Introducing LION’s 2021 Advisory Council

We learned a lot from our inaugural Advisory Council last year. This group of six smart, thoughtful leaders from across the journalism

January 13, 2021 by Anika Anand

From top left: Zack Baddorf, Rebecca Landsberry, Carla Murphy. From bottom left: Janine Warner, Sisi Wei.
From top left: Zack Baddorf, Rebecca Landsberry, Carla Murphy. From bottom left: Janine Warner, Sisi Wei.

We learned a lot from our inaugural Advisory Council last year. This group of six smart, thoughtful leaders from across the journalism industry informed the strategy of our program design, contributed to those programs, and even partnered with us to launch new initiatives.

When teams are as lean as ours, we must find creative ways to listen to a diversity of perspectives and incorporate them into our work. That’s why we’ve decided to formalize our Advisory Council; each year we’ll select a new group of members to help advise us on a specific opportunity facing LION.

I’m grateful to the following 2021 Advisory Council members who will be advising us on what we see as our greatest opportunity this year: how to best attract and serve members from historically underrepresented communities, including communities of color, and rural and/or news deserts. For this year’s council members, we’ve assembled a group of industry professionals who are leading organizations, programs or initiatives that LION as an association can learn from.

Please meet our 2021 LION Advisory Council:

Zack Baddorf, Military Veterans in Journalism

Zack is the founder and executive director of Military Veterans in Journalism. For more than 15 years, he has reported from the frontlines of the world’s conflicts, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Crimea, Kashmir and the West Bank. He most recently lived in the Central African Republic, reporting for the New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and many other publications. Zack previously served in the U.S. military and in the U.S. Peace Corps in Romania. He also worked for the U.S. Special Operations Command in Afghanistan, for U.S. Central Command in Tampa, and for the media development organization Internews in South Sudan.

What perspective he will bring to the council: With military veterans deeply underrepresented in America’s newsrooms, Zack advocates for media outlets to include veterans in their diversity and inclusion efforts while also partnering with a range of organizations to create opportunities for this community.

Rebecca Landsberry, Native American Journalists Association

Rebecca Landsberry-Baker is an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the executive director of the Native American Journalists Association, a nonprofit membership organization advocating accurate coverage of Indigenous people in media and free press in Indian Country. She is a former editor of the Mvskoke News, and currently serves as president of the Mvskoke Media Editorial Board. She is directing her first documentary feature film, VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, which follows the story of free press within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma. She was a recipient of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s “Native American 40 Under 40” award in 2018. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, where she studied public relations and Native American studies. She enjoys slurping ramen in Los Angeles with her husband Garrett Baker and their many plant babies.

What perspective she will bring to the council: Rebecca aims to bring insight on coverage and inclusion of Indigenous communities in media to this talented team.

Carla Murphy, a journalist and consultant who recently led the Leavers Survey

Carla Murphy is a journalist, editorial consultant and J-educator who created, Leavers, a survey of 101 journalists of color who left the industry. She is vice president and a board member of the Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS).

What perspective she will bring to the council: Carla is primarily interested in expanding democratic participation within racialized, low-income,geographic or other communities, and improving the wages and welfare of non-managerial journalism staff and freelancers.

Janine Warner, SembraMedia

Janine Warner is the co-founder and executive director of SembraMedia. She also has a Knight Fellowship from the International Center for Journalists. Over the last decade, Janine has worked with thousands of journalists and digital media entrepreneurs in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. She has also traveled extensively to deliver keynotes and lead seminars at conferences, events, and universities. In 2015, she co-founded SembraMedia with Mijal Iastrebner of Argentina. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to increasing the diversity of voices in Spanish by helping digital media entrepreneurs become more sustainable, independent news organizations. SembraMedia provides business and technical training, market intelligence, networking opportunities, consulting and financial support to media throughout the region. The diverse team represents a regional network of more than 800 digital publishers in 20 countries in Latin America, the U.S., and Spain.

What perspective she will bring to the council: Janine looks forward to bringing her research and experience with journalism entrepreneurs to our discussions, and she always enjoys comparing notes with people who share her passion for independent news.

Sisi Wei, OpenNews

Sisi Wei is the Co-Executive Director of OpenNews and in 2020, she launched the DEI Coalition for Anti-Racist, Equitable, and Just Newsooms. The Coalition is co-creating with over 100 members of the community, two digital organizing spaces for journalists to organize, take collective action, and share knowledge in the service of a more equitable journalism industry. Sisi’s current work also includes Vision25, a partnership between OpenNews, the Online News Association, and the Maynard Institute, to build journalistic institutions where newsrooms are actively anti-racist and collaborative, and journalists of color feel like they truly belong. Previously, Sisi was the Assistant Managing Editor at ProPublica, during which she edited news apps, graphics, visual investigations, and large, interdisciplinary projects.

What perspective she will bring to the council: One of the biggest experiences Sisi will bring is her perspective as someone who, as a relatively new journalist on staff, co-built a newsroom diversity initiative from scratch, and then as a manager, the very different challenges she faced and strategies she implemented in trying to further that work.

For questions or feedback, email LION Deputy Director Anika Anand at [email protected].

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