UNITY Chicago Student Newsroom
at Loyola University
The Student Newsroom immerses undergraduate and graduate college students in a mobile journalism environment by providing hands-on experience during the two-day UNITY Chicago Media Summit at Loyola University. Supported by mobile publishing startup Evrybit, students will produce mobile stories for the UNITY website before and during the summit under the guidance of professional mentors.
Communication Studies, Senior, Loyola University Chicago
My name is Danica Castillo. I am from Honolulu, Hawaii. I am a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in communication studies. My plan after graduating is to shadow a great business leader and become a keynote speaker. My hobbies are taking improvisation classes at Improv Olympic theatre, being a part of the Cook County Toastmasters club, and watching TED talks on YouTube. I also love to read business, psychology and self-help books. My favorite quote is, “If your dream is possible, then you’re not dreaming big enough.”
Broadcast Journalism and Political Science, Junior, Loyola University Chicago
Nick Coulson, a proud native of Grand Rapids, Mich., is a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. Having spent years in the entertainment industry, Nick is thrilled to combine his passion for the arts with his writing as the assistant arts and entertainment editor for The Phoenix, Loyola University Chicago’s award-winning newspaper. In addition to working for The Phoenix, Nick is the director of human resources for Loyola Limited, Loyola University Chicago’s undergraduate student-run business enterprise. When not working, Nick enjoys playing piano, performing, spending time with friends and family and seeing shows at Chicago’s many theaters.
CEO, Evrybit and Student Newsroom Chair
Eric Ortiz is a journalist, entrepreneur and innovator with 16-plus years in digital media. He is the founder and CEO of Evrybit, an all-in-one app for mobile storytelling and media monetization. Eric also is the managing editor of Truthdig, an award-winning website that focuses on politics, current events and culture. Prior to Truthdig and Evrybit, he was a 2014 Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, the founding editor of NESN.com and an editor at ESPN.com. He is a champion for media diversity and graduated from Stanford with a degree in English.
UNITY Executive Director
Eloiza Altoro has 20 years of leadership experience working with associations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. She is the principal consultant of Mind Redesign Consulting, a business she founded 14 years ago to provide board governance and organizational development services. Eloiza is the executive director of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, and her management experience includes interim executive director of English language partners of WI (ELPW), 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 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.
Race/ethnicity journalists, The Associated Press and UNITY President
Russell Contreras is a race/ethnicity reporter, photographer and videographer at The Associated Press in Albuquerque, N.M. 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. 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. Currently, he is the president of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity.
Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago
Jill Geisler is an expert in leadership and management. She teaches and coaches leaders from Boston to Bhutan. Jill holds the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago. Previously, she spent 16 years guiding the leadership and management programs of the Poynter Institute. She is the author of the book “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know,” writes a monthly management column for the Columbia Journalism Review, and just launched her latest podcast: “Q&A: Leadership and Integrity in the Digital Age” on iTunes U. The new podcast builds on the success of her “What Great Bosses Know” podcasts, which have been downloaded millions of times. Jill’s first career was in broadcast journalism. Way back in the 1970’s, she became one of the first women TV news directors in the United States and had the joy of building a strong and successful newsroom culture over her 25-year newsroom tenure. Jill holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a masters in leadership studies. Her management mantra is: “Life’s too short to work with jerks.”
Associate Dean, Loyola University School of Communication
John Slania is associate dean in Loyola University’s School of Communication. Slania is a veteran Chicago journalist who spent nearly 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor at the Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Journal and Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Slania and his students have created several multimedia journalism products that involve engaged learning in Chicago. Mosaic Magazine is a social justice publication that explores important issues in the city’s neighborhoods, such as violence, homelessness and education. Loyola Longform is a book publishing project that allows students to profile newsmakers in Chicago, with their stories and images printed in a hardcover book. The series includes the titles, “Working in Chicago” and “Living in Chicago.”
Students get to attend summit programming led by experts in journalism, network with industry leaders, and acquire and use new mobile media skills. Registration fees are paid.
Student Newsroom mentors with mobile media skills guide students before and during the conference, working one-on-one with them to help develop story ideas and advise coverage production. Mentors get to shape the skills of tomorrow’s leaders in journalism.