2020 RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards Celebration
 
RTDNA 2020 Elections


Seats on the RTDNA Board of Directors and RTDNF Board of Trustees are up for election this fall, including one Chair-Elect, one Treasurer, 7 Regional Directors and two Directors-at-Large.

30 days of online voting began on August 11. Candidates were officially nominated during an RTDNA Membership Meeting on September 10 at 3:30pm ET. Votes cast prior to the nomination meeting may not be recast. Voting closes on September 12 at 12pm ET/8am PT.

Polls are now closed.  Results are announced on September 12, 3:30 pm ET and published here
 
See the 2020 RTDNA Board of Directors elections schedule and procedures here.

These are the oficially nominated candidates:

 

2020 Open Seats

Chair-Elect  |  Treasurer  | At-Large Directors | Region 3 | Region 4 | Region 5 | Region 6 | Region 9 | Region 10 | Region 13

Unless otherwise noted, board members serve for two-year terms

Chair-Elect

(3-year term: 1 as chair-elect, 1 as association chair, 1 as foundation chair)

Allison McGinleyAllison McGinley
News Director, WKMG-TV
Region 13 Director
Winner

It has been an honor to act as the Region 13 Director for the RTDNA over the past two years.  It is my hope that you will allow me the privilege of continuing to serve and to do so in a new capacity.  This year, I am running for the position of Chair-Elect.
 
For the past 26 years, I have had the privilege to work in my hometown of Orlando alongside some of the most talented and passionate people in the television industry.  Beginning in 1994 as an intern at WKMG, then-WCPX, I was a “local” young woman who knew “local” television could make a difference in my community. 
 
From intern I became an assignment editor and connected regularly with that community, often taking calls from people who felt they had no power and needed help.  From 1997 until 2015, I produced newscasts, specials, and investigative pieces which had direct impacts on those who watched, listened, and engaged with us.  It continued to build upon my faith and core belief that journalists must have an unwavering commitment to local news coverage and understand its impact on their surrounding communities. 
 
As News Director since 2015, I have led my newsroom using three bedrock tenets:
  • EMPOWER the journalists in all positions in our newsroom to challenge colleagues, even managers, to engage in consistent, energetic discussions of ethics and balance.
  • The fierce requirement to PROTECT the First Amendment rights of journalists and by extension our communities. 
  • Foster a culture designed to MENTOR current team members and future journalists.
While 2020 has not changed my approach to leadership, it has certainly leveled up the challenge helping me to re-examine these guideposts through a new lens.
 
This has been an incredibly trying and tragic year, and the challenges are great.  The pandemic has had far-reaching effects on how we work. The growing unrest across the country the reckoning of racial inequality—has us looking inward and asking if our newsrooms truly reflect the communities we serve. The never ceasing barrage of threats against journalists may very well deter a younger generation from becoming a champion for truth.
 
But these challenges are not the end. In fact, I believe they have created opportunities to advance our industry. There is hope in the simple evolution of my aforementioned ideals.
 
In 2020 and beyond, what if we empower our collective newsrooms to truly listen to the diverse voices within its walls?  What if our industry looked not just to count the colors, the gender and sexualities of those in our newsroom, but empowered our managers and leaders to take measures to ensure each of their viewpoints, histories, and experiences is heard?  Telling the stories of our local communities must mean we do more than merely ‘cover’ them.  That is no longer adequate to the moment or our mission. We must become a part of the fabric, listening more, but also nurturing and amplifying the long-ignored voices of the unheard in these communities. Among these voices the next generation of powerful storytellers is rising.
 
In 2020 and beyond, what if we protected and held close the value of telling a community’s story or struggle? Instead of being beholden to the swift tweet or social post, what if we protected our instincts to dig deep and ask one more question? What if we did everything in our power to protect the facts? We must not allow industry, politics, or metrics to sweep us up in their current so swiftly that we forget our ethics and allow speed to overtake accuracy. 
 
