2018 Award Recipients:
Susan Arbetter - 2018 Hall of Honor Inductee
Susan Arbetter is an outstanding model for professionals in the field of journalism and communications. She is the Emmy Award-winning host and producer of the syndicated public radio program The Capitol Pressroom, which broadcasts live from the third floor of the state Capitol in Albany weekdays from 11 a.m. to noon. Beyond that, she also holds the title director of news & public affairs for Syracuse public broadcaster, WCNY. She is no stranger to Capital Region and Central New York political junkies, as before joining WCNY, she hosted the award-winning New York Now, which originated from the Albany PBS affiliate WMHT and was carried by all nine PBS affiliates across the state. Prior to WMHT, she served as news director for six years at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, also based in Albany. The Women’s Press Club is pleased to add its Hall of Honor award to Susan’s long list of more than 30 awards for electronic journalism, including – but not limited to - a 2013 Emmy Award for Best Public Affairs Series for the television show “Insight” which she produces for WCNY Public Broadcasting weekly; her radio broadcasting awards including those from Edward R. Murrow, Scripps-Howard, AP, PRNDI & NYSBA; and, the Albany Times Union’s “Best Local Radio Personality” and Berkshire Living’s “Favorite Voice.” The Women’s Press Club has previously honored Arbetter with its Media Person of the Year and the Excellence in Career Achievement awards for her work.
NYS Attorney General Barbara Underwood - 2018 Woman in the Media
Barbara D. Underwood has served as New York attorney general since May 2018, when she became the first woman to serve in that role in the State’s history. Throughout her career, she has held some of the most vital roles in the legal profession. After finishing first in her class at Georgetown University Law Center, Barbara served as law clerk to two of the nation’s most brilliant legal minds -- Chief Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. She has held executive positions in the Queens and Brooklyn District Attorneys’ Offices, and served as a trial attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. From 1998 to 2001, Barbara served as the acting solicitor general and principal deputy solicitor general of the United States – the first female solicitor general in American history. She has argued 20 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. After serving as chief assistant to the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) from 1993 to 1998 and 2001 to 2003 and EDNY counsel from 2003 to 2007, Barbara was appointed in 2007 to serve as New York’s solicitor general and has held that position ever since. She has also served as chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Executive Committee and Council on Criminal Justice. She was a tenured professor of law at Yale Law School, a visiting professor at New York University School of Law, and an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School. Throughout her career, Barbara has been a guardian of equal justice for all. Among many cases, she has fought against racially discriminatory jury selection, argued that federal law protects employees and students of federally-funded educational institutions from sex discrimination, and defended the constitutionality of reasonable buffer zones around women’s health clinics to protect a woman’s right to choose. AG Underwood previously received media recognition for her accomplishments as a professional, a leading seeker of justice and as a woman.
Akum Norder - 2018 Woman in the Media
Akum Norder, an Albany writer and journalist, has been a Capital Region resident for 24 years. She is an advocate for walkable neighborhoods and historic preservation. Her 2018 book, “The History of Here: A House, the Pine Hills Neighborhood, and the City of Albany,” uses the histories of her house and its residents as a frame for telling the story of Albany’s 20th-century development. That story, in turn, shapes Norder’s argument for city neighborhoods: their value, their preservation, and the grassroots involvement that turns a jumble of houses into a community. Through her writing, her talks to school and community groups, and walking tours, she encourages others to explore their community and its history. Norder, who is also a content editor at the Times Union and writes for other Capital Region publications, is an avid volunteer and has garnered media coverage for her work throughout the area.
