Meet the Team
William M. Macfadyen, founder and publisher
Bill Macfadyen is the founder and publisher of Noozhawk.com, Santa Barbara’s freshest news and information source — and its only 24/7 professional news site. Commanding a staff of five full-time professional journalists, three full-time sales representatives and an army of community contributors, he’s on a quest to figure out how to make online local news viable and sustainable.
He was the co-founder and editor and publisher of the South Coast Beacon, a weekly community newspaper that made its debut in 2002, won the California Newspaper Publishers Association General Excellence Award the following year and went bust in 2005. Not having the sense to get a real job, he turned his attention to the Internet, where the overhead is lower and the optimism knows no boundaries.
Bill moonlights as a board member of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara Partners in Education, Santa Barbara Education Foundation, Santa Barbara High School’s Multimedia Arts & Design Academy and the Westmont College Foundation. He’s also a member of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse’s Fighting Back Steering Committee.
He has served as senior warden at All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, as a Vestry member and as a board member of All Saints Parish School. He’s also a past member of the statewide organizing committee of Common Sense California, which is now part of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy.
In 2008, Bill was named Entrepreneur of the Year by both the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Barbara Technology & Industry Association. In 2012, he received the national Journalism Education Association’s Friend of Scholastic Journalism Award in recognition of Noozhawk’s work with The Charger Account, the student news website at Dos Pueblos High School. He and Noozhawk are founding members of the Local Independent Online News Publishers Assocation (LION).
He was a California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow (Class of 2011) at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, and was the architect of Prescription for Abuse, a six-month Noozhawk team project exploring the misuse and abuse of prescription medications in Santa Barbara County.
Bill and his wife, Missy, live in Montecito with their beloved Alaskan malamute, Riley. They have three grown children, all of whom have worked for Noozhawk.
Tom Bolton, executive editor
Award-winning journalist Tom Bolton joined Noozhawk as executive editor after more than 20 years of guiding newsroom operations for newspapers at each end of Santa Barbara County.
From 2003 to early 2012, he served as vice president of news for Lee Central Coast Newspapers, leading the Santa Maria Times and supervising the Lompoc Record, the Santa Ynez Valley News and other local Lee publications.
He previously served as publisher and editor of the weekly South Coast Beacon, which he helped establish, and as executive editor and managing editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press, where he spent much of his career prior to its sale by The New York Times. He also has worked for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo County and as a private consultant.
Tom has a reputation throughout the region as a tough but fair editor, whose staffs consistently generate top-notch news coverage — in print and online. He has guided scores of investigative and in-depth projects on topics as varied as homelessness, wildfires, affordable housing, youth violence, earthquake risks, and the future of agriculture. Many of these projects have won awards at the state and national level.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UCSB, where he was editor in chief of The Daily Nexus student newspaper. He is a past board member of the California Society of Newspaper Editors, and also has been affiliated with the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the California Chicano News Media Association and other national media organizations.
Tom and his wife, Joan, live in Goleta, and have two grown children.
Kim Clark, vice president of business development
Kim Clark is a proven sales and marketing leader with the ability to cultivate and build strong business relationships. She possesses more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the Santa Barbara community, and received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from UCSB.
Before joining Noozhawk, she was division director for Office Team, a subsidiary of Robert Half International, and led her staff to be the top-producing team in the region. She previously was sales and marketing director at the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce and spent 14 years at the Santa Barbara News-Press, developing the company’s New Media Department in the 1990s and serving as online sales manager before leaving in the mid-2000s.
Kim is a board member of the National Association of Women Business Owners and co-chairs NAWBO’s Corporate Partners Committee. She also serves as a Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce ambassador and volunteers for the Westside Boys & Girls Club Marketing Committee.
