Plenary Sessions

Please note that all speakers are confirmed, but the program may change without notice.


12:30–1:45 p.m.
Social Media, Web, and Mobile Content Challenges
Kristina Halvorson is founder and CEO of Brain Traffic, a content strategy consulting firm. She is the author of Content Strategy for the Web, and in 2010 she delivered the keynote address at the world’s first Content Strategy Summit in Paris.
Melanie Moran, associate director of Vanderbilt University’s office of news and communications, directs web communications, oversees the Vanderbilt website and social media presences, and edits Research News @ Vanderbilt.
Early Registration Gift
The first 100 registrants of both the preconference and conference will receive a free copy of the new book Content Strategy for the Web by preconference opening speaker Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic.
4:45–5:45 p.m.
Inviting Campus Coverage from Online Outlets
Howard LaFranchi covers US foreign policy as the Christian Science Monitor’s diplomatic correspondent. LaFranchi arrived in the Monitor’s Washington bureau in August 2001, after 12 years as a foreign correspondent: five years as Paris bureau chief, then seven years covering Latin America from the Monitor’s Mexico City bureau. As part of his current post, he covered the war in Iraq from numerous stints in the Baghdad bureau, and has reported out of Afghanistan.
Will McGuinness is a senior editor at The Huffington Post and runs its higher education section, HuffPost College. Before The Huffington Post, he reported for CBS Local’s viral stories desk and ran digital operations and products for several newspapers in Massachusetts. His work has appeared in The Boston Globe and The Advocate magazine among others.
Mark Stencel, managing editor for digital news at National Public Radio, oversees He has been a researcher at the Washington Post, an editor at Congressional Quarterly, and executive editor/deputy publisher for GOVERNING.


8:30–9:30 a.m.
Getting Coverage for Your Institution
Curt Carlson, vice chancellor for university relations at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, has served since 1985 as the chief public relations officer at this and three other campuses: Emory University, Illinois State University, and Berry College. 
David Jarmul is associate vice president of news and communications for Duke University. An honors graduate of Brown University, he previously held senior communications positions at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Academy of Sciences.
9:30–10:45 a.m.
Attracting the National Media
Tim Goral is editor-in-chief of University Business, a monthly magazine for higher education leaders that provides cutting-edge coverage of higher education technology, news, finance, policy, and profiles. Goral has spent 20 years working in national trade publication writing and editing.
Mary Beth Marklein has covered higher education for USA TODAY since 1997. She has been a free-lance writer contributing to the San Francisco Chronicle and Baltimore Sun among other publications, and she taught journalism courses at American University.
Ronald Roach is executive editor of Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, where he oversees editorial operations and planning for Diverse magazine, published twice monthly. He also is executive editor of, which publishes daily higher education news during weekdays. Both publications report largely on higher education access issues that affect minorities and women.
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Understanding Higher Education Coverage
Jon Marcus is a contributing editor for Hechinger Report and is U.S. higher education correspondent for the Times (U.K.) Higher Education magazine. He has written about education for Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, and others.
Richard Pérez Peña is higher education correspondent of the New York Times. He has been in journalism since 1985 and at the Times since 1992 covering courts, transportation, government and politics, healthcare, and the newspaper and magazine industry, among other beats.
Menachem Wecker is education reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Prior to joining U.S. News, Wecker worked in public affairs at George Washington University and served as assistant editor of B’nai B’rith Magazine.
2:00–2:30 p.m.
Public Policy and the Year Ahead
Tim McDonough, vice president of communications and marketing for the American Council on Education (ACE), has been at ACE since 1998. Previously, he was vice president for public affairs at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
2:30–3:30 p.m.
Crisis Communication: When It Hits the Fan
A speaker or speakers who recently have dealt with unusual or critical campus situations or events that made the news will be selected in the spring.
4:00–5:15 p.m.
Attracting Television to Your Campus
Melanie Jackson is a producer at NBC’s Today Show, a live broadcast (which pioneered the format in 1952) that provides the latest in domestic and international news, weather reports, and interviews with newsmakers from the worlds of politics, business, media, entertainment and sports.
Marie Malzberg is senior editorial producer for CNN Newsroom, where she oversees and books all of the guests for the daily program seen live across all CNN platforms. She joined CNN in 2006 as an editorial producer. Previously, she produced the Linda Chavez Program for the IDT Radio Network and began her career in various positions with The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Ellen Schweiger has worked at C-SPAN since 1989 and was network assignment desk director from 1990–2010. In 2011, she was promoted to senior producer for national programming and now oversees all C-SPAN events that are covered outside Washington.


11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Advancing Your College’s Media Presence
Elizabeth Bernstein is in her 12th year as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. She writes a column entitled “Bonds: On Relationships,” about the psychology of relationships. It runs every other week in the Personal Journal.
Carole Feldman is director of news operations and finance in the Washington Bureau of the Associated Press, a position she has held since 2008. She arrived at AP in 1976 and has covered education and other topics in both Washington and New Jersey for AP. She earned an undergraduate degree from Penn State and an M.S. in journalism from Boston University.
Joe Palca has been science correspondent for National Public Radio since 1992. He is the co-author of Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us and regularly fills in as guest host on “Talk of the Nation Science Friday.”