The Current is a not-for-profit, independent newsroom with a dedicated staff of professional journalists with experience in the community, state, nation and world.
Margaret Coker, the editor-in-chief, started her two-decade career in journalism at Cox Newspapers before going to work at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. In that time she covered stories from 32 countries on four continents.
Margaret has won numerous national journalism prizes for investigative, business and diplomatic reporting as well as feature writing. She led a team of Wall Street Journal reporters named as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting in 2017. She is the author of “The Spymaster of Baghdad,” a nonfiction book of Iraqi patriotism in the battle against Isis.
Margaret’s journalism has led to criminal trials and regulatory investigations of global banks and financiers, the dismissal of 14 corrupt police officers, and freedom for three people wrongly convicted and incarcerated.
She came home to Savannah in 2019 to launch The Current, to revive an investigative news culture in Coastal Georgia, and to mentor a new generation of journalists in our region.
Susan Catron, managing editor, has more than two decades of experience in Georgia newspapers.
From November 2005 until May 2020, Susan served as executive editor of the Savannah Morning News. During her time there, she supervised news content, staffing and budgets for Coastal Georgia’s largest daily newspaper and several weekly newspapers, along with other monthly and special publications. The paper was named best in the state eight times under her leadership.
A native of North Carolina, she came to Georgia in 1998 as managing editor for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. The news staff won the Georgia Associated Press Freedom of Information Award in 2005 for its coverage and ensuing state Supreme Court litigation of a case involving the shooting after an unarmed Black man by a law enforcement officer. She’s also worked at daily newspapers in Louisiana, Missouri, Florida and Kentucky.
She is an adjunct instructor at Savannah State University, the owner of Catron Content Services, a board member of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation, a lapsed Georgia Master Gardener, and loves to kayak the marshes and rivers along the coast.
Mary Landers covers Coastal Georgia’s environment for The Current, a topic she covered for nearly 24 years at the Savannah Morning News, where she began and ended her time there writing about health, including most recently focusing on the pandemic. She’s adept at telling the stories of everyone from jellyfish fishers to pipeline protesters.
Mary is a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, where she taught environmental science at Lake Malawi National Park. As a reporter in Georgia, she’s won numerous investigative reporting awards as well as the Larry Peterson Investigative Journalism Award.
Jake Shore covers public safety and the courts system in Savannah and Coastal Georgia. He is also a Report for America corps member. Prior to joining The Current, Jake worked as a senior writer for the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette newspapers based near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. He covered breaking news, police, crime, and the courts.
He won several awards from the South Carolina Press Association in 2021 for his series “Fined Out.” It looked into the punitive cycle of poverty that stems from being unable to pay back traffic tickets in South Carolina, which causes drivers to lose their licenses, end up in jail, and incur more fees. Jake also extensively covered the Murdaugh family saga in South Carolina, which has expanded into a massive web of alleged financial fraud, a picture of privilege and power in the rural South, and a shocking double murder. You can see him in an upcoming HBO documentary on the Murdaughs.
Jake is originally from Los Angeles, California and attended school at Fordham University in the Bronx. He got his start in journalism working as a radio reporter at his campus NPR-affiliate station. You can catch Jake on weekends going for runs in Savannah (except in August) and forever in search of good Mexican food. Have a story idea, confidential tip, or want to share your thoughts? You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT
Shannon GaNun is a communication professional with a wide range of experience spanning more than 30 years.
She has helped many small businesses, corporations, trade associations, public relations firms, and Members of Congress improve their communication and generate increased interest in their products and services.
Shannon’s background in communications and fundraising makes her the perfect fit for The Current. She focuses on implementing revenue and reader engagement strategies to ensure The Current’s journalism reaches the communities it aims to serve.
In addition to her communication consulting work, Shannon is a part-time instructor at Georgia Southern University, teaching public speaking classes to undergraduates. She is also very active in the fitness industry and has taught almost every kind of group exercise class imaginable since the early ’90s.
SUMMER REPORTING STAFF, 2022
Jeffery M. Glover was raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. Following graduation from Beaufort High School, he joined the US Army as an artilleryman and served in a variety of countries for six years. While living in Germany, he picked up photography as a hobby and now hopes to gain experience as a visual journalist.
When he returned home, Jeffery worked as a model and actor and started a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications at Savannah State University. As the recipient of an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellowship, Jeffery works with The Current to enhance the skills that he has learned so far in his studies. He hopes to gain real world experience in the journalism field as a photographer and videographer.
