2023 Emerging Journalists Regional Career Summits


See location directions | View participants' bios

08:00 AM Registration/Continental Breakfast Lobby/Lecture Hall
08:30 AM Welcome Remarks
Leslie-Anne Frank, Dir., Next Gen. Initiatives, NAHJ
Yvette Cabrera, President, NAHJ
Isabella Garcia-Mendez, Pres. NAHJ Columbia
Jelani Cobb, PhD, Dean, Columbia Journalism School
Alexa Rodriguez, Interim News Director, Telemundo 47
Lecture Hall
08:45 AM NBCU Academy presents
From Classroom to Newsroom: Navigating a Career 
in Journalism
Moderator: Alicia Menendez, Anchor, MSNBC’s American Voices
Panelists: Ninoska Arriaga, Exec. Producer, Telemundo 47; Yaritza Rodriguez, Managing Editor, Telemundo 47; Jay Valle, Digital Reporter, NBC News

Lecture Hall

10:00 AM The Art of Breaking News
Participants: Brandon López, Social Media Producer, ABC News & GMA3
Javier Morgado, Executive Producer, CNN
 Room 607B
  Writing Techniques
Presenter: Wil Cruz, Executive Editor, News Practices, ABC News, Adjunct Professor, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
Room 601B
11:15 AM Reporting on Vulnerable Communities
Moderator: Charo Henríquez, Editor, Newsroom Development & Support, The New York Times
Panelists: Nicole Acevedo, Reporter, NBC Latino;
Kiara Alfonseca, Race & Culture Reporter/Producer, ABC News
 Room 607B
  Investigative Journalism Tools
Moderator: Nathalie Nieves, Field Producer, CBS News
Panelists: Adriana Gallardo, Engagement Reporter, ProPublica; Brenda Medina, Investigative Reporter, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
 Room 601B
12:30 PM


Exploring Best Practices: Journalism & Faith in Today's Media Reality
DMC Presenter: Aaron Sherinian, Senior Vice President, Global Reach, Deseret Management Corporation
Moderator: Wesley Parnell, Freelance Reporter & Photojournalist
Panelists: Jesse Hyde, Editor, Deseret MagazineMara S. CampoAnchor & Managing Editor, Revolt Black News

 Lecture Hall


01:45 PM Preparing for Internship/Job Interviews
Moderator: Erin Ailworth, Editor, Newsroom Talent, The Wall Street Journal
Panelists: Jennifer Dale, Vice President, Recruiting, Gray TV; Jenn Indemaio, Manager, Talent Acquisitions, Spectrum Networks; Carmen Jerez, Talent Acquisition Recruiter, NBC
Room 607B
  Considering a Graduate Degree in Journalism?
Moderator: Elena Cabral, Assistant Dean, Academic Programs & Communications, Columbia Journalism School
Panelists: Tarin Almanzar, Associate Dean of Admissions, Columbia Journalism School; 
Maximo Patiño, Director of Admissions, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY;

Keyana Smith, Scholarship & Mentor Officer, New York University, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute
 Room 601B
03:00 PM Career Fair
Companies: NBC, Gray TV, Spectrum Networks, Paramount, Columbia Journalism School, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
The Brown Institute
05:00 PM Wrap-up/Giveaways Lecture Hall


The Columbia Journalism School is accessible on the New York City Subway No. 1 train line, which has a stop at 116th Street. When entering the campus through the iron gates at 116th Street, Pulitzer Hall is the first building on the right. You must walk onto campus and around the building to enter the front door (see campus map here).

  • Click here for directions to Columbia from Grand Central Station.

  • Check New Jersey Transit schedules for transportation to Penn Station, which connects to the No. 1 Subway line.

  • Some travelers from Long Island, other locations in New York State, and Connecticut can take the Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station or MetroNorth to the Harlem 125th Street stop. From the 125th Street stop on Metro North, you must transfer to the M60 bus to 116th and Broadway. This requires a separate bus fare.

  • Check here for schedules on Long Island Rail Road and Metro North.

  • For information on fares and payment options on New York City subways and buses, click here.  

  • If traveling by Uber/Lyft, you can use the Pulitzer Hall building address, 2950 Broadway.

  • Parking on the street and at nearby garages is available. Parking on campus is not available.

There are ramps to access the building and elevators to the session floors.

