2019 Convention Speaker Lineup

David Chavern

David Chavern is president and CEO of News Media Alliance, the news industry’s largest trade organization. David joined the Alliance as president and CEO in October 2015. He has been called an activist for the news industry by a national media columnist: a title that he embraces proudly.

Chavern is a member of the Board of Directors of Transamerica Insurance. He is a founding investor in Starling Trust Sciences, LLC, a company that produces data analytics tools that allow companies to measure a wide range of cultural attributes about their internal operations.

A proud alum, Chavern also serves on the board of trustees of his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh.

Melissa Davis

Melissa Milios Davis is Vice President for Strategic Communications at the Gates Family Foundation of Denver, which supports a number of Colorado’s public media and digital startup outlets. Recently Gates partnered with Denver University’s Project X-ITE to launch the Colorado Media Project (www.coloradomediaproject.com), which aims to galvanize community support for local journalism and help local newsrooms evolve to meet the news, information, and civic engagement needs of Coloradoans in the digital age.

Prior to Gates, Melissa spent a decade in nonprofit communications, public policy and fundraising. She also spent over a decade in journalism, as a reporter covering education at the Daily Breeze newspaper; a production intern for the Voice of America in London, both L.A.-area NPR stations (KCRW and KPCC), and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel; and an online news content producer for the Austin American-Statesman and a sister site in San Antonio.

Melissa holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an M.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California.

Jennifer Hefty

Jennifer Hefty is the Fort Collins Coloradoan content strategist, leading the news organization’s audience growth and events strategies. She also oversees the newsroom’s breaking news and digital teams. She co-leads social media strategy for the USA TODAY NETWORK’s Plains Region and also is a part of a team dedicated to video strategy throughout the company’s 109 local newsrooms. 

She is a self-described journalism nerd — passionate about creating storytelling experiences that are unique and that reach our community in a variety of places — think Facebook messenger bots, Alexa and 360-degree live video. She is committed to growing audience through building trust and authentic relationships with readers.  

Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder.

Angie Howes

Angie Howes has worked in Colorado’s government affairs community for 9 years and brings a range of experience in legislative, policy, and political work. Coming from a private sector background, Angie switched career paths in 2009 when she accepted a position working with then-Sen. Linda Newell (D).

Following her work with Senator Newell, her experience has included launching and managing the state Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Initiative, serving as the National Stroke Association’s Director of Political Advocacy, where she managed their nationwide state and federal advocacy program; and lobbying the Colorado General Assembly on issues of healthcare, business regulation, labor and employment, transportation and construction.

Angie earned her bachelor’s from Metropolitan State University in downtown Denver where she studied political science and journalism.

 

Matt Ingwalson

Matt’s a Mile High City lifer. National speaker. Past creative chair of Ad Club Denver. And a freelance ECD with somewhere around 170 awards to his name. He's also responsible for eight books, including Shelf Unbound's Best Indie Novel of 2015. And he records, performs and publishes his own audiobooks, podcasts and music.

 

Jeff Roberts

Executive Director Jeffrey A. Roberts worked in journalism and public policy before coming to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition in July 2013.Roberts was at The Denver Post from 1984-2007 as a reporter, assistant city editor and data journalism specialist on The Post’s projects team. He later spent four years at the University of Denver’s Center for Colorado’s Economic Future. Early in his career, he was a reporter at the News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla.

Roberts earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University.

He is a board member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

Beecher Threatt

Beecher Threatt and her husband Alan Todd purchased the Ouray County Plaindealer and The Ridgway Sun in 2010, merging the two in 2011. Beecher manages the editorial side of the weekly Ouray County Plaindealer, which publishes on Thursdays. Since Beecher and Alan have owned the paper, it has won numerous awards for overall excellence and editorial excellence.

They moved to Ouray from Longview, Texas, where she practiced law, and she continues to work for Texas Lawyers for Children, a non-profit organization.

Beecher is vice president of Colorado Press Association Board of Directors. 

Russell Viers

Russell Viers is an international speaker, who since 1997 has presented in 23 countries for publishing events including the HOW Conference, InDesign Conference, IFRA, PepCon and many more including AdobeMAX, where he was honored as an AdobeMAX Master.

In addition to speaking, he has helped many major publications and designers learn techniques to work faster and improve quality including Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, New York Times Regional Papers, Sabah, American Greetings, Crayola and many others.

Having started with CompuGraphic typesetting machines in the early 80s, then PageMaker 1 in 1987, Viers has been actively involved with Digital Publishing since the early days. In addition to speaking live, he has done videos for Lynda.com, Peachpit Press and Total Training.

Lynn Walsh

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida.

Currently, she is a freelance journalist and the Project Manager for the Trusting News project, where she works to help rebuild trust between journalists and the public by working with newsrooms to be more transparent about how they do their jobs.

She is a past National President of the Society of Professional Journalists and serves the journalism organization as the current Ethics Chair for the organization. Lynn is also an adjunct journalism and communication professor in San Diego.

Nicholas Whitaker

Nicholas Whitaker is the Training and Development Manager at the Google News Lab - a global team working with journalists to provide training, collaborate on industry challenges, and support innovation in the newsroom. The News Lab forms part of the Google News Initiative, an effort to work with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age.

Nicholas has been at Google since 2010, providing in-person training and educational programs, as well as adult-online learning initiatives reaching more than half a million journalists worldwide.

Before joining Google in 2010 Nicholas spent the prior decade producing, directing, editing, and shooting videos and still images for news, commercial, entertainment and advocacy media while also teaching courses in video production, new media, and communication theory as an adjunct professor at Eugene Lang College - The New School for Liberal Arts, and Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.

Nicholas earned a BA from The New School University with a focus in documentary film production and media theory, and an MA from New York University where he specialized in new media and the history of propaganda.

Katie Wolf

Katie began Wolf Public Affairs in 2018, with almost a decade of lobbying experience. Katie supports clients with a broad range of government relations, lobbying, and strategic needs. In addition to lobbying, she has also helped manage strategy and fundraising for campaigns on the state and federal level, helped build relationships between clients and legislators, and advised current clients on long term political strategy and political giving.

Katie specializes in healthcare policy, as well as agriculture and natural resources; however, her passion for all things policy related make her fluent in many areas of Colorado law. Katie began her political career as a legislative aide before graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in political science. 

In her free time, Katie enjoys camping, karaoke and football.

Steven Zansberg

For more than two decades, Steven D. Zansberg has represented media companies, online publishers, and individuals in defending claims based on content, fighting subpoenas, and seeking access to government information and proceedings.

Steve also serves as the President of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, which educates about and promotes greater transparency in state and local governments.

Steve has taught media law and internet law at the University of Colorado and at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.

 

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