2018 Student/Alumni Kudos

March 9, 2018

Students in Susan Knight's "Inside the Beltway: Press, Politics and Power in D.C." class visited Washington with her over spring break, meeting journalists and government officials, including UA alums. The students were Madeline DunlapLizzie Quinlan, Rocky Baier, Michelle Jaquette, Bennett Adamson, Jane Garza, Jack O’Sullivan, Marissa Ryan and Nick Meyers. December grad Danyelle Khmara also attended. Grads Kellie Mejdrich (CQ Roll Call), Jenny Hijazi (PBS News Hour), Mary Brandenberger (DEA media affairs) and H Darr Beiser (retired USA Today photographer), and Washington Post reporter Jack Gillum talked to students. Colleen Bagnall with the College of SBS also hosted a reception for students and alums at the Watergate Hotel with J-school grads Paul Allvin (USO), Nancy Cleeland (OSHA, Dept. of Labor), Christine Gacharna (Essay Palooza), Francesco Peganini (U.S. Aid), Paula Kelso (Washington Post), Saul Loeb (Agence France-Presse), Michele Stevenson (retired Time magazine), Margo Warren (National Institutes of Health), Pat Zapor (Catholic Legal Immigration Network) and Beiser. Intercept reporter Jim Risen also attended.

Shaq Davis is a part-time reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, covering the night police beat. Read some of his work here, including the March 6 "Tucson high school students dress up as superheroes to teach kids about personal safety."
Gloria Knott wrote, "10 reasons journalists decide to write books," for the Arizona Daily Star on March 9. She also wrote 11 stories for the Arizona Daily Star in February, 10 of which were about the Festival of Books.
Tirion Morris, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, shared a byline with Curt Prendergrast ('11) with the March 1 story, "Plea: Agent wore uniform, drove stolen Border Patrol pickup in pot-smuggling effort."
J-school students Saul BookmanAlec WhiteSimon Asher, Nate Airulla, Courtney Rice, Robby Leaño  and Leonard Moody covered the UA men's basketball run to a Pac-12 Tournament title in Las Vegas for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, UATV and KAMP Student Radio. See their coverage at wildcat.arizona.edu/.
Arizona Sonora News posted new stories March 2 on Dreamer parents (by Noemi Salazar Mata), soccer in Tucson (Zach Smith), a Sierra Vista domestic violence shelter (Maritza Cruz), gender wage gap Gloria Knott), Legislative roundup (Erik Kolsrud), Sonoran hot dog (Sammy Minsk), ACL tear (Conor Redmond) — and a podcast on a campaign to provide female inmates sanitary napkins (Brieana Sealy).
Carmen ValenciaRobby Leaño and Jessica Suriano spoke to 11 students from Hopi High School on March 1 about their journalism projects and life at the UA J-school.
Grad student Emily Ellis, an intern at Arizona Public Media, saw her story and radio segment on turquoise promoted by UANews in its e-newsletter. 
The UA student chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists hosted a Feb. 28 talk by award-winning journalist Valeria Fernández. She helped make "Two Americans," a documentary comparing the lives of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a 9-year-old whose parents were arrested in an immigration sweep.
Justyn Thomas, a J-school student and four-year manager of the UA men's basketball team , was honored March 3 on Senior Day by UA coach Sean Miller after the Wildcats' win over Cal. Thomas traveled to Spain for the exhibition tour in August and the Bahamas in November, and will accompany the team for the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.
Caitlin Schmidt ('14) of the Arizona Daily Star has moved from the public safety beat to cover UA Athletics for at least the next month. Here's her recent story: "Turmoil in UA athletic department prompts review of policies involving sexual violence, discrimination."
Frank O. Sotomayor ('66), who chairs the school's Journalism Advisory Council, is covering UA track and field for the Arizona Daily Star. Read his story, "Wildcat standout Georgeanne Moline returns to Tucson with gold."
Kyle Mittan ('14) is a UA Communications specialist, helping manage content for the Lo Que Pasa employee newsletter, after previous work at the Bellingham (Wash.) Herald.
Amber Sumpter ('13) is a senior producer at News 13 in Orlando, a 24-hour cable news channel that covers Central Florida.
Bryon Wells ('99) is a writer-editor for the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of UAS (drones) Integration in Washington, D.C., after previous work at the Inter-American Foundation.
Emi Komiya ('13) is a broadcast specialist with the U.S. Marine Corps Community Services in Okinawa, Japan, after previous work as a multimedia journalist at KPNX in Phoenix and at KGRZ in Buffalo.
Devlin Houser ('11), a former Arizona Public Media contributing reporter, is a Spanish teacher at Tucson Magnet High School.
Maizie Simpson ('14) is assigning editor at Credit Karma, based in the San Francisco Bay Area after previous work at Magoosh, in Berkeley, California.

