Our Team

Sarabeth Berman

CEO

Sarabeth is CEO of the American Journalism Project. Previously, she was the global head of public affairs at Teach For All, a network of social enterprises in 53 countries, where she led communications and marketing, public-sector partnerships, and research and evaluation. Before joining Teach For All, Sarabeth spent seven years in China, where she led fundraising and recruitment at Teach For China. Sarabeth first went to China in 2007 as a Henry Luce Scholar, working as a producer and manager in the performing arts. She serves on the board of directors at the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School. She is a graduate of Barnard College. She and her husband Evan Osnos, and two children, live in Washington D.C.

Jason Alcorn

Vice President, Learning & Impact

Jason leads learning and knowledge for the American Journalism Project, working across departments to achieve impact at scale for local news organizations and their funders. As the organization’s first hire, he oversaw the organization’s launch and first 18 months of operations. Previously, he was project director for NewsMatch, a national campaign that has helped raise more than $100 million for nonprofit newsrooms. Jason has worked as a consultant with Democracy Fund, the Institute for Nonprofit News and local nonprofit news organizations and was associate director of InvestigateWest, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in Seattle. Jason is an advisory to Listening Post Collective and Migratory Notes. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his family.

Adina Berliant-McDougall

Associate Director, Strategic Partnerships

Adina supports the development team to attract and cultivate support for the American Journalism Project’s mission. Previously, she was development manager at nonprofit newsroom City Limits, where she led initiatives to diversify revenue streams with a focus on sustainable reader-revenue opportunities. Before City Limits, Adina worked in politics including as a consultant on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reelection campaign. She regularly serves on the Grants Advisory Committee at the New York Women’s Foundation and is based in New York City.

Laura Bertocci

Manager, Community Support

Laura is part of the Portfolio Success team. She has spent the majority of her career helping news professionals share knowledge, support each other and evolve the industry. She previously worked on communications for the Online News Association and membership at the Institute for Nonprofit News. Laura’s editorial experience also runs the gamut: She’s served at a small investigative nonprofit newsroom in Santa Barbara, California, spent a stint at the millennial-focused site Mic, where she also helped lead efforts to unionize the newsroom, and most recently supported one of the nation’s leading women’s podcast, “Call Your Girlfriend”.

Tyrell Byrd

Assistant Director, Operations

Tyrell manages the day-to-day operations of the American Journalism Project, supporting internal systems and culture and grant operations. He has more than six years of experience in finance, operations and information technology for both nonprofits and commercial businesses. Tyrell is also a photographer who believes in the importance of openness, community and communications. He graduated from Monroe College with a degree in criminal justice and human services and is based in Washington, D.C.

Loretta Chao

Vice President, Strategy & Startups

Loretta is part of the Strategy & Startups team at the American Journalism Project. She got her start in journalism at her hometown newspapers Newsday and the New York Daily News, before covering technology and business for The Wall Street Journal for almost 12 years. During that time, she worked as a correspondent in Brazil and China, where she won awards for her reporting on Internet censorship and surveillance. Most recently, Loretta was director of strategy and operations and VICE Media, where she oversaw editorial strategy for the company’s first direct-to-consumer subscription product. She also worked on programming for VICE’s experiential business, and execution of new initiatives including its first major live streaming news production. Loretta is based in New York.

Gonzalo del Peon

Manager, Strategy & Startups

Gonzalo is part of the Strategy & Startups team at the American Journalism Project. He is a graduate of NYU’s Studio 20 master’s program on digital journalism and innovation, where he focused on mission and revenue alignment in news. Previously, he was a researcher for the Membership Puzzle Project and was the American Press Institute’s 2018 summer fellow, where he studied audience-focused revenue diversification and user research practices within news organizations. Gonzalo graduated from The New School with a BBA in strategic design and management and a minor in journalism and design. Gonzalo is based in New York City.

René Gornall

Chief of Staff

René is American Journalism Project’s Chief of Staff, delivering on strategic initiatives and facilitating cross-organizational planning and communication. Previously, she worked with Opportunity Nation, a data-driven campaign to expand economic mobility, and in 2018 co-led the transition of the campaign from its incubator phase to a new home within The Forum for Youth Investment. René graduated from Penn State University and received her JD from The Dickinson School of Law, where she worked in the Family Law Clinic and helped launch the school’s Children’s Advocacy Clinic. She now serves on the board of directors of the Dickinson Law Leadership Council Advisory Board. René is based in Northern Virginia.

John Ketchum

Associate, Strategy & Startups

John is part of the Strategy & Startups team at the American Journalism Project. He got his start in journalism through public radio, first at his local college station as a reporter, then as a producer for American Public Media’s Marketplace on their wealth and poverty team based in Los Angeles. After Marketplace, he moved to the east coast to serve as a producer for NPR’s Morning Edition. He then went on to run audience engagement strategy at The Center for Public Integrity — an investigative newsroom in Washington, D.C. From there he went on to be part of CNN’s social media team in New York during the 2016 presidential election. After CNN, he served as Deputy Editor of SB Nation, Vox Media’s sports website. Before the American Journalism Project, John worked at Blavity where he helped with the relaunch of afrotech.com, serving as the site’s managing editor. He is based in Atlanta.

