John Kirtley

Workshop director and host

sound of life media founder

John founded Sound Of Life Media in 2016.​ Sound Of Life Media offers training and job placement for journalists passionate about visual storytelling. before founding sound of life, John told stories in markets throughout the country, Finishing his newsroom career as the Assistant Chief Photojournalist at WLOS-TV in Asheville, NC.


In his decade-long career as a storyteller, he won numerous awards, including 10 Emmy’s, 5 Edward R. Murrow awards and was named the NPPA’s Ernie Crisp Photojournalist of the Year - Runner-up.

Al tompkins

keynote speaker

senior faculty member

the poynter institute, tampa, fl

Joe Fryer

network correspondent

nbc, los angeles, ca

Matt Pearl

Chief of storytelling

and Development

wxia, atlanta, ga

matt mrozinski

storyteller founder

director of photojournalism

king, seattle, wa

forrest sanders

solo journalist

wsmv, nashville, tn

adrienne broaddus

anchor/solo journalist

kare, minneapolis, mn

eric sander

chief photojournalist

wgcl, atlanta, ga

Al Tompkins is a senior faculty member for broadcast and online at The Poynter Institute, the world’s premiere school for journalists.

For nearly 30 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.

Tompkins has trained thousands of television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his One-Day Storytelling Workshops in 49 states, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Egypt, Ecuador, Cayman and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad on how to investigate and report, build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues.

In 2018, The National Press Photographers Association awarded Tompkins the Sprague Award, the highest honor that NPPA bestows on industry leaders.

Tompkins was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and in 2008 was awarded The Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. During his two and a half decades as a journalist, Tompkins has won the National Emmy, the Peabody Award (group award), the Japan Prize, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, seven National Headliner Awards, two Iris Awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His clients include NBC, CNN, The Weather Channel, CBS, Scripps station group, NBC Broadcast Station Group, Telemundo, Univision, CBC Canada, Global TV Canada, SABC South Africa, Cox Media and scores of other major news organizations, local TV stations, public radio stations, online and social media newsrooms and newspapers. Tompkins is often quoted in newspaper, TV, network, public radio and cable coverage of media stories including NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, NPR Morning Edition and All Things Considered, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Herald and hundreds of others.

He holds an MA in Digital Journalism and Design from the University of South Florida.

Tompkins is the author of the January 2017 Third Edition of Aim For The Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters, which was adopted by more than 150 universities as their main broadcast writing textbook. He co-authored four editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s Newsroom Ethics workbook.

Joe Fryer’s stories are now shared with a national audience.  In 2013, he joined NBC News as a correspondent based in Los Angeles, reporting for NBC Nightly News, TODAY and MSNBC.  He has covered some of the world’s biggest stories, including the Las Vegas mass shooting, Hurricane Harvey, deadly wildfires in California’s Wine Country and the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. 


Before joining the network, Joe was fortunate to work at award-winning TV stations known for great storytelling.  He reported for KING 5 in Seattle, where he focused on in-depth reports and daily assignments.  Joe also spent six years at KARE 11 in Minneapolis, his hometown.  Early in his career, he worked at WTVF-TV in Nashville, WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wis. and WKYT-TV in Lexington, Ky.


Joe’s a proud graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.  He has been honored with four National Edward R. Murrow Awards, including the prestigious Writing Murrow in 2006.  His awards shelf also includes 19 Regional Emmys, 11 Regional Murrows, two National Headliner Awards and the SPJ’s Sigma Delta Chi Award. 

Matt Pearl is the Chief of Storytelling and Development for WXIA-TV in Atlanta. On the air, he reports a weekly long-form franchise called Untold Atlanta and produces half-hour documentaries. Off the air, he specializes in 1-on-1 training and education and speaks regularly at conferences and workshops. Matt has won 24 Southeast regional Emmys, seven regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, and is a four-time NPPA National Solo Video Journalist of the Year. He has reported from the Democratic Convention, presidential Inauguration, the World Series, two Super Bowls, and three Olympic Games.

Matt graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and worked at affiliates in Sioux City, Iowa and Buffalo, NY before heading Atlanta. He runs the Telling the Story blog and podcast, and in 2016 he authored The Solo Video Journalist, a how-to book for aspiring MMJs.

Matt Mrozinski is the Director of Photojournalism at KING 5 News and the founder of Storytellers. He is an eleven-time Emmy award winning photojournalist and has over 28 nominations. He was named a top six finalist three straight years for photojournalism’s highest individual honor, the NPPA Ernie Crisp Photographer of the Year. Mrozinski was runner-up for the award in 2010. Also in 2010, Matt was named the best photojournalist in the nation by his peers as B-Roll,net's Photographer of the Year. He’s a member of four NPPA Station of the Year awards, the award given to the best photojournalism staff in the nation, helped KING 5 win Station of the Year in 2012 and runner-up 2013. As a staff photojournalist at KING 5, Mrozinski won back-to-back National Headliner awards for feature, won the coveted national SPJ Sigma Delta Chi award and was the NPPA West Coast Photographer of the Year in 2013.

Mrozinski routinely volunteers his time to improve journalism across the nation and world. He is the architect of the popular “Storytellers” website and professional community. Over 12,000 journalists and students frequent the site for advice and critique. “Storytellers” is used in university classrooms across the nation. It has become one of the premier resources for professional development and education for video journalism. In 2012, Matt and two of his colleagues used its success to inspire the Northwest Video News Workshop (NWVW) held at KING-TV. He is a faculty member for the legendary NPPA News Video Workshop in Norman, OK, has been a speaker at KNPA, WDIV-TV, Northwest Video Workshop, Seattle University, CUNY in New York, NY, and a contributor at the Ignite Your Passion Workshop in St. Paul, MN. “I’ll do everything I can to help shape the future of journalism”, Mrozinski adds.

