Meet our advisory board: 26 local perspectives on NC’s news needs

The hometown feeling came through almost right away during the first meeting of the NC Local News Workshop’s new First-Year Advisory Board — 26 people from journalism, communications, education, libraries, history, public affairs, and more, who care about local news as a civic asset, in part because it matters to the places they hold dear.

Hope Mills. Durham. Wilmington. Northeastern NC. Many of our board’s members grew up in North Carolina, and their passion and concern about the loss of local reporting and its impact came through in their comments, even through our Zoom screens.

Hendersonville, southeastern NC, the Triad. As they introduced themselves, board members spoke passionately about the importance of strong local news, and the need for new thinking to sustain it.

Some focused on gaps in information for people whose dominant language is Spanish; others focused on a new generation of young people who don’t connect to hews in the same ways as their parents.

Our board, listed below and in more detail, includes not just accomplished journalists and news leaders, but also others who play key roles in supporting community information, truth-telling, and civic connection.

We’re honored to welcome this group as individual and collective wisdom for our efforts to build systemic support for high-quality local news in North Carolina.

First-Year Advisory Board 

Erica Allison, CEO/OWner, Formation PR + Brand, Hendersonville

Robert G. Anthony Jr., Curator of the North Carolina Collection and director of DigitalNC, UNC-Chapel Hill

Leslie Boney, NCSU Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement and Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues

Vanessa Bravo, Chair and Associate professor of Strategic Communications, Elon University School of Communications

Paul Cuadros, Associate professor, UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and Chair and Executive Director of the Latino Scholars initiative

Seth Ervin, Chief Innovation Officer, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Lariza Garzôn, Executive Director, Episcopal Farmworker Ministry

Lizzy Hazeltine, Fund Coordinator, NC Local News Lab Fund (ex officio)

Cierra Hinton, Co-Director of Strategy and Operations, Press On; Executive Director/ Publisher, Scalawag

Deborah Holt-Noel, Host, UNC-TV’s Black issues Forum and NC Weekend

Tamara Jeffries, Associate professor and Chair of Journalism & Mass Media, Bennett College

Ju-Don Marshall, Chief Content Officer and Executive Vice President, WFAE

Fiona Morgan, Journalist, researcher, and consultant, Branchhead Consulting; former journalism director, Free Press

Philip Napoli, Professor of public policy and Associate Dean, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

Nick Ochsner, Investigative Executive Producer, WBTV

Orage Quarles III, Board Chairman, McClatchy Journalism Institute, Freedom Forum board member, retired longtime newspaper publisher

Fran Scarlett, Chief Knowledge Officer, Institute for Nonprofit News

Michael Schoenfeld, VP for Public Affairs and Government Relations, Chief Communication Officer, Duke University

Sarah Sloan, Producer and independent journalist, Working Narratives and Shoresides

Monique Smalls, Communications Director, LabCorp

David Squires, Journalism lecturer, NC A&T State University, contributing writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated

Pat Stith, retired Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist, The News & Observer

Ryan Thornburg, Associate professor, UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media

Robyn Tomlin, President and Editor, The N&O/Herald-Sun, Southeast Regional Editor, McClatchy

Keven Zepezauer, President, CEO and Publisher, Restoration News Media and The Wilson Times

Karin Zipf, Professor of history, East Carolina University

Covering Voting for Voters: Register now to inform your local journalism

NC BOE site

North Carolina’s election season begins this Friday, Sept. 4, as the first absentee ballots in the nation start going out by mail. Get information and resources on how you’re covering the election process at a special convening on Zoom with elections officials and journalists, sponsored by the NC Local News Workshop, NC Open Government Coalition, and NC Press Association.

Register now for “Covering Voting for Voters,” scheduled for Sept. 9 from 9-10:30 a.m. Share your questions, and links to your own coverage so we can highlight it. Translation will be offered for participation by Spanish speakers.

Panelists include:

  • State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell
    Karen Brinson Bell
    Derek Bowens
    Derek Bowens

    and Durham County Director Derek Bowens, who will outline what they think voters should know about the election process and what the public can expect.

  • Reporters including Jordan Wilkie from Carolina Public Press, Will Doran from The News & Observer, Paola Jaramillo of EnlaceLatinoNC, Wake Board of Elections member and Twitter election information provider Gerry Cohen, on what local journalists should be looking out for in their counties.
  • News organizations including Scalawag, The N&O, QCityMetro, and The Daily Tar Heel about building election coverage around community and voter needs.
  • John Hernandez from the American Press Institute and its Trusted Elections Network on resources for covering misinformation.

Send questions or comments to Melanie Sill, NC Local News Workshop executive director.

Meanwhile, catch up via Zoom recording on two recent events focused on public records and covering COVID-19 for Spanish speakers: Check our events page for those links.