SPLC – Thursday at 9:30 am

Hadar Harris

Hadar Harris

Executive Director, SPLC

Hadar Harris, a human rights attorney and non-profit leader with a passion for working with and on behalf of students, is executive director of the Student Press Law Center. Prior to joining SPLC, she served as the executive director of the Northern California Innocence Project. For 13 years, Harris was executive director of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law where she worked on projects in more than 25 countries, focused on domestic implementation of international norms, gender equity, the human rights of persons with disability and implementation of UN human rights treaty law. Earlier in her career, Harris served as executive director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a bipartisan legislative service organization of the US House of Representatives, under the leadership of the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA). Harris holds a BA in Political Science from Brown University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mike Hiestand

Mike Hiestand

Senior Legal Counsel, SPLC

Mike Hiestand has been integral to SPLC’s success since 1989. He was an SPLC intern, its first legal fellow and then served as full-time staff attorney from from 1991-2003. Over the years, he has assisted over 18,000 student journalists and advisers. As the SPLC’s Senior Legal Counsel, he currently works from the west coast on the SPLC hotline and related projects. In 2013-14, Hiestand traveled around the country with free speech icon Mary Beth Tinker, teaching and speaking out on behalf of student press rights and free expression. “Tinker Tour USA” kicked off on Constitution Day at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and logged just under 25,000 miles while speaking at schools, colleges, churches, a youth detention facility, courts and several national conventions. Hiestand, who grew up in Alaska, graduated from Bartlett High School in Anchorage and went on to Marquette University’s College of Journalism and Cornell Law School.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Thursday at 1:00 pm

Lauren Gustus

Lauren Gustus

Executive Editor, The Salt Lake Tribune

Lauren Gustus became executive editor of The Salt Lake Tribune in the fall of 2020. The Utah news organization was the first and remains the only major metro to transition to a nonprofit. One of The Tribune’s long-term goals is to prove there is a successful model for sustainable local news.

Gustus previously worked for McClatchy as West Region Editor, overseeing 10 news organizations in Idaho, Washington and California, including the company’s flagship, The Sacramento Bee. During her time at McClatchy, she helped launch funder-supported reporting labs focused on education, land and water issues and equity that served as models for community engagement and expansion. She also helped defend the organization in a targeted misinformation campaign California Rep. Devin Nunes started against his hometown news organization, The Fresno Bee.

Gustus has also worked in Texas, Colorado and Nevada. During her time in Colorado, she successfully worked for passage of a new law that expanded open records access.

Deseret News – Friday at 9:30 am

Burke Olsen

Burke Olsen

VP & Head Digital Officer, Deseret News

Burke Olsen has been a vice president and head digital officer at the Deseret News since 2016. Previously, he was general manager of Deseret News digital products and the paper’s digital content director. He and his teams focus on digital revenue, platform growth, user experience and content strategy.

Before he turned to the dark allure of journalism, he was a public relations practitioner. His prior work spans organizations in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, including the Pew Research Center, the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, a liberal arts college and two PR firms. Throughout his career, Burke has focused on the intersection of technology, content and marketing. He received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University and did graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University. 

Burke is on the board of directors for the News Media Alliance and serves on the advisory council for “Language, Please” a soon-to-be-released guide for catalyzing inclusivity in newsrooms, created by Vox Media and funded by the Google News Initiative.

What they really think – Friday at 10:45 am

Debbie Hiott

Debbie Hiott

General Manager, KUT 90.5 and KUTX 98.9

KUT 90.5 is Austin’s NPR station, and KUTX 98.9 is the Austin Music Experience.

Together, the stations reach an audience of more than 700,000 each month and give voice to the stories and sounds that make Austin special. She is also the executive director of media operations at the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication.

 Before going into public media, Debbie spent 28 years as a journalist at the Austin American-Statesman, starting as a reporting intern while she attended Southwest Texas State University and spending her last seven years as the paper’s top editor. Debbie is a two-time jurist for the Pulitzer Prize, and she currently serves on the boards of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and Headliners Foundation, as well as the advisory council for the Texas State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

L. Lincoln Johnson

L. Lincoln Johnson

Associate Vice President, Student Life, University of Washington

Since completing his undergraduate and graduate studies at Baylor University in Waco Texas, Lincoln has worked for four universities in four different states. His life’s work has been in service to students and improving the higher education experience for all.

This year Lincoln received two national awards: AVP Student Affairs Professional Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the Butts-Whiting Award from ACUI, formerly known as the Association of College Unions International.

Lincoln has been with UW more than 20 years, and in his current role since 2010.

Kristen Partridge

Kristen Partridge

Associate Vice President and Associate Dean of Students at the University of Oklahoma

Kristen loves to be part of the “AHA!” moments in life — especially the ones she gets to experience when working with college students. She’s been in her current role since 2016.

Kristen received her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1999 and her Master of Human Relations and Organizational Leadership degree in 2008, both from OU. She began her career in student activities at the University of Central Oklahoma and later returned to OU to serve in a variety of roles including Union Programming Coordinator, Campus Activities Council Advisor, and the Director of Student Life.

In 2012, Kristen was honored with the Sullivant Prize for Perceptivity, given by the Inasmuch Foundation and established by Edith Kinney Gaylord. Kristen’s focus is promoting leadership development and enhancing self-awareness in every person she meets. She speaks to thousands of students every year about becoming “You 2.0,” healthier, happier versions of themselves.

Post COVID Challenge – Friday at 9:30 am

Erica Beshears Perel

Erica Beshears Perel

Director, Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media

Erica Beshears Perel is the director of the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. For 13 years, she was on the professional staff of The Daily Tar Heel, including 3.5 years as general manager. At CISLM, she runs a newsroom transformation program for emerging and legacy newsrooms in the Southeast, as well as a research and education agenda intended to build a better future for local news.