DEAR READER: Meet the members of the Readers Board

Saturday, October 17, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 9:32 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 17, 2009
Members of the Readers Board include, top row: Celestine Hayes, John Pizzitola, Ruth Miluski and Toni Messina
Second row: Georgia Nolph, Scott Vince, Stephanie Fuchs and Pat Fowler.
Bottom row: Stefan Denson and John Schultz.

Dear reader,


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Last month, The Missourian extended an invitation to Columbia residents to serve on a Readers Board.

The goal is to improve the newspaper through public feedback as well as to educate the public about how a newspaper works.

The Missourian is pleased to announce the 10 members of the new Readers Board and looks forward to learning with them in the coming months.

The community should also see the benefits of the board as the Missourian continues to improve its coverage.

The members are:

Stefan Denson, 54. Denson is a senior civil rights specialist in the External Civil Rights Division at the Missouri Department of Transportation. Denson was formerly chairman of the Columbia Commission on Human Rights.

Pat Fowler, 50. Fowler works as a project coordinator in MU’s Office of Service-Learning. She is chairwoman of the Guiding Coalition and a middle-class ally with the Circles Initiative. She participates in mission work through her church and Love Inc. She also volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Stephanie Fuchs, 33. Fuchs serves as legal counsel for construction company OCCI. She is an MU law school graduate and spent 10 years in the Columbia restaurant industry, including at Chris McD’s.

Celestine Hayes, 67. Hayes has worked as a music specialist at Ridgeway Elementary since 1972. She is a Columbia Values Diversity award winner, teaches Suzuki piano lessons and serves as music director at St. Luke United Methodist Church.

Toni Messina, 59. Messina earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from MU. She has served as communications director for the city of Columbia for 3½ years. She also has 27 years of experience working in all three branches of Missouri state government.

Ruth Miluski, 78. Miluski is retired. She worked for 24 years for the UM System, where she spent her final three years as coordinator of administrative services in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Georgia Nolph, 71. Nolph is a retired physician and associate professor of Family and Community Medicine. She is active in her church by singing in the choir, working in the church library and serving as co-chairwoman of her United Methodist Women’s Circle. She is also co-chairwoman of a group of primarily retired business women. She is married and active with her grandchildren.

John Pizzitola, 26. Pizzitola is originally from St. Louis. He manages two bars in downtown Columbia and spent five years working in media relations for the MU athletics department. He graduated from MU in 2006.

John Schultz, 39. Schultz is a software tester for an Iowa-based technology company and is chairman of the Boone County Libertarian Party. He is married with two children.

Scott Vince, 53. Vince recently moved to Columbia from St. Louis. He is a nurse anesthetist in the anesthesiology department at MU. He is married with three children, two of whom are enrolled at MU.

At this month’s meeting, the group toured the newsroom and asked questions about the paper’s management and operations. The board also learned what qualities the media look for in news and more about the Missourian’s accuracy check policy.

At future meetings, Missourian editors will take turns talking about their areas of expertise (education, crime, photography, VOX, etc.) and will seek board input about what works and what could make the newspaper better.

The board is a pilot project here in Columbia that’s proved successful at other newspapers. In May, the board and the Missourian will evaluate how the project went to decide if it should continue next year with a new group of board members.

In the end, it’s all about serving you better.

Teri Finneman is a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism and is the coordinator for the Missourian Reader Board.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

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Mike Martin October 19, 2009 | 11:46 p.m.

Hmph! I see John Schultz, but no Chuck Dudley!

How can that be?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 20, 2009 | 12:45 a.m.

Chuck should have applied if he wanted to be on the board. The Missourian ran the ad to apply to the board for a couple weeks on the sidebar.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 20, 2009 | 4:06 a.m.

