Maria Saporta, editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state. Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.
David Pendered, managing editor, is an Atlanta journalist with 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.
Judith Service Montier is a marketing and communications executive with 20+ years of experience in the Arts & Cultural and Non-Profit sectors. She is COO and Chief Brand Ambassador for Chez Montier, a chef-driven, boutique catering company founded by her husband, Juan Montier. Judith most recently served as vice president of Marketing for The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc. where she played a vital role in launching this award-winning, interactive museum. In this capacity, Judith and her team secured extensive local, national and international PR and media coverage to announce The Center’s opening and created the foundational marketing platform for the institution.Before bringing her skills and talents to her work at The Center, Judith served as vice president of Marketing & Communications for United Way of Greater Atlanta. She also served as the director of Marketing and Corporate Sponsorship for the National Black Arts Festival, the entertainment manager of the Olympic Village for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and worked for superstar Diana Ross. Judith is a graduate of Dartmouth College. She serves on the board ofC.H.O.I.C.E.S. (Center for Helping Obesity in Children End Successfully) and the Rialto Center for the Arts. She is an alumna of Leadership Atlanta, class of2013. Judith is married to Juan Montier, a chef with a background in architecture and interior design. They have two sons and reside in Decatur, GA.
Eleanor Ringel Cater, movie critic, was the film critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for almost 30 years. She was nominated multiple times for a Pulitzer Prize. She won the Best of Cox Critic, IMAGE Film & Video and Women In Film awards. An Atlanta native, she graduated from Westminster and Brown University. She was the critic on WXIA’s Noonday, a member of Entertainment Weekly’s Critics Grid and wrote TV Guide’s movie/DVD. She is member of the National Society of Film Critics and currently talks about movies on WMLB and writes the Time Out column for the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Tom Baxter, columnist, has written about politics and the South for more than four decades. He was national editor and chief political correspondent at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and later edited The Southern Political Report, an online publication, for four years. Tom was the consultant for the 2008 election night coverage sponsored jointly by Current TV, Digg and Twitter, and a 2011 fellow at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. He recently surveyed the impact of Georgia’s immigration law in a report for the Center for American Progress. Tom and his wife, Lili, have three adult children and seven grandchildren.
Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to the heart of the matter, Lance’s instincts are tailor-made for today’s “media bite” culture. Brief, poignant and always entertaining, Lance’s current passion is bringing Atlanta’s colorful and inspiring past to life with his “rest of the story” style video series, Stories of Atlanta. “History’s best communicators,” says Lance, “have always been storytellers. It’s in our DNA. ‘Once upon a time’ is how we got to where we are now.”
Lyle V. Harris is an Atlanta-based public relations professional, journalist and entrepreneur. He has built a reputation for crafting innovative public relations and marketing campaigns that garner national attention and accolades. In 2016, Lyle launched BounceATL, a lifestyle concept that aims to transform Atlanta through the profound power of ping-pong, music and food.
From 2009 to 2016, Lyle served as Chief Spokesman for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). In addition to his media duties, Lyle spearheaded flagship initiatives such as the MARTA arts program, the MARTA Army and a successful crowdsourcing campaign that led to the installation of bike repair racks at the transit system’s rail stations. Earlier in his career, Lyle worked for 25 years as an award-winning journalist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Record of New Jersey and the Washington Post.
Paula Hovater is seasoned and polished in professional communications. She graduated cum laude from Samford University with a B.A. in English. Her first corporate position was as newsletter editor for Texas Instruments in Johnson City, Tennessee. She spent the next seven years at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising in Honolulu and Atlanta, where she developed broad experience in training, public relations, community events and media relations. In 1989, Paula created Public Affairs, her own public relations consulting firm.
Britton Edwards is a “Jill of all trades” who provides administrative support, curates content for the Photo Picks section, works with our amazing Thought Leaders and is a digital marketing specialist living in Kirkwood. She comes to Saporta Report after a working for Atlanta based social media agency Everywhere. While at Everywhere Britton worked with Fortune 500 companies such as Macy’s, Coca-Cola, Novelis, IMAX and LexisNexis as well as many local non-profits. When she’s not online Britton loves exploring Atlanta’s rich restaurant and music scene and spending time with her family exploring Atlanta’s parks & attractions.
Cara Hebert, digital marketing, is a recent addition to the Saporta Report. She was born in Charlotte, N.C. but grew up all around the world. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in journalism, Cara went on to work at the McClatchy News publishing center at the Charlotte Observer. An avid beer connoisseur, Cara is happy to live a half mile down the road from the Sweet Water Brewery. While she has a special interest in sports, Cara is currently working on helping to brand SaportaReport and expand its online presence.
Chris Schroder, a founding member of SaportaReport, continues to be a minority partner. Before starting his PR firm in 2002, Chris worked for six Southeast daily newspapers as a reporter, editor, marketing and advertising executive (including the Charlotte Observer, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Fulton County Daily Report) before starting his own chain of neighborhood newspapers in Virginia-Highland, Buckhead and Downtown Atlanta in 1994. A fifth-generation Atlantan, Chris graduated from the Westminster Schools and the University of Virginia. He is married to Jan Butsch Schroder and has four young adult children and stepchildren.
Melissa Severino is a Senior Psychology student at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA. For the past 6 years she has worked with Foot Locker Inc. as Head Cashier, Visual Manager, and Operations Manager. What she likes most about Atlanta is the artwork that is displayed throughout the city from the Beltline to the Living Walls.
Jennifer Russell is a native Atlantan. Over several years working in the film and television business, she developed strong planning and coordination skills. A graduate of Georgia State University, she has applied her organizational skills for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. She excels at keeping projects organized, prepared, and running smoothly and, in recent years, has added to her resume very strong skills in research and discovery. Jennifer enjoys immersing herself in her hometown’s relatively brief but fascinating history.
Joseph Ferguson is digital news media expect. Since earning his degree is in Political Science in 2016, Joseph has written about news, politics and government affairs for the last 2 years. He has 4 years of experience writing, shooting, editing, and researching videos centered around news. Joseph has recently moved to Atlanta and is loving the ATL life.
Our Pledge to Readers:
Because the world of journalism and communications is ever changing with new channels and ways to deliver information, we want to maintain as much transparency as possible. We will strive to maintain high journalistic standards and will disclose any vested interests or relationships in stories and columns on SaportaReport.com.
Advertising and Thought Leadership positions are being sold on the site, but there will be no quid-pro-quo that advertisers and sponsors will receive special treatment on the site. But it is highly likely that some of our sponsors and advertisers on the site would have views parallel to ours. To keep the line between advertising and editorial content separate, Sharmen and Jeff will handle the selling of ads and Thought Leadership positions on the site.