For the first time in nearly three years, the New Jersey chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the NJ chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sponsored a “Meet the Media” panel, held at the student center at the Cook Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.
This podcast, produced by NJ-SPJ Secretary Steve Lubetkin, presents that panel discussion in its entirety.
Vice President/Senior Political Director, New Jersey 101.5 FM
Eric Scott is the winner of the 2022 Edward R. Murrow award for Best Newscast. He is currently Vice President/Senior Political Director for Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5. For more than 30 years, Eric has been the host and producer of New Jersey’s First News, the longest running news program in New Jersey, which airs weekday mornings from 5:30 – 6:00 a.m. He also provides regular news updates during the stations’ morning show between 6 – 10:00 a.m. His broadcasts were voted “Best Newscast” by the Associated Press 10 years in a row. His decades of covering New Jersey politics gives Eric a wealth of institutional knowledge and a unique perspective on the inner workings of state government. He is often sought out to provide insight and analysis on the most pressing issues facing the Garden State.
An influential journalist in New Jersey for more than three decades, Tom Bergeron is the founder, editor and co-owner of ROI-NJ, a digital and print outlet covering the world of business and politics in New Jersey that he helped launch in the fall of 2017. The 30-year veteran of journalism, who previously worked at The Star-Ledger, Yahoo! and NJBIZ, has established himself as one of the most well-known and trusted sources for business leaders, industry heads and government officials in the state by building a reputation of being fair and thorough in his reporting and presentation. Tom lives in Morris Plains with his wife and their five children. When he is not writing and reporting, he is coaching youth sports teams – having led more than 100 teams in the past 20 years. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
Business Reporter, Asbury Park Press
Michael Diamond is a business reporter at the Asbury Park Press, where he has been writing about the New Jersey economy and health care industry since 1999. Before joining the Press, Michael Diamond worked at newspapers in Pennsylvania and California. He’s a graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and a native of Denver, Colorado. He currently lives in Atlantic Highlands.
Guest Anchor and Senior Correspondent, NJ Spotlight News/NJ PBS
Joanna Gagis is a Guest Anchor and Senior Correspondent for NJ Spotlight News, the nightly news broadcast of NJ PBS. She covers New Jersey politics, education, healthcare, the economy and more. Joanna recently launched the in-depth interview series “HerStory with Joanna Gagis”, that brings into focus many of the critical issues facing women today. Before joining the news team at NJ PBS, Joanna helped develop and launch the lifestyle show “Life & Living with Joanna Gagis,” a series that highlighted the lifestyle and culture of New Jersey – restaurants, fashion, the arts, destinations, and New Jersey celebrities. She’s also a mom of 2 kids, which is by far her most important job!
Associate Editor, American Journalism; Associate Professor of Journalism, William Paterson University and Former reporter, N.Y. Daily News
Nicholas Hirshon is a journalism professor at William Paterson University and a two-time recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Outstanding Campus Chapter Adviser Award. A former reporter for the New York Daily News, Dr. Hirshon studies the history of sports media in New York City and serves as associate editor for a peer-reviewed media history journal, American Journalism. His book We Want Fish Sticks: The Bizarre and Infamous Rebranding of the New York Islanders was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2018, and he currently serves as a consultant providing research for the Islanders as they celebrate their fiftieth anniversary season. Dr. Hirshon has a Master’s from the Columbia Journalism School and a Ph.D. from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
Steve Lubetkin, APR, Fellow, PRSA
Managing Partner, The Lubetkin Media Companies; News Director, State Broadcast News
Steve Lubetkin is an award-winning multimedia journalist and veteran communications counselor. But he has also been on the cutting edge in using technology for communications and marketing for a very, very, long time. In fact, he was the first music writer to use a portable computer to cover a rock concert – it was a Grateful Dead concert in Englishtown, New Jersey – that actually took place in September 1977. Steve has included an email address on his business card since 1988. For almost 18 years, he has been managing partner of The Lubetkin Media Companies, which produces award-winning audio and video podcasts, corporate photojournalism, and other multimedia content, and serves as news director for its State Broadcast News division, which produces radio and TV news content for other news organizations. He is the co-author, with Toronto-based podcaster Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. On Twitter, he is known as “@PodcastSteve.”
P. Kenneth Burns
South Jersey Reporter
P. Kenneth Burns is WHYY’s South Jersey reporter. He joined the station in 2018 as an anchor. He also contributed stories and won a 2020 Keystone Media Award for one of them. Prior to WHYY, he covered city government and urban issues for WYPR in Baltimore, his first stop in public media. His coverage of the Freddie Gray police trials won a 2017 National Headliner Award. Burns began his career shortly after high school as an intern and later news assistant at WTOP in Washington, D.C. He would go on to work for several commercial broadcasting outlets as a reporter, anchor, and producer in the D.C. and Baltimore metro areas. The native Marylander and recently adopted New Jerseyan is a graduate of Towson University and Anne Arundel Community College. He is the current president of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
On The Frontlines
Bob Schapiro has reported from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. His most recent documentary won an Emmy Award in New York City, where he has written and produced newscasts for WCBS, WPIX, and WNBC. He is immediate past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Reporter, Axios Philadelphia
Isaac Avilucea is a reporter for Axios Philadelphia. He spent nearly eight years covering Trenton for The Trentonian. He is a two-time recipient of NJ-SPJ’s Courage Under Fire honor and winner of the Tim O’Brien award for best use of public records. His stories on two sensational family court cases in Connecticut and New Jersey drew the scorn of the government, which tried censoring his reporting.
PRSA New Jersey President-Elect
Michael Lauer is President-Elect of PRSA New Jersey. He is also a Senior Vice President with United Minds, a consultancy dedicated to helping organization mange change and transformation. Michael is a PROSCI-certified Change Management practitioner and has partnered with prominent global brands across multiple industries. Before joining United Minds, Michael founded his own consulting business, MDL Strategic Communications, where he partnered with clients to help articulate their value-proposition to key stakeholders.
Previously, Michael was a Communications Leader at Johnson & Johnson. In this role, he was responsible for developing and executing communication strategies for the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. Michael also lead the change transformation communications team for a multi-year $50 million modernization project across the pharmacovigilance practice. Before Johnson & Johnson, Michael worked for several leading communication agencies and led HR Communications for Cigna, a leading U.S. health insurance provider. Early in his career, Michael was the Public Information Officer for the U.S. Capitol Police department.
Michael received his Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Monmouth University and has spoken publicly about his passion for communications.