SPJ Colorado Pro Leadership

SPJ Colorado Pro officers and board members work on behalf of the chapter’s more than 100 members to improve and protect journalism in Colorado. They plan events, write advocacy letters, coordinate award programs, work with colleges and universities and much more. 


President Tony Flesor (Term Ends 2020)

Headshot - Tony Flesor copyTony is the managing editor of Law Week Colorado, a weekly publication that falls somewhere between a trade journal and a newspaper that covers the courts, judicial branch and legal industry.

Tony has won awards for his reporting on ethics complaints against a rural district attorney and the representation of immigrants in Colorado detention centers.

His work at Law Week involves writing on news in the legal world as well as managing the newsroom and website for Law Week Colorado. In addition to reporting for Law Week Colorado, he has also freelanced for a city magazine in Columbia, Mo., and has bylines on other websites, newspapers and magazines.

He holds a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He got involved in journalism after earning bachelor’s degrees in English and communications, and working with nonprofit organizations focused on literacy. He has always been interested in writing, but after developing an interest in government and the duty of journalists, he decided to pursue the profession himself.

Tony has lived in Denver for four years, and when not working, Tony enjoys exploring Colorado’s mountain trails, lounging around Denver parks and finding new books to read.

Secretary Ali Watkins (Term Ends 2020)

Info to come.

Treasurer Bob Burdick (Term Ends 2021)


Bob Burdick is retired after serving on editorial and business sides of newspapers in California, Colorado, Florida and Kansas. In addition to SPJ Colorado Pro (where he served as Treasurer), he has been a member of SPJ in California and Kansas.

He was president and publisher of the Colorado Springs Gazette, and the Naples (Fla.) Daily News; managing editor, editor and president of the Rocky Mountain News; editor of the LA Daily News; assistant managing editor and special projects editor of The Denver Post; metro editor of the San Jose Mercury; city editor and assistant managing editor of The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle; night city editor of The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post; reporter for The Miami Herald and more.

Burdick was a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Associated Press Managing Editors, Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, California Society of Newspaper Editors, AP News Executives Council and an AP western regional association. He holds a BA from Florida Atlantic University.

During his tenure as editor and managing editor of the Rocky Mountain News, the newspaper won first place for general excellence among Colorado’s largest dailies in the AP Colorado contest in 1995, 1996 and 1997; first place in general excellence among Colorado’s largest dailies in the Colorado Press Association contest in 1995, 1996 and 1997; and numerous other awards. He moved to the business side after those years. During his tenure at the LA Daily News, the newspaper won California Newspaper Publishers Association contest first place awards in community service for all California dailies four times in seven years (1985, 1987, 1989 and 1991), first place in local spot news reporting for all dailies over 200,000 circulation (1992); and numerous other awards. In 1991, the Daily News won first place for overall excellence among all California dailies over 100,000 circulation in the Greater Los Angeles Press Club contest. During his tenure as metro editor of the San Jose Mercury, it won first place in general excellence for all California dailies (1980).

He joined the Denver Press Club in 1982 and remained a member until moving out of state, rejoined in 1994 and remained a member until moving out of state, then rejoined in 2007. He does not plan to move out of state again.

Burdick and his wife, Patty Burnett, reside in Greenwood Village with their Schnauzer, Pixie. Burdick does occasional consulting and has taught journalism at Arapahoe Community College. He is a member of Hope United Methodist Church, and is on the Boards of the Denver Press Club, Alfa Romeo Owners Club of the Rockies and the Englewood Rotary Club. He recently retired as a volunteer Meals on Wheels driver. He and his wife spend as much time as possible with their granddaughter, Evelyn, and grandson, Theo. Evelyn and Theo are the children of their son, Dave Burdick, founding editor of and now managing editor / digital for Colorado Public Radio, and his wife, Rachel Cernansky, a freelance writer.


Board Members

James Bartolo (Term Ends 2020)

Info to come

Doug Bell (Term Ends 2021)

Doug Bell, who retired from a 40-year career in journalism, continues to teach at Metropolitan State University, and currently offers a course called How to Get a Media Job.

Bell chairs the ethics/media literacy committee for the Colorado Press Association.

He has been presented SPJ’s First Amendment Award, as well as the Keeper of the Flame honor for career achievement.

As an SPJ board member, Bell concentrates on maintaining contacts at the state’s journalism schools and mentoring student journalists who are entering the job market.

He also serves as a guest speaker at high school and college classes in the state.

In his spare time, Bell plays tennis and ice hockey. He lives in Denver with his wife, Christa, who works in communications for United Launch Alliance.

Deb Hurley Brobst (Term Ends 2020)

Deb Hurley Brobst is the news editor at Evergreen Newspapers, which publishes the Canyon Courier and Clear Creek Courant.

