Meet the Board of Directors
Michael Arena is President and had previously served as First Vice President after joining the board as the Vice President of the Awards Contest in January 2012. As the Director for Communications and Marketing for the City University of New York, he is responsible for planning and implementation of the university system’s media, public information and marketing efforts. Prior to joining CUNY, he was an award-winning Special Writer for Newsday and New York Newsday, with an investigative reporting career spanning more than 20 years. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for spot reporting on the downing of TWA Flight 800. He graduated from The City College New York.
Colin DeVries is Vice President of the Awards Dinner. He has previously served as Vice President of the Awards Contest, Vice President of Special Projects, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. He is also co-chair of the Student Relations Committee, in charge of outreach to local college and graduate journalism students. Additionally, he is a member of the Society of Professionals Journalists Membership Committee. He works as public relations manager at NYU Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Previously, he was a digital editor at the New York Daily News, helping to manage and edit content for NYDailyNews.com. Prior to that he was managing editor of the News Corp-owned TimesLedger Newspapers in Queens and has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in upstate New York. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in communication and information studies at Rutgers University, has studied journalism at New York University and received his bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany.
Daniel Roberts is Vice President of the Awards Contest. He is a Writer at Yahoo Finance. Before that, he spent more than five years at Fortune. He is the primary author of the book Zoom: Surprising Ways to Supercharge Your Career. He has also written for a wide range of other publications, in print and online, including Sports Illustrated, Salon and The Daily Beast. Before Fortune and Yahoo, Mr. Roberts spent time reporting for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. He grew up in Massachusetts and is a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Jessica Seigel joined the board as Vice President of Events in January 2013. She is an Adjunct Professor of journalism at New York University, with more than 20 years experience across media as a National Correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, Columnist for Glamour magazine, and the on-air “Countess of Culture” for NPR’s Day to Day. Her investigative work in science, health and culture has appeared in outlets including Marketplace public radio, The New York Times and National Geographic Traveler. She won the Front Page Award for a Lifetime exposé on the clothing industry and top honors from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for a Los Angeles Magazine diet scam investigation and Ms. Magazine science feature on ape and human politics. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she served as President of the SPJ student chapter.
Polly Whittell has been Vice President of Membership since January 2013, after serving as Membership Chair, Assistant Treasurer, and Co-Chair of the Awards Contest. She has most recently been working as a freelance writer and editor/copyeditor for a variety of websites and magazines dealing with general, business, travel and sports news. Prior to that she spent more than a decade at Hearst Magazines as an Associate and Senior Editor and writer, during which time she won an environmental journalism award, was honored for an investigative report on drug smuggling, and was a contributing author to Against the Sea, a true-adventure anthology published and reprinted by Avon and Hearst Books. Her articles have also been reprinted in magazines in England, Germany, New Zealand and Brazil. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, completedthe Harvard-Radcliffe publishing program, and attended Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
Claire Regan, the Vice President of Special Projects, previously served as Vice President of the Awards Dinner and continues as the Scholarship Committee Chair. She has been an active member of the club’s Executive Council for more than 20 years, and previously served as a vice president and as newsletter editor and designer. She is Associate Managing Editor and Curation Lead in thedigitally-focused newsroom of the Staten Island Advance and an Assistant Professor of Journalism at Wagner College, where she advises the student newspaper. She completed a yearlong fellowship in journalism ethics and has been a visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla. Her editing and design work has been honored by the Associated Press, the New York Press Club and the Society for News Design. Three Rubes she earned from the Deadline Club for spot news presentation are proudly displayed in her office. In March 2014, Claire received the Charles O’Malley Award for Teaching Excellence from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. She is aboard member and past president of the New York State Associated Press Association, a judging facilitator for the Society for News Design and a frequent presenter at conferences for journalism students.
Melissa Heule is the Vice President of Communications. She joined the board as Secretary in January 2013 and and Vice President of Communications in 2015. She continues to work on The Club’s newsletter and social media. Now at Today’s Business, She has previously freelanced at a number of small publications in New Jersy. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Theater from Ramapo College of New Jersey.
Janelle Crispyn, of iHeartMedia, is the current Secretary to The Club. She previously served on the Professional Council. She is a broadcast journalist working as a reporter, editor and announcer at Clear Channel Communications Total Traffic Network who can be heard on stations including 1010 WINS, WCBS-FM, Sirius Radio and other radio stations in the New York Metropolitan Area. She also has worked as news director for radio stations on Long Island, Westchester County, upstate New York and Indiana. Her background includes reporting and announcing at Dow Jones voice Information Services and working as an advertising representative for Editor & Publisher Magazine. She has also taught radio course as an adjunct professor at St. John’s University and Long Island University. Recent voiceover work includes the movie “Broken City” with Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg.
