2019 Speakers

Gwen Larson, president, National Federation of Press Women

What’s a Federation, anyway?

Learn how Arizona Professional Writers and National Federation of Press Women work together to help communicators do their jobs, earn recognition and advocate for the First Amendment.

A member of National Federation of Press Women and Kansas Professional Communicators since 2004, she was elected NFPW president for a two-year term in June. Her platform included promises to bring NFPW back to its advocacy roots by fighting challenges to the First Amendment.





Mark Athitakis

Writing for Free? How to make money in today’s media market.

Mark Athitakis has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, contributing to publications including the Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times, Humanities Magazine and many others. He is the author of The New Midwest, a critical assessment of contemporary fiction set in the region. He lives in Chandler, Arizona.

This session with Chandler is presented by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, non-academic university center dedicated to offering talks, readings, classes, workshops, and other literary events and programs for the larger community. For more information, visit the center’s website at piper.asu.edu.

Mark Adelman

Join us for our Luncheon Keynot Speaker, Matt Adelman, incoming president of the National Newspapers Association.

Jodi Weisberg

Freedom to be Funny: Stand Up or Sit Down & Write

Jodi Weisberg is a retired attorney, former Bureau Chief and legal reporter for the Arizona Journal, and stand up comic. She has published about 1,000 articles. She speaks on the uses of humor, elder law and mental health issues. She recently became a certified yoga instructor and pet sitter.


First Amendment Panel: Gregg Leslie &

Who will defend the First Amendment?
As the traditional media continue to face budget constraints for access litigation, figuring out who will fight for the right to know what our governments are up to gets complicated. And as independent journalists, bloggers and nonprofit news organizations continue to take on controversial local and national stories, the future of First Amendment defense litigation is unclear. This discussion will examine some of the upcoming problem areas and explore some solutions

Gregg Leslie is the executive director of the First Amendment Clinic. He was previously a staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit association that provides legal assistance to journalists, and served as the organization’s legal defense director for 17 years.


Gwen Larson

First Amendment Attacks

Many people say they believe in free speech, but their support is qualified. They believe in a person’s right to free speech as long as that person’s viewpoint matches their own. This lack of understanding of the First Amendment, as well as accusations that media, are the “enemies of the people” threaten our effectiveness as journalists. Learn about some specific threats and efforts to advocate for First Amendment rights.

Gwen Larson’s journalism degree has taken her down a number of paths in the field of communication — from an internship with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to editing and producing scholarly journals and magazines to reporting and editing at The Emporia Gazette and, finally, to handling media relations for a regional university

Kristen Gilger

Women in Journalism: What women have learned about leadership in media

Kristin Gilger is senior associate dean in charge of professional programs for the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. She also serves as executive director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. Before coming to ASU, Gilger served as deputy managing editor for news at The Arizona Republic. She also served as managing editor of The Statesman Journal newspaper in Salem, Oregon.

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