Law Enforcement and Immigration Reporter
The Associated Press
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Russell Contreras is a law enforcement and immigration reporter/photographer/videographer at The Associated Press in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico, he worked for the AP in Boston where he helped with coverage on the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy and wrote about DREAMers and Iraqi refugees.
He worked previously at the Boston Globe and the Albuquerque Journal, and has remained an active member of the Native American Journalists Association.
In 2010, he was elected financial officer of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists where he drafted a plan to save the group from bankruptcy and helped turn a $250,000 deficit into a $200,000 surplus.
A graduate of the University of Houston and Columbia University’s School of the Arts Creative Writing Program, he teaches composition at the University of New Mexico-Valencia. He’s working on a book on JFK and the Mexican-American civil rights movement. Contreras lives in Placitas, New Mexico, with his wife Mandi Torrez, a teacher, their 1-year-old daughter, Ava, and dog, Tupac. The whole family is on Twitter.
Graham Lee Brewer
Graham Lee Brewer has covered the state Legislature, criminal justice, the state prison system and the death penalty for The Oklahoman, that state’s largest daily newspaper, since joining its staff in 2013.
He began his news career as a reporter for KGOU, the University of Oklahoma’s NPR member station, and later joined Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit investigative news team where his beats included immigration and drug addiction.
After that, he joined the legislative news wire eCapitol, where he covered the state senate, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and the Office of Juvenile Affairs, among other state agencies.
Brewer has won several local and national awards for his reporting, including a 2011 Unity Young Journalist Global Reporting Fellowship at the United Nations. He received a bachelors in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma in 2009 and a master’s in 2011. He is an Oklahoma native and a member of the Cherokee Nation.
Global Interactive Editor
The Associated Press
New York, NY
Paul Cheung is AP’s Director of Interactives and Digital News Production. The director manages a global team of visual journalists who produce multimedia and information graphics for all formats, including print, online and mobile.
Cheung was an adjunct faculty member at Columbia Journalism School teaching visual journalism in the spring of 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining the AP, Cheung was The Miami Herald’s Deputy Multimedia Presentation Editor. In 2009, he managed MiamiHerald.com site redesign in 2009 and was responsible for the conceptualization, creative direction and visual look of MiamiHerald.com. He was The Miami Herald’s graphics editor from 2004 to mid-2007. Prior to joining the Miami Herald, Cheung was a Senior Graphics Editor at The Wall Street Journal. During his eight-year tenure at WSJ, he produced graphics for WSJ’s front page one, Marketplace and National sections, helped launch the Personal Journal section and assisted with the 2002 redesign of paper.
Cheung is Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)’s national president for 2013 to 2014. He was the National AAJA convention co-chair in Miami 2007. He was elected to the national board from 2008 to 2012 and served as convention programming chair from 2009 to 2012. He co-developed the AAJA ELP demonstration project in New York City. A hyperlocal news blog focused on Chinatown. (http://www.OurChinatown.org).
Cheung, a 2007 Newspaper Association of America Breakthrough fellow, graduated from New York University where he studied journalism, sociology, science and photography.
- Twitter: @pcheung630
- Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulcheung630
- Tumblr: http://pcheung630.tumblr.com/
Tomoko A. Hosaka
The Associated Press
Tomoko is a longtime member of AAJA and served on the national board representing Asia and San Francisco from 2007-2013. She was also a governing board member for the past two years. Tomoko is currently an editor with the AP’s Washington, D.C.-based Economics team. She previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Plympton, a digital publisher and mobile technology company. She also worked at Ustream, where she led news strategy and partnerships for the world’s largest live video platform. Until late 2011, Tomoko was a Japan-based journalist for the AP and Dow Jones Newswires. She graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and received a master’s degree from Waseda University in Tokyo.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Neal Justin is the media critic for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He previously covered crime for the Rockford Register Star. His duties at the Star Tribune include helping to run the summer internship program. Neal was one of the original members of the AAJA governing board and was named AAJA member of the year in 2006. He also served as AAJA president for the Minnesota chapter. He is a co-founder of JCamp, a national program for the country’s top high-school journalists, which is now entering its 15th year. Neal previously served two years on the UNITY board.
His goals for UNITY in the near future include discovering new ways to reach out to young adults – particularly freshmen and sophomores in college – and getting them more involved in our activities, creating programming beyond our conventions and insuring that we are open and clear to our members.
2015 NAJA President
University of Montana School of Journalism
Jason is an assistant professor and director of Native American Journalism Projects at the University of Montana School of Journalism in Missoula. Among the classes he teaches is the Native News Honors Project, which sends students to cover themed issues on the state’s seven reservations every spring.
He graduated from the school in 2002, and was a recipient of NAJA scholarships. He has worked at The New York Times, The Oregonian and the Navajo Times, where he spent six years before accepting his current position.
Suzan Shown Harjo
Indian Country Today Media Network
Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee) is a poet, writer, lecturer, curator, and policy advocate, who has helped Native Peoples recover more than one million acres of land and numerous sacred places. She has developed key federal Indian law since 1975, including the most important national policy advances in the modern era for the protection of Native American cultures and arts, including the 1996 Executive Order on Indian Sacred Sites, the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the 1989 National Museum of the American Indian Act, and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
Harjo is president and executive director of The Morning Star Institute, a national Native rights organization founded in 1984 for Native Peoples’ traditional and cultural advocacy, arts promotion, and research. A leader in cultural property protection and stereotype busting, Morning Star sponsors the Just Good Sports project, organizes the National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places, and coordinated The 1992 Alliance (1990-1993). Harjo is one of seven prominent Native people who filed Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc., regarding the name of the Washington football team, before the US Patent & Trademark Board in 1992. They won in 1999, when a three-judge panel unanimously decided to cancel federal protections for the team’s name because it “may disparage Native Americans and may bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The District Court reversed their victory in 2003 and the case is now before the US Court of Appeals. Harjo’s essay, “Fighting Name-Calling: Challenging ‘Redskins’ in Court,” is published in Team Spirits: The Native American Mascots Controversy (University of Nebraska Press, 2001). She also wrote “Just Good Sports: The Impact of ‘Native’ References in Sports on Native Youth and What Some Decolonizers Have Done About It,” a chapter in For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (SAR Press, 2005).
An award-winning columnist for Indian Country Today (2000-2006), she wrote the foreword “Camp Criers Speaking Across the Generations” and eleven columns featured in America Is Indian Country: Opinions and Perspectives from Indian Country Today (Fulcrum Publishing, 2005). Founding co-chair of The Howard Simons Fund for American Indian Journalists, she was news director of the American Indian Press Association and drama and literature director and “Seeing Red” producer for WBAI-FM Radio in New York City. A keynoter for the 2000 Journalism & Women Symposium, she was a 1998-99 Brain Trust Member for UNITY Journalists of Color and an organizer/presenter for UNITY ’04 in DC, ’99 in Seattle, and ’94 in Atlanta. Her essay “Redskins, Savages and Other Indian Enemies: An Historical Overview of American Media Coverage of Native Peoples” is in Images of Color: Images of Crime (2005).
Media Communications Faculty
Haskell Indian Nations University
Rhonda LeValdo (Acoma Pueblo) is a Faculty in Media Communications at Haskell Indian Nations University.
LeValdo is also a host for Native Spirit Radio 90.1 FM-KKFI Kansas City and past president of the Native American Journalists Association. LeValdo currently sits on the board of directors for Native Public Media and was a member of the Heartland Project Advisory Council that done in collaboration with the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
LeValdo received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Kansas in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Investigative Producer & Documentarian
Jen Christensen is a Peabody-award winning producer for CNN Special Investigations & Documentary Unit. In that role, Christensen has produced a variety of in-depth investigative stories and compelling long-form documentaries for CNN Presents, the most honored documentary series in cable news. She is based at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters.
