NPR’s Lakshmi Singh ’94 to headline Newhouse’s ‘Race and the Media’ symposium April 2 and 3

By Wendy S. Loughlin

March 13, 2019

The Newhouse School will host a two-day symposium exploring issues of race and the media April 2 and 3 in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3.

The event will feature a panel of recent alumni of color representing the industries of broadcasting, magazines, newspapers and social media. They will discuss the transition from college to an often predominately white workplace.

NPR’s Lakshmi Singh ’94 will kick off the event with a keynote speech April 2 at 7 p.m.

On April 3 from 9:50 to 10:50 a.m., Paul Overberg, data reporter with The Wall Street Journal and a leading expert on the census, will present an exploration of the country’s changing demographics. His discussion will be followed by a series of TED-style talks on transitioning to and navigating the workplace, and finding and covering difficult stories.

Speakers will include:

  • Jourdan Bennett-Begaye G'16, reporter and producer at Indian Country Today
  • Brooke Lewis G’15, reporter at The Houston Chronicle
  • Lena Pringle ’16, morning anchor, traffic anchor and reporter at WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Daniel Taroy ’13, social media director at Vanity Fair
  • Elliot Williams G’17, staffer at Washingtonian magazine

The presentations and ensuing question-and-answer sessions will tackle topics such as the challenges and opportunities of covering diverse communities; the ways in which race and bias can shape news coverage and influence newsroom cultures; and practical solutions for journalists of all races who want to succeed in the industry.  


Photo of Lakshmi Singh

Lakshmi Singh ’94

Lakshmi Singh is a veteran journalist who has spent the majority of a nearly 30-year career dedicated to public broadcasting. As a long-time anchor for NPR News, she is known to millions of listeners as a member of the award-winning network and one of the last bastions of contextualized journalism. She has championed the rights of the press to carry out its essential role to serve the people with integrity.

Singh, who is of Puerto Rican and Indo-Trinidadian descent, has also been an outspoken proponent of recruiting more people of color into newsrooms—not only as reporters, but also as the executives who are critical in shaping news coverage. She has been honored as an influential voice for change in the communications industry by ColorComm, a national organization for women of color in all areas of communications.

An alumna of Syracuse University with a dual degree in broadcast and digital journalism from the Newhouse School and Latin American studies from the College of Arts and Sciences, Singh began her career at WAER in Syracuse. She later worked as a local host and reporter at NPR member stations KPBX in Spokane, WMFE in Orlando and WAMU in Washington. Singh has also contributed to PRI, Voice of America and Gannett News Service.

Photo of Paul Overberg

Paul Overberg

Paul Overberg is a data reporter at The Wall Street Journal and a member of its investigative team. He focuses on economic and demographic stories, but helps reporters working on many beats. He previously worked at USA Today as a member of its data team. Through Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), he has organized and participated in many seminars to help journalists understand how to use demographic data to tell stories about the American people.

Photo of Jordan Bennett-Begaye

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye G'16

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye is a reporter and producer for Indian Country Today, a daily digital news platform that covers the Indigenous world, including American Indians and Alaska Natives. She is a Diné (Navajo) citizen of the Navajo Nation. She’s written for Native Peoples Magazine, Fan First, MediaShift, The Daily Times, NAJA’s Native Voices News, NPR’s NextGen Radio Project, and The Post-Standard. She is an alumna of the magazine, newspaper and online journalism master’s program at the Newhouse School, where she was a Graduate Minority Fellow.

Photo of Brooke Lewis

Brooke Lewis G’15

Brooke Lewis is a native Houstonian who covers a wide range of stories in Fort Bend County for The Houston Chronicle. Her most recent work includes in-depth coverage of the discovery of the remains of 95 African Americans at a school district construction site, which received national media attention. She started at The Chronicle in 2016 as a summer intern and went on to work as the night breaking news reporter. She is an alumna of the magazine, newspaper and online journalism master’s program at the Newhouse School and was a fellow at

Photo of Lena Pringle

Lena Pringle G’16  

Lena Pringle is a morning anchor, traffic anchor and reporter at WJXT, the No. 1 station in Jacksonville, Florida. She previously served as the morning live reporter for “Good Day Columbia” on the FOX affiliate WACH in Columbia, South Carolina. In 2018, the South Carolina Association of Broadcasters named her the South Carolina Television Personality of the Year. Before moving to Columbia, Pringle was a sports reporter in the Washington, D.C. area, and reported from Capitol Hill for multiple Nexstar Media Group stations in Louisiana. She is an alumna of the graduate program in broadcast and digital journalism at the Newhouse School.

Photo of Daniel Taroy

Daniel Taroy ’13

Daniel Taroy is the senior social media manager for Vanity Fair. Previously, he worked at Fast Company, People and More magazines. He is an alumnus of the magazine journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Photo of Elliot Williams

Elliot Williams G’17

Elliot Williams is an assistant editor at Washingtonian magazine, where he covers local news and culture and oversees the magazine’s editorial fellowship program. Previously, he has written and interned at The Atlantic, Catholic News Service and At Newhouse, he was a Graduate Minority Fellow in the magazine, newspaper and online journalism program.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be available at the event. For more information, or if you require additional accommodations, contact Jim Shahin at 315-443-2381 or