Polls are now closed. These are the results of this year's elections.
Region 3 | Region 4 | Region 5 | Region 6 | Region 9 | Region 10 | Region 13 | At-Large
Regional and At-Large Directors serve two-year terms. Regions 1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 12 and 14 will be up for election in 2019.
Regional and At-Large Directors serve two-year terms. Regions 1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 12 and 14 will be up for election in 2019.
Terence Shepherd, News Director, WLRN-FM, Miami, FL
I am honored to accept the nomination for Chair-Elect of the Radio Television Digital News Association. In that role I will enhance professional development for mid-career leaders, defend journalists’ rights and deepen respect for the industry. I have been news director at WLRN Public Media in Miami since 2013 and Region 13 Director of RTDNA since 2014. The WLRN team has earned 25 Regional and three National Edward R. Murrow Awards over the past three years.
As RTDNA’s Ethics Chair, I’ve led the experienced, thoughtful and diligent committee in revising existing guidelines and launching new ones on mass shootings, whistleblowers, journalists’ arrests, civil unrest, hurricane and other natural disasters, user-generated content, live coverage, breaking news and using confidential sources. I’ve also been featured during RTDNA webinars on covering mass shootings and on covering an unprecedented president.
If elected, you can expect the same primary dedication to the organization’s mission, including advocacy for the First Amendment, training and thought leadership for all levels of working professionals, executives and students. It’s important to continue RTDNA’s vigorous defense of our rights to do our jobs as journalists and I pledge to help increase these efforts as Chair-Elect.
It’s also crucial that we leverage our role as stewards of the Edward R. Murrow Awards to motivate and encourage excellence in journalism. As Region 13 director, I have enrolled dozens of new judges for the Murrow Awards, with a focus on those representing Spanish-language stations. I’ve also kept headquarters apprised of advocacy opportunities.
Outside of RTDNA, I have served on the local host committees for two recent journalism conferences: the 2017 Public Radio News Directors Inc., and 2018 National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Earlier in my career, I served as president of the South Florida Black Journalists Association.
Our industry faces challenges from external sources as well the eternal effort to continue meeting our audience demands on multiple platforms. With your support, I will make sure RTDNA expands its leadership role. Our audiences depend upon us. Maintaining freedom of the press is essential to a strong nation.
Sheryl Worsley (Incumbent), Director of Audience Development, KSL-AM, Salt Lake City, UT
Journalism is more than a job. To embrace the cliché, it’s a calling. That may sound a bit hokey and sort of dramatic, but it’s something I really believe. If journalists aren’t doing work that makes the lives of the people in America better then we aren’t serving our purpose. We make lives better by informing them, connecting them and by shining a light on problems they may not have understood. When those problems are revealed, people can then (and only then) work together to find solutions in their communities. I’m an advocate for open records and firmly believe we need to make sure threats to transparency are addressed. I’m co-chair of RTDNA’s Voice of the First Amendment Task force and I believe our jobs have renewed importance in the era when it has become a political talking point to bash the press. We can’t let rhetoric distract us from our duty to do good work. Our job is not to attack back, but it is our job to scrutinize, to uncover and to apply journalistic rigor, no matter whom that upsets. We’re also hard-working Americans. Yes, we’re picking up a paycheck. But we’re also doing an important job in this country.
If re-elected as your Region 3 Director, I will continue to press for journalistic freedoms under the First Amendment to stay strong. I will continue to push for transparency. I will push against threats to both for journalists in the region and across the country.
Lauren Olson, Digital Director, KARE11, Minneapolis, MN
As an RTDNA board member representing Region 4, I would offer my digitally-driven perspective developed over 11 years in our industry to help preserve trust as consumers increasingly turn to new platforms for news and information. For stories to make the maximum impact, our industry needs to proactively embrace digital trends, not react once the audience has left. The landscape is changing quickly and I hope to provide a fresh point of view that empowers our industry to embrace digital experimentation, innovation and transformation. The need for trust and excellence in journalism is as vital as ever, but it’s just as crucial to live up to our audience’s expectations and preferences for how they consume news. Having a seat on the RTDNA Board would allow me to make a very meaningful contribution to propelling our industry forward.
Scott Diener (Incumbent), News Director, KMOV-TV, St. Louis, MO
Having served the past year as RTDNA’s Region 5 Director, I have had the honor of working with fellow board members and executive director Dan Shelley on the increasingly important issues facing radio, television and digital journalists. In a time where our profession is under constant scrutiny, it is vital we stand united as an organization that demands accurate and timely reporting on all platforms—and defends it against those who want to vilify us. RTDNA is more important than ever now in rallying its members. As electronic journalists, it is imperative we step up our game, not be afraid to look in the mirror and correct our flaws and publically defend our constitutional right to question the powerful without intimidation or retribution.
