CDAA FAC Chair Rodrigue named president of Plain Dealer Publishing Co.

George Rodrigue, Editor, The Plain Dealer, shot in Plain Dealer studio, Cleveland, Ohio, Feb. 12, 2015.  (Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer) ORG XMIT: CLE1502101623080779 ORG XMIT: CLE1606290316049008

George Rodrigue, Editor, The Plain Dealer, shot in Plain Dealer studio, Cleveland, Ohio, Feb. 12, 2015. (Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer) 

We’re excited to share that Cavalier Daily Alumni Association Financial Advisory Chair George Rodrigue has been named president of Plain Dealer Publishing Co., based out of Brooklyn and Cleveland, Ohio.

Rodrigue will remain editor of the award-winning Ohio newspaper The Plain Dealer, which is operated by Plain Dealer Publishing Co., according to a report published on He took over this editorial role in January 2015.

Rodrigue’s past jobs include managing editor of The Dallas Morning News, executive editor of California-based The Press-Enterprise, and a Washington correspondent and foreign correspondent for The Dallas Morning News. In his time as a reporter, Rodrigue has won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, as well as a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting as a part of a larger team.

Rodrigue spent all four years at the University, from which he graduated in 1978, involved with The Cavalier Daily. He filled many roles, from reporter to various editorial positions, eventually becoming Editor-in-Chief.

It’s fair to say that The Cavalier Daily was the only real training I had in journalism before I got my first job as a professional reporter,” says Rodrigue. “I was lucky to be there at a time when we had so many interesting things to cover, and so many great coaches and mentors on the staff. We wrote a lot of stories back then, and the editors worked with us to make them as close to ‘professional’ as humanly possible.”

He credits the skills he learned in his time with the paper, as well as the colleagues and friends he made along the way, for his success in the field. Rodrigue lists many names of “incredibly caring editors” and colleagues that he wishes to thank, including Chris Kohan, Bob Garsson, Sam Barnes, Debbie Galant, Dusty Melton, Marjorie Leedy, Virginia Mentzer, Jim Grossberg, Jim Reagan, Kip Coons, Chuck Fadely, Mike Vitez, Nancy Kenney, Bob Godec and Scott Weinberger.

Most importantly, he mentions Wendy Meyer, his wife, whom he met in the CD offices and later married in 1979.

According to Rodrigue, making money in journalism will never be easy, so he encourages potential journalists to “do it for love – of seeing the world as it is, of telling the truth, of making a difference.”

As much work as the field is, Rodrigue ends on a positive note, saying, “I still feel lucky to be allowed to be in the profession… and grateful to all those Cavalier Daily staff members who gave me a start.” 

Introducing Mariel Messier, CD Senior Sports Editor

Mariel Messier

Third-year Mariel Messier brings her passion for sports directly into the offices of The Cavalier Daily, where she currently serves as Senior Sports Editor.

Messier became involved with the paper during her second year, calling the pursuit “a no-brainer.” A sports fan who discovered her love of observing and speaking about sporting events in high school with her father and friends, Messier says that she is interested in pursuing a career in sports media. She currently is a student in the Batten School majoring in Public Policy & Leadership and Media Studies.

Messier began her time in the sports beat of the paper covering the wrestling team. She notes that she was often the only member of the media present at wrestling events.

“Being the only person conducting interviews after a match meant that it was a much more personal experience – I really got a feel for how passionate the coach and his athletes were,” she says. “I loved having the ability to cover a team that doesn’t get the media exposure that they deserve.”

In Fall 2016 Messier moved to cover the football team. She now covers the basketball team.

Through covering these events, Messier says that she often reflects on her unique position as a woman in a male-dominated field. She notes that she will often be covering a press conference for a team and realize that she is the only, or one of the only, women present.

“I think those experiences are some of my favorite parts, though, because it’s in those moments that I realize that I’m doing something different,” she says. “I’ve learned the importance of commanding respect and attention through my work. I’m really thankful that The Cavalier Daily has given me the opportunity to go against the grain and challenge myself in that respect.”

In her time with the paper, Messier says that she has learned a great deal, especially in moving from a writing and reporting role to an editorial role. She says she grew both in writing quality and making connections, and now she is developing her leadership, time management and organizational skills.

In her new role, Messier hopes to encourage the paper’s development into a more digitally savvy production by expanding multimedia capabilities, interactive features and social media usage.

She summarizes her time with the paper simply, saying, “All in all, I really can’t imagine my time at UVA without spending late nights covering UVA sports.”

Welcome to our new CDAA Board Members!

In a conference call with the CDAA Board on February 25, 2017, five new members were unanimously voted onto the Board.

Julia Horowitz, Dan Keyserling, John Lumpkin, Sabra Purtill and George Rodrigue will join, bringing the total Board number up to 20.

Horowitz (Col. ’16; editor-in-chief), Keyserling (Col. ’08; executive editor), Lumpkin (Col. ’71) and Purtill (Col. ’84; copy editor) will serve as At-Large Members.

