Phil Maschke, The Latest in Video Storytelling

Phil Maschke is a Ph.D. student at the University of Kansas , studying virtual reality and 360-degree video. His experience in video brings him to the media workshop. He worked as a technical director for NBC Europe in Germany and a freelance producer of promotional videos. Next he worked on short films and a graduate degree in Australia. As an assistant professor in Florida, his students created award-winning short films while he has earned a pilot license and drone operator license to take his videography to the next (flight) level. He believes in the importance of visual storytelling and helping instruct KU video students at KUJH-TV.

Cary Conover, (Beginning) Photojournalism with Impact

Cary Conover is the journalism adviser at Andover High School, where he oversees the newspaper, yearbook, broadcast and photojournalism classes. He is also an adjunct photography instructor at Butler Community College and Newman University and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design. Before his life in education, Cary worked for ten years as a freelance photographer in New York City, contributing regularly to The Village Voice and The New York Times. A 1996 graduate of Kansas State University, Cary lives in Wichita with his wife Yvonne and their 7-year-old son, Julian. They have two Boston Terriers, Morty and Auggie.

Kathy Habiger, Rethinking Your News Publication

Kathy Habiger will start her 21th year of teaching in the fall, advising the yearbook, newspaper and website at Mill Valley High School, where her students have consistently won local, state and national awards for their work. In the 2015-2016 school year alone, Habiger’s staff have been named Online Pacemaker finalists, Newspaper Pacemakers and her student earned Kansas Student Journalist of the Year. She is also president of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. In 2010, Habiger earned the Jackie Engel Award for excellence in journalism education from KSPA.

Jim McCrossen, (Advanced) Photojournalism with Impact

Widely known as the nicest guy in journalism education, McCrossen has been teaching at Blue Valley Northwest for 24 years. McCrossen was born with a camera in his hand, but he’s old so the camera used something called film. Before teaching, McCrossen was a professional photojournalist for a daily newspaper in Southern California for five years after graduating from the University of Kansas school of journalism. The BVNW student newspaper, The Express, was named a 2015 Newspaper Pacemaker Finalist. He just finished a lifetime as president of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. In 2013, McCrossen earned the Jackie Engel Award for excellence in journalism education from KSPA. And this year he earned the Pioneer Award for making journalism education great for so many students at his school and at workshops.

Amy Morgan, Publication Design with Punch

Amy Morgan advises online, newspaper and yearbook at Shawnee Mission West. Her students have consistently won local, state and national awards for their work. Morgan has served on the KSPA executive board for a really long time and was previously an officer on the JEMKC executive board. In 2011, Morgan earned the Jackie Engel Award for excellence in journalism education from KSPA.

Megan Palmer, The Best in Yearbook Design

Megan Palmer is finishing her 10th year advising publications at Park Hill South in Riverside, Mo. where the newspaper, yearbook and website have both consistently been ranked All-Missouri. She was named the 2013 Missouri State Journalism Teacher of the Year, serves on JEMKC and MIPA exec boards, and presents at conventions and workshops on the local, state and national level.

Susan Massy, Conceptualizing Your Yearbook

Susan Massy has built an empire of student publications at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School with the school’s yearbook, news magazine and online publications. In 1999, Massy was named the National Yearbook Teacher of the Year by the Journalism Education Association. We tried to count the Pacemakers that her staff has earned, but there were too many. Massy travels nationally to teach and present as summer workshops and conventions. 

Barb Tholen, Writing with Depth

For 10 years, Barbara Tholen was a newspaper reporter, and she’s loves to share her experiences from her writing days with her students. These days, she’s exactly where she wants to be: advising newspaper, yearbook and online publications at Lawrence High School. This year, Tholen earned the Rising Star Award from JEA after earning the 2013 Sunflower Award from KSPA. 


Emily Smith’s students made international (yes, international) news this spring when they broke a story that un-masked their newly hired principal as having faked her education. Her staffs have done lots of other hard-hitting reporting during Smith’s time at Pittsburg High School. That has earned them a 2015 Pacemaker for the Booster Redux newspaper along with NSPA awards for writing, photography and more. Smith was named a 2016 JEA Rising Star for her excellence in teaching so early in her career.


Alex McNamee brings online expertise to our workshop. School Newspapers Online’s education and training specialist is a former sports reporter for two daily newspapers in Illinois and journalism grad from Eastern Illinois University, so he knows both SNO and how to create great journalism, too. Following up on the second year of JMW’s partnership with SNO Sites, Alex will help make another great workshop week for those in Moving Forward Online & Online Jumpstart.


Eric Thomas, workshop director

Eric Thomas is wrapping up his second academic year at the University of Kansas. While working at KU, he wears three hats: 1) he teaches in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication; 2) he is the executive director of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association; 3) he is the director of this workshop during the summer. Thomas began in journalism at a camp like this one after taking a high school photography class. So, he went to college to be a photojournalist and stuck with it for a few years. Immediately before coming to KU, Thomas taught the students of St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City for 13 years, where the girls won Pacemakers and All-Missouri awards.

Kerry Navinskey, Assistant Workshop Director

Kerry Navinskey has been with the KU School of Journalism for almost four years. This will be her fourth year assisting with this workshop. Navinskey lives near Atchison, KS and commutes to Lawrence each day (80 miles round-trip). While Navinskey is a diehard Jayhawk fan, she received her B.A. in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Public Relations from Washburn University.

Jill Hinrich Howell, Student Activities Director

Jill Hinrich Howell has over 17 years of professional experience in marketing, advertising and brand activation. She has worked for many global, regional and local brands on both the agency and client side. A 2000 graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism, Jill is now back in school, pursuing her Masters Degree in Journalism at KU where she is a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

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