When our newsroom broke a story earlier this year about Missouri’s governor possibly committing a felony, we came under constant attack from the governor’s supporters---even as he faced felony charges and members of his own political party beginning the process of removing him from his office. We continued to pursue the story despite threats against our reporters and station. And as the governor moved closer to trial, our news organization led the fight for Missouri and national media to keep the courtroom open and accessible to the public in pre-trial hearings and to fight for cameras in the courtroom. Eventually---the governor reached an agreement to resign from office in return for the charges being dropped. Throughout the process Dan Shelley and the RTDNA were instrumental in providing support for our efforts to keep the public informed.
I have more than 30 years' experience as an electronic journalist with 20 of those years as a news director in top 50 markets. If re-elected as Region 5 Director; I will continue to work closely with our fellow RTDNA members in our region for improved access, providing training opportunities for up and coming journalists and rebuilding the public’s trust in journalism. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or suggestions. I very much appreciate your support.
David Wagner (Incumbent), News Director, KLST/KSAN-TV, San Angelo, TX
Journalism for me goes back to The Bill of Rights. The First Amendment, in my opinion, is perhaps the most important part of the Bill of Rights. It protects five of the most basic liberties. The freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and freedom to petition the government to right wrongs.
And while I believe of those, Freedom of the Press is most important, over the last several decades the latter part of that term…Press…has changed in some disturbing ways for me at least. In my opinion Americans have turned away from what I would consider to be real journalism and have relied upon social media to get their information, because we have become a microwave society…wanting our information in 30 seconds…instead of waiting for it to cook the old fashion way at 350 degrees for 30 min.
For me as a journalist that has been hard to swallow, because we were taught to check sources and doublecheck sources of information we as the media are supplying to the public.
Journalists like Edward R Murrow and Walter Cronkite gathered the news, so they could better inform the public. They were not concerned about getting beaten by the organization across the street or online. They weren’t concerned about sales, and if a story would hurt the bottom line of the news organization.
In an article I read recently…Bill Kovach says it best I think…
An educated public will be better able to understand and value the importance of a free and independent press the way the founders of our government did — as the indispensable tool whereby the public receives the information needed to effectively take part in community affairs.
For, in the end, if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that freedom and democracy do not depend upon technology or the most efficient organization.
Freedom and democracy depend upon individuals who refuse to give up the belief that the free flow of information has made freedom and human dignity possible.
I believe I am one of those individuals who refuses to give up on these ideas and would love to serve the Region 6 RTDNA members again.
Gary Wordlaw (Incumbent), News Director, WVLA/WGMB-TV, Baton Rouge, LA
Hello all! I’m Gary Wordlaw, News Director of WVLA/WGMB TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s been my pleasure to serve you as your Region 9 representative on the RTDNA board. We all live in challenging times and RTDNA shines as a beacon on light in helping audience around the country and the world separate truth from the noise all around us.
I will continue to help RTDNA pit up the good fight if you return me to the board in the upcoming election. I thank you for your continued support.
Alisha McDevitt, News Director, WMUR-TV, Manchester, New Hampshire
The way we report the news is changing every day. There are more choices, technological advancements, and more and more people looking at journalism, and journalists, with a critical, and sometimes skeptical, eye. I would be honored to be selected as an RTDNA Board Member representing Region 10. Organizations like RTDNA are so important to us, as journalists, as they help facilitate discussions that will help us to be even stronger. I have been in this business for 23 years. I see those 23 years as experience that can help move us forward. It’s so important for us to have access to organizations like RTDNA to provide support and information that is readily available when we need it. We need to work together to continue telling the important stories of the day, digging deeper and embracing technological advancements, all while continuing to strive towards excellence in journalism. Thank you for your support!
Allison McGinley, News Director, WKMG, Orlando, FL
I fiercely believe it is the inherent responsibility of journalists to value the critical role we play in the community: to report the news providing context and understanding, to seek ways to be of service and improve our community, and to highlight and celebrate those people and places that make any neighborhood special. For those reasons, I believe being a board member of RTDNA would allow me to help to shape, encourage, and enhance the current and future state of journalism and those who have taken on the profession.
For the past 24 years, I have had the privilege to work in my hometown of Orlando alongside some of the most talented and passionate people in the television industry. Beginning in 1994 as an intern at WKMG, then WCPX, I was a ‘local’ young woman who knew ‘local’ television could make a difference in my community.
