2021 Board Election – Meet the Candidates

Candidates in alphabetical order:

Danny Bakewell Jr.

“It has been both an honor and a privilege to have been appointed to serve on the board of the L.A. Press Club for the past six months. To now have the opportunity to be elected by the membership for another term would truly be a humbling honor and privilege. The press club plays such a significant role in the lives of journalists throughout Southern California. During both these challenging and historic times the voice of the press club is both relevant and desperately needed. As we all know, we are in the midst of both dramatically and historically changing times and the role of the journalist in every medium will continue to play a significant role in telling the story of these forever changing moments.

As we have seen throughout 2020, journalists are an essential part of the fiber of this community.  We tell the stories of our cities, our communities and the world. Often putting our own safety at risk to share with others whatever stories we are telling. From reporting on the floor of an ICU unit to covering protests in the streets demanding social justice and equality for all; it is the local journalist who is standing on the front line bringing these stories to the world.

I applaud the members of the L.A. Press Club for reaching out and inviting me to serve on this board. As the editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel, having the opportunity to bring a voice of diversity and a perspective from a journalist of color to the table is an opportunity to create the inclusion that is so often discussed, but often doesn’t happen.

I thank you all for the opportunity to have been a part of this board and hope that I have earned your trust and confidence to be elected to serve another term.”

Oswaldo Borraez

Oswaldo Borraez is best known for his special coverage of major breaking news in L.A. He has covered high-profile stories including police shootings, the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and the California fires. He has also broken pivotal scandals like the L.A. County Coroner’s Office’s rat infestation. Borraez’s commitment to empowering the Latino community reflects through his investigative work, and it is what motivates him as an Investigative Reporter at Univision 34.

In his spare time, Borraez serves as a board member for the Radio and Television News Association. He is also a Journalism, Broadcasting and Investigative Reporting instructor at UCLA, and teaches media training for the LAPD and LAFD.

ROOTS: Colombia. LANGUAGE: Spanish and English. PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Investigative Reporter. TOP INTERESTS: Aviation. Awards: 1 Peabody Award, 1 Gabriel Award, 1 Edward R. Murrow Award, several Emmy Awards and Golden Mic Awards.

Cher Calvin

Cher Calvin anchors KTLA’s award-winning 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. nightly newscasts.

“Since 2015, I have been part of something incredible. The L.A. Press Club has connected me to my peers whether it be at a competing television station or a journalist at a local radio station or newspaper. It has been an honor to serve on the board and also become the Club’s Vice President for the last 3 years. And it would be my great honor to serve in that capacity going forward.

Prior to the pandemic, our bi-annual award shows have brought hundreds of journalists together to not only celebrate their work but to highlight issues that perhaps not everyone in attendance was aware of. Certainly, the opportunity to co-host these fundraising events has also been part of my yearly schedule I look forward to tremendously. But during the pandemic, the most rewarding of the last 5-plus years were the several Sunday afternoons on Zoom I spent with L.A. Press Club Executive Director Diana Ljungaeus, President Lisa Richwine and former L.A. Press Club President Robert Kovacik helping our colleagues. With grants from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, one by one we read stories from our peers of the financial suffering they were enduring due to the pandemic. Many of them entertainment journalists, small newspaper journalists. Many of them our friends. This is what the L.A. Press Club is to me. A place where you can reach out beyond your circle and know that whether it be to get an aspiring journalist a foot in the door to jump start their career, to celebrate our work, or to hold each other up in unprecedented times, it encompasses it all. And I would love nothing more than to serve for this community again. Thank you for your consideration.”

Anh Do

Anh Do is a Metro reporter at the Los Angeles Times covering Asian American issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, she has worked at the Dallas Morning News, the Seattle Times, the Orange County Register and Nguoi Viet Daily News, the largest Vietnamese-language newspaper in the U.S.

“It’s so important to find community, no matter our jobs.

This is part of the purpose of the Los Angeles Press Club, where our board and our executive director work to help the membership and industry peers build connections, ideas, collaboration, coverage and culture. We widen the circle as well as spotlight individual milestones in our media market. We defend, support and promote quality journalism. And essentially, we provide a place and virtual space for journalists to gather, share their views and continue to learn from one another.

I’m newer to the board and still experimenting with ways to strengthen our community impact. Thanks for your kind consideration and your vote, which will allow all of us to volunteer in advancing the mission.”

