Meet the 2020-21 Denver Press Club board candidates

The Denver Press Club will hold its annual meeting virtually via Zoom meeting on April 7 at 6 p.m. as the ongoing stay-at-home orders for the state of Colorado and the city of Denver keep the Press Club closed and prevent members from meeting in person.

President Daniel Petty will provide an update on the Club’s progress, accomplishments and finances for the past year. He’ll also cover the board’s and Club’s goals for the coming year.

Members will be provided electronic ballots via email for the board election. Each ballot is unique to the member and can only be voted with once. Only current dues-paying members will receive a ballot. If you have questions, email election chairman Donovan Cordova at elections@denvepressclub.org.

There are 11 people running for the 11-member board of the Denver Press Club for one-year terms, in accordance with the Club’s bylaws. Their biographies and campaign statements are below.

Petty, who has served as president since October 2018, is term-limited as president and will run for the last time in that role. But he is planning to step down early, in August 2020, when he will begin pursuing an MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania — a timeframe that could change should the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shift the start of the program. Current treasurer Kevin Vaughan is planning to take over as president once he steps down.

Current vice president Linda Shapley will not pursue re-election and is stepping down in her role to focus more on serving as editor of Colorado Politics. Jim Clarke, AP West Region director, is running to replace her as vice president. Vaughan is running to remain treasurer until the planned transition later this summer. Current secretary Megan Jurgemeyer, the news director at KUSA-TV, will run again as secretary. Colorado Public Radio digital editor Jim Hill is running for the board for the first time. All other candidates are incumbents.

Dan Petty

Daniel Petty
Daniel Petty. (Anya Semenoff/Denver Press Club)

Dan Petty is the digital director of audience development for MediaNews Group. His work focuses on building loyal audiences and growing digital subscribers to the company’s publications, which The Denver Post and the Boulder Daily Camera among others. He previously worked as a digital editor for The Denver Post for nearly eight years in a variety of digital roles. He has served on the Press Club board since 2016, stepping into the president’s role in late 2018. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2009 with degrees in journalism and biology and will soon begin pursuing an MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In his spare time, he helps his wife with a wedding photography business and regularly reporters and photographs as a freelancer for various publications.

Campaign Statement: 2019 was one of the most successful years in the Press Club’s history. In March of last year, we honored legendary Washington Post journalist ​Bob Woodward​ with the 25th annual Damon Runyon Award in March, raising more than $40,000 for the Club. We inducted five new members into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame in the fall: ​Sam Adams, John Sunderland, Tina Griego, Mike Landess​ and ​Bob Martin. We grew membership to more than 450 people, our largest in years. We secured a $200,000 grant from the State Historical Fund to make much-needed improvements to our roof and HVAC system. It’s part of a multi-year project we hope will prepare the Club’s building in time for its 100th anniversary in 2025. We hosted 81 public programming events on journalism, media and other issues of the day. We established the ​John C. Ensslin Memorial Scholarship​ with the Denver Foundation in memory of longtime member and Club supporter John Ensslin, who died suddenly in August. We expanded the scholarship awards to $15,000 this year.

We also held our first board retreat in many years to outline a long term vision for the Club, focused on nurturing the growth of aspiring journalists, facilitating conversations about the issues of the day, providing professional development and helping the public understand the world around them. We are the strongest we have been financially, with ample cash on hand to weather the storm of COVID-19. None of this would have been possible without the contributions of our board and general manager Tom Foutch.

In the coming year, I hope to grow membership to more than 500 members and continue to build out our Denver Press Club legacy society to continue to grow our endowment by seeking gifts from members and pledges from corporations. We will, of course, have to reckon with the ramifications of the coronavirus, but I’m confident that when it is safe for the Club to open its doors, we will be there with programming and community to support our members.

Jim Clarke

Jim Clarke
Jim Clarke of the Associated Press

Jim Clarke, The Associated Press’ director for the West, has led a wandering life for the news cooperative for the past 27 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 are students at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Candidate Statement: I’ve dedicated my professional life to journalism and the First Amendment, and In Colorado, I think the Denver Press Club plays a crucial role. that’s why I want to see it succeed. I also love the building and am working hard to preserve for many generations to come,

Kevin Vaughan

Kevin Vaughan
Kevin Vaughan. (Anya Semenoff/Denver Press Club)

Kevin Vaughan is an award-winning investigative reporter for 9NEWS and co-author of the New York Times best seller “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 couple of years, we have made tremendous progress toward ensuring the financial and physical health of the club. But there’s more work to be done, and I want to continue the push to honor and preserve the club’s rich history while at the same time laying a foundation to guarantee it a long and successful future — one where it can play a central role in our community for generations to come.

Laura Frank

Laura Frank 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 now serves as its board chair. Her work has won awards in both broadcast and print, and led to changes in laws and lives.

Candidate Statement: I have spent the last decade working on collaborative, publicly-supporting journalism models locally and nationally, building up sustainable nonprofit journalism organizations, and experimenting in public engagement. That’s the experience I bring to the table. After my first year on the board, I have more experience with the the Denver Press Club and am eager to continue serving. Thank you for your consideration.

