Michelle Jaconi


Executive Producer, Washington Post Video Team

Michelle Jaconi is the Executive Producer of The Washington Post video team, where she oversees on-camera journalists and topical, satirical videos on politics and culture.

Michelle previously worked at Independent Journal Review (IJR), where she was a driving force behind some of their viral video journalism during the 2016 election campaign. Before joining IJR, Michelle spent six years at CNN as the executive producer on “State of the Union” and “Inside Politics,” before becoming the founding executive producer of CNN Politics’ Cross Platform Programming Unit. Before CNN, Michelle was a programming executive and political analyst at NBC’s “Meet the Press with Tim Russert.”

Michelle has won multiple Emmy Awards for her election coverage at NBC and CNN. She won a Peabody for CNN’s coverage of the Arab spring and a Cronkite Award for “Meet the Press.” She has a bachelor’s degree in international politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree from Georgetown’s Communications, Culture and Technology program.


Nadjeena Jerome


Television Presenter and International Journalist, 2M Media Group

Nadgeena Jerome is an alumna of the 2012 Washington Journalism and Media Conference. Nadgeena’s most recent position has been as a Television Presenter and Editor at 2M Media Group (2M), where she contributes her talents as a host for Interview 360. Nadgeena was also a co-host and editor for the Trending China series. She brings her fresh and young perspective to 2M Media Group, immersing herself in work both in front of and behind the camera as a producer. Before joining 2M, Nadgeena co-founded the entertainment news segment On The Couch at George Mason University, as well as worked in several broadcast environments, including for the local Fox 5 affiliate in New York and as a Video Journalism Fellow for Circa News. Nadgeena credits the Washington Journalism and Media Conference as what solidified her desire to work in broadcast media. She is excited to be back as a speaker for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference, sharing her forward-thinking approach to media and experience as a young journalist, networking with industry leaders from international media outlets.


Jack Curry

Adjunct Professor, George Mason University

Jack Curry has held leadership positions in the newsrooms of many of the nation’s largest circulation publications: USA Today, The New York Daily News, and TV Guide. He has written for many media outlets ranging from The Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine to Cosmopolitan and Playbill. Curry also serves as a Writing Coach at the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) and teaches English as a Second Language at Northern Virginia Community College. Curry received his MA in Journalism from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. He received his BA at the Jesuit institution, LeMoyne College. Curry lives in Arlington now but has also called Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Norway, Switzerland and Long Island home.


Cynthia Russo

Founder/Publisher, EAST COBBER Magazine

Cynthia Rozzo created the free magazine, EAST COBBER, in 1993 to serve East Cobb County, Georgia residents by providing a forum for them to share their ideas and a source for them to learn more about their community.

As a local businesswoman, Cynthia has served as past president of the East Cobb Business Association and is a member of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to establishing EAST COBBER, Cynthia Rozzo was the marketing/public relations manager for an educational publishing company. In addition to growing EAST COBBER online and in print, she produces the annual EAST COBBER Community Parade and Festival.

Cynthia received a Masters in International Relations from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. Her undergraduate degree in Public Administration was earned at Indiana University, Bloomington. An East Cobb County (a neighborhood in Marietta, GA) resident since 1991, Ms. Rozzo lives in the Park Ridge subdivision with her husband, George, and three children, Lee, Nikos, and Eleni.


Dayna Smith

Dayna Smith, President, ImageSmith Media

Dayna worked as a newspaper photographer for 30 years, traveling around the globe covering civil wars in Central America, the anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the cholera epidemic in South America, conflict and famine in Somalia and the Los Angeles riots. Her photographs of the struggle for independence by Kosovar Albanians won the coveted World Press Photo of the Year in 1999. She now owns her own company, ImageSmith Media, where she enjoys shooting “real people – real situations,” in the categories of news, food, architecture, travel and special events.


Nicole Livas

Former Anchor, WAVY News and Fox 43 TV

Nicole Livas is a veteran broadcast journalist who relocated to the DC area for her husband’s career promotion in March 2016. She’s now an independent journalist, media consultant, and trainer.

Previously, she anchored four weekday evening newscasts on the WAVY and Fox 43 TV in Norfolk. In addition to her on air work, Nicole kept busy behind the scenes by producing web stories, blogs, and social media posts.