Scott Feinberg

Scott Feinberg is one of Hollywood’s most widely read and trusted awards experts. He has served as the awards columnist for The Hollywood Reporter since 2011, covering all things Oscars, Emmys and Tonys on his award-winning blog “The Race,” and interviewing top contenders for those awards on his award-winning podcast “Awards Chatter.” He previously wrote for the Los Angeles Times.

“At a time when people are increasingly attacking journalism (“Fake news!”) and journalists (from Jamal Khashoggi to local reporters battered while covering #BlackLivesMatter protests), I believe that the Los Angeles Press Club is as vital and important as ever. It has been my honor to serve on the board for the past two years, and it would be my privilege to be able to continue to advocate for my fellow Angeleno members of the press well into the future.”

Vic Gerami

“I am a journalist, a columnist, radio show host, and media contributor who is also publisher and editor of The Blunt Post. I am the host and producer of my national news + politics radio show, THE BLUNT POST with VIC, on KPFK 90.7 FM. My prime-time program covers national breaking and headline news, politics, and current events, and I offer analysis and commentary.

Today reaching national and international audiences, I first built a foundation of knowledge and skills by learning the media industry during my years at Frontiers Magazine, followed by positions at  LA Weekly and Voice Media Group. In 2020, I was a 7-time finalist in the 62nd SoCal Journalism Awards contest, hosted by the L.A. Press Club.

I am also a contributor for some of the most prominent publications in the nation, including Windy City Times, California Courier, IN Magazine, OUT Traveler, The Fight, and The Advocate Magazine, among others.

The Wall Street Journal featured me as a leading gay activist in its landmark 2008 coverage of opposition to Proposition 8, the ballot measure that for years denied same-sex couples in California the freedom to marry. In addition to my years of volunteer work as a leading advocate for marriage equality, later, I went on to serve as a Planning Committee member for the historic Resist March in 2017. I am also a founding board member of Equality Armenia.”

Michael Goldstein

Michael Goldstein, a 15-year member of the L.A. Press Club, has been a full-time and freelance journalist in Los Angeles for more than 25 years. He is currently a travel business writer at Forbes.com, publishing more than 400 articles in the past four years.

The former editor in chief of PC LapTop Magazine, he has also written for the L.A. Times Magazine and Valley edition, American Way, United Hemispheres, Orange Coast, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Successful Meetings, and the Princeton Alumni Weekly.

Michael hopes to help the L.A. Press Club and its members address the challenging role of the press in a post-pandemic world. As a long-time independent journalist, Michael is particularly interested in the rights of freelancers. He was active in the bipartisan battle against AB5, the California law implemented that cost many independent journalists their livelihood. He is also interested in freedom of speech issues, particularly when technology companies have become such important distributors — and censors — of news and editorial content.

As a board member, he would organize panels on how to achieve a successful freelance lifestyle, on whether the news media must provide a balanced perspective, on covering local news in the social media age, and on how to bring commercial support back to journalism while maintaining editorial independence.

“Having received seven L.A. Press Club Southern California Journalism awards over the years, I’d like to give back to the club.”

George Toshio Johnston

George Toshio Johnston is the senior editor of digital & social media for Pacific Citizen, a 91-year-old Little Tokyo-based nationally distributed editorially independent newspaper published by the Japanese American Citizens League, the nation’s oldest Asian American civil rights organization. In his journalism career, he has worked for several different local news outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter and Investor’s Business Daily. He is the recipient of three first-place awards and one third-place award from the LAPC. He is also midway through the inaugural online Master’s in Journalism Entrepreneurship program from his alma mater, the University of Colorado at Boulder. Johnston lives in Culver City.

Francine Kiefer

Francine Kiefer is the West Coast Bureau Chief for The Christian Science Monitor, based in the L.A. area. An experienced journalist, most of her career has been with the Pulitzer-Prize winning Monitor — as Congressional reporter, White House correspondent, Commentary Editor, and Germany Bureau Chief during the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the 1990s, she was the National Editor for The San Jose Mercury News in Silicon Valley, and she is thrilled to be back in California. If elected to the board, she would like to start an on-the-record newsmaker series so that club members could have more access to people shaping the news and trends.

Francine is an enthusiastic mentor to rising journalists and has taught opinion writing at universities in Washington, DC. Last year, she won first place in the Southern California Journalism Awards for her magazine cover story, “Latino Power.” She has an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Goucher College and a BA from Smith College.

Valerie Milano

Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry.

Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible yet carefully targeted publication.

For years, Milano sat on the board as a chief organizer of the Television Critics Association’s press tours, held twice a year in Beverly Hills and Pasadena.

She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests.

Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal and the Desert Aids Project, in addition to donating both time and finances to the high-profile nonprofits.  She has been an active member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years.

Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.

She especially values her affiliation with the Los Angeles Press Club, and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. Find her talking travel on KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. Niver was invited to the Oscars by United Airlines, to the United Nations for Ms. Magazine and wrote about an accidental swimming lesson with an Olympian for Teen Vogue. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel, which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on the top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She is a top 10 travel influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has over 150,000 followers across social media.

Her stories have been published in such places as AARP, American Airways, Jewish Journal, Ms. Magazine, Smithsonian, Teen Vogue and Wharton Magazine. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It’s All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges. When she’s not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she’s helping people find their next dream trip.

“My Los Angeles Press Club connections have changed my career. I have been the social media manager for the last year and would love to be on the board to make sure others have the opportunity to advance their careers through our events and networking.”

Marieke Oudejans

Marieke Oudejans is an L.A.-based producer and journalist with a broad international network of clients. As a freelance journalist, she has written for multiple Dutch publications and reported on Dutch radio and tv. Her stories cover entertainment and general news. With her company, Mphasis Productions, Marieke has produced a wide range of U.S.-based TV series and programs for international clients such as RTL, SBS, BNN-VARA, VPRO and Warner Bros. International, as well as feature and documentary shoots for major European production companies. Projects range from investigative journalism to reality series, drama and documentary content. She also produces more personal projects. A recent short documentary (“Perfectly Normal”) was nominated for the So-Cal Journalism Awards, selected for SXSW and other notable film festivals, and part of the NY Times Op-Docs series.

You can additionally find Marieke moderating events, conducting live interviews, teaching at film schools and providing consultancy services. She is chair of the professional entertainment organization Holland Hollywood Connection, which she co-founded with the Dutch Consulate. With this non-profit, she connects European and American talent and opportunities.

In her early career, Marieke held senior policy and managerial positions at the Dutch Immigration Department in the Hague and was Senior Press and Cultural Officer at the Dutch Consulate in L.A. Her past work and broad travel experiences inspire her current stories and projects. Oudejans holds an MFA from UCLA’s Producers Program and an MA in Political Science/International Relations from the University of Amsterdam.

As a board member, Marieke intends to use her creative and producing skills to conceptualize and implement unique events. Drawing on her extensive consulting and mentoring background, she hopes to be a sounding board for emerging talent.

George Pennacchio

George Pennacchio is the entertainment reporter for ABC7 Eyewitness News and also hosts the station’s Oscars specials. He joined ABC7 in 1996.

During his broadcasting career, George has won three Emmy Awards for his work. He has also been honored with the Press Award by The Publicists Guild of America and the Luminary Award from the L.A. Press Club. He’s only one of four journalists who have received The Critics’ Critic Award from The Broadcast Film Critics Association, North America’s largest critics group.

George serves on the board of the charity group, The Thalians, which raises money for the maintenance of the Thalians Mental Health Center at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. He and his wife, Erin, also support various greyhound charities devoted to saving the dogs once their racing days are over.

“The L.A. Press Club is committed to our local journalistic community. It’s so important to have a group that cares about all of us. When I joined the board, I was quickly very impressed at learning how devoted it is to journalists. I would like to continue serving because it’s fulfilling to see all the good we can accomplish when we work together.”

Lisa Richwine

Lisa Richwine is a media and entertainment correspondent for Reuters news agency, where she covers everything from the rise of streaming services to diversity in Hollywood and COVID’s impact on the movie business. She joined the Los Angeles Press Club board in 2017, and for the past year, she has served as the club’s president. During that time, she helped lead the organization through the pandemic and organized several online events, including recent discussions on the mental health challenges of journalism and the consequences of the growing use of social media. She is passionate about the club’s mission of supporting serious journalism, particularly in an era where misinformation spreads quickly. Lisa would like to continue serving on the board to help diversify our membership and leadership and to provide useful programming to support members during the pandemic and beyond.

2 Thoughts to “2021 Board Election – Meet the Candidates”

  1. Patricia Munson

    Good luck to all the candidates

  2. Ana Gallo

    Borraes and Calvin are GREAT choice for LAPC!!

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