Speakers Announced for Freelance Journalism Workshop

Are you a freelance journalist? Have you considered becoming a freelancer? Do you wonder if freelancing is right for you? Learn more about the world of freelance journalism with an educational workshop brought to you by the Central Ohio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism on Saturday, March 2.

Panel discussions featuring working professionals will cover everything from how to determine if freelancing is right for you, to the ins and outs of running your own business. Panel discussions include:

9 a.m. – Is Freelancing Right for You?

  • Kathy Lynn Gray, Freelance Journalist
  • Brock Schmaltz, Freelance Communications Professional
  • Jeffry Konczal, Freelance Photographer

10 a.m. – How to Market and Brand Yourself

  • Laura Petrecca, Freelance Writer, Editor, Strategist. Laura Petrecca.com

11 a.m. – The Business of Being Self Employed: What You Need to Know to Establish & Run Your Business

  • Jack Gravelle, Attorney, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP
  • Sarah Mills Bacha, SMB Communication, LTD
  • Ginny McCabe, Freelance Journalist and Author
  • Sue Schnitz, Accountant, Perfect Balance

The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Ohio University Dublin Campus – Dublin Integrated Education Center, 6805 Bobcat Way, Dublin, Ohio. 

Networking begins at 8 a.m. with programming kicking off at 9 a.m. A continental breakfast and snacks will be provided. Tickets are $15 for SPJ members and students and $20 for non-members.


Is Freelancing Right For You?

Kathy Lynn Gray, Freelance Journalist

Kathy Lynn Gray worked as a journalist at the Columbus Dispatch for 35 years, reporting on everything from education, real estate and federal courts to the Columbus Zoo, the Ohio State Fair and shipwreck explorer Tommy Thompson. Her journalism career began in Cleveland with the Sun Newspaper chain and she landed in Columbus with a job as a legislative intern in the Ohio House of Representatives. From there she nabbed a spot on The Dispatch Action Line before becoming a general assignment reporter covering murders, weather, and everything in between. She gave up reporting for seven years to work as a part-time Dispatch copy editor while her children were young, and took off a year to get her master’s degree in journalism as a Kiplinger Fellow at Ohio State University. Her freelance career took off in 2015 when she took a buyout from The Dispatch and began writing for publications such as Columbus Monthly, Columbus Business First, several college magazines and The National Psychologist, as well as stringing for Reuters and the Washington Post. Kathy has been a Clintonville resident since 1980 and is married to former journalist Dennis Mahoney.

Brock Schmaltz, Freelance Communications Professional

During a 20-year public relations career, Brock Schmaltz has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor across a multitude of communications disciplines. The son of a journalist, he learned the power of the press and public opinion at a young age and that background has served him well as he partners with media members on behalf of his clients. The early part of Brock’s career in both Washington, DC and Columbus, OH focused exclusively on public affairs at the local, state and federal levels. Working on behalf of private sector companies like Wal-Mart and Kidde Fire Safety as well as advocacy groups like the American Horse Council, he successfully navigated numerous legislative and regulatory opportunities in a variety of jurisdictions. More recently Brock has focused on traditional media and community relations endeavors across primarily the retail and development sectors. Past clients include outdoor lifestyle center pioneer Easton Town Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation and Campus Partners (the development arm of The Ohio State University). In January 2017, Brock opened High Stakes Public Relations where he works on behalf of a variety of clients including regional grocery leader Giant Eagle and is currently ghost writing several books. A graduate of Wittenberg University, Brock resides in Sunbury, Ohio with his wife Allison and three daughters.

Jeffry Konczal, Freelance Photographer

Jeffry Konczal is a freelance photographer who works for journalism, education, and commercial clients, specializing in documentary and portrait work. He has been working as a freelance photographer since 2012, and prior to that as a staff photographer for 5 years.

How to Market and Brand Yourself

Laura Petrecca, Freelance Writer, Editor, Strategist. Laura Petrecca.com

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Laura is an editorial adviser and content creator who helps companies keep pace with the rapidly evolving media landscape. She has a proven record of success within some of the nation’s top media organizations, including Gannett, Rodale and Crain Communications. Prior to launching her media consultancy and writing business. Laura held high-level roles such as USA Today’s New York City bureau chief, special projects editor and business section editor. She now provides sound editorial insights to companies ranging from small businesses to media conglomerates. An award-winning journalist, Laura also produces high-quality articles, blog items, social media posts, videos and infographics. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Real Simple, Men’s Health, Prevention, Crain’s New York Business, Advertising Age, the New York Post and AARP. She is an experienced public speaker who is adept at moderating panels, hosting livestream videos and providing TV and radio commentary. Her TV appearances include the Today show, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood and CNN. Laura also coaches college students and early career journalists on how to land a job in the media industry, as well as provides strategic guidance to seasoned writers and editors who are planning for their post-newsroom lives.

The Business of Being Self Employed: What You Need to Know to Establish & Run Your Business

Jack Gravelle, Attorney, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP

Jack is a partner in the firm’s Corporate Department practicing in the areas of securities, mergers and acquisitions, and business growth and operation. He represents buyers and sellers in various acquisition and divestiture transactions across a range of industries, including energy, manufacturing, technology, retail, banking and telecommunications. He assists public companies with corporate governance, securities laws compliance, mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, executive compensation and the reporting obligations of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also advises various business entities regarding formation, raising capital, securities offerings, contractual arrangements, and general corporate law. He is a graduate of Ohio University in political science and The Ohio State University College of Law.

Ginny McCabe, Freelance Journalist and Author

Ginny is an award winning journalist and author. She is a news, feature and entertainment writer/reporter who has penned thousands of diverse articles for daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and web sites for a variety of national and international audiences. She covers news, arts and entertainment, lifestyles, humanitarian aid, real estate, features, nonfiction, profiles, books and publishing, religion, non-profits, business. She is also an experienced author of five books. Her bestselling and award-winning title with Dr. Jill Hubbard is Secrets Young Women Keep. Other titles include: some Kind of Journey: On the Road with Audio Adrenaline, Living A Gold Medal Life: Inspirations from Female Athletes, and Changed: True Stories of Finding God Through Christian Music. She has also collaborated on four additional books. Ginny serves as the Society of Professional Journalists Freelance Community Officer.

Sarah Mills Bacha, President, SMB Communication, LTD

Sarah is a professional writer and communications/marketing consultant. As president of her own firm, SMB Communications Ltd., which she founded in 1994, she has assisted numerous national and central Ohio companies and organizations with their marketing and communications needs. Before becoming a consultant, she worked as a journalist at daily newspapers. Previous positions include business reporter at The Columbus Dispatch in Columbus, Ohio, comment page editor at The Journal-Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind., and stringer for Reuters. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University in journalism.

Sue Schnitz, Accountant, Perfect Balance

Susan is the owner of the Perfect Balance that acts as the in-house controller for your small business and individuals eliminating the stress of the financial side for businesses and individuals allowing them the time to do what they do best! Her business acts as in-house controller, manages cash flow, consults, helps clients get financing, prepares financial statements, provides accounts payable and receivable functions and helps with financial planning among other services. She was formerly employed by Deloitte & Touche and is a graduate of The Ohio State University.