operations for 7 stations in Texas and 2 in Oklahoma. I know firsthand the daily issues of recruiting for smaller markets and retention in our larger markets. I am also aware of that many newsrooms are lacking diversity in leadership positions. With the divisiveness in the country, Inclusion and Diversity is no longer a “check the box proposition” for television stations and their parent companies. It is a must to have diversity of thought along with sensitivity and perspective in covering the communities we serve.

It has been my goal as a leader to be a facilitator and work to solve problems. Our industry faces many challenges and RTDNA has been a powerful voice advocating for journalists. I will continue to facilitate on News Director’s behalf, mentor early career journalists and be a change agent for all as your Region 6 representative.


Region 9 Director

Sherri Jackson
News Anchor, WIAT-TV

Hello Region 9!

I am asking for your vote in 2022. We have had an exciting year working on projects that we hope will have a dramatic impact on our profession. I’m proud to be part of the team of RTDNA Directors committed to the Trust Project.
I’ve been impressed by the dedication of my fellow RTDNA Directors who are committed to building bridges to understand and address an eroding trust and perception of who we are as journalists.

I believe the difference in journalism is the people who are gathering the news and reporting it on radio, television, digital devices, and newspapers and other publications across the country. You are the difference. And I’d like to continue supporting RTDNA as the Association continues to support all of us, especially those of us on the frontlines of journalism.

I salute your commitment to keeping our communities informed during unprecedented times and circumstances. You all just keep shining!

I’m asking for your vote to represent Region 9 of RTDNA in its mission of promoting and protecting responsible journalism and the people who make it happen! Learn more about my platform at sherrijackson.tv.


Region 10 Director

Alisha McDevitt
News Director, WMUR

It has been my honor to serve as the Region 10 Director for RTDNA for the past four years. It would be my privilege to continue in this capacity. I have also had the great privilege of working at WMUR-TV in Manchester, NH for the last 27 years. Throughout these 27 years, we have seen an evolution in the world around us and in how we produce news, but one thing that has not changed is the passion of local journalists and the need to provide information to our viewers, listeners and readers. It is critical to listen and to report on our communities. It’s important to get our consumers answers. It’s important to listen to our newsrooms and hear what our journalists are up against every day as they report the news. It’s important o be sure that young people want to enter our industry and continue to carry the passion and commitment to local journalism. It would be my honor to continue this work with RTDNA as this organization continues to support and promote responsible journalism.


Region 13 Director

Lynn Hatter
News Director, WFSU Public Media

Lynn Hatter is the News Director for WFSU Public Media in Tallahassee, FL and she sits on the boards of the local United Way chapter, and the First Amendment Foundation. Since becoming News Director in 2014, her small team of seven reporters have won more than eighty state and regional journalism awards. Lynn herself earned a 2021 small market Edward R. Murrow for a series on the involuntary psychiatric commitment of children as young as five. When not reporting or helping run the moving company she and her husband started, Lynn is an auntie-mom to a feisty six-year-old who does not believe “Because I said so,” is proper justification for a rejected request!


Galean Stewart
Assistant News Director, WPTV

I am Galean Stewart-James and I greet you with a sincere desire to represent Region 13 of RTDNA. I seek your thoughtful consideration and support. Your vote of confidence is greatly appreciated as I am honored about the opportunity to serve.

My decision to pursue this role to be of greater service as a journalist is a priority for me. I set challenging goals, and I achieve measurable results. Those results demonstrated as a newsroom leader, community trailblazer and adjunct professor. My experience in journalism expands over 20 years through the producer ranks and management. I am confident that my skills will be an asset to RTDNA, the region, communities, and scholastic programs.

I am the Assistant News Director for E.W. Scripps at WPTV. I joined the team in March 2021 from Hattiesburg, Mississippi where I led the news team as News Director at WDAM (Gray TV). I am an active member of IRE, NABJ, RTDNA, Carole Kneeland Fellow and NABJ Leadership Academy Fellow.

Thanks in advance for your consideration and I look forward to working with you.




 



 



 
 
 
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