Public Relations

Board of Directors

National Student Essay Competition

Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s America Project

Adam Stone, Chair, is publisher of Examiner Media, an award-winning local news outlet serving Westchester and Putnam counties in the state of New York. He has worked in the local news industry for the past two decades. He founded Examiner Media in 2007 and prior to becoming a publisher/business owner, he worked as a reporter. As a reporter, Stone covered local government and handled general interest beats for The Journal News weeklies division, Yorktown’s North County News, among others. A Long Island native, Adam graduated with a journalism degree from Hofstra University in 2001 after training with Pulitzer Prize-winning Newsday legend Bob Greene. Stone won awards for news reporting, local government coverage and sports feature writing when working as a community journalist. Examiner Media has also been decorated with awards by the New York Press Association for its editorials, sports coverage, news writing and more. As the founder, sole owner and publisher, Stone oversees the organization’s editorial and commercial departments. His duties include hiring and managing staff, setting priorities, and running daily operations. He helps guide the general editorial focus of the outlet but defers to the editorial team on day-to-day decisions while assisting with some journalistic functions. An occasional essayist for Examiner Media publications, Stone’s main responsibility is running the business side of the company.

Heidi Legg, Vice-Chair, is an American-Canadian journalist, who has written extensively about the media landscape at Harvard University: The Fight Against Disinformation in America, A Landscape Study of Emerging US Models in Local News and a sweeping paper about Preserving America's Thought Leader Magazines and How Trust Intersects With Subscription. She has numerous OpEds explaining and championing pivotal industry topics: local news models, millionaire owners, Facebook news feed, amending Section 230, urging transparency for political donations of media owners, and nimble news innovation in the UK published in The Boston Globe, CNN, The Atlantic, USA Today, the Press Gazette and more. As research fellow on The Future of Media Project, a joint project with the Institute of Qualitative Social Science (IQSS) and the Harvard Business School (HBS) at Harvard, she published an extensive set of indices on US Media Ownership detailing its funders and owners. She narrows in on the top 160 mainstream US media and a new class of Emergent Nonprofit Digital News and its funders and illustrates the consolidation by state of local newspapers by a handful of mostly hedge fund owners. Prior to this, she spent two years at the Harvard Kennedy School at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy as Director of Special Projects.
Heidi is committed to a robust journalism industry with its own business models that ensure independence. She believes innovation in the business of news will mitigate disinformation and attract a wider group of high-quality information consumers.

Robert Austin is the Humanities Team Coordinator for the Utah State Board of Education (USBE).  He directly oversees secondary social studies and international initiatives,  and his team serves the PreK-12 areas of fine arts, secondary language arts, world languages, library media, ethnic studies, and elementary social studies.   He is in his 15th year with the USBE. Prior to his current role, Robert served as a teacher and literacy coach for ten years in the Salt Lake City School District. Before teaching, Austin began his work career in the non-profit world, serving with the Utah AIDS Foundation and the American Friends Service Committee.  His experience with the non-profit sector has led to numerous board positions over the years, including serving on the boards of the Utah Pride Center, the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, and the Utah Film Center. 

Debbie Kotter Barkley is a dedicated philanthropist and long-time community advocate with professional expertise and management in the consumer marketplace. As Chair of the Educational Resource Development Council (ERDC), her leadership is focused on learning about and promoting the latest advances and techniques in the field of health as well as providing support of educational scholarships, medical technology, and health care programs at the University of Utah. She is an inaugural and continuing member of the Moran Eye Center Vision Board. In addition to tutoring 3rd grade students in United Way’s Math Pilot Program for underserved children, Debbie has more than 30 years experience in the fashion industry.


Stephanie Mackay has spent the last two decades in the nonprofit sector working as a social entrepreneur and nonprofit leader where she brings a strong voice to the table to promote innovative solutions for the most vulnerable citizens in our communities. She is currently serving a three-year appointment to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Community Advisory Council (CAC) (, a 15-person volunteer council that meets twice yearly with the Federal Reserve Chairman and Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. This is one of three advisory councils that report directly to the Federal Reserve Chair and Board of Governors. The CAC has been instrumental in providing real-time community-level insights as the Federal Reserve has navigated the economic fallout of the pandemic. She also sits on the advisory board of the Philadelphia-based Global Interdependence Center (; the board of Utah-based Switchpoint (; Salt Lake County's Community and Support Service Advisory Council (CSSAC) (Boards and Commissions - Get Involved | SLCo); and Salt Lake City's CARES Community Advisory Panel. She is the former Chief Innovation Officer at Columbus Community Center, a nonprofit agency that serves individuals with some of the most severe disabilities ( She has held positions that have given her unique insight into the day-to-day triumphs and struggles of families of all socio-economic levels who face many overwhelming obstacles to navigate family, employment, healthcare, education, and housing issues. In 2015, Stephanie was recognized by Utah Business Magazine as one of “30 Women to Watch” ( In 2018 she was named a finalist for the Utah Region Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year ( She received her B.A. from Westminster College, her M.A. from Utah State University, and a Conflict Resolution Certificate from the University of Utah.

Terry Orme started at The Salt Lake Tribune as a copy boy, and retired 39 years later as editor and publisher. The newspaper won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting under his leadership. In 2022, he served as a Pulitzer Prize juror.

Dylan Smith is the Editor and Publisher of the Tucson Sentinel, a pioneering nonprofit local independent online news organization that reports authentically local journalism for Southern Arizona's Borderlands. Smith was the founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, organizing a group of publishers of hundreds of local news websites across the country. He's the president of the Arizona Press Club, and a member of the national Professional Standards and Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists. He is a longtime member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and American Copy Editors Society, as well as the Institute for Nonprofit News, and is a member of the Rebuild Local News Coalition advocating for policies and legislation that support the local news entrepreneurs who are fixing the new business across the country.
Smith has won numerous state and national awards and accolades for breaking news and investigative journalism, including the Sledgehammer Award from the Arizona Press Club, and has been a Brechner Reporting Fellow at the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, supporting his work pursuing in-depth journalism about government secrecy, and twice a Guggenheim Justice Reporting Fellow at the Center on Media, Crime and Justice, John Jay College of Criminal
Justice, City University of New York, supporting his reporting on police cover-ups and justice reform efforts.

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