On Saturday, December 3, 2016, join dozens of high caliber journalists and discover how much inspiration and how many ideas and skills you can acquire in just five hours at the 3rd Annual Excellence in Journalism Day here at Chapman University.
Reporters from The Orange County Register, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, OC Weekly, The Wall Street Journal and more … will be on attendance (click here for a full list). See below for bios on all the speakers.
This event will take place in Argyros Forum, 209A and is free to attend and is open to the public.
2016 EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM DAY SPEAKER BIOS
Gustavo Arellano is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, an essayist for various publications and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He writes “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America’s spiciest and largest minority. Gustavo is the recipient of awards ranging from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies to the Los Angeles Press Club President’s Award to an Impacto Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and was recognized by the California Latino Legislative Caucus with a 2008 Spirit Award for his “exceptional vision, creativity, and work ethic.” Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom came to this country in the trunk of a Chevy.
Alexandra Berzon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter in the Los Angeles bureau of the Wall Street Journal covering the gambling and hotel industries. Previously based in Las Vegas, Ms. Berzon wrote about energy, water, politics and workplace safety for the Las Vegas Sun. Her investigations into a spate of construction worker deaths on the Las Vegas Strip exposed lax enforcement of government regulations and won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and other awards. Ms. Berzon was also part of a Journal team that won a Loeb Award for coverage of the Deepwater Horizon crisis. She and other graduate school classmates won a Polk Award for their radio series on early signs of global warming, which aired on PRI’s Living on Earth and American Public Media’s American RadioWorks. She is a graduate of Vassar College and received a Master’s degree in journalism from U.C. Berkeley.
Cindy Carcamo covers immigration issues for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, she was Arizona bureau chief and a national correspondent for The Times, focusing on border and immigration issues in the Southwest. A Los Angeles native, she has reported in Argentina and Mexico during her time as an Inter American Press Association scholar and as a reporter for the Orange County Register. She’s also reported from Guatemala and Honduras where her coverage was part of a team Overseas Press Club Award. She is also the recipient of the French-American Foundation’s 2012 Immigration Journalism Award and was a finalist for the 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Journalism and 2011 Livingston Award.
Norman Coulter Jr.
Chapman University Alum and 6ixth Man Leadership founder Norman A. Coulter Jr. is a leadership researcher whose focuses include Authentic Leadership and Role Model deficit, capacity, & development among people of color. A native of Inglewood and South Central Los Angeles, Norman combines a print journalism background (B.A. – Chapman University ’97) with nearly 20 years of experience in private/public secondary education and clergy leadership. He is currently active in generating Empathic Listening forums and workshops to equip people with the requisite skills necessary for civil discourse in an age of virtual and actual hostility. Norman works across the disciplines and across ethnic divides to help communities avoid violent reprisals by embracing listening as vital and integral to meaningful resolution. He believes that in light of current crises over law enforcement, a new president, and increasing fears about national security, journalism can and should play a crucial role in reconciling, not polarizing the sides of controversial issues.
Nancy & John Casper
Over 20 years ago a womans death in Riverside general hospital was anything but routine. John Casper, at that time a broadcast engineer at CBS television network happened to be in the right place at the right time. John had just purchased a video 8 camera and heard the radio call for multiple ambulances to head to the hospital. what he and his wife Nancy captured that night remains an unsolved medical mystery to this day. It also propelled what was to become caspernews into the news agency business of stringing. In the intervening years John was elected to two terms on the norco city council, served 1 term as mayor, helped to defend his campaign committee from a $1M slapsuit, and learned about free speech. He and his wife Nancy are the husband and wife crew behind CasperNews. She is his producer, driver and assignment editor. The two of them have produced breaking news stories that have appeared on all major news networks in the US as well as non domestic news. Producing stories of brush fires floods death and destruction , they have made guest appearances on the Discovery Channel as well as reality TV , CNN and Al Jazeera.
Anh Do covers Asian American issues and general assignments for the Los Angeles Times. A second-generation journalist, she served as vice president of Nguoi Viet Daily News, the largest Vietnamese-language publication in the U.S. and based in Southern California, founded by her late father. She has worked at the Dallas Morning News, the Seattle Times and the Orange County Register. Her cultural reporting has been honored by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the Asian American Journalists Association, the DART Award for excellence on reporting on victims of violence, Freedom Newspapers Sweepstakes Award, the Orange County and Los Angeles press clubs. Apart from words, her passion is dog rescue, spending 25 years supporting overseas shelters.