Mary Alice Molgard – 2018 Excellence in Career Achievement
Mary Alice Molgard has mentored and taught countless journalists and communicators who are now practicing the profession in the Capital Region and beyond as a tenured assistant professor at The College of Saint Rose for the past 30 years. She is a true leader in the field. She has served as department chair, and coordinator of the Graduate and Intern Programs for the college. Her specialty areas are communication and broadcast law, media ethics, mass media history, broadcast news and copywriting, and film and documentary film. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work, including but not limited to the Community Service Award from The College of Saint Rose; Thomas A. Manion Distinguished Faculty Award, from the Alumni Association of The College of Saint Rose; the Excellence in Communications and the Communicator of the Year awards from the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York; the Anne Frank Education Outreach Award from Holocaust Survivors and Friends; and the John Peter Zenger Media Award: New York State Bar Association. Mary Alice has produced, directed and written numerous videos, broadcasts, scripts and other creative works. She has been a guest on many shows, including WAMC’s Roundtable and The Media Project, among others. She has served more than 15 years as a fire commissioner of the Berne Fire District and is an active volunteer firefighter. As a dedicated Board member and leader of the Women’s Press Club of New York State, she has helped countless members of our profession and furthered the mission and legacy of the organization.
Elisa Streeter – 2018 Media Person of the Year
Elisa Streeter currently hosts the 4, 4:30, 5:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts for News10ABC. She announced her retirement in September and will leave the station in December. Elisa brings professionalism, compassion and caring to her coverage of the issues that shape the lives of all New Yorkers, especially those in need. Elisa is familiar with the newsmakers and organizations that make a difference in the lives of people throughout the Capital Region and across New York State, and brings her sensitivity and sense of humor to her broadcasting. Elisa, who has a master of arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri, and a bachelor of arts in sociology, worked with deaf and blind children at the Missouri School for the Blind before her career in journalism. She plays host to numerous events and fundraisers for community organizations, and generously volunteers her time to local school, library and community organizations in the Capital Region. Elisa has been honored by the YMCA, receiving its President's Award.
Casey Seiler – Standing O!
Casey Seiler is a senior editor and columnist for the Times Union in Albany. He previously served as state editor and entertainment editor. He is co-host of WMHT's weekly political roundup “New York Now.” Casey served as Capitol bureau chief from 2008-2017. In 2011 he was awarded the Hearst Eagle Award, the highest recognition for an employee in the Hearst Corporation. Before arriving in Albany in 2000, Seiler worked at the Burlington Free Press in Vermont and the Jackson Hole Guide in Wyoming. Seiler has served on numerous panels for the WPCNYS, and has keynoted presentations for organizations, including the WPCNYS, throughout the region and the State. Known for his knowledge, wit, wisdom, and experience, and due to his ongoing quintessence of the WPCNYS mission and purpose, Seiler is the inaugural recipient of the Standing O! Award. A graduate of Northwestern University, Seiler is a Buffalo native who grew up in Louisville, Ky, and now resides in Albany.
Read about Our Previous Award Recipients:
Media Person of the Year:
Melissa Hale-Spencer, editor and co-owner -- The Altamont Enterprise
For the last three decades, Hale-Spencer has worked at The Altamont Enterprise and is now its owner along with her husband, Gary, and Marcello Iaia. She has won many awards for her work from the New York Press Association, ranging from columns and editorials to in-depth news and features. She is the paper’s editor and eight times has been named to the Golden Dozen for superior editorial writing by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors and once won the Golden Quill. In 2017, she won two first-place awards from the National Newspaper Association: Best Editorial, “Preventing harassment can be a matter of life or death,” examining the anguish of a 12-year-old Berne girl who tried to kill herself because of the bullying she faced, and Best Health Story for “Anaplasmosis: Little-known tick-borne disease on the rise,” about an often-undiagnosed illness that can be fatal.
Excellence in Career Achievement:
Tracy Ormsbee, Publisher, Adirondack Explorer magazine
Tracy Ormsbee, formerly a senior editor at the Albany Times Union newspaper, became the third publisher of the Adirondack Explorer magazine on March 1, 2017. Ormsbee served as senior editor for features and sports at the Times Union as well as executive editor of Times Union Magazines. She led the team that creates the newspaper’s features and sports content as well as two magazines, and was also the lead editor for the Sunday newspaper. She headed the Times Union’s Women@Work magazine and professional network, and managed the Women@Work Executive Board consisting of top businesswomen in the Albany area.
Long active in state and national journalism organizations, Ormsbee has served as president of the board of the New York State Associated Press Association. Prior to joining the Times Union in 2002, Ormsbee spent 10 years at the Star-News in Wilmington, N.C., rising to features editor.
