Democracy Day: Meet the team

Meet the advisory board

Pro-democracy journalism collaborations like Democracy Day are critical because they play a crucial role in keeping the public informed and engaged in democratic processes. At a time when the very foundations of democracy are being threatened, it’s more important than ever to have a robust and independent press that can shine a light on the issues that matter most.

By bringing together news organizations from across the country to report more and better information about the crisis facing democracy, Democracy Day hopes to play a vital role in helping to ensure that the public has the information they need to understand and address this crisis.

The diverse and knowledgeable perspectives of our new advisory board members are critical to that success, and it’s essential to have a team behind the project that represents a wide range of experiences and expertise.

Dillon Bernard

Dillon Bernard (he/him) spearheaded social media strategy and content curation for historic civic engagement-focused efforts such as the US Climate Strikes and March On for Voting Rights. With Dillon’s expertise in digital organizing and engaging communities, he will bring important insights and experience to the collaboration.

Wesley Lowery

Wesley Lowery (he/him) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, reporter, editor, and best-selling author, known for his work covering issues of law enforcement, race, and justice. As a journalist-in-residence at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at City University of New York, Wesley will bring a valuable and critical perspective to project.

Michelle Faust Raghavan

Michelle Faust Raghavan (they/them) is a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford, is also joining us. Michelle is examining best practices to create a culture of belonging in the news industry for BIPOC journalists, and they are passionate about mentorship. With Michelle’s experience leading the Equity Initiative at the Solutions Journalism Network, they will bring valuable insights to Democracy Day.

Eugene Sonn

Eugene Sonn (he/him) is the senior collaborations editor at Resolve. Eugene has been getting newsrooms to work together since 1998, and he brings a wealth of experience to the table. At Resolve, Eugene helps lead more than 20 newsrooms in their Broke in Philly reporting project, and his expertise in collaboration will be invaluable to Democracy Day.

Elite Truong

Elite Truong (she/her) is the Vice President of Product Strategy at American Press Institute. At API, Elite manages data products that help local newsrooms make strategic decisions, and she has an impressive track record of creating projects driven by emerging technologies. With her experience negotiating with tech platforms to create user experiences that benefit news consumers, Elite will bring valuable insights to Democracy Day.

Kristyn Wellesley

Kristyn Wellesley (she/her) is an award-winning multi-platform journalist with a passion for content strategy and data. Kristyn is currently the Content Director for Audience and Analytics at the Orlando Sentinel, where she helps newsrooms connect and engage with new audiences, with a focus on building trust in local news and engaging historically marginalized communities. Kristyn’s expertise in anti-racism initiatives, SEO, and product development will be invaluable to the Democracy Day team.

Meet our project coordinator

Beatrice Forman

A recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied communications and international relations, Beatrice Forman (she/her) was the first person of color to lead the university’s award-winning arts and culture magazine, 34th Street. There, she co-developed a fellowship program that allowed students of color and low-income students to get paid for working in student media.

While in college, Beatrice accumulated bylines for several local and national publications: She created Philadelphia’s largest database of Black-owned businesses for Philadelphia Magazine, broke news of the #BlackTikTokStrike for Vox, chronicled police surveillance on a college campus for WHYY, and wrote a lot about memes for Billy Penn.

Post-grad, Beatrice began as a deputy editor at Billy Penn, where she oversaw a fleet of freelancers covering Philly food and sports culture. She currently works as breaking news reporter at Billy Penn, where she gets to write about her two passions: the internet and the city she calls home.

Meet the organizing committee

Rachel Glickhouse

Rachel Glickhouse (she/her) runs partnerships and collaborations at Grist. She previously worked at the News Revenue Hub, The COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic, ProPublica, Univision, and Medium. She has also taught at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and the New School.

Jaisal Noor

Jaisal Noor (he/him) is the Democracy Initiative Manager at the Solutions Journalism Network and is a former TRNN host, producer, and reporter. He mainly grew up in the Baltimore area and studied modern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jaisal’s mother has taught in the Baltimore City Public School system for the past 25 years.

Stefanie Murray

Stefanie Murray (she/her) is the Director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. A Michigan native, Stefanie previously worked in Michigan and Tennessee as a reporter, editor, digital media manager and news executive. Before joining Montclair State, she worked for Gannett Co. as vice president and executive editor of The Tennessean in Nashville, and was with the Detroit Free Press before that.

Joe Amditis

Joe Amditis (he/him) is the assistant director of products and events at the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University and an adjunct professor in the School of Communication and Media. He is also the producer and host of the WTF Just Happened Today podcast.

Bridget Thoreson

Bridget Thoreson (she/her) works with INN member newsrooms to frame, fund and execute project-based editorial collaborations, ongoing partnerships and collaborative networks. She has worked with journalists from 109 news organizations as an engagement consultant at Hearken, where she also served as project manager for Election SOS. She also makes a tasty pumpkin pasta.

Jennifer Brandel

Jennifer Brandel (she/her) is CEO & founder of Hearken, a social impact consultancy that uses the power of community engagement to impact and influence systems for the public good. She has built a variety of initiatives for journalism, including Democracy SOS, Election SOS, Advancing Democracy and the Democracy Toolkit. She loves finding ways to turn theory into action and results.


The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University is providing infrastructure support for this iteration of Democracy Day, so you can contact us at [email protected].

Still have questions? Contact the Center for Cooperative Media directly by sending an email to [email protected].


The Democracy Day project is supported by Democracy Fund and sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.