Meet the Board

Ellen Eldridge, president, is a reporter with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Kennesaw State University. Eldridge resides in Woodstock, Georgia. Find her on Twitter @EllenEldridge27

Term ends: December 2017; past president through December 2018

Dan Whisenhunt, president-elect and treasurer, is an editor/reporter, content manager and SEO manager for Before founding the local Decatur news website, he held positions as Digital Editor/Digital Content Manager for Reporter Newspapers and Hamilton County Government Reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Whisenhunt also held a position as Assistant Editor/Reporter for the Anniston Star in Alabama. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama.

President January 2018 to December 2018; Treasurer position open May 2017

 louturtleneck2016 Lou Phelps, secretary, is the President/Publisher and Founder of Coastal Empire News (CEN), Savannah, GA. a community news company she founded in 1998. She is an active journalist and reporter, covering the top and toughest stories of her region.

CEN is the publisher of four daily niche news websites in Savannah, Brunswick and Dublin, GA. markets. The company’s Savannah Business Journal and Coastal Family Magazine were formerly weekly print news publications which Ms. Phelps transformed into pure digital platform publications in 2013, expanding to daily news coverage.

Term: January 2017 – December 2018



Jennifer Matthews is a cross-platform associate producer at CNN and an instructor at Kennesaw State University. As a multimedia journalist and scholar, her research interests in mobile journalism and experience in the field fuel her to find the best way journalists can tell great stories and how technology can help. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcasting and public relations from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Arts degree in broadcast and electronic media with an emphasis in mobile journalism from the University of Oklahoma.

Term: January 2016 to December 2017

Mark B. Thomason is a native of Fannin County, who started the Fannin Focus in 2014 to provide a top notch weekly community newspaper that highlights local happenings and accomplishments all while delivering grass roots investigative hard news reporting. He loves collecting sports cards and vintage sports memorabilia. Single father of two girls; Emily, 14, and Kadie, 12.

Term: January 2017 to December 2018

Student Rep

(Position open for 2018; election in December)

 Processed with VSCOcam with q5 preset Jay Suber is an executive news media consultant and publisher of NewsJReview blog. His is Former Senior Vice President of CNN News Features programming, co-creator CNN Newsroom student news, advisory committee member to the Aspen Institute on Television/Radio coverage of minorities in former Soviet Union, Duke University Terry Sanford School of Public Policy, advisory committee member on Internet policy development, consultant for Duke University’s emerging democracy and journalism project in Ethiopia, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System and guest contributor to the Knight Foundation 50th Anniversary Annual Report publication. He holds a political science degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Suber resides in Atlanta with his wife, Valerie. His Twitter handle is @newsjreview

Term: January 2017 to December 2018

 Processed with VSCOcam with q5 preset Haisten Willis is a freelance writer for magazines, newspapers and online publications. He also brings extensive editing experience to the table, working with writers and guest columnists across a variety of platforms and projects.
Since 2008, his byline has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Marietta Daily Journal, several sites in the SB Nation network, lifestyle magazines including Living Northside, Living Intown and West Georgia Living, and a number of trade publications. His writing has captured statewide awards on topics ranging from business to sports, religion and politics.
Haisten holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia Southern University and a master’s degree in mass communication and journalism from California State University, Fresno.Term: January 2017 to December 2018