LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2017 — Ten mid-career professionals have been selected for the first INN Emerging Leaders Council, a peer group of leading business and news leaders who will meet for a year to work on news industry challenges, build support networks and develop professional skills.
- Jahna Berry, Director of News Products, Mother Jones
- Natalie Choate, Director, Media Relations and Partnerships, The Texas Tribune
- Lauren Fuhrmann, Associate Director, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
- Sarah Garland, Executive Editor, The Hechinger Report
- Dave Levinthal, Politics Reporting Team Leader, The Center for Public Integrity
- Ben Nishimoto, Director of Philanthropy, Honolulu Civil Beat
- Brad Racino, Assistant Director, inewsource
- Amber Rivera, Engagement Editor, Inside Energy
- Paula Saha, Director, Audience & Donor Development, NJ Spotlight
- Halle Stockton, Managing Editor, PublicSource
- Jason Alcorn, council coordinator and nonprofit news advisor
Council members are mid-career professionals nominated by their organizations for demonstrating potential to lead their organizations and the growing nonprofit news sector.
“The range of entrepreneurial talent rising in nonprofit news to create new types of journalism is incredibly exciting for the future of news,” said INN Executive Director & CEO Sue Cross. “We saw a very strong field of candidates and will work to expand this program to meet the breadth of interest and ability among our members.”
The group will be led by peer and member Jason Alcorn, a nonprofit news consultant and advisor. “We need insightful, innovative leadership that represents the diversity of news and diversity of the communities we serve, and this group reflects that,” said Alcorn. “I very much look forward to facing the challenges that will shape the future of nonprofit news as a group.”
The Emerging Leaders Council is funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation as part of a broader INN initiative to build business, strategy and leadership skills in nonprofit news organizations. For more information, contact Sue Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org, or for regular updates on INN programs and nonprofit news, sign up for the INNovation newsletter.
Full council bios can be found on our Emerging Leaders Council page or below.
2017 INN Emerging Leaders Council
Jahna Berry is the director of news product at Mother Jones. She oversees the presentation of news and user experience for motherjones.com and oversees the publication’s email newsletters. She also crafts strategy for Mother Jones' podcasts as well as other audience initiatives. Before Jahna came to Mother Jones, she was the digital managing editor at the San Francisco Business Times, and she was an editor at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. As a reporter, she wrote about a wide range of political and business topics. Among other things, Jahna has covered real estate development, wrote about job hunting during the Great Recession, and penned award-winning stories about police and judicial misconduct cases in the Bay Area. @jahnaberry.
Natalie Choate has a long history in Texas politics and media. In a previous life, she worked two legislative sessions in the Texas Capitol, served as government relations coordinator for Trinity Industries, completed Annie's List Campaign School and was both a political fundraiser and campaign consultant. Natalie started with The Texas Tribune in January 2011 and today is the director of media relations and partnerships for the largest statehouse newsroom in the country. She is a University of Texas alumna, a Leadership Austin graduate and an unapologetic news junkie. @Natalie_Choate.
Lauren Fuhrmann is associate director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Lauren joined the Center in 2011 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. At the Center, she leads revenue development efforts as well as public engagement initiatives; tracks the distribution and assesses the impact of WCIJ’s news stories; assists with development of donors and writing of grant reports; handles bookkeeping duties; produces photo, audio and video content; and copyedits stories. Lauren is vice president of the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was among five young leaders in the inaugural group of “Future Headliners” honored in 2014 by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. @laurenfuhrmann.
Sarah Garland is the executive editor of The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization based at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has written about education, crime, and immigration for numerous national outlets and is the 2009 recipient of the Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her first book, Gangs in Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation and Youth Violence Are Changing America’s Suburbs (Nation Books, 2009), was a runner-up for an Investigative Reporters and Editor award in 2010. Her second book, Divided We Fail: The Story of an African-American Community that Ended the Era of School Desegregation, was published in 2013 by Beacon Press. @s_garl.
