staff

Sara O’Brien

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. In 2015, Wide Sky was voted Best New Local T-Shirts by Tampa Bay’s Creative Loafing.

Jessi Marie McCarthy

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

Angie Lowry

Angie Lowry is Poynter’s marketing specialist.

Ren LaForme

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

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

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.

View all articles by Louis Jacobson

Vanya Tsvetkova

Vanya Tsvetkova is an interactive learning producer at Poynter’s News University. She brings her journalistic, video production, design and development skills to NewsU.

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 USF Tampa. She holds a master’s degree in digital journalism and design from USF-St. Petersburg, where she was a graduate research assistant.

Josie Hollingsworth

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.

View all articles by Josie Hollingsworth

Angie Holan

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.

View all articles by Angie Drobnic Holan

Kristen Hare

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.

More from Kristen

Nico Guerrero, SHRM-CP, PHR

Nico Guerrero has held various positions since she joined the Poynter staff in 2000. Currently, she is the Director of Human Resources. Nico has a B.A. in Human Resources Administration from St. Leo University and holds a SHRM-CP and PHR certification. When Nico is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and fearless terrier.

Jon Greenberg

Jon Greenberg is a staff writer with PolitiFact. He was part of the PolitiFact team during the 2012 presidential election and was one of the fact-checkers who launched PunditFact in 2013. Prior to that, he was executive editor at New Hampshire Public Radio and a Washington reporter for National Public Radio. He has twice won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting.

View all articles by Jon Greenberg

Mel Grau

Mel Grau is the marketing communications writer at The Poynter Institute where she writes about the people and programs that make Poynter a global leader in journalism. Grau, a graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spent five years in marketing, writing and product development in the health insurance and tourism industries before coming to Poynter.

Daniel Funke

Daniel Funke is a staff writer covering online misinformation for PolitiFact. He previously reported for Poynter as a fact-checking reporter and a Google News Lab Fellow, and has worked for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When he’s not chasing down online hoaxes, the University of Georgia graduate can be found cycling to your local brewery.

Send him a confidential tip or story idea here.

Alanna Dvorak

Alanna Dvorak is an interactive learning producer with the NewsU team, where she helps produce interactive learning materials.

Prior to joining Poynter, Dvorak worked as a local reporter for the Loudoun Times-Mirror, located just outside of Washington, D.C. in Northern Virginia, where she covered public safety, health and sports. From there, she delved into the non-profit realm, to include an internship in monitoring and evaluation at the National Democratic Institute in Washington, D.C.

Dvorak holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina (go Tar Heels) and a master’s degree in international development studies with a concentration in democracy development from the George Washington University. Her master’s research focused on media development in Nicaragua and it’s contribution to democratization.