2019 Panelists


dr. gary l. Rose

Dr. Gary L. Rose, is Professor and Chair in the Department of Government, Politics and Global Studies at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. A political science professor for 40 years, Professor Rose specializes in the field of American politics. In addition to his teaching, Professor Rose has published twelve books on various subjects, including Connecticut government, the American presidency, constitutional law, and presidential elections. A widely quoted political commentator and scholar, Professor Rose frequently provides political analysis for local, state and national media. His most recent work is titled “HAYWIRE: A Chronology of the 2016 Presidential Contest.”

Belinha s. De abreu

Belinha S. De Abreu, Ph.D., is a media literacy educator and an International Expert to the Forum on Media; Information Literacy for UNESCO”s Communication; Information Section. Her research interests include media and information literacy education, educational technology, global perspectives, critical thinking, privacy & big data, young adults, and teacher training. Dr. De Abreu’s focus is on the impact of learning as a result of media and technology consumed by K–12 students; providing students with viable, real-life opportunities for engaging in various technological environments while in turn encouraging students to be creative and conscious users of technology and media.

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Jaci Clement

Jaci Clement is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Fair Council Media, an organization which aims to ensure news coverage is responsible and the media remains responsive and respectful to the public it serves. As an award winning journalist and advocate for media education, she also creates programming to help the public understand news and appreciate its importance to American society. A fond admirer of the news media from a young age, her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, The Hill, Long Island Business News, Broadcasting & Cable, Newsday and Better Homes & Gardens, among others. A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Clement attended Hofstra University, where she earned a B.A. in communications/journalism. She lives on Long Island, N.Y.

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Macaela J. Bennett

At NewsGuard Technologies, Macaela researches, writes, and edits its Nutrition Label reviews that rate news and information websites based on credibility and transparency standards. She also collaborates with educators and librarians from around the world in teaching news literacy skills through hosting webinars and in-person workshops. Before joining NewsGuard, Macaela reported on politics and business at local and regional newspapers across the U.S. 


Matt Derienzo

Matt DeRienzo is Hearst Connecticut Media Group’s vice president of news and digital content, a position in which he oversees the group’s eight daily and 13 weekly newspapers, along with their 21 news websites. DiRienzo was the executive director of LION, or Local Independent Online News, a nonprofit group that represents more than 200 online news organizations in the United States and Canada. He also has served as assistant managing editor of The News-Times of Danbury and as the editor of the New Haven Register, Middletown Press and the Register Citizen of Torrington. DeRienzo, of Litchfield, also is an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University and the University of New Haven. He is a 2018 Punch Sulzberger fellow at Columbia University School of Journalism.


mikala kane

Mikala Kane is a senior content editor at The Hartford Courant. She runs The Courant’s new content vertical for Connecticut millennials called The Thread. Mikala has a background in copy editing and page design, and is one of the youngest managers at The Courant. Before moving to Connecticut, she worked at The Post-Star in upstate New York. Outside of work, Mikala spends her time reading or playing with her cat.


Terry sheridan

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning radio journalist. As part of his duties as new director for WSHU, he oversees and mentors a newsroom staffed by students of Sacred Heart University and the Stony Brook School of Journalism, where he is also a lecturer and adjunct professor. Sheridan was a longtime reporter for 1010 WINS Radio in New York City, covering everything from 9/11 and its aftermath to the Occupy Wall Street movement. He was more recently heard on NBC News Radio and its flagship station, WOR. His reports have aired on NPR, the BBC, ABC, and the CBC. He is also a regular contributor to The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk 106-108 in Dublin, Ireland. Terry is president of “The Inner Circle of City Hall Reporters,” a group of New York City area journalists that roast the mayor and governor each year for New York City-based charities.