Feb. 23, 2018

Dominika Heusinkveld, a dual master's candidate in journalism and environmental science, saw her story, “B-36 played critical role in start of nuclear age,” published as a full-page spread on the front of the Home & Life section of the Feb. 18 Arizona Daily Star. She wrote the story in Prof. Nancy Sharkey's feature writing class.

Michelle Jaquette's story, "Troubled Tram: Sabino Canyon’s gas-powered shuttles could be on the way out in favor of an electric alternative," was published in the Tucson Weekly on Feb. 15. She wrote the piece in Prof. Nancy Sharkey's feature writing class.

The semester's first Epitaph hit the streets Feb. 16 with front-page stories on Tombstone's business slowdown (Kayla Belcher), the fight for Martha McSally's U.S. House seat (David Del Grande) and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement (Jessica Suriano). Del Grande and Courtney Talak are editors/designers this semester. Read the edition and go to arizonasonoranewsservice.com for more stories.

Maritza Cruz, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, wrote a story, "Long-together Tucson couples give tips on making love last," in honor of Valentine's Day. The couples included Prof. Emeritus Jim Johnson, with his wife, Marilyn.

Leah Gilchrist, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, published a story, "UA police hiring students to serve as community service officers" on Feb. 21. 

Elena Gonzalez, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, wrote a story, "New mobile bike repair venture brings shop services to Tucsonans' front doors," on Feb. 8.

Kathleen Kunz, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, wrote a story, "UA Dance concert an international affair," on Feb. 13.

Brandon Dawkins, a J-school senior, said he will transfer after graduating in May to play quarterback at another school (see Star story). Brandon co-anchored our "Arizona Cat's Eye" show last fall with Page Jones and joined other students in interviewing alumna Savannah Guthrie of NBC's "Today Show" last spring.

Michelle Floyd ('17) and Zack Rosenblatt ('13) covered the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles . Michelle, a former UA softball pitcher, helped with production for the NBA. She's also a production associate for the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports, and does work for UA Athletics Creative Services. Zack, a former Arizona Daily Star reporter and Arizona Daily Wildcat alum, wrote about Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia Sixers for NJ.com. Read his work.

Laurann Robinson ('10) is a reporter, traffic anchor and fill-in news anchor at KETV in Omaha, Nebraska, after previous work at other Nebraska cities and San Diego.

Morgan (Rost) Matchett ('04) is development director at The Drawing Studio Inc. after previous work for Tucson’s Child and Family Resources, the Humane Society and Tucson Citizen.

Eddie North-Hager ('94) is director of media relations and social media at USC, where he has been since 2006 after previous reporting positions in the L.A. area and the Tucson Citizen.

Kelly Hultgren ('13) has been working for four years in New York City as a reporter, project manager and podcast producer for Jean Chatzky, financial editor of NBC’s Today Show.

Mark Armao ('15) is a reporter at the San Diego Daily Transcript, which covers real estate, development and construction.

Morgan Toone ('13) is a marketing consultant at KVOA-TV in Tucson.

Minnette "Toby" Burges
, a 1972 alumna and 1983 University of Arizona Law grad, died on Feb. 10. Burges, a former Arizona Daily Wildcat editor, was hired by Stars and Stripes out of college after an internship there before becoming one of Tucson's top employment discrimination lawyers. As a J-student, she won a top-20 Hearst award in editorial writing. A public memorial will be March 10 at 1 ART Gallery, 1 East Broadway, from 4-8 p.m. Click here to read her paid obit.

