2017 Staff

2017 Chautauquan Daily Staff



Jordan Steves – Editor

Jordan Steves enters his fourth summer as editor of The Chautauquan Daily in 2017. He has had the privilege of working with 200-plus talented student interns and more than a dozen dedicated Chautauquans in 11 seasons in the Daily newsroom. Year-round, he serves Chautauqua Institution as director of communications and lives in Mayville with Grady, a golden retriever now in his ninth summer of service as newsroom dog.


Sara Toth – Managing Editor

Sara Toth spends her summers as managing editor of The Chautauquan Daily and her autumns, winters (mostly winters) and springs as lecture and literary arts associate at Chautauqua Institution. A native of Pittsburgh(ish), she attended Gannon University and worked for nearly four years as a reporter in the Baltimore Sun Media Group. She lives in Westfield with her partner (a photographer) and her Lilac (a cat).



Dave Munch – Photo Editor

Dave Munch is the photo editor of The Chautauquan Daily. A Cincinnati native, Munch graduated from Ohio University and has worked for the Baltimore Sun Media Group and the Erie Times-News. Munch’s work has been featured in publications across the country. He lives in Westfield with his partner.


Copy Editors


Cat Hofacker – Copy Editor

Cat Hofacker is spending her first summer at Chautauqua keeping a watchful eye out for misplaced commas. The Fremont, Ohio, native is a rising journalism senior at Ohio University. Under her editorship, the digital student publication The New Political was named 2016’s “Best Independent Online Student Publication” by the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a 2017 recipient of a White House Correspondents’ Association scholarship. Contact her at 



Amber Tong – Copy Editor

Amber Tong is a copy editor for the Daily and recent graduate of Rice University, where she edited the school newspaper, the Rice Thresher. Her work has been featured in Governing Magazine and Houstonia Magazine. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she is enjoying her quiet time around Chautauqua Lake (not Lake Chautauqua). When she is not reading or eating, she can be found curating her postcard collection. Contact her at


Digital & Multimedia Editors


 Elizabeth Backo – Digital Editor

Elizabeth Backo is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Backo, who is from Pittsburgh, works at a Sheetz and spends her free time attending way too many country concerts. Her time at Chautauqua will consist of geeking out about analytics and nearly crying every time she sees a dog. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.




Hailey Gavin – Multimedia Editor

Hailey Gavin is a native of San Francisco, but she is studying political science, English, and film and media studies at Tufts University in Boston. Outside of producing video and audio stories, she loves watching good movies, writing, hiking and playing soccer. Before coming to Chautauqua, she was in Dublin, Ireland, producing radio stories for Dublin South FM.



Neville Hardman – Digital Editor

Neville Hardman is an alumna of Kent State University, where she earned a degree in multimedia news journalism. She aspires to have a career in editing, music editorial or longform writing. In the meantime, she’s probably napping like some human incarnation of Snorlax or blaring a post-punk song.



Design Editors


Madeline Deabler – Design Editor 

Madeline Deabler works as a design editor for The Chautauquan Daily. She is a junior at Wichita State University and is double majoring in graphic design and journalism. During the school year, she works as the design editor for WSU’s newspaper, The Sunflower. She also works as the editorial cartoonist, where she enjoys being able to put a comedic spin on both campus and worldly issues with her comics.



Emma Francois – Design Editor

Emma Francois studies English and art at Georgetown University. She enjoys writing about fashion, feminism and film for The Georgetown Voice and is the co-host and highest-pitched voice on the podcast Stripped. She lost the fourth-grade spelling bee because she couldn’t spell “grammar.” (She has yet to exact her revenge.)  Feel free to contact her at



Marley Parish – Design Editor

Marley Parish is a design editor for The Chautauquan Daily. She is a junior majoring in English and minoring in political science and journalism in the public interest at Allegheny College. Parish is the editor-in-chief of Allegheny’s student-run newspaper, The Campus.




