Ad Fontes Media Team
Meet the people behind the chart.
Founder and CEO
Vanessa is a former patent attorney in the Denver, Colorado area with a B.A. in English from UCLA and a J.D. from the University of Denver. She is the original creator of the Media Bias Chart (October 2016), and founded Ad Fontes Media in February of 2018 to fulfill the need revealed by the popularity of the chart — the need for a map to help people navigate the complex media landscape, and for comprehensive content analysis of media sources themselves. Vanessa regularly speaks on the topic of media bias and polarization to a variety of audiences.
Who We Are
The Ad Fontes team is made up of diverse people from various backgrounds, ages and education. Here’s a snapshot of our team’s demographics compared to data from the U.S. Census. To view more data, visit our dashboard. Find out more information about our management team and analyst team below.
Chief Technology Officer
Don Hussen is an investor, advisor, and founder of a nimble data consulting company that specializes in infrastructure, data science and analytics. He brings his expertise in data engineering and machine learning, as well as a passion for addressing media bias and misinformation, to lead Ad Fontes Media’s rating technology development.
Chief Strategy Officer
Lou Paskalis is Chief Strategy Officer of Ad Fontes Media a Public Benefit company that is dedicated to restoring advertisers’ investments in reaching audiences in quality news journalism with a unique technology that allows them to measure, mitigate and monitor bias and reliability in a manner consistent with their values and principles. Previously, he was President and COO of MMA Global, a trade association focused on architecting the future of marketing. In that role, he was responsible for driving innovation and change across a broad portfolio of functional areas, initiatives and forward-looking activities centered on shaping the future of marketing. He has three decades of client-side leadership experience, having led Global Communications Planning, Media Investment, Marketing Data Strategy and Brand Safety and Suitability at Bank of America; Media, Content and Mobile Marketing at American Express and many related roles at E. & J. Gallo prior to that. He is well- known as an outspoken champion for marketing innovation, governance and the advancement of the art and science of marketing as well as a strong advocate for journalism and marketers’ unique responsibility to support news organizations in their valiant efforts to defend truth.
EVP of Partnerships
Kenny Paul is Vice President of Partnerships at Ad Fontes Media, based out of the Miami office, developing relationships with brands, ad agencies, publishers, B2B data companies and tech companies. Prior to joining Ad Fontes Media, Paul was the Director of Brand Partnerships at Audacy, Philadelphia, where he oversaw sponsorship strategy for news, music and NFL/MLB broadcast properties, consumer and B2B experiences and community impact initiatives. During the pandemic, Paul developed, managed and executed his Covid passion project, creating a wellness festival in Dallas in February, 2022. He earned a bachelors degree in marketing from the University of Pittsburgh, serving as the sports editor at the Pitt News.
Software Architect & Lead Engineer
Vatsal likes building products, it gives him satisfaction to see others using it. He has a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. He started working in IT services during his undergrad and has worked with many different clients. He likes going for hikes during the summer, and if he's not on the trail he's doing solo city bike rides.
Director of Research & Ratings
Erin is Director of Ratings and Research for Ad Fontes Media, a PhD student in Psychology researching media and conspiracies. She has a MA in Media Psychology from Fielding Graduate University and a BS from Pennsylvania State University. Her previous work includes the DoD, the USPTO, and the RAND Corporation. A native to the Washington D.C. area, she is passionate about improving the news for all and believes strongly in the mission of Ad Fontes. She is a proud aunt, pet parent, and spends her spare time hiking, reading or kayaking in the low country.
SVP of Partnerships
Ira Citron is Senior Vice President of Partnerships at Ad Fontes Media. Based out of New York City, Ira works to create relationships with brands, ad agencies, AdTech platforms, content owners and publishers to drive business development for Ad Fontes. Prior to joining Ad Fontes Media, Ira served as Vice President at Comscore, working with some of the biggest ad agencies and Fortune 500 brands on media measurement, targeting and planning strategies. Ira’s experience also includes Adtech and media measurement startups, as well as getting his start on the agency side, at the Interpublic Group ad agency Hill Holliday, in Ira’s native Boston.