In 2020 and beyond, what if we mentor our future generations of journalists to do better than we could have ever dreamed?  It is incumbent upon us to remind them of the foundation set for us by our founding fathers, guaranteed to us in the Constitution, and to inspire them to continue to seek the
truth.
 
After the lessons of this year, I want to look to the future while reveling in the past and these words of James Madison who penned our precious First Amendment, “The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.’’
 
We must empower our communities and their people.  We must protect their stories.  We must mentor those dedicated to the mission of guarding the truth.
 
It would be a privilege to bring this energy and these ideals to the position of Chair-Elect leading RTDNA out of 2020 and into a better future that lies beyond.

David WagnerDavid Wagner
News Director, KLST/KSAN
Region 6 Director

In these unprecedented times my main priority is to keep the association moving in a direction that is relevant for its members, newsrooms and journalists across the country for the next 20 years. I want us as an association of radio, television, and digital journalists to stand up for individuals and stations across the country to remind the general public that we are the ones they can trust for information.  What I mean is that we as journalists should stand up and be heard, that we are not the enemy of the people that we are the people just like our viewers, listeners, and readers, but we have chosen this profession to put ourselves out there to hold the powerful accountable and seek the information that our communities need and want. I want us to be an active association that will stand with journalists to defend the first amendment and to be board members that will truly get our hands dirty and work with the association staff.

I do not want our board to be one that will attend a meeting and vote on ideas that never come to fruition. We need to be an active board and push our association and its members to be active. I know we are all busy but if we prioritize a few minutes each day to the association and its goals…moving forward will not be such a daunting task.

Treasurer

(3-year-term)

Loren TobiaLoren Tobia
Treasurer and Life Member, RTDNA

Winner

 

If you know me, you know how much I care about RTDNA/F. Like others, I rose up through the ranks, from a State Coordinator to Regional Director, Director at Large, and then Chair of the Association and then the Foundation. Since 2001 I have served as your Treasurer.

Our industry is facing difficult times. You see that every day in your jobs. Our association is also faced with difficult decisions about what the industry will look like going forward, and how we as an organization can adapt and help you. I pledge to continue looking after our finances as if they were my own, and also lending my input based on years of experience. Thanks for your consideration.
 


Regional Director

Region 3 Director (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming)

Sheryl WorsleySheryl Worsley
Director of Audience Development, KSL Newsradio, KSFI, KRSP
Incumbent

Winner

2020 has been a hard year for journalists, but it has also been a reminder about how important it is that we continue our craft of responsible journalism. I have always been proud to be a journalist and feel the weight and the responsibility of the public trust in us to do our jobs well and right. It is ever more important for us to be accurate and fair and to capture the viewpoints and voices of those who may not have been heard before. I have seen journalistic excellence demonstrated by my colleagues, often while under verbal and sometimes physical attack. Those colleagues have not hesitated to get right back up and do their jobs because they know it is so important that an accurate picture of what’s happening be seen by the public we serve. I am a strong believer in open records and will push for your right to access government documents and attend meetings crucial to public understanding. I have been honored to serve as an RTDNA board member for the last nine years. I’m proud be a journalist and I’d be proud to continue to represent Region 3 for RTDNA. 


​Region 4 Director (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin)

Lauren OlsonLauren Olson
Digital Director, KARE 11/TEGNA 
Incumbent

Winner

Just in the last two years while serving as the board member representing RTDNA Region 4, I’ve witnessed the news landscape evolve drastically, particularly as the coverage of George Floyd’s death and subsequent events played out. Our audience not only expects to get their news on the platform of their choosing but they want to get involved as citizen journalists. Leveraging technology to discover local content gatherers, we have an opportunity to spotlight diverse voices in our communities, bringing a broader range of perspectives to our coverage. Truly conversing with our audience through social media, text messaging and apps only fosters a stronger sense of trust and transparency in a time when those values are needed more than ever.
 
