The following statements are from Minnesota SPJ members running for the 2013-2014 Board of Directors. Electronic ballots have been mailed to all MNSPJ members currently in good standing with both the national organization and local chapter.
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Ballots must be submitted no later than noon on Tuesday, June 25. Results of the election will be announced at the Minnesota SPJ Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Sweeney’s in St. Paul. All MNSPJ members and local journalists are welcome to attend.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.
Statements from MNSPJ Board Candidates
Reporter at Finance & Commerce
Other MNSPJ Roles: Treasurer (2011-2013), Board Member since 2010
“As a Minnesota SPJ board member since 2010 and treasurer since 2011, I have managed chapter finances, produced a regular e-newsletter and helped out in numerous additional ways. I would be honored to contribute even more as the chapter’s president-elect.
A professional journalist of 12 years, I hope to use my research, interviewing and writing skills to help advance the public good for many years to come. My career has taken me from Ohio to Virginia, New Jersey and, most recently, Minnesota. Thanks to my five years at The Associated Press, I’ve covered a wide variety of subjects. But my focus in recent years has been business. I presently cover economic development issues at the daily business newspaper Finance & Commerce.”
Other MNSPJ Roles: Board Member since 2011
“As a freelance writer, I’m among the few professional journalists who can claim bookkeeping as part of their job responsibilities. Since leaving the newspaper world six years ago, dozens of editors have trusted me with deadlines and assignments. I promise to be as careful and attentive to detail with the chapter’s budget as I am with my assignments. I’ve served on the board of directors for the past two years, during which I’ve helped organize events and programs. I look forward to being your Treasurer as a way to better understand the organization and to maintain the trust and transparency that’s expected of the position.”
Editor at Downtown/Southwest Journals, Minneapolis
Other MNSPJ Roles: Board Member since 2006
“I’m seeking another term on the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists board of directors to support the organization’s exceptional work on causes important to journalists throughout the state. I’ve been honored to be involved in the board’s work to provide training opportunities for journalists. As the editor of two small newspapers and an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Minnesota, I so value SPJ’s commitment to bringing journalists together for networking events, the scholarship program it has to support young journalists and its work to champion First Amendment freedoms.”
News Director, WCCO Radio
Daphne Adato is the News Director for WCCO Radio. She has also worked at WBOC-TV in Salisbury Maryland, KTVK-TV in Phoenix Arizona and KTAR-FM in Phoenix. Her stations and her work have been the recipient of Emmy, Associated Press, Murrow, Eric Sevareid and Marconi Awards.
“What journalism is, the purpose it serves and the people who practice it are all concepts constantly in flux – more so today than ever before. What anchors our industry is the generations who come after us. Organizations like the Society of Professional Journalists ensure guidance and protection for those generations, and I’d be honored to pay it forward by serving on the SPJ Board as a director.”
Bureau Chief, Associated Press
“I am relatively new to Minnesota, arriving here last year from Florida. I joined the Minnesota SPJ as a way to make connections with other journalists and to continue my career-long passion of contributing back to journalism.
I’m originally from California and I joined the AP right after graduating from college. In my nearly 20 years with the news cooperative, I have been assigned to eight different bureaus in the United States and Latin America. Throughout my career, I have been involved in journalism groups such as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the California Chicano News Media Association, the Poynter Institute and IRE. I also helped found the AP Diversity Council and I have been part of its internship committees. My pet projects have included outreach to college students, preparing students for internships and first jobs, building new chapters, organizing conventions and communication. If I am elected, I would love to continue my work on helping prepare the next generation of journalists for the changing media landscape and connecting professional journalists with one another and the larger community.”
Freelance reporter/Reporter, Minnesota Public Radio
“I’m a freelance reporter currently working in the Minnesota Public Radio newsroom. I’ve previously worked as a reporter and editor at online publications in Minneapolis and covered politics for newspapers in northeast Minnesota.
I’m dedicated to the principles expressed in the SPJ Code of Ethics. I’d like to help the organization continue to strongly advocate for these values on the state level. We need SPJ to be a voice that speaks strongly and clearly for the freedom of the press and freedom of information.
The Minnesota chapter should also continue to host programming that promotes economic, racial and geographic diversity in journalism.
I hope you’ll consider supporting my candidacy to serve on the Minnesota SPJ Board of Directors.”
Web Producer/Entertainment Columnist, WCCO-TV
Sara Pelissero joined the WCCO web team in August of 2009. You can read her stories on wcco.com and check out her Curiocity column, which focuses on food, entertainment and theater.
Sara grew up in the Twin Cities, in the northern suburbs of St. Paul and attended Mounds View High School before venturing into Wisconsin for college and work. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, studying print journalism and working at the student newspaper, The Spectator. During that time, she interned at the local paper in Eau Claire before heading off to Washington, D.C. for an internship at The Washington Post.
After graduation, she completed an internship at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, before accepting a full-time position. For more than two years, she covered local government — and the Green Bay Packers, of course — for the newspaper before heading back to Minnesota.
Sara was a graduate of the ThreeSixty program in 2001 and now serves on its advisory board. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Tom and their adorable dog, Doug.
