Meet the SPJ Detroit board


Beth Konrad - President

Beth Konrad is an award-winning broadcast journalist and journalism/communication academic. Her broadcasting experiences include WDIV-TV and Detroit Public TV -WTVS-56 in Detroit, ABC network radio in Chicago, and NBC network radio news in San Francisco. Konrad is the recipient of 3 Emmys, the SPJ national award for Distinguished Service in Journalism, the National Headliner Award, several AP awards, among others. Konrad served as the Multi Media Journalism Program Director and Communication Professor at Loyola University Chicago for 15 years. She retired from that position December 2016 to return and work in her hometown of Detroit. Today she is an adjunct professor at Wayne State University, and is the president of her own communication consulting firm, Konrad Communications, LLC located on East Jefferson in Detroit. She has a long and rich history with SPJ including past president of the Chicago Headline Club (SPJ -Chicago Chapter).

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Michael Wayland - Past President

Michael Wayland is the former president of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Detroit Chapter. He is currently a reporter covering General Motors for Automotive News. He previously worked at The Detroit News for two and a half years covering Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the UAW, among other topics. He spent five years with Booth Newspapers and MLive Media Group, where he covered business and the Detroit automakers.

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Katrease Stafford - Vice President, FOI

Katrease Stafford is an award-winning journalist and Detroit government watchdog reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Stafford, a Detroit native, has received several awards for her work, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2017 Young Journalist of the Year Award, the 2017 Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard award and the 2014 Rookie Writer Award from the Michigan Press Association. She was also named a 2018 Rising Star by the News Media Alliance and was a 2016 Fellow of the Loyola Law School, Los Angeles’ prestigious Journalist Law School. She sits on the Board of Directors for the SPJ Detroit chapter and is a board member of Eastern Michigan University’s student newspaper, The Eastern Echo.

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Maxwell White - Vice President, Programming

Max White is the Digital Executive Producer for, where he has worked since 2014. He graduated from Wayne State University in 2015 with a degree in journalism where he interned at WDIV before his role at WXYZ. White has had a passion for journalism since high school where he won numerous awards during his three years on the high school newspaper. He loves to promote journalism by speaking to multiple classes per year about the industry and about new digital media.


Khalil AlHajal - Board Member

Khalil AlHajal leads MLive's Detroit newsroom, feeding stories and images of statewide interest to eight newspapers across Michigan. Before taking on editing responsibilities, AlHajal reported on Detroit politics and federal courts. He covered the city's bankruptcy case, the overturning of Michigan's gay marriage law and the conclusion of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's corruption case. He previously worked as a crime reporter at The Flint Journal, and an editor at The Arab American News in Dearborn, Mich.

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Ro Coppola - Board Member

Ro Coppola is the special projects executive producer at WDIV- TV Channel 4, leading a team focused on producing featured content for newscasts and primetime programming. A part of the new management team, she is involved in decisions impacting the overall newsroom. She has produced news documentaries and specials including “Opioid Nation,” “Generation under Fire,” “Pope Francis: Calling on America Crossroads,” “Failure in Flint,” and “White Boy Rick.” She traveled to Rome for the election of Pope Francis, to Haiti to cover the earthquake, to Cuba when the U.S travel ban was lifted and to Rio de Janeiro and Pyeongchang to cover the Olympics preparation. Her awards include 14 Local EMMYS, a national EMMY working with NBC Sports, an Edward R. Murrow Award and the Michigan Association of Broadcasting Award for Outstanding News Coverage. Coppola has a degree in broadcast journalism from Wayne State University.

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Marty Fischhoff - Board Member

Marty Fischhoff is director of community engagement and communications, and manager of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative for Detroit Public Television. He previously served managing director of the University of Michigan’s Taubman Medical Research Institute. Before that, he was an assistant managing editor at The Detroit News, where he worked for 20 years, and executive editor of Detroit Monthly magazine. His many honors include the William White Award for the nation’s best city magazine and a Penny Stamps Innovation award. He began his career by writing a 500-page book, “The Detroit Guide.” He has been involved in many community and arts groups and held leadership positions in several professional journalism organizations. He is a graduate of Wayne State University.

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Jeff Gilbert - Board Member

Jeff Gilbert is automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBS Radio News. He has been with WWJ for more than 20 years. He is regularly heard on CBS Radio Network, and also hosts “The Car Chronicles.” He has received a hundred broadcasting awards, including: the National Headliner Award, the Ohio State University Award, The International Automotive Media “Moto” Award, and the Gold and Bronze Medals from the International Radio Festival of New York. He has also been honored sixteen times by the Michigan Associated Press Broadcasters as the top radio reporter in Detroit. He is one of the fifty jurors who get to vote on the North American Car and Truck of The Year Awards. He lives in Northville with his wife and son.

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Jackie Headapohl - Secretary

Jackie Headapohl is managing editor of the Detroit Jewish News. Prior to that, she worked in corporate PR at GMAC and Chrysler and as a freelance writer for dozens of business and consumer publications, both locally and nationally

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Chastity Pratt-Dawsey - Board Member

Chastity Pratt Dawsey covers Detroit and urban affairs for Bridge magazine. She joined the Bridge team from the the Detroit Free Press after more than a decade of providing authoritative coverage of Detroit Public Schools. She has broken many of the biggest stories regarding education in the state’s largest city over the past decade. Pratt Dawsey’s work also has appeared in USA Today, Essence magazine and the Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal. Before the Free Press, the native Detroiter was a reporter at Newsday on Long Island, N.Y., and The Oregonian newspaper in Portland. She started her career as an intern at The New York Times and holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from the University of Michigan

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Kelley Root - Board Member

Kelley Root is an assistant managing editor for The Detroit News, supervising local and business coverage. She started at the paper in 2004 and oversaw the award-winning team that covered the city of Detroit’s historic municipal bankruptcy in 2013-2014. A 1989 graduate of MSU’s School of Journalism, Kelley spent 15 years as a reporter and editor at The Grand Rapids Press before joining the News. She is a strong advocate for transparency in government and testified in a successful Open Meetings Act lawsuit while at The Press. She also taught journalism as an adjunct instructor at Aquinas College. Kelley grew up in Oak Park and lives in Grosse Pointe Woods

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Dan Stocking - Treasurer

Dan Stocking is a member of Weber Shandwick’s automotive and technology team based in Detroit. Currently, he supports public and media relations efforts for EcoCAR 3, Qualcomm Automotive, Qualcomm Halo, Nokian Tyres and Verizon. In this role, Stocking leads multiple account teams tasked with developing and optimizing communication strategies that align with his clients’ organizational goals. He’s a trusted adviser and is regularly called upon by clients to provide media relations counsel and strategy. Leveraging his knowledge and experience, Stocking also serves as the resident media relations specialist. Stocking has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in integrative public relations from Central Michigan University. He resides in Madison Heights, Mich. with his wife