Kate Griem is a Brooklyn native and an undergraduate at Harvard College, currently pursuing degrees in social studies and psychology. She is a staff writer for the Harvard Crimson magazine, while she was previously the editor-in-chief of her high school’s newspaper and the co-director of the online youth activist resource center Teens Resist. Her work has appeared in City Limits and Teen Vogue. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, reading, doing the Wordle, and playing club ultimate frisbee. Her internship is made possible this summer by the Harvard Institute of Politics’ Summer Stipend Program.
SONIA CHAJET WIDES
Sonia Chajet Wides is from Brooklyn, New York, and is currently a student at Amherst College. She is a managing news editor at The Amherst Student. Sonia was previously the founder and co-director of the online youth activist resource center Teens Resist and was a staff writer at her high school’s newspaper. Her work has also appeared in Teen Vogue. In her free time, she loves creative writing, baking, and hiking. Sonia’s summer internship at The Current is made possible by the Charles Hamilton Houston Internship Program at Amherst College.
Olivia Scott is an honors student at Mercer University majoring in journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She’ll spend her internship helping to launch a social media engagement program to reach more young adults who are interested in Coastal Georgia politics. Olivia is a Savannah native and serves as a Social Media Ambassador at Mercer and a State Student Ambassador for Savannah Arts Academy. She believes it is important for young people to get involved in politics because they are future leaders.
Nick Sullivan is a 2022 Honors College graduate of the University of South Carolina. He was the managing editor at his college paper, The Daily Gamecock, before going on to investigate topics such as healthcare and capital punishment while interning with the projects team at The State. Nick enjoys fostering community through local reporting and hopes to show everybody that they have a voice — and their stories matter. Most recently, he covered housing and homelessness for his capstone journalism class. He comes to The Current as a Dow Jones News Fund data journalism intern.
Craig Nelson is a former international correspondent for The Associated Press, the Sydney (Australia) Morning-Herald, Cox Newspapers and The Wall Street Journal. He also served as foreign editor for The National (Abu Dhabi) and as the Journal’s Kabul bureau chief and London-based Africa and Middle East editor. He lives and works in Savannah.
William Daughtry is a native of McIntosh County. He is a student at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and is a contributor to The Red and Black, the University of Georgia’s school paper. William graduated from McIntosh County Academy in 2020 with honors, obtaining the Zell Miller Scholarship. He plans to pursue a career in journalism surrounding politics and sports where he’s dedicated to delivering sound, truthful news to Coastal Georgia. William expects to graduate in Fall 2023 with a bachelor’s degree.
Laura Corley is an investigative reporter who has covered public safety, government, business and education in her home state of Georgia since 2014. Laura is a full-time Civic Journalism Fellow at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism. She was awarded a second place Doris O’Donnell Fellowship Award for 2021 for a project to focus on Superfund sites in Coastal Georgia. She also was awarded the Eric B. Sager Fellowship from Investigative Reporters & Editors Inc. in 2021. For The Current, Laura has covered the November 2020 General Election and January 2021 Senatorial Runoff Election, among other projects.
At The (Macon) Telegraph, Laura used open records requests to shine light on the shadows of police misconduct, government salaries, suspicious political connections and more.
Her bylines also have appeared in The Douglas County Sentinel, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The Forsyth native was named the state’s Emerging Journalist by Georgia Press Association in 2016.
Melinda Ennis is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism, and owns Melworks Inc, a marketing
consultancy for non-profits. She has written features and film and book criticism for publications including
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Magazine and many on-line publications.
Most recently she was the executive director of Family Connection, Glynn County, a collaborative
organization with the mission to improve the well-being of children and families in the community through
a cross sector collaborative system.
Melinda has an extensive background in the areas of strategic development and marketing. She was the
executive director of Brand Atlanta, Inc. where she reported to former Mayor Shirley Franklin. Prior to
that she was a chief marketing officer and senior vice president of marketing for Atlanta-based ad-
agencies and corporations.
She lives on St. Simons Island, Georgia where she serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations.
Donnell Suggs is a staff reporter for The Atlanta Business Chronicle and a former reporter for The Southern Cross, frequent freelance contributor to the Savannah Morning News and Do Savannah.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began a sports writing career in Atlanta nearly two decades ago and has since written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, ESPN’s The Undefeated, the Houston Home Journal, Eatonton Messenger, Lake Oconee News, Newnan Times-Herald, Atlanta Daily World and the Atlanta Voice. He is a sad Mets fan.
Samantha Sunne is a freelance data journalist based in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the recipient of three national grants and several local awards for investigative reporting. She speaks at conferences, universities and newsrooms around the world, teaching digital tools and tech literacy for journalists.
