Speakers and facilitators

Register for the NC Local News Summit here and check out the event page for program details.


Anika Anand is the deputy director for Local Independent Online News Publishers. Since joining LION in 2019, she’s launched the Google News Initiative Startups Program, the News Entrepreneur Community and other programming for news entrepreneurs. She cofounded The Evergrey, and was the storytelling and product director of its parent company WhereBy.Us. Anand grew up in North Carolina and earned her undergraduate degree at UNC. She’s also an alum of the Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media and worked previously for The Seattle Times Education Lab and Chalkbeat

Shannan Bowen is a product manager and audience strategist who is passionate about local news. She leads a product management team at McClatchy, where she works closely with the company’s 30 newsrooms to identify strategies for digital storytelling and audience development. She began her career as a local news reporter in North Carolina, then joined Atlantic57, the digital consultancy of The Atlantic, to lead content and engagement strategies for clients. Bowen, a UNC-Chapel Hill alum, also has held audience development and product strategy roles at The Hill and National Journal in Washington, D.C.


Cole Goins is a journalist, facilitator and organizer dedicated to making journalism more actionable, collaborative and community-centered. He is the engagement lead for Journalism + Design, a lab at The New School, developing resources and trainings to help journalists and students meet information needs and report on complex problems. He has designed and led community engagement initiatives, events and workshops for a variety of organizations including The Oaklandside, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity, the Investigative Reporting Workshop, the American Press Institute, Poynter, and the USA TODAY Network. He is originally from Rockingham County and earned a degree in journalism from UNC.


Katherine Goldstein is the creator and host of the critically acclaimed reported podcast, The Double Shift. An award-winning journalist and media entrerpreneur, Katherine is extensively quoted as an expert in issues facing working mothers. and has a track record for conversation-setting work, such as the viral New York Times op-ed, “The Open Secret of Anti-Mom Bias in the Workplace,” American Moms: Let’s Stop Feeling Guilty and Start Getting Mad” and “The Mothers of America Need a Bailout. This Could be the Answer.” She runs Double Shift Productions as an independent journalism company out of Durham, where she lives with her husband, five year old, and twin babies.

Lizzy Hazeltine is the fund coordinator for the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund, which funds the North Carolina Local News Workshop. Since 2018, the fund has invested $1.6 million in N.C.’s local news and information ecosystem through 54 grants. Prior, Hazeltine worked in venture capital, software startups, and journalism and media, including the startup phase of Scalawag magazine and ExitEvent. She also coaches teams in the UNC Knight Table Stakes Initiative.

Les High is the third-generation publisher of his family’s newspaper, The News Reporter, a Pulitzer Prize winning community newspaper in Whiteville, NC, that publishes a print product two days a week and is at the forefront of newspaper innovation. The News Reporter’s digital transformation has included participation in the first cohort of the UNC-Knight Foundation initiative known as “Table Stakes,” delivery of news via social platforms and video, a collaboration with Scalawag magazine and UNC-TV focused on the Columbus County area’s opioids addiction challenges, and a successful move to digital subscriptions highlighted in American Press Institute’s “Better News” publication.


Cierra Hinton is co-director of strategy and operations for Press On, a Southern Media collective that catalyzes change and advances justice through the practice of movement journalism, and executive director/publisher of Scalawag magazine, a journalism and storytelling organization serving the South. She also holds national leadership positions in LION, an organization of independent digital news publishers, and the Facebook Journalism Project.

Ju-Don Marshall is chief content officer and executive vice president for WFAE, an NPR public radio station serving the Charlotte region. She has held executive roles at The Washington Post and News Corp., co-founded a media startup, and directed the Center for Cooperative Media’s efforts to foster collaboration and innovation in New Jersey’s news ecosystem, while also holding a variety of leadership roles in national professional and industry organizations. She is currently launching Story Mosaic, a collaborative reporting platform to help the community partner with local newsrooms to shape reporting.

Fiona Morgan is a journalist/researcher and consultant for Branchhead Consulting, Director of Community Listening for the American Journalism Project since 2020, and former journalism program director at the nonprofit organization Free Press. She authored “Learning from North Carolina,” a 2017 report exploring the state’s landscape of local news, and works extensively on local ecosystem projects nationally and internationally. She’s the author of a local news ecosystem mapping toolkit at https://ecosystems.democracyfund.org/.

Philip Napoli is a professor of public policy and associate dean for faculty and research at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. He also is professor of Duke’s International Comparative Studies Program and associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society. His research explores media and democracy, and also has focused on local news access, quality and financial models. 

Fran Scarlett is chief knowledge officer and business coach for the Institute for Nonprofit News, a national support organization offering services and support to more than 250 nonprofit, nonpartisan independent media organizations. She specializes in helping organizations understand and leverage their value propositions to build business models that maximize their potential for revenue growth and long-term sustainability. Based in Wilmington, Scarlett also served as regional director of the Small Business & Technology Development Center at UNC-Wilmington.

Ryan Thornburg is an associate professor of journalism at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and visiting lecturer in digital media at Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. At UNC, he inaugurated the Carolina Data Desk and is a go-to advisor for North Carolina reporters pursuing data journalism questions.


NC Local News Workshop

Rochelle L. Ford is dean and professor of strategic communications at Elon University’s School of Communications, which launched the NC Local News Workshop in Summer 2020. Previously, she served as chair and professor of the Public Relations Department at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse, helping the program to win the PRWeek Education Program of the Year and as a professor at Howard University in the School of Communications, where she served as the associate dean for research and academic affairs. In 2018 she was inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Fame.


Melanie Sill is interim executive director of the North Carolina Local News Workshop and former top news executive and editor at The News & Observer, KPCC /Southern California Public Radio and The Sacramento Bee. Since 2017 she has worked as a local news consultant with an emphasis on new models and approaches for journalism as a public service.