Media Learning Seminar


Featured MLS2009 Speakers

Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill is moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week,” the longest-running news and public affairs program on public television, and senior correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” She is also frequently asked to moderate debates in national elections, including the vice presidential debates for the 2004 and 2008 elections. Ifill is also the author of the book "The Breakthrough: Politics in the Age of Obama."

Before coming to PBS, she spent five years at NBC News as chief congressional and political correspondent, and still appears as an occasional roundtable panelist on Meet the Press. Ifill joined NBC News from The New York Times where she covered the White House and politics. She also covered national and local affairs for The Washington Post, Baltimore Evening Sun and Boston Herald American.

A native of New York City and a graduate of Simmons College in Boston, Ifill has received more than a dozen honorary doctorates and is the recipient of several broadcasting excellence awards. She serves on the board of the Harvard University Institute of Politics, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Newseum and the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Bryan Alexander

Director of Research for National Institute of Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE)

Andrea Bazán

Andrea Bazán is president of Triangle Community Foundation, where she oversees approximately $140 million in assets housed in nearly 700 charitable funds. Previously, she was executive director and chief lobbyist for El Pueblo, a statewide advocacy and public policy organization based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Bazán served as the first Latina lobbyist at the North Carolina General Assembly and also lobbied at the federal level. One of a handful of Latina heads of philanthropic foundations in the country, she is a frequent speaker at local, state and national meetings. Bazán is a member of the Leadership Council of Hispanics in Philanthropy, co-chair of the CEO Network of the Council of Foundations and chair of the National Council of La Raza’s Board of Directors. Bazán also sits on the boards of the National Immigration Forum, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina and Wachovia Bank in Raleigh.

She holds a master’s degree in social work and in public health from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Bryan Alexander

Bryan Alexander researches and develops programs on the advanced uses of information technology in liberal arts contexts. His primary research interests concern mobile and wireless computing, digital gaming and social software. Director of Research for the National Institute of Technology and Liberal Education, Alexander maintains and contributes to a series of blogs, including Liberal Education Today and Smartmobs. Committed to exploring computer-mediated pedagogy, he researches and writes on the critical uses of computers and teaching in terms of the interdisciplinary liberal arts and the contemporary development of cyberculture. Alexander holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan and taught English and information technology studies at Centenary College of Louisiana.

Richard Cardran

Richard Cardran is a media strategist and technologist. He was recognized in the Hollywood Reporter/Producers Guild of America's year end "Digital 50" top media executives as well as Streaming Magazine's "Fifty Most Influential People in Streaming." Cardran is an eight-time Emmy Award finalist and two time Emmy Award winner for "Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Television" and "Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Media Technology" through his pioneering vision surrounding the paradigm shift in broadcasting to new TV2.0 strategies. Cardran has implemented leading edge strategy and projects for Microsoft, Intel, AOL, Viacom, Disney and many others. Cardran co-founded and in 2006 sold Zetools, Inc., a digital media software and services company that is now the global advanced media and broadband television unit of Tandberg Television, part of the Ericsson group. Since leaving Ericsson, Cardran has focused on digital master-planning and strategy for arts organizations.

Emmett D. Carson

Emmett D. Carson is an internationally recognized leader in philanthropy. An influential author and an inspiring and thought-provoking speaker, he has published more than 75 works on philanthropy and social justice. Carson serves as the first CEO and president of the new Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which resulted from the merger of Community Foundation Silicon Valley and Peninsula Community Foundation. With $1.9 billion in total assets, the community foundation is one of the largest in the nation and is dedicated to advancing civic engagement to address the most challenging problems in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Carson also serves on several nonprofit boards including the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Northern California Grantmakers, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and Southern Education Foundation. He has received numerous nonprofit leadership awards, including recognition by The Nonprofit Times as one of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in the United States, and honorary doctorates from Indiana University and Morehouse College.

