Free Press Meets the Bottom Line:
Journalism’s survival in an age of digital disruption.

Program Information

An essential pillar of democracy, journalism is undergoing painful disruption. It faces attacks from without and pressures from within to connect with audiences and maintain profitability in a time of rising tribalism. Innovations that have changed the means of gathering and accessing news have also eroded traditional media business models.

What does this mean for newsrooms?

What models are being explored to fund the journalism of the future?

How have audiences adapted to strategies like paywalls, advertising, freemium models or nonprofit journalism?

Which systems are proving most effective? How does this change the way reporting is done?

What should be expected for the future of news media?

Join us on Wednesday, January 15 to learn and discuss more.

This program will be moderated by Pacific Coast Business Times Tech Writer,  Marissa Nall.



About the Speakers

JOHN MECKLIN, Editor-in-Chief, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

John Mecklin is the editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of Miller-McCune (since renamed Pacific Standard), an award-winning national magazine that focused on research-based solutions to major policy problems. Over the preceding 15 years, he was also: the editor of High Country News, a nationally acclaimed magazine that reports on the American West; the consulting executive editor for the launch of Key West, a regional magazine start-up directed by renowned magazine guru Roger Black; and the top editor for award-winning newsweeklies in San Francisco and Phoenix. In an earlier incarnation, he was an investigative reporter at the Houston Post and covered the Persian Gulf War from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Writers working at his direction have won many major journalism contests, including the George Polk Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors certificate, and the Sidney Hillman Award for reporting on social justice issues. Mecklin holds a master in public administration degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


ESME DEPREZ, Investigative Reporter, Bloomberg

Esmé Deprez is a state and local government reporter covering breaking news and national politics and policy at Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek. She joined Bloomberg News in 2009 from Businessweek, where she broke the story, as an intern, of Goldman Sachs’ access to swine flu vaccine when even pregnant women were empty handed.

She has reported on the Wisconsin labor protests from the streets of Madison, New York’s legalization of gay marriage from the Senate floor and reproductive health policy from statehouses and abortion clinics in Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Esmé was born on a blueberry farm in Maine and earned a M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. from Boston College.


BRANDI RIVERA, Publisher, Santa Barbara Independent

Brandi Rivera is the Publisher of the Santa Barbara Independent. Starting with the company in 2008, Rivera has served as the company’s CFO, Business Manager, and in August 2017 became the Independent’s first female Publisher.

Recognized nationally in 2016 as one of Editor & Publisher magazines “Top 25 Under 35,” Rivera is a Santa Barbara “local” by way of UCSB, where she earned both her Bachelors Degree and Human Resource Management certification. She completed her MBA from Pepperdine University in December of 2017.

Rivera says she appreciates how involved the Independent is in the community, and that the staff is like a giant family to her. She feels it is her duty to preserve the role of the Independent in the Santa Barbara community for years to come.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, running, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and enjoying her son Elijah Lee Bryant, who turns two years old this week.


GRETCHEN MACCHIARELLA, Professor, Digital Media & Emerging Journalistic Practices, CSU Northridge

Gretchen Macchiarella is an assistant professor in Digital Media and Emerging Journalistic Practices at California State University, Northridge. She joined the full-time faculty this year after four years as the publisher and faculty adviser for the student newspaper in the Journalism Department. Her research interests center on media innovation in business and storytelling. This year she contributed to the textbook Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship, participating in the Berkeley Advanced Media Institute’s Design Thinking training and the summer teacher fellowship with the Future Today Institute.

Prior to joining CSUN, she was the managing editor for digital at the Ventura County Star, where she was a serial intrapreneur. She also worked as a business reporter for several years around California. Macchiarella earned a master’s degree in Digital Journalism and Design from the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she spent most of her time working at the newspaper.



MARISSA NALL, Technology Reporter, Pacific Coast Business Times

Marissa Nall covers technology, agribusiness, energy and environment, nonprofits, startups and higher education for the Pacific Coast Business Times. Now in its 20th year of publication, the Business Times has been recognized by the national Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Business Editors and Writers, and the Los Angeles Press Club.

Marissa graduated from California State University, Northridge with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2015. She later became a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellow in 2017 and attended the Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists program in 2018.


Event & Ticket Information

Event Date:  Wednesday, January 15, 2020, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: 670 Mission Canyon Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105


  • Student: $15.00
  • General-Early-Bird (online only): $30.00
    Sign up now & save $10 off general walk-in rate. Offer ends Tuesday, January 14 at 8 p.m.
  • General-Walk-in: $40.00
  • Parking: FREE


  • 5:00 – 6:00 Networking Hour, Online Check-in & Registration for Walk-ins
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Presentation/Panelist Discussion
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Tickets include appetizers and refreshments for both online and walk-in registrants. (Beer or wine separate– cash, pre-paid online or at door.)

If you miss the Online Early-Bird Offer, we welcome guests on the day of the event at the Walk-in rate. (Online rate not applicable.) 

Online event registration is for Free Press powered by Eventbrite
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