Candidates for the board of directors
Nine candidates will vie for five, three-year terms on the board. The voting begins Thursday, April 1; members who don't vote online can cast their ballots at the ASNE convention. Winners will be announced by Wednesday, April 14, the final day of the convention.
The following candidates vie for five seats on the board of directors — each seat is a three-year term. Below, you'll find the candidate's aspirations for ASNE, as well as brief bios and information on ASNE activities. The online polls have closed. Members who did not vote online can cast a paper ballot at the convention, where polls will close at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 13.
- Ronnie Agnew , The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.
- Jim Brady, Allbritton Communications, Great Falls, Va.
- Pam Fine , The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.
- Timothy A. Franklin, Indiana University School of Journalism, Bloomington, Ind.
- Anders Gyllenhaal, The Miami Herald
- Mike Oreskes , The Associated Press, New York
- Carlos Sanchez, Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald
- Melanie Sill , The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee
- Kathy Spurlock, The News-Star, Monroe, La.
I'm honored to be a candidate for an ASNE board position. Even through the difficulties our industry has experienced, ASNE has not lost its focus of promoting quality journalism and providing leadership to help newspapers. Although I long had been an ASNE member (until the economic downturn), I feel I have much to contribute to the organization through my front-line knowledge of issues facing midsized newspapers. That is a voice that is sorely needed as we discuss the future of our industry and strategies for newspapers of all sizes. For six years, I served on the board of directors of the Associated Press Managing Editors and continue to help that organization as much as I can. Now, though, I would like the opportunity to reach new people and hear new ideas. If elected, I will actively participate and do my best to ensure the principles of journalism and ASNE are upheld.
Ronnie Agnew, a journalist for 26 years, has been executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger since August 2002. He joined the newspaper in February 2001 as managing editor and received a promotion to the top editor's job the next year.
A native Mississippian, Agnew started his journalism career in 1984 as a reporter at The Greenwood (Miss.) Commonwealth. Since then, Agnew has worked for a variety of newspapers in Mississippi, Alabama and Ohio. He spent several years (1986-1993) as a reporter and section editor at The Cincinnati Enquirer, before beginning his next assignment as managing editor of The Hattiesburg (Miss.,) American. From there, Agnew served as editor of The Dothan (Ala.) Eagle, where he also had oversight of four other newspapers in the region.
During his journalism career, Agnew has received a number of awards, which includes being named the 50th recipient of the Silver Em, an honor given by the University of Mississippi for the state's top journalist.
He also recently received his fourth consecutive President's Ring, awarded to top Gannett Company editors for exemplary performance. Under Agnew's leadership, The Clarion-Ledger has produced three Pulitzer Prize finalists and been vigilant in First Amendment journalism.
His newspaper also was a recipient of ASNE's Pacesetter Award for staff diversity. In 2008, the newspaper received the prestigious George Polk award for exposing a dysfunctional and ineffective state health department. In 2009, the newspaper's investigative reporter received a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation genius grant, the first time the award has been given to a Gannett newspaper. Agnew has worked closely with that reporter on civil rights investigations, particularly on cold cases.
Since joining The Clarion-Ledger, Agnew has led the newspaper to several other honors. The newspaper repeatedly has received the top award, General Excellence, from the Mississippi Press Association. The newspaper has also published many stories of national significance, such as developments in the historic Neshoba County murders of 1964, the WorldCom accounting scandal and the disastrous Hurricane Katrina tragedy.
In October 2003, Agnew was inducted into the University of Mississippi's Hall of Fame. In 1996, Agnew's alma mater granted him the Award of Distinction for his service to Mississippi and to the field of journalism. Among other honors, Presstime Magazine in 2000 named Agnew to its prestigious list of the Top 20 Journalists in the country Under 40.
Agnew is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and has been an advocate for diversity in newsrooms for years. Currently, his staff is working with Gannett corporate news staffers to build a comprehensive national civil rights Web site and database, which will be a repository for civil rights news past and present.
