LION Summit 2019 Speakers

Here is more information about our great lineup of speakers (subject to change).

October 24 (Day 1) Workshops & Trainings

Ashley Edwards
is the Google News Lab's U.S. Partnership Manager. Prior to tech, she was the News and Politics Director at Refinery29, a leading women's media outlet. She has also worked at the Mic, New York Daily News, and PIX11 News. She is based in New York City.


Maggie Farley is a teaching fellow at the Google News Initiative. She was a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times for 14 years based in Asia and then New York, covering the UN. Post-journalism, she co-developed the Lucky Grasshopper app to teach Chinese characters using animated flashcards, and created online learning modules for the Pearson Foundation and bgc3. At American University, she was a professional fellow in a two-year engagement design project, working with newsrooms to use technology to make information more interactive, community-oriented and compelling. She co-created Factitious, a digital game that playfully teaches how to discern factual news from misinformation. She also taught writing at AU. She is a fan of the Oxford comma, trapeze, and the snacks at Google.

Nico Gendron is the Program Manager for Instagram's Local News Fellowship, a program she co-created with Instagram's News Partnership team and Facebook's Local News team. The program's goal is to help newsrooms develop an Instagram strategy to reach new and younger audiences. Prior to this position, she was a 2018-2019 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow at the Missouri School of Journalism. She assisted fifteen high school students living in news deserts and attending high schools without student newspapers in producing an original news story about their community that they felt legacy media had overlooked.


Magdaline Duncan graduated from the University of Missouri in May with a degree in multimedia journalism and an emphasis in emerging media. From there, she traveled up north to run the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Instagram account as one of the inaugural Instagram News Fellows. Duncan spent last summer in Brussels, Belgium, reporting on the European Union for Politico Europe and seeing as many other countries as she could on the weekends. Duncan believes audience engagement is essential for connecting news outlets with their readers, both from a public relations perspective and to ensure reporters can break through the noise to get communities the information they need.

Joe Hyde is the publisher of San Angelo LIVE! that he founded in 2013 in west central Texas. Prior to this venture, he was the Director of Technology for Sensis Agency in downtown LA; major accounts sales for Salem Web Network; product manager for; and the founder of an Internet Service Provider on the Texas-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas. Prior to a career in media tech, he was a 20-year veteran who served as a combat instructor pilot with the U.S. Air Force.

Annette Batson is the current and original Ad Sales Director of Baristanet, one of the first, most successful, and most studied online-only hyperlocals in the country. Founded in 2004 by Debbie Galant, Baristanet developed a strong following and an enviable roster of advertising clients through Annette's leadership. Annette has been a special guest for sales workshops at the Center for Cooperate Media in Montclair NJ, and works closely with Broadstreet to lend her expertise in ad sales through monthly ad sales training webinars.

Jiquanda Johnson is the co-founder of Brown Impact Media Group, an independent publishing company, focused on developing media products in underserved and marginalized communities. The company kicked off their efforts in 2017 with a news website focused solely on Flint, Mich. where Jiquanda grew up. In 2017, she launched Flint Beat after the community said they wanted more from local media outlets. The hyperlocal news site covers everything Flint, including city hall, neighborhoods, community movers and shakers and public health issues. Jiquanda has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism including working for MLive Media Group, Fox 46 in North Carolina, NBC25's affiliate station in the Flint area, The Detroit News, Pull Magazine, and Tween Girl Style Magazine.

