Our Speakers

Katie Barnes, ESPN, Digital Features Writer | they/them/theirs

Katie Barnes (they/them/their) is a feature writer, covering culture, LGBTQ issues, women’s basketball, collegiate softball and women’s combat sports. Since joining ESPN in August 2015, Katie has written about transgender athletes, racial justice, and Hollywood stunt doubles, among other topics. Their ongoing coverage of transgender athletes in high school has earned them two GLAAD award nominations, and they are hard at work on a book. They were also an executive producer on the 30 for 30 short Mack Wrestles.

Katie holds a B.A. in History, Russian Studies, and American Studies from St. Olaf College, and an M.S. in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Miami University (OH). They were the 2017 NLGJA Journalist of the year.

Derrick Clifton, Freelance Writer | they/them/theirs

Derrick Clifton is a freelance writer on identity, culture and social issues. They’ve written for NBC News, VICE, Out, Them, Mic, Windy City Times, Chicago Reader and more. Clifton’s work has won awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, and the Chicago Headline Club (SPJ).

Karen Hawkins, Chicago Reader, Co-Publisher and Co-Editor in Chief | she/her/hers

Karen Hawkins is co-publisher and co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader, and founder of Rebellious Magazine for Women and the Feminist Media Foundation. She is an award-winning reporter and editor whose journalism background includes positions at The Associated Press, the Windy City Times, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She is also a longtime mentor and national board member for NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. She is a frequent and enthusiastic speaker about newsroom diversity, LGBTQ+ issues, and feminism.

Imara Jones, TransLash Media, Co-founder, Creator & Host | she/her/hers

Imara, whose work has won Emmy and Peabody Awards, is the creator of TransLash Media, a cross-platform journalism, personal storytelling and narrative project, which produces content to shift the current culture of hostility towards transgender people in the US. As part of her work at TransLash, Imara hosts the WEBBY-nominated, TransLash Podcast with Imara Jones as well as the investigative, limited series, The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality. In 2020 Imara was featured on the cover of Time Magazine as part of its New American Revolution special edition. In 2019 she chaired the first-ever UN High Level Meeting on Gender Diversity with over 600 participants. Imara’s work as a host, on-air news analyst, and writer focuses on the full-range of social justice and equity issues. Imara was also the first Journalist-in-Residence at WNYC’s The Greene Space where she hosted the monthly program Lives At Stake. Imara has been featured regularly in The Guardian, The Nation, MSNBC, CNBC, NPR, Mic, and Colorlines.

Imara has held economic policy posts in the Clinton White House and communications positions at Viacom. Imara holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Columbia. Imara is a 2021 Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow and a 2019 Soros Equality Fellow. She was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve on the New York City Commission on Gender Equity. She also serves on the boards of the Transgender Law Center, Anti-violence Project, GLSEN, the LGBTQ+ Museum, and the New Pride Agenda. Imara is also part of the Move to End Violence.

Boyoung Lim, Pulitzer Center, Senior Editor | she/her/hers

Boyoung Lim is a senior editor at the Pulitzer Center. Since starting her journalism career in her native South Korea, she has covered human rights violations, illicit financial flows, tax injustice, the medical device industry, and others. An international investigation of pseudo-scientific publications led by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), in which she took part, won several domestic journalism awards. She formerly worked as a reporter at the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ) – Newstapa. She is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Maximo Patiño, Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY, Director of Admissions | he/him/his

Max Patiño joined the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s admissions team in July 2014 and most recently served as Associate Director of Multicultural Recruitment. Previously, he spent 14 years as director of recruitment and diversity at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is a member of the Newmark J-School Diversity Committee and adviser to the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) – Newmark J-School Chapter. He graduated with a dual B.A. in Advertising Creative and Spanish Literature and Culture from Syracuse University.

Anita Pouchard Serra, Photojournalist and Visual Storyteller | she/her/hers

Anita Pouchard Serra is a French-Argentinian photojournalist and visual storyteller, based in Buenos Aires and working in Latin America. She photographs what she lives, rather than what she sees, in total immersion in the heart of territories or stories that interrogate her. Her work revolves around questions and territories that cross her personally, connected with current societal issues like identity, migration, women’s rights, and territory, with a transdisciplinary approach from drawing to performance.

She is a National Geographic Emergency Fund Recipient and a Pulitzer Center grantee (2020), a We, Women grantee by Photoville and Women Photograph (2019-2020), a Moving Walls fellow by Open Society Foundations (2018-2020), and an International Women’s Media Foundation grantee and fellow (2017, 2018, 2020). She has been nominated twice to the 6×6 Global Talent Program by World Press Photo.

She has worked for The New York Times, TIME, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Le Monde, Amnesty, and published in Days Japan, Wired, Geo magazine, among others. She exhibited her work in Argentina, France, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. She is a visual storytelling teacher and lecturer in Argentina and with Strudelmedia Live and the Pulitzer Center. She also has given community engagement workshops since 2014.

Femi Redwood, CBS News and 1010 WINS Radio, Correspondent | she/her/hers

Femi Redwood is an Emmy-nominated correspondent who splits her time between CBS News and 1010WINS Radio. From her previous work at VICE News covering intersectional issues, to her time as an investigative reporter and anchor in Flint, Michigan, Femi’s mission has always been the same: to help struggling communities through powerful storytelling. She is a board member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ LGBTQ Task Force.

Sam Sanders, NPR’s “It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders” Host | he/him/his

Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a “deep dive” interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week’s news.

Previously, as a key member of NPR’s election unit, Sam covered the intersection of culture, pop culture, and politics in the 2016 election, and embedded with the Bernie Sanders campaign for several months. He was also one of the original co-hosts of NPR’s Politics Podcast, which launched in 2015.

Sanders joined NPR in 2009 as a Kroc Fellow, and since then has worn many hats within the organization, including field producer and breaking news reporter. He’s spent time at three Member stations as well: WUNC in North Carolina, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and WBUR in Boston, as an intern for On Point.

Sanders graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009 with a master’s degree in public policy, with a focus on media and politics. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, with a double major in political science and music.

Viktorya Vilk, PEN America, Program Director for Digital Safety and Free Expression | she/her/hers

Viktorya Vilk (she/her/hers) is the program director for digital safety and free expression at PEN America, where she leads initiatives on a range of free expression issues, including developing tools and strategies to empower writers, journalists, and media organizations to defend against online abuse. She has over a decade of experience working in nonprofits to expand access to the arts and defend creative and press freedom.

Neha Wadekar, Independent Multimedia Journalist | she/her/hers

Neha is an independent multimedia journalist reporting across the globe. She reports at the intersections of climate, gender, conflict, health, human rights, emerging democracies, and politics. Neha’s written and video work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Economist, PBS NewsHour, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Mother Jones, CNN, TIME, and others.

She has received fellowships from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the United Nations Foundation, the Fuller Project, the Overseas Press Club, the International Women’s Media Foundation, and the Groundtruth Project.