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Medill Announces New Bay Area Alumni Club Leadership Board

Medill welcomes three alumni to serve as board members of the new-and-improved Medill Club of the Bay Area.  Maria Hunt, Carly Schwartz and Chanel Vargas will provide expert guidance and local assistance with programming, including local events and communications.

As Medill continues to grow its presence in San Francisco and more students are spending time in Northwestern’s satellite campus at 44 W. Montgomery, we hope to expand our alumni programming thematically – and geographically. With the Covid exodus from downtown still echoing, we will be looking to host events outside of central San Francisco, where many Medillians reside and work.

We need your help. If you have an idea for an outing or event, please post a note to the Medill Club of the Bay Area Facebook page or send an email to me at and I’ll share with the board.

Similarly, if you are willing to speak to, or better yet, host students at your company, we are always looking for off-site opportunities for both our journalism and integrated marketing communications students.

More about our new club leaders:

Maria is a California-based journalist, brand content strategist and author with two book credits: “The Bubbly Bar” and “Tanya Holland’s California Soul: Recipes from a Culinary Journey West.”

While earning her degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Maria learned about designing and managing high end culinary events, fine French and Italian wines and the art of bartending. These experiences prepared Maria for a career as an award-winning food journalist and restaurant critic at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In the Bay Area, Maria has created successful content and social media marketing programs to drive revenue and engagement for brands including Houzz, Rodan + Fields, and One Medical.  She designs cultural and educational events for Northwestern University alumni and students, as well as writing cultural stories for The Guardian, Dwell, OLTRE, Architectural Digest, The Wall Street Journal and Esquire. Maria shares her wine and food adventures, new recipes and pairing ideas on her website, the and on Instagram @thebubblygirl.

Carly is a writer, editor, and media entrepreneur with nearly two decades of experience as a professional storyteller. She’s currently a consultant with Google’s moonshot division, and she served as editor in chief of the San Francisco Examiner and founding editor of HuffPost’s SF bureau. Her writing has appeared in Quartz, VICE News, GOOD magazine, San Francisco magazine, and Burning Man’s Black Rock Beacon, among other outlets, and Editor & Publisher magazine named her one of ten “women to watch” in 2021. Her first book, a memoir about her adventures overcoming addiction and depression while living in two very different communes, will be released later this year. She lives in San Francisco’s Mission District with her best friend, a three-year-old Boston terrier named Nacho.

Chanel is a journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2017, Chanel served as a breaking news writer in Hearst Digital Media’s New York office. Following her stint in NYC, Chanel returned home to California and carved out her beat in the wellness and entertainment space. Her work can be found in various publications including POPSUGAR, Well + Good, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Elle, SELF, Town & Country, Bustle, and more. When she’s not writing and reporting, Chanel loves taking long nature walks, exploring the SF food scene, reading novels, and performing improv comedy with her house team.

Want to help with events and club programming? E-mail 

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Medill Senior Aaron Boorstein Wins 2024 Howell Essay Contest

Aaron Boorstein (BSJ24) was named the 2024 winner of the Walter S. and Syrena M. Howell Essay Competition offered to Medill students. The annual contest challenges students to discuss “truth gone awry,” in the context of news gathering and dissemination. Boorstein will be awarded $4,000.

Boorstein’s submission, “Broken News, Breaking Trust: The Consequences of Unverified Reporting in the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital Coverage” reviews news reports from Oct. 17, 2023, about an explosion at a hospital in Gaza. Several news organizations initially identified cause as an Israeli airstrike and later had to revise the reporting when the cause could not be verified.

“I wrote about the initial coverage of the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital explosion because it exemplifies the consequences of journalism institutions hastily breaking news at accuracy’s expense,” said Boorstein. “While this trend satisfies the economic and social demands of the competitive digital news cycle, it severely undermines journalistic integrity and media trust.”

The contest was judged by a panel of faculty members from the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

“The judges were impressed by Aaron’s thoughtful essay,” said one of the panelists. “As he wrote, ‘News outlets should use language that refrains from attributing specific actions or blame to parties involved in unfolding situations, ensuring transparency and preventing the presentation of unsubstantiated claims as facts.’

“…His show-don’t-tell’ examples and his concrete suggestions for the industry made him worthy of the 2024 prize.”

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Pulitzer Prize Winner Robert Samuels (BSJ06) to Speak at 2024 Convocation

Reporter and author Robert Samuels (BSJ06) will address 2024 graduates and their families as the convocation speaker for the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

“We are honored to have Robert share his advice and insights with the Class of 2024,” said Dean Charles Whitaker (BSJ80, MSJ81). “His outstanding accomplishments will provide inspiration to the graduates as they take the next step in their lives and careers.”

In 2023, Samuels won the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction with his colleague Toluse Olorunnipa for their book “His Name is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice.”

Samuels also reported on George Floyd’s life and death as part of a team that won the 2020 George Polk Award in Justice Reporting and the 2020 Peabody Award.

Samuels was a national political enterprise reporter with The Washington Post for 11 years, where he focused on politics, policy and the changing American identity. He recently rejoined The Post after working at The New Yorker as a staff writer.

For nearly five years before his time at The Post, Samuels worked for the Miami Herald where he reported on poverty and crime.

During his time at Medill, Samuels was the editor in chief of the student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern.

Convocation will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 10 at the Ryan Fieldhouse.


Student Speakers

Jimmy He (BSJ24)

jimmy-he-150x200.pngJimmy He is a journalism/economics double major with a certificate in integrated marketing communications. He was print managing editor of North by Northwestern magazine and president of Northwestern Swim Club. He also served on the Asian American Student Journalists’ executive board, as a peer adviser and as a Medill Ambassador.

Aparna Goyal (MSJ24)

150x200-chelsea-zhao.jpgAparna Goyal is a journalism graduate student specializing in Media Innovation and Content Strategy. Goyal was a student ambassador for the MSJ program and has proactively worked on building and fostering community both outside and within Medill.

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Clive Humby OBE is the recipient of the 2024 Don Schultz Award

The award is named for long-time Medill Professor Don Schultz who played a pivotal role in creating the field of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and establishing the IMC department at Medill in the early 1990s.

Clive Humby OBE is the recipient of the 2024 Don Schultz award for Innovation in Teaching, Theory and Practice of Integrated Marketing Communications.

Humby is a visiting professor of data science at the University of Sheffield in England. He has been at the forefront of innovation with consumer data and today he advises a wide range of businesses and governments on data strategy, privacy and application of data to business processes.

Humby co-authored “Scoring Points” in 2003, which tells the early story of Tesco Clubcard and has become a standard text in many schools. He is a patron of the Sir Isaac Newton Institute of Mathematics in Cambridge where he has worked on multiple projects with leading global academics to explore ways of anonymizing and masking big data.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this recognition,” said Humby who knew Schultz. “Putting IMC learnings into practice has been a hallmark of my career.”

The award is named for long-time Medill Professor Don Schultz who played a pivotal role in creating the field of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and establishing the IMC department at Medill in the early 1990s. Medill was the first school to offer a graduate degree in Integrated Marketing Communications in the United States. Schultz is regarded internationally as the “father of IMC.” He died in 2020.

“It’s a delight for Medill to honor those who carry on the work begun by Don Schultz at Medill,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “Clive’s research and teaching help elevate IMC around the world and we look forward to welcoming him to campus.”

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Medill welcomes new faculty for 2023-24 academic year

New faculty members include: 

untitled-design-12.pngRayvon Fouché will serve as a professor of journalism at Medill with a dual appointment at Northwestern’s School of Communications. Fouché joins Medill from Purdue University where he was the director of the American Studies program. He has authored or edited three books exploring the multiple intersections and relationships between cultural representation, racial identification, and technological design. Fouché has received numerous grants and awards, including those from the Illinois Informatics Institute, National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Fouché received a BA in Humanities from the University of Illinois, a PhD from Cornell University in the interdisciplinary field of Science & Technology Studies, and completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in African and African-American Studies at Washington University.

Fouché’s role will be with a PhD program that is a partnership of Medill, the School of Communication and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. The Rhetoric, Media, and Publics program represents an innovative interdisciplinary collaboration across Northwestern to train future generations of scholars and public intellectuals to address pressing societal issues at the intersections of communication, politics, ethics and journalistic discourse.

untitled-design-14.pngA Medill alumna, Carolyn Tang Kmet (MSJ96) will serve as an associate professor of integrated marketing communications at Medill. Tang Kmet joins Medill from the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago, where she taught courses in both marketing and information systems. Her research interests include leveraging geospatial information platforms to connect local needs with local resources. Her efforts helped alleviate the personal protective equipment shortage for health care entities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and provided a prototype by which impoverished communities could independently maximize resources. Prior to this role, she was the CMO with All Inclusive Marketing, a full-service e-commerce agency that provides analytics, marketing and site optimization services for clients such as Southwest Vacations, Julep, and Fire Mountain Gems. Tang Kmet was also the director of affiliate marketing for Groupon, where she helped shape global affiliate marketing strategy. Tang Kmet holds an MBA from Loyola University Chicago, an MSJ from Medill, and a BA from University of California, Berkeley.


Kathy LaTour will serve as a professor in integrated marketing communications. LaTour’s research takes a consumer psychological perspective toward how marketers should approach branding, experience design, communications and loyalty programs. She uses both experimental designs and in-depth interview techniques to better understand consumer behavior. Her major research focus has been on the complexity of human memory. LaTour has been involved with many industry-related projects including consulting with Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Disney and the World Bank. 

untitled-design-17.pngJames Lee joins Medill as an associate professor of journalism with a dual appointment at Northwestern Libraries, serving as an associate university librarian for Academic Innovation. Prior to these roles, Lee was the associate vice provost for digital scholarship and associate dean of libraries at the University of Cincinnati. He also was the director of the Digital Scholarship Center and was associate professor of Digital Humanities. Lee’s research and teaching focus on the areas of digital humanities, machine learning and text mining techniques on historical archives, social network analysis, and data visualization. His research also investigates ways to visualize the results of machine learning algorithms in a human-interpretable way that enables non-technical audiences to glean useful information from the data.

untitled-design-13.pngRafael Matos will serve as lecturer in integrated marketing communications. His work explores the intersectionality of identities through the use of personal narrative. His research interests bring together corporate communications, cultural studies and technology. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in Communication Media and Instructional Technology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is the research chair for the Minorities and Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), vice chair of research and scholarship for the Coalition on Men and Masculinities. He is a facilitator and keynote speaker with CAMPUSPEAK.

untitled-design-18.pngRyan Reis is a lecturer in integrated marketing communications. He has helped to build and reinvigorate some of the world’s most recognizable brands. As vice president of marketing at MillerCoors, he led turn-arounds on the company’s two largest brands, Miller Lite and Coors Light. He was previously vice president of field marketing, leading the extensive local marketing team that leverages sports and entertainment properties, media partnerships, and the brewery tour center. As a sales team leader, he won Supplier of the Year honors from Rite Aid. Prior to MillerCoors, Reis worked in brand management and insights for Unilever on some of their largest U.S. brands, such as Suave and Axe. He was a managing consultant for Zyman Group, led by the former CMO of Coca-Cola, for engagements on ConAgra and Nationwide. He began his career working for Nielsen as an onsite consultant at General Mills. 

untitled-design-16.pngJeffrey W. Treem will be a professor of Integrated Marketing Communications. His research examines ways that digital technologies alter the visibility of communication in organizational contexts. This scholarship addresses the increased digitalization and datafication of work and the ways these changes transform processes such as employee surveillance, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. His research appears in publications such as Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. He holds a BS in Communication Studies from Northwestern, an MA in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in Media, Technology, and Society from Northwestern. 

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New Dual Degree Combines Journalism with Social Policy

In response to a rapidly changing journalism industry, Northwestern University has launched a new five-year dual degree program between the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) and Medill.

The new offering allows undergraduates to learn journalistic skills in the context of education and social policy, ultimately earning degrees from both schools. Since SESP and Medill prioritize experiential learning, students can choose between Medill’s Journalism Residency or a traditional SESP practicum during their third year in the program.

A community workshop component lets them share what they’ve learned with each other in a participatory and interactive environment, facilitated by experts from both schools.

“Over the last five years, several students have sought an opportunity to match their interest in journalism with their interest in education or social policy,” Medill Dean Charles Whitaker said. “We see many connections in these fields, and we are delighted to be able to provide students with a formal path to pursue these interests.”

The dual degree, which fulfills the requirements of both schools, will help students learn how to use media as a tool for creating change in learning environments, human relationships, organizations, and for social policy movements.

