New Members’ Brief Biographies

Andrea Bucher-McAdams has been writing the “Cutting Corners” column for Town & Village since 2006.

Dale Burg, a seasoned freelance writer, columnist and author, has been in the business since the 1970s, when she started contributing pieces to The Village Voice and The Villager. From 1983 to 1997, she wrote freelance articles for McCalls, New Woman, Cosmopolitan and numerous other outlets, in addition to writing columns for Family Circle, Woman’s Day and Star Magazine, among others. Between 2005 and 2012, she wrote for Bloom Magazine, a culture and lifestyle publication. She is also an author or co-author of some 25 books, ranging from “The Geek Squad Guide to Solving Any Computer Glitch” to “Sloth: Ode to Disarray and Delay.”

Bill Collins is a former “fulltime freelance” journalist who wrote features for The Detroit News and the Observer suburban newspaper chain, then became a play-by-play radio broadcaster before embarking on a career in public relations. In 2002, he became associated with the Overseas Press Club of America, was voted an associate director and is a member of the organization’s Freedom of the Press committee as well as a director of the OPC Foundation.

George Flowers, who is married to Jane Tillman Irving and who also is retired, was a newscaster at WCBS-FM, UPI International and WWRL in a career that began in the 1960s and stretched to 2013. He’s also been a disc jockey, an announcer, an actor and a voice-over teacher.

Edward J. Forbes is a senior editor at The Record in Bergen County, N.J. He came to The Record in 2016 after eight years at The Journal News, which covers the Lower Hudson Valley and where he was also a senior editor. From 2002 to 2007, he was an editor at The Adirondack (N.Y) Daily Enterprise.

Roberta Brandes Gratz was an award-winning reporter at The New York Post from 1963 to 1978 before becoming a full-time freelance writer and author with a focus on urban affairs. Her most recent book is “We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City.” Her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Nation, New York Newsday, The New York Daily News and other publications. She is also an international lecturer on urban development issues.

Jane Tillman Irving, now retired, was a prize-winning staffer at WCBS 880 from 1972 to 1986. That led to a three-year stint at WCBS-TV before she came back to radio at such outlets as WWRL, WLIB, WBLS and WNYC, finally returning to WCBS 880 from 1999 to 2017. She’s been a street reporter, a news writer, an anchor and a talk-show host, and she’s covered everything from crime scenes to national political conventions. For good measure, she’s taught journalism at the Columbia J School and at CCNY, her alma mater.

Liz Johnson is the senior director of New Audience & Topics for The Bergen Record and NorthJersey.com. She was formerly content strategist for new audiences and for many years was the food editor at The Journal News and lohud.com, for which she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and The Associated Press.

Don Kaplan covered the television industry at The New York Post from 1998 until 2012, when he joined The New York Daily News as TV editor. He was at The News until 2017, leaving to become part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press office as deputy director of communications.

William Lamb is deputy director of the Topics section of The (Bergen) Record, where he’s worked since 2006. Prior to that he was a senior editor at Dwell magazine, which focuses on modern architecture and design, and earlier, he was a reporter at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Barry Newman was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal for 43 years. He wrote more than 400 front-page feature stories and became known among his peers as “King of the A-Heds.” He retired as a reporter in 2013 but continues at the WSJ as a writing coach. He is also the author of “News to Me,” a collection of his own WSJ pieces with commentary on how they came about.

Maria Newman has been alumni director of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University since 2015, but before that, she was a reporter and editor at The New York Times for 23 years, and earlier, she was a reporter for The Los Angeles Times. In all, she worked for seven newspapers, beginning in 1977, when she was a college student at SMU and did rewrite for The Dallas Morning News. Subsequent assignments took her to The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, The San Diego Union, The Dallas Times-Herald and The Sacramento Bee.

