Merrill Perlman is a consultant who works with news organizations, private companies and students, specializing in helping people communicate better through more effective writing and editing. She spent 25 years at The New York Times in jobs ranging from copy editor to director of copy desks, in charge of all 150-plus copy editors at The Times. (Both titles are, sadly, extinct at the Times.) She is an adjunct assistant professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and writes the Language Corner column for the Columbia Journalism Review. Merrill is a member of the executive committee of ACES: The Society for Editing and of its Education Fund, She has received the Missouri Honor Medal from the Unversity of Missouri, the Glamann Award from ACES, and the Charles R. O’Malley Award for Excellence in teaching from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. She was a reporter for four years before becoming an editor.
Jillian Banner is assistant editor for video strategy at Poynter, based in Washington, D.C. In this role, she works with local newsrooms to create video content tailored to younger audiences. Her previous experience includes working on documentaries for The Atlantic, editing a weekly YouTube series, and producing videos for a national nonprofit. She has also directed her own short nonfiction films, which have screened at various film festivals. Jillian is originally from California and graduated from Carleton College with a B.A. in Cinema & Media Studies.
Ahsante is Editor & Program Manager, Video Strategy at Poynter, where she’s focusing on developing innovative digital content with local newsrooms to reach younger audiences.
Prior to joining Poynter, Ahsante was an Associate Director of Programming at PBS Digital Studios. There, she worked on editorial and content development for a slate of 20 educational online video series including It’s Okay to be Smart, Physics Girl, and The Art Assignment. She also created and executive produced Say It Loud, a PBS digital series celebrating Black history, culture, and achievement. Prior to PBS, she worked in Children’s Programming at WGBH, and as a Multimedia Storyteller at the global design firm IDEO.
Ahsante has a background in video production and currently creates videos on her personal YouTube channel as “Ahsante the Artist”. There, she makes videos on personal development and social awareness that inspire her audience to move consciously and creatively through life. Ahsante has been a featured creator at VidCon, the largest international
Ahsante holds a B.A. in Visual and Environmental Studies: Film/Video from Harvard University. She is currently based in Washington, D.C.
Alexa Volland is a multimedia reporter with the MediaWise project. Before joining Poynter, she was the web editor for the Tampa Bay Times’ high school newspaper, tb-two*. She then went on to join the Times’ features department as a copy editor and designer. Prior to that, she was a journalism teacher in Pinellas County. She graduated from the University of Florida, where she studied journalism and education.
Alex Mahadevan is senior multimedia reporter with the MediaWise project.
He most recently worked as a data journalist at the personal finance startup The Penny Hoarder. Prior to that, Mahadevan served as the news innovation editor at Observer Media Group. He has covered politics, real estate and development and breaking news.
Cristina Tardáguila is the International Fact-Checking Network’s Associate Director. She was born in May 1980, in Brazil, and has lived in Rio de Janeiro for most of her life. Since 2014, Tardáguila has dedicated her professional life to verification. She is the founder of Agência Lupa, the first fact-checking initiative in her country, and also responsible for LupaEducação, its educational branch.
Tardáguila studied Journalism at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and got her master’s degree, also in Journalism, from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, in Madrid (Spain). In 2017, she added to her resumé an MBA on Digital Marketing, from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV-Rio de Janeiro), and is now considered one of the strongest media entrepreneurs in her country.
As a reporter and/or an editor, Tardáguila has worked in some of the most important media outlets in Brazil: O Globo, Folha de S.Paulo, Globo.com and revista piauí. She has also published two books: “A Arte do Descaso” (in 2016), about the biggest art heist in Brazil – still an unsolved crime. And “Você foi Enganado” (2018), about presidential false claims heard in Brazilian politics since 1920.
Her interest in dis/misinformation combat has taken her to TEDx’s red carpet twice and has turned her into elPeriodico’s best journalist of 2018. This award is annually given by Grupo Zeta, in Spain, to the most impressive journalist of the year. Tardaguila has also been nominated for Premio Gabriel García Marquez, in Colombia, and Prêmio Comunique-se, in Brazil. Both in their innovation categories.