Matthew Mantica

Director, Strategy & Startups

Matt is part of the Strategy & Startups team at the American Journalism Project. Previously, he led Atlantic Media’s strategy research team. During his time with Atlantic Media, Matt worked on a variety of editorial, business, and operational challenges for The Atlantic, Government Executive, Quartz, and National Journal. He also edited and wrote The Idea, a newsletter on the journalism business. Matt received his B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, during which time he oversaw the independent student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. Matt lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Fiona Morgan

Director of Community Listening

Fiona is a contractor supporting our Startups team in community engagement and building stronger local news and information ecosystems. She is the founder of Branchhead Consulting.

Anna Nirmala

Vice President, Portfolio Success

Anna is part of the Portfolio Success team at the American Journalism Project. She worked most recently at Hearken, a groundbreaking woman-owned company that facilitated a unique public-powered model for journalism and has more than 100 newsroom partners around the world. As Director of Business Development, Anna was responsible for the company’s revenue growth and enterprise client management. Anna was previously a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, focusing on Strategy & Operations for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses. She is based in New York.

Michael Ouimette

Senior Vice President, Strategy & Startups

Michael leads the Strategy & Startups team at the American Journalism Project. Previously he led the domestic direct-to-consumer businesses at VICE Media. In that role, Michael spearheaded efforts to diversify revenue streams and content formats through launching VICE’s first subscription product in the US, and managing its experiential business. Prior to that role, he led strategy and operations for VICE’s digital division, driving efforts to grow audiences and profitability among VICE’s collection of digital brands. Michael is based in New York.

Amar Rajwani

Chief Financial & Administrative Officer

Amar leads the AJP operations team, which includes budgeting, strategic finance, HR, and tech. He has spent most of his career working in early-childhood education, having served as a preschool teacher, center director, and system leader. Most recently, Amar played a key role in expanding pre-K access in New York City. At the NYC Department of Education, he led a team of 60 supporting a portfolio of 1,000 early-childhood contracted providers with a total annual budget of $1 billion. Amar holds an MPA from CUNY Baruch College, where he also teaches statistics. A born-and-raised New Yorker, Amar lives in Queens with his wife, Courtney, and their two daughters.

Alice Rhee

Head of Strategic Partnerships & Place-Based Philanthropy

Alice is a philanthropy executive, digital video strategist, and two-time Emmy award winning journalist. She worked in national news for two decades, including various editorial and production roles at NBC News and as a senior producer of digital video at The Washington Post. She also helped launch a short documentary initiative at the Tribeca Film Institute. Most recently, she was a media adviser to a private family foundation. She serves on the board of TheGuardian.org. Alice is based in Los Angeles.

Christa Scharfenberg

Senior Vice President, Portfolio Success

Christa is senior vice president for portfolio success. Previously, she was CEO of Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, where she spent 18 years leading the organization’s growth from a small nonprofit producing a handful of stories a year to a multiplatform newsroom that reaches millions. Reveal is a Peabody Award- and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award-winning public radio show and podcast. She was also a key leader of CIR’s local journalism initiative, California Watch. She executive or senior produced numerous documentaries, including the Academy Award-nominated film “Heroin(e).” Christa is a member of the Poynter Institute National Advisory Board. Prior to CIR, she was associate director of the Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco and a team leader at City Year Boston. She lives in Oakland, California, with her children.

Patty Slutsky

Chief Development Officer

Patty has more than 15 years of development experience in scaling nonprofits. Previously, she led strategic partnerships at Catchafire, a platform and program that matches nonprofits with skilled volunteers, and was Head of Global Development at Teach For All, where she grew a global fundraising operation that raised more than $130 million over 8 years. She is a graduate of Northeastern University and holds an MBA from the George Washington University. Patty is based in Philadelphia with her husband Matthew and their two children.

Michelle Srbinovich

Vice President, Portfolio Support

Michelle leads support and capacity building for American Journalism Project grantees. She was previously general manager at WDET Detroit Public Radio, where she was the youngest G.M. of a major-market public radio station. Beginning her career in advertising, Michelle has earned national recognition throughout the public media and nonprofit news for her commitment to bringing new audiences to public service media. At WDET, she drove audience, operating revenue and philanthropic support growth for the first working U.S. model of mainstream, major market, multi-ethnic public radio. Michelle is based in Detroit.

Heidi Zheng

Manager, Learning & Impact

Heidi is part of the Portfolio Success team with a focus on learning and impact, developing and improving knowledge management systems and processes that capture and operationalize insights from portfolio organizations and other AJP partners. Previously, she was a senior program associate at Energy Foundation, leading on grantmaking; external diversity equity and inclusion; and democracy work in the Midwest. She lives in Chicago, where she co-owns and manages The Dial Bookshop with her husband, Peter.

Board of Directors

Joe Natoli

Chair
EVP/Baptist Health South Florida, Former Publisher Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News

Irving Washington

Co-chair
Online News Association

Rosental Alves

Founder and Director
Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, University of Texas at Austin

Jeff Cohen

Executive Vice President of Communications
Arnold Ventures

Teresa Gorman

Senior Program Associate for Local News
Democracy Fund

Peter Lattman

Managing Director, Media
Emerson Collective

Maria Thomas

Startup Advisor/Investor, Former Etsy CEO, and former SVP Digital at NPR

John Thornton

Co-founder
Elsewhere Partners

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