He served for six years on the board of directors of the New York-based Associated Press Managing Editors. Agnew is also a graduate of Leadership Jackson. He is a board member of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education and the Junior League.
He attends Word of Faith Christian Center with his wife of 23 years, Cynthia, a 1985 Ole Miss graduate, and their three children, Chris 18, Victoria 17, and Rachel 14. In addition to civic and community involvement, Agnew is a former diversity fellow of the Maynard Institute at Northwestern University. He is also a graduate of the Gannett Company's Senior Management Development Program.
Rejoining ASNE this year, Agnew first became a member in 2003. He has served on the Leadership Committee.
I am interested in joining the ASNE Board of Directors because, while I believe that the future of journalism is bright, traditional news organizations risk losing much of their influence if they don't adapt more quickly to digital platforms. The ground has shifted: Consumers are no longer willing to be passive observers of the journalistic process. The mobile revolution has begun. Storytelling forms are continually evolving. The need for curation is increasing. Utilizing social media is no longer an option, but a necessity. Yet many newsrooms are not making the transition to this new world with the necessary urgency. I helped The Washington Post make significant progress down the digital path in my time as executive editor of washingtonpost.com, growing traffic and unique visitors significantly in my time there, and helping us become the first major U.S. newspaper to launch blogs, reader comments and many other Web features. At the Post, we achieved the goal of not just being on the Web, but of the Web. Being on the ASNE board would give me a chance to aid that effort more broadly, as I currently do as vice president and treasurer of the Online News Association.
Jim Brady is currently overseeing the conception, development and launch of a new local news site for the Washington, D.C., region. Brady will be hiring a staff of 50 to create a local news site for the Web generation, one that combines the values of traditional journalism and the power of citizen journalism. He joined Allbritton after more than four years as executive editor of washingtonpost.com, where he led the site to numerous awards and accolades.
During his tenure as executive editor of washingtonpost.com, the site focused on combining the world-class journalism of The Washington Post with the endless possibilities of the online medium. Whether it was experimenting with new multimedia storytelling opportunities, connecting readers and journalists, developing the new tools of database journalism or many other innovations, Brady led the way in making washingtonpost.com a site that is not merely on the Web, but of the Web.
During Brady's tenure, washingtonpost.com won a national Emmy award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage, a Peabody Award for its “Being a Black Man” series, an Editor & Publisher award for Best Overall Newspaper-Affiliated Web Site, two Digital Edge awards for Best Overall News Site, a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, two Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards, four Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best Non-Broadcast Affiliated Web Site, and more than 100 White House News Photographers video awards.
Brady also served as sports editor and assistant managing editor for news at washingtonpost.com from 1995 to 1999. He was a member of the site's Web launch team in 1996, and helped coordinate the site's coverage of the Clinton impeachment proceedings.
After leaving washingtonpost.com in 1999, Brady spent more than four years at America Online, serving as Group Programming Director, News & Sports; Executive Director, Editorial Operations; and Vice President, Production & Operations. During his time at AOL, Brady was in charge of the service's coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2000 presidential election.
Prior to his first stint at washingtonpost.com, Brady was as a sportswriter at The Washington Post from 1987 to 1995. During his career, Brady has also served as the Washington sports correspondent for UPI, interned as a sportswriter at Newsday and worked as a researcher for NBC during the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona.
Born in Queens, N.Y. and raised in Huntington, N.Y., Brady now lives with his wife, Joan, in Great Falls, Va.
A member since 2008, Brady has served on the Freedom of Information and Innovation committees.
ASNE must vigorously use its bully pulpit to champion the free flow of information and quality journalism, increase collaboration in programming and other services, and, most important, continue to recruit, welcome and engage new members.
This past year was transformational for ASNE in terms of widening its tent. Next year should be even more so.
