The 39th Annual Simon Rockower Award JUDGES

Lisa Brennan 

Lisa Brennan is a writer in Glen Ridge, NJ. She worked for 25-plus years as a reporter at various American Lawyer newspapers and magazines, Bloomberg News and freelanced for news outlets and magazines. Brennan also does publicity for non-profits. She is active in Bnai Keshet, a Reconstructionist community in Montclair, NJ, most recently in its efforts to provide sanctuary for individuals or families facing deportation.

David Y. Chack

David Y. Chack is the Producing Artistic Director of ShPIeL-Chicago and Artistic Director of ShPIeL Identity Theatre Project/Louisville, KY. His most recent productions are “Teatron: Chicago’s Jewish Theatre Festival” and “Mother Courage and Her Children” in Louisville. His upcoming production that he is directing in Louisville is “Imagining Heschel” by Colin Greer, about the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. He is adjunct professor of “Holocaust Theatre”; “Jewish-American Performance”; “Identity Theatre” at The Theatre School at DePaul University, Chicago. He has also written numerous articles on theatre and advised/curated exhibitions including the first exhibition on "The Yiddish Theatre and New York Theatre" at the Museum of the City of New York.

Gary Cohn

Gary Cohn is a Pulitzer Prize winner and longtime investigative reporter. A reporter for more than three decades, Cohn has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at USC Annenberg for more than ten years. This past summer, he was one of the editors who helped lead Annenberg’s groundbreaking Beacon Project, which was aimed at teaching, training and inspiring the next general of investigative journalists.

Cohn has worked for the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Baltimore Sun, the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and for columnist Jack Anderson in Washington. He also served for two years as Atwood Professor of Journalism at the University of Alaska at Anchorage.

Cohn won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1998 and was a Pulitzer finalist in 1996 and 2001. His work has received numerous other prestigious journalism awards, including two Selden Ring Awards for investigative journalism, an Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) Medal, a George Polk Award for environmental reporting and two Overseas Press Club awards.

Jeff Diamant

Jeff Diamant is a senior writer and editor with the Pew Research Center, and a board member of the Religion News Association. Prior to that, he was an award-winning reporter for the Charlotte Observer and Newark Star-Ledger. He has a doctorate in U.S. religious history.

Dawn Fallik

Dawn Fallik is an associate professor at the University of Delaware who teaches STEM students how to communicate to the public. She was a full-time reporter for 15 years, most recently for the medical and science desk at The Philadelphia Inquirer. She continues to publish in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Neurology Today.  She has lived in 14 states including Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, California, and New York.

Thom Fladung

Thom Fladung is managing partner of Hennes Communications, one of the few firms in the United States focused exclusively on crisis communications and crisis management. Thom spent 33 years in newspaper newsrooms, and held lead editing positions at the Detroit Free Press, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Akron Beacon Journal and, most recently, served as managing editor of The Plain Dealer. Thom, a native of Canton, Ohio, is on the board of the Cleveland Press Club.

Martin Golan

Martin Golan works as a journalist, a reporter and feature writer at several daily newspapers, and lastly as an editor at Reuters. His newest novel, One Night With Lilith – about a man convinced his wife is the alluring but dangerous Lilith of biblical legend – has just been published.

Roy Gutterman

Roy Gutterman is an associate professor of communications law and journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Dr. Edward Horowitz

Dr. Edward Horowitz is an associate professor in the School of Communication at Cleveland State University, where he has taught since 2004. Dr. Horowitz teaches classes in journalism, political communication, communication technology, international communication, mass media effects, and mass media history. For 10 years he was the faculty advisor to Cleveland State’s weekly student newspaper, The Cauldron. He also is head of the university’s Polish Studies Initiative where he organizes lectures and presentation about Polish culture and current events, as well as bringing in professors from Poland to teach at CSU.

Craig S. Karpel

Craig S. Karpel is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as Esquire, Harper’s Magazine, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Village Voice, New York, National Review, and The Wall Street Journal. He has interviewed such figures as Moshe Arens, Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Yitzhak Shamir, Natan Sharansky, Ariel Sharon, and Moshe Ya’alon. He has interviewed such personalities as Henry Kissinger, John Lennon, and Andrei Sakharov.

Karpel's articles have been published in periodicals including Baltimore Jewish Times, Hadassah Magazine, AMIT Magazine, B’nai B’rith Magazine, The American Zionist, Sh’ma Journal: A Journal of Jewish Ideas, The Jewish Digest, and Ma’ariv. He received the Boris Smolar Award for Excellence in North American Jewish Journalism for his article in B’nai B’rith Magazine entitled, “The Unseen Side of Arab-Jewish Relations.” His radio series Jerusalem Diary was broadcast on the BBC. He substituted for Ed Koch when the late former New York City mayor hosted a weekly program on 77 WABC Radio.

