Speakers for 2018 Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio

Registration is now open. Register HERE

Speakers are added as they are confirmed, Check back often! Speakers are listed in alphabetical order.

Looking for the hotel link and airport info? Click HERE.

Give yourself the gift of expertise and camaraderie. Join us in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 7-10, 2018 for the National Society Of Newspaper Columnists annual conference.


Jim Azevedo is the marketing director at Smashwords, the largest distributor of self-published ebooks, serving over 125,000 independent authors, publishers, and literary agents. Since 2008, Smashwords has helped authors around the world release more than 460,000 titles and distribute their work globally to top ebook retailers, subscription services and public libraries. Follow Smashwords on Twitter @Smashwords or Jim @jazzervedo.  For ebook publishing best practices, subscribe to the free Smart Author podcast via your favorite podcast platform.



Peter Bhatia, a multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who has led several large news organizations across the country,  was recently named editor of the Detroit Free Press.

Bhatia comes to Detroit from the Cincinnati Enquirer, where he was editor for the past two years and also served as regional editor for the USA TODAY Network’s Ohio Region.

Bhatia has a wealth of journalism experience, including serving as the top editor of the Oregonian in Portland in 2010-14. Prior to joining the Enquirer, Bhatia was the director of the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism.

Bhatia, 64, also was executive editor of the Fresno Bee, managing editor of the Sacramento Bee, editor of the York (Pa.) Dispatch and Sunday News, managing editor of the Dallas Times Herald, deputy managing editor of the San Francisco Examiner and a reporter and editor at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. He helped lead newsrooms that won nine Pulitzer Prizes, including the six in Portland.

Bhatia is a 1975 graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in history. The Pullman, Wash., native was inducted into the South Asian Journalists Association Hall of Fame in 2007 and received the Asian American Journalists Association Pioneer in Journalism Award in 2004. Bhatia also has served on more than 20 accrediting teams at journalism schools across the country and internationally. (Information taken from this freep.com article.)



Polly Campbell is the Food Critic for the Cincinnati Enquirer. She says, “I help readers find good things to eat in Greater Cincinnati, and tell the stories of the people who feed us.”






Photo By Dr. Blofeld

Columnist, radio/TV personality, activist and humanitarian Nick Clooney holds regional Emmy® Awards and national Emmy® nominations for his work in television broadcasting. He is a member of the Cincinnati, Kentucky and Ohio Journalism Halls of Fame.

Clooney began his broadcast career at the age of 17, working at his hometown radio station in Maysville, Ky. His career has spanned radio and local, regional and national television, including hosting the variety-themed Nick Clooney Show, which aired in Cincinnati from 1969-72; hosting the national game show, “The Money Maze” from 1974-75; and serving as news director and anchor of WKRC-TV from 1976-84 and 1986-88.

Clooney has also worked in markets including Lexington, Ky.; Salt Lake City; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Los Angeles. He was a columnist for The Cincinnati Post from 1989-2007 and was a host and researcher for the national American Movie Classics cable channel from 1994-99. He was a distinguished journalist-in-residence and faculty member of American University’s School of Communication from 2008-09.

In 2006, Clooney and his son, award-winning actor George Clooney, travelled to Darfur, Sudan, to film the documentary, “A Journey to Darfur,” which raised awareness about the suffering and human rights atrocities in that region. Last March, father and son were arrested in Washington, D.C., after crossing a police line during a protest outside the Sudanese Embassy.

Born and raised in Maysville, Ky., Clooney is also the brother of the late legendary singer Rosemary Clooney and Cincinnati television pioneer and singer Betty Clooney. In 1983, the Clooney family opened the Betty Clooney Center near Los Angeles – a program of the Betty Clooney Foundation for Persons with Brain Injury, which serves survivors of brain trauma.

Clooney and his wife, Nina, reside in Augusta, Ky., where they have been praised for their efforts to preserve the town’s history. They also have a daughter, Ada Zeidler.



Bonnie Jean Feldkamp has worked as a freelance writer since 2001 publishing service journalism articles as well as personal essays. She received “Best Overall Blog” in the Digital Media Category of the 2017 Society of Professional Journalists Awards for her monthly blog in Cincinnati Family magazine. Her essays have appeared in The New York TimesScary Mommy; and Brain, Child Magazine as well as regional parenting publications. Bonnie is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, is a member of Parent Media Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a wife and mother of three and she writes from her home office in Louisville, Kentucky, where PJs are considered professional attire. Find her on social media @WriterBonnie.