Kenny Katzgrau is the founder of Broadstreet, an award-winning ad manager which serves local newspapers and magazines, including LION publishers. Starting Broadstreet with an initial product and $2,000, he bootstrapped the company to 8 employees and hundreds of customers internationally over the course of 7 years, which involved many hard-won lessons on starting and scaling a business. Prior to Broadstreet, he worked at Yahoo on its ad exchange products.
Katie Kutsko is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the partner development manager for the American Press Institute's Metrics for News program. She empowers prospective and newly-signed partners to understand how MFN’s suite of products can help them build a loyal and engaged audience over time. While at KU, she served as editor-in-chief at the University Daily Kansan, where she led a newsroom transformation from a print mindset to a digital-first operation. She has interned at the Chicago Tribune, Indianapolis Star and Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World.
Michael Shapiro is the CEO and Publisher of, a network of more than 80 franchised online local news sites in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida with more than 9,000,000 readers.  Shapiro is a graduate of Rutgers College, Rutgers University and Stanford Law School.  In addition to other community volunteerism, he serves as Immediate Past President of the Suburban Chamber of Commerce.
Shereen Siewert is the founder and publisher of Wausau Pilot & Review, which covers local news in Wausau, Wisconsin. She is a former USA Today Wisconsin investigative team reporter and has won state and national awards for her work. Her publication, launched in March 2017, focuses on public safety, government accountability, and environmental reporting. She is also the host of Route 51, a weekly Wisconsin Public Radio program that discusses issues in central and northern Wisconsin. She was a 2018 Women of Vision nominee and volunteers as a board member for the Salvation Army, the Wausau Symphony, and the Marathon County Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Council. Outside of work, Shereen can often be found in a kayak, on her bike, rooting for Wisconsin sports teams, or taking impromptu road trips.
Howard Owens started his professional journalism career in 1985. He's been a reporter, editor, and executive for newspapers in California and New York. He was a publisher of a weekly in San Diego County early in his career and launched one of the nation's first community news sites in 1995. Sites he's managed have won awards from the Online News Association, NAA, Inland Press Association, E&P, and the New York Press Association. He started The Batavian in 2008.  As a photojournalist, a craft he took up on his own in 2010, he's won awards from the National Press Photographers Association and the New York Press Association.
Gavin Bechtold is a senior member of the Business Development team at Ezoic, with four and a half years of experience crafting solutions for thousands of online publishers' needs. He is passionate about helping publishers reach their goals and grow their business. While raised in Connecticut, Gavin is now living and working in San Diego. When not working, you can find Gavin surfing, snowboarding, and generally enjoying the outdoors - or an IPA.
October 25 (Day 2) 
Elizabeth Green is co-founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat, and co-founder of the American Journalism Project, the first venture philanthropy firm with a mission of building an ecosystem of “social enterprises” for news. She previously co-founded GothamSchools, now Chalkbeat New York, and has grown the organization to seven community bureaus and a national desk. Elizabeth has also written about education issues for The New York Times Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and many other publications. Her New York Times bestselling book, Building a Better Teacher, was published in August 2014 by W.W. Norton. In 2009-2010, she was a Spencer Fellow in education journalism at Columbia University, and in 2011, she was an Abe Journalism Fellow studying education in Japan.

Michele McLellan is a researcher, writer, editor and consultant who works on projects that help strengthen the emerging local news ecosystem, whether it is online news startups working to become sustainable or traditional news organizations that are trying to shape their new role in the digital world. She has reported in depth on the emerging local news ecosystem and revenue models for news, coached and developed training programs for dozens of news entrepreneurs, helped lead change initiatives in 40 newsrooms, and developed Michele’s List, a database of promising local news startups. Previously, she directed a $2.5 million Knight Foundation project that demonstrated the link between strategic newsroom training, newsroom culture and a news organization's ability to adapt and innovate.

Damian Radcliffe is the Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism, and a Professor of Practice, at the University of Oregon. Alongside holding the Chambers Chair at the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC), he is also a Fellow of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture Studies, and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Phayvanh Luekhamhan currently serves as the Director of Revenue and Operations for LION Publishers. Before that, she oversaw vital financial and administrative duties at VTDigger, supporting its business development team, and administering philanthropic and earned revenue efforts as the Director of Business Development, Finance and Administration. IN her five years with the nonprofit news organization, she had helped o grow the business and it is now the Vermont's largest newsroom. Before joining VTDigger, she was the executive director for Montpelier Alive, a downtown revitalization program, and co-founder of PoemCity, an annual celebration of poetry in Vermont communities.

Jay Allred is the President of the Source Media Group, which includes Richland Source, Ashland Source, and Knox Pages. Together, these local news sites reach over a quarter million users a month across four counties in North Central Ohio. The Source newsroom has become known for their tightly focused local coverage, entrepreneurial culture, and national leadership in the practice of Solutions Journalism. Richland Source was one of only 17 local news organizations in the world to participate in the Facebook Local News Membership Accelerator in 2018.

Lance Knobel is a co-founder and publisher of Berkeleyside, Berkeley’s award-winning, independent news site. Berkeleyside, founded in 2009, is one of the leading online local news sites in the US, with a reputation for innovation and strong accountability journalism.