Skyler McKinley

Skyler McKinley
Skyler McKinley. (Anya Semenoff/Denver Press Club)

Skyler McKinley is the Director of Public Relations & Government Affairs at AAA Colorado. There, as spokesman, he represents the more than 700,000 members of Colorado’s largest not-for-profit organization. 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 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. As a communications and policy adviser to a member of House leadership in the Colorado General Assembly, McKinley received a formal commendation on the House floor for “pioneering work in new media.” A summa cum laude J-School graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., McKinley is a regular contributor to EnCompass magazine and KMGH Denver7. He has a so-so command of AP style, and welcomes your corrections to this bio.

Campaign Statement: The Denver Press Club has come a long way in the two years I’ve served on the board. If re-elected, my goal is to maintain our remarkable momentum by continuing to bring new voices and personalities into the Club and firmly establishing the DPC as an important, lasting civic institution for Denver and the state. For the past year, I’ve served as co-chair of the programming committee and I am proud of the diverse, compelling events that we have put on for our members and the public. That will continue into 2020-2021, with a particular emphasis on how journalism can adapt to the extraordinary world we now live in and will doubtless enter into next – in addition to the music, entertainment, and cultural programming that plays a key role in introducing the club to new members. It is no secret that journalism is facing and will continue to face significant existential challenges. I am committed to ensuring that the Denver Press Club stands as a gathering place for journalists to strategize on how to respond to those challenges, and as a prominent, permanent symbol of the indispensable role that journalism plays in shaping our community and the world. 

Larry Ryckman

Larry Ryckman
Larry Ryckman. (Anya Semenoff/Denver Press Club)

Larry Ryckman is Editor and founder of The Colorado Sun. Previously he was senior editor at The Denver Post, managing editor at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and city editor at the Greeley Tribune. Ryckman spent 22 years at The Associated Press, where he was assistant managing editor, a national editor and supervisor of the AP’s national desk in New York. He spent nearly four years as a Moscow correspondent for AP and helped cover the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of a new Russia. He also supervised AP’s coverage of the Columbine High School massacre and directed AP’s coverage of the presidential election recount in Florida in 2000. 

Campaign Statement: I am proud to serve on the Denver Press Club board and to work toward ensuring it remains a vibrant, sustainable organization for decades to come.

Jim Hill

Jim Hill can’t call myself a native (born in Kansas City, Missouri), but it’s close. He’s pretty sure he’s been in Colorado for 90-plus-percent of his life. Digital news is the third phase of his professional life so far. He works as an editor at Colorado Public Radio. The first two phases of his career involved several years of on-air work in radio across several formats (news talk, sports and music) and a five-year detour as a logistics manager in concert touring and production.

Campaign Statement: It’s time to give back to the club that’s provided both camaraderie and support to me. I hope to apply some of digital acumen to help the club connect in other avenues with its membership, the broader Denver community and to connect with the up and coming journalists that represent the future of the club’s membership.

Megan Jurgemeyer

Megan Jurgemeyer is the News Director at 9NEWS in Denver. After working in management in the construction supply industry for several years, Megan decided to explore her love for writing and journalism. She earned her Masters of Mass Communication from Arizona State University in 2008 before taking her first job in news as an anchor and reporter at KREX in Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2010, Megan took a job at KMGH in Denver, where she worked in a variety of assignment desk and producer roles. She accepted a position as senior weekend producer at KUSA in 2013 and became Managing Editor in late 2015. Megan was named News Director at KUSA in 2019. 

Campaign Statement: “In my time on the Denver Press Club board, I’ve learned about the vital role the club plays for local journalists. My goal is to honor the DPC’s history and past while also ensuring it is able to connect with a new generation. The wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise that passes through the club’s doors is invaluable. I want to continue finding ways to capitalize on that by offering insightful programming, connecting those who are looking for the next step in their career and investing in future journalists.”

Holly Gauntt

Holly Gauntt is the news director for Denver7. Previously, she was the news director for KDVR/KWGN and has spent much of her childhood in the Denver area. Gauntt also has large market experience at newsrooms in Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.

Campaign Statement: The past few weeks have shown us why what we do is so incredibly important. We have a duty to our community and an important service to provide. I believe in doing that to the best of our ability in Denver. In times like this it means putting competition aside and banding together. The Denver Press Club allows us to do that. We can gather together to learn, grow, share ideas and just unwind. It’s crucial that we have a safe place as Journalists to be. I believe in what the club stands for and the services it provides. I’m honored to be a board member and hope to continue as one.

Noelle Phillips

Noelle Phillips is breaking news editor at The Denver Post, her fifth newspaper but her first in the West. She joined the Denver Press Club shortly after moving to Denver because of its history and old-school vibe. But her mission on the board is to attract younger members and to provide programming that benefits working journalists. During her first term, Noelle organized a resume review workshop for college students, helped plan a young journalists mixer and served on the programming committee.

Campaign Statement: I want to continue my service to the Denver Press Club to provide stability as we make more progress on the finances. I also want to organize lively and engaging programs for our membership. Finally, it is important that the club provide ongoing support to young journalists as this  profession is not easy and the club needs to become a place where they find encouragement, support and education.

Roger Ogden

Roger Ogden Former president and CEO of Gannett Broadcasting. He worked as general manager of KUSA in Denver, as president and CEO of KCNC and spent several years working in London for NBC Europe. He began his broadcast career on Denver radio at 14 and now owns Krystal Media, a group radio stations in Colorado’s mountain communities.

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Donovan Cordova

Donovan Cordova

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