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Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

The Murrow College “Power of Voice” speaker series serves as a catalyst to engage the community in discussions and dialogues surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, race, and social justice issues.

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Moderator-

 

Erin Tomson

Erin earned her both her Master’s degree (2006), and her Ph.D. (2010) from the Murrow College of Communication. She then joined the faculty at Oregon State University. In 2015, she returned to WSU, where she holds her current position as Scholarly Assistant Professor. She is the course director for Public Speaking in the Digital Age, which enrolls about 1,000 students each semester, and she oversees and mentors the graduate teaching assistants for that course. She also teaches Crisis Communication courses and mentors students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Erin spends her free time riding and competing horses in the equestrian sport of 3-Day Eventing. In June 2020, Erin started Eventers for Equality to raise awareness and support for the Black Lives Matter movement within the equestrian community. She and other allies are actively working toward greater diversity and inclusion in horse sports.


Panelists-

 

Enrique Cerna

Enrique Cerna is a veteran journalist who has worked in Seattle media for nearly 45 years. Cerna worked for 23 years at Cascade Public Media’s KCTS 9 and retired in February 2018 from his role as senior correspondent. Prior to joining KCTS in 1995, he worked as a reporter, producer and host for KOMO Radio and Television and KING Television.

At KCTS 9, Enrique produced and hosted award-winning current affairsprograms and documentaries. He produced and reported stories for national PBS programs, provided election analysis for the PBS NewsHour, moderated U.S. Senate, Congressional, Gubernatorial, and Mayoral debates. In addition, he produced and reported documentaries covering critical social justice and civil rights issues, the environment, immigration and documented the history and contributions of Latinos in Washington State.

Enrique has earned nine Northwest regional Emmy awards. The Seattle Weekly honored him with a 2003 Editors’ Choice selection as Best TV Host. In 2006, Seattle Magazine named him one of the most influential people of the year for his broadcast work. And in 2008, the Zeta Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate fraternity established by African Americans, awarded Enrique its Community Service Award for coverage of communities of color. In addition, the Minority Executive Directors Coalition honored him with its 2011 President’s Award and the Seattle Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association awarded him its Outstanding Community Service Award in 2012. In 2013, he was inducted into the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter’s Silver Circle for his contributions to the television industry. In 2016, Enrique was honored by the U.S. Mexico Chamber of Commerce Northwest Chapter Executive Board for his coverage of Washington State’s Latino community and by AFP Advancement NW for his 15 years as emcee of National Philanthropy Day, Washington State’s largest celebration of philanthropy.

Active in the community, Enrique serves on the Washington State Historical Society Board of Trustees, the Yakima Valley Museum Board of Directors and King County Television’s Citizens Advisory Committee. He has also served on the boards of United Way of King County, the World Affairs Council of Seattle, Seattle City Club and the Chief Seattle Council’s Scout Reach program. He was the co-chair of the successful Plaza Roberto Maestas Capital Campaign which raised more than 40 million dollars to build low income affordable housing on Seattle’s Beacon Hill.

Enrique grew up in the central Washington community of Wapato. He is a graduate of Washington State University.

 

John E. Davis

Broadcast journalist and media executive John E. Davis was born on November 3, 1947 in Wichita Falls, Texas to Tommy Christian and Myrtle Donaldson. Davis was raised in Wichita Falls and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1966. He went on to attend Henderson County Junior College in Athens, Texas before transferring to Washington State University, where he received his B.S. degree in broadcast communications in 1970.

Upon graduation, Davis was hired as a news reporter for Fresno, California’s KMJ-TV. In 1977, Davis moved to KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon, where he served as a news reporter and anchor until 1982. Then, for the next twenty years, he worked as a general assignment reporter and later as a weekend anchor for Chicago, Illinois’ WBBM-TV. During his time at WBBM, Davis became the first United States news reporter to interview Nelson Mandela after he was released from prison in 1990. In addition to his work on television, Davis served as a news director and anchor for WVAZ Radio, and has hosted a real estate show on WLS-AM Radio and WIND-AM Radio.