Participants' Bios

Nicole Acevedo

Nicole Acevedo is a reporter at NBC News Digital, where she produces enterprise stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com. From Puerto Rico’s reconstruction process after Hurricane Maria and the island’s financial crisis to politics, pop culture and the coronavirus pandemic, Acevedo’s reporting focuses on issues impacting Latino communities in the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America. In the past, Acevedo has published stories for MSNBCTelemundo 47 and NPR’s Latino USA. Before joining NBC, she was part of the inaugural cohort of students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s first Spanish-language bilingual journalism program. In 2016, she was one of 20 fellows selected to join the Knight Diversity Internship Program at CUNY where she completed an internship with Starfish Media Group, a production and distribution company founded by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Acevedo left the island nearly 10 years ago to attend the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. 

Kiara Alfonseca

Kiara Alfonseca is a Race and Culture reporter and producer for ABC News and Good Morning America, focusing on racial and economic justice, policing, LGBTQ issues and more. She previously worked as a producer and contributing reporter at HuffPost, and has also written for NBC News Digital, ProPublica, and Rochester City Newspaper. Alfonseca is the vice president of NAHJ NYC and has been a longtime NAHJ member and fan, as part of its student media project and the CUNYJ Knight Diversity Fellowship while in college.

Erin Ailworth

Erin Ailworth is the editor of newsroom talent responsible for recruiting for The Wall Street Journal's U.S News, World, Washington, Speed & Trending and Enterprise teams.

Prior to joining the Talent Team, Erin was a reporter for U.S. News, where she wrote a broad array of stories, including covering hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters and traumas nationwide. She was part of the team named Pulitzer finalists for the Journal's coverage of PG&E and the wildfires in California. Erin also helped chronicle the spread of Covid-19 via cruise ships at the start of the pandemic. She then helped lead the Journal’s coverage of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, and the protests and violence that followed.

Erin joined the Journal in 2014 as an energy reporter in the Houston bureau. She is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School and a lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, where she served four years on the national board. Prior to the Journal, she worked at the Boston Globe, the Orlando Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times. She is an alum of METPRO and the Medill Cherubs program.

Tarin Almanzar

Tarin Almanzar is the Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Columbia Journalism School. 

For nearly 14 years, Almanzar has served as a critical part of the admissions team at the graduate school and as a longstanding official at the university in student financial planning.

Almanzar previously was the Associate Director of Student Financial Planning at Columbia University and Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Tarin received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Pace University She holds two master's degrees from Columbia, one in higher and postsecondary education and the other in organizational psychology.

Ninoska Arriaga

Ninoska Arriaga is the Executive Producer at Telemundo 47, overseeing the evening newscasts, working closely with Producers and ensuring newscasts are executed cleanly on air, are relevant to current events and meet audience preferences. 

Arriaga also oversees the weekly production of the station’s Community Affairs and Political show “Enfoque”. Prior to that Arriaga served as Producer of Univision’s morning show “Al Despertar” and 6pm Newscast.

She studied Broadcast Media and Journalism at New Jersey City University located in Jersey City, New Jersey. Ninoska is the recipient of 10 Emmy awards.

Elena Cabral

As the Assistant Dean of Academic Programs and Communications, Elena directs the Part-time Program for M.S. students and oversees a portfolio of international programs and communications. A graduate of the Part-time M.S. program, she was a staff writer at The Miami Herald. Her magazine work has appeared in VIBE, Marie Claire, Commonweal and PODER. She has also worked as an editor at Scholastic News and a staff writer at the Ford Foundation’s quarterly magazine. Elena is the faculty adviser to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ student chapter at Columbia University. She is a member of the school’s Academic Affairs team.

Yvette Cabrera

Yvette is a senior reporter at the Center for Public Integrity covering inequality in economic and social well-being. Most recently she worked as an environmental justice reporter for Grist & HuffPost, and as an investigative reporter for ThinkProgress in Washington D.C. She reports at the intersection of justice and equity, examining the impact of systemic disparities, such as environmental pollution and contamination, on marginalized communities throughout the country. She has reported extensively on the pervasiveness of toxic lead contamination across the country, including an investigation on the legacy of industrial lead pollution in urban residential neighborhoods as a 2019 McGraw Center for Business Journalism fellow, and a five-part investigative series where she showed through soil testing how lead exposure is still harming children in complex ways. In 2022, she was selected as a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center practitioner to create a journalist’s guide for reporting on soil lead contamination. She currently serves as president for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; and for two decades served as a board member of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, the oldest regional organization of journalists of color in the country.

Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb joined the Journalism School faculty in 2016 and became Dean in 2022. He has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2015. He received a Peabody Award for his 2020 PBS Frontline film Whose Vote Counts? and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary in 2018. He has also been a political analyst for MSNBC since 2019.

