Professional Development

The Editors Panel

Wednesday, May 15th
1:30pm to 2:30pm

Amy AlipioSr. Editor, National Geographic Traveler
Amy Alipio
Sr. Editor, National Geographic Traveler

Amy Alipio has been an editor at National Geographic Traveler for 17 years, starting as an assistant editor and currently senior editor. She is an award-winning author and editor of feature stories, including Traveler’s signature “Best Trips” franchise.  Before Traveler, she was an editor at WHERE Washington magazine, and has also been an editor at Budapest Weekly, in Hungary, and a program assistant at the Smithsonian Associates, in Washington, D.C. She can be found on Twitter @amytravels and Instagram @amyalipio.

Jennifer BainFreelance Writer & Former Travel Editor, Toronto Star
Jennifer Bain
Freelance Writer & Former Travel Editor, Toronto Star

Jennifer Bain is a Canadian freelance writer, grad student and cookbook author who is currently writing two travel books. She wrote for daily newspapers for 28 years, and spent the last 18 years at Canada’s largest newspaper (the Toronto Star) where she was the food editor and then the travel editor. With a buyout in hand in mid-2018, Jennifer started freelancing for a variety of magazines, websites and newspapers while tackling a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction. Jennifer lives in Toronto with her husband and three kids, but has a family bison ranch in Southern Alberta and a vacation home on Fogo Island in Newfoundland. 

Dana LavertyTravel & Copy Editor, AAA Northeast
Dana Laverty
Travel & Copy Editor, AAA Northeast

Dana Laverty is the travel and copy editor at AAA Northeast, where she coordinates travel coverage for more than 3 million readers of Your AAA, the print and digital magazine for members. She has more than 20 years of experience in journalism and marketing, including stints as a newspaper reporter and editor, social media specialist and freelance writer. She loves hiking, reading, eating her way through the Northeast and exploring the world with her teenage daughter.

Karen LeivaEditor, Ensemble Vacations
Karen Leiva
Editor, Ensemble Vacations

Karen is the editor of Ensemble Vacations magazine in Canada, which in 2017 earned the top award for best magazine from the North American Travel Journalists Association. In addition to her work as a travel writer and editor, she does social media marketing and public relations for several travel clients, including agents and other travel companies. Her passion project is spearheading the Nzirambi Education Fund, which has raised more than $100,0000 for the education for orphaned children in Uganda.

Andrew ElkinManaging Editor, Air Canada enRoute
Andrew Elkin
Managing Editor, Air Canada enRoute

As Managing Editor of Air Canada enRoute, Andrew Elkin guides the work of a talented, diverse team based in Montreal and Toronto. He is always looking for distinct voices and new kinds of storytelling to mesh with Air Canada enRoute’s award-winning, distinctly Canadian approach to inflight. Andrew particularly enjoys working on drink-pieces: He is a certified wine professional through the London-based Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and a partner in a Montreal nanobrewery, Brasserie Estuaire. He’s currently working on a story about Indian teas.

Using 360 in Your Stories

Wednesday, May 15th
2:45pm to 4:00pm and 4:15pm to 5:30pm

 Dan PachecoPeter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair in Journalism InnovationMagazine, News and Digital Journalism SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University
Dan Pacheco
Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair in Journalism Innovation
Magazine, News and Digital Journalism
SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Dan Pacheco holds the Peter A. Horvitz Chair of Journalism Innovation at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and is a pioneer in the use of virtual reality for journalism. In 2014 he started and co-produced The Des Moines Register’s Harvest of Change VR project for the Oculus Rift, the world’s first large-scale use of virtual reality by a commercial news organization. Harvest of Change earned an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2015 for its innovative use of 360-degree video for virtual reality.
Previously, Pacheco spent 20 years in the trenches of digital publishing everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to startups. He started his career as an online producer for, where he produced Interact, one of the first online news communities on the Web. Subsequently, as a principal product manager at America Online, he oversaw some of the Internet’s first truly global community products. In 2005, after pioneering the first implementation of a social networking platform at a U.S. newspaper, he received an NAA “20 Under 40” award. And in 2007, he received a Knight News Challenge grant to build a democratized publishing service that evolved into an eBook platform. 
When he’s not teaching, Pacheco is busy exploring new technologies shaping the future of media, which lately means augmented reality, citizen sensor networks and drones. He is also working on an Emerging Media Platforms course that will be offered through Newhouse’s Communications@ Syracuse online master’s program.

