The Denver Press Club’s annual members meeting and board election is coming up March 23. We’ll have information closer to the election on the ways you can vote – but here’s your chance to get to know the candidates for the board. In addition, candidates will be at the club Tuesday at 6 p.m. for a meet-and-greet – it’s your chance to ask questions or share ideas about ways we can continue to improve the Denver Press Club.
Kevin Vaughan (PRESIDENT) is an award-winning investigative reporter for 9News and co-author of the New York Times bestseller “The Ledge.” He is a graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver and previously reported for the Fort Morgan Times, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS, and FOX Sports 1. He’s been hanging out at the Denver Press Club since 1983.
Campaign Statement: Over the past two years, we have completed the first phase of an extensive renovation of the club (new roof, new HVAC system), built a stronger financial foundation, weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, and dealt with damage from both a fire and a flood. Still, there’s a lot to be done to ensure our club is a vibrant place that supports and fosters ethical journalism, welcomes all comers, and both preserves the club’s rich history and architecture while adapting to our changing world and preparing our historic clubhouse for another century of service. Looking ahead, we’re actively working on a plan to make our building fully accessible, with an elevator and a first-floor restroom, as the next step in our makeover.
Jim Clarke (VICE PRESIDENT) is The Associated Press’ managing director for local markets. He has led a wandering life for the news cooperative for the past 28 years. A Rhode Island native, his time with the AP has taken him from the farthest stretches of the Aleutians Islands to the Deep South and the Utah desert. He has covered the Iditarod, coordinated local AP efforts for the 2002 Winter Olympics and led the work on the Elizabeth Smart disappearance in Utah and the BTK serial killer case in Kansas. Before joining the AP in 1993, he worked in Washington, D.C., for The Energy Daily, covering the nuclear power industry and the nuclear weapons complex. He also worked at newspapers in Fairfax, Va., and Westerly, R.I. He did his undergraduate work at The George Washington University and earned an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University in 1990. He lives in Arvada with his wife Jennifer. Daughters Hope and Grace pop in from time to time.
Campaign Statement: I’d like to continue serving the Denver Press Club’s members as vice president to see through to completion the building and operational improvements that have put us on firmer footing.
Skyler McKinley (TREASURER) leads the regional public relations and government affairs division for AAA – The Auto Club Group. He also owns and operates the Oak Creek Tavern, a neighborhood bar in the rural heart of the Yampa Valley. He previously served as press secretary to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and as the founding deputy director of Gov. Hickenlooper’s Office of Marijuana Coordination — where, as the number-two official in charge of implementing Colorado’s new-to-the-world marijuana laws, he managed all statewide, national and international media relations in the press crush following legalization. He’s also worked as a writer and researcher at the Investigative Reporting Workshop in Washington, D.C., and contributed to the book “Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change” with former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel. A summa cum laude J-School graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., McKinley is a regular contributor to Denver Westword, KMGH Denver7, KDVR FOX31, and KRDO NewsChannel 13.
Campaign Statement: When I ran for my first term on this board in 2018, I pledged to inject a jolt of new energy into the Denver Press Club by expanding our membership to folks who’d never before heard of our work or visited our historic clubhouse. I’m proud of my track record in line with that pledge: Several of our now-reliable regulars and cherished members first came to the Club as my guest, and, during my tenure in charge of programing, we put together diverse, energizing events covering everything from Woodstock to vinyl-listening nights to panels featuring commentators from popular Netflix series. I’m confident the Denver Press Club has an even more exciting future in store. Executive Director Alby Segal has ensured a steady stream of new members come in every night, and the programming committee under Noelle Phillips’ leadership organizes spectacular events that regularly feature voices previously un- or under-represented in our community. As I ask your vote for a fifth term, then, my pledge to you has changed. First, as the owner and operator of a neighborhood tavern and gathering place, I pledge to use that experience to continually improve our food and beverage operations such that longtime members and newcomers alike feel welcomed every time they saddle up to the bar – and keep coming back. With deep roots in Colorado’s civic life and business communities, I also pledge to identify and help secure sustainable funding streams that will allow us to continue to grow, all while bringing in new members from various professions and all walks of life. Finally, as one of the youngest members of the board of directors and as one of its longer-tenured leaders, I pledge a unique mix of useful institutional memory and a persistent excitement for what the future will bring. Thanks, kindly, for your consideration.