Karen Rundlet is a director in the Journalism Program at the Knight Foundation, where her focus is on investing in new methods and models to advance excellence in journalism and civic media as a way to support informed, local communities. Before entering the field of philanthropy, Rundlet worked as a journalist at the Miami Herald, where she developed the newsroom's first-ever video studio and led initiatives to make video integral to the audience experience. She also contributed business reports to various public radio newsrooms, including WLRN/Miami Herald News and American Public Media’s “Marketplace.”
Dorrine Mendoza is a member of the News Partnerships team at Facebook in New York City. In her role she works on the Facebook Journalism Project, scaled education on Facebook products and journalist safety. Formerly she was the Senior Social Media Producer at CNN Digital. Before coming to CNN she was an online content producer at the North County Times, where she did social media and online community management. She has more than 10 years experience in print, broadcast and new media journalism, blending these disciplines to produce engaging and responsive coverage. Awards include an Associated Press Managing Editors award for reporting in 1998, a broadcast Emmy in 2007, and President’s Award for Innovation in in 2010.
Cheryl Thompson-Morton is Program Manager at the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. In this role, she administers of the Institute’s grant programs, such as the Innovation grants program, the Community Listening and Engagement Fund and the Institute’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Prior to her work at the Institute, she worked at the Camden County Police Foundation as an Outreach Coordinator, where she worked to cultivate relationships between the community and the foundation to cultivate support. Cheryl graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from Drexel University.
Kevin Douglas Grant is co-founder and executive editor of The GroundTruth Project, as well as vice president of strategy at Report for America. Previously Senior Editor of Special Reports at GlobalPost, he has led reporting projects around the world and his work has been recognized by the Edward R. Murrow, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University and Online Journalism Awards among others. He holds an M.A. in Online Journalism from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, where he was a Dean’s Scholar and the founding Executive Editor of Annenberg’s pioneering news organization Neon Tommy. Grant is the former Operations Director of semantic news aggregator He is currently based in Washington, D.C.

Candice Fortman is the CEO of Outlier Media based in Detroit. As a local news organization, Outlier works to fill the most urgent information needs of low-income communities utilizing text-based technology. Before joining Outlier, Candice was the Marketing & Engagement Manager for WDET 101.9-Detroit’s NPR station. Candice led the effort to build WDET’s audience and grow the station’s digital communities and content by engaging listeners around news, music, and culture. Before joining WDET Candice served as Promotions Manager at Clear Channel Radio (now iHeart Media) where she led promotional and engagement strategy. In 2018 she was selected for Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. Candice is currently part of the INN Emerging Leaders Council.

Kristen Hare spent 10 years as a local news reporter in St. Joseph, Missouri and St. Louis, Missouri before things got meta. Now, she covers local news itself for the Poynter Institute. Kristen is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a mom and an author. She writes the newsletter Local Edition, local feature obits for the Tampa Bay Times and covers the transformation of local news. She's spoken at conferences in the U.S., Europe and Africa about her reporting, but has the most fun with other local journalists.

Steve Beatty handles communications for Newspack, a project of and its parent company, Automattic. Newspack aims to simplify operations for small and medium-sized publishers by making it easier to raise revenue, stay current and worry free with technology, and learn from a network of colleagues using a standardized platform. Prior to that, Beatty was with the Local Independent Online News Publishers organization in leadership roles. He got his start in online publishing by running The Lens for eight years, starting in 2010, serving as editor and publisher of New Orleans’ first nonprofit investigative newsroom.  He has more than 20 years of newspaper experience with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

Madeleine Bair is an award-winning journalist and media developer. As the founder of El Tímpano, since 2017 she has partnered with residents and community organizations to develop a local reporting initiative designed to serve Oakland’s Latino immigrant community. Madeleine has taught radio production to young adults, worked on a morning show at Chicago Public Radio, produced multimedia for Human Rights Watch, and collaborated with media activists from around the world. At the organization, Free Press, she works to expand the local journalism program, News Voices, across the country.

Simon Galperin is the founding director of the Community Info Coop, an organization that works with people to design and sustain publicly funded, community-led media. He is also the Customer Success Lead at GroundSource, an SMS engagement company helping news organizations build loyal, two-way relationships with their audiences. He was a 2019 Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow and received his M.A. in Social Journalism from the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in 2016.

Alex Clark is the founder of PressPatron, a media monetization platform that specializes in turning readers into paying supporters. PressPatron is used across a growing global community of more than 70 publications, who generate revenue via memberships, donations, subscriptions and crowdfunding. Alex is a former editor, journalist and media researcher. His MA thesis evaluated a range of new business models for journalism. PressPatron launched in New Zealand and Australia in 2017, expanding into the US and UK in 2018.

Operating at the crossroads of newsrooms and technology, Jessica Dalle Nogare leads a team at LaterPay that helps publishers leverage advanced solutions to overcome the challenges traditional media faces in the digital age. A media professional, she held roles at the New York Times, the Global Editors Network and Google. Jessica studied at Columbia University, City University in London and the American University of Paris.