He is the author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress and To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic. He is the editor or co-editor of several volumes including The Matter of Black Lives, a collection of The New Yorker’s writings on race and The Essential Kerner Commission Report. He is producer or co-producer on a number of documentaries including Lincoln’s Dilemma, Obama: A More Perfect Union and Policing the Police.

Dr. Cobb was educated at Jamaica High School in Queens, NY, Howard University, where he earned a B.A. in English, and Rutgers University, where he completed his MA and doctorate in American History in 2003. He is also a recipient of fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation and the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Wil Cruz

Wil Cruz is a veteran journalist who has worked in newspapers, digital and broadcast for local and national media for the last 20 years.

As a reporter and editor, Cruz has covered the NYPD, the FDNY and education for Newsday, the New York Daily News and DNAinfo. He also managed the assignment desk at NY1 News, where he supervised more than 20 journalists who covered hyperlocal news in the city’s five boroughs.

He is currently an executive editor at ABC News, where he works with the news practices team to uphold journalistic standards on all of its platforms. Before that, he was a senior editor for ABCNews.com.

An advocate of increasing diversity in newsrooms, Cruz is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. He has mentored POC journalists — as well as students from all backgrounds and experiences — and helped them find opportunities in newsrooms.

A native New Yorker, Cruz grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, has lived in Brooklyn and Queens, and graduated from the City College of New York.

Jennifer Dale 

Jennifer Dale is the Vice President of Recruiting for Gray Television. Gray Television is the nation’s second largest broadcaster, owning stations in 113 markets across the nation. Jennifer is an award-winning journalist who is passionate about investigative reporting and growing talent.  Jennifer is a former news director, most recently at Live 5 in Charleston, South Carolina.   In 2022, Jennifer and the team at Live 5 won an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award for coverage of the death of Jamal Sutherland, a man who was taken from a mental health facility to the Charleston jail. While there, Sutherland was tased multiple times and pepper sprayed, leading to his death. Jennifer has also won a national Edward R Murrow award, as well as regional Emmy awards and regional Murrow awards.   Jennifer lives with her husband and daughter in Charleston.

Adriana Gallardo

Adriana joined ProPublica in 2016 as an engagement reporter. Since then, she’s collaborated across the newsroom on investigative series covering women’s health, immigration, and sexual violence. Her community-sourced reporting has contributed to several awards including a 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist series for explanatory reporting (Lost Mothers) and the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for public service (Lawless). 

In 2021, "Unheard," an engagement reporting project from Alaska’s “Lawless” investigative series, was awarded The Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, The Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism, The Ethics in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and was the inaugural winner in the community journalism category with The American Society of Magazine Editors (Ellies).

Prior to ProPublica, Adriana oversaw a national reporting series at 15 public media stations. She's traveled the country with the StoryCorps mobile booth collecting hundreds of stories archived at the U.S. Library of Congress. In her hometown Chicago, she spent over a decade working as a journalist, media educator and radio producer. She is based in Brooklyn.

Charo Henríquez

Charo Henríquez is a journalist working at the intersection of journalism and technology to create a better culture in newsrooms. She has focused most of her career in leading innovation in news organizations.

Charo is part of the leadership team of the Culture and Careers department and head of Newsroom Development and Support at The New York Times. She is also the Vice President of Online News Association’s Executive Board of Directors and member of the Advisory Council Board to the Spanish-language Journalism Program at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. In 2021, she was a Fellow at Columbia University’s Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program. Charo has been faculty for ONA Women’s Leadership Accelerator. Poynter Institute and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program.

Jesse Hyde

Jesse Hyde is the editor of Deseret Magazine. A graduate of Brigham Young University and the journalism school at Columbia University, he has reported from Haiti, Ethiopia, Russia and many other spots around the globe.

Jennifer Indemaio

Jennifer Indemaio is a Talent Acquisitions Manager for Spectrum News and has been recruiting for media companies for over 16 years. Jennifer joined the Spectrum team in March, 2019 and recruits for NY1, Editorial, Digital, National Content, Creative, Marketing and other teams that make up Spectrum News.  Jennifer identifies and matches cutting edge creative talent with career changing opportunities at every level.  Beyond just hiring people, I’m heavily involved in our People Team’s efforts to define recruiting strategy, educate hiring managers on best practices and networking with the industry. Big movie buff, loves TV and hopes one day to do a triathlon.

Carmen Jerez

Carmen Jerez is a Talent Acquisition Recruiter for the Local Stations for NBCU / Telemundo across the country.  She is fully bilingual and recruits for a variety of positions ranging from Assignment Desk Editors to Producers to On-Air Talent / Meteorologists.  Carmen has been in the Media Industry since 2005.  Her experience is not limited to Production roles.  Prior to joining the Talent Acquisition team at NBCU in March of 2021, she was with Warner Media for 15 years where she recruited for all Corporate level roles within Finance, Marketing, Legal and even handled some Aviation roles such as Pilots and Flight Attendants for the executive planes.  She attended The City College of New York where she obtained her Bachelors in Psychology.  She enjoys speaking to people and making connections.

Brandon López

Brandon López began his professional career in media before he could legally vote. Fresh out of high school, he started as an intern at an award-winning local lifestyle magazine, where he was quickly promoted to Assistant Director of the Digital Marketing division.

From the magazine, Brandon made the switch to television, working in various positions at WSVN and WTVJ in Miami, and WPBF in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Brandon then returned to WTVJ-NBC 6 and WSCV-Telemundo 51 and served as a Duopoly Digital Producer and Reporter, where he managed the station’s digital and social media platforms and contributed segments on-air to NBC 6 News, Telemundo 51 and the station’s lifestyle show, 6 in the Mix. 

Brandon returned to West Palm Beach as Digital Media Manager at WPBF, where he oversaw the station’s digital operations. There, he led the station to be the number one news website and app in the market.

Now, the Miami-native has relocated to New York City and works at ABC News as the Social Media Producer for GMA3: What You Need to Know. In the time he has been there, he has created viral content with major celebrities like Patti LaBelle and Gloria Estefan, and created impactful content on large, newsworthy events.

Brenda Medina

Brenda Medina is an investigative reporter for ICIJ.

Prior to joining ICIJ in 2021, she was a senior reporting fellow at ProPublica, in New York. Before that, Brenda worked for the Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald, where she reported in English and Spanish. At the Herald, she covered local government and immigration and worked on investigations about public corruption, housing and labor issues.

Brenda is from the Dominican Republic. She studied journalism and international studies at the University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College, in Tampa, Florida.

Alicia Menendez

Alicia Menendez anchors MSNBC’s “American Voices with Alicia Menendez” Saturday and Sunday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. ET. She is also the author of “The Likeability Trap” and host of the “Latina to Latina” podcast. Menendez joined MSNBC in October 2019. Prior to joining the network, Menendez served as a correspondent on “Amanpour & Company” on PBS and formerly hosted a nightly news and pop culture show on Fusion called “Alicia Menendez Tonight.” Her reporting and interviews have appeared on ABC News, Bustle, FusionTV, PBS and Vice News. Born and raised in New Jersey, Menendez has been called “Ms. Millennial” by The Washington Post, “journalism’s new gladiator” by Elle, and a “content queen” by Marie Claire. Menendez is on Twitter at @AliciaMenendez.

Nathalie Nieves

Nathalie Nieves is a Field Producer for CBS National News based in New York City. In this position, she oversees breaking news stories occurring in the Northeast U.S, going on the road to cover mass protests, shootings, extreme weather events and more. The stories she produces air on CBS Mornings with Gayle King, Evening News with Norah O’Donnell, CBS Saturday Morning, and streaming platform CBSN. She has worked at CBS News for five years starting off a freelance associate producer on the international desk before going on to work overnights on the national desk. Prior to CBS News, Nathalie worked for the New York Times based out of Washington D.C. and NYC.  Nathalie earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English Literature from Queens College.

Javi Morgado

Javi Morgado is the four-time Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer of CNN’s At This Hour with Kate Bolduan. For nearly 7 years, he was the Executive Producer of CNN’s morning show New Day; he has been with the network since 2011. Prior to that, he worked at NBC News for more than a decade. Javi’s last role there was Supervising Producer of the Today Show. He is a Miami native and NAHJ lifetime member.

Wesley Parnell 

Wesley Parnell is a freelance reporter and photojournalist based out of Brooklyn, NY. He frequently contributes to the New York Times and other local outlets, including the New York Daily News and amNew York. Previously, Wesley covered the NYPD and crime for the New York Daily News. He has covered religion stories from Brazil to Kenya to the Dioceses of Brooklyn for Religion Unplugged.

Maximo Patiño

Max Patiño joined the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s admissions team in July 2014 and most recently served as Associate Director of Multicultural Recruitment.