ASNE needs to be a vital voice and player in helping newsroom leaders challenge convention, experiment and share best practices.
To my thinking, it¹s not a given that the organization will remain viable without hard work, smart efforts and members who are committed to its survival. We must build on all the good things ASNE has done in the past by having an energetic and clear focus for the years ahead.
Pam Fine has been the Knight Chair for News, Leadership and Community at the University of Kansas since May 2008. She was managing editor of the Indianapolis Star from 2003-2008 and vice president and managing editor of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis from 1994-2002. Before that she served in a variety of editing and reporting roles at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and at smaller papers in Georgia and Florida. She is a proud Florida Gator and an enthusiastic golfer.
Fine joined ASNE in 1994. She was elected to the board in 2007 but resigned when she moved into academia, as a result of ASNE rules at the time. Fine currently co-chairs the Convention Program Committee and is on the ASNE Awards Board. Previously, she has chaired the Diversity and Interactive Media committees, as well serving on the First Amendment, Freedom of Information, Membership and Newspaper Content committees. She has been an election judge and a convention floor manager.
During this time of profound transformation, ASNE must play a lead role in fostering a national discussion about the future of journalism, and in the process provide its members with innovative ideas for both short-term sustainability and long-term growth. In doing so, it should engage with other national media organizations and tap into the resources of the nation's major universities, which could be incubators for new journalistic models and a resource in helping financially constrained newsrooms fulfill their public service mission. At this time of crisis, ASNE needs to be an engine of ideas for the future.
Franklin assumed the Louis A. Weil Jr. Endowed Chair in January. In this role, Franklin also is the director of Indiana University's new National Sports Journalism Center.
Before his appointment at I.U., Franklin was the editor and senior vice president of The Baltimore Sun for five years.
During Franklin's tenure, The Sun won numerous national journalism awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting in 2007. The Sun's national awards under his leadership included the Polk Award, two national Society of Professional Journalists Awards, two National Headliner Awards, the Loeb Award, the Mike Berger Award and the top print journalism award in Tribune Co. The Sun was named the Newspaper of the Year three straight years by the Maryland/Delaware/D.C. Press Association. In 2008, Franklin was named one of Maryland's most influential leaders.
Before joining The Sun, Franklin was the editor and vice president of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel for three years. During that time, the Sentinel won more than two dozen national journalism awards, including the Polk Award for environmental reporting, the Scripps Howard Distinguished Service to the First Amendment Award for its investigation into NASCAR racing safety, the National Journalism Award for literacy form the Scripps Howard Foundation, a national Society of Professional Journalist Award for nondeadline reporting, and a National Headliner Award for investigative reporting in collaboration with The Sun. In 2003, the Sentinel won the highest journalism honor from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors for its coverage of the Columbia space shuttle tragedy.
Franklin's first top editor job was at his home state newspaper, The Indianapolis Star, a paper he led in 2000. In his year there, The Star won a national Polk Award for state reporting for an investigation into Indiana's “shockingly inadequate oversight” of its mentally ill patients.
Previously, Franklin spent 17 years as a reporter and editor for the Chicago Tribune. His reporting assignments included Cook County government, Chicago City Hall and the Illinois Statehouse. He then rose through the editing ranks from assistant city editor to associate managing editor. Under Franklin's leadership in the mid 1990s, the Tribune's sports section was named among the 10 best in the nation.
Franklin has been active in First Amendment and freedom of information issues. He took the leading role in organizing the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors first Sunshine Sunday public awareness campaign for open government in 2002. That effort was honored with the Society of Professional Journalists Sunshine Award, and his efforts also were recognized by the First Amendment Foundation. That initial Sunshine Sunday effort in Florida has blossomed into a national public awareness campaign.
In 1981, he won the Society of Professional Journalists' Barney Kilgore Award as the top college journalism student in the nation.
He has been a member of the Board of Visitors of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland since 2004.
