Adda Birnir is an Icelandic-born, California-grown, product developer now working in New York City. With her friends and business partners, she runs a client services and software development company called Balance Media. Balance Media focuses on creating highly interactive news and web apps for media companies including WNYC, The New York Times, ProPublica, and Manhattan Neighborhood Networks. Balance Media’s suite of software and education products include Balance Digital Publishing (tablet publishing platform) and Digital Divas (digital knowledge for all the divas).
Denise Cheng hails from all over. She is originally from Silicon Valley and is most recently from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she was a founding member and the citizen journalism coordinator for The Rapidian. Her past lives include terms with the Peace Corps and Digital Arts Service Corps. She has worked with and taught multimedia production, and the bulk of her efforts have focused on designing and implementing civic media endeavors. Denise believes that participation in media creation increases the likelihood of civic engagement and action. Her oft-used word is “reimagining,” and Denise is infinitely fascinated with how creative approaches to news presentation make information more accessible to audiences. She has a special interest in ethnic and geographically based communities.
Saalim Chowdhury shapes digital products that people love. His journalistic career spans a number of leading British publishers – notably at News Corp, where he was a senior executive at News International’s then “future-of-media” startup thelondonpaper, which grew to be London’s most read newspaper. More recently, he architected the acclaimed digital and app launch for The Week magazine. His entrepreneurial career ranges from his late ’90’s mobile start-up and working for venture capital firms to the $183m Cisco acquisition ScanSafe. There, as an early employee, he pioneered safe search technology now used by millions worldwide. For his sins, he once was a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. In his spare time he mentors a youth journalism project. He was educated at Oxford, Cambridge, and the London School of Economics.
Brianne Garcia recently completed the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s master’s program, where she pitched a disruptive fashion startup to a panel of investors and received a small grant in seed funding. She is also one of the first two recipients of the J. Douglas Creighton scholarship for disruption, underwritten by John Paton, CEO of Journal Register, MediaNews, and Digital First Media. After blogging about fashion for three years at, Brianne realized the real innovation in the fashion world wasn’t happening at major magazines, but in the ways in which women consumed fashion. This fellowship will be her introduction to the startup world, where she hopes to begin building a new platform that empowers consumers by connecting them with the brands and stores that meet their style needs. A St. Louis native and University of Missouri graduate, Brianne moved to New York in 2010 to begin her master’s education, and though she doesn’t plan on leaving the city, she will always be a Midwesterner at heart.
Stacy-Marie Ishmael is a writer, blogger, editor, and reporter with a track record of innovation in online and digital media. She grew up in the Caribbean, graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a BSc in International Relations and spent five years at the Financial Times. At the FT, she helped launch and develop FT Alphaville, the award-winning finance blog, and co-founded FT Tilt, an online-only emerging markets news service. Stacy-Marie is also an adjunct in the business faculty at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism where she teaches the Wall Street class.
Sylvia Jauregui, an entrepreneur, producer, and journalist, graduated from Kean University, NJ, summa cum laude in International Broadcast Journalism. She started her career at age 17 in Ecuador, where she worked as a reporter, producer, account manager, and host of a live TV news show on a national station. She also worked for various local broadcasting companies as a political and daily news reporter. In 2010 she received a scholarship from the “Asociación Nacional de Periodistas Hispanos” in Denver, Colorado and is currently part of “Líderes Digitales: Creating a New Generation of Spanish-Language Multimedia Trainers,” a project from the ICFJ. Sylvia is also CEO of Kue Productions, a multimedia video and production company, and editor of ElizabethInsideout a bilingual-multimedia hyperlocal site covering Elizabeth, NJ.
Michael Mccutcheon is building a web startup while completing his master’s degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Fascinated by new forms of storytelling online, Michael is the founder of Active Media Lab and is developing interactive replacements for the traditional news article. He is a recipient of the J. Douglas Creighton scholarship for innovation and disruption in news media, underwritten by John Paton, CEO of Journal Register, MediaNews, and Digital First Media. Previously, he was an associate at the Open Society Foundations, where he supported nonprofit journalism initiatives including the development of tech tools for journalists. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pomona College.
Ashley Milne-Tyte is a writer and reporter based in New York. She began her reporting career as an intern at WNYC, New York’s public radio station, and went on to work for Marketplace, the public radio business show, producing daily news spots, features, and carrying out Q&A sessions with the show’s hosts. Over the years she has covered everything from collateralized debt obligations and bad banks to the business advantages of babies in bars – often in less than three minutes. Her print pieces have appeared in the Financial Times, New York Daily News, Wall Street Journal, and Independent. Since 2010 Ashley has been producing radio pieces for Marketplace, NPR, and Voice of America, writing for print/online, and teaching radio boot camp at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Stephen Robert Morse, a native New Yorker, recently returned to America after spending two years as a European Union-sponsored Erasmus Mundus scholar studying journalism, media, and globalization. He simultaneously worked as a multimedia journalist, documentary producer, and consultant. In 2009, he created, the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census. As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, Morse founded Morse-Levin Productions to make low-budget socially conscious films. He has also written a sitcom that was optioned by a major studio and worked at talent/literary agencies in Los Angeles and London. He’s now trying to disrupt the film industry on a grander scale.