Sam Hiyate is founder and president of The Rights Factory, Inc, a literary agency in Toronto since 2004.  His industry experience began in 1990 with literary magazines and running a micropublisher, and later he launched the literary division of The Lanvin Agency in 2003.  The Rights Factory represents a large roster of award winning authors in all categories. He loves to discover distinct and compelling voices.  The genres of business, commercial upmarket, crime, literary fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and thriller particularly interest him.  Visit http://therightsfactory.com/about-us/  


Dave Lieber has worked as a columnist for 30 years. It’s all he ever wanted to do. He’s The Watchdog for The Dallas Morning News. He gained his reporting chops at the legendary Philadelphia Inquirer during its wonderful heyday. While still a reporter there, he joined NSNC because he knew it would bring him closer to his dream. It did. Here he is. Dave has written six books, speaks almost 100 times a year as a certified professional speaker and is married to Karen, who doesn’t always read Dave’s columns because she wants deniability in public. See Dave’s popular TED talk on storytelling at DaveLieber.org.


Clarence Pagea nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune, received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, among other awards.

Most recently, the National Press Foundation has selected Mr. Page for the 2017 W.M. Kiplinger Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism.

Page’s other honors include lifetime achievement awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the Chicago Headline Club and the National Association of Black Journalists.

He received a 1980 Illinois UPI awards for community service for an investigative series titled “The Black Tax” and the Edward Scott Beck Award for overseas reporting in 1976.

Page was a reporter, producer and community affairs director at WBBM-TV from 1980 to 1984. Before that he was a reporter and assistant city editor for the Chicago Tribune, during which he participated in a 1972 Task Force series on vote fraud, which also won a Pulitzer Prize.

Page also has been a regular contributor of essays to The PBS NewsHour, a regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group, a commentator on NPR’s Weekend Sunday and a frequent guest on a variety of other national radio and television programs.

A collection of his columns, Culture Worrier, was published in 2014 by Agate. His earlier book Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity was published in 1996 by Harper Collins.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, he grew up in Middletown. He began his journalism career as a freelance writer and photographer for the Middletown Journal and Cincinnati Enquirer at the age of 17. He graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor of science in journalism in 1969.

Forty-five years later his alma mater inducted him into its Journalism Hall of Fame and last year Ohio University named him their Alumnus of the Year.

He also has received honorary degrees from Columbia College in Chicago, Lake Forest College, the Chicago Theological Seminary and the John Marshall School of Law, among others.

Page is married, has one son, and lives in the suburbs of Washington, DC.


Joseph Parsons has worked in publishing for more than two decades, most recently at the University of North Carolina Press, where he was a senior editor, acquiring broadly in the humanities and social sciences, as well as creative nonfiction, documentary arts, current events, and history, for which one title won the Bancroft Prize. Previously, he acquired broadly for the University of Iowa Press, including for the acclaimed Sightline Books, Muse Books, and New American Canon series. Joe has also worked as a manuscript editor, journal editor for the National Humanities Center, and independent editor and writer, as well as a researcher and reporter.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Russian and East European studies from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois. When not walking his dog – itself a full-time job – Joe enjoys reading contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and long-form journalism and watching basketball.

Follow Joseph on Twitter @JoePParsons.


Joseph is currently accepting submissions for:
  • Non-fiction – Including literary and creative nonfiction, travel and nature writing, current events, history, biography, long-form journalism and scholarly work written for a general audience
  •  Fiction – Contemporary (post-1945) American literary fiction.
Joseph is especially seeking new voices including the work of women, people of color, and others who may have been underrepresented in past years, in particular LGBTQ and immigrant authors.

Rochelle Riley’s award-winning columns appear in the Detroit Free Press, at www.freep.com and in newspapers in the USA Today Network nationwide. She hosts a weekday radio talk show on 910AM WFDF in Detroit and makes occasional television appearances on MSNBC and Fox 2.

Rochelle has spent 20 years crusading for better lives for children, government accountability and improved race relations. She also has spent 16 years promoting the need to increase adult literacy, helping to raise nearly $2 million for literacy causes in Michigan. She is the winner of the 2017 Pulliam Editorial Fellowship from the Society of Professional Journalists and author of “The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery” (Wayne State University Press, 2018).

Rochelle has worked at The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where her debut column calling for a museum to honor native son Muhammad Ali helped spur an $80 million campaign to build the Muhammad Ali Center. In 2000, she was recruited to the Detroit Free Press, where her debut column called for the city schools to be shut down. In 2010, just months after Detroit voted to elect council members by district for the first time in a century, Rochelle – working with a data think tank and the newspaper’s design team – created seven proposed districts to show voters what their piece of the pie could look like. She held town halls in each area to encourage residents to embrace their neighborhoods and the idea of accountability from council members. The city council later created seven council districts that looked eerily like the ones she created. When the governor and legislature couldn’t balance the state budget, she convened a kitchen cabinet of female financial experts, and they did it – in two days – without cutting education. And in 2015, she joined the campaign to raise funds to test rape kits found abandoned in a police storage unit, helping a women’s group raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for those tests.

