Professional communicators inducted into CSU Media Hall of Fame

As appearing in Source

The Department of Journalism and Media Communication at Colorado State University inducted 10 more outstanding professional communicators into the Colorado State University Media Hall of Fame this week.

This year’s induction is part of the CSU Media Festival, which is celebrating The Rocky Mountain Collegian’s 125th birthday.

Hall of Fame members are CSU alumni. They are selected based on long-term distinction in their career area, evidence of leadership (including advancing their own reputation), their employer’s credibility and the impact of their media discipline. They also demonstrate sustained involvement with Colorado State University. Many began their journalism careers as students working for the Collegian, which at 125 years is one of the oldest student newspapers in the western United States.

This year’s inductees, announced on Sept. 28, include professionals in newspaper and television journalism, advertising, public relations, technical communication and government public affairs:

Kit Brown Hoekstra

Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra, B.S. ’83 and M.S. ’91, is an award-winning writer, fellow and former president of the Society for Technical Communication, and small-business owner. She presents at industry conferences worldwide, coauthored a book on managing virtual teams, contributes articles to industry magazines, and blogs about global communication at

Bob Burke

Bob Burke, ’81, is the chief photojournalist at KCNC-TV in Denver, where he’s spent his entire career. He is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle award for lifetime achievement. His work has earned numerous regional and national awards, and his KCNC photo staff was honored by the National Press Photographers Association with the prestigious “Station of the Year” award. He remains closely connected to CSU, guest speaking as well as working with and hiring students from the JMC department for more than 30 years.

Joe Conrad

Joseph Conrad, ’87, is the founder of Cactus, a Denver advertising agency with the mission of growing brands that help people thrive. Cactus is nationally recognized for breakthrough creative campaigns. The agency develops public health communications and social justice campaigns addressing suicide prevention, mental health, tobacco prevention, marijuana education, cultural arts and environmental awareness. Conrad is deeply involved in helping CSU on many fronts, including the development of YOU@CSU, an innovative web portal designed to help students throughout their college careers.

Gabriel Dance

Gabriel Dance, ’04, is deputy investigations editor for The New York Times. He started his career at the Times as a multimedia producer, then moved to the Guardian U.S.,where he was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its stories on secret surveillance by the National Security Agency. Dance then became managing editor for the Marshall Project, which earned a Pulitzer this year, was a finalist for second, and earned a World’s Best award from the Society of News Design. He moved back to The New York Times this fall.

Jane Dvorak

Jane Dvorak, ’84, started JKD & Company in 1989. Her work in strategic communications includes a broad range of clients, from health care to agriculture to energy. She is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows in 2010, and was elected to chair the national PRSA Board of Directors in 2017. She is a 2016 and 2011 Silver Anvil award winner, and is a professional adviser for CSU’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Mitch Kelniker

Mitch Jelniker, ’82, is the morning news anchor for KMGH Denver7. Mitch started his career at KMGH CBS-9 in Oklahoma City before returning to Colorado in 1995. Jelniker has been a highly visible on-air reporter and anchor at KMGH for more than 20 years, earning numerous Emmy awards and widespread respect from his colleagues. He’s covered many major news stories, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hurricane Andrew, the Columbine tragedy and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Clay Lambert

Clay Lambert, ’86, is a former editor-in-chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian and has been a journalist since his first day as a Collegian reporter. In 2010, Suburban Newspapers of America named him the top weekly newspaper editor in the country. He is editor of the Half Moon Bay Review and editorial director for Wick Communications, which owns dozens of newspapers and magazines as well as affiliated online publications.


David Freed

David Freed, ’76, is a former investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where he shared one Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for another. He also worked for CBS News, was a successful Hollywood screenwriter and has published five novels to date. Freed returned to CSU four years ago as a guest speaker. He has been a visiting fall semester instructor since 2014.

DENVER, CO - September 20: Managing Editor of The Denver Post Linda Shapley September 20, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Linda Carpio Shapley, ’92, is managing editor of The Denver Post. She has been at the Post since 1996, previously as a copy editor, designer, design director and director of newsroom operations. She has presented and helped coordinate coverage on numerous high-profile news events, including the staff’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Aurora theater shooting. She oversees the Post’s community engagement events and internship program, and is a former editor-in-chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian.

Brian Weister

Brian Weister, B.A. ’98, M.S. ’03, is the Denver Police Department’s video producer, a former television news editor and photographer, and a former reality television program editor. Weister has earned more than 100 significant awards, including four national editor of the year awards for video editing from the National Press Photographers Association. In just two years, his work for the Denver Police Department earned six regional Emmy awards and six regional Edward R. Murrow Awards — the first police department in the country to receive such honors.

This is the second group of CSU alumni inducted into the Media Hall of Fame. The first class of 10 was inducted five years ago. For more information about the Media Hall of Fame, contact the Department of Journalism and Media Communication at 970-491-1979.

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