Dr. Michael T. Martinez turned to academe after working for 26 years as a photojournalist, graphics editor and web producer. Even though, he is currently teaching at the University of Tennessee, he considers himself both a journalist and a scholar.
Dr. Martinez spent his professional career expanding a palette of journalistic skills at four newspapers and a wire service. He worked at the Associated Press in New York, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Detroit News, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In 2000, Dr. Martinez broadened his horizons and moved into the world of the Internet as an online producer. After covering two Olympics for the Associated Press, Lillehammer 1994 and Atlanta 1996, Dr. Martinez had the opportunity to work for four Olympic Organizing Committees: Sydney 2000, Salt Lake City 2002, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
Dr. Martinez has been active in professional associations throughout his career. He was president of the National Press Photographers Association in 1990. He has been the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ visual task force representative to Unity ’94 and Unity ’99 and in 2005-2006 served as vice president/membership of the Fort Worth Professional Society of Professional Journalists’ chapter.
Dr. Martinez’ research interests include media law, specifically media and the courts, the history of journalistic practices and political coverage in visual communication.
Elenora Easterly Edwards has been managing editor of the Tennessee Press, the Tennessee Press Association’s publication, for more than 20 years. Edwards’ parents, Guy and Lucile Easterly, owned The LaFollette Press, so she grew up in the newspaper business. After graduating from Maryville College with an English degree, she studied at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, working for the Missouri Press Association and the Freedom of Information Center. She worked for the Clinton Courier-News for 24 years, including 10 as news editor. She is a past president of ETSPJ.
Treasurer and Past President
Jean Ash spent 17 years as an anchor and reporter for WIVK and was named the AP Broadcasters Association Broadcaster of the Year and Knoxville YWCA Woman of the Year in 1987. After leaving WIVK/WNOX, she worked in Beijing for China Central TV and China Radio International. Ash holds a bachelor of arts degree in history, with a minor in social studies education, from Gettysburg (Pa.) College and did post-graduate studies in communications and Chinese language at the University of Tennessee. She has visited China more than 50 times and led tours of the country, some with an international travel company, others on her own. Her website, features her recent and upcoming tours. Ash enjoys photography, reading, studying Chinese history and culture, and cooking (particularly regional Chinese cuisines).
Frank Murphy has been on the radio in Knoxville since 2002. He can be heard on Classic Hits 93.1 WNOX on weekdays and on Star 102.1 on weekends. On Tuesday evenings, Frank can be found on stage with the comedy improv group Einstein Simplified at Scruffy City Hall. Frank has been using social media since 2005 when he started a daily blog at frankmurphy.com, which has been voted one of “East Tennessee’s Best” by the readers of the Knoxville News Sentinel for four consecutive years and the “Best of Knoxville” by the readers of Metro Pulse. He can also be found on Facebook and he is active on Twitter as @FrankMurphyCom. Frank is the 2014 Social Media inductee in the Friends of Literacy East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame.
Frank is involved in the community as a volunteer for Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, East Tennessee PBS, Oak Ridge Civic Ballet Association, as a board member of the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists and as past-president of the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association. He also occasionally volunteers as emcee of various events for Bone Zones, the group which facilitates public appearances for renowned forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass.
Prior to moving to Tennessee, Frank worked at radio stations in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. He graduated from George Mason University, where he won the Senior of the Year award. Frank and his wife have two adult children, who live in the Washington, D.C. area.
Frank’s hobbies include traveling, swimming and reading. He has visited all 50 states and became a Certified Barbeque Judge in 2013. He sometimes performs stand-up comedy for charity and won the Host with the Most contest at Side Splitters Comedy Club in 2012 and 2013.
Kristi Nelson has worked for newspapers in the East Tennessee region for more than 20 years, primarily covering health, but also working as a general-assignment news and features reporter. A Knox County native, Nelson received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. She has received fellowships from the University of Southern California-Annenburg, Kaiser Family Foundation and National Institutes of Health, and awards from Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors, Association of Health-Care Journalists, Tennessee Press Association, E.W. Scripps Co. and Society of Professional Journalists, among others. She is a past winner of ETSPJ’s Golden Press Card Award.
Amanda Womac is a freelance science writer and native Appalachian. She wears many hats in Knoxville, including development manager for the Bijou Theatre, adjunct faculty at Lincoln Memorial University and nonprofit marketing consultant. Amanda is also active in SPJ at the regional level and serves as Region 12 Treasurer.
Amanda has a master’s degree in science journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.
Ex-officio Board Member
Georgiana Vines is retired associate editor of the News Sentinel, for which she still writes a weekly political column and occasional freelance stories. Her career at the News Sentinel began in 1968, and she has lived in Knoxville since then, except for 1996-97, when she was editor of the now-defunct El Paso Herald-Post in Texas. She is a former SPJ national president and teaches at the University of Tennessee’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media.