Erica Tinsley (SECRETARY) is the assistant news director at 9News and a current member of the Denver Press Club. Before moving into her management role, Erica was an award-winning executive producer at 9News. She took on the management role at the start of the COVID pandemic and worked to help create a work-from-home protocol for the producing team in the newsroom. Prior to management, Erica was the producer of Next with Kyle Clark. Outside of the newsroom, Erica has voluntarily organized networking events at the Denver Press Club to help connect local journalists with leaders in Denver’s communities of color; Some of those events were organized in partnership with the non-profit organization, COLab. She is also working with another local journalist to revive the Colorado Association of Black Journalists chapter and was recently appointed as CABJ’s secretary.
Campaign Statement: If elected secretary of the Denver Press Club, I would remain engaged in DPC events, and continue to help organize events with the goal of increasing diversity within the Denver Press Club and assisting local journalists in better representing our diverse communities in Denver.
Luige del Puerto (DIRECTOR) is an award-winning journalist who joined Colorado Politics as managing editor in November 2021. He previously served as publisher and editor of Arizona News Service, a Phoenix-based media company that covers public policy and politics in the desert state. In this role, he oversaw newsroom operations and manages the business units of Arizona News Service, which publishes the Arizona Capitol Times, the Yellow Sheet Report and the Arizona Legislative Report. A native of the Philippines, Del Puerto cut his journalistic teeth covering crime in the streets of Metro Manila, where he worked for several newspapers, including the Philippines’ largest English daily newspaper, The Philippine Daily Inquirer. At the Inquirer, he pursued stories about labor, elections and national security, covering coup d’état attempts in his home country. He was also part of the paper’s special projects team. He and his wife moved to the United States in 2006. Del Puerto graduated with honors from the school of journalism at the University of Philippines. He joined the Arizona Capitol Times shortly after moving to Arizona. He has won numerous local and national awards in the U.S. for his political reporting. He recently penned an opinion piece celebrating Filipino journalist Maria Ressa’s Nobel Prize.
Campaign statement: When I hopped on a plane bound for America more than a decade ago, I was certain I’d never work as a reporter again and I braced myself for a life so different than the high-octane journalism adventure I had imagined. By that time, I was already an experienced journalist, having pursued stories about corruption in government, military adventurism, terrorism, and two wars in the Philippines – a communist rebellion and a secessionist movement. But journalism wasn’t quite done with me yet. A political newspaper in Arizona took me in, and, after 15 years, I found myself yet again on a plane, this time bound for Colorado. I want to serve on the board because, in many ways, I want to give back to the profession that has allowed me to flourish. I bring a few things to the table, including experience in organizing and hosting events, teaching and mentoring, and finding new sources of revenue. And perhaps because of where I came from, I also bring a unique insight into the critical role a robust press plays in our grand experiment in democracy, and I’m very grateful for the freedoms we enjoy here. I’m eager to contribute. Thank you for your support.
Laura Frank (DIRECTOR) is the executive director of the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab), the nonprofit collective of journalists from more than 160 news outlets across Colorado. Laura pioneered collaborative journalism in Colorado as the founder of I-News, the nonprofit investigative news organization that merged with Rocky Mountain Public Media in 2013, the first such merger in the nation. She had previously been an investigative reporter at Denver’s Rocky Mountain News until it closed in 2009. Laura is a Denver native who spent 20 years reporting for newspapers, radio and public television around the country, specializing in investigative reporting and data analysis. She trained hundreds of journalists for more than a dozen media organizations. She was a founding member of the Institute for Nonprofit News and is board chair emeritus. Her work has won awards in both broadcast and print and led to changes in laws and lives.
Campaign Statement: I have spent the last decade working on collaborative, publicly-supported journalism models locally and nationally, building up sustainable nonprofit journalism organizations, and experimenting in public engagement and business model transformation. I bring that experience as the Press Club continues to evolve and grow. I’ve served for three years on the board and am eager to continue serving. Thank you for your consideration.
Marianne Goodland (DIRECTOR) has been a reporter since 1998, covering the Colorado General Assembly, state agencies, public policy and elections. She’s worked for the Silver & Gold Record (1998-2009); The Colorado Statesman (2010 to 2011 and 2013 to 2015); the Colorado Independent (2015 to 2017); ran a legislative reporting service for as many as seven newspapers in northeastern Colorado (since 2010); and since 2017 has been the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She’s also dean of the state Capitol press corps. She has been recognized numerous times with awards from the Colorado Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists, including for her weekly smart-ass column on the lege, Capitol M. Marianne is also a semi-regular on Colorado Inside Out. She first joined the press club while at the Silver & Gold Record and has been a member in good standing continuously since 2017.