Jason Bade is co-founder of Pico, a newsroom software company. He’s also a board member of the Edible Schoolyard Project and a Lecturer at Stanford Law School. He is co-author of the Sunday Times bestselling policy manifesto, More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First (2015). You can follow him on Twitter @jasonwbade.


Mary Walter-Brown is the founder and CEO of the News Revenue Hub, a nonprofit, mission-driven media organization that helps news outlets successfully develop membership programs. Formerly the publisher at Voice of San Diego, Mary is a trailblazer in the nonprofit news sector leading the charge for news outlets to build diverse and sustainable revenue through audience engagement. Working with dozens of news organizations around the United States, including Inside Climate News, The Marshall Project and Politifact, the News Revenue Hub provides a collaborative environment where digital news innovators can experiment, solve problems and trade best practices. Mary is a 2016 graduate of the Punch Sulzberger executive leadership fellowship at Columbia University.

Jonny Kaldor is the founder and CEO of Pugpig, the award-winning mobile engagement platform that powers apps for the world's biggest publishing brands from The Economist, Conde Nast and Hearst to Tortoise Media, The Independent, JPi Media, and Newsquest. Prior to setting up Pugpig, Jonny was MD, Technology and Product Development at News Corporation's Digital Media Group, focusing on building new digital brands. This followed three years as CTO at News UK, where he was responsible for technology delivery across the business for The Times of London, The Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers. Before joining News UK, Jonny spent his days, weeks and months trying to build a global digital supply chain for EMI Music.

October 26 (Day 3)

Roxann Stafford is the managing director of the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, a $20-million initiative that works to empower local news organizations to build trust with their audiences while producing outstanding journalism and developing new revenue streams that can enable them to reach long-term business sustainability. Stafford most recently served as Director of Program for Matter in New York, a startup accelerator and venture capital firm grounded in the principles of design thinking that supported early-stage media entrepreneurs. There, she oversaw all aspects of the fund’s accelerator program for early-stage media entrepreneurs. She has worked with local news organizations around the United States and Asia as well as with national outlets such as The New York Times and The Associated Press.

Mandy Jenkins is General Manager of The Compass Experiment, a partnership between Google and McClatchy to explore sustainable business models for local news. Over the next three years, she will be leading the launch of three digital-only news operations in U.S. communities that have limited sources of local, independent journalism. Prior to her work with Compass, Mandy was a 2019 John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, where she studied the disconnection between disinformation consumers and mainstream news. She has served in leadership roles at Storyful and Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome and has driven innovative digital journalism projects within The Huffington Post,, The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Society of News Editors and is President of the Board of Directors for the Online News Association.

Max Siegelbaum is a co-founding editor of Documented, a nonprofit newsroom that covers New York City's immigrants and the policies that affect their lives. He began reporting in post-revolution Egypt and is a graduate of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University. He has written for The Denver Post, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Foreign Policy, The Guardian and other outlets. He was part of a team that won a Deadline Club award for reporting on how stolen guns end up being used in crimes across the U.S. for The Trace.

Dana Coffield is a founding editor at The Colorado Sun, an online-only publication focused on delivering high-quality news content to people throughout Colorado. She jumped into the start-up adventure after nearly 15 years at The Denver Post, where she had been features editor, business editor, and finally, senior editor for news. A Colorado native, she earned a MSJ from The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She is a beekeeper who frequently applies the self-calming skills learned managing hives to difficult situations in the journalism world.

Aron Pilhofer is the James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation at Temple University. In addition to teaching, his work is focused on new business models, digital transformation and innovation in news. Before joining Temple, Pilhofer was executive editor, digital, and interim chief digital officer at the Guardian in London. There, he led the Guardian's product and technology teams as well as heading visual journalism - including pictures, graphics, interactive and data journalism. Before coming to the Guardian, Aron was associate managing editor for digital strategy and editor of interactive news at The New York Times. He also was a reporter at Gannett newspapers in New Jersey and Delaware, headed data journalism at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C. and served on the training staff of Investigative Reporters and Editors. Outside the newsroom, Aron co-founded two news-related startups:, now housed at Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication, and Hacks & Hackers.

Emma Meese is highly motivated journalist who is passionate about the local, community and hyperlocal news sector. Following 14 years at the BBC she joined Cardiff University to set up the Centre for Community Journalism (C4CJ). As director of Community Journalism, she works with news publishers, academics, governments, charities and businesses worldwide with the aim of strengthening and sustaining the community news sector. Last year, Emma and the C4CJ team founded The Independent Community News Network (ICNN), the UK’s first representative body for the independent community and hyperlocal news sector. ICNN promotes the interests of community and hyperlocal publishers and champions new sustainable forms of local digital and print journalism.