Staff & Board
Meet the Staff
Joanna Detz, publisher, co-founder
Joanna has an interest in social-justice journalism that stems back to the first time she read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” a book that also, incidentally, set her on the path to a beef-free lifestyle. After a brief foray into journalism, which included a stint at CNN’s Washington bureau during the 1996 presidential election, she turned to a career in graphic design. A designer for more than 10 years now, she still has mixed feelings about Helvetica. Joanna has a passion for the free press and believes in the power of community journalism.
Bonnie Phillips, editor
Bonnie has worked in the news industry for more than 30 years. A graduate of The University of Rhode Island, she started her career at The North Kingstown Standard-Times. From there, she worked at The Woonsocket Call, the Lynn (Mass.) Daily Item, and the Middletown (Conn.) Press. She spent the majority of her career — 19 years — as an editor at the Hartford Courant. She was part of the Courant newsroom team that won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting and was also part of the team that were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for the coverage of the Sandy Hook school shootings. She left The Courant in 2016 and worked as the deputy editor of the Connecticut Health Investigative Team, a nonprofit news site. She also is an adjunct journalism professor at The University of Connecticut.
Frank Carini, senior reporter, co-founder
[email protected] / 401-678-0206
Frank has 32 years of journalism experience, and has spent time as a reporter, an editor, and a darkroom technician, back when there was something called film. He has worked at a variety of publications in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Rhode Island, including a metropolitan daily, a small daily newspaper, an alternative weekly, and several community weeklies. He believes giving voice to the marginalized and disenfranchised is journalism’s core principle.
Colleen Cronin, reporter
Prior to joining ecoRI News as a Report for America corps member, Colleen worked as a digital producer and metro correspondent at The Boston Globe. She also worked on a project investigating the opioid epidemic in Rhode Island, freelanced for The New York Times, and interned at People Magazine. She began her journalism career at The Brown Daily Herald, covering local politics, the college admissions scandal, and the university’s response to COVID-19. She eventually worked her way up to the role of editor-in-chief and president. Colleen studied and speaks Spanish.
Rob Smith, reporter
Rob’s enthusiasm for environmental reporting began with a middle-school report on fish kills in Greenwich Bay. Most recently, he worked as news editor at an alt-monthly, watchdogging state government response to COVID-19 and investigating underreported local issues. Rob believes in the old truism of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. In his spare time, Rob enjoys running, biking and photography.
Board of Directors
Emily Koo, President
Emily is committed to centering racial equity in developing transformative solutions to the climate crisis. She currently serves as senior policy advocate and Rhode Island program director for Acadia Center, and prior to that, she spent many years working for the city of Providence. She serves on the board of directors for Green Energy Consumers Alliance and is a member of the State of Rhode Island’s Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council advisory board.
Mike Stanton, Vice President
Mike is a journalism professor at the University of Connecticut and was a longtime reporter at The Providence Journal, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. The author of two books, “The Prince of Providence” and “Unbeaten,” he still lives in Rhode Island.
Tom Ferrio, Treasurer
After 30-plus years with Texas Instruments, Tom is happy to have time to contribute to nonprofit and community organizations. He serves on multiple boards and as a volunteer firefighter. “Tanker Tom” never dreamt of driving fire trucks in a town without hydrants, but life sometimes leads you to interesting places.
David Dadekian, Secretary
President and primary writer/editor of Eat Drink RI; “RI’s unofficial Food Laureate” — Philip Eil, Providence Phoenix; PR Director for Blackbird Farm; Past Chair of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council; Rhode Island Foundation 2014 Innovation Fellow; writer/photographer; husband and father of two girls; David also dislikes writing in the third person.
Victor is a data integrity specialist for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He enjoys spending his free time at home with his dog Emma and cooking.
Bob is a printer, co-founder of a hyper-local news website and has been happily married since 1979. He moved to Rhode Island for the beaches, and if he could, would ice skate every day of the year.
Meg is a senior fellow at the Conservation Law Foundation. She served as chairperson of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission and Energy Facility Siting Board. Prior to holding that position, she was the United States Attorney for Rhode Island.
Throughout her 15-year communications career, Katherine has led public relations and communication efforts for the City of Providence, Johnson & Wales University, RI Resource Recovery Corporation, and two-statewide political campaigns. Currently, she oversees strategic communications and community relations for the newly established School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Providence College.
Kathleen has more than 30 years’ experience in the finance field and volunteers at Project Hand Up, where she helps distribute food that would otherwise go to waste to families in need. She is married with two children and has always lived in Rhode Island, where she enjoys gardening, golf, and hiking the state’s management areas
Pearl is the media chair of the AFSCME Rhode Island Retirees Chapter 94.
Robin spent more than 30 years in the film business, overseeing continuity on major films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, Hitch, and Analyze This. When she returned home to Rhode Island, she founded The Granny Squibb Company. She is a devoted gardener, lover of Narragansett Bay, and sailing.
Aaron has a long-time interest in conservation, and an abiding love for the environment. He believes nature knows no boundaries, borderlines, or barriers, and should be accessible to everyone. Aaron is an AmeriCorps alum, former Appalachian Mountain Club hut naturalist, lifelong birder, and a native Rhode Islander. You can find him exploring the shoreline, counting birds in a city park, or listening to tunes at a local music venue.
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