The (Sensationalized) State of Journalism: How to Gain Valuable Media Coverage in a World of Fake News

  • Location: FSU Alumni Center
  • Address: 1030 W Tennessee St, Tallahassee, FL 32304
  • RSVP Deadline: October 16, 2017 at noon


Join us to get exclusive intel from three of Florida’s most well-respected journalists on the public’s ever-growing appetite for sensationalized media. Discover pitching practices for coverage success and how to leverage your expert resources to properly compete in a world of fake news and click-bait.

Thursday, October 19
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast & Networking
8:00 a.m. – Program Begins
9:30 a.m. – Program Ends




  • Mary Ellen Klas, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, Miami Herald Bureau Chief
  • William Hatfield, Executive Editor, Tallahassee Democrat
  • Gray Rohrer, Tallahassee Bureau Reporter, Orlando Sentinel

Mary Ellen Klas

Twitter: @MaryEllenKlas

Mary Ellen Klas is Capital Bureau Chief for the Miami Herald and a co-bureau chief of the paper’s merged bureau with the Tampa Bay Times. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a graduate of the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. Mary Ellen has won awards for her enterprise coverage of numerous issues, most recently for her work on the Herald’s investigation of the state’s prison system, Cruel and Unusual. Klas has also been cited for her contribution to the Herald’s awarding-winning series, Innocents Lost, which won numerous awards, including the 2015 Goldsmith Award from the Shorenstein Center at Harvard for Investigative Journalism, and the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Throughout her 30-year career in Florida, Klas has been responsible for ground-breaking coverage of campaign finance, public records, prisons, redistricting, gambling, insurance, utility industries, growth management, nursing home litigation and environmental issues. She has covered five governors – from the state’s first attempt at health care reform and the landmark tobacco lawsuit under Lawton Chiles, to the 2000 recount under Jeb Bush, to Florida’s shifting political landscape under Rick Scott. Before she became bureau chief for the Herald in 2004, Mary Ellen was Tallahassee bureau chief for Florida Trend magazine and bureau chief for the Palm Beach Post. She is married to Tallahassee journalist John Kennedy. They have two adult daughters. Mary Ellen is the recipient of the League of Women Voters’ 2016 “Making Democracy Work Award” for her coverage of redistricting. She also has received the “Women of Distinction Award” from the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle. She is a member of Leadership Florida’s Class XXXIII.

William Hatfield

Twitter: @WhatfieldTD

William Hatfield is the new editor of the Tallahassee Democrat. (He’s clinging to that word “new” even though he’s been at the job for almost two and a half years). He has been a Floridian for 17 years and in a former life was the editor of the Northwest Florida Daily News, Destin Log and Walton Sun. An Illinois native, he graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and got his master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Other things to know about William:

  • Is an armchair family historian who has traced every fork of his family tree. He’s been known to do speed genealogy readings for strangers.
  • Hopeless with directions. Will probably need to use Siri to make it to this event, unless it’s at the Uptown Café down the block.
  • Isn’t above calling the Tallahassee Democrat the ‘Crat.

Gray Rohrer 

Twitter: @GrayRohrer

Gray Rohrer is the Orlando Sentinel’s Tallahassee bureau reporter, covering the Legislature and the rest of state government at the Capitol. He grew up in Brevard County and is a proud alumnus of the University of Central Florida. He previously worked for newspapers in Jacksonville and the Fort Myers area before covering state government for online publications in Tallahassee. He enjoys reading, crossword puzzles, soccer, basketball and holding public officials accountable.


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