Previously, he spent 14 years as director of recruitment and diversity at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

He is a member of the Newmark J-School Diversity Committee and adviser to the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) – Newmark J-School Chapter.

He graduated with a dual B.A. in Advertising Creative and Spanish Literature and Culture from Syracuse University.

Alexa Rodriguez

Alexa Rodriguez is an award-winning journalist and the interim News Director for WNJU Telemundo 47, serving Spanish-speaking viewers living in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  She joined Telemundo 47 in 2017 as Executive Producer and has now worked for the two largest Spanish-Language networks in the United States, starting her career at Univision where she rose up the ranks to Line Producer.

Alexa has a passion and commitment to cover stories that impact the Hispanic community. She was born in the Dominican Republic, migrated to the United States as a child and was raised in Queens.  She is a graduate of Iona College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism.

Yaritza Rodriguez

Yaritza Rodriguez is the Managing Editor at Telemundo 47. She leads the newsroom editorial process, monitoring the daily news stories and directing coverage for the afternoon and evening newscasts. Rodriguez assigns reporters to relevant stories and breaking news and works alongside the production team to enterprise coverage that represents the diverse communities in the tri-state area.

In 2015 Rodriguez graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from LIU Post. During her time in college, she was an active member of the campus television station, PTV. 

Rodriguez is a 2-time Emmy Award winner.

Aaron Sherinian

Aaron is the Senior Vice President Global Reach, of Deseret Management Corporation. He has more than two decades of accomplished service as a public relations and communications professional in the corporate, philanthropic and diplomatic sectors, building bridges between political ideologies, geographies and industries throughout the world. 

He most recently managed global communications transformation at Philip Morris International, focused on civil society engagement and partnerships to enable a smoke-free future. Previously, he served as global communications director for the Aga Khan Development Network, headquartered in Paris, France, and Geneva, Switzerland. In this role he coordinated the global communications efforts during the Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan and the global Ismaili Muslim faith community.

Prior to that, he served as chief communications and marketing officer for the United Nations Foundation, during which time he helped build the Social Good Summit, #GivingTuesday and the Global Bureau Media Coalition. His career includes U.S. government service as a diplomat in the U.S. Department of State and leading public affairs efforts for the Millennium Challenge Corp.

Keyana Smith

Keyana Smith is a first-generation graduate of Saint Micheal's College. Keyana Smith is currently the Scholarship and Mentor Program Officer at NYU Journalism. She oversees the Institute's diversity initiatives, summer programs, and scholarship programs: including the full tuition plus stipend NYU-NAHJ scholarship. Keyana has an extensive background in higher education, primarily working with students of color. In addition to NYU's scholarship initiatives, Keyana also oversees NYU Journalism's Graduate School's mentoring programs which have a specific emphasis on underrepresented students.

Liam Stack 

Liam Stack is a religion correspondent on the Metro desk of The New York Times, covering New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He was previously a political reporter based in New York and a Middle East correspondent based in Cairo.

Jay Valle

Jay Valle is a writer, contributing correspondent, and producer of digital content for NBC Out. Valle joined NBC News in 2021 as an NBCU Academy Embed after graduating from Florida International University with his bachelor’s in communications and an area of concentration in LGBTQ studies. Most recently, Valle was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Online Journalism Article for his in-depth reporting on the mysterious disappearance and death of an NYC social worker. Valle made his move to NYC in the fall and with his reporting hopes to continue shining a spotlight on the LGBTQ+ community.

Mara S. Campo

Mara S. Campo is a four-time Emmy Award winning TV journalist, cable news commentator, and one of the highest-charting Black podcasters in the United States.

Mara frequently appears on cable news, including CNN, MSNBC, and Peacock, sharing analysis and commentary on news stories and hot topics. Her areas of focus are race, culture, and social justice.

Mara is the Executive Producer and a co-host of the Run Tell This podcast (iTunes Top 100 Arts). Co-hosted by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Wesley Lowery and former senior magazine editor Keith Reed, the podcast covers news and social justice from the perspective of Black journalists. Previous guests include Gayle King, Charles Blow, Soledad O’Brien, Sunny Hostin and Angela Rye.

Mara is also the Executive Producer and Host of The Trend Reporter podcast (iHeartMedia – iTunes #1 Fashion and Beauty, iTunes Top 200 overall, 600k+ downloads), making her one of the top Black podcasters in the United States.


If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact Leslie-Anne Frank, Director of Next Gen Initiatives. We hope to see you soon! 

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