Communications Director & Analyst Manager
Jennifer (Jen) Furlong, Analyst Manager & Communications Specialist, is a business owner, author, podcaster, and TEDx speaker/coach. She has 30 years of experience in the communication industry, 18 of them teaching in higher education. Jen is a board member of Media Literacy Now, a Marine Corps veteran, and a first-generation college graduate with a B.A. and M.A. in Communication.
Head of Insights
Brad is a futurist and researcher with an enabling perspective on digital user adoption trends. He is a leading digital media executive who has deep connections and a clear understanding of what advertisers, media properties, agencies and startups need from the fast-changing world of interactive technologies. Currently, Brad is the Chief Strategy Officer at the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg, where he leads strategy, works with the Center’s partners and sponsors, and is a member of the research team. He also leads both the Future of Transportation and Future of Health projects and participates in the rest. Additionally, Brad is the Principal of Big Digital Idea Consulting, a boutique digital strategy practice that connects companies, technologies, people and ideas, with wide-ranging expertise that includes ad:tech, ed:tech, mobile, innovation, events and event strategy. Learn more about Brad at his website: bradberens.com
Customer Relations Lead
Veronica lives in Broomfield, CO. She has a BS in Public Health & Nutrition from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has previous experience in the fitness and hospitality industry. She is a wife, and mother to a 10 yr. old daughter. She enjoys weightlifting, running, hiking, and is an avid reader and coffee drinker.
Media Research Specialist
Beth is a Media Research Specialist at Ad Fontes Media. She has 33 years of experience in the fields of journalism and public relations, and was an adjunct instructor of journalism for 17 years at Eastern Illinois University. Beth has a B.A. in journalism from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and an M.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University. She's a mom and grandma, and enjoys traveling, puzzles and reading.
Amber lives in Massachusetts. She is a PhD student in Psychology with a concentration in media at Fielding Graduate University. She has a yellow lab named Lola, enjoys movies, puzzles, and anything Disney related.
Director of Analysis Operations
Ria Otero, Director of Analysis Operations, has been with the company since its conception. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of CA, Riverside. While currently based out of San Diego, she most often works remotely while traveling abroad. As the former CEO of her own company, Ria brings 7 years of startup knowledge and experience to the Ad Fontes Media team.
Educational Content Manager
Sara holds an M.S. in Informatics from San Jose State University and an M. Ed. in School Library and Information Technology from Mansfield University. A certified librarian, she has taught high school media literacy for over a decade, creating her own curriculum from the ground up. She lives in a Philadelphia suburb with her daughter and three corgis, which she competes in agility and obedience. She enjoys competitive dressage, running, reading, and D&D.
Our analysts work all day every day to rate the news, working in pods of three: one left-leaning analyst, one right-leaning analyst and one center-leaning analyst.
Hover over particular analysts’ pictures/names below to read their biographies (participation is optional). Political leans are determined based on a survey of analysts conducted regularly.
Maria Puerta Riera
Maria has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, and is currently a college professor. She is a member of the Latin American Studies Association, and Chair of the Venezuelan Studies Section. She has been with Ad Fontes Media since 2022 and resides in Orlando, FL.
Before retiring, Terry spent 33 years as a State Department Foreign Service Officer, serving at U.S. diplomatic posts in Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Pakistan, South Africa (twice), the UK, Kenya and Nigeria, shorter assignments to Senegal, Gabon, and Swaziland, and Washington assignments to the Bureaus of European, African, and Legislative Affairs, and a "detail" to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (where he was an editor of the President's Daily Briefing). He has a BA from Princeton University and a Ph.D from Yale University, both in history. He lives with his wife Marian (also a Foreign Service retiree) in West Chester, PA, and they have two grown daughters.
Rhodell Fields was born August 3, 1950 in Daytona Beach, FL. He has a BA in Political Science from Hampton University and a JD from University of Michigan. He was a Staff Attorney: for the Federal Power Commission from 1975-1977, Staff Attorney for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 1977-1980, Deputy General Counsel for the Office of the Federal Inspector for the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System from 1980-1986, and Senior Attorney for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 1986-2013. He currently resides in Springfield, VA.
