NECIR’s Advisory Board is a group of highly experienced professionals across industries that provide vital guidance and feedback to the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.
NECIR ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Francine Achbar has enjoyed successful careers both as a non-profit leader and as a television producer and executive. As Executive Director of the New Center for Arts and Culture, she lead a nascent organization to become Boston’s leading presenter of Jewish arts, culture and ideas. Prior to the New Center, Achbar was, for more than twenty years, an award winning producer and programming executive at WBZ-TV, CBS Boston. She is currently a consultant with ESC New England which advises non-profit organizations. A graduate of Boston University, she was honored by its College of Communication as a Distinguished Alumna. Achbar is also a regular panelist on the nationally syndicated public radio program “Says You.”
Bill Ambrose is the Managing Director of Stone Silo Advisors, a management consulting firm that works closely with start-ups and growth companies providing industry research and analysis in the water, energy, and infrastructure sectors. Prior to Bill starting Stone Silo, he was the founder and CEO of Emerging Energy Research (2002-2010) and the Founder and CEO of Pyramid Research. Both companies specialized in market research. Other non-profit involvement includes serving on the board of The Boma Project, which is innovating a unique poverty graduation model to empower women living in extreme poverty in the arid lands of Africa. Bill has an MBA in International Business from Columbia University’s Business School and a BA in Economics & Intercultural Studies from Trinity College. He resides with his family in Acton, MA.
Jim Barron is CEO of Barron Associates Worldwide, a communications strategies firm. Attorney, journalist, consultant, educator, and organization president, Jim has twenty-five years in business and public affairs, government, marketing and international collaboration. He is founder of the award-winning International Boston Initiative and Atlantic Rim Network, which have brought together business leaders, policy makers, and non-governmental groups for international programs in trade, tourism, transportation, environment, education, new technologies and health care. As lawyer and business consultant, Jim has represented clients on six continents, taught opinion research issues at MIT and Harvard and directed the Massachusetts Privacy Commission.
Joe Bergantino is the Co-Founder and Executive Director Emeritus of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. Bergantino has been a national and local investigative reporter for 35 years. He spent most of his career as the I-Team Reporter for WBZ-TV in Boston. He also did investigative reporting for WPLG-TV, the Washington Post-owned TV station in Miami and spent five years as a correspondent for ABC News where he reported for World News Tonight, Nightline and Good Morning America. During his career, Bergantino has won many of the broadcasting industry’s most prestigious awards including a duPont-Columbia Award and Citation, a Robert F. Kennedy Award for reporting on the disadvantaged, and a Gabriel Award. He has won several local Emmy awards including one designating him Best Investigative Reporter in New England. He was twice nominated for national Emmys for his work in 2002 and 2004. His stories have had a major impact on the lives of New Englanders and the results of his investigations have been felt worldwide. Bergantino is a clinical professor of journalism at Boston University and has taught journalism courses at Boston College since 1995.
Tina Cassidy is Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer at InkHouse, where she leads account teams that work on campaigns, launches, branding, and issues management. She also oversees InkHouse’s Content Bureau, which produces bylines, op-eds, Web content, speeches, e-books and other communications that reflect the voice, vibe and goals of the organization for which they are written. And she leads the firm’s real estate practice, which includes community relations, permitting, branding, messaging, social content and event planning. Before joining InkHouse, Tina was a vice president at the Boston-based Solomon McCown & Co. for nearly five years, where she developed award-winning communications strategies for corporate, nonprofit, quasi-public and academic clients, and was a key member of the firm’s crisis team. She also led the firm’s real estate practice. Tina made the switch to public relations after more than 20 years as a journalist, launching her career as a writer at 15 when she began contributing regularly to The Providence Journal and had to have her parents drive her to complete assignments. She wrote for the Boston Globe while she was a college student; covered banking and retail for the Boston Business Journal after graduation; worked for the Associated Press; and returned to the Globe as a staff writer in 1995, with beats ranging from real estate, sports marketing, the politics of business, the State House, the 2000 presidential campaign and fashion. She was a founding member of the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, a national group for state government reporting. She was also an assistant business editor at the Globe, played the drums in a company band called the Nutgrafs, and was an adjunct professor of journalism at Northeastern University, her alma mater. Tina left the Globe in 2005, and a year later, Atlantic Monthly Press published her internationally acclaimed book Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born, which has also been published in the UK. Tina’s second book, the best-selling Jackie After O, was published in May 2012. She also was a writer of Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary (Crown, 2015). Her work also has appeared in Boston Magazine, New York Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, WashingtonPost.com, the Sunday Times (London), the Express (London), the Sunday Herald (Glasgow), More.com, as well as various other magazines and newspapers.
