Friday, May 20, 2022

State News Alumni Notebook for Spring 2021

S'Newsers continue life climbs well beyond the banks of the Red Cedar

OSU fans applaud during the basketball game on Feb. 25, 2021/
OSU fans applaud during the basketball game on Feb. 25, 2021/ —
Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

A quick recap of just some of the great things happening to your fellow S’News alums and friends of The State News as of late:

  • The State News celebrated its 112th birthday on March 10.
  • Alex Altman was promoted in March to director of content design for Red Ventures in Detroit. He had been senior content strategist at the firm. Prior to that, he was a senior copywriter for Digitas North America and a copywriter for Commonwealth/McCann, Organic, and HelloWorld, Inc.
  • Amy Bartner met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on April 2 to talk about her career and her current job as a digital content producer for Conga in Indianapolis. Prior to that, Amy was a reporter and editor for The Indianapolis Star.
  • Jacob Carpenter was scheduled to discuss best practices for framing stories related to pandemic learning for a "Back To School During COVID-19" webinar hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations scheduled for April 15. Carpenter is the education reporter at the Houston Chronicle.
  • Kelley L. Carter filled in as an entertainment news presenter for ABC’s Good Morning America weekend show this spring. Kelley is a senior writer for ESPN, where she covers the intersection of sports with entertainment, film, TV and music. She has also worked with BuzzFeed, Ebony Magazine, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune and The Detroit Free Press. Kelley is also joining fellow S’Newser Jemele Hill in teaming up with Gabrielle Union to launch a new TV show on Showtime.
  • Dante Chinni met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on Feb. 26 to talk about his career and his current job as a reporter and data analyst for the Wall Street Journal and NBC News and head of the American Communities Project at George Washington University, an effort that centers on exploring the divides in America by studying how demographic differences affect community economics, culture and politics. That work was the focus of a book titled Our Patchwork Nation, available from Gotham Books.
  • Lauren Gibbons, a political reporter for MLive Media Group in Lansing, was one of 25 journalists nationwide selected for The National Press Foundation fellowship on “Covering the Statehouse in a Time of Crisis.” This fellowship consisted of eight training sessions on Feb. 5, 12 19, and 26; March 5, 19 and 26; and April 2.
  • Zach Gorchow met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on Feb. 19 to talk about his career and his current job as executive editor and publisher at Gongwer News Service Michigan. Prior to that he was an editor and reporter at Gongwer and a staff writer at the Detroit Free Press and the Redford (Mich.) Observer. He is married to fellow S’News alum Jen Hrynik Gorchow.
  • Kelly House met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on Jan. 29 to talk about her career and path to her current job as an environment reporter for Bridge Magazine in Lansing, Mich. Prior to that she was a Willamette River Initiative program associate for the Meyer Memorial Trust in Oregon, an environmental reporter for The Oregonian in Portland, and earned a degree in environmental law from Lewis & Clark Law School.
  • Kate Jacobson recently accepted a position as a senior content marketing manager at Epsilon in Chicago. Prior to that, she was a marketing and communications senior manager for SmithBucklin in Chicago, a senior editor for Ranker in Los Angeles and a reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  • Andrew Krietz met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on March 5 to talk about his career path to his current job as a digital producer for 10News/WTSP-TV in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. Prior to that he was a multimedia producer for WZZM-TV Channel 13 in Grand Rapids and a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press and He earned an undergraduate certificate in weather forecasting from Penn State in 2016.
  • Lauren McKown met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on March 26 to talk about her career path to her current job as vice president of development and communications at The GroundTruth Project, which oversees Report for America. Prior to that, she led new initatives and partnerships at MIT’s D-Lab, and she is the sister of S’News 2021 womens’ basketball reporter Elijah McKownLauren also recently had an article published by the Poynter Institute.
  • Sergio Martinez-Beltran in March began covering Michigan politics for Bridge Magazine. Previously, he had been covering politics for Nashville Public Radio in Tennessee.  
  • Thea Neal was featured in the book, “Brains, Beauty, Boss: The Ultimate Guide for Women in the Workplace” by Barbara Euripides, a compilation of interviews with Forbes 30 Under 30 list-makers of the recent past like Thea, who currently is the talent marketing manager for the Royal Caribbean Group.
  • Antonio Planas in April began working as a digital breaking news reporter for NBC News in New York. Prior to that, Antonio was a reporter for Newsday, the Boston Herald, and Las Vegas Review-Journal. 
  • McKenna Ross met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on March 12 to talk about her career. McKenna is a reporter for Prior to that the 2019 graduate interned at The Oregonian, Gongwer News Service, WKAR Radio, the Palm Beach Post and Hour Media.
  • Gabrielle Russon was quoted in a article in February about the troubled response of Tribune Co. journalists over the newspaper chain’s pending sale to a hedge fund known for drastic budgetary cutbacks. Russon is a business reporter with the Orlando Sentinel.
  • Meagan (Beck) Saxton began work in April as communications coordinator for the MSU College of Nursing. Prior to that, Meagan was social media coordinator for Grand Valley State University, a PR specialist for DYS Media, and a reporter for
  • Brittany Shammas met with the newsroom staff via Zoom on Feb. 5 to talk about her career. Brittany is a reporter with The Washington Post. Prior to that she was a writer for Miami New Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  • Omar Sofradzija is wrapping up his third stint as newsroom adviser for The State News. He has accepted a position as a Chicago-based content specialist for Ironpaper, a New York City B2B marketing agency. He served as adviser in 2007-15, 2017-18, and 2019-21. Prior to that, he reported for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star. He can be reached at
  • Souichi Terada was hired by to cover professional basketball’s Boston Celtics. Previously, he had been the University of Missouri sports beat writer for the Kansas City Star. 

Do you have a status update to share with the S’News? Please let us know and we’ll consider it for publication in the next newsletter and on SNAA social sites! Email your news to

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