From intern I became an assignment editor and connected regularly with that community, often taking calls from people who felt they had no power and needed help. From 1997 until 2015, I produced newscasts, specials, and investigative pieces which had direct impacts on those who watched, listened and engaged with us. It continued to build upon my faith and bedrock belief that journalists must have an unwavering commitment to local news coverage and understand its impact on their surrounding communities. And in Central Florida, by their very nature, those communities are each unique and special.
In 2015, I took that understanding and commitment a step further by accepting the leadership role of News Director at WKMG. It has been a fulfilling, challenging, and amazing opportunity in which I have worked with my team to define who we are at WKMG, as journalists, community members, and neighbors.
We are committed to bringing our viewers breaking news and weather that affect them. In September 2017, our communities were impacted by Hurricane Irma. Before the powerful storm even made landfall, the News 6 weather team tracked 51 tornadoes warning neighborhoods and helping save lives. Throughout the year, News 6’s “Driving Change” initiative broke barriers in the legislature almost certainly ensuring legislation to deter distracted driving and bringing Florida up to par with dozens of other states in the nation.
At News 6, I believe we must dig deeper, hold the powerful accountable, give voice to the voiceless, provide actionable solutions and make a measurable difference to our community. But we must not be remiss and think that news is just headlines and breaking stories. It is finding ways to see the impact those headlines have on our community and find ways to solve problems facing our communities. For example, under my leadership, News 6 partnered with organizations to raise more than one million dollars for school children in need of supplies and clothes, $150,000 for domestic violence survivors, guaranteed Christmas presents were under the tree for more than five thousand children in Central Florida, and inoculated more than 30,000 Central Floridians against the deadly flu virus. And not every story starts with a problem. I believe journalists should be dedicated to finding ways to highlight and celebrate those in each neighborhood who are making a difference.
As the News Director at WKMG, I embrace and embody the beliefs, values and guiding principles espoused by our namesake and North Star Katharine Meyer Graham. As a Graham Media Group station, we inherently have strong roots in solid journalism and service to community, but the legacy name granted to our Orlando station inspires me to push our entire team every day to go above and beyond no matter the venue; be it breaking news coverage, community partnerships, or the simple station visit by a local school.
I believe strong journalism is the foundation of our democracy; as valued and viable as ever, and maybe even more so today. It is of the utmost importance that we inspire the current and next generation to ask questions, demand answers, stand up to those who may take advantage of power. I want to do whatever I can to ensure the future of honest, powerful storytelling and reporting.
Director at Large (2 seats):
Blaise Labbe (Incumbent), News Director, WOAI/KABB-TV, San Antonio, TX
I am running for the At Large Board seat again because I feel there is still a lot of work to do. There is a real threat to our constitutional right to Freedom of Speech. And there has been an unprecedented attack on our industry and a misrepresentation of the work we do.
I helped direct coverage for my company of Hurricane Harvey, the mass shooting at a Church in Sotherland Springs, TX and the school shooting in Santa Fe, TX. My company as well as the television other broadcast companies kept the public informed and safe. This is who we are at our core, a public service entity that serves our community.
Serving on the board of RTDNA allows me to have a voice in helping shape the image of our industry. Through my experience I have been able to interact with my peers on the board and help develop guidelines on covering hurricanes and mass shootings. I have also spoken up and been a voice providing context and offering a different viewpoint during discussions.
I also want to continue to provide a diverse voice and speak on behalf of the many minority journalists working in Broadcasting.
Chip Mahaney, News Director, WCPO, Cincinnatti, OH (Incumbent)
First of all, thank you for reading through these bios and for taking time to vote in this year’s RTDNA elections. Our association is providing a vital service to the defense of the First Amendment and to journalists across our country in these challenging and divisive times. If I’m re-elected, I will work with the chair, the staff and other board members to grow our presence in these conversations.
But the real reason I choose to run again is to support another of RTDNA’s primary missions: to train current and future news leaders. This has been a personal mission for me for 20 years. I have produced and/or led dozens of sessions for RTDNA conventions and conferences over the past two decades. At this year’s EIJ convention, I’m producing and co-hosting three of our sessions, and appearing as a panelist on a fourth. Hardly anyone in our business is trained well enough when they become newsroom managers for the first time. Companies invest too few resources to develop management skills and leadership inspiration in our news managers, so RTDNA must fill some of that gap. That’s where I’ll spend my energy if re-elected to our board.
I have 35 years’ experience in our business, with more than 20 in management roles in local TV and digital newsrooms, with almost half of those 20 years at Scripps, in corporate work and now at our flagship station, WCPO in Cincinnati.
If re-elected, this will be my fourth full term on the RTDNA board. I’ve served on and off the board since 2006. No matter whether I’m on the board or not, I’m always ready and willing to serve our great association, but I can do more on the board if you’ll support me with your vote this September.