Continuing to hold a seat on the RTDNA Board would allow me to persist in offering a digitally-driven viewpoint and provide a spirit of innovation and transformation to the organization. 

Region 5 Director (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)

Dan DelgadoDan Delgado 
News Director, KCAU

I'm a 30+ year veteran of the broadcast journalism industry. Whether from the anchor desk or the corner office, I have spent much of my career molding young journalists. I hold dear the art of journalism and journalistic ethics. I believe serving on the board of the RTDNA is an opportunity to broaden my efforts and service.
 

Scott DienerScott Diener
Executive News Director, KMOV-TV
Incumbent

Winner

The volunteer board membership gives me an opportunity to give back to the industry that has given so much to me over my career. I enjoy helping set organizational goals, providing real-time insight for members and the organization and judging our industry's best work on an annual basis. As a heart-felt advocate of the First Amendment, I see my board membership as an important advocate and voice for press freedom in a time when it is under attack from both sides of the political spectrum.

Region 6 Director (Oklahoma, Texas)

Blaise LabbeBlaise Labbe
Group News Director, Sinclair Broadcast Group
Incumbent Director-At-Large

I have been fortunate to have served on the RTDNA board for the past 4 years as a Director at Large.  I am now running for Region 6 Director. The reason for the change is that 29 of my 36 years in broadcast have been spent in Texas and Oklahoma.

I started my career as a photographer in Lawton, Oklahoma. After 2 years, I moved to Texas and over the next 17 years I had a prosperous career moving from photographer to News Operations Manager and later Assistant News Director. My first News Director’s position was at KWTV in Oklahoma where I spent the next 7 years. After a 3-year stint as News Director in Kansas City I was off to Texas again as the News Director for WOAI/KABB in San Antonio. I currently serve as a Regional News Director overseeing news operations in 7 markets in Texas and 2 in Oklahoma.

Our industry under attack by the administration, Governmental agencies and the people we serve daily. I believe we must ensure that we withstand this barrage by speaking truth to power. For us to regain the public’s trust our stations need to be a source of credible information that helps educate, inform and protect the values that represent the Texas and Oklahoma communities we live and work in. 

I also have a strong belief in promoting diversity in newsrooms. It was a shock to me becoming the first African American News Director in two different markets. News effects everyone and a variety of voices, especially in management is important so our product reflects the communities we serve. I would like to become an active voice working with our stations in Texas and Oklahoma to recruit and promote diversity in our newsrooms.

Growing up in Oklahoma and working in the region for 33 years as a journalist gives me a unique perspective of the issues facing the stations in Region 6. I am asking for your vote to continue serving on the RTDNA Board of Directors but serving the region I work and reside in. 

Nia TowneNia Towne
News Director, KIII/ Tegna

Winner

Inform me. Protect me. Connect me. Make me smarter. Wow me.

Each a simple direction on its face, but a bit more complicated to execute. Critics lead us to believe journalism is "just the facts," but we know the truth isn't always that simple.

As journalists we're taught to "trust, but verify," that accuracy in reporting is a combination of facts, context and perspective. We also know that sometimes the facts change and the loudest voice is not the only voice.

In an age where misinformation runs rampant, it’s critical that we as journalists not only know what it takes to be an ethical reporter, but that we understand it is necessary for the survival of our industry to revisit and re-evaluate our previously held truths. RTDNA not only teaches this, but is also the organization journalists turn to for reflection and guidance.

In my own career as a reporter, digital manager, managing editor and now news director, I've turned to RTDNA many times. I looked to RTDNA when developing a people-first strategy for digital storytelling that allowed us to reach more people without relying on clickbait tropes. RTDNA was there for me when I needed a judgement call on investigative pieces. And it continues to be there for me as a news director as I mentor the budding journalists in my newsroom.

