2024 Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Carol Guzy portrait by Andrea Pritchard

Carol Guzy is the first journalist to receive four Pulitzers – most recently for coverage of the Haitian earthquake in 2010.  Previously she was honored twice with the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for her coverage of the military intervention in Haiti and the devastating mudslide in Armero, Colombia, and she received one for feature photography for her work in Kosovo. She has been named Photographer of the Year for the National Press Photographers Association three times and nine times for the White House News Photographers Association and has earned many other prestigious awards.  She specializes on long-form documentary human interest projects and news stories, both domestic and international, and is currently a contract photographer with ZUMA Press.

Guzy was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and lived there until 1978 when she completed her studies at Northampton County Area Community College, graduating with an Associate’s degree in Registered Nursing. A change of heart led her to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida to study photography. She interned at The Miami Herald and upon graduation was hired as a staff photographer. She spent eight years at the newspaper before moving to Washington, DC in 1988 where she became a staff photographer at The Washington Post through 2014.  She is currently freelance.  

Kent Nishimura

Kent Nishimura (b. 1985) is a photographer based in Washington, DC. Nishimura was born in Taiwan, immigrated to the United States and grew up in Hawaii. A graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Nishimura was most recently a National Staff Photographer with the Los Angeles Times, covering Washington, and much of the Eastern Seaboard. His work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, the National Headliner Awards, the White House News Photographers Assn. and the National Press Photographers Assn., among others.

Tara Pixley

Tara Pixley, Ph.D., is a queer, Jamaican-American visual journalist and Assistant Professor of Journalism at Temple University. She is a 2022 Reynolds Journalism Fellow, 2022 Pulitzer Center Grantee, a 2021 IWMF NextGen Fellow, a 2020 awardee of the World Press Photo Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative and a 2016 Visiting Knight Fellow at Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Her writing and photography have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Newsweek, Allure, HuffPost, Nieman Reports, ESPN Magazine, and the Black Scholar, among many others. Her filmic and photographic work intersect with her scholarship and advocacy, each using visual media to frame race, gender, climate futures, LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities through a liberation lens. She serves as Vice President of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Board and is on the Board of stock photo co-op Stocksy United. She is also co-Founder and Director of Authority Collective — an organization dedicated to establishing equity in visual media —  and she is currently working on a book chronicling the move to decolonize the visual journalism industry.

Breakout Session Speakers

Ben Brewer is an editorial photographer and DP/cinematographer specializing in portrait photography, feature, and video production storytelling, currently based in Minneapolis. His work has been featured in editorial outlets such as The New York Times, Reuters, and Bloomberg, amongst others. 

He has devoted his career to crafting authentic, engaging creative through both photography and video to uncover unique stories and individuals for editorial, agency, and corporate clients across the country.

Dymanh Chhoun is a visual journalist at Sahan Journal, a nonprofit digital newsroom dedicated to reporting for immigrants and communities of color in Minnesota. Chhoun is known for his breaking news coverage. He documented the police killings of Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, and, most recently George Floyd, when he was at WCCO-TV.

Chhoun and his family moved to Minnesota from a Thai refugee camp in 1993, when he was 7 years old. He is the first generation in his family to graduate from college, graduating in 2011 at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He began his career as a photojournalist at Fox 21 in Duluth, then worked at KTTC-TV in Rochester, WCCO-TV News, and Kare 11 News.

When he’s not on assignment, Chhoun shoots photos and videos for family and community events. Check out his work at Dymanh.com.

Michael Davis

Mike Davis is a visual storytelling consultant, editor, educator and author. His first authored book, about visual storytelling, came out in 2022. Mike directed The Alexia Grants for eight years while holding a chaired faculty position at Syracuse University.

Before teaching, he was a visual leader at National Geographic, The White House and five visually strong U.S. newspapers. Mike was twice named picture editor of the year, as were several of those who worked for him. He has edited more than 40 photo books and hundreds of projects of note, taught and lectured in various settings. He hails from a small town in Nebraska and now lives in Minneapolis.

McKenna Ewen

McKenna Ewen is a producer for CNN, where he shoots, writes and edits short documentary films. As a visual storyteller, Ewen brings a cinematic approach to news. He travels the country in search of extraordinary people, challenges conventional wisdom and explores the universal conflicts that connect us all.

Prior to joining CNN, Ewen worked at The Washington Post and Minneapolis Star Tribune.

In 2022, he received a national News and Documentary Emmy Award for the CNN special report “Eating Planet Earth: The Future of Our Food.”

He was also named Editor of the Year for three consecutive years (2020-2022) and Multimedia Journalist of the Year (2017) by the White House News Photographers Association. He has received 10 regional Emmy Awards, along with recognition from the NPPA, POYi, SPJ and RTDNA. As a childhood cancer survivor, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota.

Elizabeth Flores has been a photojournalist at the Star Tribune for more than 17 years, where she covers sports and general news. Recently, she worked on a project for the 50th anniversary of Wounded Knee.

She is currently an adjunct instructor in photojournalism at the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she has also served multiple semesters as a diversity fellow.

A native of New Mexico, she came north to get her degree in Spanish with a minor in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and never got around to leaving. She worked as a photojournalist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for eight years before joining the Star Tribune. She has three children and lives with her husband in suburban St. Paul.