Tom Feuer is director of the Los Angeles Bureau of Cronkite Sports, a sports journalism program that prepares students for careers in sports media and communications. He directs the sports bureau at the ASU California Center, leading students in coverage of professional and intercollegiate sports in Southern California. Feuer has more than 25 years of experience producing some of the world’s largest sporting events, including 10 Olympic games. He is a three-time Emmy winner for production of the 2004 and 1988 Summer Olympic Games as well as the 1999 World Track and Field Championships. He also is a 22-time National Telly Award winner. Most recently, Feuer served as executive producer of FOX Sports Net, annually supervising content production on more than 800 sporting events, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers and Angels. He also has worked for other major media and sports companies along the West Coast such as MSNBC, ESPN and Nike as well as Turner Sports in Atlanta. For MSNBC, Feuer led editorial efforts on NBC’s websites for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. At Nike, he created and managed the company’s major global public relations productions, including the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. As director of the Cronkite Sports bureau, Feuer develops partnerships with local and national television and digital sports networks and directs student work. Feuer earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.
Vanessa Franko is the Director of Digital Entertainment for the Southern California News Group. She has spent the past 10 years at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, where she started as a reporter covering pop culture and music before working her way up to Assistant Managing Editor for digital, features and sports last year. She began her career as a general assignment reporter at The Capital in Annapolis, Maryland. Vanessa studied multimedia storytelling as a Knight Digital Media Center fellow in Dec. 2011 and has taught college courses in digital entertainment journalism. In addition to her digital skills, she’s covered everything from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to the MLB All-Star Game.
Sally French works for Dow Jones, leading social media MarketWatch.com, where she also reports on drone news. Sally got her start in journalism as an intern covering tourism news for The Orange County Register. Her work has been published in news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, NBC and NPR. She also is an influencer in the drone world, where she appeared alongside FAA Administrator Michael Huerta onstage at South by Southwest and led Harvard Business School’s “Making Robotics Fly” event. She is the chairperson of Drones Middle East and was named one of Fortune Magazine’s “4 top women shaping the drone industry.”
Jeff Gottlieb shared the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Reporting in 2011 for uncovering widespread corruption in the Southern California city of Bell. His stories led to the conviction of seven city officials, statewide legislation and an increased focus nationwide on the salaries of public officials. He also received the George Polk Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal and the Selden Ring Award, among others. He previously received a George Polk Award for uncovering Stanford University’s questionable spending of federal funds when he worked for the San Jose Mercury News. As a result of those stories, Congress held hearings, Stanford’s president resigned and new federal regulations were put into law. Jeff has written articles for Mother Jones, the Nation, Time, Los Angeles Magazine and the Village Voice. He received a B.A. in sociology from Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University. Both institutions have honored him as a distinguished alumnus.
Kim Guimarin is senior editor for the Southern California News Group, overseeing the inland properties, which include The Press-Enterprise, The Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and The Facts. She has 15 years of journalism experience from reporting to designing to editing.
Ryan Hagen is a reporter for The Sun in San Bernardino. He has covered the city of San Bernardino since 2012, before that covering surrounding communities, including Loma Linda, Grand Terrace and Colton.
Todd Harmonson is senior editor of the Orange County Register. He is an award-winning journalist with nearly 30 years of experience as an editor, reporter, columnist and designer. He most recently served as the Register’s assistant managing editor of Sports, where he led a team of sports journalists and collaborated with other journalists within Southern California News Group to cover topics of regional interest. Throughout his career, Harmonson has mentored journalists at the Register and students through the all-volunteer California Scholastic Press Association. He has served as a CSPA vice president, board member and workshop instructor during a 26-year period. Harmonson is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Communications. He began his career at The Daily Breeze, a Southern California News Group newspaper. He joined the Register in 1998 as a reporter and copy editor, covering the NFL and then USC. He was promoted to assistant sports editor in 2006, sports editor in 2011 and assistant managing editor in 2014. In 2015, Harmonson received the prestigious David McQuay Award for Best Columnist from the Orange County Press Club.
