Board of Directors
William Freivogel, President
William H. Freivogel is a professor and former director of the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Previously he worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 34 years, serving as assistant Washington Bureau Chief and deputy editorial editor.
Freivogel was recently awarded the American Bar Association’s 2016 Silver Gavel for Media and the Arts for his legal analysis of the aftermath surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Read his work “Law, Justice and The Death of Michael Brown”, originally published in 2015 on St. Louis Public Radio
Freivogel covered the U.S. Supreme Court while in Washington. A series of editorials he wrote in 2001 about Attorney General John Ashcroft and civil liberties abuses was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A series about the Bill of Rights at 200 won the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Medal and an ABA Silver Gavel. A series on the Constitution won the Benjamin Franklin award and the ABA's Silver Gavel Award.
Freivogel is a graduate of Stanford University and Washington University Law School. He was awarded the 2008 Distinguished Young Alumni award from the law school.
In Washington, he shared the job of assistant bureau chief with his wife, Margaret. They were founders of the St. Louis Beacon where Margaret was editor.
Brant Houston, Treasurer
Brant Houston holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois.
Houston teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism in the College of Media at Illinois.
Houston became the chair after serving for more than a decade as the executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a 4,000-member organization, and as a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Before joining IRE, he was an award-winning investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 17 years.
Houston also is the author of three editions of the textbook, “Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide,” and co-author of the fourth edition and fifth edition of “The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook.”
Currently he is working on projects involving nonprofit journalism, ethnic media newsrooms, and new technologies for news-gathering.
David Herzog, Secretary
David Herzog is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, where he also serves as the academic adviser to the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR).
Herzog is the author of "Data Literacy: A User's Guide" and "Mapping the News: Case Studies in GIS and Journalism." He is helping develop an online M.S. program in Data Science and Analytics at the University of Missouri.
Before joining the J-School faculty in January 2002, Herzog spent five years as an investigative reporter at the Providence Journal in Rhode Island.
Earlier, he was the editor for computer-assisted reporting at The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., a business reporter for the Baltimore Sun and general assignment reporter for other newspapers in Pennsylvania.
Herzog holds a bachelor’s degree in radio-television-film from Temple University in Philadelphia
Fernando Diaz, Member of the Board
Fernando Diaz is senior editor for Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting
He is the former managing editor of Hoy Chicago, responsible for editorial strategy across print and digital platforms and collaboration with Chicago Tribune’s newsroom.
Before joining Hoy, Diaz was ChicagoNow.com's community manager for news and opinion, where he contributed to the site’s success by creating dynamic content as well as recruiting a diverse base of bloggers; including crafting a post that generated 2.3 million page views. Prior to joining the Tribune Company, he was a bilingual investigative reporter at The Chicago Reporter, producing exclusive, computer-assisted reports on social justice issues and before that, a daily newspaper reporter covering local government at the Daily Herald and Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester, NY).
He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and a Maryland native. He is on the boards of the Chicago Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Chicago Journalists Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists who in 2008 recognized him as its emerging journalist of the year. He was named a finalist for the Livingston Award 2008 and was selected as an ethnic media fellow of the Institute for Justice and Journalism that same year for a project on immigrants in the military. He is a member of IRE and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Gary Kebbel, Member of the Board
Gary Kebbel is a professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Kebbel is working to create a multidisciplinary, multicampus Center for Mobile Media at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with funding from the Ford Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
He was dean of the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications for two years. During that time, the college created the nation's first Drone Journalism Lab, started nearly a dozen new classes, increased enrollment, raised money from new sources and created exchange relationships with universities and institutes in China, India and Russia.
Before coming to Nebraska, Kebbel was the journalism program director at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami, where he administered the Knight News Challenge, a $25 million contest to fund digital news innovations and experiments.
As News Director at AOL, he helped build one of the largest news and social sites on the Internet.
He is a founding editor of USA TODAY.com and Newsweek.com.
Kebbel is a Fulbright Senior Specialist who did his Fulbright work in South Africa. He is a member of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission subgroup on media.
He holds master’s degrees in journalism and in political science from the University of Illinois, and a master of social work degree from the Catholic University of America.
Gerry Lanosga, Member of the Board
Gerry Lanosga is an assistant professor in the Media School at Indiana University, where he teaches and researches in the areas of journalism practice, media law and journalism history.
After earning his PhD in 2010, he taught for three years at Ball State University before joining the faculty at Indiana University.
Previously, he had a 20-year career as a print and broadcast journalist in Indiana, winning numerous state, regional and national awards, including Sigma Delta Chi’s national public service award and the Freedom of Information Medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors.
A frequent speaker on issues relating to open government, Lanosga also serves as president of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government and founding treasurer of the Indiana Debate Commission.
Donna Vestal, Member of the Board
Donna Vestal is the director of content strategy for KCUR 89.3, Kansas City’s public radio station and NPR affiliate. She also is supervising editor of Harvest Public Media, a reporting collaboration of public media stations across the Midwest devoted to agriculture and food issues.
Vestal was the founding editor of Harvest, which was launched in 2010 with the support of a dedicated team of journalists. It has grown to encompass 18 public media organizations from Colorado to Indiana.
A newspaper veteran, Vestal worked nearly 18 years as an assistant business editor for The Kansas City Star, where she directed small business, retail, development, workplace and health care beats, among others.
Her agriculture focus dates back to the 1980s, when she served as news editor of The Packer, a national weekly newspaper for the fruit and vegetable industry. She also was the lead researcher and writer for “A Century of Produce,” a book commemorating The Packer’s 100th anniversary.
Vestal has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and an MBA from the University of Kansas.