Ron Smith, Editor
Ronshine comes to us after serving as the managing editor for news at USA TODAY. Before moving to the Washington, D.C., area in 2016, Ron was the deputy managing editor for daily news and production at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he oversaw the breaking news hub, production desks and was the key point person for print story selections and workflow.
He also has worked as an editor at The Oregonian, the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He is known for championing great journalism and the great journalists who produce great works. He “proceeds until apprehended’ and is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and help others — all while having fun along the way.
Dwayne Burtin, Deputy Editor Digital
Dwayne Burtin is the Ironman of digital media and interactive marketing. He possesses expert knowledge of the tools and technological resources necessary to develop creative and engaging content. His educational background in professional communication allows him to bring inspired storytelling and fresh interactive media together to reach diverse audiences. Dwayne has been working in digital media for 16 years. He is currently the deputy editor of digital news design for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and also an interactive marketing professional for Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
Adam Carr, Deputy Editor Community Engagement
Adam Carr is deputy editor for community engagement at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.
A lifelong Milwaukeean and proud product of Milwaukee Public Schools, Carr continually finds new directions for his passion and love of his hometown.
Carr was co-chair of March On Milwaukee 50th, which commemorated Milwaukee’s Open Housing Marches with 200 Nights of Freedom in 2017-2018. In 2016, he authored the children’s book Explore MKE: Your Neighborhood, Our City, working with five 3rd grade classrooms and SHARP Literacy. He gives tours of Milwaukee communities covering a wide variety of topics and has collaborated with filmmaker Wes Tank to produce two short films featured in the Milwaukee Film Festival
Carr has collaborated on neighborhood-based public art projects in Milwaukee, including Listening to Mitchell in 2014 with artist Sonja Thomsen and TypeFace in 2013 with artist Reginald Baylor. He was the producer at 88Nine RadioMilwaukee from 2008-2011.
Assistant Editor Tom Tolan is a longtime journalist who worked for 24 years at The Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as a reporter and editor. After retiring from the JS in 2014, he worked for three years at Milwaukee Magazine, where he re-retired as managing editor in July 2019. He’s reported and edited for newspapers in Rome, Georgia, and El Paso, Texas, but otherwise is a lifelong Milwaukeean. Tom is the author of “Riverwest: A Community History.” He’s also worked as a cab and rideshare driver in Milwaukee, so feel free to ask him for directions.
Edgar Mendez, Senior Staff Reporter
Raised in a South Side neighborhood where he still lives, Edgar Mendez is a senior staff reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Mendez is a proud graduate of UW-Milwaukee, where he double majored in Journalism and Sociology, and of Marquette University, where he earned a master’s degree in Communication.
He won a 2018 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award and 2014, 2017, and 2018 Milwaukee Press Club Awards for his reporting on taverns, marijuana law enforcement, and lead in water service lines. In 2008, he won a Society of Professional Journalists’ regional award for columns dealing with issues such as poverty, homelessness and racism. His writing has been published by the Associated Press, Reuters, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other media. He has also co-authored three articles published in scholarly journals. He is a proud father of a five, eight, 14 and 16-year-old and is an avid fan of all Wisconsin sports teams. Go Pack Go!
Ana Martinez-Ortiz, Community Engagement Reporter
Ana Martinez-Ortiz is the community engagement reporter and beat reporter for neighborhood groups and nonprofits. She first joined the Milwaukee Neighborhood News staff in August 2018. As the community engagement reporter, Ana is known for writing five things to know/do for the week and weekend, how to articles and spotlight articles. She was born and raised in Milwaukee. Ana attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and graduated in 2017 with degrees in Spanish and journalism. As a multimedia journalist, she is trained in online writing, photography, audio and more. In addition to NNS, she writes for the Milwaukee Courier. Ana hopes that her work continues to shine a light on Milwaukee and act as a service for those in need.
Damia Causey, Jobs and Career Columnist
Damia S. Causey is a jobs and career columnist for Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Born and raised in Milwaukee, she proudly attended Milwaukee Public Schools.
Damia has always taken a vested interest in what happens in her city and community through her volunteerism with youth programs, and by educating herself on the issues affecting the community, then rolling up her sleeves to help with solutions.
