Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

Religion, Politics and Policy: From the White House to the School House

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   (626) 578-6300 x 4461
Marshall Allen covers faith and values for the Pasadena (CA) Star-News. Previously, he covered police and courts for the Star-News. He worked as a staff writer at the Glendale (CA) News-Press and the Foothill Leader where he covered religion and the city of La Canada Flintridge. Marshall freelances for various religious publications including Christianity Today, where he serves as a Southern California news correspondent. He is a member of the Religion Newswriters Association. Marshall received a Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Colorado. He has a Master’s degree in Theology from the Fuller Theological Seminary.

   (719) 636-0367
Paul Asay is the religion writer for The Gazette in Colorado Springs, CO. Before joining the Gazette in 1999, he was editor for the national trade publication “Pro Rodeo Sports News.” Asay began his career in 1991 as a reporter for The High Mountain Sun, a weekly paper in Woodland Park, CO. Asay is a member of the Religious Newswriters Association and holds a B.A. from Hastings College.

   (225) 215-4799
Julie Baxter is an anchor and reporter for WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge, LA, where she has worked since 1997. Prior to 1997, she worked for Clear Channel Radio as the news director, and before that at the Louisiana Radio Network as a news reporter and anchor. She is president of the Capitol Correspondents Association, a former president of the Baton Rouge Press Club, and a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors. Baxter has won numerous awards for both radio and television, including the Edward R. Murrow award for Regional Investigative Reporting. Baxter is currently in her third year of law school at Louisiana State University. She holds a B.A. from Bob Jones University.

   (813) 259-7612
Penny Carnathan is the personal life team leader in the features department of The Tampa Tribune. A true Tampa Tribune ‘lifer’, she began working for the paper when she was 19 years old. Before assuming her current position in 2000, she worked at the paper in various capacities, including wire editor, copy editor, reporter, page designer, copy chief, and bureau chief. Carnathan’s special sections “Sex in the City” and “No Life Untouched” received first place in 2003 and 2004 from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. Carnathan is a member of the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors and holds a B.A. from the University of South Florida.

   (201) 646-4441
John Chadwick is the religion writer for The Record in Bergen County, NJ. Chadwick has been with The Record since 1997, serving previously as a general assignment and municipal reporter. He also worked as a reporter at The Patriot Ledger and the Springfield Union-News. He is a member of the Religion Newswriters Association and the New Jersey Press Association. He was a finalist for the Supple Religion Writer of the Year award in 2004, and won second place in the Garden State Association of Black Journalists 'Community Impact' award. Chadwick holds a B.A. from State University of New York - College at Fredonia.

   (312) 948-4741
Jason DeRose is a news correspondent and alternate anchor at Chicago Public Radio, where he reports on a wide variety of cultural issues with a particular emphasis on religion, ethics and spirituality, and a contributing reporter to National Public Radio. Prior to coming to Chicago Public Radio in 2002, DeRose held reporting, editing and producing positions at NPR member stations across the country. He worked as a producer on All Things Considered, and as a staff reporter at NPR’s Chicago bureau. DeRose has also worked as an oral history interviewer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and as a trainer at the International Center for Journalists, an organization that trains foreign journalists in Western reporting practices. DeRose has received awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Associated Press, and the Society of Professional Journalists. A finalist for Religion Reporter of the Year (Radio) from the Religion Newswriters Association, he has also received a Gralla Fellowship for Religion Journalists at Brandeis University. DeRose is a member of the Religion Newswriters Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, and of the Visiting Committee at the Chicago Theological Seminary. He holds a M.Div. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from St. Olaf College. He also studied religion reporting at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

   (850) 599-2256
Byron Dobson is a community and religion editor at the Tallahassee (FL) Democrat, responsible for planning, editing and reporting local stories for the Saturday Religion section. Dobson also supervises journalism students from Florida A&M University who write community news for the paper. He has been at the Tallahassee Democrat since 1990. Previously, Dobson worked for the Boca Raton News as a reporter, assistant city editor, and city editor. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. Dobson holds a B.A. from Bowie State University.

   (608) 252-6463
Judith Ettenhofer is an editorial writer for The Capital Times in Madison, WI. She began working at The Capital Times in 1990, and then left in 1994 to work as a copy editor at the Wisconsin State Journal, and then as an assistant editor at the Wisconsin Trails Magazine. She returned to The Capital Times in 2000. Her primary responsibility is to select content for the editorial and op-ed pages, though she also writes editorials and columns. Prior to 1990, Ettenhofer worked at The Lowell Sun and at the Patriot Ledger. She is a member of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, a volunteer at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and vice-president of the Spring Green Literary Festival. In 2003, under her editorial leadership, the editorial pages of The Capital Times was awarded second place by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Ettenhofer holds a MLA from Harvard University, and a B.S. from Ohio University.

