Our Judges

Tom Hallman Jr.

Tom Hallman Jr.

tomhallman.com

Tom Hallman Jr. is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author. He's been on staff at The Oregonian for more than 35 years where he is now a senior reporter. Hallman has written numerous stories for Reader's Digest, and won every major feature writing award, some multiple times. He was twice a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, and won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. Hallman has published several books. His journalism and nonfiction narrative stories explore the significance of big moments and small and their impact on a life. Fun fact, Hallman was once an answer to a question on the television show Jeopardy.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott

chriselliotts.com

Christopher Elliott is an award-winning author, consumer advocate and journalist. His investigative reporting on behalf of readers, often against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, has earned him a reputation as “every consumer’s best friend.”
He also writes The Travel Troubleshooter, which is syndicated by King Features. You can find it in newspapers across the country, from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Boston Globe. He pens a weekly column for the Washington Post called The Navigator, which focuses on being a smarter, more informed traveler, with a special emphasis on transportation policy. He also writes USA Today’s weekly On Travel column. The feature helps travelers understand the inner workings of the travel industry, and how to make the most of their next trip. Christopher is Money Magazine’s reader advocate, helping readers resolve everyday conflicts with companies and organizations and helping them to avoid future problems.

Mary Ellen Walsh

Mary Ellen Walsh

maryellenwalshwriter.com

Mary Ellen Walsh is an award-winning writer whose work has been published in Newsday, New York Daily News, LI Pulse, and Long Island Press, Scary Mommy website and elsewhere. Her Patch.com “MEWsings” column won awards for humor writing from the Society of Professional Journalists (PCLI). She spent a decade in New York City public relations agencies strategizing campaigns and writing communication materials: press kits, speeches for spokespersons’ television appearances, and more for internationally recognized brands such as Glad® Bags and Pedigree® Food for Dogs. Walsh holds a BA in Literature and Publishing Studies from Hofstra University and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook Southampton. Walsh is known for helping clients write non-fiction books as well as novels. She teaches journalism and writing at universities on Long Island, New York and mentors high school students in perfecting any form of their writing craft.

Kristin Bender

Kristin Bender

KTVU Channel 2

Kristin J. Bender is an award-winning reporter with over 25 years of experience at outlets including The Oakland Tribute and Associated Press. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, HuffPost, ABC news, Fox News, USA Today, and The Boston Globe among many others. She currently works as a reporter and writer at KTVU Channel 2 where she covers news, features, and investigative stories for the KTVU website, as well as writes newscast scripts covering local, statewide, national, and international stories. Kristin has covered everything from municipal government, to the fight for marriage equality, to presidential visits and North Korea-U.S. relations. Kristin holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Francisco State University.

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Bulldog Reporter

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.