JMC Advisory Board
The JMC advisory board’s 11 members are leaders in a range of journalism, public relations and advertising fields.
JOHN BRANCH (M.A.’96) has been a New York Times sports reporter since 2005. Previously, he was a sports columnist at The Fresno Bee from 2002 to 2005. He worked at the Colorado Springs Gazette as a business reporter from 1996 to 1998 and as a sports reporter from 1998 to 2002.
Since covering the New York Giants as a beat reporter for three seasons, Branch has been a feature writer, covering events big and small and finding a niche in the remote corners of the sports world.
His 2011 series “Punched Out,” about Derek Boogaard, a professional hockey player valued for his brawling, shed light on the sport’s embrace of potentially brain-damaging violence. The series won several awards, including a Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, and was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing.
Subsequent stories include a five-part series about the winless Lady Jaguars girls basketball team at Tennessee’s Carroll Academy, a school overseen by a county juvenile court, and an 18,000-word story about a fatal snow slide in Washington called “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.”
Born in Redondo Beach, Calif., and raised in Golden, Colo., Branch earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1989 and a master of arts in journalism 1996, both from CU-Boulder.
DEL BRINKMAN retired as dean of the CU School of Journalism & Mass Communication in 2002 after a career of 48 years in journalism and university teaching and administration.
Brinkman began his career in 1954 on the staff of the Emporia (Kansas) Daily Gazette, taught high school English and journalism and served on the journalism faculties at Kansas State University, Indiana University and the University of Kansas, where he was dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism for 11 years and vice chancellor for academic affairs for seven years. Brinkman left Kansas in 1993 and served seven years as director of journalism programs for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami before finishing his career at CU.
He and his wife, Carolyn, make their retirement home in Bloomington, Ind. He is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and continues an active interest in research and activities involving famed Kansas journalist William Allen White.
EVE (O’BRIEN) BYRON (’87) is communications director at followthemoney.org., a Helena, Montana-based nonpartisan, nonprofit national institute on money in state politics that looks at who is funding elections in every state of the nation. The organization provides databases to academics, reporters and anyone else interested in the information regarding who is using money to potentially influence politics.
Before joining followthemoney.org, Byron spent 30 years in newspapers, working in Glenwood Springs and Aspen, Colo.; in Racine, Wis., and Winona, Minn. In 1993, she moved to Helena, Mont., where she was most recently special projects editor at the Independent Record. She is an adjunct professor at Carroll College, where she team teaches “Writing for Media.” Byron also spent nine months in 1998-99 in Ann Arbor, Mich., as the Mike Wallace Investigative Fellow with the Knight/Wallace Fellowship Program. She is married to her longtime sweetheart; they have two children.
JEANETTE CHAVEZ (’73) has been a professional journalist for more than 35 years. She worked at The Denver Post for 27 years, and for the last 15 years, was managing editor. She left The Post at the end of 2011. During her tenure, the newspaper won four Pulitzer prizes; the one she was most directly involved in was the Pulitzer-winning coverage of the Columbine High School tragedy.
She served on the Colorado Press Association board for several years, leaving the board in 2012 when her chairmanship ended. She also was a member of the national advisory board of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. She has served twice as a Pulitzer juror and been invited to speak or serve as a panelist on journalism-related topics in South Africa, as well as the United States.
Chavez graduated with honors from CU with a degree in journalism and has worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers, including the Chicago Sun-Times, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald and the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
JOHN LEACH (B.S.’74/M.A.’79) is managing partner of Digital Strategies, an internet consulting business in Phoenix and CEO of realcoloradotravel.com, a Colorado travel website. He also teaches journalism part-time at Arizona State University.
Leach is a former managing editor of The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com and worked for more than 30 years as an editor and reporter for newspapers in Colorado and Arizona. He is the founder and president of the Best of the West journalism contest and grants program, and he spent a year as a visiting professor of journalism at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
He was named CU’s outstanding journalism graduate as he completed his bachelor’s degree in 1974. He was a Regent’s scholar and served as president of the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and president of the School of Journalism Student Council. He added a master’s degree in journalism from CU in 1979 and a master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Sussex at Brighton, England, in 1983.
He was elected chair of CU’s Journalism & Mass Communication advisory board in 2012 and previously served as chair, vice-chair and a member of CU’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication Advisory Board. He has created two endowed scholarships for journalism and business students at CU.
EF RODRIGUEZ (’07) is director of digital strategy at McGarryBowen in Chicago, an Advertising Age “agency of the year.” Rodriguez recently returned to the United States after living in Amsterdam, where he was a creative at Wieden+Kennedy. He was previously at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Outside of work, he is an event director, responsible for TEDxBoulder, Ignite Boulder and Boulder Startup Week. He can be found on Twitter as @pug.
ADRIENNE RUSSELL is an associate professor and associate director of Emergent Digital Practices at the University of Denver. She also co-directs DU’s Institute for Digital Humanities. Her research and teaching focuses on the digital-age evolution of activist communication and journalism. She is the author of the book “Networked: A Contemporary History of News in Transition” (Polity 2011), and numerous articles and book chapters for both the popular and scholarly publications. She is also co-editor of the book “International Blogging: Identity, Politics and Networked Publics” (Peter Lang 2008).