José Valle – Design Editor

José Valle is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is majoring in journalism with a concentration in editing and graphic design and served as visual managing editor of UNC’s student paper, The Daily Tar Heel. During his first time in Chautauqua, he is most looking forward to being one of the Daily’s design editors and exposing Chautauqua to his five-year “bowtie Wednesday” tradition.




Cam Buker – Photographer

Cam Buker is a staff photographer at The Chautauquan Daily. He attends Palomar College located in San Diego, California, for multimedia journalism. He is most excited to learn about the history of Chautauqua Institution and the people who make this place so unique. When not creating visual stories, Buker can be found at the beach and adventuring throughout Southern California.



Erin Clark – Photographer

Erin Clark will be serving as one of this summer’s Daily photographers. While not toiling away as a rising second-year graduate student at Ohio University, Clark enjoys spending time with her cats and cajoling them to learn various tricks. A native to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Clark is looking forward to lakeside living and gleaning everything she can from a summer spent at Chautauqua.



Paula Ospina – Photographer

Paula Ospina is a visual journalist who graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.F.A. in photojournalism. She is originally from Colombia and currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Before working as a photographer for the Daily, she was selected to participate in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. She is looking forward to immersing herself in the Chautauqua community and learning more about religion. 



Olivia Sun – Photographer

Olivia Sun is a photography intern for The Chautauquan Daily. A Midwest-based photographer and videographer, she studies journalism and cinema at the University of Iowa. Sun hopes to pursue editorial photography or web design in the future, but in the meantime, she enjoys hiking, music blogging and bagels. Click here to see her work.




Brian Contreras – Morning Lecture Reporter

Brian Contreras covers the morning lecture series for the Daily. He is a rising sophomore at Stanford University pursuing a career in journalism. His interests as a writer include political investigation, the human side of technology and cross-cultural ethnographic research. He is also interested in backpacking, science fiction, running, good food and political satire. Contact him at



Philip de Oliveira – Symphony & Logan Chamber Music Series & Pier Club Reporter

Philip de Oliveira reports on the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and the Logan Chamber Music Series for the Daily. He is the Walton D. Clarke Fellow at NPR member station 89.7 WKSU in Kent, Ohio, where he has filed stories for local newscasts and statewide for Ohio Public Radio. He occasionally contributes to Cleveland Scene magazine and Cool Cleveland.



John Ford – Columnist & Features Writer

John Ford is in his eighth year with the Daily. He reports on general news, does feature reporting and writes the weekly Chautauqua Conversations column. A wire service reporter for United Press International prior to embarking on a career as a foreign service officer with the Department of State, he currently writes a regular column on American politics and foreign relations for one of the two principal daily newspapers in Nassau, Bahamas.



David Geary – Archives & Feature Writer

David Geary has been a reporter and editor for more than 40 years. He retired in 2015 from The New York Times, where he was the late-night news editor. He also has worked for The Boston Globe and other newspapers. He currently freelances for the Times and for The Trace, a nonprofit journalism website focused on gun violence and gun policy in America. He lives in Westfield with his wife, Karin Henry. 



Nathan Healy – Opera, Children’s School Reporter

Nathan Healy is a second-year graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He is pursuing his M.A. in professional writing. Following his undergraduate studies, he spent eight-plus years teaching at an all-boys private school for court-adjudicated youth. In addition to writing and reading, Nathan enjoys traveling, eating at new restaurants, spending time with his niece and nephews, and being physically active.



Adrianna Jereb – Visual Arts, Bookstore & Library Reporter

Adrianna Jereb covers visual arts for The Chautauquan Daily. The Wisconsinite is a rising senior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, studying English creative writing and Spanish. Her interests include reading, writing, yoga, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and compiling Spotify playlists. After graduation she plans to work as a journalist, think about grad school and adopt a shelter dog. 



