Go behind the crime tape and headlines to hear about what it takes to produce and investigate those heart-wrenching stories that transform us and become part of our popular culture. Whether through serial podcasts, TV series or the center of tabloid pages, these veteran producers and reporters provide their expertise on what makes a great story, series, a must-see interview or long-form investigations.
Moderator: Senta Scarborough
Panelists: Johnny Dodd, Tod Goldberg, Melissa Gira Grant, Christine Pelisek, Donna Rossi, Jeff Truesdell
NLGJA is the premier network of LGBTQ media professionals and all dedicated to the highest journalistic standards in the coverage of LGBTQ issues.
SENTA SCARBOROUGH is an award-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated producer. She is the founder of Sentamatic Media focusing primarily on screenwriting, journalism and nonfiction projects. Her work has appeared in Adweek, INTO, USA Today, E! News, Us Weekly Magazine and Asheville Poetry Review, among others. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. She holds her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California Riverside/Palm Desert. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Katie, and their dog, Sadie.
JOHNNY DODD is a staff writer for People, deployed in the trenches of pop culture. He also writes nonfiction books about true crime stories. Dodd appears in Investigation Discovery’s hit true crime series, “People Magazine Investigates,” now in its third season. The series draws upon original reporting from People’s award-winning true crime editorial team, delving into extraordinary tales of ordinary people thrust into the national spotlight.
TOD GOLDBERG is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books, including “Gangster Nation,” “Gangsterland,” “The House of Secrets,” and “Living Dead Girl.” His essays, journalism, and criticism appear widely, including in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, and, recently, Best American Essays. A former columnist and book critic for a number of newspapers in Las Vegas, Tod Goldberg has won 5 Nevada Press Association Awards and was recently given the Silver Pen Award by the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. In addition, he is also the co-host of Literary Disco, and Open Book, a radio show on KCOD, the public radio station of the Coachella Valley. He holds an MFA fiction and literature from Bennington College and founded and directs the low residency MFA in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside.
MELISSA GIRA GRANT is a journalist, author and senior staff reporter at The Appeal. She has been a contributing writer at the Village Voice and Pacific Standard, covering criminal justice, LGBTQ and women’s rights, sex workers’ rights, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking. Her most recent book, “Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work,” has been translated into six languages.
CHRISTINE PELISEK is an award-winning crime reporter who has been covering the beat, most recently for People, for more than 15 years. She also covered crime and national news as a reporter for the ABC newsmagazine TV show “20/20” and the Daily Beast. While at the Daily Beast, she wrote about almost every national news story including the Aurora movie theater shooting, Newtown/Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro and the tornadoes in Oklahoma City. Prior to that, Pelisek worked at the LA Weekly as an investigative crime reporter. In 2008, during her tenure there, she broke the story that a serial killer who murdered women in South Los Angeles for decades had struck again in 2007, and she dubbed the killer the Grim Sleeper. She received a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for her work on the case. Her book about the Grim Sleeper was released in June 2017. Pelisek appears in Investigation Discovery’s hit true crime series, “People Magazine Investigates,” now in its third season. The series draws upon original reporting from People’s award-winning true crime editorial team, delving into extraordinary tales of ordinary people thrust into the national spotlight.
DONNA ROSSI is a five-time Emmy Award-winning reporter who has logged three decades covering and uncovering some of the most high-profile stories in the state of Arizona. Rossi started her professional journalism career at KNAZ – TV 2 in Flagstaff, Arizona, while still attending Northern Arizona University to complete her bachelor’s in broadcast journalism. She then moved to the CBS affiliate in Tucson, Arizona, and joined CBS 5 News in Phoenix. Rossi’s experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and continues to serve on the NATAS Board of Governors. Rossi is the go-to emcee for many of the LGBT nonprofits in Arizona including Equality Arizona, Aunt Rita’s Foundation, One Community, One-in-Ten and Shanti. She is a past board member of AIDS Project Arizona. In fall 2018, Rossi will be inducted into the Arizona Broadcaster’s Association Hall of Fame and with become an adjunct instructor at the prestigious Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
JEFF TRUESDELL is a staff writer for People magazine, where he covers breaking news and true crime from cold-case mysteries to mass shootings. He contributes to the Investigation Discovery series “People Magazine Investigates” and executive produced the 2017 documentary “For Ahkeem” on themes of juvenile justice and the school-to-prison pipeline. He is an NLGJA national board member.