   (213) 346-3120
Gillian Flaccus is the diversity and religion reporter for southern California, for The Associated Press. Until October 2003, Flaccus worked as a reporter and day supervisor in the Portland, OR, bureau of The Associated Press. Prior to coming to AP, Flaccus was an education reporter at the Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.) and freelanced for the Ithaca Journal in Ithaca, N.Y. Flaccus has won awards for best series in 1999 and 2000 from the South Carolina Press Association, in addition to awards for public service, breaking news coverage and a shared staff award for the 1999 feature "Hurricane Floyd Passes By." Flaccus was named Staffer of the Year for 2003 in Portland and wrote one of 22 national feature stories selected for publication in the AP’s annual “Best of the Bureaus” book. Flaccus is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors, and holds a B.A. in Asian Studies and Civilization from Amherst College.

   (213) 237-2539
Veronica Garcia is a copy editor on the national news desk, and the assistant Sunday preview editor, at The Los Angeles Times. Before coming to the Times in 1991, Garcia was copy editor at Newsday, The Californian, and as assistant editor at the Southern Cross. Garcia was part of Los Angeles Times staff awarded Pulitzer Prizes in 1992 for the newspaper’s coverage of the Los Angeles riots, and in 1994 for reports on the Northridge earthquake. She is a member of the California Chicano News Media Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Garcia holds a B.A. from San Diego State University, and has completed the coursework for a master’s in Latin American studies, also at SDSU.

   (703) 854-3778
Cathy Grossman is a religion reporter for USA Today, where she has worked since 1989. Before joining USA Today, she spent 17 years at The Miami Herald. She had twelve different beats during her tenure at the Herald, including covering international events and juvenile justice, writing a personal column, and working as the assistant editor of the ‘Living Today’ section. In 1989, that section of the Herald won the Penney-Missouri Lifestyle competition for best lifestyle section. Grossman was a Michigan Journalism fellow in 1987-88. She is a member of the Religion Newswriters Association and an active member of her synagogue. Grossman holds a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

   (214) 977-8722
Ira Hadnot-Alexander is a senior religion writer for The Dallas Morning News. Before taking her current position in September 2003, Hadnot-Alexander worked at the Morning News writing feature stories and special interest columns, and as an editor and manager. She created a partnership between the newspaper and inner city high school journalism classes that has received national recognition. She has also worked as the assistant metropolitan editor at The Milwaukee Journal, as a reporter at the Milwaukee Sentinel, as a lecturer at Marquette University, as both vice-president and president of the Institute for Journalism Education, and as director of the Editing Program for Minority Journalists at the University of Arizona. She is a member of the Milwaukee Press Club, the Dallas Press Club, the National Association of black Journalists, and president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators. Hadnot-Alexander has received numerous awards throughout her career. She holds two Bachelor degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

   (206) 464-2207
Janet Horne Henderson is an assistant metro editor in charge of religion coverage and the general-assignment team at The Seattle Times. She has held this position since 1982. She first joined the paper ten years prior, in 1972, as a reporter. Horne Henderson won a variety of awards as a reporter, and as an editor, she has overseen prize-winning stories, including the coverage of the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal, which won a comprehensive-reporting award in 2003 from the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a member of the Religion Newswriters Association. Horne Henderson holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington.

   (303) 820-1281
Judith Howard is a features editor at The Denver Post where she has worked since 2002. Previously, Howard worked as a community services representative at The Dallas Morning News, and as an editor at The Arlington Morning News. She began her career in journalism in 1985, as a reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She is a member of the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors. In 2001, she was awarded a $10,000 scholarship to attend the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education’s management program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Howard holds a B.S. from the University of Kansas.

   (425) 703-4631
Alex Johnson is a reporter for MSNBC.com, where he has worked since 2000. Previously, he worked as news editor of washingtonpost.com, editor on the metro staff for The Washington Post, assistant news editor (politics) for the Knight-Ridder Tribune and as production editor of the Congressional Quarterly. He is a member of the National Press Club, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the Society of Professional Journalists. Johnson holds a B.A. in English literature from the University of Georgia.

   (410) 332-6922
Ann Lolordo LOLORDO is an editorial writer for The Baltimore Sun. Before taking this position in 2002, she worked for The Sun as a features writer, a national correspondent, and from 1996-99, as a middle east correspondent based in Jerusalem. LoLordo received the 2001 Dart Award in excellence in reporting on victims of violence, and was a finalist in 2002 for the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for editorial writing. She was a Gannett Foundation fellow in Asian studies in 1988-89. A published poet whose work has appeared in the Greensboro Review, Southern Poetry Review, and The MacGuffin, LoLordo holds a M.A. in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

   (202) 662-7025
Michael McGough editor at large in the Washington Bureau of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, covers the U.S. Supreme Court for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, and also writes a weekly op-ed column called "Intellectual Capital." From 1985 to 2003, he was editor of the Post-Gazette's editorial and opinion pages and before that an associate editor, editorial writer and city side reporter for the Post-Gazette. McGough has won several statewide and local journalism awards, and was part of a team of Post-Gazette writers who received first place in the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Schnader Media Awards for a series on a state Supreme Court justice who was subsequently impeached and removed from office. McGough has taught at the University of Pittsburgh and its Honors College, Allegheny College and The Haverford School and is currently adjunct professional lecturer at American University. He is a frequent contributor of articles about religion to the online magazine Slate.com and also has written for The New York Times, The New Republic, Commonweal, the American Spectator, New York Newsday and Religion in the News. An honors graduate of Allegheny College, he also holds a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale University, which he attended as a Ford Foundation fellow.

