Jeanne Straus began her career 30 years ago reading local newspapers. As an editorial assistant at the White House News Summary, she read community newspapers from around the country and summarized local news for a daily digest distributed to the President and 250 other administration officials. Her passion for community news reporting has not waned since.
Today Jeanne is the President of Straus News, a group of nine local news operations that publish in contiguous communities in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Straus News also publishes the innovative sustainable living magazine Dirt.
In between times Jeanne worked for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, as a stringer for the Associated Press, and as program director and director of news and operations at WMCA Radio in New York City. Throughout the community news industry, Jeanne is the go-to person for guidance due to her business acumen and deep journalism experience.
Jeanne serves on the Board of the New York Press Association and was its President from 2008-2009. She is a founder of New York Cares, New York's leading volunteer agency, and serves on its Board, Executive and Finance Committees. She is President of the Board of the Community Reporting Alliance and is the leading force behind its vision to promote and preserve local news. Most recently, she led CRA's business model project, funded by a new York City-based donor interested in boosting sustainability among small, independent urban news organizations.
Laura Handman is today one of the nation's leading First Amendment lawyers.
Her clients have included The New York Observer, The New York Daily News, Amazon.com, NPR, The Economist, U.S. News & World Report, Talking Points Memo and many others.
She is a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and a member of its Executive Committee.
A former Assistant U.S. District Attorney and law clerk to a federal district judge, Laura now also serves on the Executive Committee of the Council for Court Excellence and was Co-Chair for the Journalists' Handbook to the Courts of the District of Columbia (September 2009). Laura is Founder/former Chair of the Media Law Committee of the D.C. Bar's Arts, Entertainment and Sports Law Section.
She is past President of the Defense Counsel Section of the Media Law Resource Center and the former Chair of the Communications and Media Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Laura was awarded the 2007 International PEN First Amendment Award from PEN USA, the West Coast center for the worldwide writers' organization.
Laura has served as an expert on American libel law on behalf of U.S. media in connection with libel actions brought in London, Belfast and Melbourne and established the first precedents in the U.S. and state courts refusing to enforce British libel judgments as repugnant to U.S. public policy.
Garry Pierre-Pierre is a Pulitzer Prize winning, multi-media and entrepreneurial journalist.
Pierre-Pierre is the Executive Director of the Community Reporting Alliance. Prior to that Garry led the City University Graduate School of Journalism‘s Center for Community and Ethnic Media. He is currently the co-host of the show Independent Sources on CUNY TV. He is the founder and publisher of The Haitian Times, an award winning English language newspaper based in Brooklyn that is considered one of the most important news sources for the Haitian Diaspora.
He is past president of the New York Press Association, and has served as well on the Board of the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Committee on Open Government.
Garry has trained scores of journalists in the United States and Haiti and has lectured at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and Rutgers. He has also an adjunct professor at CUNY.
Garry began his career working for the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa. Early on, he worked as a reporter for the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger, and then for The Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Garry spent six years as a staff reporter at the New York Times where he covered the New York Metropolitan area with special assignments in Africa and the Caribbean. He was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for spot news for the New York Times coverage of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing.
A native of Haiti, Pierre-Pierre is the author of "30 Seconds… The Quake that destroyed Haiti", a book of photography that illustrates the wreckage of the January 2010 earthquake across Haiti.
Barbara Gref served as Executive Director of the Community Reporting Alliance at its founding and served in that role from 2009 to 2013. She now serves as a mentor to the community news restoration project.