Mrozinski loves sports, the outdoors, meeting new people and is a proud Pittsburgh, PA native.

Forrest Sanders is a video journalist at WSMV News 4 in Nashville. A somewhat...'unconventional' path to news, he decided he wanted to write, shoot and edit his own stories in high school after watching The Evil Dead (it's a long story). He's a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and started his career at WBKO in Bowling Green, KY. He's the recipient of 11 regional Emmy Awards and 14 first place Associated Press Awards for work he wrote, shot and edited. He's an active member and strong proponent of the National Press Photographers Association.

Forrest believes in visual, emotion-driven storytelling that emphasizes the uniqueness of the person and situation at the center of the story. He thanks the Kentucky News Photographers Association for arranging for the governor to officially bestow him the title of 'Kentucky colonel.' This designation has made him, yes, Colonel Sanders.

Call letters that spell real words are meant for Adrienne Broaddus. She joined KARE TV in 2014 from WISH-TV, a CBS affiliate in Indianapolis, IN. Adrienne anchors  KARE 11 News at 11 a.m. and shoots her own stories. 

She blames her dad for her journalism career. Pops, as she affectionately calls her dad, made her write.

Adrienne earned her B.A. degree in journalism from Michigan State University where she also worked for her college paper and interned at the Grand Rapids Press. She's currently in graduate school at Ball State University. Adrienne, who loves to collect greeting cards,  worked at stations in Lansing and Saginaw, MI.

Adrienne, an Emmy-award winner,  also won awards from the National Association of Black Journalists,  the Indiana AP Broadcasters Association, the Midwest Broadcasters Association, MN Society of Professional Journalists, MADD, Life Source and the Indiana Broadcasters' Association. 

Before I judge anyone's work, whether for a contest or a critique, I remind myself how important it is to even be exposed to the concept of storytelling in the first place. I've been fortunate as a staff photojournalist to work alongside some incredibly talented people, and I would not be where I am today if they hadn't shared their ideas with me. I grew at WKRG in Mobile and KING in Seattle and all the stations in between, and I did so because of others. But it's easy to tell stories when there's a culture of it, so I took on the challenge of building that culture and moved to Atlanta for the Chief Photographer slot at WGCL. So here I am, twenty years in, and I still love my job. 

alanna delfino


wbff, baltimore, md

Behind her lens, Alanna Delfino finds the special moments needed to turn any kind of news into a good story. As a photojournalist at WBFF in Baltimore, she consistently produces honest, creative and one-of- a-kind stories daily. While shooting day-turns fuels her news heart, working on creative, long-form projects is her true passion.

Alanna is a 2015 (Y55) student graduate and credits the news video workshop for an early on success as a professional in local news. Since joining WBFF’s photography staff in 2016, Alanna was named the 2017 NPPA East Top photojournalist of the year, is a 2017 NPPA Ernie crisp photographer of the year finalist, won her first Regional Emmy and co-Produced her first mini documentary called “Aftershock,” which documents the deadliest year per capita in Baltimore City.

During her final year studying at University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, she worked as an overnight news editor at WUSA9 TV in Bethesda, MD and after graduation, transitioned to a full-time editing coordinator at WJLA ABC7 in Washington, DC. She says, that if it weren’t for her connections made at college NPPA events, she would have never landed a
shooting position in a top storytelling market.

In 2017, Alanna joined UMD’s Merrill College adjunct faculty staff, where she teaches an intermediate news reporting class to undergraduate students. As an instructor, her goal is to educate students on the simple knowledge that quality video, crisp natural sound and subjective sound bites will lead to a well-rounded story. Alanna credits much of her success to professional mentors and hopes to be the same guiding light for her students.

brandi smith


khou, houston, tx

It wasn’t a surprise for Brandi’s parents when she told them she wanted to become a journalist. Though she’d entered the same “Why” stage every other child does, her mother insists she never left it, constantly asking “Why?” “What?” “How?” about the world around her. In college, Brandi figured out she could channel that curiosity into reporting and it has been her passion ever since.


For going on 17 years, Brandi has worked in various markets as a reporter, producer and MMJ. She’s now a morning anchor and reporter for KHOU 11 News in Houston, Texas. Just six months after she started at KHOU, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey flooded her station while devastating the rest of the city. For nearly two hours after KHOU staff evacuated their building, she and photographer Mario Sandoval were the only crew able to provide live coverage. Her experience went viral after she and Mario flagged down deputies to rescue a truck driver stuck in floodwaters. While it’s what most people remember, that was only the beginning of a more than 24-hour shift and several more days in the field covering what was one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history.

Sidney Tompkins

psychotherapist, minister

Sidney Tompkins is a licensed psychotherapist with more than 40 years of clinical practice in marriage and family therapy and workplace stress. Sidney is also an ordained United Methodist minister. She is the wife of a journalist and the mother of a journalist.  She understands the daily stress and trauma that journalists face. Sidney has come to recognize that traumatic stress is severely under-diagnosed in journalism.  Clinical researchers say at least 85% of all journalists have experienced significant workplace stress and a significant number of  U.S. journalists may be suffering from some level of PTSD. These stressors can show up in all sorts of ways including drug and alcohol abuse, divorce and relationship issues and depression. Sidney will help Sound of Life participants learn to spot the symptoms of traumatic stress and offer specific usable ideas for how to manage the daily stress of journalism life.