David Hasemyer is a reporter for InsideClimate News, a non-profit, on-line environmental news organization that covers environmental science with an emphasis on climate change. He is a co-author of the “Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of,” which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. He has been an ICN staff member since 2012, and also was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for ICN’s investigative series “Exxon: The Road Not Taken.” Prior to joining ICN, he was an award-winning investigative reporter at the San Diego Union-Tribune. He lives in San Diego and was graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Robert Hernandez, one of the few true veterans of Web journalism, has made a name for himself as a journalist of the Web, not just on the Web. His primary focus is exploring and developing the intersection of technology and journalism – to empower people, inform reporting and storytelling, engage community, improve distribution and, whenever possible, enhance revenue. He describes himself as a mad scientist of journalism. He believes in “open source,” sharing knowledge and experiences among journalists. To that end, he has taken the leading role in uniting and building a community of digital journalists and technologists, as a national board member of the Online News Association, the leading organization focused on developing digital journalism. He’s also a co-organizer of the Los Angeles chapter of Hacks/Hackers, an international network of journalists and technologists that is rethinking the future of news and information. Many journalists know him as the co-founder of #wjchat, a weekly forum on Twitter that engages participants from around the world. This virtual gathering is perhaps the best example of his commitment to collaboration and crowdsourcing. Others know him as the intrepid questioner who asked AOL’s chairman and CEO if Patch.com is “evil.” Hernandez also is passionate about diversity in journalism. He is co-chair of programming for the UNITY conference (Las Vegas, August 2012) and is a lifetime member and former board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. As director of development for The Seattle Times, where he worked from 2002 until 2009, he helped shape and execute the vision for the Web site and company, leading a team of engineers and designers in creating innovative tools and applications for readers as well as staff. He also worked as a Web designer and consultant for El Salvador’s largest daily newspaper site, La Prensa Gráfica, Web producer for The San Francisco Chronicle and online editor of The San Francisco Examiner.
Sal Hernandez is a breaking news reporter for Buzzfeed in Los Angeles. Before that, he covered breaking news for the Orange County Register.
Xavier Higgs is a general assignment writer and photographer. His articles are local and national in perspective. He writes about politics, and social issues for several Los Angeles based newspapers. The 25+ years as a journalist has afforded him the opportunity to cover stories throughout the United States on various assignments. As a veteran TV, radio, print and new media journalist he utilizes a unique set of skills and a network of resources. Xavier is consistently recognized for his, art because his photographs reveal the heart-wrenching truth of a subject matter. His images, along with his articles, offer readers an intimate glimpse into the lives of the famous and not so famous. He spent 10 years working as a photojournalist for three Florida television stations. They include two Miami stations WPLG, WTVJ, and WJXT in Jacksonville. Xavier also spent one year as a writer for the Hollywood (Florida) Sun Tattler newspaper. As a South Florida journalist he covered the Cuba flotilla, Miami Riots and numerous political corruption stories. His Los Angeles credits include cover stories, LA’s Cultural Griots and Am I My Brother’s Keeper, as well as a National Association of Black Journalist magazine feature on Little Rock Nine student Terence Roberts. Xavier was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and a graduate of Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism. He is an active member of the National Association of Journalist and President, of the Black Journalist Association of Southern California.
Jennifer LaFleur is senior editor for data journalism at The Center for Investigative Reporting. Previously, she was the director of computer-assisted reporting at ProPublica and has held similar roles at The Dallas Morning News, the San Jose Mercury News and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors. She has won awards for her coverage of disability, legal and open government issues.
Greg Lee is an Orange County bureau general assignment reporter at ABC7 Eyewitness News. Greg came to ABC7 from KESQ-TV in Palm Springs, where he has also served as a sports anchor. He graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in telecommunications-broadcast news. In addition to English, Greg speaks Korean and Spanish. He grew up in New Mexico.
Joe Litte is an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter with 10News, the ABC affiliate in San Diego. He is at the forefront of the evolution of electronic newsgathering. He regularly shoots, writes, edits, and reports by himself, using small, mobile equipment. It has served him well since 1999 as he zigzagged across the country as a television news reporter and anchor with stops in Hagerstown, Maryland; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; San Diego and Carlsbad, California. Joe is often called upon to speak about the transitioning industry for universities and professional groups. He has also advised international journalists on ways to streamline their news gathering operations. His coverage of the 9/11 attacks is among Joe’s greatest accomplishments. He was four miles away from Shanksville, Pennsylvania when United Flight 93 crashed. Joe was one of the first reporters on the scene. His accounts are included in a book called Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report on 9/11. Joe received his Masters from Syracuse University in 1999. But he credits George Mason University with building a strong foundation for his career. In 1998, he earned his BA in Speech Communication. While at Mason, Joe was a proud member of the Men’s Basketball Team (Career Totals: 2 points, 3 rebounds). In 2010, Joe was named the Alumnus of the year by the Department of Communication and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences.
Bret Marcus is an award winning broadcast journalist who has worked in network TV (ABC & NBC News), in cable TV (CNBC & MSNBC) and at local stations where he ran the news departments at NBC-owned stations in New York and Washington, D.C. He produced network shows such as “Good Morning America” and “Turning Point” at ABC, and “The News with Brian Williams” for NBC. He also worked in special events at both networks, covering everything from the Oklahoma City bombing to the tragedy and aftermath of 9/11. Marcus has also worked in public broadcasting at KCET in Los Angeles, where he was senior vice president and executive producer of two nationally recognized news magazines. His work has been rewarded with two George Foster Peabody Awards; five Columbia duPonts and 25 Emmys. He’s also won Murrows, Headliners and Gracies. Marcus is currently an adjunct in the news and documentary department at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University.
