Emerging Leaders

INN formed the Emerging Leaders Council in 2017 to support current and future leaders in nonprofit news through a year-long program peer support and professional development.

Support for the program is provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Emerging Leaders is part an INN initiative to build business, strategy and leadership skills among nonprofit news managers and bring entrepreneurial journalists into the field. For more information about the 2017 council, contact Jason Alcorn, jason@inn.org, or Fran Scarlett, fran@inn.org. Regarding INN’s professional development initiative, contact Sue Cross, sue@inn.org.

Meet the 2017 INN Emerging Leaders Council

These leaders represent the excellence and diversity of nonprofit news organizations working to inform communities through factual journalism and build philanthropic support for news. The 2017 council members come from Inside Energy, Honolulu Civil Beat, inewsource, Center for Public Integrity, PublicSource, Mother Jones, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Texas Tribune, NJ Spotlight, and The Hechinger Report.

Jim Small
| Natalie Choate | Lauren Fuhrmann | Sarah Garland | Dave Levinthal | Ben Nishimoto | Brad Racino | Amber Rivera | Paula Saha | Halle Stockton | Jason Alcorn


Jim Small AZCIR

Jim Small | Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Jim Small is the executive director and editor of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. His journalism work has largely focused on state government and politics, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. He covered the complex state budget process, immigration issues, state prisons, education, the Arizona Corporation Commission, political campaigns and campaign finance matters. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations, many of which were rooted in data collection and analysis. He began his journalism career covering city government, public safety and business for a pair of community newspapers in the West Valley. Jim joined AZCIR in December 2016.

Follow Jim on Twitter at @JimSmall.

Natalie Choate INN Emerging Leader

Natalie Choate | Texas Tribune

Natalie Choate has a long history in Texas politics and media. In a previous life, she worked two legislative sessions in the Texas Capitol, served as government relations coordinator for Trinity Industries, completed Annie's List Campaign School and was both a political fundraiser and campaign consultant. Natalie started with The Texas Tribune in January 2011 and today is the director of media relations and partnerships for the largest statehouse newsroom in the country. She is a University of Texas alumna, a Leadership Austin graduate and an unapologetic news junkie.

Follow Natalie on Twitter at @Natalie_Choate.

Lauren Fuhrmann INN Emerging Leader

Lauren Fuhrmann | Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Lauren Fuhrmann is associate director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Lauren joined the Center in 2011 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. At the Center, she leads revenue development efforts as well as public engagement initiatives; tracks the distribution and assesses the impact of WCIJ’s news stories; assists with development of donors and writing of grant reports; handles bookkeeping duties; produces photo, audio and video content; and copyedits stories. Lauren is vice president of the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was among five young leaders in the inaugural group of “Future Headliners” honored in 2014 by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

Follow Lauren on Twitter at @laurenfuhrmann.

Sarah Garland INN Emerging Leader

Sarah Garland | The Hechinger Report

Sarah Garland is the executive editor of The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization based at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has written about education, crime, and immigration for numerous national outlets and is the 2009 recipient of the Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her first book, Gangs in Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation and Youth Violence Are Changing America’s Suburbs (Nation Books, 2009), was a runner-up for an Investigative Reporters and Editor award in 2010. Her second book, Divided We Fail: The Story of an African-American Community that Ended the Era of School Desegregation, was published in 2013 by Beacon Press.

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @s_garl.

Dave Levinthal | Center for Public Integrity

Dave Levinthal | Center for Public Integrity

Dave Levinthal joined the Center for Public Integrity in 2013 and leads its federal politics reporting team. Under Dave's direction, the Center for Public Integrity's political coverage has prompted federal investigations, forced politicians to acknowledge wrongdoing and earned numerous awards, including an Editor & Publisher EPPY Award honoring the nation's best political coverage. For two years prior to joining the Center for Public Integrity, Dave reported on campaign finance and lobbying issues for Politico and co-wrote the daily Politico Influence column. He regularly provides political analysis for television and radio, including NBC, CBS, and National Public Radio. Beyond politics, Dave is also a two-time winner of Canada’s Northern Lights Award for his writing about the Arctic. Dave graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in newspaper journalism and political philosophy and edited The Daily Orange.

