Latishia Williams has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 25 years in roles from Accounting Assistant to her current position as Staff Accountant.
Amy Sherman is a staff writer with PolitiFact based in South Florida. She was part of the team that launched PolitiFact Florida in 2010 and was part of the PolitiFact team during the 2016 election. She previously worked as a staff writer for the Miami Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. A native of Amherst, Mass., she graduated with a history degree from Macalester College in St. Paul.
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.
Tong Phum serves as The Poynter Institute’s Facility Manager, overseeing its premier headquarters in St. Petersburg. Tong plays an instrumental role in supporting Poynter’s in-person teaching capacity and the Innovation Lab @ Poynter. Tong manages vendors and special events as well as day-to-day facility operations.
Prior to joining Poynter, Tong served as Facilities Coordinator for 15 years in Seattle, Washington with the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS). He recently moved to St. Petersburg to be closer to family.
During his tenure at ACRS, he maintained a building nearly twice the size of Poynter, completed several large building projects, and handled event set-ups similar in size and scope to Poynter’s teaching and community events.
You’ll always find Tong with a smile or a quick laugh.
Sara O’Brien is the multimedia designer for The Poynter Institute. She specializes in video and graphic design. Before joining Poynter, she spent 12 years working in television as a producer and creative manager for Sinclair Broadcast Group. She has worked on an array of video projects such as commercials, infomercials, promos, and television shows. In 2009, she authored St. Petersburg Then & Now, a local history book. She is also the owner of Wide Sky, a t-shirt company in St. Petersburg, Florida. Wide Sky was voted Best Local T-Shirt Company by Tampa Bay’s Creative Loafing in 2015 and 2019.
Jessi Marie McCarthy plans and executes group seminars and events as part of the teaching & event services team. She also coordinates and supports ASBPE’s annual Azbee Awards of Excellence contest and national conference.
Before joining the Poynter staff, McCarthy acted as a creative manager, designer and administrative assistant in the Chicagoland area. She brings along a unique fusion of special project coordination, customer service and data system management. McCarthy earned her B.F.A. from Elmhurst College in 2008, with concentrations in graphic design, digital imaging and sculpture.
In her spare time, she creates custom artwork and enjoys time with her guy and their dogs, Harvey and Daisy.
Angie Lowry is Poynter’s marketing specialist.
Ren LaForme is the Digital Tools Reporter for Poynter.org. He runs Try This! — Tools for Journalism, which is an effort to find, share and provide training around the best digital tools for journalists.
He also frequently uses his vanity title, Executive Director of Awesome.
Ren is one-half of the duo responsible for 40 Better Hours, a project to improve the workweek. He is also the cofounder of ONA’s Tampa Bay chapter and cofounder of Tampa Bay Media & Digital, a meetup group for locals who work in news media or on the internet.
Maria Jaimes serves as senior teaching & event services coordinator at The Poynter Institute. She came to Poynter in the spring of 2000 and worked with the accounting, library and marketing departments before joining the teaching & event services department in 2014. She enjoys diverse learning opportunities and projects.
Though born in the north, Jaimes grew up mostly in a small Florida town where she still visits family and friends regularly. When not working, she values time with family and all their pets.
Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent for PolitiFact and a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times. He has served as deputy editor of Roll Call and as founding editor of its legislative wire service, CongressNow. Earlier, he spent more than a decade covering politics, policy and lobbying for National Journal magazine. Since 2002, he has handicapped political races, including state legislatures, governors, congressional seats, state attorneys general and the electoral college, currently for Governing. He is senior author of The Almanac of American Politics 2016 and The Almanac of American Politics 2018 and also contributed to the 2000 and 2004 editions. In 2004, Jacobson originated the “Out There” column on politics in the states, which ran in Roll Call and later in Stateline.org and which won five annual awards from Capitolbeat, the association of state capitol reporters and editors. He received the Weidenbaum Center Award for Evidence-Based Journalism from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014, and in 2017, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers gave him a Best in Business award for his economics coverage.
Vanya Tsvetkova is an interactive learning producer at Poynter’s News University where she works on creating online training geared toward journalists and anyone interested in learning more about the craft and values of journalism.
Vanya is also an adjunct at The University of Tampa and a TV production freelancer for national sporting events. Previously, Vanya was a freelance digital media developer and marketing coordinator at Poynter.
Vanya earned her bachelor’s in broadcast production from the University of South Florida. She holds a master’s degree in digital journalism and design from USF-St. Petersburg, where she was a graduate research assistant. Currently, Vanya is working on a doctorate at USF in curriculum and instruction with a specializaton in instructional technology.
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 of PolitiFact. She previously was deputy editor, and before that a reporter for PolitiFact, helping launch the site in 2007. She was a member of the PolitiFact team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 election. She 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.
Kristen Hare covers the transformation of local news for the Poynter Institute. Her work for Poynter has earned her a Mirror Award nomination. Hare, a graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, spent 5 years as the Sunday features writer and an assistant editor at the Saint Joseph (Missouri) News-Press, and five years as a staff writer covering race, immigration, the census and aging at the St. Louis Beacon. She also spent two years with the Peace Corps in Guyana, South America. Hare and her family live outside Tampa.