Meet the O-D

Matt Becker

Sports Editor

Phone: 792-5030
Twitter: @OD_Becker

Role: I coordinate the coverage of our local sports scene, from recreation to high school to college and beyond.

Experience/education: I've been working in newspapers for 12 years. I've been at the Observer-Dispatch since 2007, and I've been sports editor since 2011. I'm a 2003 graduate of Cayuga Community College and a 2005 graduate of Syracuse University.

Hobbies: Hiking, camping, reading, cooking, baking and watching TV (not necessarily in that order).

Rob Booth

Night Web Editor

Phone: 792-5017

Role: Updating and Facebook with latest local, state, national and world news. Also edit night stories for print.

Experience/education: Graduate of Whitesboro, MVCC and SUNY at Marcy. Started off in the O-D's circulation department in early '80s, then transferred to the newsroom in late '80s as a clerk. Held various reporting beats in the '90s before joining the copy desk as a page designer. Became night editor in the mid-2000s, and then was the breaking news editor before taking on my current job as night web editor.

Hobbies: Music: drums, guitar and keyboard. Sports: follow Tennessee Titans and New Jersey Devils. Enjoy anything crime-related as far as reading / watching TV.

Carolyn Bostick

Editorial Assistant / Community Reporter

Phone: 792-5075
Twitter: @OD_Bostick

Role: Compiling community briefs and local entertainment news, covering Operation Sunshine and writing the "Age and Wisdom" column.

Experience/education: Bachelor's degree in English from Siena College, where I was an honors fellow and earned an English honors certificate. Graduated from Sauquoit Valley High School.

Hobbies: Reading, catching movies and both viewing and acting in local theater when the fancy strikes.

Ned Campbell

Rome, western Oneida County and eastern Madison County

Phone: 792-5013
Twitter: @OD_Nedcampbell

Beat: I report on government and neighborhood news in Rome, western Oneida County and eastern Madison County.

Experience/education: Before coming to the O-D, I was an editor at Eagle Newspapers, a group of weekly newspapers based in Syracuse, N.Y. I earned bachelorís degrees in music and English from SUNY Fredonia, where I also served as the managing editor of the student-run newspaper, The Leader.

Hobbies: My hobbies include watching Syracuse University basketball and football, hiking in the Adirondacks and writing music, to name but a few.

Keshia Clukey

Education reporter

Phone: 792-4956
Twitter: @OD_Clukey

Beat: I cover all of the area school districts, as well as institutions of higher education. This includes everything from education trends to budget issues.

Experience/education: Originally from Plattsburgh, I earned my bachelorís degree in journalism from Utica College, with a concentration in visual communication. I then completed my masterís degree in investigative journalism from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. I worked freelance for the Press-Republican in Plattsburgh before working as a full-time reporter for The Recorder in Amsterdam, N.Y. My beat included education, town and county government as well as breaking news. I came to work for the Observer-Dispatch in February 2011 and have worked several beats including agriculture, business and covering the towns of Kirkland, New Hartford and Whitestown.

Hobbies: Not a fan of collecting moss, I enjoy everything from baking to hiking. I enjoy getting outside and enjoying all the area has to offer. I have also been in several plays through North Country Stage, and am an avid crafter. I enjoy decoupaging and knitting, and am known for saying "I can make that!"

Elizabeth Cooper

Government impact and Oneida County

Phone: 792-5006
Twitter: @OD_Cooper

Beat: I follow the impact of county, state and federal policies on local residents, and follow local politics.

Experience/education: Iíve been at the O-D for a decade. Before coming here, I did a year-long stint at a weekly in Queens. Journalism was not my first career, however. I also spent a decade working in museums and education in New York City and Cooperstown.

Hobbies: Iíve now got twin 2-year-olds at home, so there isnít much time to do more than take care of them. Once upon a time I enjoyed swimming and cross-country skiing in the Cooperstown area where I live.

Anne Delaney

Sports reporter

Phone: 792-4963
Twitter: @OD_Delaney

Beat: Whatever Iím given. In this evolving era of journalism, we have to be versatile. My work leans to coverage of high school sports and luge, but itís most accurate to describe my beat as general assignment. Reporting, interviewing, writing and editing are core, fundamental skills; what changes is how we use those skills day-to-day and itís that variety that makes this job interesting.

Experience/education: Nearly 13 years of experience as a sports reporter at the Observer-Dispatch in Utica, N.Y. I have a masterís degree in journalism from Boston University and a bachelor's degree in mass communication from St. Bonaventure University. Before beginning graduate school at Boston University in 1999, I worked at ESPN for seven years in several different positions - the most recent at and that rekindled my interest in editorial work.

