Carolina Public Press – headquarters
(mailing) PO Box 17595, Asheville, NC 28816
(physical) 4A Herman Avenue Extension, Asheville, NC 28803
Main phone: 828-774-5290
While the organization is headquartered in Asheville, staff and contributors are located across North Carolina.
To call a staff member, dial 828-774-5290 and the appropriate extension.
Staff and Contributors
Ellen Acconcia, Director of Audience and Engagement
Previously the director of marketing at the Society of Interventional Radiology, a professional membership association for specialty physicians, Ellen has served as communications manager for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, marketed the professional subscription series for the performing arts at George Mason University and was a publicist at St. Martin’s Press and Doubleday & Co. She holds a B.A. in communications, has completed graduate courses in communications and nonprofit management and is a member of the Editorial Freelance Association and the American Marketing Association. Ellen lives in Brunswick County and oversees audience growth and engagement for Carolina Public Press.
Stephanie Carson, News and Community Partnerships Manager and Broadcast Producer
Stephanie Carson has two decades of journalism experience in print, radio and television and as a special projects producer, an editorial director and field producer for outlets including CBS News, Bloomberg Financial Television and the Public News Service. Her work has earned her two Mid-Atlantic Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Journalism. In addition to her journalism work, Stephanie co-owns an event company where she manages events, secures strategic partnerships and maintains community and business relationships. Stephanie lives in Buncombe County and oversees news and community partnerships and produces Carolina Public Press’s broadcast programming, including radio-ready reporting and The Kicker, CPP’s podcast.
Tara George, Administrator
Tara George graduated with honors from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in applied design. A desire to be more involved and make a difference in the community brought her to the nonprofit world, where she has worked in development, project and office management for organizations including Land of Sky Regional Council and OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling. Tara lives in Buncombe County and assists with community engagement planning and office and financial systems for Carolina Public Press.
Laura Lee, News Editor
Laura Lee, originally from North Carolina, held roles at National Public Radio where she produced content for the Washington desk, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation. She was an editor for Edutopia, an arm of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. In North Carolina, she served as assistant news director and then managing editor of WUNC’s live daily statewide show, The State of Things, and worked as content director and managing editor for EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. She was an adjunct media law professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. As news editor, Laura oversees many aspects of story development and editing, recruitment and supervision of freelancers. She also contributes to larger editorial projects. Laura, who lives in Durham, received her master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland, also holds a J.D. from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Lisa Lopez, Director of Development
Lisa Lopez has more than 20 years experience in the nonprofit sector. She joins Carolina Public Press after three years at Development by Design, LLC, a development strategy consulting firm she helped found. Prior to launching her own company, Lisa served for 14 years in development at the Center for Creative Leadership, a top-ranked global provider of leadership development. She began her fundraising career at the American Red Cross Cape Fear Chapter and went on to seek and secure major gifts for the UNC Wilmington Center for Marine Science. She also has worked in both production and advertising/sales in TV and radio news organizations. Lisa lives in Guilford County and oversees fundraising development for Carolina Public Press across North Carolina.
Kate Martin, Lead Investigative Reporter
Kate Martin has been a journalist for more than 15 years covering topics including education, government and business. Her passion for data and open records has led her to expose a school district’s misspending of taxpayer funds and pursue records governments wanted to keep hidden. She joined the Carolina Public Press team after five years at The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., where she reported on the police department’s use of mass cell phone surveillance equipment without explaining the devices to judges. In 2011, while working with the Skagit Valley Herald, she earned a Rural Computer Assisted Reporting fellowship with Investigative Reporters and Editors. Her work has led to the creation of five state laws and the resignation of four elected officials. She has spoken at Investigative Reporters and Editors, National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting, and is a founding member of Northwest News Nerds. Kate lives in Orange County and is the lead investigative reporter for Carolina Public Press, following and pursuing stories across the entire state.
Angie Newsome, Founder and Executive Director
Angie Newsome founded Carolina Public Press, which launched in March 2011. A North Carolina native with a master’s degree in journalism from UNC Chapel Hill, Angie has more than 15 years of experience in daily, online and magazine journalism. She has won numerous awards, including for reporting on the international banking interests of a North Carolina congressman and for following the closure of the nation’s last Levis sewing plant. After launching Carolina Public Press, she was named one of four New Media Women Entrepreneurs in the country by the McCormick Foundation in 2012. Carolina Public Press has gone on to be a featured media startup by PBS MediaShift and J-Lab and to earn numerous awards, including for its environmental, mental health and investigative reporting and for general excellence among North Carolina’s online news organizations. Angie lives in Buncombe County and oversees efforts to improve and measure the sustainability, reach and impact of Carolina Public Press and its work across North Carolina. Additionally, she now serves as the president of board of directors of the NC Open Government Coalition.
Frank Taylor, Managing Editor
Frank Taylor worked in the news industry for more than 20 years before joining Carolina Public Press in October 2015, including as an editorial writer for The Fayetteville Observer and Florida Today and as managing editor of The Lincoln Times-News, The Mecklenburg Times and Tarboro Daily Southerner. He has received numerous awards for investigative reporting and other reporting and editing work throughout his career and is a two-time winner of the N.C. Press Association’s Freedom of Information Award. Frank received his master’s degree in journalism from UNC Chapel Hill and has done additional graduate work in history at Western Carolina University. His academic research has focused on news organization best practices for fact-checking articles on scholarly topics in a digital environment, precedent gaps in U.S. libel law, and the colonial and revolutionary eras in North Carolina. He’s also served as an adjunct professor at Brevard College. Frank lives in Buncombe County and oversees the journalism produced by Carolina Public Press and serving all North Carolinians.