It is designed to prepare students for a wide variety of careers, and targets those who hope to make an impact in the world through communication, policy analysis, and reporting skills.

“Some of them, for example, may be interested in being science writers,” said psychologist and learning scientist David Rapp, the Walter Dill Scott Professor and director of undergraduate education at SESP.

“How do they convey the accuracy of a vaccination procedure to communities who might not be amenable to it?” Rapp said. “If students opt to serve in a role where they need to testify in front of the government, how do they provide evidence in accessible terms to folks who might not be scientists? The dual degree would support that.”

Rapp, who studies fake news and how to overcome it, said joint courses will eventually be offered. “Our students want to know how they can take what they’re learning about individuals and communities and make change in real world settings by addressing real world issues,” he said.

Students would earn a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy. In addition to social policy, they can select any of SESP’s undergraduate concentrations, including elementary and secondary teaching, learning and organizational change, learning sciences, and human development in context.

Undergraduate applicants can apply to the dual-degree program when they apply for admission to Northwestern, and current students can follow the process through the Registrar’s Office to request to add an additional bachelor’s program. All students in the program would complete all requirements for both degrees.

“Fundamentally, the School of Education and Social Policy prepares leaders,” said SESP Dean Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy. “Many come to us with this drive and they’re interested in community and relationships. Our job is to create the conditions for students to lead whatever lives they wish, and the new dual degree program with Medill is another piece of that.”

To learn more, contact:


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Award from Medill, NAHJ recognizes outstanding reporting on Hispanic and Latinx communities

Daniel Alarcón is the recipient of the 2023 Cecilia Vaisman Award from Medill and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Alarcón is the executive producer of Radio Ambulante Studios, where he oversees a team of more than 30 producers, editors, reporters, fact-checkers and sound designers living across Latin America, as they produce two podcasts, Radio Ambulante and El hilo. There are more than 200 episodes of Radio Ambulante produced in more than 20 countries. Alarcón also writes about Latin America for The New Yorker and teaches at the Columbia Journalism School.

The Vaisman award honors an individual working in audio or video journalism who works every day to shed light on the various issues affecting Hispanic and Latinx communities inside and outside the United States and is an active member of the NAHJ. It is given jointly by NAJH and Medill and includes a $5,000 cash prize. The award is named for Medill faculty member Cecilia Vaisman who died in 2015.

“Daniel Alarcón has been at the forefront of groundbreaking storytelling for the Latinx community,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “He helped bring long-form narrative radio journalism to Latin America with the start of his Spanish language podcast, Radio Ambulante. I am honored to present him with the 2023 Cecilia Vaisman Award.”

Alarcón’s nomination was reviewed and selected by a jury of Medill and NAHJ representatives, including members of the NAHJ Chicago chapter. The award criteria was determined by the jury.

“I had the honor of meeting Cecilia, and in addition to being a wonderful journalist, she was kind and generous and committed to passing on her knowledge to others,” said Alarcón. “She was a great friend to Radio Ambulante in our early years, and to be recognized with an award given in her memory is a great honor.”

Alarcón’s journalism has covered a variety of topics, including the rise of the new nationalist left, the book piracy industry, and the emerging democracy inside Lurigancho, Lima’s most notorious prison. His work has been published in a variety of outlets, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, New York Times Magazine, Wired, Granta, McSweeney’s and The Believer. Alarcón has been published in the New Yorker for the past 20 years.

“I am thrilled to congratulate Daniel Alarcón on his well-deserved Cecilia Vaisman Award,” said NAHJ National President Yvette Cabrera. “Daniel is a brilliant writer and storyteller, and his work has had a profound impact on the way we understand Latin America. His ability to understand his audiences is truly a gift. I am grateful for his contributions to journalism, and I look forward to reading his work for many years to come. Congratulations Daniel!”

Alarcón has won several awards in journalism, including the 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, 2022 Maria Moors Cabot Award, and the 2022 Cabot Prize for Latin American Journalism.

Alarcón’s work will be highlighted during an award ceremony hosted by Medill on Monday, October 3, 5:30-6:30 CT, in partnership with NAHJ

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Media Strategy Executive Will Lead Medill Local News Accelerator

Mackenzie Warren, a top news executive at the nation’s largest local news publishing company, has been named director of the new Local News Accelerator at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

Warren has been a senior member of Gannett’s news executive team for more than a decade. In his two most recent posts, he focused on news strategy and career-development for journalists. He will bring those leadership experiences to Medill’s downtown Chicago campus, where he will be based beginning later this winter.