Carolyn Purcell is director of programming and operations for FiOS1 News Networks. She’s been with the company since 2011. Among other things, she launched “Money & MainStreet,” a daily business show, and consults on specials, web, lifestyle and news content. Earlier, she was senior executive producer of “Court TV/In Session,” turning out daily legal coverage, including high-profile live trials. She also produced programming for CNNfn, MSNBC, CBS News, A&E’s “Biography” series, and “Hostage: Rescue in Peru,” a special on the 1997 hostage crisis for TLC.

Eleanor Randolph was a member of the Editorial Board of The New York Times from 1998 to 2016. She has been a journalist since 1968. Before joining The Times, she covered national politics and the media for The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers. Her articles have appeared in Vogue, Esquire, the New Republic and other magazines. Currently, she is a fellow at CUNY’s Leon Levy Biography Center.

Elliott S. Rebhun is senior vice president of the Classroom Magazine Group at Scholastic Inc., overseeing almost two dozen magazines, including The New York Times Upfront, a biweekly news magazine composed of Times articles edited for teenage students. Before joining Scholastic in 2003, Rebhun was with The Times for nine years, becoming its first digital employee in 1994, when he was editor of the Times News Service on AOL, which eventually became nytimes.com. From 1984 to 1991, he was an editor at Newsweek, working on special sections for the magazine’s international editions.

Jack Schwartz, a newspaperman for almost 50 years, worked for six metropolitan dailies: The Mirror, The News, The Post, Newsday, The Long Island Press and The Times, plus a short stint at The International Herald-Tribune in Paris. He was a reporter and columnist but primarily distinguished himself as an editor, focusing on books and culture. When he retired in 2005, he was assistant editor of the New York Times Weekend section, in addition to working on the daily culture pages. He is the author of a 2015 memoir “The Fine Print: My Life as a Deskman.”

Lou Sepersky was a newsman from 1962 through 1975. His journalism career included stints at The Staten Island Advance; The New York Post; The Herald News in Passaic, N.J.; The Hudson Dispatch in Union City, N.J.; UPI; and McGraw Hill. He is married to Silurian Leida Snow.

Suzanne Slesin has been a major writer in the field of home design since the early1970s. In addition to writing for magazines including New York and Esquire, she was an editor and reporter for the Home section of The New York Times from 1979 to 1995. In 1995, she became the design editor of the relaunched House & Garden magazine; in 2000, she was named editor-in-chief of HomeStyle magazine; and in 2003 she was the editor of O at Home, an Oprah magazine. She’s the co-author of more than 20 books on design and home furnishings and in 2002, she founded and is editorial director of Pointed Leaf Press, which describes itself as “a publisher of high quality, photography monographs on personalities , , , from the world of design, architecture and fashion.”

Stephen Vrattos is the editor of Schneps Communications, which includes community newspapers, magazines and websites reporting on local news and events in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Al Wasser, now retired, has logged more than half a century as a newsman. In 1962, he was a news editor at WINS Radio, then spent 14 years at WNEW Radio as an on-air analyst and reporter before joining NBC News as news manager for its radio network. He went to CBS News as a news editor and writer in the late 1970s, then was head writer at ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” before being named a news editor at ABC News.

Jonathan Weil is a prize-winning financial and business reporter and columnist. He is currently a senior financial analyst at Kynikos Associates, but was a journalist for at least 20 years prior to that. As a reporter for The Wall Street Journal (1997-2006), he was regarded by his peers as the first journalist to question the accounting practices of Enron Corp. during the financial bubble in 2000. He joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010 and was a columnist for Bloomberg View until 2015. Earlier, he was a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in Little Rock.

Thomas Zambito is an investigative reporter with a focus on transportation and energy. He has been with The Journal News since 2015 and prior to that was a reporter at The Star Ledger in Newark. He’s also worked at Newsday, The New York Daily News and The Record. He won two awards for The Journal News at the 2018 Excellence in Journalism competition: a medallion for “After Indian Point: The Challenges Ahead,” a string of articles on the likely environmental, economic and political impact of the shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear plant slated for 2021, and a Merit Award for “Metro-North Loses Its Way,” a series on how misplaced priorities contributed to a train crash that resulted in four deaths.

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