Merrill Series 2016

Politics and the Media: The 2016 Presidential Election

Friday, October 14, 6 p.m. at the School


David Kravitz '82

David Kravitz graduated magna cum laude in 1993 from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as Executive Article Editor of the Michigan Law Review. He was a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 1994-95, and for then-U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Breyer in 1993-94. After his clerkships, he worked as a litigation associate at Ropes & Gray, as Deputy Legal Counsel to Massachusetts Governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci, and as Counsel to Murphy & King. In 2004 he co-founded, a widely-read political blog covering Massachusetts and national law, politics, and policy. He presently works full-time as a professional opera singer.


Jen Bluestein '90

Jen Bluestein is a seasoned strategist in politics, public affairs, and advocacy. She's spent time at some of the nation's top media outlets, non-profits, and on high-profile advocacy and electoral campaigns. She led Teach For America's efforts to build their alumni into a powerful force in politics, policy, and advocacy; helped Bono and the One Campaign achieve historic commitments from the US to fight disease and poverty in Africa; worked to elect Cory Booker the Mayor of Newark, NJ; and joined former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and NASA Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly to launch their new anti-gun violence organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Along the way, she represented magazines like Harper's, The New Yorker, and the New Republic and worked on political campaigns at all levels of government up and down the East Coast. As the Director of Communications and Research at EMILY's List, the nation's largest resource for women in politics, during the 2010 and 2012 cycles, Jen helped EMILY's List grow to a record 2million-plus members, elect a historic number of women to Congress, and raise $52 million to support women's leadership.

At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Jen is Deputy Director of Policy, Advocacy and Communications for the US Program. She leads the Foundation’s work on Common Core State Standards advocacy, supports a portfolio of multi-state advocacy organizations, civil rights organizations, and strategic analytics efforts working on early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education, and is focused on building a robust and effective communications team and refining approaches to organizing and mobilizing. Jen began her career in education advocacy as Press Secretary for NYC Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew during the administration of Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Bluestein lives in Alexandria, VA.

Joe Dinkin '02

Joe Dinkin is the National Communications Director for the Working Families Party. In that capacity, he develops and executes strategies to leverage print, broadcast and digital media to advance campaigns for justice and equality. He also manages WFP's fast-growing digital engagement program and its creative campaign services department. Joe is a campaign veteran, having developed earned and paid media plans for numerous successful state and local candidates.

Previously, Joe was the Communications Director for WFP in New York and in Connecticut. Joe started at Working Families on the field canvass in 2004, knocking on doors to raise the minimum wage. He has a degree in film from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Diantha Parker '90

Diantha Parker is a multimedia journalist and producer based in New York City. She is currently Editor and Senior Audio Producer at The New York Times. Her work has aired on such outlets as NPR and the BBC, and she has produced and hosted podcasts for a range of entities. Additionally, Diantha teaches radio reporting and production at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She previously served as producer, editor, and director of such NPR shows as All Things Considered and Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me, which she helped launch before working as a reporter at WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio, where she developed the criminal justice and business beats. Diantha has a degree in English from McGill University.

Nina Pillard '78

Judge Pillard was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals in December 2013. She graduated from Yale College in 1983 and Harvard Law School in 1987. Following graduation, she served as a law clerk to Judge Louis H. Pollak (1987-1988), and held the Marvin M. Karpatkin fellowship at the American Civil Liberties Union (1988-1989). From 1989 to 1994 she was Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. She served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States from 1994 to 1997. In 1997, Pillard joined the tenure-track faculty at Georgetown Law. She served from 1998 to 2000 as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. Pillard returned to Georgetown Law, received tenure, and served from 2008 to 2009 as inaugural Academic Co-Director and Professor at the Center for Transnational Legal Studies, a London-based, Georgetown-led law study program conducted in collaboration with law schools from many different countries. Pillard was an active member of the Georgetown Law Supreme Court Institute (SCI) from its founding in 2003, and became SCI Faculty Co-Director in 2011. She was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars during 2012-2013. Pillard remained a full professor at Georgetown Law until her appointment as U.S. Circuit Judge. Pillard and her husband and teenage children live in Washington, D.C.

Jeffrey "JJ" Sutherland '88

JJ is the Chief Content Officer of Scrum Inc. and the co-author Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. He helms Scrum Inc.'s mission driven content practice through books, papers, articles, and online media.

For much of the last fifteen years JJ spent most of his time covering wars, natural disasters, and revolutions across the planet for National Public Radio. He ran NPR's coverage of the Arab Spring in Egypt and Libya, was Baghdad Bureau Chief from 2004-201, reported from Afghanistan and Lebanon, and served as Pentagon correspondent. When not in war zones, JJ reported directly to senior management as a trouble shooter. He founded NPR's West Coast headquarters, started three news magazines, ran the online newsroom, and brought NPR into the social media age as NPR's first blogger.