Before coming to Evergreen Newspapers, she spent two decades as a journalism professor at Metro State University of Denver, and prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Wisconsin.

She has been an SPJ member for 40 years and has served in different capacities on the Colorado Pro board over the last 30 years.

She also served on the SPJ national board from 1991 to 1996 and from 2004 to 2008.

Currently, she’s the coordinator for the Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism contest and is Colorado Pro’s elections chair.

Fred Brown (Term Ends 2021)


I joined SDX (as it was then called) in 1965, just two years after I began working at The Denver Post. I retired from The Post in 2002, after serving in multiple roles, including political editor, editorial writer, columnist and statehouse bureau chief.

Thirty years ago, I was president of Colorado Pro.

I’ve also been Region 9 director, longtime member and occasional chair of the SPJ national ethics committee, national SPJ president and winner of the Wells Key.

I’m now or have been on the boards of Colorado Public Radio, Denver Press Club, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

I’m passionate about responsible journalism. I teach media ethics at the University of Denver, consult on the same topic and am currently working on a new edition of the SPJ Ethics Handbook.  

Cara DeGette (Term Ends 2021)

Info to come.

Dan Mika (Term Ends 2020)

Info to come.

Beth Potter (Term Ends 2021)

Beth Potter returned to the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018 to pursue a doctorate and to teach after working for 25 years as a newspaper editor and reporter both domestically (mostly in Colorado) and overseas.

Potter worked for about 10 years outside of the United States — mainly in the Czech Republic, Iraq, Kenya, the former Yugoslavia and the Caucasus in the former Soviet Union.

She had jobs at the Agence France Presse wire service in Iraq and at Reuters news agency in Kosovo, which is part of the former Yugoslavia.

Most recently, Potter was the editor and publisher of three community weeklies in Colorado.

She previously was a business reporter at the Denver Post and an editor or reporter at other newspapers in Colorado, including the Boulder County Business Report and the Daily Camera in Boulder, and the Times-Call in Longmont.

Rebecca VanGorder (Term Ends 2020)

Info to come.

Marcus Hill (Term Ends 2019)

Marcus Hill copyI’ve been a full-time reporter since 2012, and I’m interested in turning my passion for sports into something bigger further down the road in my career.

I played basketball in high school, and I ran track and cross country and developed a love for all three. I knew that once high school was over, however, I wouldn’t make it on a college team.

Ever since my final year of high school and first year of college (2008) I’ve worked to hone my skills as a writer and journalist. I’m not perfect nor do I ever expect to be. I do attack everything I do with passion and 100 percent effort, whether I completely understand what I’m doing or have to learn it on the fly.

Though I’m more of a spectator when it comes to sports, I turned that passion and desire I used to have to be a great competitor into a passion and desire to become a great journalist. In recent years, it’s become the desire to show people journalists aren’t out just for a story – we want to know details of everyone we encounter.

Past President Kara Mason (Term Ends 2019)

Kara MasonKara Mason is the news editor at the PULP, a monthly newsmagazine for millennials in Southern Colorado, where she also contributes in-depth coverage of local government, economic development and issues facing 18-35 year-olds around the region. Kara has covered all levels of government from Pueblo City Council to the Colorado Statehouse to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her byline also appears in Law Week Colorado and the Cañon City Daily Record. After a professor at CSU-Pueblo encouraged her to join the SPJ Colorado Pro board in 2013 Kara spent two terms serving reporters and editors across the state. She is a fierce follower of the SPJ code of ethics, an advocate for young reporters and a strong believer that being a journalist is the best job ever.

* * *

Region 9 Director, Past President Ed Otte

ed otteEd Otte retired in August 2010 as executive director of the Colorado Press Association.

Before being named to that position in 1995, he served on the CPA board of directors from 1993-1995. Prior to becoming the CPA executive director, Otte worked at the Greeley Tribune from 1980-1995 as city editor, editorial page editor and editor (1990-1995).

While at the Tribune, he was on the adjunct journalism faculty at Colorado State University in Fort Collins from 1991-1995, and served one year as president of the Colorado Associated Press Editors & Reporters. He also won a number of state and national awards for columns and editorials while at the Tribune.

Otte worked in newsrooms from 1969-1980 at the Alamosa Valley Courier, Colorado Springs Sun, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Santa Fe New Mexican and El Paso Times. On Feb. 18, 2011, Otte received the CPA Friend of the First Award “in recognition of his commitment to a free press and the public’s right to know.”

On Aug. 26, 2010, then-Gov. Bill Ritter signed a proclamation declaring the date Ed Otte Day in Colorado, citing his accomplishments in his journalism career. The Colorado High School Press Association gave Otte its Friend of Scholastic Journalism award on Sept. 11, 2004, “in appreciation of his work to improve journalism education.”




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