Amanda Senn introduced us to Liz Sidoti, the daughter of former President Roger, whose storied career in journalism began when she was 10 years old and delivering her newspaper route and, according to Liz, “reading every newspaper I could.”  Liz graduated from Roosevelt in 1993 and at the age of 17 enrolled in the Scripps School of Journalism program at Ohio University going on from there to Associated Press in Ohio starting in Cincinnati and then Columbus before going on to the national bureau of Associated Press where she eventually became AP’s politics writer for the nation during the Bush and Obama years.
After 20 years and feeling burned out and with journalism in great flux because of the advent of social media, Liz said she changed careers and got a job in public relations with British Petroleum, which gave her the perspective of multinational corporations.   She was then recruited by her current employer Abernathy MacGregor, a leading public relations firm that was expanding from New York City into Washington DC and realized it needed someone who could help their clients tell their story to the federal government.  She has since been named a managing director of the firm.  With her great success on the national stage, Liz nevertheless credits the values she learned in her family and growing up in Kent with forming her as a person.  Her husband, Andy, Davis, who works for the CATO Institute, a conservative think tank, and their less than a year-old daughter, Norah Quin Davis, return to Kent regularly to see their parents.   They see Joe and Carol Danks, who reside in the Washington area, but have ties to Kent because Joe was a faculty member and then administrator at Kent State, and Carol taught at Roosevelt where she had a positive and lasting influence on many of her students.  Liz said social media have demolished much of the old journalistic model and the future of journalism is in flux.  She expressed admiration for David Brooks, the institutionalist conservative who writes for the New York Times and provides PBS commentary Friday evenings.  She mentioned The Portager, the new digital newspaper in Portage County.   In response to a question about social media, she said some kind of regulation must occur even if the social media try to say they are merely the common carriers of the message.  “They are really publishers,” she said.  In response to another question, she said that Kent has improved so much and needs more hotels or Airbnb’s so it can better share it story with those who want to visit it.  In response to another question, she said the teaching of journalism is extremely challenging in these times.  Liz teaches a graduate course in the field at Georgetown University where she said her students want to know more about how modern journalism, corporate public relations, and government intersect.