Gordon Borrell is a sought-after speaker for conferences and company meetings and is the local media industry’s leading analyst. He is ranked in the top 2% among Gerson Lehrman Group’s 150,000 consultants worldwide and is quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Ad Age, Forbes and other publications. He has appeared on CNN and other TV and radio programs discussing trends and forecasts for local media. Prior to starting Borrell Associates, Gordon was vice president for new media for Landmark Communications, where he worked for 22 years. He started his career as a reporter and editor for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1989 he began pioneering interactive ventures and helped establish the first TV, newspaper, cable and network TV websites. Mr. Borrell conceptualized and helped create InfiNet, an Internet access and hosting company later split up and sold to Earthlink and to Gannett Co. He is chairman of the Local Media Association and past president of the Newspaper Association of America’s New Media Federation.
Diane Ciotta has been motivating a variety of audiences for over 25 years with her unique ability to relate to groups while offering a strong and sincere message of accountability. After two decades in sales and sales management, Diane followed her entrepreneurial instincts and established Training Classics in 1989 as a sales refinement company committed to presenting integrity-based techniques. She has impacted countless sales professionals around the country with her high energy skills enhancement seminars. Diane’s philosophies for success have been published in over 60 U.S. magazines and online, as well as in her first book co-authored with renowned motivational speaker Brian Tracy, entitled Pushing To The Front. Diane was born, raised and still resides in central Jersey.
Ji Hoon Heo teaches journalism innovation, web development and social media. He is also a graduate of the school who earned a Master of Arts degree in journalism. Heo is a FAA certified drone pilot and regularly utilizes new technology, such as drones, virtual reality, and data journalism in his courses. He has published work in TED, the Huffington Post, and on Mississippi Public Broadcasting to name a few. He is an Adobe Certified Associate in Video Communications and a member of National Press Photographers Association.
Ken Paulson is president of the First Amendment Center and dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University. Paulson also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today. He is now a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues and the news media. Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states. He was on the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982 before moving on to manage newsrooms in Westchester County, N.Y., Green Bay, Wis., Bridgewater, N.J. and at Florida Today in Brevard County, Fla. Paulson is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from American University.
Tim Schmitt has spent decades in various newsrooms — some print, and some broadcast. He was a sports reporter, news reporter, and then managing editor of his hometown paper, the Tonawanda (N.Y.) News, where he led an award-winning editorial page. He’s worked as an editor, staffer or longtime contributor with the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff, the Mesa Tribune, the Arizona Republic, the alt-weekly Buffalo Current, and the Niagara Falls Gazette, where he was executive sports editor over four dailies — spearheading coverage of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres. He also worked as a weekend anchor and reporter at Buffalo’s ABC-TV affiliate, WKBW, and was the news director of WLVL-AM in the Buffalo market, where he hosted a daily two-hour talk show covering local politics and current events. He moved to Austin to join GateHouse in early 2015.
Deb Wenger, a 17-year broadcast news veteran, is an assistant dean and associate professor who oversees undergraduate studies in journalism at the University of Mississippi. Prior to her academic appointments, Wenger worked as a reporter, producer and newsroom manager within multiple TV stations, including WFLA (Tampa, FL), WSOC (Charlotte, NC) and WMUR (Manchester, NH). Wenger conducts multimedia workshops in newsrooms around the country and is a trainer for SPJ and its Google News Lab program. She is also co-author of two books, Advancing the Story: Journalism in a Digital World and Managing Today’s News Media: Audience First. What she’s learning about journalism and new media can be found at http://www.advancingthestory.com. Wenger received her Ph.D. from Kingston University in London and was named as a top journalism educator by NewsPro magazine in 2017.