Rochelle was the 2017 winner of the NABJ Ida B. Wells Award, an annual honor given to an individual who has made outstanding efforts to make newsrooms and news coverage more accurately reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. The award is named for the distinguished journalist, fearless reporter and anti-lynching crusaders. Her other honors include a National Headliner Award, a National Scripps Howard Award and numerous first-place honors from Associated Press-Managing Editors, the Michigan Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and NABJ. Her columns about the fall of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were part of the entry that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting. “Rochelle Riley’s stellar career as a journalist and as a mentor to scores of up-and-coming young journalists represents the kind of passion and commitment the Ida B. Wells Award was created to recognize and celebrate,” Charles Whitaker, associate dean at Medill, said in announcing the Ida B. Wells. “She is a role model to all of us who care about the present and future of our field. And she is an extremely worthy recipient of this honor.”

A strong advocate for press freedom, Rochelle is co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Global Journalism Task Force, which works to increase the number of minority journalists covering the world. She has traveled to 25 countries and counting. She was a 2007-2008 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she studied online communities and film. And she was a 2016 inductee into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.


Carol Robidoux is an evolutionary journalist – from her amoebic beginnings in the late 1980s as a staff reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times in Pennsylvania, she’s now walking completely upright in the realm of digital news, as publisher and Chief Instigating Officer of ManchesterInkLink.com, an online hyperlocal daily news site for NH’s largest city. In between she’s covered everything from crime and breaking news, to New Hampshire politics – she once hijacked the Ron Paul revolution for a two-minute interview in his campaign van, and bumbled her way into five straight nights as a talking head on national TV during the 2012 Election cycle. She’s also freelanced for a variety of publications, including NH Public Radio and the Boston Globe. Career highlights include launching r e a l i t y, one of the country’s first youth-written sections in the mid-1990s, that persists today and has helped shake countless aimless teenagers from their adolescent malaise into tax-paying adults who make an honest living as professors, poets and even working journalists – including Robert Costa, host of PBS’ Washington Week. She also spent the best seven years of her professional life writing an award-winning weekly human interest column, all while exploiting the awkward and embarrassing lives of her four children, and her good-sport husband, Jim. She currently serves on the board of the New Hampshire Press Association, and is a proud member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Her hobbies include performing weddings as a NH Justice of the Peace, planting a minimum of 100 tulips each fall in her front yard, blasting old school R&B for Friday night living room dance parties, and perpetrating strategic product placement of bottled water during photo opportunities.


Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate, and Professional in Residence at Kent State University’s journalism school. In 2005, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for columns that judges praised for providing “a voice for the underdog and the underprivileged.” Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, Parade, the Atlantic, ESPN Magazine and Democracy Journal.

Also in 2005, Schultz won the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award for Commentary and the National Headliner Award for Commentary. In 2003, she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in feature writing for her series, “The Burden of Innocence,” which chronicled the ordeal of Michael Green, who was imprisoned for 13 years for a rape he did not commit. The week after her series ran, the real rapist turned himself in after reading her stories. The series won the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Social Justice Reporting, the National Headliner Award’s Best of Show and journalism awards from Harvard and Columbia universities.

In 2004, Schultz won the Batten Medal, which honors “a body of journalistic work that reflects compassion, courage, humanity and a deep concern for the underdog.”

Schultz is also a fellow with the Vietnam Reporting Project. Her 2011 series, “Unfinished Business,” explored the long-term impact of Agent Orange in the U.S., and in Vietnam. The series won the Associated Press Managing Editors Journalism Excellence Award in International Perspective. She has received seven honorary degrees, and has twice served as a Pulitzer Prize juror.

Schultz is the author of “Life Happens – And Other Unavoidable Truths,” a collection of essays, and “…and His Lovely Wife,” a memoir about her husband Sherrod Brown’s successful 2006 race for the U.S. Senate. Her first novel, “Erietown,” which is about a working-class family in small-town Ohio, will be published by Random House.

Schultz and her husband have four grown children and five grandchildren. They live in Cleveland, Ohio with their rescue dog, Franklin.


Throughout an illustrious career, Jerry Springer has become a cultural and civic icon. Springer’s notoriety is due in large part to hosting his eponymous show for 27 seasons. In addition, to Springer’s work in entertainment, throughout his life he has also been lawyer, the mayor of Cincinnati, award-winning newscaster, author, Broadway actor, executive producer, ballroom dancer, and much more.

After joining a law firm in Cincinnati, Springer spearheaded the movement in Ohio to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The result was the ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution that lowered the voting age for all Americans. He ran for Congress in Ohio in 1970, nearly beating the entrenched Republican incumbent. In 1971, he turned to local government and won a seat on the Cincinnati City Council, serving five terms before becoming Mayor of Cincinnati at the age of 33.

