Incorporators of Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, were:
Carol Nunnelley is an Alabama journalist who led enterprise and investigative reporting at The Birmingham News over three decades, coverage that addressed the city and state’s intractable problems of race, poverty and inept and corrupt government. She was managing editor of The News from 1992 through 2000.
She joined Associated Press Media Editors in 2001 to develop programs that worked with newsrooms across the country, including National Credibility Roundtables Project and NewsTrain. The roundtables project worked with more than 175 news organizations to improve trust between journalists and the public. NewsTrain reached more than 4,000 reporters and editors with affordable regional training. In 2008, Nunnelley received APME’s top award for working for the betterment of journalism.
Beginning as a reporter at The News in 1966, Nunnelley covered Birmingham’s evolving race relations, a subject historically neglected by the newspaper; exposed neglect and abuse in Alabama’s segregated juvenile corrections system; and uncovered misuse of federal dollars intended to alleviate poverty.
As managing editor, Nunnelley oversaw projects on failures in state child protection services and in the oversight of facilities for the elderly; investigations into the application of the death penalty in Alabama and the poor performance of state schools; and reporting on health problems of Gulf War veterans.
Nunnelley is the author of Building Trust in the News, a best-practices guidebook for editors. Since 2009, Nunnelley has been a teacher, writer and editor. She edited Ethnic Media: Their Influence on Politics and Participation, wrote a biography for young readers of the first woman to serve on Alabama’s Supreme Court, and collaborated with H. Brandt Ayers, publisher and columnist at the Anniston Star, on a collection of his writings over 50 years.
Mark Kelly has written about the history, politics and culture of Birmingham and Alabama for most of the past quarter-century. He is now publisher of Weld for Birmingham, a media company that publishes a free weekly newspaper and maintains an online news and information site and blogging network (weldbham.com). Online and in print, Weld, which was launched in 2011, reports on news, politics, arts, culture, entertainment and other items of interest in the Birmingham region. Kelly also is lead columnist for Weld.
He was a reporter and city editor for Black & White, an alternative news weekly, from 1993-98, and worked as an independent writer. He is the author of A Powerful Presence: The Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the History of Birmingham, which Alabama historian Leah Rawls Atkins called “the best narrative history we have of the city and region.”
Kelly also wrote Toward a New Birmingham, a monograph on the life and times of Birmingham’s first African-American mayor, Richard Arrington, Jr., published originally in the Birmingham Weekly. He currently is at work on another book, Back to Nature: A History of Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain.
Kelly also has worked in economic development, government and public relations. He began his professional career with the Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board, from 1987-1993. From 1999-2003, Kelly was a senior advisor to Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid and director of the city’s Office of Public Information. In that job, he helped create TechBirmingham, a public-private partnership to support growth of technology-related industries in the Birmingham area.
Kelly left City Hall in 2003 to return to writing and public relations consulting. In 2006, he served as campaign manager for Patricia Todd, whose election to the Alabama House of Representatives made her the first openly gay elected official in Alabama history.
Jerome Lanning is a Birmingham attorney who is active in the work of Alabama non-profits.
Lanning is of counsel with Butler Snow LLP. He is in the firm’s finance and real estate group.
Lanning also is Vice President and General Counsel of Freshwater Land Trust, a Birmingham-based group that acquires, conserves and connects open spaces that are critical for the protection of rivers and streams and that provide recreation for the community.
Prior to joining Butler Snow this year, Lanning practiced with Johnston Barton Procter & Rose LLP in Birmingham for 49 years. He graduated from Amherst College and received his law degree from the University of Alabama.