I have been a proud and practicing journalist since my first paid position at a small-town newspaper in 2010. Since that time I have been a reporter, digital producer, digital reporter, managing editor and most recently, a news director. I have had the privilege of working with brilliant journalists and have been recognized for projects I spearheaded. Through all of this, I have had mentors who showed me what it takes to be an ethical journalist, how to keep seeking the truth even when it seems impossible and gave me permission to fail.

If elected as a board member for RTDNA Region 6, I will uphold the tenets of ethical journalism and pledge to be a guiding influence during this time of unprecedented change in our community and our industry.

David WagnerDavid Wagner
News Director, KLST/KSAN
Incumbent, Chair-Elect Candidate

I am truly honored to represent the many hardworking and diverse journalists in Region 6 and I’m asking to continue to represent Texas and Oklahoma.
For me as a journalist, the times we are living in are very hard. However, I’ve never been one to shrink from a challenge, so right I believe is the time we need to come together as journalists from all mediums, radio, television, and digital and stand together to supply information to the public like journalists before us…Murrow….Cronkite the ones that believed they were making a difference by informing the people. They understood an educated public will be better able to understand and value the importance of a free and independent press the way the founders of our government did — as the indispensable tool whereby the public receives the information needed to effectively take part in community affairs. I believe I am one of those individuals who refuses to give up on these ideas and would love to serve the Region 6 RTDNA members again.

Mark WillisMark Willis
News Anchor - Reporter, Sirius XM

As we face uncertain times, the role of the electronic journalist has come under fire from a number of fronts. Electronic journalists are facing political pressure, physical danger and court challenges designed to derail the fact gathering process. Many of us have experienced or know someone who has experienced these challenges first hand. The dissemination of information in a clear and timely fashion is extremely critical in these uncertain times. This is why the Radio Television Digital News Association is needed now more than ever. RTDNA is the nation's leading advocacy group for electronic journalists, offering a guiding light to those on the front line of fact gathering. With more than 40 years experience in radio and television news, I want to find solutions to these challenging obstacles that allow for uninterrupted fact gathering and the free flow of information. 

Region 9 Director (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi)

Sherri JacksonSherri Jackson
News Anchor/Managing Editor, WIAT-TV 
Incumbent

Winner

I am running because the voice of front line journalists matters. I believe those journalists who encounter the public every day should be equipped with the tools they need to carry out the mission of exercising our First Amendment rights and responsibilities. RTDNA remains one of the most important voices in supporting those journalists. As a news anchor I think we play an important role in helping the public understand the role of journalism in our democracy and in supporting our colleagues to be able to carry out that role day in and day out. 30 years in this business has shown me that dedication to journalism is dedication to communities. I’d like to serve Region 9 because I believe in the dedicated journalists who are on the front lines everyday serving our communities by telling their stories. I would like to continue supporting those journalists as Region 9 Director.

Galean StewartGalean Stewart
News Director, WDAM/Gray-TV

Greetings!
 
To Mr. Chairman-Elect, the nomination committee, board members and all those assembled to read this letter.  My name is Galean Stewart and I humbly come to you asking that you accept this letter as a formal submission for the Region 9 Director with RTDNA.
 
As the next Region 9 Director, I look forward to collaborating and working with awesome journalists in the great states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and other states across the country and globe.  I strongly believe my leadership skills will be an asset to RTDNA, the region, student initiatives and community-based programs.  I am willing and ready to lend and dedicate my time, talent and resources over the next two years.  
 
Therefore, I am prepared to carry the leadership torch as your Region 9 Director.  I am very passionate about journalism and take our roles very serious regardless of the platform we use to gather and disseminate news to viewers, readers and/or listeners.  My goals are to foster a respectful relationship with RTDNA team members, successfully help implement the vision of the chairman and elected leaders, and help aspiring journalists learn about the importance of RTDNA for their career.  
 
Now allow me to give you a little professional background of myself.  I am the News Director at WDAM in Hattiesburg/Laurel, Mississippi for Gray TV.  I have been in this roll three years and look forward to continued growth in my career as a Journalist.  My journalism career started in 2001 during my internship which led to full time job as an Associate Producer at WJTV (CBS) in Jackson, MS.  In 2004 my talents led me to the number one station (WLBT-NBC) in the market where I worked as a Line, Field, Segment, Special Projects and Executive Producer until my promotion to News Director in 2017.  I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications in 2001 and Master of Public Administration Degree in 2012 from Belhaven University. 
 
I can honestly say that my leadership skills inside and outside the newsroom have prepared me for this role.    I am active in several professional, community and civic organizations all of which aligns with my ability to adapt, lead and work in/with a team.  
 
In addition to being a member of RTDNA; I am a Carole Kneeland Fellow, NABJ Member, Emmy Express Southeast Chapter Member, South Eastern Regional Communications Chairman for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Women’s Fund of Mississippi 2012 Jackson Division of the FBI Citizens Academy Graduate and Current Alumni Association Member and 2012 City of Jackson Citizens Police Academy Graduate.  
 
Lastly, I am married to a journalist.  His name is Tracey.  We have four children and six grandchildren.  
 
Thanks in advance for your consideration.  I look forward to working with you. 
 

Region 10 Director (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)

Alisha McDevittAlisha McDevitt
News Director, WMUR 
Incumbent

Winner

RTDNA is an organization that supports us, journalists. This group believes in educating and advocating for and about our profession. It defends our profession and the First Amendment itself. RTDNA is a group that supports and highlights your excellent work and community efforts through its Edward R. Murrow Awards and First Amendment Awards. I am honored to run for election to the RTDNA Board and to help ensure that we, as journalists, have the resources and support we need.  


 

Region 13 Director (Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands)

Allison McGinleyAllison McGinley
News Director, WKMG-TV
Incumbent, Chair-Elect Candidate

Reelected incumbent Allison McGinley will instead assume the Chair-Elect role. Chair Andrea Stahlman will nominate a candidate for Region 13 Director for the board to confirm.

It has been an honor to act as the Region 13 Director for the RTDNA over the past two years.  It is my hope that you will allow me the privilege of continuing to serve.
 
For the past 26 years, I have had the privilege to work in my hometown of Orlando alongside some of the most talented and passionate people in the television industry.  Beginning in 1994 as an intern at WKMG, then-WCPX, I was a “local” young woman who knew “local” television could make a difference in my community. 
 
From intern I became an assignment editor and connected regularly with that community, often taking calls from people who felt they had no power and needed help.  From 1997 until 2015, I produced newscasts, specials, and investigative pieces which had direct impacts on those who watched, listened, and engaged with us.  It continued to build upon my faith and core belief that journalists must have an unwavering commitment to local news coverage and understand its impact on their surrounding communities. 
 
As News Director since 2015, I have led my newsroom using three bedrock tenets:
  • EMPOWER the journalists in all positions in our newsroom to challenge colleagues, even managers, to engage in consistent, energetic discussions of ethics and balance.
  • The fierce requirement to PROTECT the First Amendment rights of journalists and by extension our communities. 
  • Foster a culture designed to MENTOR current team members and future journalists.
 While 2020 has not changed my approach to leadership, it has certainly leveled up the challenge helping me to re-examine these guideposts through a new lens.
 
This has been an incredibly trying and tragic year, and the challenges are great.  The pandemic has had far-reaching effects on how we work. The growing unrest across the country-- the reckoning of racial inequality—has us looking inward and asking if our newsrooms truly reflect the communities we serve. The never ceasing barrage of threats against journalists may very well deter a younger generation from becoming a champion for truth.
 
But these challenges are not the end. In fact, I believe they have created opportunities to advance our industry. There is hope in the simple evolution of my aforementioned ideals.
 