Jaida Grey Eagle portrait by Billy Hawk

Jaida Grey Eagle is an Oglala Lakota freelance documentary photographer in St. Paul. Jaida researched Native photography as a Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Native American Fellow for the recent exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts titled “In Our Hands: Native Photography From 1890 to Now,” where her role evolved to co-curator of the project.

She served as a Report for America Fellow with the Sahan Journal as a photojournalist.

Jaida is a co-producer on the Sisters Rising Documentary, which is the story of six Native American women reclaiming personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing sexual violence against Indigenous women in the United States and has recently received an Honorable Mention at the Big Sky Doc Festival.

She is a member of the Women’s Photograph, Indigenous Photograph, and the 400 Years Project. She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts emphasizing Fine Art Photography from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Emily Johnson portrait by Jeff Wheeler

Emily Johnson is a photo editor at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. A graduate of the University of Missouri, she started learning how to photo edit as a college sophomore at the Columbia Missourian. She realized her skills of collaboration and organization could allow her to be involved in storytelling she couldn’t otherwise with her own camera… thus a photo editing career was born. 

She started her professional career at USA TODAY, working alongside veteran photographers to learn the ropes of breaking news, politics and entertainment on a national scale. She covered a State of the Union and the Emmy Awards during her time at USA TODAY. A true Minnesotan at heart, she moved back to Minnesota in 2020 and joined the photo staff of the Star Tribune in 2022. 

Dave LaBelle portrait by Erin LaBelle

Throughout his 50-year career, Dave LaBelle has been a photographer, editor, teacher, author and lecturer. After beginning at the Ventura County (California) Star-Free Press as a weekend sports shooter and lab man while still in high school in 1969, LaBelle has worked for 20 newspapers and magazines in nine states, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he was assistant manager editor for photography. 

LaBelle’s love for feature photography and his ability to hunt out feature ideas has helped him win numerous awards. At age 19, he was NPPA Region 10 Photographer of the Year, an honor he repeated the next two years. He was runner-up to W. Eugene Smith for the first Nikon World Understanding award in 1974 and runner-up for the NPPA Photographer of the Year award in 1979. In 1991, NPPA honored LaBelle with the Robin F. Garland Award for photojournalism education. And in 2002, the Photographic Society of America Inc. honored LaBelle with the International Understanding Through Photography award.

LaBelle has also taught photojournalism at Western Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and directed the photojournalism sequence at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio from 2010-2016. LaBelle also taught photojournalism for Kent State in Florence Italy in Spring of 2017. In 2018-19, he taught photography with The Athens Photo Project in Athens, Ohio, a non-profit art program that promotes mental health recovery. In addition, LaBelle writes a monthly column for Oregon-based Ruralite Magazine, contributes to Florida Currents Magazine, Ojai Magazine in California, and writes a monthly blog at bridgesandangels.wordpress.com. LaBelle’s latest book, and first novel based on the disappearance of his mother in the 1969 flood was published in March 2019. In May of 2022, David and his wife Erin began a job share as reporter/photographers at the Dyersville Commercial, a weekly newspaper in northeast Iowa. In his words, “My life’s mission is to use the gifts God has blessed me with to be a blessing on others in any way I can.”

Erin LaBelle is a storytelling artist who uses the camera to evoke contemplation and create social change. She’s worked at newspapers and magazines, as well as independently as a photographer, social media content creator and writer.

Erin facilitates opportunities to reconnect with self, other, nature and God through coaching, classes, public art exhibitions and workshops. Erin taught photography at Kent State University, a California Boys and Girls Club, an Italian Waldorf high school and most recently, Athens Photo Project, where she led Expressive Photography groups and launched a photographic social enterprise focused on experiential learning and service as photographers for adults living with long term mental health challenges. Erin is also a psychosynthesis life coach who believes photography holds the power to heal.

She’s currently checking return to community journalism off her bucket list by listening
with a camera at The Dyersville Commercial. This time, she’s a reporter/photographer,
telling stories of small town Iowa post pandemic. Erin loves telling stories about health,
spirituality and creativity, while opening hearts and planting seeds of possibility.

Katie Rausch is the Assistant Managing Editor of Photography at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, where she works with an incredible staff.

Previously, Katie was the Deputy Director of Photography at The Denver Post, and a staff visual journalist with The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, and the Jackson Citizen Patriot in Jackson, Mich.

Her work has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International, the Ohio News Photographers Association and the Michigan Press Photographers Association, among others.

Richard Tsong-Taatarii

Through his documentary photography work, Richard Tsong-Taatarii brings attention to the joys and tribulations of Minnesotans as a staff photographer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is also a contributing photographer to Zuma Press. He also enjoys covering communities within our larger society that escape the attention of the mainstream media.

In 2023, his Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting grant-funded project, “On the Navajo Nation: A life without water,” was published by Searchlight New Mexico. He has received an additional grant to continue his work.

His traveling monograph “Lakota Resistance: the Bison, Horse, and the River” is a five-year documentary on the legacy of the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Reservation and his extensive coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests on the Standing Rock Reservation. In 2018, he was awarded a World Press Photo award in general news and named NPPA Best of Photojournalism large market photographer of the year for his coverage of the Rohingya exodus, the end of the Standing Rock protests, and Black Lives Movement. He was part of the team Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for covering the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. He has a master’s in visual communication from Ohio University.