“My life is one of service. It is my calling. It is my way of giving back to my community.”
Damia’s column will run biweekly.
Sam Woods, Staff Reporter
Sam Woods is a staff reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, primarily covering education in Milwaukee. After moving to Milwaukee, Sam served as a City Year mentor at South Division, followed by a year with Public Allies at Ex Fabula. Sam also has a background in podcasting, and serves as the Director of Content at Bridge the City podcast.
Sam’s favorite part of his job is meeting new people and learning more about the city every day.
Matthew Martinez, Report for America Staff Reporter
Matthew Martinez is a recent college graduate (Marquette’s Class of 2020). Over his four years at Marquette, he’s worked in various positions at the Marquette Wire. The majority of his time there was spent on the investigative desk, covering issues such as housing, human trafficking and health care in the city. Matthew joins Milwaukee NNS as part of Report For America, a program that seeks to strengthen local journalism by placing journalists in communities that have a greater need for issues based reporting.
PrincessSafiya Byers, Report for America Staff Reporter
PrincessSafiya Byers was born and raised in Milwaukee, and is a 2020 graduate of Marquette University, majoring in Journalism and Africana Studies. Her commitment to her community has led her to nonprofit work with local youth and families. She’s also interned with the Milwaukee Community Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and joins Milwaukee NNS as a Report for America Staff Reporter looking to serve democracy by covering issues important to the community.
Paul Salsini, Writing Coach
Paul Salsini is a veteran Milwaukee journalist and the writing coach for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. He worked for 37 years at The Milwaukee Journal as a reporter, editor and staff development director/writing coach. He also was an adjunct professor in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University for 48 years, teaching journalism and the history of musical theater.
He is the author of award-winning novels set in Tuscany, included the six-volume “A Tuscan Series,” and, reflecting another interest, presents programs about musical theater to groups around town.
Sue Vliet, Photographer
Sue Vliet is a volunteer photographer for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. She has been a part of the organization almost since it’s inception in 2011. She is proud to be involved in a number of award winning stories including bronze award for a series “Poverty in Milwaukee “ in 2015.
Vliet works as a freelance photographer specializing in portraits,especially of children and families, locations and art.
She is excited to continue to illuminate and celebrate her home town of Milwaukee.
Cooking and baking, as well as gardening and canning remain favorite past times.
Mark Doremus, Video Content Strategist
Mark Doremus is the video content strategist for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.
Mark grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and spent his high school years hanging out in the campus photo lab. He learned the television trade as a Navy broadcaster in Japan and worked as a television news reporter in Escanaba, Michigan, as well as Green Bay and Madison, Wisconsin. He holds a Ph.D. in Journalism and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked as an administrator for the University of Wisconsin System for 20 years before he retired in 2015.
Mark considers himself, first and foremost, to be a traditional journalist. He believes there is an objective truth in the world that can be captured and conveyed to an audience. His goal is to tell true stories that expand our understanding of the world in which we live.
Alex Perry, Video Journalist
Alex Perry comes to NNS after shooting stories for several Milwaukee TV newsrooms. His passion is capturing on video the compelling images and sounds that are the essence of memorable news stories.
“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Alex has adopted the mantra of photojournalist Robert Capa as his own.
Bridget Fogarty, Reporting Intern
Bridget is an intern reporter on the Community Engagement team at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and a senior double major in Journalism and Spanish at Marquette University.
She began as an NNS intern reporter in January 2019 and writes feature news, resource guides and “How To” articles. Bridget’s experiences at NNS have solidified her commitment to community-engaged journalism, to Milwaukee and to residents who help their city thrive.
While at Marquette, Bridget has facilitated student trips to work with disaster-relief organizations following hurricanes in the Gulf region. She spent the fall 2018 semester in Santiago, Chile learning about Latinx contemporary issues of gender and migration, and brings her Spanish proficiency into her reporting.
Caroline White, Reporting Intern
Caroline White is a junior at Marquette University studying Journalism and Environmental Studies. She’s been interning for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service since the summer of 2019. After classes, Caroline enjoys visiting museums, reading and finding new restaurants.