In 2003, Davis founded and served as president of John E. Davis Media, a firm that serves politicians, corporate executives, celebrities and athletes by providing them high-end political consulting, media crisis management and public speaking coaching. Through his media company, Davis has worked on numerous political campaigns, including Scott Lee Cohen for Governor of Illinois; the Terrence J. O’Brien Campaign for Cook County Board President; Howard B. Brookins, Jr.’s Campaign for Cook County State’s Attorney; and Dorothy Brown’s Campaign for Mayor of Chicago.

Davis has earned many honors throughout his career, including a 1988 local Emmy Award for his coverage of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington’s death; an Ada S. McKinley Youth Services Mentor of the Year Award; the Better Communicator Award from the League of Black Women; and a Monarch Award for Outstanding Communicator. He has served as a board member of the Harold Washington Library and of the Greek-American Rehabilitation and Care Centre, and as a charter member of the Saltpond Redevelopment Institute and member of the We Care model program of the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Police Department.

 

Carolyn Sawyer

Carolyn Sawyer is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Tom Sawyer Company (TSC). She has served as its President and set the strategic direction for this fast growing Communications firm since its inception in 1996.

TSC’s core competency is Communication Contact, which includes full service Call Center Operations, Strategic Instructional Training and Public Outreach.

This talented communicator has parlayed her mastery of mass media into creating a firm with capital sales exceeding the multi-million mark. Her cutting-edge business practices have garnered attention from USA Today (March 2004), where she was cited for optimizing Wi-Fi communications access to augment her business capabilities years before it became a mainstream operational tool.

Following TSC’s award-winning unveiling of South Carolina’s historic African American History Monument on the Statehouse grounds, former US Senator Fritz Hollings nominated Sawyer to serve on national Commission commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, et al. As the Marketing Communications Chairwoman, Sawyer helped shape the Commission’s worldwide publicity efforts, highlighting the landmark Supreme Court decision that ended school segregation in America.

Ms. Sawyer was a founding member of the Boston chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and previously served on the Board for the National Association of Blacks in Journalism. Ms. Sawyer is a graduate of Washington State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.

A former network correspondent and anchor for ABC News, LIFETIME Television Network, and NBC News, Sawyer has authored an inspirational guidebook for entrepreneurs Forget the Glass Slipper: Build Your Own Castle – 10 Traits of a Million Dollar Business and co-authored ABC’s of Media. She regularly contributes guest columns on topics of communications and business.

PAST EVENT: Murrow Grads and the BLM movement

October 28, 4pm

 

Join us for a moderated panel discussion focused on the experiences of recent Murrow graduates who have been professionally involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. Our panelists include journalists covering BLM protests and strategic communication practitioners whose work intersects with the movement.

 

Watch the recorded panel

Moderator-

 

Erin Tomson

Erin earned her both her Master’s degree (2006), and her Ph.D. (2010) from the Murrow College of Communication. She then joined the faculty at Oregon State University. In 2015, she returned to WSU, where she holds her current position as Scholarly Assistant Professor. She is the course director for Public Speaking in the Digital Age, which enrolls about 1,000 students each semester, and she oversees and mentors the graduate teaching assistants for that course. She also teaches Crisis Communication courses and mentors students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Erin spends her free time riding and competing horses in the equestrian sport of 3-Day Eventing. In June 2020, Erin started Eventers for Equality to raise awareness and support for the Black Lives Matter movement within the equestrian community. She and other allies are actively working toward greater diversity and inclusion in horse sports.


Panelists-

 

