Speakers

Barbara Davidson
Barbara Davidson is a three-time Pulitzer Prize and Emmy award-winning photojournalist best known for her work on victims of gang violence in Los Angeles. A staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times until 2017, Barbara spent much of the past decade photographing women and children trapped in a culture of poverty and guns. Barbara won global recognition for her 2011 project, “Caught in the Crossfire,” an intimate story of innocent victims trapped in Los Angeles’ deadly gang wars. Barbara was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for the project. She also produced and directed a 30-minute documentary, Caught in the Crossfire: Victims of Gang Violence, which received the 2011 Emmy Award for New Approaches to News and Documentary Programming. Davidson is a Canon-sponsored Explorer of Light.
Richard Koci Hernandez
Richard Koci Hernandez is an internationally recognized, award-winning innovator in journalism and multimedia. An award-winning multimedia producer, he worked as a visual journalist and then deputy director of photography and multimedia at the San Jose Mercury News for 15 years. His photography has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and a National Geographic Book on iPhone Photography. His monograph, Downtown, was published in 2013, the same year his multimedia project for CNN, Our Mobile Society, earned him his fourth national Emmy nomination. In 2008, Richard won a national Emmy award in the New Approaches to Documentary category for the Mercury News project, Uprooted. Other work there covering the Latino Diaspora and the California youth prison system earned him two Pulitzer Prize nominations and the James K. Batten Knight Ridder Excellence Award. He has taught multimedia workshops and lectured around the country. A graduate of SFSU in journalism, Koci Hernandez joined the faculty at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism as a visiting Fellow in 2008, and in 2017 he was named an Associate Professor for New Media at the school.
Cheryl Diaz Meyer
Cheryl Diaz Meyer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer known for her coverage of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and her insightful documentation of women facing violence in the context of global conflicts. Cheryl won the Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography with colleague David Leeson for coverage of the Iraq Invasion. Cheryl’s photos have also been recognized by the Overseas Press Club, the NPPA, Visa Pour L’Image, the White House News Photographers Association and others throughout her 25-year career. She has covered stories in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Her photographs are exhibited worldwide including the Newseum’s Pulitzer Prize Exhibit in Washington, D.C.  Her work is widely published: in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, NPR, China Daily and in Life, Newsweek, Newsweek Japan, Der Spiegel and Cosmopolitan magazines, as well as several books. Previously Cheryl worked as the Visual Editor for McClatchy’s Washington Bureau where she was part of a team that won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for the Panama Papers. She also worked as a staff photographer at The Dallas Morning News and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Richard Tsong-Taatarii
Through his documentary photography work, Richard Tsong-Taatarii brings attention to the joys and tribulations of Minnesotans as a staff photographer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is also a contributing photographer to Zuma Press. He enjoys covering communities within our larger society that escape the attention of much of the mainstream media. His traveling monograph, “Lakota Resistance: the Bison, Horse, and the River,” is a five-year documentary on the legacy of the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Reservation and his extensive coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests on the Standing Rock Reservation. In 2018, he was awarded a World Press Photo award in general news and named NPPA Best of Photojournalism large market photographer of the year for his coverage of the Rohingya exodus, end of the Standing Rock protests, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Chad Nelson
Chad Nelson is a two-time, National Press Photographer’s Association Ernie Crisp Photographer of the Year. He has also been named NPPA Editor of the Year. Nelson grew up in Elk River, Minnesota, studied Mass Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead and then quickly launched his professional career at WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota. With a constant curiosity about the human condition, Nelson continues to work on his craft, highlighting the wonderful people he meets. Nelson joined KARE 11, in Minneapolis, in 2014 to focus on the art of storytelling while looking for new technologies to bring storytelling to life on all platforms.

Workshop Leaders

Deborah Pastner
Deb Pastner is Director of Photo and Multimedia at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. During her tenure as director, the photo and video team’s work has been recognized by POYi, Best of Photojournalism, SND, the Edward R. Murrow Awards, ONA, the World Press Awards and the Midwest Emmys. Pastner has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, POYi and SND judge, and she is currently serving as a member of the Associated Press Photo Managers Board. Before coming to Minneapolis, Pastner was a photographer at newspapers in Massachusetts, Washington and Michigan. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and attended the Missouri School of Journalism.
Melody Gilbert
Melody Gilbert is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker who has directed, produced, shot (and sometimes edited) seven feature-length documentaries since 2002. She works mostly solo and has the ability to get people to reveal their innermost thoughts, whether it’s the family of a child who can’t feel pain (A Life Without Pain/SXSW), a former Vice President of the United States (Fritz: The Walter Mondale Story/PBS), or a physically healthy person who wants to become an amputee (Whole/Sundance Channel).  She is also a producer for other documentaries, including the James Beard award-winning documentary The Starfish Throwers (2014) and Women Outward Bound (2018/PBS). Her most recent film, Silicone Soul, premiered in 2018 and was named one of “Five Docs To Watch at DOC NYC.” Melody is a passionate educator who has taught film and journalism classes at the University of Minnesota, Carleton College, Columbia College (Chicago), and on the faculty of the American University in Bulgaria for four years.  She returned to Minnesota in 2016 and is story consulting for several filmmakers, in production on several new films and teaching master classes around the world. The Documentary Channel calls Melody “one of the most fearless filmmakers in contemporary documentary cinema.”
Sara Quinn
A design and journalism consultant, Sara Quinn holds the R.M. Seaton Chair at Kansas State University. She is past president of the international Society for News Design and an affiliate faculty member for The Poynter Institute where she taught design and data visualization for more than a decade. Her eyetracking research for the National Press Photographers Association and Poynter on newspaper, tablet and online reading habits helps journalists and designers determine the best forms for storytelling. Sara conducts workshops for newsrooms and universities around the world. She has a B.A. from Wichita State University and a master’s in illustration from Syracuse University.
Blake Iverson
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Blake Iverson
Blake Iverson is a Minneapolis attorney and educator. He is the co-founder of Eastlake Legal, where he specializes in intellectual property, business law and entertainment. Blake currently teaches Arts Entrepreneurship at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has previously taught at St. Mary’s, the University of Minnesota, the Institute of Production and Recording and McNally Smith College of Music. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, live music, and tacos.