Karpel was privileged to count among his friends Louis H. Rapoport (1942-1991), the distinguished journalist, author, and senior editor of The Jerusalem Post in whose memory the Louis Rapoport Awards for Excellence in Commentary are awarded annually in the Simon Rockower Competition for Excellence in Jewish Journalism. He is a graduate of Columbia University, New York.

Hilary Krieger

Hilary Krieger is the news editor for NBC News Digital’s opinion and analysis section, THINK. She has frequently appeared as a radio and TV analyst on outlets including NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CNN, CSPAN, VOA and Al Jazeera. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

Previously, Krieger was the Washington Editor for FiveThirtyEight and before that served as enterprise editor for CNN Politics Digital, handling foreign policy and national security editing and assisting with 2016 politics content. She came to CNN via Politico, where she was the deputy White House editor, after The Washington Post, where she was a multi-platform editor in the Editorial Department, editing op-eds, editorials and blogs.

As a reporter, Krieger served as the Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post, where she wrote about the White House, State Department, Pentagon, Congress and the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. She worked for The Jerusalem Post in Israel from 2002 to 2006, covering World Jewry, diplomacy and social issues. She also served as the Israel correspondent for American Public Media’s Marketplace.

Jan Leach

Jan Leach is a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.  She teaches media ethics, news-writing, public affairs reporting, copy editing and other courses and is director of KSU’s Media Law Center for Ethics and Access. She is an Ethics Fellow at the Poynter Institute for Journalism Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

In 2016, Leach was awarded the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. She also received the Distinguished Teaching Award for the College of Communication and Information in 2014. In 2018, Leach was a speaker and instructor at Zayed University in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In summer 2014, Jan taught media ethics in India as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speaker and Specialist Program.

Before joining the faculty at Kent State, Leach was editor and vice president of the Akron Beacon Journal for five years. During her tenure, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists named the Beacon Journal “Best Newspaper in Ohio” three times. Leach came to Akron from the Cincinnati Enquirer where she had been managing editor. She also was managing editor at the (now-defunct) Phoenix Gazette, city editor at the Arizona Republic, and held reporting and editing positions at other newspapers in Ohio.

She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in media ethics from Kent State University. She is active in professional associations and community groups and has work published in newspapers, research journals and textbook chapters. She is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Akron Press Club, the Cleveland chapter of SPJ and more.


Jonathan Make

Jonathan Make serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists D.C. chapter and plans chapter events, moderates and organizes panels. He also volunteers through various other journalism organizations including judging awards and is involved in Jewish congregations. In his day job, he is executive editor of newsletter publisher Warren Communications News, where he also occasionally writes about the media industry.

David L. Marcus 

David L. Marcus has worked as a foreign correspondent, education reporter and columnist at the Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Newsday and U.S. News. As the South America bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, he shared the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, for a series about violence against women. Marcus wrote two books about education and parenting, What It Takes to Pull Me Through (Houghton Mifflin) and Acceptance (Penguin Press). His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, GQ magazine and other publications. David L. Marcus was an honors graduate of Brown University, he was also a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

Dominic Massa

Dominic Massa is executive producer for special projects at WWL-TV, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans. Massa is a past president of the Press Club of New Orleans and past recipient of its highest honor, the Jim Metcalf Memorial Award. He has also earned a regional Emmy award and was part of the team that earned the George Foster Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and duPont-Columbia awards for continuing coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the same honors in 2008 for investigative reporting. He has contributed print feature articles to The Times-Picayune and New Orleans Magazine and served as a producer or associate producer for more than 25 cultural and historical documentaries at WYES-TV, New Orleans’ PBS affiliate.

Josh Meltzer

Josh Meltzer teaches photojournalism and non-fiction visual storytelling at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. His work has been recognized with the Documentary Project of the Year by Pictures of the Year International, Photojournalist of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association and the Grand Prize by Photophilanthropy, among dozens of other regional journalism and photographic organizations. He was a Fulbright Scholar in 2009 working on a project about migration within Mexico.

Mark Meszoros

Mark Meszoros is the assistant managing editor/features at The News-Herald and News-Herald.com in Willoughby, Ohio and the entertainment editor for sister publication The Morning Journal/MorningJournal.com in Lorain, Ohio. Along with planning and editing entertainment and feature coverage, he regularly writes features, as well as reviews of movies and Northeast Ohio restaurants. He grew up in Northeast Ohio and went on to study journalism at Ohio University in Athens before taking newspaper jobs in Shelby, Ohio and Sandusky, Ohio.