Chris Csikszentmihályi

Chris Csikszentmihályi directs the Media Lab's Computing Culture group, which works to create unique media technologies for cultural applications. He also co-directs the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, dedicated to developing technologies that strengthen communities. Trained as an artist, he has worked in the intersection of new technologies, media and the arts for 16 years, lecturing, showing new media work and presenting installations on five continents and one subcontinent. He was a 2005 Rockefeller New Media Fellow, a 2007-08 fellow at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and has taught at the University of California at San Diego, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and at Turku University. Csikszentmihályi’s Computing Culture research group is known for developing political technologies that rebalance power between citizens, corporations and governments. Their efforts include the Afghan Explorer, a tele-operated robot journalist designed to bypass Pentagon and Taliban press censorship, and txtMob, a mobile phone based activist system that enabled highly effective protests at the 2004 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. He is currently working on extrAct, which will bring software-based tools for collective action to communities affected by oil and natural gas drilling. [The phonetic pronunciation of his last name is something close to "cheeks-sent-me-high" -- Editor]

John G. Davies

John G. Davies has served as president and chief executive officer of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation since June 1988, growing the community foundation from $5 million to more than $550 million in assets during his tenure. Under his leadership, the foundation has spearheaded redevelopment of downtown, revitalization work in the inner city and rebuilding efforts after major hurricanes. Davies is founding director of the Community Foundations of America and board chair of the Wilbur Marvin Foundation. He serves on the advisory committee of the David Rockefeller Center of Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Davies grew up in Latin America as the son of an American diplomat stationed in Lima, Peru. He attended the University of North Carolina at Asheville, graduating with a bachelor's degree in political science.

Paula Ellis

Paula Ellis is vice president for strategic initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. A member of the Executive Committee, she oversees national programs and new initiatives, and is responsible for developing and gauging the impact of the foundation's overall strategy.

Previously, Ellis was vice president for operations at Knight Ridder, where she oversaw 15 newspapers and was a member of the Management Committee. Throughout her career as a news, corporate and civic leader, Ellis developed deep experience in national and community issues. From Washington, Ellis led Knight Ridder's coverage of the end of the Cold War, the 1988 presidential elections and the Iran Contra Investigation. Later, as publisher of the The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, Ellis worked with local groups to foster civic leadership while drawing new readers to the paper named a Knight Ridder top performer three times.

As an innovator in the journalism field, Ellis chaired Poynter Institute's National Advisory Board, was at the forefront of the coaching writers' movement and helped found the National Writers Workshop. A Harvard Business School case study cited her work at The State in Columbia, S.C., where Ellis, then managing editor, led the transition to a digital newsroom.

Ellis earned a bachelor's degree in government and politics at the University of Maryland, where she was editor of the student daily. She graduated from Northwestern University with a master's degree in journalism. She is married to Gary Galloway, a 30-year newspaper reporter, columnist and editor, now retired. She has four stepchildren and 12 grandchildren.

Steve Gunderson

President, Council on Foundations

Teri Hansen

Teri A. Hansen has served as President/CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice since 2002. In this role, Hansen manages the work of Florida’s largest community foundation as it makes grants to improve the communities it serves, provides leadership on emerging issues and offers a philanthropic resource to donors of all means who want to have a lasting impact on their community.

Josie Heath

The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County

Alberto Ibargüen

President and CEO, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

John Kania

John Kania is Managing Director of FSG Social Impact Advisors, a management consultancy working with foundations and corporations on philanthropic strategy and evaluation.  John’s consulting activity includes significant experience in U.S. education and healthcare, community foundations and corporate social responsibility.

Prior to joining FSG, Kania was a partner at both Mercer Management Consulting and Corporate Decisions, Inc., where he did significant work with clients in education, health care and media. He began his career at Leo Burnett Company, a global advertising agency. Kania has been published in Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Wall Street Journal and The Journal of Business Strategy and is a featured author of Learning from the Future, the leading contemporary text on scenario planning.  He speaks frequently around the U.S. on improving the impact of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility.

Kania has a master’s from Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a bachelor’s, cum laude, from Dartmouth College.

