Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee

Winners of the Women Entrepreneurs in Digital News grants are selected by an Advisory Committee made up of digital media entrepreneurs and experts. Past advisory committee members have included: Merrill Brown, Founder and Principal, MMB Media LLC; Christine Herron, Director, Intel Capital; Ben Metcalfe, Founder and CEO, Swordfish Corp; Neal Mohan, VP for display advertising products, Google; and Lisa Stone, Co-Founder and CEO, BlogHer.

BalinskaMaria Balinska | Latitude News

Website: Latitude News | Bringing the global home

Balinska is the founder of, a multi-platform website that explores the connections and parallels between Americans and the rest of the world – or mashes up local and global! An IWMF grantee, Latitude News this February closed a successful Kickstarter fundraising round to start a weekly audio show. Latitude News journalism has been featured in the Christian Science Monitor, the Week, Salon, Marketplace and PRI’s The World as well as the BBC and Ireland’s RTE.
Maria is a recent Nieman Fellow, and was for ten years World Current Affairs Editor at BBC Radio in London where she was responsible for commissioning and exec producing programming for 6 different BBC radio networks. She launched 6 new shows for BBC Radio and she and her team won many awards for their journalism. She got her start reporting the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. She’s also a food history nut and wrote a history of the Bagel for Yale University Press.

BateyEve Batey | The San Francisco Appeal

Website: The San Francisco Appeal | San Francisco’s Online Newspaper

Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal, a news and culture site focused on San Francisco. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle’s Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor.
Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. Batey is the host of the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District’s Monthly “Third Thursdays/Arts In Dialogue” Series, and is the “Chief Technical Wife” at A Band of Wives, a women’s private social network. She’s also an editorial and media strategy consultant for a number of companies and organizations based outside the San Francisco city limits.

PinderJeanne Pinder | Clear Health Costs

Website: Clear Health Costs | Bringing transparency to the health-care marketplace

Pinder is founder of, a New York City startup working to bring transparency to the health-care marketplace. She became interested in this topic when, prosaically, she was trying to understand her family’s medical and insurance statements, while experiencing rising health-care costs and the interconnected power of Web 2.0.
She volunteered for a buyout from The New York Times in late 2009 after 23 years there. At The Times, she was an editor and reporter on the metro, business and foreign desks, a founding editor of the Circuits technology section and a human resources executive developing and implementing a policy on nontraditional work arrangements.
She is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Online News Association, New York Tech Meetup, and the Society for Participatory Medicine, as well as an active member of the New York City startup community including Hacks-Hackers, Health 2.0, the Lean Startup movement and the Women Entrepreneurs Festival.

NachisonAndrew Nachison | We Media

Website: We Media | A global agency, studio and idea incubator for the digital age

Nachison is founder and managing director of We Media, a digital media agency and publishing company. He’s a writer, thinker, adviser, creator and evangelist for wonder. He has reported and edited for the Associated Press,The New York Times, Infoworld, Audubon and other magazines, and helped publishers, startups, social ventures and media makers worldwide deal with complex change, digital transformation and communication in a networked, info-saturated world. He’s also on the board of the World Editors’ Forum, an international association of journalists based in Paris.

NessaShazna Nessa | Associated Press

Website: Associated Press

Nessa is Deputy Managing Editor of editorial products and innovations at the Associated Press in New York. She runs an award-winning global department that creates visual and interactive news content and oversees different aspects of data journalism. She is an adjunct professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where she teaches design for journalists.

OrrenMike Orren | Speakeasy

Website: Speakeasy | Speakeasy Content Generation Agency

Orren is the President of Speakeasy, a content marketing and social media joint venture between The Dallas Morning News and Slingshot. Prior to that, he was the founder of Pegasus News, one of the early local news pureplay enterprises, which he sold to Fisher Communications (and was later sold to The Dallas Morning News). He has served in senior leadership roles at American Lawyer Media and D Magazine and has consulted for media companies like, CBS and Gazette Communications. His first book, on Texas’ Prison Entrepreneurship Program will be published in 2013.