Feb. 9, 2018

Jordan Glenn ('17) placed among the top 20 nationally in the Hearst Multimedia Features Competition. His documentary and story, "Out of the Gates," finished 13th and appeared on Arizona Sonora News. Glenn, now with KOLD TV (see note below),  joins Danyelle KhmaraMaritza CruzAnnie Dickman ('15) and the school's bordering110.com project as recent UA Hearst winners.

Leah Gilchrist, an Arizona Daily Star apprentice, had her first story published for the newspaper on Jan. 27, “Public has variety of ways to gather news, reports, crime stats from local police agencies.”

Elena Gonzalez, a Star apprentice, had a quick-turnaround deadline on her story on Feb. 2, “Tucson teens put constructions skills to the test in regional competition.” 

Tirion Morris, a Star apprentice, saw her first story published in the Star on Feb. 2: “Ex-employee sentenced to prison for embezzling $500k from Tucson auto dealership.”

Apprentice Kathleen Kunz’s preview about vintage baseball ran on Feb. 6, “Watch some good ol’ fashioned baseball in Tucson this weekend.”

Steven Spooner, a photo apprentice at the Star, had a couple of his photos featured in a gallery on the “super blue blood moon.”  He also had one of his photos featured online with a story on former UA basketball player Eugene Edgerson being sworn in as a police officer.

Maritza Cruz, an apprentice at the Star, saw her first story published for the paper on Feb. 8, "Drag show to keep Welcome Diner open after hours."

Andrew Koleski, a copy desk apprentice, wrote a headline, “Air Force continues A-10 wing upgrade; ‘good news’ for D-M.” Professors Susan Knight and Sarah Gassen, along with all of the apprentices, were happy to see Andrew included Don Carson’s middle initial in the following headline: “Donald W. Carson, former UA journalism professor and department head, dies at 85.” Carson was a stickler for middle initials.

Katelyn Caldwell and Julia Leon and are working for KVOA-TV as digital content producers and finishing up the last semester of their senior years.

Jordan Glenn ('17) accepted a job as a digital content producer at Tucson News Now (KOLD 13 and FOX 11) after earlier work at the White Mountain Independent.

Kendra Paige Hall ('15) will start in late March as a reporter for KVOA TV, where she started out, after earlier work at ABC 7 television in Amarillo, Texas. 

Hank Stephenson, an alum and the K-12 education reporter for the Arizona Daily Star, talked about public records on Jan. 31 with Prof. Jeannine Relly's research methods master's class. Check out Stephenson's work for the Star, including his story about the TUSD blacklist.

Rebecca Noble ('17) is doing good work as a photographer for the Cody Enterprise in Wyoming. She had to don skis to shoot a recent assignment, a Nordic trail event. See the paper's website at codyenterprise.com.

Sam McNeil ('14), a master's grad and multimedia journalist for The Associated Press, did a  story and video, "Mars on Earth: Simulation tests in remote desert of Oman," that got good play and was featured on A11 of the Arizona Daily Star on Feb. 9.

Zack Rosenblatt ('13), settling into his new job at NJ.com, wrote a story about Super Bowl MVP and UA Wildcats alum Nick Foles, and covered the Philadelphia Eagles' winning parade. Rosenblatt, a former Arizona Daily Star sports reporter, is covering the Philadelphia 76ers. Read his work at tinyurl.com/y9svtyf6.

Hope Miller ('13) joined the NBC affiliate, KSBY 6, in San Luis Obispo, California, as a content producer after work as a copy editor at the Alaska Dispatch News and a web producer for KTVA in Anchorage.

Nicholas Smith ('06) is working in Vienna, Austria, as support staff in strategic planning and economic services for the OPEC Fund for International Development. A former freelance journalist and managing editor for GlacierHub.org, he earned his master's in journalism from Columbia in 2014.

Kristina Dunham ('04) marked her sixth anniversary at the Santa Fe New Mexican, where she is copy chief and a page designer. She works with another alum, Brian Barker, who is deputy managing editor.

Norman Peckham ('95) is an educational technology trainer at Mesa Public Schools, and the former Tucson Citizen reporter received his master's from Boise State a few years ago.

Jackie Kent ('14) is as a reporter and multimedia journalist at KRQE News (CBS) in Albuquerque after earlier stints for the NBC affiliate in Lincoln, Nebraska, and KOLD-TV in Tucson.