An ASNE member since 2000, Franklin was elected to the board last year and currently is on the Awards Board, as well as co-chairs the Freedom of Information Committee. He has also served on the Ethics and Values and Leadership committees.
After decades of leading our profession on many fronts at the same time, ASNE should devote itself to the singular challenge of helping newsrooms through this passage of innovation and change. The editor's job has shifted dramatically, and there aren't many places to turn for guidance and ideas. The Society is particularly well suited for this role. As illustrated by this convention, ASNE can be a clearinghouse for fresh approaches. We need to deliver more experimentation, a better sense of what is happening across all segments of the media and related trades, and an organization that helps sorts things out for the profession's leadership.
Anders Gyllenhaal, executive editor at The Miami Herald, has led three newsrooms over the past 14 years, including The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. In three years at the Herald, the newsroom has placed emphasis on enterprise reporting, revamped its Web site, modernized its structure, experimented with partnerships and innovation, and launched a steady stream of initiatives ranging from an ambitious community news network to an online entertainment site. He worked as a local news reporter, feature writer, copy editor, investigative reporter, city editor and managing editor. He has held a number industry roles, from the Pulitzer board the past nine years, to advisory roles at several journalism schools, to the board of the Inter American Press Association.
Gyllenhaal joined ASNE in 1995. He has chaired the Freedom of Information Committee in 2001 and 2002, when the committee created a campaign and publications on new strategies for expanding and protecting Freedom of information in the digital era. He also served on the Convention Program, Newspaper Content, Nominations and Readership Issues committees and has been a convention floor manager.
Our bylaws repeat one phrase, over and over, in defining who is eligible to be a member of the ASNE. Members can be editors, teachers, foundation heads. But in every case they and their organization must promote and abide by "adequate journalistic standards." Pithy. Hardly overreaching. Yet in this moment of profound change a simple restatement of our purpose. Times of change are when standards matter most. It is standards that make journalism something different from the vast ocean of information that swamps us every day on the internet. More than a hundred years ago a well known commentator of the time defined an editor as someone who separates the wheat from the chaff, and sees to it that the chaff is published. Well, he got it half right. We choose. We rank. We provide the invaluable service of sorting and separating the kernels of wheat from the mountains of information chaff. In our age of information overload that service of journalism has never been needed more. But we have probably never been understood less (although as the quote suggests we weren't always so appreciated in the past either) It is up to us to explain what journalism is and why it matters. ASNE should have a central role in that effort.
Michael Oreskes, senior managing editor of The Associated Press, supervises the news cooperative's daily all-format and global report.
Oreskes came to the AP two years ago from the International Herald Tribune where he was executive editor of the Paris-based daily owned by The New York Times. Mike spent 27 years with The New York Times Co. He began in 1981 as reporter for the Times, covering local, state and national politics; he was later appointed Metro editor, Washington bureau chief and deputy managing editor. As a member of the Times masthead Mike was a pioneer in its television and online operations. Before coming to the Times, Mike worked for the Daily News, New York, where he was a general assignment reporter, City Hall bureau chief, and also covered education, Albany and the labor beat. He is co-author of "The Genius of America: How The Constitution Saved our Country and Why it Can Again" (Bloomsbury). He is a graduate of The City College of New York. He is married to Geraldine Baum, the New York bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times.
Boards: AP Managing Editors; City University Graduate School of Journalism; The Correspondent's Fund; World Economic Forum Media Leaders Council (co-chair)
A member since 2001, Oreskes has served on the Ethics and Values Committee.
Recently, a consultant went to a conference to learn about Web pay walls. When he returned, he said, “The good news is that everyone is as clueless as we are.”
In a phrase, that's my vision for ASNE — not being clueless, but providing information and leadership at a time when this industry needs it tremendously.
Being mindful of anti-trust issues, ASNE is a natural conduit for the industry to learn about and lobby for the necessary changes that will result in not only a viable business, but in strengthened journalism. As a board member I intend to push vigorously for ASNE to take on that role.