From there, he will lead Medill’s unique Local News Accelerator, a project designed to help strengthen the sustainability of local news in Chicago by working directly with area news outlets on business strategies, audience development, consumer research, and leadership coaching.

“Mackenzie is ideally suited to lead this exciting new venture to improve local news in Chicago,” Medill Dean Charles Whitaker said. “As a long-time executive at Gannett, Mackenzie has spent years working with local news leaders across the country on strategies for audience engagement and digital storytelling. He understands the opportunities and challenges in local news as well as anyone, and he’ll bring that expertise to the Accelerator and our news partners. He’ll also be returning to Medill, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and Illinois, where he launched his career as an online editor in Rockford.”

Tim Franklin, the senior associate dean and John M. Mutz Chair in Local News, said Warren’s hiring is another indication of Medill’s commitment to helping transform a local news industry that is grappling with new models in the digital age.

“Mackenzie is someone who will have an immediate impact on the Accelerator project and Medill,” said Franklin, who also directs the Medill Local News Initiative. “Mackenzie has a deep well of understanding about the local news business, and he has a vast network of contacts around the country. He’ll bring all of those assets to help improve what is already one of the more innovative local news ecosystems in America right here in Chicago.”

The Medill Local News Accelerator, one of the only projects of its kind housed inside a journalism school, is being funded with a $2.4 million grant over the next three years from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

“Chicagoland is a vibrant, dynamic system of communities that deserves a vibrant, dynamic system of local news coverage,” Warren said. “We see dozens of encouraging examples coming into existence. The Medill Local News Accelerator is positioned to help these early movers, and others yet to be invented, find their places as both essential community services and successful, sustainable businesses.

“Our opportunity is to help develop and support the new business models through which local news organizations will grow and thrive,” Warren continued. “For several reasons, there’s no better city in America for this initiative. First, Chicagoland comprises distinct neighborhood and suburbs that each have their own geographies, characters, histories. Second, as a cultural center, there’s a critical mass of people who are passionately connected to any interest you can imagine. Together, this tapestry suggests that a wide range of potential news products could earn loyal, paying customers. Third, the combined forces and vision of the McCormick Foundation and Northwestern University, both dedicated to fueling the local news ecosystem in Chicago, is an asset no other city in America enjoys.”

The Accelerator is one of several major local news-related projects now underway at Medill, which launched the Local News Initiative five years ago.

Medill is now overseeing an index of local news readers being used by more than 100 outlets across the U.S., a Metro Media Lab project that is conducting audience research and experiments for Chicago news organizations, a Midwest Hub for Solutions Journalism, and a program for high school teachers and students called Teach for Chicago Journalism. Medill also is now the home for the State of Local News Project, a major research database tracking local news closures and startups in the U.S.

“A stronger local news ecosystem translates to a clear outcome: We and our neighbors will live healthier, more informed, safer, happier, more fulfilling lives,” Warren said. “The track record of the Medill Local News Initiative, together with Chicago-based partners we’ve worked with already, shows we have great momentum and our odds of success are high.”

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Medill inducts eight alumni into 2023 Hall of Achievement

Eight distinguished alumni – including journalists, marketers and a long-serving faculty member – will join the Hall of Achievement at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. The honor recognizes alumni whose careers have had positive effects on their fields.

“Induction in the Hall of Achievement is the highest honor Medill bestows on our alumni,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “I’m delighted to add the names of these eight amazing individuals to the roster of alums who have distinguished themselves across a variety of domains. They serve as inspiration to our students, faculty and staff for the varied and outstanding contributions they have made to their industries and to society. I could not be more proud to welcome them to Medill’s Hall of Achievement.”