After an unsuccessful bid for Ohio governor in 1982, Springer was courted by the big three networks. He made the choice to leave political office and ultimately signed with the Cincinnati NBC affiliate, WLWT. As their anchor and managing editor, Springer took WLWT, which before struggled with ratings, from worst to first.

Springer’s work ethic and success at the NBC affiliate caught the eyes of several executives. In 1991, he was offered his own talk show in Cincinnati.

The show gained in popularity rather quickly and production for the show moved to Chicago. At this time, Springer would commute from Chicago to Cincinnati every day to fulfill both his talk show and anchoring responsibilities. After 2 years, Springer would say farewell to news reporting and commit to hosting full-time as The Jerry Springer Show was sold into national syndication.

In 1998, Jerry Springer and his show reached a level of success that was remarkable; Springer went from being a household name in Cincinnati to being a household name in every home in America.

Diversifying his abilities, Springer’s career took an unexpected turn as he became a theater actor. He took on the role of Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago, first in London’s West End and then New York’s Broadway. The talk show influence would also expand to the unexpected as it reached the most cultured forms of entertainment. Jerry Springer: The Opera premiered in London and won the Laurence Olivier Award (the English equivalent to the American Tony) for Best New Musical. The opera world tour and make its way to America for a limited engagement to sell out audiences with even Harvey Keitel playing Springer at Carnegie Hall.

In recent years, Springer is as busy as ever. In addition to hosting his talk show, he has hosted the Game Show Network’s Baggage as well as a show for Discovery Investigation and WWE. Jerry Springer’s work ethic is unmatched. His bio and the story of his career are to be continued.




Speilburg Literary Agency represents authors in fiction and nonfiction. Our client list includes award-winning and debut authors, to whom we offer hands-on editorial attention and business management throughout their publishing careers.

Before launching the agency in 2012, founding agent Alice Speilburg worked at John Wiley & Sons and at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she is a board member of Louisville Literary Arts. She is currently building her client list and represents fiction and nonfiction.

In nonfiction, Alice is looking for authors with established platforms, especially journalists, who are writing narratives in the following categories: Biography, Food, Gender Issues, Health, History, Music, Pop Culture, Relationships, Science, Travel.

#MSWL: I’d love to work on a pop science narrative that informs some particular quirk of our human nature, a biography of an incredible historical woman whose name has been forgotten, or a book that focuses on the intersection of two — perhaps unlikely — subjects, like food and political identity.

In fiction, we are looking for character-driven novels that fall under the following genres: Historical Fiction, Mainstream fiction with elements of sci-fi/fantasy/horror, Mystery/Suspense, Young Adult.

For more information and a list of recent deals, please visit Speilburg Literary on Publishers Marketplace: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/alicenicole/


Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker, and media entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Define American, the nation’s leading non-profit media advocacy organization that uses storytelling to humanize the conversation around immigration, citizenship, and identity in a changing America. He also founded #EmergingUS, a production company that focuses on race, immigration, and the emerging American identity. As a creator and curator of stories, he produces the annual Define American Film Festival, a traveling event that showcases content and conversations focused on America’s changing demographics.

In June 2011, the New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine worldwide with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story he wrote. He then produced and directed Documented, a documentary feature film on his undocumented experience. It world premiered at the AFI Docs film festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013, was released theatrically and broadcast on CNN in 2014, and received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary. Documented is now available on various digital platforms.

In July 2015, MTV aired, as part of its “Look Different” campaign, White People, an Emmy-nominated television special he produced and directed on what it means to be young and white in contemporary America.

The media’s evolution and the rise of the digital era has guided his career. He has written for daily newspapers (Philadelphia Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle) and national magazines (Rolling Stone, The New Yorker), and was a senior contributing editor at the Huffington Post, where he launched the Technology and College sections. Prior to that, he covered tech and video game culture, HIV/AIDS in the nation’s capital, and the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post, and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Virginia Tech massacre. In 2007, Politico named him one of 50 Politicos to Watch. His 2006 series on HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C. inspired a documentary feature film, The Other City, which he co-produced and wrote. It world premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime. He has appeared on an array of television programs, including: Good Morning America, Real Time with Bill Maher, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Univision’s Aqui y Ahora, and the Filipino Channel’s Balitang America.

Among accolades he has received are: The Salem Award from the Salem Award Foundation, which draws upon the lessons of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692; the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA; and honorary degrees from Colby College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Passionate about the role of arts in society and promoting equity in education, Vargas is a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee, and serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students.

He is a very proud graduate of San Francisco State University (‘04), where he was named Alumnus of the Year in 2012, and Mountain View High School (‘00).

He lives in America.


Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. His Tales from the Trail column is on WVXU.org on Saturday and Politically Speaking column on Sunday. You will also find his political blog, Monday morning political chats with news director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson on WVXU as well.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time



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