Gary Shapiro, is the Assistant Secretary. He is a staff writer in the Office of Communications & Public Affairs at Columbia University. He has written for the Wall Street Journal. Shapiro was on staff at The Forward (national Jewish newspaper) and The New York Sun. He wrote a column about New York called “The Knickerbocker.” A former contributing editor for the quarterly journal, The American Scholar, Shapiro is also a certified tour guide in New York.
Assistant Treasurer Michael Rizzo is the Director of the Journalism Program and an Assistant Professor at St. John’s University. He is the former General Manager/Executive Director for News and Sports at ABC News Radio and was a news writer, producer and manager at ABC-TV News. He was also a Managing Editor at Fios1 News and News12 and a Senior Producer at The Daily news app. He is also a freelance reporter for The Tablet newspaper. Michael became a Deadline Club member in 2014. He graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in Communications and holds an M.B.A. from St. John’s University.
Peter Szekely is Chairman as the immediate past president of The Club. He became the club’s First Vice President in 2013 after joining the board as Assistant Treasurer in 2009 and serving the next three years as Treasurer. In 2007, he became secretary-treasurer of the Newspaper Guild of New York, which represents more than 2800 journalists and other employees at 19 New York area-based news organizations and other companies, including Consumer Reports, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, The New York Times, Standard & Poor’s, Thomson Reuters and Time Inc. Szekely primarily oversaw the union’s finances, contract enforcement and communications. He later served in the number one seat in the union. Before becoming a full-time Guild officer, Szekely spent more than 25 years as a correspondent with Reuters, mostly in its Washington bureau, where he covered the U.S. economy, labor, securities regulation, energy and general news. A graduate of Northeastern University, Szekely briefly worked for two daily newspapers in Massachusetts before joining Reuters.
Allan Chernoff is a member of the Executive Council after having served as Vice President of Events. He is CEO of Chernoff Communications, which provides corporate and not-for-profit clients with writing, video production, media training and media strategy services. He is author of The Tailors of Tomaszow, a communal memoir and history of Holocaust survivors. For 11 years Allan Chernoff was CNN’s Senior Correspondent in New York, reporting for all CNN networks as well as writing for CNN.com and CNNMoney.com. Previously, he served as Senior Correspondent for CNBC where he reported for both CNBC and NBC News programs for a decade. He is one of the founding journalists of CNBC predecessor Financial News Network (FNN). Allan’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, and Money, among many other publications. His honors include six Deadline Club Awards, two National Headliner Awards, two New York Festival Awards, and he was a reporter on teams winning three Peabody Awards, a DuPont Award and an Online Journalism Award. Allan is a graduate of Brown University. He tweets from @allanchernoff.
Tricia Couture returns to the Deadline Club and NYC after four years in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she produced articles for Charlotteviewpoint.org and The Charlotte Observer and served on the board of Charlotte SPJ. She’s a freelance writer/editor and is currently working on one of Random House’s daily online newsletters. Her past credits include Spafinder.com, Everydayhealth.com, Syfy.com (a division of NBC Universal, Rewardtv.com (a division of NBC Universal), and American Lawyer Media. She also produced the blog “Cheap Chick in the City” detailing free and cheap things to do in NYC, for more than four years.
Robert Greenman Co-Chair for High School Journalism Outreach, joined the Deadline Club about 10 years ago, specifically to bring professional journalists to high school newspaper staffs. Deadline Club members speak to high school journalists about their work, and Club members teach at Columbia Scholastic Press Association conventions. At the Annual Awards banquet, the Club honors an educator for “the excellence in teaching and the professionalism of student newspaper advising.” Greenman taught English and journalism in Brooklyn, N.Y., at James Madison High School and Edward R. Murrow High School. He advised Madison’s student newspaper and wrote The Adviser’s Companion. In the 1990’s, he was a newspaper-in-education consultant for The New York Times, and wrote Using The New York Times as Your Journalism Textbook. Greenman also wrote educational materials for Newsday, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Words That Make a Difference; and, with his wife, Carol, wrote More Words That Make a Difference. He contributes for the language Web site, Visual Thesaurus.
Pamela Hamilton has been a member of the Professional Council since January 2013, after serving a year on the Executive Council. A seasoned television producer, she is currently developing original programming and serves as a media consultant. Ms. Hamilton earned her journalism credentials at NBC News where she was a Staff Producer for over a decade covering hard news and overseeing the entertainment unit of the Today Show, Weekend. Her work has appeared on NBC, WNBC, VH1, and she was a producer on the documentary “Grateful Dawg,” winner at the 2001 Newport International Film Festival.
