Constellation News Leadership Initiative


The Constellation News Leadership Initiative is a comprehensive management development program providing career coaching and executive leadership resources to Philadelphia-area media professionals of color pursuing senior roles in local news media enterprises.

The Lenfest Institute recognizes that Philadelphia benefits from a thriving media ecosystem, however it suffers from a lack of diversity in ownership and leadership of these institutions. The Constellation News Leadership Initiative focuses on the urgent need to support and advance more executive leaders of color into important management roles within local news media. This program is part of the Institute’s commitment to equity and increasing access to communities that have been historically marginalized in the news industry.

The Fellows receive world-class training from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, mentorship from a group of senior Executive Advisors who have advanced to positions of leadership in news enterprises, and career coaching from Crawford Leadership Strategies, a Black-owned leadership development firm. 

The Fellows take courses on how to identify and serve news audiences, build successful products, develop new business opportunities, manage teams, and lead an organizational transformation process. The program aims to help Fellows gain an understanding of product thinking and how to create and execute a product strategy, become more effective in driving change and transformation in their news organizations, obtain the skills to navigate and advance in their careers, and much more.


The 2022 Fellows

David Auguste, Web Producer, WPVI 6abc
Lisa Bryant, Freelance Journalist, Generocity
Kerith Gabriel, Digital Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Angelica Irizarry, Director of Events, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Nia King, Editor, WHYY
Ariel Miller, Producer, WPVI 6abc
Ezequiel Minaya, Former Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Melissa Simpson, Audience Engagement Editor, Next City
Kristal Sotomayor, Co-Founder, ¡Presente! Media and Editorial Board, cinéSPEAK
Jillian Wilson, Service Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Maria Archangelo, Chief Revenue Officer, Open Campus
Anthony Cuffie, Vice President-Local Advertising, Labor, & Advertising Operations, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Cherri Gregg, Host/Anchor, WHYY 
Emma Carew Grovum, Newsroom Consultant, Kimbap Media
Michael Huang, Managing Editor – Sports, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Richard G. Jones, Managing Editor – Opinion, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Shawana Perry, Executive Producer, WPVI 6abc
Melony Roy, Director of Digital News, WHYY
Jameel Rush, Former Vice President of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion,  The Philadelphia Inquirer
Ernest Owens, President, Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists

The 2022 Executive Advisors