In 2020 and beyond, what if we empower our collective newsrooms to truly listen to the diverse voices within its walls?  What if our industry looked not just to count the colors, the gender and sexualities of those in our newsroom, but empowered our managers and leaders to take measures to ensure each of their viewpoints, histories, and experiences is heard?  Telling the stories of our local communities must mean we do more than merely ‘cover’ them.  That is no longer adequate to the moment or our mission. We must become a part of the fabric, listening more, but also nurturing and amplifying the long-ignored voices of the unheard in these communities. Among these voices the next generation of powerful storytellers is rising.
 
In 2020 and beyond, what if we protected and held close the value of telling a community’s story or struggle? Instead of being beholden to the swift tweet or social post, what if we protected our instincts to dig deep and ask one more question? What if we did everything in our power to protect the facts? We must not allow industry, politics, or metrics to sweep us up in their current so swiftly that we forget our ethics and allow speed to overtake accuracy. 
 
In 2020 and beyond, what if we mentor our future generations of journalists to do better than we could have ever dreamed?  It is incumbent upon us to remind them of the foundation set for us by our founding fathers, guaranteed to us in the Constitution, and to inspire them to continue to seek the
truth.
 
After the lessons of this year, I want to look to the future while reveling in the past and these words of James Madison who penned our precious First Amendment, “The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.’’
 
We must empower our communities and their people.  We must protect their stories.  We must mentor those dedicated to the mission of guarding the truth.

Region 13 note: Previously delared candidate Jenna Huff has withdrawn due to a move outside Region 13.

Director-at-Large (2 seats)

Steve ButlerSteve Butler
Adjunct Instructor, Former KYW Newsradio / Klein College of Communication, Temple University

My interest in media and journalism education began while I was still running the newsroom at KYW in Philadelphia, working as an adjunct instructor at Temple University. Now, since my retirement, I’ve been able to commit more time at Temple to ensure the next generation of reporters, producers and media managers are ready for the challenges ahead.

As a board member of RTDNA, I would have two personal priorities: to support outreach that will truly have an impact on minority hiring AND retention. As a hiring manager for over two decades, I’ve seen hiring processes, outreach efforts – and lax EEO requirements – that don’t get the job done. I particularly fear the limited success in newsrooms thus far will be undone by media company revenue shortfalls. Are there strategies that can minimize the backward movement, and create forward momentum toward better newsroom decisions when it comes to covering minority communities?

Also, as a student from the Watergate era, I’m frustrated by the challenges of public records access. The post-Watergate “sunshine” movement has seen much backsliding by police departments, local governing bodies, prosecutors and courts. They need to be challenged by more journalists who have the training and support to make it happen.

Over the years, my staff and I were fortunate to receive valuable skills from RTDNA programs and workshops. I’d like to be helpful in that area. There are also new frontiers in Audio, such as rapid growth in public media and podcasts, where I believe RTDNA can be an important asset to journalists in those newer spaces.

I would be honored to receive the support of the RTDNA membership for this important at-large role on its board.
 

JJ GreenJJ Green
National Security Correspondent, WTOP radio

Who am I? I’m the national security correspondent at WTOP in Washington, D.C I’ve lived in the Washington, DC, for 30 years. During those years, I’ve also worked at six TV networks -ABC, CNN, BET, VOA, AJAM and C-SPAN. As the fortunate and grateful recipient of the prestigious National Edward R. Murrow Award for my national security coverage, I believe there is no greater calling for a journalist, than to protect at all costs, the integrity of the Fourth Estate and the public’s right to know the truth. 

Why am I running? I’ve been an RTDNA contributor for years –writing articles, full of suggestions about access and inclusion; but as racial tension, COVID-19 and political chaos test the cohesiveness of our nation, it’s time for me to reach deeper. Our industry faces unprecedented challenges that; day by day, degree by degree, undermine our ability to perform the vital work of truth-seeking and responsible and inclusive reporting. Those challenges are existential threats to our industry. As a member of the board, I would work to defeat those challenges -which include foreign interference, distortion of facts and efforts to discredit and harm journalists. This work would involve exposing the threats, promoting understanding of them, and helping to create mechanisms to overcome them.

How can I help? As an African-American, male, journalist, who’s traveled to foreign war zones many times in the last 15 years, I’ve seen the despair and devastation that national division can lead to. I believe my unique experiences and understanding of the nation’s current struggles, can help RTDNA better position itself to shepherd the organization and our members through this confusing time. I can also help RTDNA shape the critical, national conversations, and changes needed to keep our nation strong and unified. The key is getting ahead of problems before they become a threat. My priorities would be investigating and mitigating threats to the safety and vitality of our industry and membership, seeking solutions to emerging problems –either technological or human in nature and helping to insure that we remain committed to the eradication of systemic racism.  
 

 

Stan HeistStan Heist
Director of News Training and Staff Development, Sinclair

From the moment I picked up a camera more than 20 years ago, I've approached my career with a passion for compelling stories and a drive for professional growth. My Director-at-Large candidacy seeks to apply these values and experiences for the benefit of members and beyond. This range of experience includes years of leading visual storytelling training, corporate talent recruitment, managing drone operations, designing programs to develop future newsroom leaders, and guiding charitable partnerships in response to a crisis. None of this would be possible without the ongoing generosity, mentorship, and inspiration of leaders within the RTDNA.

Everyone recognizes the challenges we face today. And within these challenges lie the opportunity to serve by applying core principles to meet the moment.  Innovation to meet the evolving needs of news audiences where they are and responsibility to uphold our journalistic purpose.  
 

 

Sean McLaughlinSean McLaughlin
VP, News, EW Scripps 

Winner

The issues facing journalism and our first amendment rights have never been greater. Skepticism surrounding our business and an anti-media stance from the federal government put our legitimacy and relevance into question for the first time in many years. RTDNA’s role within the industry is critical. My passion surrounding local journalism and our role in a stable and effective democracy runs deep. I want to help lead the efforts to restore our trust and restore our role in bringing out the best in local communities.
 

Brad PfrangerBradley Pfranger
Associate Professor, Western Kentucky University

As a member of RTDNA, both as a journalist and an academic, I have seen what this organization can bring to professionals and broadcasting students.  The amount of training, professional interaction, and in-depth industry information provided by RTDNA is both vast and important.  With the current events in this country,  journalists are more important than ever.  As an avid supporter of First Amendment rights and protecting the freedoms of journalists in this country, it would be my honor to serve RTDNA and its members as a Director-at-Large. 

 
 

Jason Pheister
Vice President, Regional News and Content,  Spectrum Networks​

It is an honor to be among such great candidates to serve the RTDNA membership as a Director-At-Large. Most of us chose this profession for one specific reason, and that was to make a difference in the world. Through objective and unbiased reporting, that mission is under fire right now like nothing I have seen in my lifetime. If for nothing else but to protect and defend what we all do every day, RTDNA must continue to be a viable, united, and unified group. I will do whatever I can to foster that goal and grow our membership with inclusiveness and values to which we all can be proud.
 
If 2020 has taught us anything, all voices need to be heard, respected, and honored despite our differences and, more importantly, because of our similarities. If elected, my priorities will be to identify and elevate outreach opportunities within our industry of all voices and backgrounds for development, professional growth, and collaboration. I have benefited personally from prior RTDNA events, meetings, and workshops and believe we need to look for ways to continue and expand them even virtually if necessary. While our local stations, channels, and businesses compete every day, we must find common ground to raise the bar and awareness of what we can be together.
 
How can we improve storytelling? How can we work to understand our biases? How do we arm, enable, and empower journalists to act ethically and responsibly? How can we boost our fundamentals, so fact-based reporting is the only reporting? These are the questions that I ask myself and our leaders every day. I firmly believe they are among the most significant internal challenges we face as we look to reaffirm and reinvent ourselves.
 
I am excited about the energy and support that has surfaced to safeguard our mission and efforts and proactively distance ourselves from those that question into what we do. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to serving.
 

