Education, events, news

Powerhouse Moderator, Panelists Added To July 23 ‘Defending Journalism’ Event

Tracie Powell — the new program officer for the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund at Borealis Philanthropy — will lead and two powerhouse speakers will join the July 23 event, “Building Trust — And Defending Journalists And Journalism.”

NINA logo ColorHosted by the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association in conjunction with the Chicago Headline Club, the 90-minute program will be both a brass-tacks webinar and a lively discussion on how working journalists can win trust and defend the integrity of our profession.

The NINA panel discussion will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Central Time Thursday, July 23.

NINA President Margarita Mendoza said organizers have been working in recent weeks to diversify Thursday’s NINA panel discussion with several additions.

Powell has graciously agreed to be our moderator, and we welcome additional panelists, Fernando Díaz of the Chicago Reporter and Morgan Elise Johnson of The Triibe in Chicago. The bios of the moderator and all panelists are below.

“This is NINA’s first attempt at an online webinar, and we’re excited to have such an interesting panel to lead such an important discussion,” Mendoza said.


Tracie Powell headshotTracie Powell is program officer for the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund at Borealis Philanthropy. She is also the founder of, which focuses on the media and its impact on diverse communities.

Tracie was previously a Senior Fellow with the Democracy Fund, and a 2016 JSK (Knight) Fellow at Stanford University. She has written regularly for the Columbia Journalism Review, and her work has been highlighted by Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab.


NINA Fernando DiazNEW ADDITION — Fernando Díaz, editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter, will speak about building trust among underserved populations, and ways to diversify the newsroom and news coverage. Before joining the Reporter in 2018, Fernando was the managing editor of digital at The San Francisco Chronicle. He previously worked at ChicagoNow, Hoy, the Daily Herald and other publications.

NINA Morgan Elise JohnsonNEW ADDITION — Morgan Elise Johnson is co-founder and creative director of The TRiiBE, a digital media platform showcasing innovative content to reshape the narrative of Black Chicago. She will discuss outreach and impact strategies to build trust with Black communities. With expertise in publishing and film making, Morgan’s work focuses on protecting Black history for future generations.

NINA Susan BenkelmanSusan Benkelman is director of accountability journalism at the American Press Institute, and has written about strategies for truth-telling in a time of misinformation and polarization. Prior to joining API in 2018 Susan worked for five years as a news editor in the Washington bureau of the Wall Street Journal. She also previously worked as the editorial director at CQ-Roll Call, and as a reporter at Newsday and the Detroit News.

NINA John LampinenJohn Lampinen, is senior vice president of Paddock Publications and editor of its flagship publication, the Daily Herald and His organization’s ongoing “Facts Matter” campaign helps its audience see inside the newsroom and understand not just the reporting process but also why responsible, professional journalism is so vital. John is also a member of the NINA Board of Directors.

NINA Joy Mayer Trusting NewsJoy Mayer is the founder of the Trusting News project. Joy has written about how journalists can defend their work through action, not just with editorials. Her Trusting News project empowers journalists to earn trust and demonstrate credibility. She also works as a consultant, trainer and professor — helping journalists, students and organizations grow their understanding of audience strategies and measurement of success.

NINA Ray PingreeRay Pingree is an associate professor in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. His research includes a study titled, Checking facts and fighting back: Why journalists should defend their profession. More generally, he studies dysfunctions in our national discussion, including treating politics as a game or competition, a lack of accountability for dishonesty, and prioritization of issues that favor the sensational.

Building Trust And Defending Journalism

Tablet computer, smartphone and newspapers

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