Alumni who will be recognized by Medill on May 18:

Jim Berry (BSJ77)

jim1.pngJim Berry is an evening news anchor for CBS News Miami. His broadcasting career began at WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a reporter. He became an anchor/reporter before moving to WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. There, he anchored and reported news, and hosted a public affairs show before turning his attention to sports. He joined WSVN-TV in Miami as sports director and main sports anchor before being hired by CBS at WBBM-TV in Chicago as a sportscaster. Berry then moved to CBS-owned WFOR-TV in Miami as its main sports anchor and host of Miami Dolphin pregame and postgame shows. Berry is a three-time best of Miami winner with five Emmy Awards. He is a member of the Silver Circle of Excellence in the Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. Over the years, he has been a frequent motivational speaker and supporter of numerous charities that mentor young people.

Casey Bukro (BSJ58, MSJ61)

casey1.pngCasey Bukro pioneered environmental reporting, becoming the nation’s first environment writer for a major newspaper when the Chicago Tribune named him to that post in 1970. Now retired, Bukro will publish a book this year on nuclear energy based on his coverage as a reporter. Bukro also writes an ethics blog about journalism that won the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2015 Sigma Delta Chi award. In 1967, Bukro and fellow Medill alumnus William Jones won the Tribune’s prestigious Edward Scott Beck Award for the groundbreaking “Save Our Lake” series on Great Lakes pollution. Bukro served as the Society of Professional Journalists’ Midwest regional director from 1974 to 1981. He wrote the society’s first code of ethics and served as its national ethics chair. Bukro is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.

Craig Greenfield (IMC00)


As Global President, Client Partner at EssenceMediacom’s Media Futures Group, Craig Greenfield works with Google’s consumer and B2B businesses to optimize the return on the company’s performance media investments. His interest in media, creative and technology propelled him to the forefront of the performance-marketing industry. From 2005 to 2020, Greenfield held several leadership positions at DoubleClick Performics. As Performics’ Chief Operating Officer, he orchestrated go-to-market functions and led global client engagements. He also launched the Intent Lab, a research unit that studies consumer purchasing habits in partnership with Medill.

Sarah L. Kaufman (MSJ87)

sarah1.pngSarah L. Kaufman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and journalist who reported on the arts, pop culture, society, science and sports for the Washington Post for more than two decades. She is the author of the award-winning nonfiction book The Art of Grace and a contributing author of Balanchine: Celebrating a Life in Dance. She has taught writing and journalism courses at Harvard Extension School, Princeton, American University and other institutions, and is a longtime faculty member of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Kaufman joined the Washington Post in 1994 after working at the Buffalo News and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald. Her work has earned her many awards, including the Criticism and Culture of Ballet Lifetime Achievement Award from the XXIV International Ballet Festival of Miami, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism in 2010.

David Nelson (BSJ67, MSJ68)

david1.pngDavid Nelson is an associate professor emeritus at Medill. Since retiring from the school in 2012 after teaching for 40 years, he has continued to teach writing to adult professionals at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. While at Medill, he held several positions, including associate dean, director of graduate studies and chair of the promotion and tenure committee. He helped launch Medill’s Teaching Newspaper program, now known as Journalism Residency, and helped build the Chicago Medill Graduate newsroom at Illinois Center. Before turning his career to teaching, Nelson was a reporter and editor at the Miami Herald, and a writer and editor for Pioneer Press, Time and Money magazines. While in Miami, he created the template for Knight Newspapers, Inc.’s local news coverage. He is a founding member of the New York Times College Advisory Board and served as a management training consultant for the Modern Media Institute (now the Poynter Institute), as well as a senior consultant to AR&D.

Bertha González Nieves (IMC97)

bertha1.pngCEO and Co-Founder of Tequila Casa Dragones, Bertha González Nieves is an entrepreneur with a career rooted in the luxury consumer goods space. Dedicated to the tequila industry for 25 years, González Nieves is the first certified female Maestra Tequilera by the Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila. Forbes has identified her as “One of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Mexico.” She was also named one of Mexico’s top young businesswomen by Revista Expansión, Mexico’s leading business magazine; “The Most Innovative Women in Food + Drink” by Food & Wine and Fortune; and “The First Lady of Tequila” by the Los Angeles Times. The New York Times calls her “The Spirit Behind High-End Tequila.” In 2022, Revista Quien recognized her as “One of the 50 People Transforming Mexico.” Prior to co-founding Casa Dragones, González Nieves spent more than a decade in leading roles in the tequila industry as well as a consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton working closely with leading global consumer goods companies.