Dave Levinthal joined the Center for Public Integrity in 2013 and leads its federal politics reporting team. Under Dave's direction, the Center for Public Integrity's political coverage has prompted federal investigations, forced politicians to acknowledge wrongdoing and earned numerous awards, including an Editor & Publisher EPPY Award honoring the nation's best political coverage. For two years prior to joining the Center for Public Integrity, Dave reported on campaign finance and lobbying issues for Politico and co-wrote the daily Politico Influence column. He regularly provides political analysis for television and radio, including NBC, CBS, and National Public Radio. Beyond politics, Dave is also a two-time winner of Canada’s Northern Lights Award for his writing about the Arctic. Dave graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in newspaper journalism and political philosophy and edited The Daily Orange. @davelevinthal.
Ben Nishimoto is the director of philanthropy for Honolulu Civil Beat where he is responsible for communicating the impact of local nonprofit journalism to prospective individual, foundation and business supporters. Prior to Civil Beat, Ben was the Vice President of Advancement of the state's only public television station, PBS Hawaii, where he played a leadership role in the station’s capital campaign while also overseeing annual fund strategies. Born and raised in Aiea, Hawaii, Ben graduated with a degree in politics from Occidental College in Los Angeles. A news junkie, Ben is thrilled to work in a newsroom and among journalists dedicated to making Hawaii — his home — a better place to live. @ben_nishimoto.
Brad Racino is a senior reporter, assistant director and director of partnerships & innovation at inewsource, a nonprofit news organization in San Diego. He has produced work for print, radio and TV on a variety of topics including political corruption, transportation, health, trade, surveillance and maritime. Brad also has won national honors for his reporting and videography, including back-to-back national medals from Investigative Reporters and Editors, two national Edward R. Murrow awards, and a national Emmy nomination. He received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 2012. @bradracino.
Amber Rivera. Driven by an urge to connect more directly with the public, Amber pivoted early in her career from private sector work in energy to public media journalism. Based in Denver, Amber is in year three as the Engagement Editor for Inside Energy, a multi-state collaborative journalism project funded by the CPB. Amber has evolved the engagement objectives of the project to amplify reporters’ reach and impact in spite of being a small, startup, non-profit organization. From advocating for new tools to increase digital engagement, to cloning herself on the ground by creating resource kits that empower anyone to bring powerful Inside Energy storytelling to their community, Amber targets efficient and lasting solutions. She also plays an active role in defining what the financial sustainability of Inside Energy looks like beyond the grant period. A Hoya at heart, Amber holds a B.S. in Science, Technology, and International Affairs from Georgetown University grounded in critical reasoning, quantitative analysis, and independent research. @amber_waves.
Paula Saha is the director of audience and donor development at NJ Spotlight. Paula's professional experience includes a decade as a reporter in New Jersey and public relations for the state's largest performing arts center. She has been with NJ Spotlight since 2012 and has worked in all aspects of the organization, including editorial, grant-writing, marketing, sponsor relations, website operations and event planning. Paula is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has a Masters in Journalism from Syracuse University, where she was the recipient of the Newhouse Fellowship for Minority Journalists. @paulasaha.
Halle Stockton is the managing editor of PublicSource. She has won several awards for her journalism, including being named a 2016 finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists for a series on psychotropic drugs prescribed to juvenile offenders. She was honored in 2015 with a national Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a story about a couple who both have cerebral palsy. In 2007, she won the William Randolph Hearst Foundation's national writing championship. Halle was previously a staff writer at the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune. Some of her favorite activities include fishing, hiking, cuddling with her standard schnauzer, Dexter, and watching Star Trek. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Development Initiative, a program of Leadership Pittsburgh. @HalleStockton.
Jason Alcorn is the peer leader of the INN Emerging Leaders Council. He is a consultant for newsrooms, foundations and nonprofits working to build an informed citizenry. Until 2016, he served as associate director of InvestigateWest, overseeing fundraising, partnerships and product development. He also led data reporting and digital production for all InvestigateWest stories. Jason has led strategy and technology initiatives for a wide variety of nonprofit and public affairs clients in Boston and New York, including fundraising campaigns, audience development, website redesigns, and brand identity. Jason has a M.S. in Journalism and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, with a focus on media and public policy. @jasonalcorn.