At this interscholastic conference, we will host renowned journalists and professors with notable talent, a wide range of experiences, and valuable insight. Here's our lineup:

Gillian White

Keynote Speaker, Session Presenter, and Panelist

Gillian White is a writer and editor at The Atlantic where she covers business and economics with a focus on inequality, wealth, the financial sector, and economic policy. Prior to joining The Atlantic, White was an editor at the personal finance magazine, Kiplinger. Her work has also appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Bloomberg, and MarketWatch.

White holds a BA in economics and political science from Columbia University and an MS in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School. She currently resides in Washington DC.

Jamie Kalven

Keynote Speaker and Session Presenter

Jamie Kalven is a writer and human rights activist. He is the author of Working With Available Light: A Family’s World After Violence and the editor of A Worthy Tradition: Free Speech in America by his father Harry Kalven, Jr. Since the early 1990s, he has worked in and reported from public housing communities in Chicago. He long served as advisor to the resident council of the Stateway Gardens public housing development; and he currently serves, under a federal consent decree, as consultant to the Horner Residents Committee. At Stateway Gardens, he created a program of “grassroots public works” aimed at creating alternatives for ex-offenders and members of the street gangs.

He has reported extensively on police abuse in Chicago and was the plaintiff in Kalven v. Chicago, in which the Illinois appellate court ruled that police misconduct files are public information. His reporting first brought the police shooting of Laquan McDonald to public attention. Awards he has received for his work include the 2015 George Polk Award for Local Reporting, the 2016 Ridenhour Courage Prize, and the 2017 Hillman Prize.

Logan Aimone

Session Presenter

Logan Aimone is a journalism educator at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools where he advises the yearbook staff and University High School's newspaper, the U-High Midway. He is on the Board of Directors at the Student Press Law Center, an organization dedicated to advocating for the free press rights of students. Previously he was on the School Newspapers Online team, led NSPA as executive director and taught 10 years at Wenatchee (Washington) HS, where his students earned top national honors for newspaper, website and yearbook. He co-wrote two journalism textbooks and has received state and national awards for teaching, advising and free expression.

Tracy Baim

Session Presenter and Panelist

Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor at Windy City Media Group, which produces Windy City Times, Nightspots, and other gay media. She co-founded Windy City Times in 1985 and Outlines newspaper in 1987. She has won numerous gay community and journalism honors, including the Community Media Workshop’s Studs Terkel Award in 2005. She started in Chicago gay journalism in 1984 at GayLife newspaper, one month after graduating with a news-editorial degree from Drake University.

Kate Grossman

Session Presenter

Kate Grossman is a senior editor at WBEZ, Chicago’s public radio station. She oversees education coverage and helps manage the station’s overall news coverage.

Kate joined the station in 2016 after serving as director of fellowships at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and as an IOP fellow, where she taught a seminar on the Politics of School Reform. Before joining the IOP in 2015, Kate spent nearly 20 year as a print reporter and opinion writer. Most recently, she was Deputy Editorial Page Editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, where she wrote editorials on education, Illinois politics and city and state policy issues. She ran the paper’s political endorsement process as well. Previously, Kate worked as a Sun-Times metro reporter, covering schools and public housing, and at the Associated Press, The Providence Journal and ABC 20/20. She also has freelanced for The Atlantic.com.

Kate is a two-time winner of the national Education Writers Association top opinion writing award for editorials on the Chicago Public Schools and is a winner of the Studs Terkel Award for coverage of Chicago's diverse communities.

Mei-Ling Hopgood

Session Presenter

Mei-Ling Hopgood is a professor at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Hopgood is also a journalist and author who has written extensively on identity and culture.

Maudlyne Ihejirika

Session Presenter and Panelist

Maudlyne Ihejirika is an award winning, Chicago Sun-Times Urban Affairs Reporter/Columnist with 30 years experience in Journalism, Public Relations and Government. She pens the Sun-Times “Chicago Chronicles,” long-form columns on "people and places that make Chicago tick.” She is the author of "Escape From Nigeria: A Memoir of Faith, Love and War," a riveting tale of her family's survival of the brutal Nigerian-Biafran War, and miracles that brought them to the U.S.

In 24 years with the Sun-Times, she has served as assistant city editor and covered beats from crime and the inner city to housing and education, politics and philanthropy. As Weekend City Editor in 1977, she left to work for Gov. Jim Edgar as press secretary for DCFS until 1999, when she launched the Ihejirika Media & Communications Group, managing media operations for members of the U.S. Congress, Illinois Legislature and City Council.

Returning to the Sun-Times in 2003, her numerous awards include the prestigious Studs Terkel Award, top national and local awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Association of Black Journalists. A frequent guest contributor on WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight: Week In Review” and FOX-32’s “Good Day Chicago,” she has appeared as a political analyst on CNN, TV One, ABC, CBS, NPR and WBEZ.

More on her here: Linkedin.com/in/maudlyneihejirika/

More on her Chicago Sun-Times work here: https://chicago.suntimes.com/author/mihejirikacst/

And more on her book here: https://www.amazon.com/Escape-Nigeria-Memoir-Faith-Love/dp/156902488X and https://www.facebook.com/EscapeFromNigeria

Miles Kampf-Lassin

Session Presenter and Panelist

Miles Kampf-Lassin is the community editor at In These Times, an independent nonprofit magazine aimed at advancing democracy and economic justice. He is a Chicago-based writer covering issues including education, immigration, democracy and economics.

Peter Kotecki

Session Presenter and Panelist

Peter Kotecki is a senior studying integrated science and legal studies at Northwestern University. He was the editor in chief of The Daily Northwestern from March through December 2017, and he reported on campus news beforehand. During his time as editor, the Society of Professional Journalists named The Daily Northwestern the best daily student newspaper in the country.

Peter’s story on the drug Lyrica, published in The Daily, placed first in the in-depth reporting category at the 2017 Illinois College Press Association awards. The story was also a feature story of the year finalist at the Associated Collegiate Press awards and a finalist at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Awards. Peter hopes to pursue a career at the intersection of science and law after graduating from Northwestern.

Gary Marx

Session Presenter

Gary Marx is a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist in Investigative Reporting: in 2015 for a series that documented how hundreds of Illinois youth were reportedly assaulted, raped and prostituted at state-funded residential treatment centers; in 2012 for a series that showed how systemic failures allowed dangerous fugitives wanted for murder, rape and other crimes to live with impunity in foreign countries; and in 1987 for a series that uncovered widespread misuse of funds by the Shrine of North America, then one of the nation's richest charities.

Marx, along with his reporting partner David Jackson, have in recent years won scores of other state and national prizes, including an IRE Medal, the National Headliner Award for Public Service, a National Press Club Award, and the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism.

He spent more than a dozen years overseas as a foreign correspondent, primarily in Latin America, and covered armed conflicts on three continents. For his work abroad, Marx has been honored by the Overseas Press Club of America and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Columbia University awarded him The Maria Moors Cabot Prize for Reporting in Latin America.

Mark Bazer

Panel Moderator

Mark Bazer is the creator and host of The Interview Show on WTTW. The show has been broadcasted live from The Hideout, a local bar that welcomes artists in a Prohibition-era atmosphere. Since 2008, Bazer has interviewed a myriad of accomplished Chicagoans with candor and wit, including Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss, political consultant David Axelrod, author Veronica Roth, and Ebony Magazine Editor-in-Chief Kyra Kyles.

Bazer is also a syndicated humor columnist at the Huffington Post.