Her work has been published by the Washington Post, NPR and Reuters, and recommended by the Poynter Institute and the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Siobhan Egan’s photography career began more than 20 years ago in New York. Before moving to Savannah in 2005 to attend graduate school at Savannah College of Art & Design, Siobhan gained experience at Magnum Photos and as staff photographer for The Riverdale Press in the Bronx.
After graduating from SCAD with a MFA in photography, Siobhan taught photography at The Art Institute of Charleston and Armstrong State (now Georgia Southern) University.
She is co-owner of Paprika Southern, a photography and styling studio.
Jim Walls has worked as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Fairfax, Va., Savannah and Atlanta, including 28 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While at the Savannah Morning News, he covered Chatham County and Glynn County and could often be found relaxing at Pinkie Masters’ Rainbow Room, where he was widely known as a pinball wizard.
At the AJC, he supervised award-winning investigative projects on the death penalty, federal farm subsidies, deaths in Georgia group homes, refugee resettlement and child prostitution.
For eight years after leaving the AJC, he ran his own investigative news website, AtlantaUnfiltered.com.
Nick is a freelance data journalist studying for his master’s in public policy at the University of California Irvine. He worked as a Courts and Data Fellow at Delaware Online, a freelance web producer at Time, digital editor at California-based publication The Daily Journal and was a Producing Intern at MSNBC. He’s written for the Sacramento Bee, Motherboard, Huffington Post, NBC and Environmental Health News.
Nick is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University and and holds a master’s in Journalism from CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism. He’s been the recipient of a 2018 Online News Association/CNN Diversity Fellowship and his public notice reporting in Delaware has earned top honors.
JESSICA LEIGH LEBOS
Jessica Leigh Lebos has been writing about interesting people, vexing issues and anything involving spicy food for more than 25 years. She publishes a regular newsletter, Savannah Sideways on Substack at https://jessicaleighlebos.substack.com/. Her work has appeared in Thrillist, THOM magazine, Savannah magazine, Beacon and Nosher.
She received First Prize from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in 2017, and her book, Savannah Sideways, is available in local bookstores and via her website, jllnotjill.com.
AMY PAIGE CONDON
Amy Paige Condon is a content coach at the Savannah Morning News, a freelance writer and creative writing instructor based in Savannah. The founder of the Refinery Writing Studio, Condon has written about politics, city planning, the environment, and food for local and regional publications.
An award-winning cookbook author, her biography of late Miami News editor Bill Baggs, “A Nervous Man Shouldn’t be Here in the First Place,” for UGA Press is available at E.Shaver’s Books in Savannah. Her latest cookbook for Coastal Georgia native and chefarmer Marcus Raiford, “Bress ‘n’ Nyam – Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer” was released in 2021 by Countryman Press.
Nancy Badertscher is a freelance writer based in metro Atlanta. She spent more than 30 years at Georgia newspapers, including 16 as an editor and reporter with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Nancy worked previously for The Savannah Morning News, The Macon Telegraph, and The Gwinnett Daily News, earning more than 20 state, national, and regional writing awards and recognition as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. As a freelance writer, she co-writes The AJC’s popular Sunday feature, Inspire Atlanta.
And our never-ending thanks
to Bert Roughton, retired senior managing editor and editorial director of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for his patient guidance.
FORMER INTERNS, SUMMER FELLOWS
Jacqueline GaNun is a native of Coastal Georgia and a student at the University of Georgia. She is a former editor for The Red & Black, an independent student-run newspaper, where she has covered stories about communities at UGA and in Athens. Some of her work has also appeared in The New York Times. In her spare time, Jacqueline enjoys reading, walking and listening to music. Her summer work study at The Current is made possible in part by The University of Georgia Journalism Innovation Lab, a project of the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership.
Kayla Guilliams is an environment and science reporter who’s earned her master’s degree in journalism through the environment and science communication program at the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism. Kayla graduated in May 2021 as a first-generation and honors student from UNC with a degree in environmental studies and minors in statistics and journalism. A Western North Carolina native, she came to The Current as an intern through the Dow Jones News Fund’s data journalism program.
Jasmine Freeman attended Savannah State University majoring in mass communication with a concentration in journalism. She served as an illustrator and editor of the university’s newspaper, The Tiger’s Roar. Jasmine pioneered visual storytelling for The Current during her internship sponsored by the Emma Bowen Foundation.
Liz Richards attained her master’s degree in engagement journalism at the City University of New York Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, which sponsored her internship with The Current. She’s focusing on education reporting, a passion sparked during her time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica. She has a master’s of fine arts in creative nonfiction from The New School and has freelanced for Our Town, The CITY and Brooklyn Magazine.