New Members’ Brief Biographies

Michael Amon is the Wall Street Journal’s Law Bureau Chief, overseeing coverage of criminal and civil courts across the country, along with the industry of lawyers and their firms. He was previously deputy bureau chief for the Middle East and North Africa, working from Dubai and Tel Aviv, and Energy Editor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, working from London. He has worked for The Wall Street Journal since 2011, when he joined the Greater New York section. He has also been a staff writer at the Washington Post and Newsday and contributed to the New York Times. Michael was born and raised in Yankton, South Dakota, and attended South Dakota State University and New York University. He is married to Lisa Fleisher, a Bloomberg News editor, and has a 1-year-old daughter, Simone. They live on the Upper West Side, where they enjoy cooking and long walks in Central Park.

Bob Essman has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a designer of such magazines as Life, Business Week, Family Circle and People. He joined the layout department of Life magazine in 1961, became creative director of its Special Projects department in 1969 and designed that year’s special commemorative issue “To the Moon and Back.” That was followed by a stint as creative/art director of Show magazine (1969-1979); creative/art director of Business Week (1970-1974), including a redesign of the magazine in 1971; and eight years as creative director of People (1974-1982). He’s been honored by many organizations, including the Art Directors Club of New York, the American Society of Magazine Editors, the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Society of Publication Designers.

Lisa Fleisher is a senior editor at Bloomberg News in Wealth, the newly launched personal finance vertical. Previously, she was a digital features editor in both Dubai and London. Before joining Bloomberg in 2016, Lisa was a tech reporter in London for The Wall Street Journal, where she also helped launch the paper’s WhatsNews app. She started her career at The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and then worked at the Star-Ledger in Newark before joining the Journal in 2010. She lives on the Upper West Side in Manhattan with her husband and 1-year-old daughter Simone. She enjoys chasing her toddler on long walks in Central Park, entertaining friends and doing taxes for family members.

Mel Laytner was a reporter and editor for nearly 20 years, much of it as a foreign correspondent covering the Middle East.  His first full-time job was with UPI, covering mayhem in NYC, his hometown.  After editing, UPI sent him to London, then to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  NBC recruited Mel as their Middle East radio correspondent.  After eight “grinding years” in the Middle East, Mel was awarded a Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business and economic journalism, which included a year’s residency at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business.  After cuts in staff at NBC, he joined his family business.  This year, he published a mémoire, What They Didn’t Burn: Uncovering My Father’s Holocaust Secrets.  Mel lives with his wife in NYC, and is father of three daughters.

Peter Lewine first job was as a desk assistant and then news editor at KCBS Newsradio in San Francisco. From there, he was an on-air TV reporter in San Jose, Calif.; San Diego;r and at the Post-Newsweek station in Detroit, where he covered the auto industry and politics. Then it was on to New York, where Lewine worked on the Foreign News assignment desk of ABC News and was an occasional writer and off-air reporter covering presidential campaigns before shifting gears and moving to the business side of several trade publications.

Robert Nickelsberg worked as a Time magazine contract photographer for nearly 30 years, specializing in political and cultural change in developing countries. After covering Central America in the 1980s, he established his base in Asia. Living in New Delhi from 1988 to 1999, Nickelsberg recorded the rise of religious extremism in South Asia. His work has also chronicled events in Iraq, Kuwait, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, and Indonesia, documenting human rights abuses by Islamic militants and security forces, and post-traumatic stress disorder in Indian-controlled Kashmir. He has one of the more comprehensive archives of the rise of Islamic extremism. His 2013 book,“Afghanistan: A Distant War,” captures his 25 years of work in Afghanistan and won for him the Overseas Press Club’s Olivier Rebbot Award for the best photographic reporting from abroad in magazines and books. His photographs have been exhibited at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, the Queensborough Community College, the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University and at The New America Foundation in New York. He received grants for reporting on and photographing post-traumatic stress disease in Kashmir from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and the South Asian Journalism Association in 2008. In 2015, the O’Halloran Family Foundation presented Nickelsberg with a grant for his ongoing domestic sex trafficking project. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Life magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The London Times and The Washington Post.

Jon Richards began doing editorial cartoons for the Santa Fe Reporter in 1988. His work appeared for many years in the Huffington Post and have been seen in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Albuquerque Journal Santé Fe, and the Oklahoma City Gazette. He was editorial cartoonist for Theodore Kheel’s Earth Summit Times, and for the 1990 “Inner Circle” show in New York. In 2004, his work was featured in “Bushwhacked,” a group show at the George Adams Gallery in New York. His movie reviews appear in the Santa Fe Pasatiempo and the Online Film Critics Society. He novels include “The Whitmarsh Chronicles,” a three-volume work he co-authored; “Tularosa” and “Cherokee Bill,” both historical fiction with Western settings; “Santa Fe,” a novel set in the capital of New Mexico; and “Nick & Jake.”

Ann Warwick began her professional life as a journalist before morphing into an administrative role at SUNY’s College of Optometry. She started as a stringer and then a reporter at the Bergen Record in 1967. In 1969, she was hired by Ridgewood, (N.J.) Newspapers, Inc., as women’s editor and home living columnist. She joined SUNY in 1983 as vice president and director of special events at the College of Optometry and retired as executive director of the Optometric Center of New York in 2018.

Carole Agus Woodier was a prize-winning reporter, editor, feature writer and columnist for 28 years, most of them at Newsday, then at New York Newsday until its abrupt closure in 1995. She specialized for a time as an investigative reporter and in the Seventies and early Eighties, was a member of Newsday’s standing investigative team headed by the late Bob Greene. She was part of a Newsday team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News in 1992 for coverage of a midnight subway derailment in Manhattan that left five passengers dead and more than 200 injured and was part of another Newsday team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 1980 for uncovering a scandal involving the sewer system. Her many other journalism awards included one from the Silurians as part of its Excellence in Journalism annual competition. For many years, she had the good fortune to be assigned a summer column about the Hamptons, an assignment that was accompanies by a Southampton house and a pool. She was also a columnist at New York Newsday. After its closure, she taught journalism for seven years at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, her alma mater. She was an assistant professor of journalism at the Quinnipiac University School of Communications. While teaching, she was Enterprise Editor at the Journal News of Westchester County, where she headed its investigative team.

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