Jun. 21, 2017  

2017-2018 SPJ Florida Pro Nominating Slate

The SPJ Florida Professional Chapter’s annual election meeting is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, July 22, 2017, following the Sunshine State Awards ceremony in Miami.

Meet the 2017-2018 Florida Pro Nominating Slate:


President: Christiana Lilly

A web poster for Newsmax, Lilly also freelances and has been published in outlets like the Miami Herald’s Indulge magazine, Fort Lauderdale magazine, South Florida Gay News, Fox News, and Fusion. Previously, she worked at the Huffington Post Miami and Forum Publishing Group, where she covered the Sunrise and Plantation city beat. A proud Gator, Lilly graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism and a minor in anthropology. Although she was born in Florida, Lilly moved around in Asia for 14 years before moving back stateside for college. She served two years as Executive Vice President of SPJ Florida. She previously served as Secretary for the chapter.

Executive Vice President: Abbi Perry

Perry is a Web Producer for Citrix Systems, Inc.  Formerly, she was the Assistant Editor for Society Scene as well as a writer and web content developer for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. While working for Forum Publishing Group, Perry served as Web Director, Calendar Editor and Columnist. Her columns were published in Jewish Journal. Perry’s additional writings and editorial work were published in South Florida Parenting, Teenlink and Jewish Journal. Perry holds a Master of Science degree in Communication and Media from Lynn University (2013) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Studies (concentration in Journalism) from Radford University (2008). She served two years as Secretary of SPJ Florida.

Vice President, Membership: Ryan Dailey

Dailey is the K-12 education reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat. A graduate of Florida State University, he has previously been a general assignment reporter and copy editor at the Democrat. For the past several years, Dailey also has served as the editor of The Chronicle, a weekly publication made up of reader-submitted content. Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, Dailey also spent time living in Atlanta before moving to Florida and has been living in the Sunshine State since 2001.

Vice President, Programs: Emily Bloch

Bloch is a multimedia journalist covering Southwest Broward County for Forum Publishing Group. She’s been featured in publications including Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Broward New Times, Debt.com and Teen Vogue. She previously served as SPJ Florida’s Student Representative. Bloch graduated from Florida Atlantic University, where she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She’s helped organize and run SPJ-sponsored events including Zombie Stories and Muslimedia.

Secretary: Brendon Lies

Lies is currently the Art Director at South Florida Gay News, where he also writes as a columnist. He attended school at Minnesota State University Moorhead before transferring to Florida Atlantic University, where his career as a designer earned him the title of Creative Director at the University Press, the FAU school newspaper. He never sits still in his spare time, and uses his intense interest in social justice and ethics as inspiration for his exploration of the arts.

Treasurer: Chris Persaud

Persaud is a freelance journalist and programmer. He has done data journalism for the Palm Beach Post and Bankrate.com. He owns and runs DataJournalismJobs.com, an online jobs board for data journalism jobs. He also owns and runs RichBlocksPoorBlocks.com, a subscription website that maps rent and income data for every neighborhood in America.

Immediate Past President: Dori Zinn (appointed)

Zinn is a full-time freelancer and the President of Blossomers Media, a web development and online media company. She’s been featured in publications like Huffington Post, The Week, Realtor.com, Money Talks News, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, and Quartz. For seven years, Zinn served on the board as Vice President of Membership, Executive Vice President, and President for the SPJ Florida Pro chapter, helping win SPJ’s “Chapter of the Year” in 2010, 2014, and 2016.

Directors-at-Large (choose six)

Brandon Ballenger

Ballenger is the associate editor for Debt.com, a unique provider of personal finance news and financial services. He is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in communication and English. His money-related writing has been featured in The South Florida Business Journal, Money Talks News, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, on the homepages of MSN and Yahoo!, and more.

Michele Boyet

Boyet is the digital marketing manager for The Breakers Palm Beach, where she manages the resort’s social media, email marketing and overall digital strategy. A past president of SPJ Florida, Boyet currently serves as the co-chair of SPJ National’s communications committee and formerly worked as an associate homepage producer at the Sun Sentinel. She is the co-founder of the First Amendment Free Food Festival and received the Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment award from SPJ National in 2010.

Chris Delboni

Delboni has worked as a foreign correspondent in Washington, D.C., and Miami, for more than two decades. She has also taught journalism at the University of Miami and Florida International University. At FIU, she was the first news director for the South Florida News Service, serving local mainstream newspapers, such as the Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, and Palm Beach Post. In 2012, she became faculty adviser for FIU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She is also a recipient of SPJ’s David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award. In 2016, she left FIU to take on an innovative international journalism education project in Miami. She also writes a column in Portuguese, Direto de Miami, published independently.

Aurora Dominguez

Dominguez is an adjunct professor in media and communications at Miami-Dade College and Broward College and teaches English and has taught media at Boca Raton Community High School. She previously taught at Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University. She has worked as senior web editor for the Bauer Xcel Media Group, publisher of J-14, M Magazine and Twist Magazine, managing editor for Where South Florida, and online producer and editor for The Miami Herald. Dominguez holds a master’s degree in mass communications and journalism from FIU.

Richard Gaspar

Gaspar is a full Professor of Mass Communication at Hillsborough Community College and has taught for 20+ years. He has been recognized as a site level, county level, and state level teacher of the year. He serves as a judge for national publications contests, awards and as a critique adviser for student publications. He has attended numerous state, national and international journalism and communication conferences. He is also a CMA Distinguished Two-Year Magazine Adviser, CMA Distinguished Two-Year Newspaper Adviser, and SPJ Dori Maynard Diversity Fellow.

Michael Koretzky

Expelled from Boca Raton Academy (1981) and the University of Florida journalism school (1989). Fired from the South Florida Sun Sentinel (1997), Jazziz Magazine (2008), and Florida Atlantic University (2010). Started and sold two magazines, one to the Tribune Company (1991), the other to the one-armed heir to the Listerine fortune (1999). Copyedited and designed for the trashy supermarket tabloids Globe, Star, Examiner, and National Enquirer (2002-2009). Not exactly a distinguished career, but he’s come to terms with it.

John McDonald

McDonald is a freelance writer who has contributed to the New York Daily News, Houston Chronicle and many other media organizations during his 22-year career. He won statewide awards for entertainment criticism while working for the Panama City News-Herald and sports writing while employed at the Dothan Eagle. He currently reports for the South Florida Gay News, Mirror Magazine, Pelican Newspaper and Air France Outremer Magazine. A native Floridian, McDonald lives in Pompano Beach with his husband, Mr. David Altermatt, a retired interior architect. He received his Bachelor’s of Science from Troy University and previously served on the SPJ Florida Board in 2014-15.

Student Rep (choose one)

Kerri-Marie Covington

Covington is the managing editor of the Florida Atlantic University school newspaper, the University Press. She previously served as its copy desk chief. While pursuing an English degree at FAU, she also works as an intern at financial advice website Debt.com and as a copy editor for South Florida Gay News. She’d normally include a clever quip about what she does in her free time, but she doesn’t have any.


The chapter’s annual election meeting is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, July 22, 2017, following the Sunshine State Awards ceremony in Miami.

Election shall be by simple majority vote of eligible chapter members. All chapter members in good standing are welcome to vote by in-person ballot or via email prior to the election. Want to check your status? Email immediate past president Dori Zinn to see if you’re eligible.

Online voting is now closed. 

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