Michael Lafleur ('00) is an assistant district attorney at Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in the Boston area, and the former Tucson Citizen reporter recently got married.

John D'Anna ('83), an editor at the Arizona Republic and member of the school's Advisory Council, explained why access to public records are important to professional and student journalists as well as to the public in a video for azcentral.com.

Michael Hernandez ('17) is a multimedia reporter for KRWG Public Media at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces (see his work at krwg.org).

Mariana Dale ('14) and Matthew Casey ('13) are senior field correspondents at KJZZ Radio in Phoenix, which is also a National Public Radio affiliate (see their work at kjzz.org).

Jan. 19, 2018

Erik Kolsrud, the school's Bolles Fellow covering the Legislature this spring, filed two stories Jan. 19 for the Arizona Sonora News Service— one on Gov. Ducey's opioid plan and a Legislative roundup.

Danyelle Khmara wrote the cover story, "Death Sentence," for the Jan. 18-24 Tucson Weekly, on a young man killed in Pima County Jail last year.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat's coverage of new UA football coach Kevin Sumlin include stories from Eddie Celaya (contract), Saul Bookman (African-American coaches) and Alec White (news conference). Bookman and White also did an exclusive interview video with Sumlin (Part 1 and Part 2).

Kristina Bui ('13), a Guild organizer and copy editor at The Los Angeles Times, helped lead the way as journalists voted 248-44 to unionize. “This was a long time coming, and we're all thrilled that this has finally happened. ... The newsroom is demanding a seat at the bargaining table," Bui said in an L.A. Times' story on Jan. 19.

Julianne Stanford ('17) is reporting on military affairs for The Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Washington. Click here to read her recent stories.

Jen Duffy ('07), a former Arizona Daily Star reporter, is director of communications for Experience Scottsdale after work at MGM in Las Vegas and Loews Hotels.

Kostas Kalaitzidis ('95, M.A.), a former Tucson Citizen reporter, marked his five-year anniversary as a public information officer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Berenice Rosales ('07), a former Star reporter, is a consular officer for the Consulate General of Mexico, based in Nogales, Arizona.

Jan. 12, 2018

Danyelle Khmara finished in the top 20 nationally in the Hearst Feature Writing Competition. Her story, "Home is a Tenacious Heart," tied for 16th and was published in the Tucson Weekly, where she works full-time now. There were 154 entries received from 82 schools.

Emmalee Mauldin received another internship with NASA, this time with the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, doing social media and news releases for the Hubble Telescope Program. She spent the last six months in Houston, where she worked for NASA's Johnson Space Center and weathered Hurricane Harvey after losing most of her belongings in the flooding.

Robby Leaño and Ireland Stevenson covered the UA football team's loss to Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, California, for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. They were joined by Arizona Daily Star sports reporter Justin Spears ('17). 

Issac AndrewsEllen Ranta and Louis Vitiritti graduated with journalism degrees in December, joining a dozen other winter grads: C.J. D'InnocenteBetsy KaplanDeborah LeeClarisse MarkarianLeah MerrallMonica MilbergBriana OtanezNoah SaundersMonique StewartGabriella VukelicKylie Warren and Jules Zappone

Caitlin Schmidt ('14) of the Arizona Daily Star was selected as a Justice Reporting Fellow for the Feb. 15-16 John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America in New York City. Check out Schmidt's latest reporting on the Rich Rodriguez firing here and here

The UA J-school will have quite a contingent of alums covering the Winter Olympics for NBC in South Korea, next month. Scott Karpen ('09) will help produce the alpine skiing events and work with announcer Dan Hicks ('84), while Savannah Guthrie ('93) is scheduled to co-host the "Today Show" from PyeongChang. Karpen also will help produce the Winter Paralympics.

Brandon Mejia ('17) is a news and public affairs reporter at Arizona Public Media.

Hannah Palaniuk ('17) will be a news producer at the ABC affiliate in Honolulu (KITV) after two years at Tucson's KVOA-TV.

Gary Crooks ('82), former opinion page editor of the Spokesman-Review, is communication director for Democrat Lisa Brown's congressional campaign in Eastern Washington.