Lara Cooper, reporter
Lara Cooper came to Noozhawk after covering Goleta with the Valley Voice for two years. She’s been a news junkie since her early teens when she began working for the Tulsa World, her hometown newspaper in Oklahoma, typing up weather forecasts and obituaries. After earning a photojournalism degree from Western Kentucky University, Lara packed up all of her earthly possessions, her camera and her cats and moved out West to Santa Barbara. She’s a general assignment reporter and photographer, and in 2013 was awarded a California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Chris Donahue, advertising manager
Chris Donahue — doting dad of a bubbly daughter, Ciena — is a longtime sales representative in the Santa Barbara area. Chris was a top account executive at Forester Communications and, prior to that, was the Goleta Valley Voice’s top salesman and sales manager of BlueEdge and El Mexicano. An entrepreneur at heart, he started Paper Moon Printing Co. At Noozhawk, Chris has pioneered the art of online advertising and social media, and is continuously developing new and innovative ways to enhance the branding, marketing and sales of Noozhawk clients. Call him for a free consultation. And for your printing needs.
Will Macfadyen, development and special projects manager
Giana Magnoli, reporter
Giana Magnoli came to Noozhawk right after graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a journalism degree. After working at the Mustang Daily for three years and interning at the Pacific Coast Business Times, she decided to jump aboard the enterprising online news train and moved down to Santa Barbara. She’s a general assignment reporter and photographer who wishes more work could be done outside. She has been selected as a California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow (Class of 2013) at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Michelle Nelson, managing editor
Michelle Nelson joined the Noozhawk nest in April 2008. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in political science. She previously worked as a copy editor for The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene, Ore., a position she held for more than 10 years. Michelle and her husband, Pete, have two sons, Garrhett and Blake.
Gina Potthoff, reporter
Gina Potthoff came to Noozhawk after covering education and breaking news in northern Santa Barbara County for a year and a half at the Santa Maria Times. An Ohio native, she worked four years at the daily Bowling Green State University newspaper, and eight months in an extended internship at the Columbus Dispatch before deciding to move where year-round sunshine is considered a normal thing. Gina is a general assignment reporter and photographer.
Melissa Walker, iSociety columnist
Melissa Walker is Noozhawk’s iSociety columnist, a contributing writer and a photographer, and her favorite assignments are nonprofit events and covering local people in the community. Originally from Lake Tahoe, she worked for The Presidio Trust in San Francisco, where she helped create the first sustainable national park while developing a passion for writing with articles for The Presidio Post. She is a graduate of UCSB, did an internship at KEYT and created a public-service announcement for the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara on the Santa Barbara Channels. She now calls the American Riviera home and likes to run, surf, snow ski, write short stories and spend time with her cat, Java, and husband, Ron. In 2012, Santa Barbara County 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal appointed her to the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women.
Kelsey Gripenstraw, intern
Kelsey Gripenstraw is finishing up her third-year as an English major at UCSB. Since her freshman year, she’s written for campus weekly newspaper The Bottom Line, where she is now executive content editor. She plans to spend next fall studying abroad in Bangkok, Thailand and traveling around Southeast Asia.
Jeff Moehlis, contributing writer
Jeff Moehlis is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB, and a self-proclaimed music fanatic who started writing concert reviews and previews for Noozhawk in the summer of 2008. He enjoys most genres of music, but his favorites are psychedelic rock, progressive rock, Krautrock and Old School punk rock. His Web site, music-illuminati.com, covers music in the Santa Barbara area and beyond, and includes extensive interviews with musicians and recommendations for upcoming local concerts.
Rochelle Rose, contributing writer
Rochelle Rose was a columnist for the Goleta Valley Voice and the Santa Barbara News-Press, covering nonprofit organizations, society events and Goleta news for 10 years. A UCSB graduate, she has worked and volunteered for many community groups in the areas of affordable housing, health care, youth development, women in business, music and dance. Rochelle likes to go to the gym, movies and museums, and tries to keep up with her teenage children on Facebook.
Gabriella Slabiak, intern
Born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, Gabriella Slabiak studied business for two years at the Stockholm University and spent a year and a half working in finance. Tired of the cold, anxious at being stuck behind a desk in an office, and curious about the world, she decided to try warm and sunny Santa Barbara. Since the fall of 2010, she’s been a full-time student at Santa Barbara City College, where she found her passion: journalism. She’s worked a variety of jobs at SBCC’s award-winning student newspaper, The Channels, including staff writer, features editor, editor in chief and news editor.
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