   (951) 368-9547
Bettye Wells Miller is a staff writer, specializing in religion and ethics, with the Riverside (CA) Press-Enterprise. Before coming to the Press-Enterprise in 2001, Miller worked for The Worldwide Newsroom Inc., The San Bernardino County Sun, The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, CA, and taught journalism as a visiting lecturer at the University of Redlands. Miller has won numerous awards for her writing during her career, including a first place Public Service Reporting Award (1998). Additionally, she was nominated for a Pulitzer in 1999. She is a member of the Religious Newswriters Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the California First Amendment Coalition. She was a Western Knight Fellow in the 2003 affordable housing seminar “Gimme Shelter.” Miller holds an M.A. in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis in religion, from the University of Redlands, and a B.A. from the University of Southern California.

   (925) 977-8419
Randy Myers is a religion and general assignment reporter for the Contra Costa Times in Northern California. Before assuming his current position in 2002, he worked for Contra Costa Times as an entertainment editor, assistant entertainment editor, and copy editor. He has also worked for The Vallejo Times-Herald, The Lodi News-Sentinel, and the Elk Grove Citizen. Myers writes stories that have a Bay Area interest, with an emphasis on youth, and gay and lesbian issues In 1986, he won a UPI ‘best feature writing’ award for his piece “Death of Children,” about parents coping with a child’s death. Currently, he is doing research for a book. Myers holds a B.A. from Sacramento State University.

   (404) 878-1258
Jennifer Pifer is a senior producer, in charge of weekend primetime story and segment development, at CNN. Currently, Pifer is on special assignment producing pieces about the military for “Paula Zahn Now”. At CNN, she has also worked with “NewsNight with Aaron Brown” and “Anderson Cooper 360”. Before coming to CNN in 1999, Pifer worked in Portland, OR as a producer at KATU-TV and KGW-TV. From 1993-1994, she worked as a pastor’s assistant at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York. Pifer was part of the team honored in 2003 with an Emmy for 9/11 coverage. She received a Recent Alumni Award from her alma mater in 2002, and received the NAB award for her 10-part series, “Age of Abstinence” in 1996. Pifer holds a B.A. from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington.

   (316) 831-6130
Scott Roberts is assignment editor for KWCH-TV in Wichita, KS, where he coordinates reporters, photographers and live broadcast equipment on local news coverage. Before joining KWCH-TV in early 2004, Roberts served as anchor, assignment editor and reporter for the Journal Broadcasting Group’s KFDI. In his more than 20 years in broadcast, Roberts has received numerous breaking news awards.

   (704) 358-5012
Edwin Williams is editor of the editorial pages of The Charlotte Observer, a visiting lecturer at American Press Institute, and an adjunct professor at University of North Carolina at Hill. Before coming to The Charlotte Observer in 1973, Williams worked as a writer and researcher at the Ford Foundation, and before that, as a reporter, editor, and state capital correspondent at the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, MS. A Nieman fellow at Harvard (1972-73), Williams has received numerous awards for editorials and columns, including a 1998 award from the National Religion Communications Council for best newspaper columns on religion. In addition, his editorials were part of two Charlotte Observer projects that won the Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service. Williams holds a B.A. in history from the University of Mississippi.

   (202) 541-3269
Patricia Zapor covers Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court as a federal government reporter for the Catholic News Service. Before coming to the Catholic News Service in 1991, Zapor was the mid-cape regional editor for the Cape Cod Newspapers, as associate editor of the Catholic Sun, and before that she worked as the assistant editor and reporter at the Chandler Arizonan. Zapor was a Western Knight Center fellow in November 2003 Border seminar. She has received an assortment of writing awards from the Arizona Press Club, the Catholic Press Association, the New England Newspaper Association and the Newspaper Guild. She has also trained a cadre of award-winning reporters (including one Pulitzer winner) working at newspapers around the country. Zapor holds a B.A from the University of Arizona.

   (212) 621-1708
Rachel Zoll is a national religion writer with The Associated Press. Before joining the AP national reporting staff in 2001, Zoll worked for AP as a staff writer in the Boston bureau, as a Southeast regional correspondent based in Chattanooga, TN, and as the manager of the Rhode Island bureau. She was a finalist for the 2004 Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year award, which is given by the Religion Newswriters Association, of which she is a member. Zoll holds a M.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. from Tufts University.

What fellows have to say about past seminars:
"This is the most valuable seminar I have attended in years. The presentations were useful and the caliber of the journalists selected made a big difference."
- Tania Soussan, Albuquerque Journal
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