John Samuel Raja works as a features writer with The Economic Times, New Delhi. Previously he wrote on corporate and economy topics for Outlook Business, Business Standard, and Mint. In the last five years, John has focused on doing stories based on public information (mostly ignored), as businesses and government are forced to disclose more information than ever before. He holds a Masters in Econometrics and has cleared the intermediate stage of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
Brian Reich is the author of Shift & Reset: Strategies for Addressing Serious Issues in a Connected Society and co-author of Media Rules!: Mastering Today’s Technology to Connect with and Keep Your Audience. Brian blogs and hosts a podcast discussion about the impact of media and technology on society and teaches consumer behavior and marketing strategy in the graduate school of communications at Columbia University. Brian spent two years as briefing director to Vice President Al Gore in the White House and during the 2000 presidential campaign. For the past decade, he has provided strategy, insights, and support to hundreds of brands, nonprofit organizations, media companies, start-ups, and political/advocacy groups. Brian is also chairman of the board of Investigate West, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the art and craft of investigative journalism. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Columbia University. He lives in New York City with his wife, Karen Dahl, their son, Henry, and daughter, Lucy.
Noah Rosenberg is a multi-platform journalist who contributes frequently to The New York Times in print, photography, and video. He has worked for CBS News’ documentary production unit; reported on-camera for Channel One News; served as The Wall Street Journal’s video correspondent and a writer/photographer from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa; and was Digital Director for The Queens Courier newspaper group, where he pioneered the company’s use of video and multimedia and was Founding Editor of L.I.C. Courier Magazine. His work has also been featured by GQ and New York magazine, and he has worked on projects for Univision Interactive Media. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from Tufts University.
Malik Singleton is a “techie” and a journalist who has found the best of both worlds in investigative journalism. He reports for City Limits’ new Brooklyn Bureau and is also an adjunct at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, instructing part of the Interactive 2 course. Previously, Malik was a web producer at where he helped launch TIME’s popular news blogs. Before that he created an online news aggregator, Nation Times, a self-updating stream of African-American news. His project for the Entrepreneurial Journalism Program will involve building data-driven news apps and interfaces that best utilize the interactivity of the web. He graduated from Morehouse College and from Pace University’s MS in Publishing program. Malik lives in Brooklyn where he helps run NYABJ’s high school journalism workshop.
Megan Campbell Smith is an interdisciplinary design professional and entrepreneur based in Lexington, Kentucky. She is the cofounder and creative director of Mentelle Media and copublisher of M.D. UPDATE, a monthly business and lifestyle magazine for 160,000 Kentucky physicians and healthcare professionals. In her role as creative director, Megan works on digital channel development and the distribution of M.D. UPDATE’s trusted healthcare resources among Kentucky’s 4 million healthcare consumers. Megan is also a licensed architect whose works include judicial facility design, adaptive reuse, and historic restoration of residential and commercial properties. Megan partners with her husband Gil Dunn in several family business, including M.D. UPDATE and a tourism-real estate venture serving Kentucky’s equine industry.
Hanan Solayman is an Egyptian freelance journalist and a struggling entrepreneur. She started her journalism career at the foreign desk in a daily national newspaper in Egypt. Her work has been published in various Egyptian, Pan-Arab, and international media outlets. She is an Editor at EMAJ magazine, which targets Euro-Mediterranean nationals, and has traveled widely, attending journalism conferences, meetings, and training programs in Belgium, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Qatar. Later in 2012 she is attending an entrepreneurial program in Sweden. Under a Thomson Reuters program, she trained journalists in Cairo prior to Egypt’s 2011 parliamentary elections. She is also the Communication & Outreach Officer at the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI). Hanan has a BA in Mass Media from Cairo University. Her life-changing experience was with the World Press Institute (WPI), which triggered her start-up – Mandara – a local nonprofit news portal for Upper Egypt.
Amy Stretten is a Southern California native and member of the Chickahominy Tribe of Virginia. Before enrolling in the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, she created, where she shares stories on Indian Country. Last summer, she interned for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News in Winnipeg, Canada, working as an on-air reporter, covering news related to the Aboriginal community. She is looking forward to launching a multimedia news site that features arts, culture, and news that matters for indigenous youth of the United States and Canada with what she learns from the Tow Knight Entrepreneurial Journalism Program. She received her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Spanish from Mount Holyoke College.