Emily Ramshaw (BSJ03)

emily2.pngEmily Ramshaw is the CEO and co-founder of The 19th*, the nation’s first independent nonprofit newsroom at the intersection of gender, politics and policy. The 19th* aims to elevate the voices of women and LGBTQ+ people — particularly those left at the margins of American media — with free-to-consume and free-to-republish daily journalism, newsletters and live events. Ramshaw started her career at The Dallas Morning News, where she broke national stories about sexual abuse inside Texas’ youth lock-ups, reported from inside a West Texas polygamist compound and uncovered “fight clubs” at state institutions for people with disabilities. Prior to The 19th*, Ramshaw was editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, an award-winning local news startup and the largest statehouse news operation in the nation. She is on the board of the Pulitzer Prize where she is serving a nine-year term. In 2020, Ramshaw was named to Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list.

Frank Whittaker (BSJ78, MSJ79)


Frank Whittaker retired this year as station manager and vice president of news for NBC5 Chicago after working more than 46 years in three Chicago TV newsrooms. Whittaker’s career began at WBBM before he moved to ABC Chicago in 1993 to become assistant news director and executive producer of the evening newscast. Whittaker later joined NBC 5 where he was promoted to VP of News in 1999 and Station Manager in 2008. He was responsible for leading NBC 5 news on broadcast and digital platforms. NBC 5’s investigative unit became the largest in Chicago under his leadership. Whittaker won a Peabody Award in 2016 for his work on the Laquan McDonald investigation, as well as five Emmy awards for his reporting and producing. He served as a board member and chairman for the Illinois Broadcasters Association and is currently on the board of the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation.

Mike McGrew (IMC97)

2022 inductee Mike McGrew will be honored at the 2023 ceremony.


Mike McGrew assumed the role of executive vice president, chief communications, CSR & diversity officer for Constellation Brands in April 2020. In this role, he leads a team responsible for developing and executing the company’s corporate communications, investor relations, corporate social responsibility, and diversity, equity and inclusion strategies designed to enhance the company’s reputation with key stakeholders and advance the company’s business strategy. Prior to joining Constellation Brands, McGrew held various roles with increasing responsibility at Grainger, then a $9B global provider of industrial supplies and equipment. Prior to joining Grainger, he worked in corporate communications for Alliant Foodservice (one of the nation’s largest, privately held broad-line foodservice distributors) and Morton International (a leading manufacturer of salt and specialty chemical products). McGrew received his bachelor’s degree in organizational studies from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern.

Renita Young (MSJ09)


Renita Young (MSJ09) will serve as the 2023 ceremony emcee.

Renita Young is an award-winning business journalist, Senior Markets Correspondent of TD Ameritrade Network in Chicago and voiceover talent. She’s also host of The Wrap, TD Ameritrade Network’s daily segment summarizing market moves.

Previously, Young was a New York-based correspondent for Bloomberg Radio, TV and Quicktake, the company’s 24-hour streaming platform. Her radio feature on the social media influencer pay gap won two awards: The Association for Women in Communications’ Clarion Award for Radio Feature Story and First Place in the Radio Enterprise Reporting category for the Journalists Association of New York. Young launched #YourMoneyStory, Bloomberg’s first social media personal finance show interviewing experts on the core concepts of wealth building. Additionally, Young hosted the Bloomberg Black Business Beat, a daily radio report covering the intersection of culture and commerce impacting Black audiences. Young has also been a Markets reporter for Bloomberg TV and launched Bloomberg Radio’s daily Crypto report and Quicktake as afternoon anchor.

Prior to Bloomberg, Young worked with Reuters where she covered commodities and launched #GoldWatch, the company’s first social media show uncovering trends in the gold market. She reported for Reuters TV, USA Today and on landmark events happening in Chicago during President Barack Obama’s presidency and key bills at the Illinois State Legislature. During 2012, Young took Jet Magazine to the London Olympics by managing its Twitter feed (#JetOlympics2012) and contributed to BBC TV and Radio. Young launched her business news reporting career at K23-TV in Nairobi, Kenya’s first local 24-hour news network, during Medill’s Global Journalism Program. Throughout her career, Young has also worked with WBBM and WVON radio stations in Chicago, | The Times-Picayune in Louisiana and among other media outlets.

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Investigative reporter Kristin Thorne brings her Medill skills to another level: making a true crime series come to life

“Can you imagine waking up every day and not knowing where someone you loved is, even if they’re dead?” Thorne asked.