Jordan Wilkie, Staff Reporter and Report for America corps member
Jordan Wilkie is a staff reporter and Report for America corps member with Carolina Public Press. In 2018, Jordan graduated with a master’s in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously, he worked as an administrator and instructor of educational programming in prisons and juvenile detentions in Oregon. He lives in Orange County and reports on election integrity, open government and civil liberties for Carolina Public Press.
Calvin L. Adkins, Photographer
Calvin L. Adkins is a photographer who started his career as a photo stringer for The Daily Southerner in 1989. He went on to work as a photographer and cops reporter at the newspaper and was its editor until it closed in 2014. Calvin was born in Princeville, N.C., the oldest town in the United States chartered by African Americans. He still lives in Princeville, in Edgecombe County, today.
Jennifer Bringle is a Greensboro-based writer who has covered North Carolina for The News & Observer, The News & Record, The Charlotte Observer and The Winston-Salem Journal, among other outlets. Her work also has appeared in The Washington Post, Glamour, Good Housekeeping and Parents.
Taylor Buck is a data visualization freelancer and senior at UNC-Chapel Hill pursuing a B.A. in Jjournalism and a B.A. in the Peace, War, and Defense program. As a student journalist, she covered Silent Sam protests and higher education for The Daily Tar Heel. She is currently interning for National Defense University Press, the publishing arm of National Defense University.
Melissa Sue Gerrits, Photographer
Melissa Sue Gerrits is a photographer with a degree in photojournalism from Randolph Community College and has worked in South Dakota, Arkansas and North Carolina. Most recently, she was a photojournalist for The Fayetteville Observer. Melissa lives in Cumberland County.
Christian Green is a freelance multimedia journalist from Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a master’s degree in neuroscience from Wake Forest University and his stories focus on communicating science to a broad audience and exploring the nuances of complex topics using data. Along with his writing, has also directed a short documentary which was featured in the Winston-Salem-based RiverRun International Film Festival and produced multiple podcasts. His photojournalism has been featured in Wake Forest University’s START gallery and at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. as part of the Smithsonian’s ACCelerate Festival.
Jodi Helmer writes about food, farming and the environment for Scientific American, Huffington Post, NPR, Modern Farmer and Civil Eats. She lives on a hobby farm in Stanly County.
Jack Igelman, Lead Environment Reporter
Jack Igelman is a reporter with a master’s degree from Montana State University, where he studied natural resource economics. His main interest is in conservation and environmental stories that on the people, places and institutions involved with managing the state’s natural resources. Co-author of Trekking the Southern Appalachians and currently teaching college-level economics, Jack’s reporting has appeared in dozens of local, regional and national publications. Jack lives in Buncombe County.
Courtney Mabeus has worked as a journalist for nearly 15 years. Her three-part series “No Turning Back,” received a first place National Headliner Award from the Press Club of Atlantic City, N.J., as well as an award for excellence in feature writing from the Association of LGBTQ Journalists. She has most recently worked on staff for Navy Times and The Virginian-Pilot, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Foreign Policy, among others. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, she received a master’s in multiplatform journalism from the University of Maryland.
Colby Rabon, Photographer
Colby Rabon is a freelance photographer with a bachelor’s degree in technical photography from Appalachian State University. Colby currently shoots a range of material from documentary projects to news, sports, portraiture and more and has had work featured in local and national publications. Colby lives in Buncombe County.
Matt Rose, Photographer
Matt Rose is a photojournalist, formerly with The Times-Picayune, of New Orleans, with more than 20 years of photography experience. During his successful and award-winning career, he has photographed, among other things, U.S. presidents, Super Bowls, floods and Mardi Gras. Rose has won numerous Associated Press and National Press Photographers Association photography awards and shares a staff Pulitzer Prize for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Matt lives in Buncombe County.
Kirk Ross, Capital Bureau Chief
Based in Chapel Hill, Kirk Ross is a longtime North Carolina journalist and Carolina Public Press’s lead journalist reporting on the N.C. General Assembly. His reporting and opinion writing has appeared in multiple publications, including the News & Observer and The Washington Post. Kirk lives in Orange County.
Mariano Santillan, Illustrator
Mariano Santillan is currently the web designer and illustrator for the USASOC History Office on Fort Bragg. Before that position, he spent over a decade as the graphics editor and illustrator for The Fayetteville Observer. Some of his freelance clients include The Washington Post, The U.S. Army and Cricket Magazine. Mariano lives in Cumberland County.
Imari Scarbrough, Reporter
Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist with a bachelor’s degree in communications and minors in English and music from Montreat College. She worked as a staff writer at The Anson Record for five years, earning five awards from the N.C. Press Association and covering crime, politics, education, local government and more. Imari lives in Stanly County.
Carolina Public Press Board of Directors
Scott Barnwell, President
Patrick Doran, Vice President
Bob Lewis, Treasurer
Carolina Public Press is a member of the N.C. Open Government Coalition, the NC Watchdog Reporting Network, Institute for Nonprofit News and the N.C. Press Association. Certain staff members and contributors are members of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists.