Monitor announces reader advisory board members

Monitor staff
Published: 10/27/2021 7:00:06 AM

This past July, we asked readers to tell us about their connection to their community. Many took up the call and filled out our Google form touting their dedication, experience and passion.

Now, four months later, we welcomed nine reader advisory board members into the newsroom to talk about local news and how the Concord Monitor can better serve those communities.

Our goal for the reader advisory board is to give a group of readers from the Capital Region a direct link to the newsroom. We hope this will give us a better understanding of what news and information our readers, and potential new readers, want and value most.

When we announced this initiative over the summer, we didn’t know what the response would be or if people would be interested in volunteering their time. But within the first few hours of posting, we had our first applicants. We’re honored and very grateful for the number of people who stepped up to join this effort.

The next step toward launching the reader advisory board began in August when our selection committee reviewed each application. That committee included publisher Steve Leone, editor-in-chief Jonathan Van Fleet, news editor Sarah Pearson, audience engagement editor Allie Ginwala, editorial board member Ralph Jimenez and former editorial board member and community member Laura Kiernan.

During the evaluation process, the selection committee set guidelines to ensure fairness for this cohort and others moving forward. Folks who currently hold elected positions at any level or are otherwise considered public figures or those with a role in locally connected public relations or communications would not be chosen for the reader advisory board to avoid conflicts of interest.

Ultimately, nine applicants were chosen as inaugural reader advisory board members — Alex Bou-Rhodes, Mike Briggs, Carisa Corrow, Jaime Corwin, Josh Hardy, Gerri King, Jim Potter, Connor Spern and Lidia Yen.

These folks range in age, profession, town and expertise, but what they all have in common is an active role in their community, a passion for local news and a desire to make a difference.

We’re excited to tackle this initiative with the inaugural cohort and know we’re going to learn a lot along the way. We’d like the reader advisory board to have a rotating membership, so if you’re interested in joining the effort, there will be more opportunities to apply.

We met for the first time this month, so you’ll hear more about, and from, our board soon. In the meantime, you can get to know our new reader advisory board members at

(Allie Ginwala is the audience engagement editor for the Monitor. She manages the Opinion section and community engagement initiatives.)


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