 

Lisa PolsterLisa Polster
News Director, WIVB

Winner

As we navigate through a unique time in our nation’s history – the role of journalists is more important now than it ever has been. It is crucial that we proudly stand up and make a concentrated effort to be heard.

My goal for RTDNA would be for radio, television, and digital broadcast journalists to be a voice that reinforces our obligation to the public that we are reliable news sources who they can always trust to obtain information.

I want RTDNA to continue to be an active and viable organization that stands proudly in assisting journalists by providing them with the resources required to make ethical decisions and present fact-based information that consumers demand from news outlets.

By using my past and present experiences in positions of newsroom management, I am confident I can be a representative for association members who are seeking leading-edge and creative ways for RTDNA to evolve as an organization committed to journalism excellence and continued integrity.

Newsrooms must also strive to provide coverage that reflects the communities on which they report.  We must provide a voice for those working to become more vocal and ensure part of our mission is offering diverse perspectives for our viewers and listeners, and likewise resources for our member newsrooms.

If elected, I pledge to be a board member who is active, innovative and passionate in our relentless pursuit of the truth.  I will be someone who will work collaboratively with members who want to make a difference during these uncertain times in an ever-changing industry. Through the promotion and protection of the First Amendment rights of journalists working across the country, we can make a difference and that is why I proudly state my enthusiasm for being elected to the board.

Previously declared At-Large candidate Tina Martin has withdrawn from the race.


This is the late of declared candidates to date. There are still opportunities to become a candidate. If you are interested in learning more about RTDNA leadership and volunteer opportunities, let us know here.

* Note on provisional candidate: A proposed bylaws amendment to eliminate the requirement of at least one full year of membership prior to eligibility for board candidacy failed to advance.


2020 RTDNA Board of Directors Elections Schedule

July 10: Nominations due to Nominations Committee
July 13: Nominations Committee submits slate of candidates to the full membership
August 11: 30 days of online voting begins
September 10, 3:30pm Eastern: Candidates officially nominated during Membership Meeting
September 12, 12pm ET/8am PT: Voting closes
September 12, 3:30 pm ET: Winners announced during Membership Meeting

Take the Next Step to Be A Leader

Those interested in running for the Board of Directors should possess a number of desired attributes:
  • Commitment to participate in at least 3-4 board meetings per year. RTDNA/F board members are also asked to provide financial support to a variety of special events and/or campaigns in conjunction with annual giving to support the organization.
  • Recognized leader in the journalism community. Experience of service to the organization - committee or task force involvement, engaged with the organization on social media, speaker or trainer, etc. - is a plus.
  • Positive leadership attributes, emotional intelligence, ability to work collaboratively and engage in appropriate debate and discussion where needed.
  • Visionary and strategic thinker. Demonstrated ability to innovate within their own sphere of influence. Examples include but are not limited to: incorporating strategy, leadership, future focus, risk taking and an entrepreneur spirit.
In order to be eligible for specific Board of Director positions, you must meet certain qualifications:
  • Chair-elect and Treasurer: Be active members of the association in good standing, including TV News Director/Manager, Radio News Director/Manager, TV News Staff, Radio News Staff, Online and Emerging Media News Professional, New Professional, Educator, Life or Retired, and have served on the Board of Directors for at least one year.
  • Director at Large and Regional Director: Be active members in good standing, including TV News Director/Manager, Radio News Director/Manager, TV News Staff, Radio News Staff, Online and Emerging Media News Professional, New Professional, Educator, Life or Retired for at least one year. Candidates for or holder of the office of regional director must be employed within that region. Candidates for or holder of the office of RTDNA Canada/International Director must be employed outside the United States.
If you are interested in learning more about RTDNA leadership and volunteer opportunities, let us know here.

More information about RTDNA volunteer leadership:
What makes a good board member

Board Roles and Reponsibilities

2020 Elections Guide and Timeline