Follow Dave on Twitter at @davelevinthal.

Ben Nishimoto | Honolulu Civil Beat

Ben Nishimoto | Honolulu Civil Beat

Ben Nishimoto is the director of philanthropy for Honolulu Civil Beat where he is responsible for communicating the impact of local nonprofit journalism to prospective individual, foundation and business supporters. Prior to Civil Beat, Ben was the Vice President of Advancement of the state's only public television station, PBS Hawaii, where he played a leadership role in the station’s capital campaign while also overseeing annual fund strategies. Born and raised in Aiea, Hawaii, Ben graduated with a degree in politics from Occidental College in Los Angeles. A news junkie, Ben is thrilled to work in a newsroom and among journalists dedicated to making Hawaii — his home — a better place to live.

Follow Ben on Twitter at @ben_nishimoto.

Brad Racino | inewsource

Brad Racino | inewsource

Brad Racino is a senior reporter, assistant director and director of partnerships & innovation at inewsource, a nonprofit news organization in San Diego. He has produced work for print, radio and TV on a variety of topics including political corruption, transportation, health, trade, surveillance and maritime. Brad also has won national honors for his reporting and videography, including back-to-back national medals from Investigative Reporters and Editors, two national Edward R. Murrow awards, and a national Emmy nomination. He received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 2012.

Follow Brad on Twitter at @bradracino.

Amber Rivera | Inside Energy

Amber Rivera | Inside Energy

Driven by an urge to connect more directly with the public, Amber Rivera pivoted early in her career from private sector work in energy to public media journalism. Based in Denver, Amber is in year three as the Engagement Editor for Inside Energy, a multi-state collaborative journalism project funded by the CPB. Amber has evolved the engagement objectives of the project to amplify reporters’ reach and impact in spite of being a small, startup, non-profit organization. From advocating for new tools to increase digital engagement, to cloning herself on the ground by creating resource kits that empower anyone to bring powerful Inside Energy storytelling to their community, Amber targets efficient and lasting solutions. She also plays an active role in defining what the financial sustainability of Inside Energy looks like beyond the grant period. A Hoya at heart, Amber holds a B.S. in Science, Technology, and International Affairs from Georgetown University grounded in critical reasoning, quantitative analysis, and independent research.

Follow Amber on Twitter at @amber_waves.

Paula Saha | NJ Spotlight

Paula Saha | NJ Spotlight

Paula Saha is the director of audience and donor development at NJ Spotlight. Paula's professional experience includes a decade as a reporter in New Jersey and public relations for the state's largest performing arts center. She has been with NJ Spotlight since 2012 and has worked in all aspects of the organization, including editorial, grant-writing, marketing, sponsor relations, website operations and event planning. Paula is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has a Masters in Journalism from Syracuse University, where she was the recipient of the Newhouse Fellowship for Minority Journalists.

Follow Paula on Twitter at @paulasaha.

Halle Stockton | PublicSource

Halle Stockton | PublicSource

Halle Stockton is the managing editor of PublicSource. She has won several awards for her journalism, including being named a 2016 finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists for a series on psychotropic drugs prescribed to juvenile offenders. She was honored in 2015 with a national Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a story about a couple who both have cerebral palsy. In 2007, she won the William Randolph Hearst Foundation's national writing championship. Halle was previously a staff writer at the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune. Some of her favorite activities include fishing, hiking, cuddling with her standard schnauzer, Dexter, and watching Star Trek. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Development Initiative, a program of Leadership Pittsburgh.

Follow Halle on Twitter at @HalleStockton.

Jason Alcorn

Jason Alcorn

Jason Alcorn is the peer leader of the INN Emerging Leaders Council. He is a consultant for newsrooms, foundations and nonprofits working to build an informed citizenry. Until 2016, he served as associate director of InvestigateWest, overseeing fundraising, partnerships and product development. He also led data reporting and digital production for all InvestigateWest stories. Jason has led strategy and technology initiatives for a wide variety of nonprofit and public affairs clients in Boston and New York, including fundraising campaigns, audience development, website redesigns, and brand identity. Jason has a M.S. in Journalism and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, with a focus on media and public policy.

Follow Jason on Twitter at @jasonalcorn