In December 2001, Carlos Sanchez became the 5th editor of the Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald since 1917. A native Texan, Sanchez grew up in El Paso.
The Tribune-Herald is the sixth newsroom he has worked in during his 24-year career. He has also worked in newsrooms in Colorado, El Paso, Austin and in Washington, D.C., where he worked seven years for The Washington Post.
Currently on the Awards Board, Sanchez joined ASNE in 2007. He has served on the Freedom of Information and Diversity committes.
I'm an old-fashioned new age editor, as traditional as they come regarding fundamental journalism values but impatient with the idea that we'll never be as important or essential as we were in the 1980s or '90s.
Newspaper history tells us that competition has been the norm, not the exception, for our business and that some of the essential questions we face now — how to engage readers in serious issues, how to compete, how to make the most of scarce resources — have been with us since the first presses rolled.
My hope is that ASNE can provide both inspiration and guidance for editors working to carry out traditional values in contemporary ways — to keep journalism as the primary aim of newsrooms, and to help news leaders consider what citizens need from us now.
Melanie Sill is executive editor of the Sacramento Bee. She joined the Bee in 2007 after nearly 25 years at the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., most recently as executive editor and senior vice president. Prior to working for the News & Observer, she worked as a reporter at the Transylvania Times in Brevard, N.C. and in the state capital bureau of United Press International. She is a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the National Freedom of Information Coalition. She is a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
A member since 1998, Sill has served on the Awards Board and the Change, Convention Program, Craft Development, Education for Journalism, First Amendment, Freedom of Information, and Readership Issues committees.
ASNE's collegial environment provides inspiration and motivation for editors who are too often the lone voice for journalism in their buildings and in their communities. As ASNE works with editors to navigate our cultural and technological evolution, I wish to be part of that good fight.
Community journalism is a fundamental asset of every town and city. ASNE will continue to share ideas, offer training and provide advice to editors coping with today's financial realities so that good, strong journalism remains a core value of their leaner operations.
Spurlock began her career as a reporter for the newspaper she now edits. After serving in various reporting and editing capacities on the features and city desks, she moved to Baton Rouge as a public information officer for the Louisiana Office of Tourism. But ink was in her blood, and she quickly returned to the newspaper business as managing editor of Louisiana Suburban Press, a weekly newspaper group in the Baton Rouge area, and then to the Morning Advocate in Baton Rouge as copy editor and assistant city editor.
She then joined The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., as city editor and later became the publisher of the company's weekly newspapers and niche publication division. The itch to return to the newsroom struck when the editor's job at her first newspaper came open. She has been executive editor of The News-Star since 1995.
In 2009, she was part of a team that developed the Gannett Louisiana Content Production Center, which she now supervises in Monroe. That center edits and produces the daily newspaper pages and some niche publications for Shreveport, Lafayette, Alexandria, Opelousas and Monroe.
Under her leadership, the newspaper has received national recognition and awards for its freedom of information and public service work, for taking an active stand in statewide legislative ethics issues, for its work on statewide education reform and for its local economic development activities.
Spurlock has been a strong First Amendment advocate in her state, serving as a founding board member of the Louisiana Freedom of Information Coalition and currently as chairman of the Louisiana Press Association's Freedom of Information Committee. She's also been heavily involved in journalism education, serving as an adjunct professor at the LSU Manship School and at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, working with the journalism and mass communication departments at three area universities, developing local high school programs and mentoring dozens of interns. She also has served on the Louisiana Press Association's outreach and journalism education committees.
A member since 2001, Spurlock is completing a one-year term on the board. She is currently a member of ASNE Awards Board and participated in the 2009 ASNE Ethics and Values Forum. She served as chair of the Small Newspaper Committee in 2006-07, and has served on the Campfire, Craft Development, Education for Journalism and High School Journalism committees. She was a floor manager at the 2006 convention.