Kristin Thorne, an investigative reporter for WABC-TV Eyewitness News (MSJ05), has made a name for herself in the journalism industry with her in-depth reporting on local and national issues. Kristin’s latest project, a true-crime series called “Missing”, has gained attention and critical acclaim since its debut in December 2021.

Thorne joined the Eyewitness News team in January 2012, after working as a reporter at News 12 Westchester and WHTM-TV ABC 27 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She was promoted to the 7 On Your Side Investigates team in January 2022 after serving 10 years as the station’s Long Island Correspondent.

Thorne was initially inspired to shine a light on the stories of missing people after covering the disappearance of Gabby Petito. As the lead reporter for all of ABC News on this case, Thorne put her investigative skills to work, following the investigation to Florida to cover the search. At one of the press conferences, Joe Petito, Gabby’s father, looked over at the media and said, as Thorne recounted, “You need to do a better job of covering missing people, because more people should be getting the attention as my daughter did.”

“I remember having this lightning bolt moment where I thought, he’s absolutely right,” Thorne said.

Today, Thorne creates, writes, and produces “Missing”, which investigates the disappearances of people from the New York City area. Each episode explores the story of a person who has gone missing. 

As a journalist, Thorne has utilized the skills she has learned over the years, such as investigation and research, and describes herself as a detective and journalist.

“I am working as a detective for these families,” she said. “I search, investigate, knock on doors, doing anything a detective would do.”

For each case, Thorne puts together clues that lead to the missing person, and although she hasn’t found anybody yet, she believes in many of these cases, people have been killed, and she assumes that their bodies have been hidden, so she is tracking down murderers. 

“That’s what I’m doing, I’m putting together clues that are going to lead me to the person who disposed of this person’s body,” Thorne said. 

The alleged murderers from these cases have gotten away with their actions for many years, yet Thorne still has hope.

“Do I expect the person who killed these individuals to come forward? No, I don’t,” she said. “They’ve gotten away with it for this many years. What I’m hoping is that the people around them, after this amount of time, may have a piece of heart left in them that they can come forward and say, ‘I didn’t tell the truth back then.’”

While working on the next episodes of “Missing”, Thorne is still investigating and providing updates on past cases. 

“These investigations keep going,” Thorne said. “It’s very challenging, but they’re always in my head.”

Thorne struggled to find the first case that she worked on. She called private investigators throughout New York City and ended up finding a private investigator on Long Island who got her in touch with the family of Leanne Marie Hausberg, a 14-year-old girl who went missing in 1999. She is the first episode of “Missing” and the youngest victim that Thorne has ever worked on. This family took a chance with Thorne without even knowing who she was, but because of this, the Hausberg family led her to the next cases she worked on. 

“I always tell people I had no idea how easy it is to disappear,” Thorne said. “Even with cameras and phones, women have disappeared into thin air in New York City. And it’s not crazy, it happens all the time.”

Thorne’s passion for journalism began at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where she graduated magna cum laude. She went on to earn her master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Medill. Thorne now shares her expertise with aspiring journalists as an adjunct professor at Hofstra University, teaching journalism at the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

“Medill formed me, it gave me the foundation that I needed to be in this line of work, and I still go back to concepts and techniques that I learned from my professors at Medill,” Thorne said. 

When Thorne first got to Medill, she thought about doing production, but she was not sure if she wanted to be on air. Thorne refers back to former faculty member Anne Johnsos, who told her to try being on air, and if not, she could go back to production. After giving it a try, she decided that was exactly what she wanted to do. 

“That’s why I love the series,” Thorne said. “It allows me to do everything, I’m in the series, and I produce it, so it allows me to use all those skills.”

Thorne’s dedication to her work has not gone unnoticed, as “Missing” was recently nominated for Best Local TV News Series by the New York City Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and won a New York Emmy Award in 2022 for best crime program. She has also earned an Emmy Award and numerous Emmy nominations, as well as two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and several Folio awards, which honor the best of Long Island journalism. With her commitment to investigative reporting and compelling storytelling, Thorne has established herself as one of the most respected journalists in the industry today.

You can watch Missing on Hulu, on the ABC7 New York app on Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Google TV and at Missing’s third season will premiere in May.