>>> Columbia Heartbeat October 19, 2009 | 11:46 p.m.
Hmph! I see John Schultz, but no Chuck Dudley! <<<

From the email:

from Finneman, Teri A. (MU-Student)
to me obviously
date Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 9:58 AM
subject Missourian
Sep 22

Thank you so much for applying to be on the Readers Board. However, we received more applications than we had room on the board. Since you are already connected and involved with the Missourian, we decided to bring in people who aren't as familiar with the paper. You are certainly welcome to apply again in the future. Thank you!

Teri Finneman

There it is for all of you inquiring minds. They brought in those LESS FAMILIAR to the newspaper. Oh that includes you to John.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin October 20, 2009 | 9:32 a.m.

Not sure the logic of bringing people onto a product board who are "less familiar" with the product, unless it's some kind of advertising strategy.

Newspapers are doomed anyway. This has been my first full year of realizing the impact of free news, blogs, etc. on the news industry, and it's amazing how many less paying jobs there are out there for professional journalists and writers -- freelance and otherwise.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 20, 2009 | 4:11 p.m.

Chuck, I'd gladly give you my place on this board, but I don't have a place on the board.

In my case there is no procedural doubt as to why: I didn't apply.

Maybe I should have. If the Missourian's intent is truly to have a diversified board representing diversified opinions then it would be difficult to find a more suitable candidate, because this one likes Columbia but owes no allegiance to MU.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 20, 2009 | 4:40 p.m.

Ellis Smith I put in my app to learn more about the behind the scenes fact finding they use or do not use in putting together their stories and that is about it.

I guess they must figure my daily presence here and past interaction with alot of their reporters makes me over

I think the idea of the board is quite nice though and yes you would make a great member in good stature I do agree.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin October 20, 2009 | 5:56 p.m.

John Schultz may OVERWHELM this board without Chuck on there to keep him in check. His picture is already larger than everyone else's. I'm gravely concerned.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 20, 2009 | 6:14 p.m.

Columbia Heartbeat you know John's own political party cannot keep him in check either.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 20, 2009 | 8:33 p.m.

My political party likes what I do Chuck, I'm the man!

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin October 20, 2009 | 8:58 p.m.

Did you hear that? John said he's THE MAN! Again, I must express my sincere concerns about his presence on this panel without his old buddy Chuck. He's already sounding cocky. Could this mean a Libertarian takeover of the Missourian?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 20, 2009 | 10:49 p.m.

Photos be damned.
I've met both Chuck and John in person.
Chuck's noggin is very much more swell-headed.
John's ability to be humble and express humility will be an asset to the Missourian.
There's more then enough non-Libertarians on this panel to overly balance out his political affiliation.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 21, 2009 | 12:41 a.m.

Ray, I hope you'll continue the kind words once I've replaced my fellow board members with Folgers Crystals, I mean free-market non-interventionist patriots.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 21, 2009 | 1:17 a.m.

Does Pat Fowler know what you're up to?
(Oh wait, she does now.)
Good Luck.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 21, 2009 | 1:34 a.m.

Dang it, I guess I'll need to move her up on the list to be assimilated now...

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 21, 2009 | 1:55 a.m.

Sort of like the Borg.
Resistance is futile....
Oh wait, the Obamaphites already have that hive thing sewn up.
Guess you'll just have to win them over with logic.
More like Spock.
Live long and prosper...

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 21, 2009 | 4:23 a.m.

("Charles Dudley Jr, says:
I guess they must figure my daily presence here and past interaction with alot of their reporters makes me over qualified...")
Yea, that must be it...over

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 21, 2009 | 4:41 a.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ray Shapiro October 21, 2009 | 6:13 a.m.

@Chuck Dudley, Jr.
I try to make a point of not asking for things I am not deserving of and am very skeptical of Boards which would have me as a member.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 21, 2009 | 7:54 a.m.

"I try to make a point of not asking for things I am not deserving of and am very skeptical of Boards which would have me as a member."

I subscribe to those sentiments 100%, and the remark quoted may just be the best of all submissions made to date in 2009.

(Report Comment)

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