As part of these changes, the Financial Advisory Board was dissolved as an independent entity and absorbed within the CDAA Board with the same charter. Rodrigue (Col. ’78; editor-in-chief) will serve as Financial Advisory Chair. Financial Advisory Committee members will be Rodrigue, Purtill, Lumpkin and Tim Wheeler (Col. ’74; editor-in-chief). CDAA President Matt Cameron (Col. ’13; editor-in-chief) and Mike Reingold (Col. ’18; editor-in-chief) will serve on the committee ex officio.

Introducing Dan Keyserling, CD alum

Dan Keyserling has traveled far from the basement of Newcomb Hall since graduating from the University in 2008.

The newly elected member of the Cavalier Daily Alumni Association Board of Directors is now the head of communications and a senior advisor at Jigsaw, the big ideas incubator for Google parent company Alphabet.

It’s a job that’s taken him to Cuba, Afghanistan, Chad, Kenya, Rwanda, Côte D’Ivoire, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and beyond. His team has a single charge: How can technology make people in the world safer?

“I met with the leaders of these countries to understand their priorities and their interests, [and] to convey the values of Google — from defending free speech to empowering an independent press,” Keyserling said.

Last week, Jigsaw launched Perspective, a piece of code that uses artificial intelligence to identify “toxic” online comments. The interface aims to crack down on online harassment and help news organizations keep their comment sections troll-free.

The team has been testing a version of the technology with The New York Times, which sorts through up to 11,000 comments each day on only a small fraction of its articles, according to an Alphabet release.

The potential for the tool to support media organizations is not lost on Keyserling, who served as executive editor of The Cavalier Daily as a student.

He described working at the paper as a “formative experience” of his life.

“It’s probably the most intense working environment I’ve ever had, and I’ve driven down the streets of Kabul in full body armor,” Keyserling said.

After graduating from U.Va. with a major in political and social thought, Keyserling helped run communications at Larry Sabato’s Center for Politics. He also assisted Sabato with his 2009 book “The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House.”

Following a brief stint at The New York Times’ communications office, Keyserling went to work for Google. He was one of the first employees on the Google Ideas team — an upstart that eventually grew into Jigsaw.

“Google Ideas was created to use technology to address some of the world’s most pressing geopolitical challenges,” Keyserling said. “Everything from terrorism to censorship.”

It’s an exciting and demanding job — but he hasn’t forgotten about the CD.

“The late nights huddling with the rest of the managing board is probably the most fun at work I’ve ever had and ever will have,” Keyserling said.

CD Attendance at Yale Annual Conference on College Newspapers

On January 27-28, 2017, six staff members of The Cavalier Daily traveled to represent the paper at the Yale Annual Conference on College Newspapers. The Cavalier Daily Alumni Association financed this trip.

The staffers chosen to attend included Editor-in-Chief Mike Reingold, Managing Editor Tim Dodson, Operations Manager Danielle Dacanay, News Editor Anna Higgins, Focus Editor Hannah Hall and Engineering Manager Leo Dominguez.

Following the conference, the staffers agreed to a list of projects they intend to pursue. Such ideas include looking into Board of Visitors donations to governors and to the University as a Focus piece, using professional cameras for Facebook Live coverage and integrating video and social media into reporting across sections.
The CDAA would like to thank Cav Daily EIC Mike Reingold for providing this information.

Follow-up with Kelly Mays, Cav Daily Business Manager

With one full semester with The Cavalier Daily down, business manager Kelly Mays is looking forward to the year to come and her work with the newly elected Managing Board.

Mays, who started working for the paper in May 2016, was the first professional business manager the Cav Daily had in over a decade. The original proposal for her position was drafted at the start of 2016 by The Cavalier Daily and agreed to by the Cavalier Daily Alumni Association, who provide financial support for the hire through fundraising efforts.

The role has the responsibilities of the former advertising manager role, as well as the goals of expanding revenue streams and planning for long-term change and development. It is just this that Mays has begun to do and hopes to expand over the next year.

Mays has already met with members of the new Board and is particularly excited about the idea of creating sponsored content. Mays said that many organizations have reached out to her for sponsored content from the Cav Daily, and she hopes to begin to utilize this as a new revenue builder.

“It’s a whole new world,” Mays says. “I come from the world of corporate papers, which don’t do much sponsored content… It’s intriguing how many people want to pay us for this.” Mays points to the Washington Post as a success story, which has both regular editorial sections and sponsored.

In addition, Mays has taken to the Cav Daily’s recent directives of growing their capacity for “digital-first,” starting with a suggested new rate structure that takes into account the advantages that bundling print and digital would have for both the paper and for advertisers. Mays is also looking into sponsored social media postings to increase digital revenue.

“Now, with the new Board, we have bigger opportunities to change and make some solid, concrete, different things happen,” Mays says.

Mays utilized the fall semester as a way largely to learn “how everything was done,” saying that it was a “huge learning experience” that has paved the way for her to “broaden the horizons” in the upcoming year.

“This paper can go so far,” Mays says. “There are unbelievable things that can be done here. It was like I was handed a very rough gift. I can make it great, I just need resources and approval.”