ETSPJ 2012-13 Board
President: Kristi L. Nelson
Kristi Nelson has worked for newspapers in the East Tennessee region for more than 20 years, primarily covering health, but also working as a general-assignment news and features reporter. A Knox County native, Nelson received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. She has received fellowships from the University of Southern California-Annenburg, Kaiser Family Foundation and National Institutes of Health, and awards from Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors, Association of Health-Care Journalists, Tennessee Press Association, E.W. Scripps Co. and Society of Professional Journalists, among others. She is a past winner of ETSPJ's Golden Press Card Award.
Vice-President: Matt Lakin
Matt Lakin joined the News Sentinel as a reporter in the summer of 2006 and covers police, courts, military affairs and drug abuse/addiction issues, along with general assignments as needed. A Knox County native, he is a 1993 Gibbs High School graduate and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1998. Prior to working for the Sentinel, Lakin covered similar beats over three years at the Bristol Herald Courier; before that, he was a general assignment reporter for a daily newspaper in Whitley County, Ga. (near Dalton). His series about methamphetamine use and costs in East Tennessee won a Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in journalism, a Green Eyeshade Award and an ETSPJ Golden Press Card/Best in Show award. Over the years, his writing has been recognized by ETSPJ, Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editor and Virginia Coalition for Open Government, among other organizations.
Secretary: Hillary Lake
Hillary Lake is a multimedia journalist for WBIR-TV. Lake claims both San Diego, Calif., and Klamath Falls, Ore., as hometowns. She holds a bachelor's degree from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, where she studied television broadcasting and human communication (negotiation-conflict management, family communication, gender and communication, etc.). She holds master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Lake began her career as a a researcher on the Leeza Gibbons' former talk-show, "Leeza." Immediately prior to coming to WBIR, she worked as reporter, producer and fill-in anchor at an NBC affiliate in Medford, Ore., covering local news in a viewing area that spanned most of southern Oregon and into northern California. Lake enjoys outdoor activities and is a voracious reader and an avid still photographer.
Treasurer: Jean Ash
Jean Ash spent 17 years as an anchor and reporter for WIVK and was named the AP Broadcasters Association Broadcaster of the Year and Knoxville YWCA Woman of the Year in 1987. After leaving WIVK/WNOX, she worked in Beijing for China Central TV and China Radio International. Ash holds a bachelor of arts degree in history, with a minor in social studies education, from Gettysburg (Pa.) College and did post-graduate studies in communications and Chinese language at the University of Tennessee. She has visited China more than 50 times and led tours of the country, some with an international travel company, others on her own. Her website, http://cupofcathay.com, features her recent and upcoming tours. Ash enjoys photography, reading, studying Chinese history and culture, and cooking (particularly regional Chinese cuisines).
Annie Byrnes is Web Content Producer for WATE-TV, Channel 6, where she previously produced the 10 p.m. newscast. A Pittsburgh native, Byrnes holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in journalism from City University of New York. She has worked in print, radio, television and web journalism as well as marketing and commercial writing.
Adina Chumley owns Blount County-based marketing and consulting firm Chumley Communications. Prior to starting her own firm, she managed accounts for two other marketing firms, was a freelance broadcast field reporter and anchored newscasts at both WVLT-TV, Channel 8, and WBIR-TV, Channel 10. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Tennessee. She is a past president of ETSPJ.
Elenora Easterly Edwards
Elenora Easterly Edwards has been managing editor of the Tennessee Press, the Tennessee Press Association's publication, for more than 20 years. Edwards' parents, Guy and Lucile Easterly, owned The LaFollette Press, so she grew up in the newspaper business. After graduating from Maryville College with an English degree, she studied at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, working for the Missouri Press Association and the Freedom of Information Center. She worked for the Clinton Courier-News for 24 years, including 10 as news editor. She is a past president of ETSPJ.
Mark Harmon has worked as a television news producer and reporter, radio news reporter, host of a radio talk show, and guest columnist for several newspapers and magazines. An associate professor in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee, Harmon has written more than two dozen academic research articles, more than 50 refereed research presentations, three book chapters and two instructional websites, and he just published his first book. In 2004, Harmon was the International Radio and Television Society's Frank Stanton fellow for distinguished broadcast education. He has received awards for outstanding research and teaching at UT, along with a chancellor’s citation for extraordinary community service. Harmon is a former Knox County Commissioner and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for Congress in the 13th district of Texas in 1998. He has served as a county party chairman and a campaign manager. He chairs the Professional Development committee.
Brandon Hollingsworth is the local host of All Things Considered on WUOT-FM, Knoxville's NPR member station. He's served in that role since December 2010. In addition to his daily duties of newscasts, weather reports and traffic updates, Hollingsworth is a feature reporter for the station. His long-form work includes interviews with national figures from former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to comedian Steve Martin. Hollingsworth has covered Tennessee's growing Hispanic population, legislative redistricting and the controversy over hydraulic fracturing on the Cumberland Plateau. Hollingsworth's work has appeared on NPR's national newsmagazine Morning Edition, as well as the network's extensive Newscast Unit.
Suzanna McCloskey is a senior majoring in journalism and electronic media and minoring in English at the University of Tennessee. She is the marketing and public relations intern for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and previously held two internships at the Knoxville News Sentinel, where she still freelances. On campus, she is the managing editor of The Tennessee Journalist, UT's student-produced news website, and is the vice president of the UT chapter of SPJ. Some of her favorite things include live music, independent films, hiking in the Smokies and golden retrievers.
Megan Venable Smith
Megan Venable Smith manages the administration office for University of Tennessee Libraries on the Knoxville campus. She was previously executive director of the Hearing and Speech Foundation in Maryville, Tenn., where she served in numerous administrative capacities including media relations. Under her leadership, the foundation initiated its signature fundraiser, a tradition which continues annually. Smith received a bachelor of science degree in broadcasting from UT in 1996 and a master's degree in communication studies from UT in 2007, while she was working as assistant to the director of development for the College of Communication and Information. She writes a blog, My Mega Exciting Life. Smith is a past president of the Knoxville Nativity Pageant and former volunteer at the Humane Society of Sarasota County, Fla. She is a runner and enjoys sewing and other creative outlets.
Georgiana Vines (ex-officio)
Georgiana Vines is retired associate editor of the News Sentinel, for which she still writes a weekly political column and occasional freelance stories. Her career at the News Sentinel began in 1968, and she has lived in Knoxville since then, except for 1996-97, when she was editor of the now-defunct El Paso Herald-Post in Texas. She is a former SPJ national president and teaches at the University of Tennessee's School of Journalism and Electronic Media.
Amanda Womac is former executive director and current grant writer for the Blount County-based Hearing and Speech Foundation, and former editor and publisher of the Hellbender Press, a nonprofit environmental newspaper. She teaches public speaking at Lincoln Memorial University, where she has taught news writing also. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and a 2011 graduate of Leadership Blount. Womac holds a master's degree in science journalism from the University of Tennessee, where she won a number of research and writing awards. She freelances for UT's research publication, Quest. She is passionate about environmental causes and is president of the board for the Sequatchie Valley Institute at Moonshadow, where she once lived.