Tardáguila is married, has a daughter and is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish.
Roy Peter Clark is a writer, editor and teacher of writing who has become a writing coach to an international community of students, journalists and writers of many sorts. He is former vice president of The Poynter Institute and founded the National Writers Workshop. Clark has appeared frequently on media on the topics of ethics in journalism and other writing issues. He is author or editor of 19 books on writing, language, journalism and grammar, including “Writing Tools,” “The Glamour of Grammar” and “How to Write Short.”
Heaven Taylor-Wynn is a digital journalist who joined MediaWise in 2019 shortly after graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. The MediaWise project teaches teenagers media literacy skills that help them tell the difference between reliable and unreliable information on social media as well as throughout the internet.
Since joining the team, Heaven has traveled the country to teach hundreds of middle school, high school, and college students how to tell fact from fiction online at MediaWise training events. Heaven is passionate about finding creative ways to tell stories about misinformation across platforms and discovering new ways to connect with younger audiences online. As the team’s social media lead, she oversees the execution of social content and recommends methods to improve our reach across platforms. Heaven also leads the MediaWise Ambassadors program. She identifies, recruits, and onboards content creators, prominent journalists, and celebrities to support and share MediaWise’s message with their audiences.
She has contributed to podcasts, video series and educational materials about misinformation and media literacy. Heaven is based in St. Petersburg, FL which she called home all her life.
Baybars Örsek is the director of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at The Poynter Institute, the premier global coalition of fact-checking organizations. Prior to joining IFCN, Örsek had served as the founding executive director of the Turkish fact-checking organization Doğruluk Payı between 2014 and 2019.
He is a frequent expert source for major media outlets around the world. Örsek is a member of the board of trustees at TESEV, Turkey’s oldest think tank. Before launching Doğruluk Payı in 2014, he worked at his alma mater Istanbul Bilgi University. Örsek holds a B.A. degree in international relations and an M.A. degree in conflict resolution.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30 years, and has also worked for the Tampa Tribune and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Through his sports columns, including his popular weekly critique of sports on TV and radio called “Two Cents,” Tom has established himself as one of the most respected and accessible columnists in America today. He has a superb knack for blending the expertise gained from his reporting and rich network of sources, with the sensibilities of his audience. The result is work that is smart, easy to read and wonderfully resonant.
Aaron Sharockman is the executive director of PolitiFact, the largest fact-checking organization in the United States. Aaron leads the growth and development of PolitiFact, manages its outreach and news partnerships, and oversees new initiatives and product development. Aaron has been with PolitiFact since 2010 and served most recently as the editor of PunditFact, a website dedicated to checking claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers and the hosts and guests of talk shows. Aaron was a 2016-17 Reynolds Fellow at the University of Missouri and taught a class on political fact-checking at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Katie Sanders is the managing editor of PolitiFact. Previously, she fact-checked talking heads and opinion-shapers for PunditFact as well as the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott for PolitiFact Florida, reporting from the Tallahassee bureau of the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald. She is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she majored in English and journalism.
Ren LaForme is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He was previously Poynter’s digital tools reporter, chronicling tools and technology for journalists, and a producer for News University, Poynter’s e-learning team.
Ren has a master’s degree in journalism and media studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University at Buffalo.
He grew up in and around the hamlet of Gasport, New York, about 45 minutes northwest of Buffalo. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with his wife Keeley and dog Finn.
Josie Hollingsworth is PolitiFact’s audience engagement editor. Previously, she worked in audience engagement, expanding social platforms and website production at The Seattle Times and the Tampa Bay Times. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in Spanish literature and interactive multimedia journalism.
Angie Drobnic Holan is the editor-in-chief of PolitiFact. She previously was an editor, deputy editor and reporter for PolitiFact, helping launch the site in 2007. She was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 election. She has previously worked at newspapers in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and New Mexico.
She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a master’s of library science from the University of South Florida. Her undergraduate degree is from the Plan II liberal arts program at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a native of Louisiana and attended the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts.