Established in 2015, SPJ Louisiana Pro works to foster education and networking opportunities for the state’s media professionals while encouraging free speech and a free press.
Sergy Odiduro, President
Sergy Odiduro is a Brooklyn, New York native, and a freelance journalist and producer. A former resident of New Orleans, she now lives in North Louisiana. Most recently, she was a production assistant for Haiti Journal, a Miami based public affairs program on WPBT Channel 2. Prior to this, Sergy was a community news reporter for Forum Publishing Group, a subsidiary of the Sun Sentinel and a broadcast journalist at Radio Soleil D’Haiti. Sergy has been an active member of the Society of Professional Journalists for over a decade. She has served in several South Florida-based board positions. She also served with the South Florida Black Journalists Association in various board capacities. Sergy is a proud but non-confrontational vegetarian, who, when not dreaming about SPJ-related activities, can be found running after her children or hunting for that perfect buttermilk biscuit recipe.
Robert Buckman, Vice President
Robert Buckman, Ph.D., recently retired after 28 years as a journalism professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was faculty adviser of its SPJ chapter since its chartering in 1990. A veteran of Texas journalism, he earned his B.A. and M.A. from Texas Christian University and his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He covered elections in Latin America as a freelancer from 1989-2009, and frequently contributed articles to Quill on threats to press freedom in Latin America. He served a Fulbright Fellowship in Chile in 1991. He was on SPJ’s Ethics Committee from 1996-2010 and is a member of SPJ’s International Journalism Community. He served twice as president of the Southeast Journalism Conference, 1998-99 and 2013-14. As a professor, his philosophy was to stress real-world assignments that could be published in the student newspaper or elsewhere, and to submit as many as possible for awards.
Gregg Trusty, Treasurer
Gregg Trusty, an Indiana native, received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and secondary education from Indiana University. He has worked in various media and Public Relations Departments throughout his career, including the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Bossier Press-Tribune and director of media and public relations at LSU-Shreveport, a position he held until retirement in 2007. He was editor of Louisiana Youth Care Magazine from 1982 to 2009 and has been conference coordinator for the Annual Louisiana Governor’s Conference on Juvenile Justice since 2005. Gregg has been a professional member of the Society of Professional Journalists since 1969.
Freda Yarbrough Dunne, Secretary
A native and lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, Freda Yarbrough Dunne spent 40 years at The Advocate newspaper in various capacities including reporter, features editor and digital media director. Her late husband, Mike Dunne, was an environmental reporter at the newspaper, and inspired her love of the environment. Dunne began teaching as an adjunct at the Manship School of Mass Communication in the fall of 2014 after retiring from The Advocate in 2013. She is a 1973 graduate of the LSU School of Journalism.
Board of Directors
Dr. Tracy Standley is originally from Texas. She began teaching at McNeese State University in Lake Charles in 2000. She earned an MA in Radio/Television from Southern Methodist University and a PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa. Before earning her graduate degrees, she worked in television news production for the 5, 6, and 10 o’clock newscasts in Texas. She is the journalism advisor for the department of Mass Communication at McNeese and the faculty advisor for the McNeese chapter of SPJ. Her research interests include the effects of the media on children.
Melanie Warner Spencer
Melanie Warner Spencer is managing editor of Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile magazines and editor of New Orleans Bride Magazine, New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and Acadiana Weddings Magazine. Spencer is a native Kentuckian, but says she got to New Orleans as fast as she could. For 19 years, Spencer has covered news, lifestyle, design and entertainment at various publications, serving as the design columnist at The Austin American-Statesman, a senior staff reporter at The Houston Chronicle and as the editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Houston Brides magazine. Her work also has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post and Reuters in the United States and across the globe. Melanie is also an award-winning fine art and editorial photographer. She has been honored by the Texas Press Association for her editorial photography, by the Press Club of New Orleans for writing and editing and by the International and Regional Magazine Association for writing, editing and photography. Melanie sits on various nonprofit boards in New Orleans and is currently serving as the President of Press Club of New Orleans. When not making magazines, Melanie enjoys cooking and eating fabulous food, trying out new restaurants, discovering the city’s best happy hours and taking road trips with her husband.
Michael Giusti is the Chairman of the Journalism Department at Loyola University New Orleans, and is the Director for Loyola’s Student Media. Giusti oversees “The Maroon,” Loyola’s award-winning student newspaper, “The Wolf,” the student-run magazine, “The Maroon Minute,” the morning video newscast, and The Maroon Online, the student-run news website. Giusti is also a freelance reporter and contributes articles for several publications based in the United States and abroad covering topics ranging from financial services to the security industry. He has previously worked as an associate editor for “New Orleans City Business” and as a reporter for the “Daytona Beach News-Journal.”
Courtney Jackson is a junior majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in electronic media at Louisiana State University Shreveport. On campus, she serves as a New Student Orientation Leader, Student Government Association Secretary, Secretary of Phi Mu Fraternity, and is currently Miss LSUS 2019. In her free time, she enjoys painting, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends. Her goals are to graduate from college in spring 2021 and go on to obtain a Master’s degree in Communications.
Tryfon Boukouvidis is a graduating Master’s student of Mass Communication at LSU, starting his Ph.D. in the fall of 2018. His research concentrates on media coverage of economic crises. Currently, he covers state politics biweekly for the Manship School News Service, an LSU student wire service. He has a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication at McNeese State University. He is originally from Greece.