Mark DiOrio

Photo Editor

Phone: 792-5079
Twitter: OD_DiOrio

Role:As a photo editor, I assist with planning photographs and visuals for stories and deciding which images will run in the paper. I also take photos of general news, breaking news, features, and sports events on a regular basis.

Experience/education: Master's degree in photography from Syracuse University; bachelor's degree in fine art from Purchase College; associate degree in fine art from MWPAI; more than four years as a news photographer at The Villages Daily Sun in Florida, and internships at The Deseret News in Salt Lake City, Utah, The Times in Shreveport, La., and The Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y.

Hobbies: Photography (obviously), fishing, camping, hiking, road and mountain biking, road trips, and eating all the various foods the Mohawk Valley has to offer.

Amanda Fries

New Hartford, agriculture and the environment

Phone: 792-4995
Twitter: @OD_Fries

Beat: I write about government and community issues in New Hartford. I also delve into environmental and agricultural issues in the Mohawk Valley. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty.

Experience/education: I studied journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, where upon graduation I worked freelance for The O-D is my first full-time job in the field, and Iíve been here for two years, starting off as a web/night cops reporter.

Hobbies: Hiking, running and walking my dog. I hope to get into gardening this spring (afterall, I am the agriculture reporter!) When I have the time, I also knit and make earrings. To put it simply, I dabble in a lot of things.

Pam Holmes

Community News Editor / Newsroom Administrator

Phone: 792-5005

Role: Supervise the editorial assistants, assistant to the editor, prepare and monitor the newsroom's financial budget and expenses, oversee community news and 315 content, monitor and approve calendar items, and much more!

Experience/education: I was born and raised in the Mohawk Valley. I have worked at the O-D for 24 years. I worked in the human resources department for one year and then transferred to the newsroom in 1990.

Hobbies: Baking, scrapbooking, walking, reading and spending time with my family.

Steve Hughes

Utica City Hall reporter

Phone: 792-5063
Twitter: @OD_Hughes

Beat: I cover the city of Utica, from city government to neighborhood issues.

Experience/education: Former business/towns reporter for the Cortland Standard. I received an M.A. in magazine, newspaper and online journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 2011 and a B.A. in political science from SUNY Geneseo in 2010.

Hobbies: Reading everything and anything, running, triathlons and adventures. New York Giants, Syracuse University everything and the Toronto Blue Jays. Adrenaline junkie.

Ron Johns

Managing Editor

Phone: 792-5008

Role: I manage the newsroom staff through a team of section editors and supervisors. I work with other O-D departments on a daily basis to troubleshoot problems and represent newsroom interests. As well as being a member of the editorial board and acting as the intern coordinator, I keep myself busy by editing stories, creating informational graphics, shooting photos and troubleshooting newsroom PCs when needed.

Experience/education: I came to the Observer-Dispatch in 1985 as a paste-up artist, straight out of college. I worked in the ad production department until 1994, then moved to the newsroom as a copy editor and page designer. Various promotions from systems editor, to design editor to production editor led to the managing editor position in 2011.

Hobbies: I enjoy photography, fly fishing and working on cars, and have been known to throw a basketball from time to time.

Rocco LaDuca

Cops & Courts reporter

Phone: 792-5037
Twitter: @OD_LaDuca

Beat: Finding the compelling stories behind the headlines of the Mohawk Valleyís most quirky to most tragic moments in crime, and following them through to their ultimate ending in the court system.

Experience/education: Joined the O-D in 2004 with a masterís degree in print journalism from Syracuse Universityís S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a communications degree from SUNY Geneseo.

Hobbies: When Iím not flipping through books and drinking coffee at Barnes & Noble, Iím either rocking to Everclear music, enjoying the outdoors, playing a good game of pool or trying to keep my cats, Mulder and Scully, from getting into trouble.

Barbara Laible

Editorial Assistant

Phone: 792-5065

Role: Community News Coordinator, occasional column in Off The Clock, handles birth announcements, religion briefs, latest news, compiles lists for holidays and other occasions.

Experience/education: Bachelor's Degree in communications from SUNY Fredonia. Twenty-three years in advertising at the O-D plus eight in the newsroom.

Ron Moshier

Sports writer

Phone: 792-5031
Twitter: @OD_Moshier

Beat: High school/college sports (focusing primarily on football, basketball, hockey, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse and track).