The Art and Science of Story Telling

Wednesday, May 15th
2:45pm to 4:00pm and 4:15pm to 5:30pm

 Bruce StrongChair, Visual CommunicationsAssociate Professor SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University
Bruce Strong
Chair, Visual Communications
Associate Professor
SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

An award-winning photojournalist and professor and the chair of the Visual Communications department, Bruce Strong has traveled to nearly 70 countries and has worked as both a staff and an independent photojournalist/videographer around the world. His most recent adventures have taken him to Iceland, Croatia, Oman, Mauritius, Mongolia, Armenia and South Sudan.
Strong worked at one of the largest newspapers in California for 11 years and also has freelanced for a variety of international publications and non-profit organizations. His images have been published in magazines such as TIME and National Geographic and have earned numerous awards. Strong also served as a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan, as a Knight Fellow at Ohio University, and as the first professional in residence at MediaStorm (then in New York). While there, he helped produce A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan, which was nominated for an Emmy, was a finalist for Documentary of the Year at POYi, earned second place in Long Form Multimedia Story at POYi, and won the Media For Liberty Award. 
When he’s not in the field producing his own work, Strong spends most of his time helping others learn to tell stories that matter and considers teaching a rewarding and enlightening journey. Many of his students have won top honors from NPPA, POY, World Press and BOP even while still in school. He also mentored back-to-back College Photographer of the Year winners Matt Eich and Travis Dove. In 2010, Strong was honored with a Meredith Teaching Recognition Award from Syracuse University and the National Press Photographers Association’s Robin F. Garland Educator Award.
Strong also lectures and leads workshops for a variety of groups, including the National Press Photographers Association’s Multimedia Immersion Workshop, the Maine Media Workshops and the U.S. Navy. He also has been sent by the U.S. State Department to teach visual storytelling, photography and video in Oman and Mauritius. Last summer, Bruce spent five weeks as a student and photographer climbing the Austrian Alps through an outdoor leadership/mountaineering program.
Bruce is most proud, however, of his two sons, Jack and Cole, and loves adventuring through life with his designer/writer/professor wife, Claudia.

Crisis Communication: How to Recover Good Publicity When Disaster Strikes

Wednesday, May 15th
2:45pm to 4:00pm and 4:15pm to 5:30pm

 MODERATOR  Maria Russell  Director, Executive Education, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University
Maria Russell
Director, Executive Education, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Maria Russell joined the Newhouse public relations faculty in September 1986 after more than 14 years of professional public relations practice. As chair of the PR department for four terms, she oversaw its tremendous growth and innovative programming, including the school’s first venture into executive education with the 1995 creation of an interdisciplinary, limited-residency distance learning program for mid-career public relations professionals leading to a master’s degree in communications management. In July 2016, she assumed executive education responsibilities for the entire school and conducts programs across the U.S. and in Canada, Brazil and Costa Rica.

Russell is a co-author of a book about the media coverage of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, in which her work dealt with the role and performance of public relations practitioners during the tragedy. Subsequent research interests have included examinations of crisis communications preparedness in various United States cities; other studies dealt with crisis preparedness in the international airline industry.

 Lynn BerryDirector of Communications, Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau
Lynn Berry
Director of Communications, Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau

After attending the University of Texas, Lynn Berry, a Fort Worth native, began her communications career with Texas Instruments in Houston. Her efforts in tourism marketing started when she joined the staff at the City of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. In 1992, she moved to Alabama and became vice president of marketing for Auburn Sports. She returned to Eureka Springs in 2000 to serve as marketing director for the city’s Advertising and Promotions Commission and was named executive director in 2004. Lynn joined the Branson CVB as the Director of Public Relations in 2007 and in 2012 was named Director of Communications, guiding the public relations, publicity, promotions, communications, and media relations teams at the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau.