Tom Fiedler is the Dean of the Boston University College of Communication (COM) and a Professor of the Practice of Journalism. He began his university tenure in 2008 following a distinguished career in journalism, most of it at The Miami Herald, which he joined in 1973. He held such posts as government reporter; White House correspondent; war correspondent; investigative reporter; political writer and columnist; editorial page editor and, between 2001 and 2007, as executive editor overseeing all news operations. Tom’s work earned many honors, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ top award for his coverage of the 1988 presidential election, including the campaign-killing affair by candidate Gary Hart. He later shared a Pulitzer Prize for his role in investigating a religious cult that had evolved into a criminal enterprise, and he contributed to the newspaper’s coverage of calamitous Hurricane Andrew that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1993. As executive editor he led the newsroom to two additional Pulitzer Prizes and many other top awards. In 2003, Tom received the College of Communication’s Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2005, the college presented him with the Hugo Shong Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. After leaving The Herald in 2007 and before joining Boston University, Tom was at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a Visiting Murrow Lecturer and Goldsmith Fellow.
Paul Gershkowitz has worked in the mortgage industry for over 30 years and is currently a First VP of Retail Lending at Berkshire Bank. Prior to joining Berkshire, he was the President and co-owner of Greenpark Mortgage Corporation, in Needham, Mass. and before that the founder and co-owner of Assurance Mortgage Corporation. Both businesses were sold to publicly traded companies. Paul serves on the boards of several non- profit organizations including Mishkan Tefila and Gateways. He has chaired charitable events for CanDo, Citizens for Affordable Housing, Gateways, Mishkan Tefila, Newton Historical Society and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. He devotes time to worthy organizations by participating on many committees. 2015 will mark the thirteenth anniversary of his participation in The Pan Mass Challenge. He has raised nearly $140,000 to fight cancer. His passion is to inspire young adults to make a difference through involvement in social causes, community activity and charitable work. Paul is a 1982 graduate of the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Finance and Marketing. He is the father of four children and resides in Newton with his wife Laurie. His hobbies include skiing and biking.
Hjalmar Gislason is a software entrepreneur and data nerd. Hjalmar is the VP of Data for visual analytics software leader Qlik. Hjalmar is the founder of four software companies, most recently DataMarket – which was acquired by Qlik in 2014. A self-described “news junky” born and raised in Iceland, Hjalmar is an investor and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Icelandic media company Kjarninn that delivers news and analysis on Icelandic business, economy, politics and society in both Icelandic and English. Through his work at DataMarket, Hjalmar has been active in various data journalism initiatives with particular interest in how to use data technologies not only to present data in the media, but also help journalists extract information from available data. Hjalmar resides in Brookline with his wife and young son.
Neil Golden, an ESC consultant since 2002, has worked with a number of nonprofit clients, ranging in size from under $100,000 to over $75 million, in the areas of marketing, organizational change, board development and strategic management. Neil spent 18 months as the interim Chief Operating Officer for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston, a multifaceted nonprofit social service agency that operates early learning, health and wellness, summer day and overnight camps, family, teen, and senior programs. Neil’s other not for profit clients include organizations in the areas of museums, community access television, arts, and human services. Neil has over 25 years of experience managing organizations selling and marketing complex semiconductor manufacturing equipment and components worldwide. He has worked at early stage startup companies and intimately understands the challenges and resource constraints of fledgling organizations. He has also led a team of over 100 people located worldwide and understands the logistics and cultural sensitivities needed to operate in a multicultural, multi location environment. His hobbies include volunteering as a tour guide for WGBH, Boston by Foot and at the Boston Public Library. Neil resides in Brookline, MA.
Bill Ketter is a veteran journalist, news executive and journalism educator. He has served as editor-in-chief and vice president/news of the Lawrence, Mass., Eagle-Tribune, which won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news in 2003; vice president and foundation president of the Boston Globe; vice president and editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., and chairman of the Boston University Journalism Department. He was also a reporter, editor and vice president with United Press International for 16 years. He has served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University, and a national director of the Society of Professional Journalists. Ketter was the first chairman of the international editors forum sponsored by the World Newspaper Association in Vienna, Austria, in 1994 and has traveled to more than 25 countries on behalf of a free press. He was a co-founder of the Massachusetts Judiciary-Media Committee, and serves as chairman of the New England Academy of Journalists, the organization that annually awards the “Yankee Quill” award to individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to New England journalism. Ketter received the award in 1987. He was appointed vice president of news for Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., which owns and operates more than 100 daily and non-daily newspapers in 23 states, in the fall of 2006 after it purchased the Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company. He was promoted to senior vice president of CNHI in 2010.