Mary Ann Taylor lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, where she is active in community and church groups. She holds a bachelor's degree in music and a master's degree in English. Concurrently for many years, she worked with Children's Protective Services and at a nearby college.
Melanie, who joined our team as an analyst in the summer of 2020, lives in Oakwood, Ohio, with her husband Ed. She is a contract proofreader with Frontgate, an upscale home furnishings company. She is a former newspaper copy editor, having worked at such publications as the Dayton Daily News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Palm Beach Post, Austin American-Statesman, San Francisco Chronicle, L.A. Weekly and many others. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in humanities. She enjoys live theater, movies, reading, concerts and dogs and is a mom of two grown sons.
A native of Southern California; a husband, father and grandfather. 31 years experience in municipal fire departments, with 9 years as Fire Chief in a diverse urban community of 300,000 thousand. Intelligence analyst, U.S. Army, assigned to a Psychological Operations Battalion. B.A., Sociology; MPA. After a 10-week internship, selected as analyst for Ad Fontes Media. And, for 2 1/2 years, drawing on keen interests in history, politics and governance, analyzing a variety of sources with extremely talented people.
Dan Madsen trained with first group of analysts in 2019. He lives with his wife, Joan, in Apple Valley, which is in the high desert of Southern California. He has a BA in Liberal Studies and an MA in education from California State University, Los Angeles, focusing on educational technology. He is retired from Los Angeles Unified School District, where he taught middle school English before transitioning to technology support. He is a lifelong political junkie whose hobbies include old cars, photography, science fiction, and barbershop singing.
Demi Constantine recently retired from the USAF after 20 years as a Geospatial Intelligence Analyst, during which she received her Master's in Data Science from Northwestern University, and emerged with a deep passion for research and scientific methodology. Demi also has a Bachelors in International Relations. Demi is a long-time fan and first time analyst for Ad Fontes Media, and "couldn't be more psyched to be here". Demi is a member of Wounded Warriors, the American Legion, and resides in Newport News, VA.
Nancy is currently living in Philadelphia and Miami. Nancy was VP/General Manager of several iconic radio stations in the LA broadcast market for 30+ years. She is also a political activist, involved in criminal justice reform and health care advocacy. She has a BA in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University. Her interests include world travel, animals, music, politics and social justice.
Alejandro is a Spanish/English Media Analyst for Ad Fontes since 2022. He majored in Accounting and Finance at Boston College, and currently resides in Rhode Island.
Kevin is from Fairfield, OH. He has a BA from University of Cincinnati, and an AA from Brown Institute. He is an IT Professional & Sports Podcaster, proud father of 2 daughters, novelist, bit TV & movie actor, & diehard Bearcat fan.
Bob spent over 40 years in national security, including twenty years of Army and Air Force service, fifteen years as an Intelligence Community consultant, and five years as an executive with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). His career spanned the fields of meteorology and physics, spy satellite engineering and operations, and mission performance evaluation. He retired in 2021 after serving as ODNI’s director for national intelligence priorities, intelligence assessments, and data science and analytics. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MS in Atmospheric Science, and an MS in Public Administration. He and his wife Brenda split time with family in Maryland and California.
Jeff's professional background includes higher and continuing education-focused student services and cross-cultural travel programs, as well as several years of nonprofit and social enterprise administration. He holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from SUNY Oswego, and a certificate in Applied Project Management from Northwestern. Originally from central New York state, Jeff now lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota where he enjoys going to cultural events, learning about local and regional history, and following the news.
Iris Perez comes to Ad Fontes Media as an English & Spanish language media analyst. A University of Michigan alum and an Emmy-winning journalist, Iris brings a great breadth of firsthand experience to the team. When she’s not analyzing and rating media, Iris enjoys yoga, updating her hip-hop and R&B playlists, and catching up with family and friends.
Amy has been with Ad Fontes Media since 2022 and is a PhD candidate in Linguistics at UC Davis.
Thesa holds a BS in Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She is an ESL teacher and has been with Ad Fontes since 2023. She, along with her beautiful family, reside in Eastern Idaho. You can find her playing brain games, practicing French, and Latin dancing.