Russell has served as a consultant to a number of start-up media projects and as and evaluator for Denver’s Open Media Project — a public media initiative funded by the Knight Foundation aimed at implementing digital tools in public access television stations throughout the country. She is on the editorial board of the journals Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism and Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.
Before joining the faculty at University of Denver, Russell was a research fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Communication. Before that she spent three years as an assistant professor in the Department of Global Communication at the American University of Paris. She holds a doctorate from Indiana University, a master of science from Stanford University, and a bachelor of arts degree from University of California Santa Cruz. More on her current projects and interests can be found at her website (www.adrienne.typepad.com).
NEAL SCARBROUGH (‘84) is senior executive producer for sports at the new Al Jazeera America network, where he oversees newscast sports content and is responsible for planning two upcoming weekend sports shows.
A native of Teaneck, N.J., Scarbrough volunteered at what was then CU’s student newspaper, the Campus Press, while he was on the CU-Boulder campus. After graduation he worked at Newsday, then served as the sports editor at The Denver Post before turning toward the digital realm. He joined ESPN The Magazine before being named editor-in-chief at ESPN.com and then leading AOL Sports. After a stint as a vice president for digital media at Versus and as a corporate communicator at Comcast, he joined Al Jazeera America in June, 2013.
ANDY VUONG (‘00) covers technology for The Denver Post. He joined the paper’s business news department in late 2000 shortly after graduating from CU-Boulder with a news-editorial degree. Other than a one-year hiatus, Vuong has served as a business reporter since then, handling a wide range of beats, from federal courts to aviation to energy.
He has covered tech and telecom since 2005, reporting on a series of high-impact stories such as the sale of Denver-based Qwest to CenturyLink, and the criminal insider-trading trial of former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio. With a keen eye for trends and a dogged approach to uncovering stories, he has established himself as an authoritative voice in the technology community.
In 2011, Vuong helped launch TechKnow, The Post’s weekly personal technology section. Featuring gadget reviews, profiles and news stories, TechKnow has become a must-read for both newbies and savvy technologists. His tech blog, techknowbytes.com, is one of the most-visited Post blogs, with traffic growing by more than 400 percent in 2012.
Vuong is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers of America. He lives in Aurora with his wife and fellow CU graduate, Meena, and their two children.
THOMAS WALEK (’79) is founder and president of Walek & Associates, a financial and corporate communications firm based in New York City. He directs strategy and programming for the firm’s clients, working closely with senior executives to develop creative, business-driven communications approaches to achieve bottom line results.
Walek began his career as a financial journalist covering the global expansion of capital markets from the trading floors of the Chicago futures exchanges. For the last 30 years, he has worked in financial and corporate public relations and investor relations. He founded Walek & Associates in 1998.
Walek is a member of the National Press Club and the National Investor Relations Institute. He serves on the communications and global communications committees of the Alternative Investment Management Association and chaired the sub-committee that produced the “AIMA Guidelines to Media Relations for The Hedge Fund Industry,” and helped write the first revision of “Guidelines.” He serves on the MFA Communications Advisory Forum. Walek has been a featured speaker in the U.S. and abroad for organizations including the Association for Investment Management Sales Executives, Euromoney, Institutional Investor, AIMA, Compliance Asia, Futures Industry Association, MAR Hedge, Institute for International Research, Ivy Plus, Financial Research Associates, Infovest21, Marcus Events and the University of Colorado Graduate School of Integrated Marketing Communications. He is the only PR executive featured in Jack Schwager’s “The New Market Wizards” and Richard Blake’s “Diary of a Hedge Fund Manager.”
A native of Pennsylvania, he graduated cum laude in journalism from CU-Boulder, including a year of study at the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom. While in Chicago, he attended the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
TIM WIELAND, (’91), a veteran employee of CBS4, KCNC-TV, has been news director at the station since June 2004. He brings more than 20 years of broadcast journalism experience to CBS4.
Wieland’s most recent tenure at KCNC-TV began in 2001 when he was hired as assistant news director. Since he joined KCNC, the news Department has received several industry honors, including the prestigious George Foster Peabody award; three national Edward R. Murrow awards; several regional Murrow awards including the award for overall excellence; and dozens of Emmy awards.
Before his most recent stint at KCNC, Wieland was a newscast producer and field producer for CNN, based in Atlanta. As field producer, he traveled to stories such as the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and the Democratic and Republican national conventions in 2000. Before CNN, Wieland spent seven years at KCNC writing and producing newscasts and was later promoted to executive producer. He started his broadcast journalism career as a reporter at KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colo.
An Emmy -award winning journalist, Wieland is a 1991 graduate of CU-Boulder with a B.S. in broadcast journalism. He is also a graduate of the newsroom management program at the Poynter Institute, and now serves as guest faculty at Poynter for leadership seminars. In 2010, Wieland was recognized by the Denver Business Journal as a “Forty Under 40″ winner for his leadership in business and the community.