“As an active journalist, I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself and explore new realms within the journalism community. The Society of Professional Journalists certainly accomplishes both. If selected as a board member, I would look forward to participating in conversations that would help keep our passion for journalism alive and open up discussions that would dissect the issues facing journalists today. As a former newspaper reporter and now a web producer for WCCO-TV, I feel as though I have a different perspective to lend to the existing board based off my experiences in various newsrooms. I was also recently appointed to the ThreeSixty Journalism board of advisors and can lend some expertise when it comes to issues of diversity within journalism. SPJ’s mission is something that certainly strikes a chord with me and I would be anxious to jump in and get started.”
Photojournalist, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Ben Garvin has been a staff photojournalist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press since 2004. He was named 2011 Journalist of the Year by the MNSPJ and 2007 Minnesota Photographer of the Year by the Minnesota Press Photographers Association. In 2011 Garvin published a book collecting the best of his award-winning photo column Ant Farm. His work has appeared in Time and Newsweek and his freelance photography for the New York Times was included in the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series on food poisoning in 2010. Garvin grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he studied creative writing at the University of Arkansas before earning a bachelor’s degree in visual journalism from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife Jessica and children Arthur, Lewis, Netta and Bailey. To see his work: www.bengarvin.com.
“I’m hoping to serve on SPJ’s board to advocate for journalists (and photojournalists!) in Minnesota. As a member of both SPJ and MNPA (Minnesota News Photographers Association), I’d like to explore ways the two organizations might be able to collaborate from time to time. I’ve also never served on a board before and would anticipate an action packed, thrilling experience.”
Director of Interactive Properties, Public Radio International
Jonathan is the director, interactive properties at Public Radio International. In that role, he oversees PRI’s social journalism efforts and its efforts to build engagement into its storytelling. He works closely with journalists at PRI’s The World, especially as it relates to The World’s coverage of global health and global development issues, as well as its emerging Immigrant Lives initiative. In that work, he oversees PRI and The World’s efforts to not just engage audiences, but to measure engagement and tune its journalism to be more effective seeds for engagement and community. Prior to joining PRI in 2011, Jonathan worked for The World Company in Lawrence, Kan., where he served as, at various time, assistant director of digital media strategy, online editor and a reporter. As part of his time there, he launched WellCommons, an innovative community health website that gave journalists and community members the same tools to pursue solutions-oriented journalism.
His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Media Editors for innovation in convergence storytelling, by Editor and Publisher for digital excellence as well as by the Kansas Press Association and by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. In addition to his work at PRI, Jonathan is a regular participant in a University of Missouri School of Journalism program that sends selected American journalists to China to teach Chinese journalists about emerging trends in digital and social journalism. Jonathan is a proud graduate of the University of Kansas, a native of St. Louis and a recent transplant to the Twin Cities.
“I firmly believe we’re in an exciting time for journalism. Digital platforms and interactive storytelling tools give reporters and editors tools to go beyond the written narrative, the TV package or the radio interview. And that’s good. But what has to continue to separate journalism from other forms of communication is a set of ethics, commitment responsibility and appreciation for balance and diversity that has been the bedrock of journalism through the years.
Being on the board of the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalism is my attempt to ensure that not only does journalism have a strong future, but that the public can have a wider appreciation for what we strive to do as journalists. As important, though, is making sure the public’s right to information, most often exercised by journalists but that exist for the good of all the public, is protected in the face of unprecedented restrictions and violations at all levels of government.
I also see it as a chance to serve the local journalism community. My roots as a journalist are in local news — working for a local news website, TV station and newspaper to provide the best local news to the community of Lawrence. Since coming to Public Radio International, my work has focused largely on national and international issues, but I LIVE in Minnesota. So I want to be an active participant in the local media scene as well.”
Multimedia Journalist at KARE-TV
“As someone passionate about quality journalism I enjoy pursuing avenues that will further fuel the fire for storytelling, writing, and reporting. I believe a position on the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists board would be an exciting step in that process.
In 2005, I became the Sports Director at KAAL-TV serving Austin and Rochester, a position offered to me after connections made through a promotions position at KSTC-45.
After traveling to every small-town football game in Southern Minnesota, (and loving it!) I took a position at KMSP in the Twin Cities. From 2007 to 2010, I served FOX-9 in various roles from helicopter photographer/reporter to news reporter to sports reporter.
Currently I am employed in the KARE 11 newsroom as a multi-media journalist and fully enjoying the daily challenges as a do-it-all reporter.
I have won two Minnesota Associated Press Awards and try to keep my skills sharp by entering stories in the National Press Photographers Association quarterly competitions. I also speak to journalism classes at Bethel University each semester.
I have been blessed with a solid foundation of experience, but continue each day to learn and grow and be inspired by others. My favorite part of working in a newsroom is the sense of “team.” It takes everybody’s creativity, effort, and abilities to do what we do each night for our community.
I would be honored to be a part of MNSPJ. I have seen firsthand how passionate [members are] about the organization and would be grateful to work alongside others who are the same way.”