About IJNet

About IJNet

IJNet delivers the latest on global media innovation, news apps and tools, training opportunities and expert advice for professional and citizen journalists worldwide. Produced by the International Center for Journalists, IJNet follows the shifting journalism scene from a global perspective in seven languages - Arabic, Chinese, English, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Meet the IJNet Staff

  • Sam Berkhead, IJNet Manager

    Sam manages IJNet's English content and social media accounts. Originally from Western New York, she graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a degree in journalism and mass communication. During college, she served as editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, studied abroad in Northern Ireland and traveled across Europe by herself. In addition to studying Italian for 10 years, she can speak some French and is learning Russian. She likes feminism, coffee, cats, sushi and J.R.R. Tolkien. Follow her on Twitter: @samberkhead

  • Alanna Dvorak, English and Engagement Editor

    Alanna is the English and engagement editor at IJNet. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina, where she worked as a copyeditor for the Daily Tar Heel and served as president of the club football team. After working as a reporter for three years, she returned to school, and in 2016 earned master's degree in international development studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. She enjoys sports, reading, traveling and dogs. 

  • Madonna Khafaja, Arabic Editor and Community Manager

    Madonna is a program manager for ICFJ, she has a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from the Lebanese American University and a Master’s degree in media studies and advertising. She is IJNet Arabic editor and community manager and conducts trainings on developing digital media startups, video shooting techniques and editing in the MENA region. She speaks Arabic, English, French and has a basic knowledge in Spanish. Follow her on Twitter @madonnakhafaja, or connect with her on LinkedIn.

  • Mehrnaz Samimi, Persian Editor and Community Manager

    Mehrnaz Samimi is a print and broadcast journalist, editor, Iran expert and simultaneous interpreter. Over 1,200 of her English and Farsi articles have been published. She worked for Voice of America for nine years, and currently freelances for the BBC. She studied French Literature at the University of Tehran.

  • Renata Johnson, Portuguese Editor and Community Manager

    Renata has been with IJNet for more years than she can count. Aside from being the Portuguese editor and community manager, Renata oversees IJNet's opportunities page. Her previous stints include the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and Global Journalist radio at the NPR-member station in Columbia, Missouri. She received her master’s degree in journalism/international development and a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Missouri.

  • Marina Chentsova Eckman, Russian Editor and Community Manager

    A native of Russia, Marina graduated from Ural State University with a master’s degree in Russian language and literature. She worked as a freelance editor and copy-editor, and a Russian language, literature and composition teacher. She moved to the U.S. in 2010 and has worked with IJNet since 2011. She's also currently a Russian language teacher in San Francisco, and enjoys photography, dance and San Francisco history.  

  • Santiago Sanchez, Spanish Editor and Community Manager

    Santiago is a Uruguayan journalist and works for a newspaper called la diaria, focusing on political and trade union issues. He also likes topics related with sports, health, travel, history and gastronomy. He graduated with honors from ORT University in 2012, and is now pursuing a degree in political science.


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