Woman in the Media:
Barbara Bartoletti, Former legislative director -- NYS League of Women Voters
Barbara Bartoletti has been a member of the League of Women Voters since 1978 and served as the legislative director for the League of Women Voters of New York State from 1988 until June 2017 when she retired. In that position, Bartoletti oversaw all legislation of interest to the League in the New York State legislature.
Bartoletti has been a statewide lecturer on advocacy/issues and topics such as informed and active participation in government. In addition, she has provided political commentary for local television outlets in the Capital District. She is a staunch advocate on good government issues, as well as other issues important to the League.
She has worked extensively in central Asia, where she has presented at conferences, and led training workshops in advocacy, media relations, and building coalitions. Bartoletti has also given numerous workshops for not-for-profit advocacy organizations to help them impact state government. She is a member of the Regents Advisory Commission for Accreditation of Proprietary Colleges and the Federal Election Assistance Commission Advisory Board in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand is a staunch advocate and a voice for the voiceless across New York and around the country. Her top priorities include rebuilding the American economy to increase good-paying jobs, adding more products stamped with the words “Made in America” and supporting the creation of new small businesses around New York State.
She led the effort to repeal the “Don't Ask Don't Tell” policy that banned gays from serving openly in the military; she wrote the STOCK Act, which made it illegal for members of Congress to financially benefit from inside information; and she fought to provide permanent health care and compensation to the 9/11 first responders and community survivors who have diseases caused by the toxins at Ground Zero. She is a leader in the fight to protect victims of sexual assault, working to reform the justice system for sexual assault survivors in the military and on college campuses.
Gillibrand is a champion for the economic empowerment of women and working families, and has authored legislation to raise the minimum wage, make quality child care more affordable, create universal pre-K, ensure equal pay for equal work and create a national paid leave program for all American workers. She is a vocal advocate for strengthening America’s armed services, national security, and military readiness, and supports an independent investigation into Russian cyber-crimes against our government institutions. Her bill to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and make gun trafficking a federal crime has bipartisan support.
Hall of Honor Inductee:
Chris Jansing, MSNBC news anchor and senior national correspondent
Chris Jansing (née Kapostasy) is an MSNBC news anchor and senior national correspondent for MSNBC, appearing on programs from Morning Joe to Rachel Maddow and the 11th Hour with Brian Williams. She previously was NBC News' senior White House correspondent and host of MSNBC's “Jansing and Co.", as well as an NBC news correspondent and anchor.
Jansing joined NBC News in June 1998. She has covered numerous presidential campaigns and anchored coverage of breaking stories including September 11, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the nuclear crisis in Japan, and eight Olympic Games. Her reporting for NBC Nightly News and the TODAY Show ranged from the White House and worldwide travel with President Obama, to the volcano eruption in Iceland and the death of Michael Jackson.
Jansing has worked as a correspondent for “Dateline NBC,” “Rock Center,” and as a substitute anchor for “Weekend Today” and the weekend edition of “NBC Nightly News.” Under her maiden name of Kapostasy, she co-anchored the nightly news for WNYT-TV Albany where she was honored with numerous awards for excellence in journalism. She has won three Emmys and has been awarded two honorary doctorates.
Woman in the Media: Marcia J. White, former president and executive director, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Excellence in Career Achievement & Hall of Honor Inductee: Benita Zahn, Anchor/reporter, WNYT NewsChannel 13
Media Person of the Year: Lisa Robert Lewis, editor, The Troy Record, The Saratogian and Weekend
Excellence in Career Achievement Award: Susan Arbetter, host and producer, Capital Press Room
Media Person of the Year Award: Zephyr Teachout, organizer, educator, scholar, political candidate
Hall of Honor Inductee: Liz Bishop, reporter and anchor, CBS 6 News
Media Person of the Year: Jennifer Gish, formerly of the Times Union
Excellence in Career Achievement Award: Vikki Moran, Capital Region Living Magazine
Woman in the Media Award: Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan
Hall of Honor Inductee: Judy Sanders, reporter and photographer