Youth Today: Our Team

The Center for Sustainable Journalism (CSJ) publishes CSJ aims to discover innovative ways to produce financially sustainable, high quality and ethically sound journalism via applied research, collaborations and advancing innovative projects, such as Youth Today and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange.

You may contact any one of us directly via email by clicking on our names. Contact Chelsey Tabakian Odom with any questions for our interns or about our internship programs.


Lapides is the senior editor of Youth Today and managing editor of Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. She has been senior news editor and business editor for the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service in Washington and edited for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the CNN wire service.


Khan serves as New York City bureau chief for Youth Today and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. He writes stories and also produces data visualization projects and videos in collaboration with students and recent graduates of the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He has also written for the New York Times, Newsday and Boston Globe.


Simonton is Youth Today’s staff reporter covering out-of-school time (OST), focusing on innovative work with youth outside of school. Previously a digital editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she also has written for the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post and Al Jazeera America.

PUBLISHER and EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Center for Sustainable Journalism: LEONARD WITT

Witt is the executive director of the Center for Sustainable Journalism (CSJ) and publisher of Youth Today and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. He has been a journalist for 25-plus years, including being the editor of Sunday Magazine at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly magazine and executive director of the Minnesota Public Radio Civic Journalism Initiative. He believes deeply in the need for journalism in a democracy and in fulfilling the mission of CSJ. Witt is a professor of journalism at Kennesaw State University.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR, Center for Sustainable Journalism: JOHN FLEMING

Fleming is the executive editor for Center for Sustainable Journalism, publisher of Youth Today and Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. He worked as a correspondent in Africa for several news agencies including Reuters, was editorial page editor of The Anniston (Alabama) Star. Fleming is also the co-founder of the Civil Rights Cold Case Project.


Odom is the business operations manager for the Center for Sustainable Journalism, publisher of Youth Today and Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. She started at the CSJ as an intern in 2015. After graduating from Kennesaw State University with a BBA in marketing, she began her full-time role, now overseeing subscriptions, marketing, advertising, financials, strategy and much more. Odom has also received a Management Development Certificate from KSU, volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBSMA) and does marketing for Cyndy’s Southern Pound Cakes. In addition to being a Big for BBBSMA, she is a member of their Young Leaders Council and serves on the events committee.


Parker is a dynamic advertising account manager who offers significant expertise in creating and managing marketing solutions on multiple web platforms. Having both military and legal background, he possesses a wide range of leadership experiences that prove invaluable in this role. His understanding of diverse markets allows him to design and lead advertising strategies uniquely structured to reach and make an impact on targeted audiences.


Hayden maintains the editorial and advertising content for our main websites,  and He also assists web developers and contributors with our special project sites and ongoing photoblog. Hayden, a Kennesaw State University alumnus, graduated in 2015 with a BS in communication and a minor in information systems.


Sinclair designs, develops and optimizes websites for the Center for Sustainable Journalism, manages the Center’s WP Engine server accounts and is our social media strategist. She also creates 3D immersive virtual experiences ( for universities and corporations. Sinclair’s background includes teaching, nonprofit administration, magazine/newspaper publishing and advertising.



Ali Sardar, BokehFocus Assistant Website Developer and Editor: Sardar graduated from Kennesaw State University in Spring 2019 with a major in applied computer science and a minor in engagement marketing. He is the app/web developer, photographer and curator for BokehFocus and organizes the BokehFocus show for Atlanta Celebrates Photography. Sardar also produces videos and photographs events for CSJ.

Melody McLaurin, Social Media Manager Assistant and Videographer: McLaurin is a junior at Kennesaw State University majoring in communications with a concentration in media studies. Her career goal is to be working behind a camera, writing, editing or all three. What McLaurin likes about CSJ: It is warm and inviting. The people here are very kind and driven to promote the betterment of youth through Youth Today.

Natalie Fuqua, Grant Writing Apprentice: Fuqua is a senior at Kennesaw State University majoring in English. She would like to be a professional writer after graduation. What Fuqua likes about CSJ: The ability to work at an organization that’s dedicated to making a difference by creating a forum for youth justice and child welfare issues.



Ashlynn Lindsey, Marketing & Business Operations Assistant: Lindsey is a freshman at Kennesaw State University majoring in public relations. Her current career goal is to figure out which specific area of PR she would like to pursue. One of the reasons she is interested in this particular field is that there are multiple paths she can take. What Lindsey likes about CSJ: I enjoy the people I work with and the unique job experience it provides.

Niles Elmore, Circulation Marketing Associate: Elmore is a junior at Kennesaw State University, majoring in marketing. His career goal is to build a big tennis complex and unite tennis players and coaches in Atlanta. What Elmore likes about CSJ: One thing I really like about working at the CSJ is the flexibility and the staff here is amazing!

Samantha DeLuca, Circulation Marketing Associate: DeLuca is a sophomore at Kennesaw State University, majoring in marketing with a minor in finance. She would like to become a marketing director, partly because she is very interested in advertisement and design. What DeLuca likes about CSJ: I am learning communication skills and enjoy the people I works with. 


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Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Youth Today's ISSN: 10896724
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