Elizabeth A. Ritvo is of counsel with Brown Rudnick LLP where her practice has focused on media, First Amendment and commercial litigation matters. For more than thirty years, she has counseled and represented newspapers, television stations, publishers and other media in libel, invasion of privacy, access, First Amendment and copyright matters. For the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law, Liz has served as Co-Chair of Women in Communications Law. Liz has served on the Board of the Media Law Resource Center and is a past president of its Defense Counsel Section. Liz is a past president and trustee of the Women’s Bar Foundation of Massachusetts. She is a past co-chair and current member of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Grants Committee, is a member of the Boston Bar Association Council and has served on the BBA’s Task Force on Confidential Settlement Agreements. She has been listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of First Amendment law and was named one of 2013’s Top Women of Law by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Liz is a graduate of Yale College and the University of Virginia School of Law.
Doug Struck is a Senior Journalist-in-Residence in the Journalism Department of Emerson College in Boston. He has been a journalist for more than 30 years, most of that on the foreign and national staffs of the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. He has reported from six continents and all 50 of the United States He ran bureaus in the Middle East, Tokyo and Toronto. Struck reported from Iraq on more than a dozen assignments over 14 years, and reported on conflicts in Afghanistan, the West Bank, Lebanon, East Timor, the southern Philippines and Sudan. From Canada, he specialized in global warming issues, roaming from the Arctic to Greenland icecaps to glaciers on the Andes mountains, and now writes on environmental issues. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2003-2004, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2002 and shared the Overseas Press Club Award in Investigative Journalism in 2000. He was a fellow at George Washington University in 1998-1999, worked at the Harvard Center for the Environment in 2008 and taught journalism at Boston University in 2008 and 2009.
Sylvia Stevens-Edouard is the Executive Director of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF), a national organization with the mission of improving the health by preparing the next generation of professionals to serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. From its Boston headquarters, Sylvia oversees ASF chapters in 13 locations across US. These chapters select graduate students who partner with community-based organization to develop and implement year-long mentored service projects that meet the health needs of underserved populations. She also supports the ASF program that sends medical and public health students to serve at the Schweitzer Hospital in Gabon, Africa. Sylvia serves as the co-chair for the Community Advisory Board for the Harvard School of Public Health, Prevention Research Center and on National Community Committee for the Centers for Disease Control Prevention Research Centers. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Museum of Afro American History and as an Overseer for the Boston Children’s Museum. Sylvia is a former and the Northeast Affiliate of the American Diabetes Association. An award winning television producer winning two New England Emmys, an Iris and Gabriel awards for documentaries, Sylvia is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds a Masters Degree from Boston University in Broadcast Journalism and a Certificate in Community Relations from Boston College. Prior to joining ASF, she was the Senior Director, Children’s Health Initiative for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and developed Jump Up & Go!, Blue Cross Blues Shield Massachusetts’ initiative promoting youth physical activity and nutrition. She created the 5-2-1 Prescription for Children’s Health message which evolved to become 5-2-1-0.
Benjamin Taylor is a former executive editor and publisher of the Boston Globe where he worked for 28 years before leaving the paper at the end of 1999. His career at the Globe included a four-year stint in the Globe Washington Bureau where he covered Congress and the Reagan White House. Mr. Taylor is chairman of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, a non-profit organization that advocates for Boston’s park system created by Frederick Law Olmsted. He also chairs the board of Living on Earth, an environmental news program on National Public Radio. Mr. Taylor also is a board member of The Conversation –US, a non-profit news website that publishes opinion pieces by academics made accessible for a broader audience by journalistically trained editors. He also is a board member of Discovering Justice, a non-profit organization that focuses on civic education and its crucial role in our democracy. Tutoring under-served high school students in writing at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, MA is the most rewarding endeavor of his career. Born in Boston, Mr. Taylor graduated from Harvard College in 1969 with a BA in American History. He and his wife, Kate, live in Brookline, MA. They have three adult children.
Win Treese is a principal with the consulting company Serissa Research, Inc. He is the former program director of the Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering at Boston University, and has previously led software team at startups, including high-performance computing company SiCortex and Internet commerce pioneer Open Market. Win also chaired the working group at the Internet Engineering Task Force that standardized the widely-used Secure Sockets Layer protocol universally used on the Web. He is the co-author of the book Designing Systems for Internet Commerce, and is now working on a new book.
Bill Wheatley is a journalism consultant and former executive vice president of NBC News. He serves as an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. At NBC, Mr. Wheatley had executive responsibility for the network’s domestic and international news gathering and for its hard-news programs. He also served for five years as executive producer of NBC Nightly News and was closely associated with NBC’s coverage of U.S. politics, overseeing the network’s efforts in a half-dozen Presidential elections. He interrupted his career at NBC twice to study at Harvard University, as a Nieman Fellow studying American social history and as a Shorenstein Fellow studying Presidential leadership. Mr. Wheatley is a former president of the advisory committee of the Nieman Foundation and is currently chairman of the visiting committee of the Boston University College of Communication. He has served as chairman of the jury of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University awards in broadcast and digital journalism. Mr. Wheatley holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Boston College and a master’s degree in Broadcasting from Boston University. He was born and raised in New York City.