Bob Orris retired as a Colonel from the United States Air Force in 2019. After earning his Navigator Wings, he spent most of his career in Air Force Special Operations. Bob was a Qualified aircrewmen on the AC-130H Spectre Gunship, the MC-130H Talon II, the T-43A, and the U-28A. He has commanded at the Squadron, Group and Expeditionary Wing levels and his final assignment was overseeing the day-to-day operation of the Air Force Memorial in the National Capital Region. Bob is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Air Force Association, Air Commando Association, Military Officers Association, Association of Old Crows, and the Stronghold Freedom Foundation. Bob and his wife Karen live in Winchester, VA and have two adult children, and one granddaughter (who has Bob wrapped around her little finger). Bob has his Private Pilot’s Certificate and in his spare time, enjoys seeing our country from the air.
Meisam Zamanabadi is the founder & editor of the Tamashagar news agency. He has experience in journalism since 1996, has covered around 60 news events worldwide, and has worked for several years as a TV host on popular talk shows such as REDLINE. He earned a MA in Media Management from the University of Tehran & moved to the US to pursue Ph.D. in Media Psychology at Fielding University. He was elected as the "Vice president of the international association of sports journalists" in 2014, and re-elected in 2018 and 2022.
Wes Wells is a High School Social Studies educator in Western Montana. With a B.A. in Political Science (Cal Poly, SLO) and a M.A. in Education (Fresno Pacific University), he has worked for Ad Fontes Media since 2020 following a summer training program for educators. When not teaching or rating, he can be found with his wife and daughters somewhere in a river or on the mountains fishing, hiking, hunting and capturing images of the Last Best Place.
Miriam currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona but is native to the borderland of El Paso, Texas – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. She is a PhD Candidate in Latin-American Literature and Cultural Production at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on Latin-American visual culture and feminism. She is a Spanish Analyst at Ad Fontes as well as Teaching Associate and Tutor for Spanish and Portuguese at ASU and Scottsdale Community College. In her free time, she collaborates with local artists, writers, and presses to promote her own artistic work as well as local Latinx artists and borderland artists from her community.
Bud has over 50 years of business experience with various Fortune 500's. He was CEO in a Venture Capital firm and while operated as a Principal in a number of Start-up and Turnaround situations, several of which went public. He also continues to operate a Consulting business. He is married with 2 children and 7 grand children.
Chennal is a direct services provider with a non-profit working with individuals experiencing homelessness. She was born and raised in California and settled back in the Bay Area in 2020 after living abroad for several years. She has pursued higher education degrees in legal studies, education, and cross-cultural sciences. When not working within her local community or rating, she can be found reading, running, or relaxing at home with her cat.
David has a BS in Biology from Providence College, a Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Washington, and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center from 1981-1987 where he taught courses in statistics and the Design of Medical Studies, and consulted on public health and medical studies in Central Mississippi. He then switched careers to pursue an interest in investment management and quantitative research where he eventually retired as a Managing Director after a 23-year career with Allstate Investments in Chicago from 1987-2010. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington with his wife and family.
Tom is a documentary video producer, and he has a background in audio production. He teaches at the University of New Hampshire, in the Communication Department's Media Practices track. He has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a JD from Vermont Law School. Tom’s documentary work has aired on satellite TV networks and has screened in film festivals, worldwide.
Rachael comes to AdFontes with a background in communications, teaching, research, and media literacy. She grew up in the DC area and has a BA in Comm & Rhetoric from PITT with a TEFL cert, the latter of which she used to teach business English as a 2nd language (abroad and then virtually) for 6+ years. She is now an EdTech entrepreneur and start-up operations manager in NYC.
Nico is from Phoenix, Arizona. He has a BS in Political Science from Arizona State University, where he served as a student researcher under Professor Donald T. Critchlow, assisting in the publication of his most recent book, Revolutionary Monsters. Since then, Nico has worked with several different startups. From Silicon Valley’s Fizz Social to local entrepreneur Candace Chen’s groundbreaking women’s footwear line Protégé Footwear, he enjoys being at the cutting edge, regardless of industry.
