2017 Panelists

Kristin Donnelly, NBC News White House Producer


Kristin Donnelly covers the Trump administration as a producer for NBC’s White House Unit. She joined the beat in 2014, covering President Obama. Before moving to the nation’s capitol, Donnelly was a senior producer for “Jansing & Co.” and “Jose Diaz-Balart” both airing at 10am eastern on MSNBC. Donnelly began her career in journalism at WWNY-TV, the CBS affiliate in Watertown, New York. Donnelly was hired as a one-woman band — an on-air reporter who shoots video, edits, writes and produces her own pieces. After two years working in the Watertown market, Kristin moved an hour south to Syracuse, New York where she spent two years as a reporter for WTVH-TV. Donnelly’s tour of Upstate New York’s snowiest cities ended in Buffalo at WGRZ-TV, where she spent more than two years covering Western New York. Before her move to MSNBC, Donnelly had a short stint as reporter for News 12 Long Island. Donnelly holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.



Bob Lonsberry, Radio Host and Conservative Political Commentator


Bob Lonsberry hosts his own conservative radio talk show mornings on WHAM-AM in Rochester, New York and afternoons on WSYR-AM in Syracuse, NY. A newsman for more than 30 years, Lonsberry has won several journalism and broadcasting awards, including top New York Associated Press commentary awards in newspaper, radio and television — the only person ever to do so. He has been a newspaper reporter, columnist and photojournalist, as well as a magazine writer and commentator on radio and television. He is the author of several small books. He was also a commentator at NRAnews.com. A veteran of the Army as a military journalist, Lonsberry is a former “Journalist of the Year” and is a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Thomas Jefferson Award and the Keith L. Ware Award. Lonsberry is a Republican and life member of the National Rifle Association. He is a former emergency medical technician, the holder of a pistol permit, a former elected member of his village board and a marathon runner.




Trudy Perkins ‘93, Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings


Trudy Perkins ‘93 works as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Rep. Elijah Cummings who represents Maryland’s 7th District and is the Ranking Democrat of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Prior to Perkins’ position with Rep. Cummings, she worked in the broadcast media field as a news producer. She produced the Noon News at WTEN-10 in Albany, New York before moving to Baltimore and accepting a position as the Weekend Morning News Producer for WBAL-TV 11. During her tenure, the news program rose to the number one ranking in the market. Perkins serves on a number of boards of non-profit organizations including, Women in Film and Television, Art with a Heart, the Baltimore School for the Arts, and the SEED School of Maryland, which is a college-preparatory, public boarding school in Baltimore. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Perkins has been recognized for her work in the community including being honored twice as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by the Maryland Daily Record. Trudy received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from The State University of New York College at Oswego. She currently resides in Laurel, Maryland.



Steven Portnoy, CBS News Radio Correspondent


Studio portraits for Steve Portnoy. Photo by Louis Tinsley/DC Corporate Headshots.

Over his nearly 15 years in the nation’s capital, Steven Portnoy has brought listeners to presidential inaugurals, political conventions, State of the Union addresses and Supreme Court oral arguments. He has reported from every major dateline in Washington, including Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, and now covers the Trump administration from the second row of the White House briefing room. In 2016, Portnoy was one of CBS News Radio’s lead reporters on the campaign trail, covering the tumultuous race for the presidency and the tussle over congressional control. Prior to joining CBS News in February of 2015, Portnoy served as a radio correspondent for ABC News. He anchored ABC Radio’s coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden, coverage that earned that network an Edward R. Murrow Award for Breaking News. He also contributed to ABC’s Murrow-award- winning coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 and the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. While he specializes in political coverage, Portnoy has extensive experience reporting on disasters at home and abroad, including Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Isabel and Sandy. He filed amidst the rubble after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; from Joplin, Missouri in the aftermath of the deadly tornado in 2011; and from Moore, Oklahoma after the devastating storms there in 2013. He also traveled to Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore after the riots in both cities. Steven Portnoy began his career in network news as an intern for the White House Unit of ABC’s “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.” He spent three years covering local news in Washington at the network’s owned radio station, WMAL-AM, before becoming an ABC News Radio correspondent in 2006. In 2008, Portnoy was named a Peter Jennings Fellow by the National Constitution Center. He was honored with the Bayliss Horizon Award by the John Bayliss Broadcast Foundation in 2005, and took first place in the radio competition at the Hearst Broadcast News Championships in 2001. Portnoy started in journalism as a reporter for WSYR-AM in Syracuse while he was a student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. During that time, he also produced television newscasts at WIXT-TV (now WSYR-TV) and WSTM-TV.

Moderator Benita Zahn


Benita Zahn is a co-anchor and health and wellness reporter for NewsChannel 13 in Albany, New York. Her work has earned her several awards, including the 2015 Resourceful Woman Award from the YWCA in Troy.