Tom Moore

Tom Moore is a news anchor and reporter for WTAM 1100 in Cleveland, Ohio, and has been with the station since 1995. He has been doing radio news since 1978. Tom has won numerous awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Press Club of Cleveland, and the Associated Press.

Hugo Ottolenghi 

Hugo Ottolenghi is currently an instructor of communications and journalism at Florida International University. He teaches public relations, mass communications and journalism classes at the undergraduate and graduate level, and has worked with the university for 12 years. Hugo is a graduate from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has a master’s degree from the School of Media and Journalism.

Larry Reisman

Larry Reisman has been community editor and columnist based in Vero Beach since January 2014. He spent the previous nine years as TCPalm.com's and Treasure Coast Newspapers' first opinion and audience engagement editor. Before that, he was Press Journal editor for almost 11 years. During that time the newspaper won dozens of state and national awards. He went to the Treasure Coast in 1985 as a reporter before becoming the Press Journal's first editorial page editor. Reisman started his newspaper career in Pennsylvania with the Allentown Morning Call and Bethlehem Globe-Times. A graduate of Lehigh University, he was honored for his commitment to local public service with the E.W. Scripps Co.'s Bill Burleigh Award. Reisman has served as president of the Indian River Soccer Association and Literacy Services of Indian River County, and has worked on numerous other local boards, including United Way and St. Edward's School.

Neil Reisner

Neil Reisner is a journalism professor at Florida International University in Miami. In four decades as a newspaper reporter and editor, he has covered corrupt officials, complicated policies and hardball politics for the Miami Herald and other newspapers, and currently strings for The New York Times. He began his career in Jewish journalism and was a pioneer in database journalism, which he taught to hundreds of journalists around the country, Canada, the UK and Mexico.  He taught at Rutgers and Columbia universities before going to Florida International University.

Phillip Ritzenberg 

Phillip Ritzenberg is a veteran editor, designer, and publisher with almost 60 years in journalism. He has designed some 50 urban and community newspapers, both dailies and non-dailies, and magazines, across the United States and Canada. As assistant managing editor of the New York Daily News, where he served for 15 years, he was the first at a major American newspaper to hold a senior editorial position with responsibility for design. He also played key roles in new product development and systems.

As editor and publisher of The Jewish Week for eleven years, he helped build a failing paper into one with an international reputation and the third largest weekly newspaper circulation in America.

He was a Fulbright scholar in mass communications and graphic design at the Free University of Berlin after graduation, from what was then Western Reserve University in his native Cleveland, Ohio. He pursued an interdepartmental major in journalism. He served in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer on the carrier Midway in the Far East and on the staff of the commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Fleet, continuing in the Navy Air Reserve and retiring as a commander.

He is a member of the Society for News Design, American Institute of Graphic Arts, Type Directors Club, and Society of Professional Journalists.

Arnie Rosenberg

Arnie Rosenberg is an award-winning journalist and a returning judge for the Simon Rockower Awards.

Arnie has been an editor of newspapers and magazines in three states and has been recognized with numerous national, state and local journalism awards.

In Ohio, he was deputy metro editor of the Akron Beacon Journal and served as editor of two national business magazines. He was an editor at the Denver Post before joining the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, where he became metro editor. He is now an editor with the USA Today Network-Florida, based on the Treasure Coast.

Lauren R. Rublin

Lauren R. Rublin is senior managing editor of Barron's, the business and financial weekly and website published by Dow Jones. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Joel, and is active in her local Jewish community.

Dr. Rebecca Shimoni-Stoil

Dr. Rebecca Shimoni-Stoil is a historian, journalist and a professor at Clemson University. She served as the Washington, D.C. correspondent for the Times of Israel and provided analysis for i24 News, as well as contributing to NBC.com, FiveThirtyEight, and The Washington Monthly. Prior to joining Times of Israel, Rebecca was the Knesset and later the Internal Security correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, and was the outlet’s acting Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief.  She is the co-author of Between the Straits, a forthcoming book about the Winograd Report and the Second Lebanon War, which she is writing through a grant from the US Marine Corps Foundation.

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic is the managing editor of EHS Today, an occupational health and safety magazine. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she has been in trade publishing for more than a decade. Her work has spanned industries including crop protection, landscaping, horticulture and pest control. Valentic attended the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Valentic is on the board of the Cleveland Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is an avid runner who has participated in marathons including the Chicago Marathon, the Hatfield McCoy Marathon and the Berlin Marathon.

Natalie Weinstein

Natalie Weinstein has worked as a journalist for nearly three decades. She was a reporter and editor at the then-Jewish Bulletin of Northern California in the 1990s before joining the staff of CNET Networks, which covers all aspects of the tech industry. She is currently a senior editor at CNET News.

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