PolgreenErin Polgreen | Symbolia

Website: Symbolia | A tablet magazine of illustrated journalism

Polgreen is an internationally recognized strategist who works at the intersection of audience engagement, news innovation, and entrepreneurship. She is the cofounder of Symbolia: The Tablet Magazine of Illustrated Journalism and regularly consults for a variety of foundations and media organizations. Her work has been covered in Forbes, FastCo, and the Columbia Journalism Review.
In May 2012, Polgreen co-authored Engaging Audiences: Measuring Interactions, Engagement and Conversions with Jan Schaffer of J-Lab. The report focused on how digital-first news organizations are measuring–and struggling to measure–audience participation and the overall impact of their work. Polgreen frequently speaks about editorial collaboration, audience engagement, comics journalism, and innovation at venues such as the Public Radio Program Directors Association, the Society for News Design, the Online News Association, and SXSWi.
Prior to founding Symbolia, Polgreen was managing director of The Media Consortium, where she oversaw strategic program development, editorial collaborations, and educational curriculum that supported a network of more than 50 leading independent media outlets.

ReischelJulia Reischel | Watershed Post

Website: Watershed Post | News, arts, environment and culture from around the Catskills

Reischel is the publisher of the Watershed Post, which produces original reporting and curated aggregation about the Catskills region of upstate New York. The Watershed Post has 25,000 readers per month and earned 50K in gross revenue in 2012. The online newspaper supports two full-time salaried staff members and has won kudos from the New York Times and the Columbia Journalism Review and prizes from the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.
Previously, Reischel worked as a reporter and editor at various newspapers in Massachusetts and Florida, including Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Boston’s Weekly Dig, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, and the Somerville News.

WhitePeggy White | White Warren Co.

White is the founder of White Warren Co. which provides clients with digital marketing, business and product development strategies from planning board through execution and beyond. Previously, she was responsible for setting the program direction and strategy for Digital Publishing Products at Federated Media Publishing, Inc., and served as the publisher of Double X, The Slate Group’s online women’s magazine.
White also served as general manager of Yahoo! Finance from 2005-2007. She oversaw all areas of operations for the financial website, which has an audience of more than 30 million users each month. White was responsible for all product development and partner relationships, as well as driving sales and advertising for the site.

Merrill Brown | MMB Media LLC

Merrill Brown is the founder and principal of MMB Media LLC, which provides clients with management and strategy consulting, corporate, editorial and program development, business analysis and marketing services. Brown serves as Chairman of the Board of, a leading citizen journalism company.
Brown is also a partner in Propeller LLC, a New York consultancy, and previously served as National Editorial Director of News for the 21st Century: Incubators of New Ideas (News 21), part of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.
Before establishing MMB Media, Brown served as Senior Vice President at RealNetworks’ RealOne Services. Brown was the first Editor in Chief of and later became Senior Vice President in August 2000.

Eve Batey | San Francisco Appeal

Eve Batey is editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal, managing all day-to-day operations. She previously worked as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was co-founding writer and lead editor of SFist.

Christine Herron | Intel Capital

Christine Herron is a Director with Intel Capital and a Venture Advisor at 500 Startups.
Previously, Herron was a Principal with First Round Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, and a Director at Omidyar Network, where she developed the Media practice strategy. Prior to Omidyar Network, Herron held operational roles with Mission Research, NetObjects, and Microsoft, and was the founder and CEO of Mercury2.
She started as an investor with Geocapital Partners, where she funded early Internet and network infrastructure businesses including Netcom and AXON Networks.

Ben Metcalfe | Swordfish Corp

Hacker-turned-consultant, Ben Metcalfe (aka dotBen) advises leading internet companies on product development, open platform strategy and developer relations.
During the late 90′s in his mid-teens, Metcalfe launched his first start-up – a free email service that attracted more than 60,000 registered users. That led to work on the BBC News website when he was just 18. He went on to launch numerous high-profile websites for the BBC, and built their award-winning developer network called
After moving from London to San Francisco, Metcalfe now advises leading internet companies as CEO and founder of Swordfish Corp.