Christensen served as a producer for the Peabody and DuPont award-winning CNN Presents: God’s Jewish Warriors; and the award-winning documentaries about Martin Luther King Jr., Words That Changed a Nation; Black in America: Eyewitness to Murder; and Obama Revealed; Sarah Palin Revealed; and Christiane Amanpour’s Generation Islam. She also produces regular investigative pieces for CNN’s primetime programs. And has been a regular freelance reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Professional Photographer’s Association Magazine, the Advocate, Pain Solutions, and Sirius OutQ News.
Previously, Christensen ran the investigative unit for WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C., and started the investigative unit at WTVQ in Lexington, Ky. where she also worked as a line producer. While still in college, she started her broadcast career at WXIN in Indianapolis running the assignment desk and as a line and field producer.
Prior to her broadcast journalism career, Christensen worked in London on nuclear non-proliferation issues for NATO’s Atlantic Council and worked re-drawing voter redistricting maps at the Chicago Board of Elections. She is listed as a co-author for two books: Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1925-1993: a Bio-Critical Sourcebook (Greenwood Press, 1993) and Women Confronting Retirement – A Nontraditional Guide (Rutgers Press, 2003).
Christensen severs on several non-profit boards. She is the Vice President for Broadcasting with the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association, a KEYS core team member at Turner Broadcasting, and the Secretary for GirlsRockCampATL.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Butler University in TV/radio and political science with a gender studies minor and also attended the London School of Economics where she studied foreign policy and economics.
NLGJA Vice President
Print, Digital Writer-Editor
The Peace Corps & the Resume Place
Sarah Blazucki is the vice president for print and digital media for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. She is the former editor of Philadelphia Gay News, the oldest LGBT newsweekly in the country. During her tenure from 2006-12, PGN reported on LGBT homelessness and domestic violence, produced an annual Gay History Month series and interviewed presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Under Sarah’s direction, the staff won more than 35 awards for news writing, arts and entertainment, columns, photos and advertising. Sarah was co-chair of the NLGJA 2011 annual convention in Philadelphia and was on the programming committee for 2012 UNITY Journalists Convention, a quadrennial conference of minority journalist organizations.
In 2012, she led the development of a website to find LGBT rights (lgbtrights.me) by address or GPS locator on a smartphone.
In addition, Sarah is a freelance résumé writer and career coach and has served as a contributor, editor and proofreader for several résumé writing books. Prior to that, Sarah served as news editor for the LGBT biweekly The Baltimore Alternative. She received her B.A. from Towson State University in mass communications, with a concentration in journalism and a minor in women’s studies. In her free time, Sarah runs, bikes, and practices yoga. She now lives in D.C. and is an editor for The Peace Corps.
The Washington Post
Sharif Durhams is a homepage editor on the Post’s universal news desk. Previously, he was the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s social media editor and a digital strategist, working with reporters and editors to restructure their beats and departments to focus them on interaction with readers and preparation for digital platforms.
He’s the treasurer of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and served as the convention co-chairman for NLGJA’s 2014 convention. He’s also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Digital Journalism Task Force. In 2014, he taught social media basics for journalists as part of a Massive Open Online Course on social media for the Knight Center at the University of Texas.
Vice President of Broadcast
Special Projects Producer
San Francisco, CA
Ken is a Segment Producer at KGO-TV, the ABC owned station in San Francisco. A three time Emmy award winning producer, Ken has been active in NLGJA for over a decade. He served as President of the Northern California Chapter and as a member of the NLGJA National Board.
President and Publisher
The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
Mi-Ai Parrish joined Republic Media as president and publisher of The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com in October 2015. She came to The Republic from The Kansas City Star Media Company, where she was president and publisher of The Kansas City Star and kansascity.com from June 2011 to October 2015. She also was president and publisher of The Idaho Statesman for five years before serving at The Star.
Prior to becoming a publisher, Parrish spent the majority of her career in newsroom roles ranging from reporting and copy editing, to travel editor and projects editor. Parrish served at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Arizona Republic, Chicago Sun-Times and The Virginian-Pilot.