Kelsey Headshot

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones (they/them pronouns) began their advocacy work in college in their home state of Washington, serving as the chair of the campus sexual violence prevention and education committee and the policy specialist for campus health and safety. They were awarded the President’s Award for Leadership for their work combating sexual assault on campus and across the state. While earning their bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in communications, they were awarded a national Certificate of Merit from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and was named a finalist for the Society of Professional Journalist’s Region 10 Mark of Excellence award in 2016, 2017 and won in 2018. They traveled to Cuba and reported on a baseball player who had played across the United States, and to southern Mexico to report on immigration as an awardee of the Backpack Journalism scholarship in spring 2017. They also held internships at Lambert House, an LGBTQ youth center in Seattle, Legal Voice and the LA City Attorney’s Office. After Kelsey graduated in December 2017, they moved to Los Angeles and volunteered as a legal assistant at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and a sexual assault counselor advocate at Peace Over Violence. Kelsey was soon hired at Peace Over Violence as an emergency services coordinator/case manager before being promoted to volunteer program manager. They currently work as a housing navigator for Neighborhood Legal Services, assisting clients in connecting to community resources in order to ensure that they are not unhoused and unsheltered as a result of being evicted. Kelsey plans to eventually go back to school to pursue a master’s in public policy.

 

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Latisha Jensen

Hi! I am a 2019 WSU graduate with a degree in journalism and a major in Spanish. In college, I edited and wrote for the school newspaper the Daily Evergreen, produced and published a magazine, studied abroad in Spain and did a reporting project in Guatemala. I moved to Portland immediately after college and got a job as a reporter with a local alt-weekly exactly a year after graduation—which happened to be at the very beginning of the protests against police brutality while in the middle of the pandemic. My beat focuses on underrepresented communities, in particular east Portlanders. Outer east Portland is where marginalized communities have been forced to move to as the city gentrified. So far, a few things I’ve written about are wrongful evictions of undocumented immigrants, the spread of COVID-19 in overcrowded homes, and a series called Black and White in Oregon. This series involves analyzing data and comparing life as a person of color versus life for white Oregonians.

 

 

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Nashika Stanbro

Nashika Stanbro is an experienced communications professional. She left a career in healthcare compliance to pursue her educational goals, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Strategic Communications from Washington State University Everett in 2018. Nashika’s current professional role is public information specialist for Community Transit, a Snohomish County public transit agency. She serves as a lead communicator for the agency on COVID-19 related topics, equity and crisis communications. Nashika is a longtime resident of Snohomish County and is passionate about lifelong learning and equity. She is an active community member, serving on community boards and volunteer committees. Nashika is known for her love of community, vinyl records, and outdoor rollerskating. She lives in Everett with her husband and their teenage son.

 

 

Nathan Action Photo

Nathan Howard

Nathan Howard is a freelance photojournalist based in Portland, Ore. He was previously a staff photographer at The Columbian in Southwest Washington, The Newport News-Times in Oregon, and The Moscow-Pullman Daily News covering Washington and Idaho. For the past four months he’s covered continued political violence and protests in Portland, Ore. Recent clients include Getty Images, The Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg News. Nathan is a winner of two National Press Photographer Association Best of Photojournalism awards, as well as the Associated Press Cowles Cup. He graduated from Washington State University in 2015 where he studied communication and political science. (Go Cougs!)

 

 

Katherine Headshot

Katherine Barner

Katherine is a multi-media producer at KHQ Local News. She is one of the many KHQ producers who has been on the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement news coverage, producing multiple protest focused newscasts and photographing the May 31 Spokane riots. Katherine graduated from Washington State University in 2019 with a degree in Strategic Communication. While at WSU, she was the President of KUGR Cougar College Radio, was a Murrow Ambassador, and was an assistant producer at Northwest Public Broadcasting. She is originally from Orange County, California. In her spare time she photographs concerts, events and portraits.

 

 

 

Xavier Headshot

Xavier Henderson

With over 2 million views across social media platforms Xavier Lee has established a representation for being a catalyst for positive change through his videos. Xavier has been featured on news station’s KHQ 8 and KOMO 7, and has spoken in front of more than 100,000 youth and working professionals. He uses his voice and tells his story of him being homeless & a High School Drop out to becoming an Academic Scholar and a Business Owner. He speaks to inspire others to chase their dreams and believe in themselves. Xavier expertise are on topics relating to higher education, community, diversity inclusion, and fatherhood. He loves being a husband to his wife Sabrina and a father to his two sons: August and Juni. He also loves speaking to students and athletes.. He is a key note speaker, he host break out sessions, does program development and workshops. “Helping others succeed is my only goal and I really just want to see everyone win.”