Gary Kebbel

Journalism Program Director, Knight Foundation

Kati London

Kati London is vice president at area/code, which creates cross-media games and entertainment. London designs and develops opportunities for interacting with others – whether that be for people and plants, residents of Gaza City and Tel-Aviv or gamers playing tag with tiger sharks in the Great Barrier Reef. Her collaborative projects have been featured in the Museum of Science & Industry, the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival and the Design Museum of London. She frequently speaks on digital/physical hybridization and is on the board of O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference.

At area/code, London works with clients that include the BBC, the Carnegie Institute/Girls Math and Science Project, Disney Imagineering, the United Kingdom's Department for Transport, Nike, Discovery Channel, CBS, MTV and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Michael Marsicano

Michael Marsicano is president and chief executive officer of Foundation For The Carolinas. Managing assets of approximately $800 million, the foundation holds more than 1,700 charitable funds and distributed grants totaling $109 million in 2007. Marsicano joined the foundation in 1999 after serving as president and CEO of the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte, N.C. for 10 years. During his tenure, the united arts fund moved to the nation’s highest in per capita annual giving. Marsicano chaired the Board of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies and the North Carolina School of the Arts and served on the boards of Americans for the Arts and Community Foundations of America. He currently serves on the Governing Boards of both Duke University and Queens University as well as the boards of Charlotte Center City Partners, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, The Nasher Museum of Art and the United Way Legacy Foundation. A native of New York, Marsicano received his bachelor’s of science, master’s of education and doctor of philosophy from Duke University.

Susan Mernit

Consultant to Knight Foundation and co-founder, People's Software Company

Mayur Patel

director of strategic assessment and impact, Knight Foundation

Jan Schaffer

Jan Schaffer is executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at American University. She launched J-Lab in 2002 to spotlight new forms of digital storytelling. J-Lab now rewards novel ideas through the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. It funds cutting-edge citizen media startups through its New Voices project and it has built a web tutorial on how to launch community news sites and an e-learning portal, the Knight Citizen News Network for citizen media projects. It also spotlights interactive news exercises and digital storytelling examples that involve people in public issues.

Schaffer previously directed the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, which funded more than 120 pilot news projects that worked to better engage people in public life over its 10-year existence. She is a former business editor and a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she worked for 22 years. She joined The Inquirer after earning a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.

Trabian Shorters

Vice President / Communities, Knight Foundation

Diana Sieger

Diana R. Sieger is the president of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, a position she has held for 21 years. Nationally, Sieger is involved with the Council on Foundations and served as the chair of the Community Foundation Leadership Team from 1997 to 2000. She was a member of the Community Foundation Standards Action Team and is a member of the faculty of the Center for Community Foundation Excellence. Sieger has two honorary degrees: Doctor of Humane Letters from Aquinas College and Grand Valley State University. Some other honors include: inclusion in Who’s Who in America, Western Michigan University’s School of Social Work Outstanding Alumni Award in 2002, one of the “50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan” 2004, 2006 & 2008 – Grand Rapids Business Journal and the “Woman of the Year” Award in 2005 at the annual Today’s Woman conference sponsored by Regent Broadcasting. She earned a master’s of social work degree from Western Michigan University focusing on policy, planning and administration.

Kevin Slavin

Kevin Slavin is the managing director and co-founder of area/code. Founded in 2005, the company creates cross-media games and entertainment for clients including Nokia, CBS, Disney Imagineering, MTV, Discovery Networks, A&E Networks and Nike. Area/code builds on the landscape of pervasive technologies and overlapping media to create new kinds of entertainment. It has built mobile games with invisible characters that move through real-world spaces, online games synchronized to live television broadcasts and videogames in which virtual sharks are controlled by real-world sharks with GPS receivers stapled to their fins. Their Facebook game "Parking Wars" is on target to serve over 1.5 billion pages in 2008. Before founding area/code, Slavin spent over 12 years in ad agencies focused primarily on technology, networks, and community. His work has been recognized through many industry awards and press.

Kristen Taylor

Online Communities Manager, Knight Foundation

Amy Webb

Digital strategy consultant and President, WebbMedia Group.