Mariecar Mendoza is the arts content editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. While she is a Bay Area native, she lived in Southern California for several years and most recently worked as the features digital editor for the Los Angeles News Group. In L.A., she led coverage of the areas biggest events from the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and San Diego Comic-Con International to major awards shows like the American Music Awards and Emmys.
Mary Plummer is a Senior Politics Reporter for KPCC. Prior to that, she was a reporter on SCPR’s education team, and an associate producer for Take Two and The Madeleine Brand Show. Mary began her career in broadcast at ABC News in London, where she worked on TV stories for the network’s news lineup and regularly covered Europe for ABCNews.com. Mary has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she won the Richard T. Baker Award for multimedia reporting. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Chapman University. Her work has been published by the Washington Post, The New York Times, PBS/THIRTEEN and the Yomiuri Shimbun. Plummer grew up in Anchorage, Alaska.
Rem Rieder, until recently, has been USA Today’s media industry editor and columnist since July 2013. His career spans several high profile news outlets, including The Washington Post, The Miami Herald and Milwaukee Journal, prior to its merger into the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. More recently, he served for two decades as editor and senior vice president of American Journalism Review, both writing about the media industry he loves and educating students at the publication’s University of Maryland home.
Norberto Santana Jr.
Norberto Santana Jr., is an award-winning investigative reporter with 20 years of experience at major daily newspapers. Before founding Voice of OC in 2009, Santana was a lead investigative reporter for the Orange County Register and spent a decade covering local governments across Southern California. His work has included exposes on Orange County public safety spending, deportation policies and misuse of funds at the San Diego Red Cross. In addition to his experience as a journalist, the Southern California native has a master’s in Latin American Studies and has worked as an elections analyst with the National Endowment for Democracy. He also has direct experience on Internet start-ups as one of the founders of CubaNet.org, a website for dissident writers inside Cuba that has operated since 1995.
As American University School of Communication’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Jan Schaffer helped to launch the school’s MA in Media Entrepreneurship program for working professionals She is also executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism and one of the nation’s leading thinkers in the journalism reform movement. A former Business Editor and a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Philadelphia Inquirer, she left daily journalism in 1994 to lead pioneering journalism initiatives in the areas of civic journalism, interactive and participatory journalism and citizen media ventures. She launched J-Lab in 2002 at the University of Maryland’s College of Journalism to help newsrooms use innovative computer technologies to engage people in important public issues. As a federal court reporter, she helped write a series that won freedom for a man wrongly convicted of five murders. The stories led to the civil rights convictions of six Philadelphia homicide detectives and won several national journalism awards, including the 1978 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service.
Teri Sforza birthed the OC Watchdog column aiming to keep a critical (but good-humored) eye on governments and nonprofits, large and small. She contributed to the OCR’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of fertility fraud at UC Irvine, covered what was then the largest municipal bankruptcy in America‘s history, and is the author of “The Strangest Song,” the first book to tell the story of Williams syndrome and the extraordinary musicality of many of the people who have it. She decided to harness the power of the moving image to help bring her stories to life, earned her M.F.A. from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, and has made some documentaries, including the OCR’s first: “The Boy Monk,” a story that was also told as a series in the print OCR.
Alex Vasquez Jr.
Alex Vasquez is an Emmy award-winning photo journalist for NBC4 Southern California’s Inland Empire News Bureau. Covering breaking news stories that impact the region and beyond, he also provides support to NBC4’s sister station, KVEA52 Los Angeles. He joined NBC4 in 2006 as an assignment editor before reporting in the field for Telemundo. Most recently, he was first journalist on-the-scene for the tragic shooting rampage in San Bernardino in December 2015. He was the first reporter on live TV at the scene of the shooting. Covering the story from the very beginning, Vasquez’ coverage for NBC4 was the first on the scene to share images and critical information as it unfolded. He has also covered the Christmas Eve massacre in Covina, the Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup victory in 2014 and many other historic news events in Southern California. Vasquez began his journalism career at KYMA/11, the NBC affiliate in Yuma, Arizona. Over the span of his career he has worked for most major broadcasting affiliates including KABC and KCBS. Vasquez has been recognized by many industry groups, such as the Los Angeles-area Emmys, the Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles and the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California. He remains active with many professional associations, including supporting local charities. Vasquez grew up in Glendora, California, and resides in the Inland Empire. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Television Broadcasting from the University of La Verne. In his free time, Vasquez enjoys traveling.