Rachel Wedding McClelland
Rachel is the Director of Student Media at the University of Tennessee where she oversees the Daily Beacon student newspaper, the Phoenix Literary Journal and the organizations’ websites and multimedia teams. She moved to Knoxville in 2014 after having served as Director of Student Publications at Indiana State University. As a university faculty member at ISU, Rachel also earned the Excellence in Education award for instruction in a variety of honors, reporting, media writing and public relations courses. In addition to her work with the organization, she has been active on the boards of the Indiana Collegiate Press Association and College Media Association and the Clarence Brown Theater. Rachel was a print news reporter before beginning her career in higher education. She reported for a variety of publications covering social issues, crime, city and county government and the arts. She has also worked as a freelance writer for the Associated Press covering election news.
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).
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.
Board Member, Program Chair
Martha Jennings was named News Director at WBIR-TV, Gannett’s NBC affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee in April 2015 after joining the station in November 2014 as the Assistant News Director. Prior to that, she was the Nightside Executive Producer at WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida. She also served as Producer for WRAL-TV, in Raleigh, North Carolina and WCBD-TV in Charleston, South Carolina. She began her broadcasting career at WIS-TV in Columbia, South Carolina.
Jennings is a graduate of the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism. Though she is now living in Big Orange Country, she is known to wear garnet and black. She is involved with the United Way, Introduction Knoxville, FBI Citizen’s Academy and Knoxville Police Department Citizen’s Academy.
Her honors include a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast. She was also awarded with three MidSouth Emmy Awards for Best Newscast. She also received a MidSouth Emmy Award for Breaking News. She is on the board of the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists.
Jennings and her husband, Jason, have very much enjoyed building their lives in East Tennessee. Their hobbies include traveling, any outdoor activities, and volunteering in their community.
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.
MJ Slaby is the higher education reporter at the Knoxville News Sentinel and joined the ET SPJ board in 2015.
She moved to Knoxville in January 2015, after working at two newspapers in Indiana — the Lafayette Journal and Courier and the Bloomington Herald-Times, where she covered a variety of areas including crime, health and education. She graduated from Indiana University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. While at IU, she was a member of the student SPJ chapter, serving as president for two years.
Pam Strickland has earned her living has a writer, editor, or writing and editing teacher over the last 40 years. She has been a reporter at The Daily Post Athenian, the Arkansas Democrat, and Arkansas Gazette. She has provided commentary for Arkansas Public Television, KUAR-FM 89.1, and the Knoxville News Sentinel. She has also done freelance writing and editing for newspapers, magazines, websites, and books.
In 2013 she was named a Champion of Equality by the Tennessee Equality Project. Her writing has been recognized by the Associated Press Managing Editors of Arkansas, the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, and the University of Mary Washington. Her teaching has been recognized by Arkansas Scholastic Press Association, Herff Jones Publishers, and Quill and Scroll. She has taught writing and journalism at secondary schools and colleges in both Arkansas and Tennessee.
Her undergraduate degree in journalism is from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with minors in English and history. She has studied law and rhetoric through the graduate school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is currently enrolled in the second year of a four-year graduate extension course in theology from the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee.
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 serves on the National SPJ Board of Directors as the Region 12 Director. She is also president of the UT Science Forum and a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
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.