Spring 2018 Schedule
Becca Aaronson, Product Manager, Texas Tribune, @becca_aa
Becca Aaronson ensures that the Texas Tribune's technology products align with audience and brand objectives. As a member of the engineering team, she helps maintain and improve the Tribune's website, coordinates cross-departmental projects and conducts user research to improve reader experience. Becca joined the Tribune in 2010 as a journalist, and covered health care from 2012-2014. A founding member of the Tribune’s interactive data and visuals team, Becca developed interactive feature stories for the Tribune before moving to her current position. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural theory from Scripps College in Claremont, Calif.
Taylor Shanklin, Vice President Product Marketing and Strategy, Pursuant, @tshankcycles
Taylor Shanklin has more than a decade spent in the nonprofit technology sector. Her passion and purpose are to help charitable organizations connect the dots between marketing, tech and fundraising. Her areas of expertise include keeping clients delighted, strategic consulting, project management, product marketing and building brand awareness. She began work for Pursuant in 2017, but previously worked at Hack for Good, RaiseMore, Kimbia and Blackbaud. Taylor received her Master's Degree in Mass Communication and New Media from Texas State in 2007.
Penny Riordan, Director, Digital Audience Engagement, Gatehouse Media, @PennyRiordan1
Penny Riordan is an experienced social media manager, project manager and content strategist in both print and online. She loves learning the details of an audience and then planning content to better serve them. She's also passionate about users having good experiences on the websites they visit. She has worked with Gatehouse since 2014, but previously worked for Patch and the Carroll County Times in Maryland. As Director, Digital Audience Engagement, Penny works with newsrooms on digital best practices and audience engagement, leads audience development efforts in the company and across departments, manage digital vendor relationships, develops centralized content initiatives and leads social media, video and newsletter best practices for newsrooms.
She loves to volunteer as a social media manager for nonprofits by helping them launch Facebook pages and develop content to grow their audience.
RB Brenner, Director, School of Journalism, The University of Texas, @rbbrenner
R.B. Brenner is the director of the School of Journalism and the G.B. Dealey Regents Professor in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Previously, he was the deputy director of Stanford University’s journalism program. Brenner joined the faculty at Stanford in September 2010 after leaving The Washington Post, where his roles included metropolitan editor, Sunday editor and deputy universal news editor. He was one of the primary editors of the newspaper’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, and played a leadership role in merging the digital and print newsrooms.
His reporting career started at the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina, followed by reporting and editing jobs at newspapers in California and Florida.
Brenner has served as a technical adviser for two journalism-themed films, “State of Play” (2009) and "The Post," opened in theaters across the country January 2018.
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. In his 24 years with SXSW, Hugh has seen the event grow from a music festival to one of the top events in the world covering technology and innovation. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.