Hear from our local panel of esteemed journalists on the current state of media in our community. Gain insight into the ways news outlets are responding to new challenges and tips for landing your pitches – plus, get answers to your personal questions by submitting them to firstname.lastname@example.org or through our social media channels.
Confirmed panelists include:
Patty Machelor, Arizona Daily Star
Patty covers social and health issues pertaining to children and families as well as people living with disabilities for the Arizona Daily Star. Most recently, she has been extensively covering stories related to COVID-19. She previously reported on court cases, with an emphasis on juvenile court, and was also a general assignment reporter focusing on local government. She has worked for the Arizona Daily Star since 2001.
Shawndrea Thomas, CW Tucson Anchor and KGUN 9 Investigative Reporter
Shawndrea is living her dream as a journalist who’s passionate about making a difference. She recently finished up a year-long project as the lead investigative reporter in a cold case series for Oxygen network called “The Disappearance of Phoenix Coldon”. Through her work in the series she uncovered new leads, conducted exclusive interviews and discovered new details in the case.
Since finishing up the investigative series Shawndrea decided to continue her work to help families spread the word about their missing loved ones. With that goal in mind she decided to venture into new territory. The determined journalist is now inviting family members and friends of the missing to share their stories on her new podcast called “Intrigued Full Effect”. She also discusses unsolved crimes, strange crimes and other topics in the podcast.
The straight talking journalist is driven by a desire to expose injustice and is committed to telling stories that truly reflect the community she lives in. Shawndrea has reported in St. Louis, Orlando, Columbus, Ohio and Midland, Texas before arriving in Tucson in May 2019.
Shawndrea holds two Bachelors Degrees from Arizona State University in Broadcast Journalism and Interdisciplinary Studies. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Dylan Smith, Editor and Publisher of TucsonSentinel.com
Prior to founding the Sentinel, Daniel was the Online Editor for the Tucson Citizen, until the newspaper was shut down.
He was the founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION Publishers), organizing a group of publishers of nearly 250 local news websites across the country. He is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, and a vice president of the Arizona Press Club. He’s won numerous state and national awards and accolades for breaking news and investigative journalism, including the Sledgehammer Award from the Arizona Press Club, and is a Brechner Reporting Fellow at the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, which supports his work pursuing in-depth journalism about government secrecy.
An experienced designer and programmer, he served as an Invited Expert on the World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML Working Group, helping to write the latest specification for the language that runs the Internet.
He comes from a long line of journalists; his great-grandfather began work as a reporter fresh from high school in 1900. His family operated the Wheaton (Ill.) Daily Journal for over 50 years. His grandfather was also an Editor and Publisher, his grandmother a copyeditor and typesetter, and his parents published an alternative newspaper in the 1960s.
Despite his long heritage in print journalism, he’s a firm believer in the power of the Internet to inform and inspire like no other medium for reporting.
Damien Alameda, KOLD Reporter
Damien Alameda is a multiple Emmy and Associated Press award-winning sports broadcast journalist. Over his career, he has had front-row seats to some of the Arizona’s most significant athletic events and achievements.
From Super Bowls to Sweet 16s, Damien has traveled the country painting the sports picture for fans back home in the Old Pueblo.
A native of Los Angeles, Damien graduated from Santa Clara University where his sports reporting journey began. His career wound through the Bay Area, made a stop in El Paso, Texas, then turned west and landed him in Tucson.
He started at KOLD News 13 in 2006. He’s been telling Southern Arizona stories ever since, armed only with a camera, microphone, tripod, and laptop.
Damien takes his responsibility of informing and entertaining his audience very seriously and recognizes how privileged he is to be in this position.
Mindy Blake, Outreach Coordinator, Pima Association of Governments
Mindy had a 30-year career as a broadcast journalist, 25 of those years as an anchor/reporter at KOLD-TV in Tucson. From there Mindy moved into local government service and landed at PAG in 2016, where she makes connections with the community about the Regional Transportation Authority.
Mindy graduated from Western Colorado University with a bachelor’s degree in English. She keeps her hands in the business volunteering at Arizona Public Media when she can.