SATURDAY, Jan. 27, 2024
11 am - 1 pm
Television news is undergoing more changes at one time than ever in its history. Our event brings together top professionals in broadcast, streaming, digital and education. We’ll focus on the current state of the business, how it’s diversifying and what each new sector means. We’ll also talk about what we all can expect in the future. Bring lots of thoughts and lots of questions and get ready for a lively discussion!
“Look at human behavior and how we consume content, we’ve only made a richer landscape. When there was the industrial revolution, it was fueled by oil and gas. This is the digital revolution, and it’s fueled by content. Local TV will still be here and much needed. You need local news.” - Byron Allen



Afua S. Owusu (uh-fee-yah) (oh-woo-sue) has been in love with broadcasting her whole life. She’s the second child of Ghanaian immigrants, born and raised in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Her career in broadcasting began at age 15 when she joined the cast and crew of a local access television show sponsored by Comcast called “Teen Talk”.

Her natural presence on-air and creative producing style prompted her to major in broadcast journalism at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. During her 22 year career, Afua has worked in both radio and television with iHeart Radio as on-air talent and promotions manager, WLS-TV ABC7 Eyewitness News Chicago as a writer-producer and WGN Morning News as a supervising producer. Before holding her current position, she was the executive producer for THE JAM, a live morning show on WCIU-TV. She is currently the Director of News and Local Content for Weigel Broadcasting in Chicago.


Chip Brewster

Based at WGN-TV in Chicago, Chip Brewster currently works on Nexstar Media's national digital team as a video producer and livestream host / OBS expert. He first joined the company in March 2021 to help build and launch WGN's livestreaming effort, WGN News Now.

Prior to WGN-TV, Brewster spent several years as a feature reporter/live segment host/producer for WTVT in Tampa, FL, KPRC-TV in Houston, and WITI-TV in Milwaukee. Brewster is coming up on twelve years in the United States Army Reserve, on top of nearly six years before that in the Illinois Army National Guard, and currently serves as First Sergeant for the 395th Army Band, where he also plays saxophone, percussion and performs as a vocalist/front man for one of the unit’s popular music ensembles.

He and his wife are high school sweethearts from Lake Zurich and grew up watching WGN Morning News where he also interned while in college and was hired on as a writer after graduating for his first paying job in television.

Brewster has a B.S. in Mass Communication / Television Production from Illinois State University.


Jessie Garcia is News Director of CBS 58 and Telemundo WI in Milwaukee. An award-winning journalist, Jessie spent 25 years on the air as a sports anchor and reporter before transitioning to management. She was the Green Bay Packers sideline reporter and host of The Mike Holmgren Show and The Mike McCarthy Show. Jessie taught journalism at four universities and is also a published author and documentarian. She has a sports documentary and three non-fiction books out, including a memoir and a look at Olympians from Wisconsin. Her debut fiction novel, The Business Trip, was picked up by St. Martin's Press and will be released in late 2024 or early 2025.

Beth Godvik

Elizabeth Godvik is a newswriter/producer at WBBM-TV in Chicago. In addition to writing for live broadcast and streaming shows for CBS Chicago, she produces a weekly segment on well-being called the Mental Health Minute. She is a member of the WGA East council where she proudly represents Broadcast/Cable/Streaming News union members. She is also a WGA union steward in her newsroom. The 2-time Chicago/Midwest Emmy winner also works with future journalists as an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University.


Elyssa Kaufman is a Digital News Producer at CBS Chicago. She covers breaking news for while working closely with the morning show producers. Elyssa manages the station’s social media sites, and her claim to fame is the CBS Chicago TikTok account. Elyssa earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a student, she served as a Daily Illini staff writer and interned for two Chicago TV stations in the digital departments.


Andrew Rowan is a multimedia journalist at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati. He has served as a production intern for NBC News Now, a production intern for MSNBC, and an MMJ/producing intern for WCSC in Charleston, S.C. Andrew graduated from Northwestern University in spring 2023, where he studied journalism, data science, and business institutions. He is passionate about creativity and innovation in TV news storytelling.


Frank Whittaker retired at the end of 2022 as Station Manager and Vice President of News for NBC 5 Chicago after working more than 46 years in three Chicago TV newsrooms. For nearly 25 years he led the NBC Chicago newsroom, becoming the longest serving news director in Chicago television history. Whittaker attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston.

While a Medill student, Whittaker worked part-time on weekends at WBBM-TV (CBS) answering viewer calls and working the overnight assignment desk. His CBS bosses hired him full time following graduation. During his 16 years at WBBM, Whittaker worked as an assignment editor, news writer, associate producer, special projects producer and newscast producer, eventually producing the station’s top newscast at 10 p.m.

WLS-TV (ABC) hired Whittaker in 1993 to become executive producer of the station’s 10 p.m. newscast, and later assistant news director.

Whittaker joined NBC 5 in June, 1998 as News Director. He was promoted to Vice President of News in 1999, and added the title of Station Manager in 2008. He was responsible for leading the NBC 5 news department on broadcast and digital platforms, as well as other station projects.

Under his leadership, NBC 5 expanded its investigative unit to become the largest in Chicago. The station also added hours of local news in the mornings, afternoons and weekends.

Whittaker won a Peabody Award in 2016 for his work on the Laquan McDonald investigation, which resulted in the resignation of the police superintendent and a Department of Justice investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

He is the winner of five Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards for his work on spot news coverage, media interactivity, and for producing half-hour specials on Mayor Harold Washington and Earth Day. He served as a board member for the Illinois Broadcasters Association and as its chairman in 2017-18. He is currently on the board of the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and was recently named an IBA “Broadcast Pioneer” for Chicago.