 Francesca DonlanCommunications Director, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel
Francesca Donlan
Communications Director, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

Francesca Donlan, APR, serves as the communications director for the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau in Fort Myers, Fla. Prior to her position in public relations, she spent 20 years as a journalist working at newspapers throughout the country.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University and a master’s degree for journalism from the University of Missouri.

Digital Content is Influencing Travel Trends

Thursday, May 16th
9:00am to 10:15am and 10:30am to 11:45am

Sean Branagan Director, Center for Digital Media EntrepreneurshipSI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University
Sean Branagan
Director, Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship
SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Sean Branagan established the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship in 2011. The center offers courses, consulting and connections to encourage students to start digital media ventures, and to engage Newhouse alumni.
Sean is a serial entrepreneur, interactive marketer and evangelist for innovation and startups. He is founder and president of Communigration, Inc., a technology marketing firm and creator and commissioner of Student Startup Madness, a national tournament for college student startups. He also holds board and advisory board positions with several early-stage tech companies and serves on a number of charitable boards.
A graduate of the Newhouse School in 1980 with a degree in magazine, Sean has started lifestyle businesses, small businesses and high-tech companies; had a profitable exit from one; and became part of an Internet roll-up business that bought 10 companies in 18 months and was later sold to Time Warner Cable. Along the way, he served as senior director of marketing for a $125 million Internet services company in Boston’s Route 128 corridor; head of e-commerce strategy and interactive marketing for a New York City public company; and corporate communications manager for a publicly traded distribution company.
Sean has taught a graduate-level course in interactive marketing and advertising at Newhouse as well as other courses at Syracuse University, including “What’s the Big Idea?” and a course on online retailing and interactive marketing at the Whitman School of Management. He served for five years as Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) at the Technology Garden, helping start-up and early stage technology companies in Upstate New York. He has been instrumental in SU’s award-winning Student Start-up Accelerator (a Kauffman-funded initiative), where he’s developed programs and courses and coached and mentored student startups.
He is a founding member and board member of the Famous Entrepreneurs Series; a certified facilitator and veteran coach with the Pre-Seed Workshop;mentor with a new TechStars accelerator in Upstate New York; and a consultant to venture funding groups on digital media and online business.

How to Shoot a Successful One-Minute Video

Thursday, May 16th
9:00am to 10:15am and 10:30am to 11:45am

Jason Kohlbrenner Supervisor of Production OperationsAdjunct Faculty, Television, Radio & Film  SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University
Jason Kohlbrenner
Supervisor of Production Operations
Adjunct Faculty, Television, Radio & Film
SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Jason Kohlbrenner supports the work of students in the Newhouse edit suites.

So, What’s The Big Idea?

Thursday, May 16th
9:00am to 10:15am and 10:30am to 11:45am

 Kayla LeskaDirector of Public RelationsDevelopment Counsellors International
Kayla Leska
Director of Public Relations
Development Counsellors International

At Development Counsellors International, Kayla has spearheaded public relations efforts for more than 30 destinations around the world. Her clients have ranged in size from the Finger Lakes Wine Country region in upstate New York to the state of California; from the city of Brussels to the country of Barbados. Yet she’s constantly tasked to create big ideas that help to increase consumer awareness and drive visitor bookings.

Kayla joined DCI from a boutique travel PR agency that specialized in Caribbean travel brands, where she managed PR and marketing initiatives for a variety of travel and hospitality accounts. Today she leads DCI’s east coast-based tourism publicity group, overseeing staff and clients in the U.S. and Canada.

Kayla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the State University of New York at Oswego and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and Caribbean Tourism Organization. She has spoken about BIG IDEAS at the 2017 PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference and the 2018 Barbados Industry Conference.

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