Experience/education: I have written about high school, college, and professional sports in Central New York for nearly 35 years, including game coverage, profiles of local athletes, and human-interest features. I am a 1975 graduate of Richfield Springs Central School, where I was captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. After graduating from SUNY Cortland with a degree in physical education/journalism in 1979, I worked at the Observer-Dispatch/Daily Press for a year before taking over as the sports editor of the Evening Telegram in Herkimer. After two years there, I returned to Cortland and was a sports writer for the Cortland Standard until 1986, and I have been a member of the O-D sports staff ever since.

Hobbies: I am an avid New York Giants football fan who also enjoys playing basketball, tennis, cycling, running, fishing and hiking.

Fran Perritano

Local news editor

Phone: 792-4956

Role: Editor of local news content.

Experience/education: 37-year veteran of the Observer-Dispatch. 1975 graduate of Utica College with degrees in journalism and speech communications. 1971 graduate of Thomas R. Proctor High School.

Hobbies: New York Yankees and Giants fan, Wii Fit, reading on my Kindle Fire.

John Pitarresi

College sports, outdoors

Phone: 792-5032
Twitter: OD_Pitarresi

Beat: Cover college sports but also everything else that has to do with sports in the Mohawk Valley -- from youth leagues to the pros. Also have written the outdoor column for 33 years.

Experience/education: 40 years full-time, 1 year part-time, graduate of Hamilton College.

Hobbies: Fishing, hunting, golf, hiking and -- occasionally -- reading.

Courtney Potts

Digital Editor

Phone: 792-5089
Twitter: @OD_Potts

Role: I'm primarily responsible for updating and our social media pages ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) throughout the day, but I also cover breaking news from time to time as needed. Additionally, I provide tech support and encouragement for our amazing team of Community Bloggers, design graphics and special pages for our website, and oversee the Sunday Living section (for which I used to write a weekly column called "That Reminds Me."

Experience/education: I received a bachelor's degree in communication from Cornell University in 2006 and a master's degree in magazine, newspaper and online journalism from Syracuse University in 2007. I joined the O-D as the Whitestown reporter in 2008, and went on to hold three other positions -- features writer, breaking news reporter and features editor -- before taking over my current role in Feb. 2012.

Hobbies: Reading, watching bad reality TV and driving to Pennsylvania. I will also be teaching a class on reporting at Utica College for Spring 2014.

Amy Neff Roth

Health reporter

Phone: 792-5166
Twitter: @OD_roth

Beat: I write about health and wellness, medical news, the health care system, public health and public policy on health issues.

Education/experience: Nine years reporting for the Bucks County Courier Times in Pennsylvania as a health reporter and as a geographic beat reporter. B.A. in history and French from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.S. in print journalism from Boston University.

Hobbies: I have three daughters and many pets.

Tina Russell


Phone: 792-4956

Role: I photograph and take video for everything you see in the newspaper, including breaking news, events, sports and environmental portraits. I occasionally write copy blocks as well.

Experience/education: I previously worked as a photographer at The Villages Daily Sun in The Villages, Florida. I graduated with a degree in visual communications at The University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla.

Hobbies: Hiking, canoeing, and creating delicious vegan food.

Sara Tracey

Town of New Hartford, features, religion and diversity

Phone: 792-5015
Twitter: @OD_tracey

Beat: I write municipality news for the Town of New Hartford, but also focus on the local arts and entertainment community, as well as the varied religious scene. I tell the stories of the large refugee and immigrant populations through the "Who We Are" series. Though my beats are varied, my goal is the same: to tell community-based stories in an interesting way.

Experience/education: B.S. in newspaper journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2012; various internships with the Syracuse Post-Standard, Albany Times Union and the Schenectady Gazette.

Hobbies: If it involves food, music or a comfortable chair, Iím probably there. Iím still trying to learn about my new home in Central New York.

Philip A. Vanno

Suburbs, business trends

Phone: 792-5074
Twitter: @OD_Vanno

Beat: Cover Whitestown, Kirkland and all villages within, as well as how business trends are playing out locally.

Experience/education: Started at the Observer-Dispatch in January 2013. Was the cops and courts reporter for The Record in Troy, N.Y. from 1999 to 2004. Articles also appeared in The Saratogian and Clifton Park Community News. Graduated from Utica College in 1999 with a bachelor of science in journalism studies.

Hobbies: Spending time with my wife and two sons. Co-hosting a radio show on WPNR 90.7 FM in Utica.