Campaign Statement: I am interested in seeing more women journalists involved with the press club, helping with events, and working to update and expand the press club’s Hall of Fame information on the website, which is woefully incomplete.
Tori Mason (DIRECTOR) is an award-winning journalist at CBS4 in Denver. After graduating from LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, Mason got her start in the sports department at WAFB in Baton Rouge. Her passion for current events and storytelling shifted her focus to news. Mason began anchoring and reporting for WIBW in Topeka, Kansas, in 2015. Her feature writing earned her first place in the 2017 SPJ Kansas Press Club Awards. Mason joined the news team at CBS Denver in 2017. Her reporting on the apprehension of the Thornton Walmart shooter earned her a Breaking News Emmy in 2018. She received another Emmy nomination in 2020 for her feature reporting on Pizzability, a restaurant that employs people with intellectual disabilities. In 2020, Mason’s reporting on the prejudicial locking of multicultural hair products in Walmart led the store to change its policy in all 4,700 stores. Following the announcement, Walgreens and CVS also discontinued the practice of locking these products. Mason is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists. In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring young and aspiring journalists. During her four years in Denver, Mason has become an active and trusted member of the community.
Campaign Statement: The Denver Press Club has never been more important than it is now. The pandemic presented journalists with new challenges, many of which we’re still working through in 2022. The number of people joining the DPC every month tells me more are looking to us for support, education, and camaraderie. I plan for my continued presence on the board to allow me to push for opportunities that bring our community of journalists together while also being a voice for broadcast journalists in Denver.
David Migoya (DIRECTOR) is a senior investigative reporter at The Denver Gazette following a 22-year career at The Denver Post. He is in his 39th year as a journalist, nearly all of it with daily newspapers and with an investigative focus. In addition to Denver, where he first worked at The Post in 1983, he’s worked at publications in Detroit, New York, and St. Louis, and has been a magazine editor, a photographer, and weekly newspaper editor. A native New Yorker, David’s taught and lectured at universities and colleges, and his work has been recognized by a number of national and regional organizations including Investigate Reporters and Editors, National Headliner, Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Newspaper Association.
Campaign Statement: I became a member of the Press Club the second week after The Post hired me in 1999 and have remained in good standing since. The mission of the club is an important one to me and I have participated in a number of its functions to ensure their success, including the Damon Runyon selection committee, the annual scholarship selection committee, fireside chats, the silent auction fundraiser held during the Runyon Dinner, the tallying of votes during board elections, and have been a frequent supporter of its Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and caricature hangings. I have been a part of the now-longest poker game running at the club since I became a member.
Noelle Phillips (DIRECTOR) is a reporter at The Denver Post. It’s her fifth newspaper in a 30-year journalism career.
Campaign statement: I believe the Denver Press Club should be a place where ALL journalists feel welcomed and comfortable. It does not matter whether you work for a newspaper, a broadcast station or a website, whether you’re a staff journalist or a freelancer, whether you’re a woman or a man, whether you’re gay or straight or something in between, whether you’re Black, Brown or White, whether you’re religious or not, or whether you’re a Colorado native or hail from the East Coast. The club must be a place where you can find camaraderie, support and educational opportunities. This journalism business is far too brutal for our club to be anything else. I am seeking my third term as a board member. During my tenure, I’ve worked to provide educational and entertainment opportunities for club members that increase the value in a membership. I’ve helped organize the monthly trivia game, a late summer cookout, The Back Story series and a slate of diversity mixers. It’s a lot of work, but it’s important to our local journalism community. Thanks for your vote!
P.S. – If I’m elected, I sure would appreciate your help in planning and organizing an event of your choice.
Evan Semón (DIRECTOR) is a photojournalist and commercial photographer based in Denver. He attended Kansas State University’s AQ Miller School of Journalism and Metropolitan State University. He previously worked for Kansas City Star, Tulsa World, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, and was a member of the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post photography staffs. Currently, he works closely as a contractor with Westword magazine and CBS4. Evan has been hanging out at the Denver Press Club since it was a stone’s throw from the former Rocky Mountain News building at 400 W. Colfax Ave.
Campaign Statement: This year has been such a learning experience. It has been wonderful to reconnect with so many members of Colorado’s talented media. Under the leadership of our veteran board, I have been able to spend my first year observing how much work it takes to keep the Press Club open and moving in the right direction. It has been a great experience aiding with planning events and bringing in new events that the club has never had before. In the upcoming year, I hope to learn more about bringing in new members and helping in fundraising. Thank you all for your support and for allowing me to serve.