Journalism and issues of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
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Stephen Smith '78 - Alumni Moderator
Independent producer Stephen Smith '78 is a documentary and podcast veteran of programs aired nationally and internationally. He is the co-founder of American RadioWorks / APM Reports, the longest-running documentary series in public radio.
He is the editor of “The First Lady of Radio: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Historic Broadcasts,” and co-editor of several anthologies of great African American political oratory. Smith earned an BA in English from Macalester College, and an MA in the Humanities (African American literature) from the University of Chicago, where he was a William Benton Fellow. Smith lives in Belmont, MA.
Zeba Khan ’99 is the Deputy Opinion Editor at The San Francisco Chronicle. Previously she was the Director of Fellowships at The Op-Ed Project, a social venture dedicated to training and mentoring new voices from historically marginalized communities on how to craft powerful argument. She has written for numerous outlets including The Boston Globe, CNN, TIME, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.
Before entering journalism, Zeba was a community activist. In 2008, she founded Muslim-Americans for Obama, the only organization dedicated to mobilizing Muslim-Americans in support of the Obama campaign, and was recognized by the White House for her efforts. In 2018, Zeba was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. She received her BA/MA at The University of Chicago and a MA at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Currently, she serves on the board of The Op-Ed Project.
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Erickson "EB" Blakney '83
Filmmaker, journalist, philanthropy professional Erickson S. Blakney '83 is a program officer with the New York-based The Pinkerton Foundation. He joined the foundation following a career as an award-winning writer and reporter having worked for WOR Radio, Bloomberg and CBS News. A member of the National Press Club, his articles have appeared in newspapers including the Boston Globe and Clarion-Ledger.
EB is the co-founder, along with author and award-winning filmmaker Dr. Lee Quinby, of the True Delta Project which produces documentaries about the Delta region which air on Mississippi Public Broadcasting Television (MPB) and screen at film festivals around the country. His documentary, Zip Code Matters (2021), produced in partnership with Sena Mourad Friedman and The Fair Housing Center-Toledo, examines racial and socioeconomic inequalities in health. EB is a board member of the DreamYard Project, an arts and social justice organization in the Bronx. He plays a similar role on the boards of The Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, KY and The Clarksdale Animal Rescue Effort and Shelter (C.A.R.E.S), a no-kill rescue, adoption and educational organization in the Mississippi Delta. Blakney also serves on the grant review and finance committees of The Needmor Fund. Founded in 1956, the Perrysburg, Ohio-based philanthropy, supports groups organizing to bring about social and economic justice. Blakney is a graduate of Hobart College and Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, Ohio.
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Gurnoor Patti ’24 - Student Moderator
I am a sophomore at MVCDS. I started the journalism club with my friend Sami because of a media and journalism related intensive we both took in the fall, which sparked the idea. I’m also on the field hockey and lacrosse team, along with being ahead of GLP’s speaker series committee and a sophomore representative for the student council. I truly love the Maumee Valley community, and I’m so glad I could help restart our newspaper!