Neal Mohan | Google

Neal Mohan is vice president of product management, responsible for Google’s suite of display advertising products.
Prior to Google, he was senior vice president of strategy and product development at DoubleClick, building the company’s strategic plan, leading the product management team in its execution, and growing the business rapidly.
Previously, Mohan held various leadership positions at DoubleClick and NetGravity in technology development, business operations, and client services. In this process he played a key role in pioneering and growing the digital marketing industry. He has also served in strategy and consulting roles at Microsoft and Accenture.

Andrew Nachison | We Media

Andrew Nachison is founder, curator, editor and a managing director of We Media ( and founder and CEO of iFOCOS (, a not-for-profit media think tank and futures lab.
His work, through conferences such as We Media, connects ideas, leaders and companies from all sectors to influence how people access, share and apply information and communications technologies.
He has reported and edited for the Associated Press,The New York Times, Infoworld, Audubon and other magazines, and managed the small-market newspaper Web sites, He currently serves on the board of the World Editors’ Forum and as an advisor to NewsTrust.

Shazna Nessa | The Associated Press

Shazna Nessa is Director of Interactive at the Associated Press in New York. Nessa runs a global news department that provides visual and interactive material to news organizations worldwide for all formats. Nessa joined AP in 1999 in Paris and was transferred to New York a year later to be an interactive news designer.
In 2005, she was named interactive editor of asap, AP’s Eppy award-winning news service that produced multimedia-rich content for the 18-34 demographic. In 2007, the London native and Sorbonne graduate left AP for a year to work at Conde Nast’s, as executive multimedia producer.

Mike Orren | Panlocal LLC/Pegasus News/The Daily You

Mike Orren founded Pegasus News in 2005. He has also served in top leadership roles at Texas Lawyer (American Lawyer Media) and D Magazine. In 2009, Orren was named one of the 25 Most Interesting People in Dallas Fort Worth by NBC for his “contributions to the way news is gathered and presented.”
Orren describes himself as a “new media windmill-tilter.” He is a battle-tested media executive and entrepreneur who is drawn to startups and turnarounds. He is currently on sabbatical at Orren Media.

Lisa Stone | BlogHer

As BlogHer’s CEO, Lisa Stone works with BlogHer’s investors and across the entire organization to advocate for bloggers, partners, products and related events.
Stone, an expert on developing successful online communities and interactive programming for women, previously worked with Hearst and Rodale magazines, E! Television/Online, HBO’s Sex and the City, Bloomberg, Gallup and Knight Ridder. While executive producer and Editor in Chief/VP, Programming for, she launched an 18-channel network and grew it to a Top 30 site.
The first Internet journalist awarded a Nieman Fellowship by Harvard University in 2002, she began blogging as an extension of her 2004 political reporting for the Los Angeles Times. She also blogs about politics and best business practices for today’s media companies on BlogHer.
She is on advisory boards for both the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships and the Knight Digital Media Center of the USC Annenberg School for Communications.

Lisa Williams |

Lisa Williams is the CEO & founder of, the world’s largest searchable index of local weblogs. Placeblogger received seed funding from the Knight 21st Century News Challenge, which gives out $5 million dollars annually to innovators with projects that aim to define the future of journalism. Williams was also named 2009 New Media Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by J-Lab, a journalism think tank at American University.
Williams is a fellow at the MIT Media Lab’s Center for Future Civic Media. The Media Lab is one of the most well-known university-based technology and innovation centers in the world.
Prior to founding Placeblogger, Williams founded H2otown, an online community and news site by and for the residents of her hometown of Watertown, MA. H2otown became a nationally-recognized model for what came to be known as “citizen journalism.