Excellence in Journalism 2016 | New Orleans

About/Meet the Staff

Each year, the Society of Professional Journalists sponsors internships for more than a dozen bright, motivated and hard-working student journalists to staff The EIJ News, a news site that covers the Excellence in Journalism conference. Student writers, editors, and photographers are invited to apply for these select positions. This year, five student interns from the Native American Journalism Association join the news team.

Professional Staff

Staff Photo Faith Sidlow, California State University, Fresno 

Faith Sidlow is an award-winning broadcast journalist with three decades of experience in local radio and television news. She worked for the Fresno NBC affiliate from 1985 to 2013 as a news anchor and reporter. She also spent time working as an assignment editor, producer, consumer reporter, and weather anchor. Prior to her career in Fresno, Faith worked for the PBS affiliate in San Diego and for KNX News Radio in Los Angeles.

Faith began teaching broadcast journalism at Fresno State in 2009 and became a full-time professor in 2015. In addition to her teaching duties, she is also the faculty adviser for the Fresno State Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and for KFSR 90.7 FM. Under her guidance, Faith’s students have won awards from the Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and the CSU Media Arts Festival.

Faith is the recipient of numerous awards for reporting and anchoring including the Broadcast Education Association, Edward R. Murrow, RTNDA, Best of the West, and Associated Press. She has three Emmy nominations, and one of her stories–Extreme Faith–won an Emmy for editing. Faith was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in 2012 for making a significant contribution to Northern California television for more than 25 years.

Student Staff

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Caitlin Behrens, Cleveland State University

Caitlin Behrens is a Journalism and Promotional Communications student from Cleveland, OH. Currently, she is in her last year at Cleveland State. Caitlin is the Website Content and Social Media Specialist for a start-up marketing company. Also, she has served as an intern for Alternative Press Magazine and AFC Cleveland. Before CSU, Caitlin attended the University of Hawai’i on Oahu where she received a minor in Hospitality Management. She looks forward to graduating in the Spring and to begin traveling more.

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Kaylie Connors, Western Kentucky University

Louisville native Kaylie Connors is attending Western Kentucky University, with a double major in Broadcast Communications and Anthropology. In her junior year of high school Kaylie traveled to the Navajo Nation to document food culture on the reservation. It was here that she found her love for documenting cultures around the world through the lens of a camera. Kaylie plans on getting her masters degree in Visual Anthropology, focusing her research on Tibetan Buddhist Monks.

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Jessy Diamba, University of North Texas

Jessy Diamba is a senior at the University of North Texas, majoring in journalism and triple-minoring in Spanish, Chinese, and political science. Born and raised in Paris, France, he moved to the U.S. at the age of eight years old, and quickly adapted to American—and Texan—culture. Although French is his mother’s tongue, the 21-year-old has a big passion for traveling and learning new languages: he can speak French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, and has started learning Arabic as well. At UNT, Jessy has had the opportunity to serve as a Spanish news anchor for his university’s student-run television station, North Texas Television. He also was a lead editor for the station’s English news program, and regularly writes for UNT’s student newspaper, The North Texas Daily. After graduation, next May, Jessy hopes to teach abroad for a year, then continue to travel the world and report on stories that matter.

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Sydnee Duke, Austin Peay State University

Sydnee Duke is a senior mass communication major at Austin Peay State University. Her concentration is in print and web journalism and minor is in pop culture. She is currently the assistant news editor for The All State, the student-run newspaper at Austin Peay, She is the programming director for Austin Peay’s new chapter of SPJ. She plans to graduate in May 2017 and hopes to do a bit of traveling and writing over the summer.

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Andrew Dunn, University of Maryland, College Park

Andrew Dunn is a junior journalism and economics major at the University of Maryland, College Park. Andrew has interned for The Baltimore Sun, The Hill, and the Lowell Sun. From his reporting experiences, he has covered everything from murder investigations to congressional hearings to how bacteria can produce fuel. He is also programming chair of Maryland’s SPJ student chapter, a position he held when Maryland was named National Campus Chapter of the Year in 2015. He has been a staff writer for The Diamondback, Maryland’s student newspaper, and worked for two years as a videographer for Maryland’s athletics department. While eager to take in the food and culture of New Orleans, he is most eager for the opportunity to report on the Excellence in Journalism conference. Andrew grew up in Westford, Massachusetts.

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Jennifer Falcon, University of Texas at San Antonio

Jennifer Falcon is a citizen of the Assiniboine and Sioux nation. She is currently the Policy and Zoning Director for San Antonio City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales and a contributing writer for Indian Country Today. Jennifer attends the University of Texas San Antonio. She is currently making a documentary about the movement behind Indian hiring preference at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 1970’s titles Freeman V. Morton. Jennifer is the mother of Kayla and Alana, and the three enjoy spending their time hiking and volunteering for women candidates for office. Jennifer has worked for several women Texas politicians including Senator Leticia Van de Putte and Senator Wendy Davis. Jennifer was the lead organizer for GetEqual Texas and helped passed a non-discrimination bill in the city of San Antonio in 2013. Jennifer also played a part in organizing the citizens’ filibuster which helped Senator Wendy Davis’ abortion filibuster in 2013 by pushing the vote past midnight.

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Junnelle Hogen, University of Oregon

University of Oregon senior Junnelle Hogen has been specializing in journalism like a true Oregonian: producing podcasts, studying policy and researching the post-prohibition pot industry. Since she started her first journalism internship as a high school junior, she has worked and interned at two radio stations, two international podcasting outlets, two magazines, a large regional paper, a state USA Today paper and a popular sports site. Junnelle works full-time for the Statesman Journal in Oregon, and has contributed several stories to USA Today. After two years in radio, she rolled out the first podcast at the paper, the City-State Seven. Junnelle spends her time pursuing unique stories and attempting to take a public records-fueled look into Oregon law. Since spending last summer in London, she plans on finishing her B.S. in political science before returning to the UK, to craft powerful narratives that merge new media platforms with traditional newsprint.

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Jordan Kemp, California State University, Fresno

Jordan Kemp is a fourth year broadcasting student at California State University, Fresno who is working towards a career in TV news. While he values his schooling, Jordan also spends a lot of time working at a restaurant as a waiter to pay for school and rent, all while maintaining good grades and balancing a summer internship at KFSR radio in Fresno. A busy schedule is a staple in his life. Apart from working at the radio station, Jordan also helped to produce a couple of small shows over the summer. He believes that setting himself up for a successful future is as important as attending class regularly. In the rare case he finds some free time, Jordan spends his time playing dungeons and dragons with his friends, reading comics, or watching Game of Thrones over and over again.

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Shana Lombard, Haskell Indian Nations University

Shana Lombard is a sophomore from Haskell Indian Nations University, earning her Associates of Arts in Media Communications. She is also a member of the university’s cheerleading squad and secretary of The Indian Leader. Shana is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, located in southwest Washington state. Shana found her love for video production in high school when she took a video production class. She excelled so well, that she was asked to transfer to the Warrior News class. She wrote and recorded stories, anchored for the daily, live newscast and spent her senior year being the newscast’s producer. She plans to move onto the University of Kansas. Shana one day hopes to work for national sport league stadiums, concert venues and represent Native Americans in major media outlets. She also plans to use her video skills to revitalize her tribal language.

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SaraRose Martin, Virginia Commonwealth University

SaraRose Martin is a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University and is pursuing a career in journalism. She is vice president of the SPJ’s campus chapter and looks forward to writing for the VCU paper, The Commonwealth Times. In high school, she served as co editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Falconer that won Virginia High School League Trophy class. After being censored in her high school paper, a local online publication sought and published her in-depth article about the use and manufacturing of dabs, a highly concentrated form of marijuana. Both The Washington Post and the Student Press Law Center wrote articles on the censorship and her fight to get it overturned. She has also worked with the Student Press Law Center’s Active Voice advocacy project and has submitted works to amysmartgirls.com, both aimed at empowering women in student media.

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Natalie Nigg, Fresno State University

Natalie Nigg is a double major in multimedia production and women’s studies at Fresno State. As part of her coursework, she has worked on a variety of projects including short documentaries, narrative videos, and public service announcements. For the last year, she has served as the engineering assistant in the campus TV studio, working on various student productions and helping out in classes. Natalie is passionate about storytelling and believes everyone should have access to resources to tell their stories, which is why she aims to own her own production studio and provide her community with those resources. She also plans to obtain her doctorate degree in hopes of teaching media representations and ethics at the college level. In her free time, Natalie enjoys writing, bowling and hiking in Yosemite with her dog, Grizzly.

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Frank Robertson, South Dakota State University

Frank Robertson is living in Ohio while pursuing a master of mass communication degree through South Dakota State University. He spent several years in South Dakota as a photojournalist at two of the state’s largest newspapers before returning to his alma mater where he held positions as senior photographer, multimedia coordinator and instructor. Frank moved to Ohio in 2004 where he spent 10 years with Chillicothe Gazette Media, first as a staff photojournalist then as a multimedia editor for eight years. He’s received numerous awards during his career, most recently being recognized at the 2014 Ohio APME Newspaper Awards where he received eight awards, five of which were first place including Division I Best Photographer. While appreciative of his recognitions, the real rewards for him are serving his communities both as a photojournalist and as an instructor and mentor for youth and young journalists through programs like the Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop.

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Keiti Rueter, Western Kentucky University

Keiti Rueter is an undergraduate at Western Kentucky University in her senior year, currently pursuing a B.S. in both physics and religious studies. Rueter, as a Chiricahua Apache, is the president of WKU’s Native Student Association which advocates for historical transparency and political, social, and environmental change in Native America. Her recent activities supported by the Native Student Association have included a poster campaign tackling appropriation and a movie screening and talk on boarding homes. With her membership to the Native American Journalist Association she hopes to keep abreast of new issues and contribute to the media landscape surrounding minority news and social activism. Rueter is also a member of the Applied Physical Society and hopes to publish a paper in the fall of her summer physics research. Besides her devotion to physics which keeps her busy with programming and calculus, she is an avid reader and has spent her summer with her nose in the books.

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Rachel Whiteside, Haskell Indian Nations University

Rachel Whiteside, a junior at Haskell Indian Nations University, is almost finished with her associates in Media Communications this fall. She is also majoring in American Indian Issues as her bachelors and soon hopes to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to purse Anthropology. Even though she is living in Kansas now, Rachel is originally from Washington D.C. but her tribal affiliation is from the Narragansett Indian Tribe in Rhode Island. Her main interest for this years NAJA Internship is to learn more about print journalism and photo journalism. She would really like to write for newspapers or magazines such as the National Geographic, or even Life Magazine one day. Rachel want’s to be able to use her future degrees in anthropology and journalism to interview countries and their native population within them.