Ben Lesser, of Reuters, previously served as Treasurer.
Suzanne Woolley is a personal finance writer and editor for Bloomberg.com, where she collaborates across many of Bloomberg’s media platforms, including digital video and radio. She previously worked at BusinessWeek, where she covered a wide variety of financial beats before heading up the Markets & Investments section and, later, the Personal Finance section. She has also been a senior writer and senior editor at Money magazine. Suzanne joined Bloomberg in 2009 as part of the company’s acquisition of BusinesssWeek. She re-launched Bloomberg’s personal finance web site, created a personal finance blog and weekly personal finance newsletter and oversaw special reports on retirement, risk and behavioral finance. She is a graduate of Dickinson College, and has served as a board member for the Financial Women’s Association. She tweets as @wealthwatch.
Lauren Young is the Money editor at Reuters, where she is developing personal finance, wealth management and investing coverage for professional and consumer audiences. She previously worked at BusinessWeek, covering all aspects of personal finance. Before joining BusinessWeek, Young had a similar beat as a senior writer at SmartMoney. She also covered mutual funds and capital markets for Dow Jones News, where she a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal.
Young, who once appeared on all three major network morning talk shows during the same week, hosts an online video series for Reuters.com called “Money Clip.” She is a frequent guest on media outlets such as NPR, BBC, CNN, MSNBC and YahooFinance.
Young is a recipient of the Investment Company Institute’s Award for Excellence in Personal Finance Journalism. She is an honors graduate of Penn State University and received her masters in journalism from Northwestern University. Although she served as the president of the Medill Club of New York City and was awarded the Northwestern University Alumni Association Service Award, she is a die-hard Nittany Lions fan.
Young serves on the boards of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, Penn State Hillel as well as the Deadline Club of New York City.
Advisory Council (former Presidents)
J. Alex Tarquinio is a member of the Advisory Council. She served as chairwoman of the Executive Council in 2014 and 2015, and as President in 2012 and 2013. During her term as President, The Club revived the New York Journalism Hall of Fame, an important tradition that had been dormant for 13 years, which she continues to chair. She is the national Secretary-Treasurer of the Society of Professional Journalists and a member of the SDX Foundation’s board of directors. Tarquinio has two decades of experience as a writer and editor. She is currently the Special Issues Editor of The Real Deal, where she is in charge of all editorial content for the Los Angeles and Miami editions of the magazine. She has worked at Time Inc., Dow Jones, SmartMoney Magazine, and Forbes.com, where she was the first Investing Editor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Reader’s Digest Magazine, Kiplinger’s, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many others. She received a German Marshall Fund fellowship for a reporting residency in Cyprus. She graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she received a U.C. President’s Undergraduate Fellowship, and from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She tweets from @alextarquinio.
Steve Dunlop serves on the Advisory Council and served as President in 1992. He was morning news editor and writer for WOR Radio in the late 1970’s, a street reporter and anchor for New York’s Ten O’Clock News (WNYW-TV) in the 1980’s, as well as field correspondent for WNBC-TV’s Today in New York in the mid-1990’s. In 1999, following reporting stints at Fox and Reuters, Dunlop was named a correspondent for CBS News, where he is still assigned to the network’s Bulletin Center. He is responsible for special reports as well as breaking news updates to the CBS Evening News. He is also president of Dunlop Media, Inc., a New York-based professional training and coaching firm.
John C. Long, The Wall Street Journal, retired, and St. John’s and Hofstra University professor.
Betsy Ashton serves on the Professional Council. She served as President in both 1994 and 2000, and was co-chair of the SPJ National Convention that The Deadline Club hosted in New York City in 2004. She was the first woman to serve as President of the Washington, D.C. chapter of SPJ in 1989. She also served as Vice Chairwoman of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, and won the 2007 Wells Memorial Key for outstanding service to the national society. Betsy was a radio and television news reporter and anchorwoman in Washington, D.C., for ten years before coming to New York as consumer reporter for WCBS-TV and the CBS Morning News in 1982. Betsy Ashton’s Guide to Living On Your Own, was published by Little, Brown in 1988. She has written for numerous publications but now works full time as a portrait artist, and serves on the board of directors of the Friends of Thirteen/WNET-TV, New York’s Public Television station. She is also a professional and highly successful portrait artist.