Nicole is a community leader who speaks to aspiring journalists and various community groups.

Nicole is a proud graduate of George Mason University, and serves on the Board of Advisors for G.M.U.’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She also serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Chapter.

Nicole spends her free time with her husband, infant daughter and family, in the gym or yoga studio and loves traveling, reading, cooking and supporting local businesses.


Phil Murphy

SportsCenter Anchor, sub-Saharan Africa

Phil Murphy is the host of SportsCenter across sub-Saharan Africa. Murphy joined ESPN in January 2010 after five years covering high school sports in and around Washington, D.C. Since joining ESPN, he has worked as a producer, reporter and on-air anchor, contributing to ESPN’s coverage of college football, college basketball, recruiting and mixed martial arts.

Murphy hosts the daily SportsCenter produced by ESPN as part of its long-term collaboration with Econet Media’s Kwesé in sub-Saharan Africa. The daily program will air nightly at 8pm locally (CAT) and with a predominately American sports focus will provide a fast-paced snapshot of the top stories in global sport for fans in 19 African countries.

As a self-described “military brat,” Murphy grew up in the Eastern United States and Western Europe, developing an affinity for travel and global sport, particularly global soccer, American football and basketball.

Murphy has lived in Gonbach, Germany, Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia and has a degree in marketing from George Mason University. He is an avid recreational athlete and outdoorsman, including interests in weightlifting, soccer, hiking and mountaineering – the latter of which includes summiting two of the world’s “Seven Summits” — Mount Aconcagua in Argentina (22,841 ft. / 6,961 m) and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (19,341 ft. / 5,895 m).


Diane Roberts


Sports Anchor/Reporter, WUSA9; Correspondent, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien

Diane has more than 20 years experience in broadcasting, and is a sports anchor and reporter on WUSA9, where she specializes in feature reporting. She enjoys telling the stories about athletes persevering through adversity and getting to the heart of what makes players tick. She has interviewed athletes from Michael Jordan and Bryce Harper to the second chance high school coach who turned around a team and the cheerleader who fought cancer with the help of her community.

She is also a correspondent with Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, a nationally syndicated political magazine program rated the #1 new weekend show in syndication. Diane is also the President and Founder of Diane’s Talking, a company that assists with all broadcasting and communications needs, from producing high quality videos that tell the story of companies and businesses to voice over work and media coaching.


Kera White

Photography Junior Faculty Advisor

Kera is a rising junior at George Mason University from Newport News, VA, and is studying Communication with a concentration in Media Production Criticism and a minor in African American Studies and Film and Media Criticism. She attended the Washington Journalism & Media Conference in 2014, returned as a Junior Faculty Advisor in 2016, and will return for her third year as the photo junior faculty advisor. Kera currently works in the Office of Student Media as the General Manager for Mason Cable Network. Her freshman year, she held the titles of Assistant News Director, News Director, and the creator of “Freshmen’s Corner” before being promoted to General Manager her sophomore year. Her other on-campus involvements currently include Black Student Alliance, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Chase Dreams Not Boys, and the Black Literary Project Marketing Advisor. In her free time, Kera enjoys writing poetry, taking photos for her business “Amethyst Films” and hanging out with friends and family. She looks forward to meeting all of the Correspondents and capturing all of the beautiful moments that this conference has to offer!

Advance Team

Melissa Moore

Advance Team Member

Melissa Moore is from Fair Lawn, New Jersey and is a rising senior at George Mason University. She is a Communication major with a concentration in Public Relations in addition to minors in Journalism and Sport Management. On campus, Melissa serves as a staff writer for the news section of GMU’s student newspaper, The Fourth Estate, and plays on the women’s rugby team. At home, she serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Cutting Edge, a biannual Board of Education newsletter for her district. Melissa was named the 2014 New Jersey High School Journalist of the Year as a senior and has won several other awards for her writing. She attended the Washington Journalism and Media Conference in 2012 where she fell in love with journalism and the university she would soon attend, and returned as a Junior Faculty Advisor in 2015 and 2016. She looks forward to working with the Advance Team this summer and meeting students from each conference!

Connect with Melissa on the WSP Forums