The Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University has been organizing SoCon conferences for eight years now. Dedicated to finding new models for ethically sound, financially sustainable journalism, CSJ launches experimental projects to test ideas and provide real value to the community. To date, its biggest project is the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE), the only publication covering juvenile justice issues on a daily basis in the country.

Conference Chairs

Leonard Witt
Executive Director
Center for Sustainable Journalism

Leonard Witt holds the Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication at Kennesaw State University and was named an Eminent Scholar by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in May 2008. In August 2008, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for Kennesaw State University. With $1.5 million in new funding from the Harnisch Foundation, he is the founder of the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University. He was a journalist for more than 25 years, including being editor of Sunday Magazine at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly magazine. Before entering academia in 2002, he was the executive director of the Minnesota Public Radio Civic Journalism Initiative. He blogs at PJNet.org.

Deanna HendricksonDeanna Hendrickson
Business Manager
Center for Sustainable Journalism

Deanna Hendrickson manages the Center for Sustainable Journalism’s multiple budgets from various funding sources, to include recommendations on major financial and personnel strategies, objectives and policies. Deanna oversees the Circulation and Advertising units of the Center, supervising several full-time, part-time and student employees. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University and will soon be pursuing a dual MBA/MPA as well. Deanna has over 6 years’ experience in Research and Grants Administration and became a Certified Research Administrator in December 2012. She is active in her community as a member of and instructor for the Cobb County Community Emergency Response Team and also serves on the Regional Professional Development Committee for the National Council of University Research Administrators organization.

T.R. WilhoitT.R. Wilhoit
Event Lead
Hive Atlanta

T.R. is an experienced digital marketer and event coordinator. He loves helping people discover better ways to reach their goals and connect to their audience. In 2011, T.R. cofounded Hive Atlanta, an organization that connects leaders and entrepreneurs in for profit, nonprofit, and for profit-for good businesses to activate them in the local community. In his day job, T.R. handles marketing for IQ Agency in Atlanta.

Event Team

Bryant Malone

Bryant Malone

Bryant thrives off creating community through event coordination and social media. He dedicates his time to making an impact on those within his reach. Bryant has served as a part of many organizations including startup non-profit HiveATL, which he helped launch. He currently is a part of the Staff Development team for the philanthropic arm of the Cathy Family from Chick-fil-A, WinShape Camps. He assists in recruiting, training, equipping, and engaging over 450 summer staff each year.


Tyler Cook

Tyler Cook

Tyler Cook is a native of Marietta, GA. He has planned events for various organizations including HiveATL ,which is an organization he co-founded to help young, local entrepreneurs connect and pursue their business ideas from concept to launch. Currently he works for Hitachi Data Systems.



Jake Dudley

Jake Dudley

Eight years of customer service experience with Chick-fil-A, a large following on social media and five years of communicating to thousands of young people across the Southeast, Jake is passionate about cultivating relationships, collaborating ideas and making an impact on the local community. He currently serves in a Community Develpment role with ‘The Rocket Company’ which found itself at #602 on the 2013 INC 5000 list. He’s helped launched multiple projects, one of which is Atlanta start-up Hive Atlanta. He’s 26, lives in Marietta and chops hard for the Atlanta Braves.

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