Rebecca Baker is currently National SPJ First Vice President and a member of the Advisory Council of past Presidents. She served as Chairwoman of the Executive Council, since January 2012. During her two-year term as President, she was honored as SPJ’s Outstanding Professional Member of 2010-11. She previously served as SPJ’s Region 1 Director, overseeing all student and professional chapters in the northeast. She is managing editor at New York Law Journal and previously worked at The Record in New Jersey, The Journal News in New York and the New Haven Register in Connecticut. She is a graduate of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. and of Carlow University in Pittsburgh.
Rich Barbieri serves on the Professional Council. He joined the Club as a member of the Executive Council in January 2013. He is Deputy Managing Editor of CNNMoney.com, where he helps manage a newsroom of more than 30 reporters and editors. Before he was at CNN, which he joined in September 2007, Barbieri spent 15 years at American Lawyer Media as a reporter and editor. He spent five of those years as editor of Legal Times in Washington, D.C.
Anastasia Economides was a member of the Executive Council. She joined the board as Assistant Secretary in January 2013. She currently works as intermediate editor at The New York Times. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, The Star Ledger and amNY. She is also a 2009 scholarship recipient of The National Judicial College’s Court and Media Reporting conference in Nevada. She is a graduate of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and Adelphi University. She aims to continue serving the city that raised her as an urban multimedia journalist.
Rubina Madan Fillion is the director of audience engagement at The Intercept, where she focuses on social media, analytics, newsletters and search-engine optimization. She previously spent seven years at The Wall Street Journal as a social media editor and graphics editor. She was also a freelance graphics editor for The New York Times. She has written for Reuters, the Huffington Post, the New York Post, SPIN and the Associated Press.
Rubina is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She has also taught a course on digital journalism at New York University. She serves on the boards of the Deadline Club and the Online News Association’s New York group.
Catherine Gin joined the board in 2010, and has been Secretary (2010 to 2012 and 2015) and Assistant Secretary (2016). She has worked at newspapers, magazines and websites in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. Most recently a social media consultant and web/newsletter editor at Advertising Age, she has been a copy editor for Martha Stewart Living, Weight Watchers Magazine (in the U.S. and Australia), Patch and the Australian editions of Women’s Health and Woman’s Day. She was an editor at Snooth Media, Nomad Editions, Rovi Corporation and Oxfam Great Britain. Catherine is a graduate of University of Technology, Sydney, and University of Sydney, and studied at New York University.
Jacqueline Leo is a member of the Professional Council. She joined the board as the Vice President of the Awards Dinner in January 2012. She is Editor in Chief of The Fiscal Times, a digital news, opinion and media service devoted to comprehensive quality reporting on vital fiscal, budgetary, health care and international economic issues. Ms. Leo has worked in a variety of media, including various editorial and marketing positions. She was Director of Digital Operations at the Meredith Corporation; Editorial Director of Women’s Magazines at The New York Times, and Editorial Director of ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” From 2001 through November 2007, Ms. Leo was Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Reader’s Digest. Prior to that, she was Director of Editorial Operations at Consumer Reports. Her latest book, SEVEN The Number for Happiness, Love and Success, was published in December 2009 by a division of Hachette. Ms. Leo is a former President of the American Society of Magazine Editors and served on the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences for ten years. Most recently, she was named to Media Industry Newsletter’s Editorial Hall of Fame in November 2009. The Fiscal Times editorial staff operates from offices in New York and the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. Website address: www.thefiscaltimes.com.
Brittany VanBibber, joined the board as Secretary in 2016, and previously served as Assistant Treasurer in 2015. She graduated from New York University in May 2014 with a degree in Journalism and Economics. She worked as an editorial intern at Investment News, and has written for Entrepreneur.com, the Muck Rack blog, and Social Media Week’s blog. She now works full-time as the Associate Social Media Editor for AOL.com, helping to manage the distribution and strategy of the site’s content on social media channels. She tweets from @BritVanB.
Abi Wright is a member of the Professional Council. She joined the Executive Council in January 2013. She is Director of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and the John Chancellor Award at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Wright was a 2011 Punch Sulzberger Fellow at the School. She spent seven years working at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), most recently as Communications Director. She was responsible for CPJ’s overall communications strategy, publicizing issues, handling breaking news and producing the annual benefit dinner. Wright spent 2003 through 2005 reporting on press abuses throughout Asia as CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. That job involved tracking and documenting regional trends, including the jailing of journalists in China and criminal defamation charges against journalists in Indonesia. She is a graduate of Barnard College, and an experienced television producer. Wright has worked for NBC News, ABC News and Fox News. She also serves on the board of the Overseas Press Club.