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.
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.
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 8 times under her leadership.
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.
Laura Corley is an investigative reporter who has covered public safety, government, business and education in her home state of Georgia since 2014. 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. Laura also works at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism as a Civic Journalism Fellow.
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.
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.
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.
Jacqueline GaNun is a native of Coastal Georgia and a student at the University of Georgia. She is 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 currently pursuing 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 comes to The Current as an intern through the Dow Jones News Fund’s data journalism program.
Jasmine Freeman is a senior at Savannah State University majoring in mass communication with a concentration in journalism. She is an illustrator and editor of the university’s newspaper, The Tiger’s Roar. She plans to graduate in May 2022 after spending a semester abroad in Korea. Jasmine pioneered visual storytelling for The Current during her internship sponsored by the Emma Bowen Foundation.
Liz Richards is pursuing her master’s degree in engagement journalism at the City University of New York Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, which is sponsoring 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.