Parrish serves on the boards of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University, Greater Phoenix Economic Council and Greater Phoenix Leadership. She was The Star’s first female publisher, where she served on the boards of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Area Development Council and The Civic Council. She also was a co-chair for KC Rising, a regional development initiative, as well as a United Way business council member.
She’s done a variety of speaking engagements, ranging from the convocation at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism to presentations at Sprint’s Global Diversity initiative, the Central Exchange, American Society of News Editors, Asian American Journalists Association, Centurion’s Women’s Forum, and Middle of the Map Tech Forum on Women Innovators.
Parrish is a two-time Pulitzer Prize Juror, longtime member of the Asian American Journalists Association, and was named one of the 100 Most Important Minority Journalists of the last Century. She was named to the University of Maryland Alumni Hall of Fame in 2013. She is married to Pulitzer-Prize winner Dave Parrish.
Asian American Journalists Association
San Francisco, CA
Kathy has over ten years of experience in program development and nonprofit management with various non-profit agencies. Prior to coming to AAJA, Kathy was the Director for Hands On Sacramento, a volunteer action center that provided volunteer opportunities in three counties.
Kathy also worked for six years as a public affairs representative for The Sacramento Bee where she was in charge of their employee volunteer program, managing charitable contribution, special projects, and the development of client relations with businesses such as the Asian, Hispanic, Black and Metro Chambers. Kathy has also consulted with companies such as VSP and lead workshops on multicultural marketing. Kathy is certified by the Newspaper Association of America as a Diversity Facilitator, and has served on the advisory council for the National Corporate Volunteer Council and the National Hands On Schools Council for Hands On Network & Points of Light Institute.
Native American Journalists Association
Rebecca Landsberry graduated with a degree in Public Relations with a minor in Native American Studies from the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
After working as an intern with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Judicial Branch for three summers, she was hired as senior writer for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Communications Department in 2008. Landsberry was later promoted as the youngest editor in Muscogee Nation News history at 23 where she served for five more years in tribal media. In addition to her duties as editor, she co-hosted the tribe’s weekly 30-minute talk radio program, Mvskoke Radio.
Under her management, the MNN doubled production and became a semimonthly, award-winning newspaper in 2008. She also led the editorial division in the creation and development of a social media presence. During that time, she served on the Native American Journalists Association Board of Directors as secretary in 2013.
Landsberry joined NAJA full-time as the membership and communications manager in April 2013 where she has worked to increase membership from 270 to more than 400 in 2015. She has worked with NAJA staff and volunteers to deliver programs and services including the annual Native Media Summit in Norman, Oklahoma and National Native Media Conferences in Tempe, Arizona and Santa Clara, California.
Adam K. Pawlus
National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association
Prior to joining NLGJA, Pawlus served the Physicians for Social Responsibility as its Director of Operations and at the Voluntary Protections Programs Participants’ Association as the Deputy Executive Director after he was the Director of Communications & Outreach. Pawlus serves on the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Board of Directors and is an active member of many non-profit organizations in the DC area. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Speech Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Georgia at Athens.
Eloiza Altoro, MS, CAE, HS-BCP
UNITY Executive Director
Principal Consultant, Mind Redesign Consulting
Eloiza has 22 years of experience working for and with associations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. She is currently the Principal Consultant of Mind Redesign Consulting, a business that she founded seventeen years ago to provide Board governance and transition management and organizational development services.
Eloiza’s association and nonprofit management experience includes Administrator of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southeastern WI Chapter and Interim Executive Director of English Language Partners of WI (ELPW), UNITY Journalist for Diversity and Relationships First. She also served as Executive Director of the Society for Clinical Data Management (SCDM), Council of Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) and the Wisconsin Certification Board (WCB).
She was an Adjunct Professor at Springfield College in the Human Services graduate program and professor at Alverno College in the Psychology Department. She has a Master’s of Science in Human Services, with an emphasis in Management and Organizational Leadership from Springfield College and two Bachelor of Arts degrees from Alverno College in Clinical Psychology and Professional Communications. She holds the credentials, Certified Association Executive (CAE), through the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and a Human Services Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP) through the Center for Credentialing and Education.