Kay is a Right Lean Analyst for Ad Fontes Media and is a Masters level Certified Prevention Professional and Masters-Certified Addiction Professional who serves as a Peer Mentor in Florida for Evidenced Based Practice. Kay has a Masters in Special Education and a Bachelors in Chemistry. Kay lives in Brandon, FL, is married to Leroy Doughty, has 2 sons, 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
Ismael holds a BA in Sociology from the University of North Texas. Upon graduation, he entered the legal field and found his passion in compliance. He is a creative thinker dedicated to helping train and lead a compliance program from the ground up. Ismael is trilingual and serves as a Media Analyst for Ad Fontes since 2022. He, along with his beautiful family, reside in the great state of Idaho.
Braden Hammond is a Spanish Language Analyst with Ad Fontes and a Logistical Specialist and Fellow for Faith for our Planet, an Interfaith Climate Focused Nonprofit. He graduated from Duke University with a BA in Public Policy. He is based in Durham, North Carolina while his wife finishes her education.
Tim has a background in business development of market research, data analytics and information services solutions. He has a degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder. When not rating news for Ad Fontes Media, he may be skiing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Andrew is a Left lean Spanish Media Analyst. He also works in Healthcare Operations for a health insurance company. He holds a BS in Anthropology with a minor in Spanish, and an MBA and MHA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently resides in Eugene, Oregon.
Stephanie came into the world knowing she wanted to be a teacher and was fortunate to have inspirational teachers along the way that helped understand why this became a calling for her. She earned her master’s degree in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Indigenous Political Systems from CU Denver in 1996. Stephanie received the honor from students and peers to train in the Facing History and Ourselves Holocaust Curriculum and was the recipient of Williams College Olmstead Award in 2015, the Colorado Education Association’s John M. and Gladys N. Bates Multicultural Award in teaching in April 2009, and a National Education Association Excellence in Teaching as a Top Five Finalist in February 2009. Congressman Ed Perlmutter presented her with the Congressional Heroes Award in May 2020 as she retired after 40 years in public education. Stephanie currently is a board member of SOSSAS - School of Statesmanship, Stewardship and Service and is currently developing curriculum for the school, and teaching courses in the Fall of 2023.
Teresa Buzo Salas
Teresa is a dedicated professional with a background in writing, teaching, and translation. She has earned a Master's degree in Hispanic Studies and holds a certification as an Oral Proficiency Tester from ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). Teresa's writing has been recognized with accolades, including winning prestigious international contests. Her novels have been commended for their literary merit and have received praise from established authors. Additionally, she has contributed articles to newspapers like La Voz Latina. While serving as a Spanish professor, Teresa was honored with the Distinction in Teaching award in 2021. Her dedication to education, combined with her accomplishments as an author and language professional, reflects her enduring commitment to excellence in both academia and literature.
Joe brings business perspective to the Ad Fontes Media analyst team from strategy, planning, marketing and product management roles with large companies including Cisco Systems, HP, Coca-Cola and GE. Joe received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He currently serves on the National Advisory Council for Media Literacy Now after recognizing that low-quality news can cause polarization.
Tom is a right-leaning analyst with experience in Spanish and Portuguese. He retired in 2022 in Dallas, Texas. Before retiring, Tom spent 40 years in various areas of Transportation Management, including Trucking, Ocean and Rail, After the passage of NAFTA he spent most of his time moving freight cross border into Canada and Mexico. Before turning 21 Tom lived overseas for 9 years including Peru, Pakistan, Brazil and Yemen, giving him cross-cultural experience that has been valuable in his career.. Tom Graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in History and minors in Economics and Political Science, then moved on to The Thunderbird school of Global Management for an MBA. Tom has been married to his lovely wife Marlene for almost 48 years and the family includes 2 sons in their 40's and 5 Grandcritters. Now that he is retired, one of his favorite places is the local library.
Mike Montgomery is a Media Analyst and has been with Ad Fontes since 2022. He has a Bachelors in Communication/Public Relations from Townson University, and currently resides in Maryland.
Elizabeth lives in rural North Carolina. With a BA in Economics and Political Studies, and a Master's of Public Administration, she has two decades of experience as a public servant in the local government and non-profit sector. When not working in her local community or rating with Ad Fontes, Elizabeth is most often found with her husband at one of their three children's many activities.