Founder of nonprofit newsroom MLK50 and co-founder of exiled Russian news site Meduza complete keynote speaker lineup at 25th ISOJ

Women journalism leaders will take the stage at the 25th International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) to deliver all four keynote addresses at this special anniversary conference.

Wendi C. Thomas, founder, editor and publisher of nonprofit newsroom MLK50, will speak during the second keynote session of ISOJ’s opening day, April 12, 2024.

Galina Timchenko, co-founder, CEO and publisher of Meduza, an independent Russian media outlet operating from Latvia, will present the final keynote session on April 13.

These two journalism visionaries join two keynote speakers announced last weekMeredith Kopit Levien, president and CEO of The New York Times Company, and Versha Sharma, editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue.

Whether you join virtually or in person in Austin, Texas, make sure you’re in the audience to hear from these innovative journalism leaders. Register for the 25th ISOJ today!

Woman in glasses and burgundy dress

Wendi C. Thomas (Courtesy)

Wendi C. Thomas is founder of nonprofit news outlet MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. Originally conceived as a one-year project in 2017, MLK50 evolved into a nonprofit newsroom with a focus on addressing critical issues in Memphis, Tennessee. Thomas, honored with the 2023 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence and the 2022 Freedom of the Press Local Champion Award, has been widely recognized for her impactful journalistic work. Previously a metro columnist and assistant managing editor at The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, she received the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting in 2020 and was named Journalist of the Year in 2018 by the Journalism and Women Symposium.

Galina Timchenko is co-founder, CEO and publisher of Meduza, an independent Russian media outlet operating from Latvia. Despite operating from exile in Latvia for nine years, being designated a “foreign agent” in April 2021 and subsequently banned by the Kremlin in January 2023, Meduza continues to reach millions of readers, as a result of its diverse and technologically advanced infrastructure. Timchenko’s experience includes serving as the editor-in-chief of Lenta.ru media from 2004 to 2014. In 2022, she received the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. Meduza was honored with the Fritt Ord Foundation Prize in 2022 for its courageous, independent, and fact-based journalism.

“We are honored to have Wendi Thomas and Galina Timchenko as keynote speakers at the 25th ISOJ, along with Meredith Kopin Levien and Versha Sharma. Traditionally, ISOJ has had two keynote sessions on the first day and two on the second, but this is the first time in our 25 years’ history that all keynoters are women. I think it reflects an important and welcome change in the media industry that has now more women leaders than ever before,” said professor Rosental Alves, founder of ISOJ and the Knight Center at the University of Texas, which organizes the conference.

Galina Timchenko

Galina Timchenko (Courtesy)

Galina Timchenko (Courtesy)“Galina Timchenko has been a pioneer of the work that exiled journalists have been doing in many parts of the world where they use digital technology to continue serving the countries they were forced to abandon. In the case of Meduza, they have been doing this for almost a decade with a strong impact in Russia,” said Alves. “And Wendi Thomas represents the best of the boom of innovative and impactful nonprofit news organizations that are popping up all over the United States. MLK50’s focus on the ‘intersection of poverty, power and policy‘ has already brought impressive results to Memphis.”

“From the successful transition of The New York Times from print to digital, to Teen Vogue’s innovative ways to reach young readers, to Meduza’s efforts to keep millions of Russians informed despite censorship and persecution, to MLK50’s innovative model of local investigative journalism, I am sure all keynoters of the 25th ISOJ will be inspirational. We all will leave the keynote sessions with important lessons learned, new ideas to take back to our media outlets’ newsrooms and boardrooms,” Alves said.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas organizes ISOJ, which for 25 years has brought together industry-leading journalists, media executives and scholars from around the world.

Early-bird registration for the hybrid conference is currently open, offering participants the chance to secure their spots before rates increase on Feb. 13, 2024.

Take advantage of this opportunity to be part of the 25th ISOJ and hear from industry experts like Thomas, Timchenko, Kopit Levien and Sharma. Panels and other speakers will be announced in coming weeks.

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