Rebecca Klar – School Of Music & CLSC Young Readers Reporter

Rebecca Klar is a recent graduate of Binghamton University with a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in rhetoric. She is excited to be spending her first summer at Chautauqua as a School of Music reporter for The Chautauquan Daily. You can contact her at




Ryan Lindsay – Dance, Institution Administration, Board Of Trustees, Property Owners Association Reporter

Ryan Lindsay is reporting on dance and the Institution administration for the Daily. She proudly hails from D.C. but is currently studying narrative writing and radio at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Before writing for The Chautauquan Daily, she worked as a community & culture reporter for Oakland North, a community news outlet. As a child, she graced the stage as a memorable mouse in “The Nutcracker.” Don’t hesitate to drop her at



Dara McBride – Theater & Family Entertainment Series Reporter

A recent graduate of Syracuse University’s Goldring Arts Journalism program, she comes to Chautauqua after covering Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, for The Post and Courier. A Delaware native, she spent three years as a lifestyles editor on Maryland’s Eastern Shore writing about local authors, musicians and artists. Her work has also appeared in American Theatre magazine. She can be reached at or Twitter.



Alex Meyer – Environmental Issues and Bird, Tree & Garden Club Reporter

Alex Meyer is a rising senior at Ohio University, majoring in journalism and minoring in history. He enjoys writing about the environment and eating cheese. See what he’s tweeting about.




Ryan Pait – Literary Arts Reporter

Ryan Pait gets a different haircut every summer to keep the people of Chautauqua guessing. This is his fourth summer at The Chautauquan Daily, so if you’re tired of him, that’s OK. He recently graduated with his master’s degree in literature from Western Kentucky University. Don’t ask him about what he’s doing after this summer, but do ask him about the Nicole Kidman renaissance, the return of “Game of Thrones” and what he’s reading.



Kelly Powell – Interfaith Lecture coverage, Mystic Heart program, Abrahamic Program for Young Adults Reporter

Kelly Powell covers the Interfaith Lecture Series, Mystic Heart Meditation Program  and Abrahamic Program for Young Adults. She is studying magazine journalism and minoring in photojouranlism at Kent State University, where she will be a senior next semester. Powell loves libraries, antiques stores and national parks. Follow her on Instagram.



Josh Svetz – Recreation & Boys’ And Girls’ Club Reporter

Josh Svetz is a senior at St. Bonaventure University serving as the recreation reporter for The Chautauquan Daily this summer. He’s interested in finding the larger conversation within sports and the different aspects explored inside the sports bubble. Follow him on Twitter.




Mary Lee Talbot – Religion: Morning Worship Columnist

Mary Lee Talbot writes the Morning Worship column. A Presbyterian minister, she preaches at the Seneca Reservation in Irving. She is the deputy managing director of People Helping People International. Her latest book is Chautauqua’s Heart, the first full history of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. She lives in Chautauqua with her dog, Max, and is beginning her second term as a member of the Board of Education of Chautauqua Lake Central School District.



Deborah Trefts – Chautauqua Women’s Club & Contemporary Issues Forum Reporter

Deb Trefts is a policy scientist with extensive U.S., Canadian and international experience in conservation policy and practice. She applies broadly interdisciplinary knowledge and best practices to resolve complex watershed and ocean-related issues and to teach the art and science of deciphering and communicating public and organizational policy. Trefts is a lifelong Chautauquan. You can contact her at



Delaney Van Wey – Religion: Interfaith Lectures Previews & Sacred Song Services & Choir & Organ Reporter

Delaney Van Wey is reporting on the Interfaith Lecture Series this summer. Although she is from Gowanda, this is her first time at Chautauqua Institution. She is studying journalism and international relations at Syracuse University, where she previously worked as assistant news editor at The Daily Orange. Contact her at or on Twitter.



Meg Viehe – Interfaith News

Meg Viehe is a retired teacher living in Newport Beach during the off-season. She is happiest when she and her husband, Rich, are surrounded by grandchildren and their parents, the extended Viehe clan and friends at Chautauqua. Her advice to her grandchildren and others: “Be nice to everyone at Chautauqua. You never know who will be part of your future family!”

Editorial Office


Cameron Bray – Editorial Office Manager

Cameron Bray serves as the Daily’s Editorial Office manager. He is a rising sophomore studying English and history at the College of William and Mary.









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