South Dakota News Watch is governed by a 12-member board of directors and staffed by an executive director and two full-time professional journalists. Board members and staff represent decades of news and management experience working in states from coast to coast.
Staff & Board
Robert “Rob” Joyce was appointed executive director of South Dakota News Watch, effective February 2021. He oversees all business operations, fundraising, marketing and communication. Joyce has about 30 years of nonprofit leadership experience, most notably with 18 years as executive director for Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues. During that time, Joyce led the organization in growing JazzFest, a three-day open-air summer music festival, into one of the largest free concerts in the Midwest. Joyce has served on several nonprofit boards throughout South Dakota. Joyce is an eight-time recipient of ADDY Awards from the South Dakota Advertising Federation, recognizing him for excellence in advertising and marketing. The South Dakota Arts Council honored Joyce with the 2010 Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Support of the Arts. Joyce holds BA and MA degrees from Augustana University. He has taught music appreciation and history, ethics and philosophy for more than 30 years as an adjunct professor at both Augustana and the University of South Dakota. Joyce is a native South Dakotan with homes in Sioux Falls and in the Black Hills community of Silver City, S.D.
Bart Pfankuch, Rapid City, S.D., is content director and an investigative reporter for South Dakota News Watch. A Wisconsin native, he is a former editor of the Rapid City Journal. Pfankuch worked for about 30 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers and magazines in Wisconsin, Florida and South Dakota; he also is a syndicated writing coach.
Danielle Ferguson, Sioux Falls, S.D., is investigative reporter for South Dakota News Watch. Ferguson comes to News Watch from the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, where she most recently served as the Watchdog Reporter for Law and Order. Ferguson, a native of Salem, South Dakota, spent the past five years in eastern South Dakota covering breaking news, municipal government, the prison system and the law enforcement community for the Argus Leader. Danielle.Ferguson@SDNewsWatch.org.
Board of Directors
Co-Chair – Randell Beck, Sioux Falls, S.D., is a retired editor and publisher of Argus Leader Media in Sioux Falls (2001-2013). He previously held editing and reporting roles at newspapers in Delaware, California, Missouri and Tennessee.
Co-Chair – Jack Marsh, Sioux Falls, S.D, is a former media and foundation executive. He worked as an editor, publisher and reporter at seven newspapers in four states before becoming president/chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute and the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota. He retired in 2014.
Jack.Marsh@SDNewsWatch.org and @JohnSMarsh
Treasurer – Travis Rhoades, Sioux Falls, S.D., is a partner at a small web development and design company, Web Concentrate. In addition, he and his wife, Kristen, operate multiple Scooter’s Coffee franchises in and around the Sioux Falls area. A graduate of The University of South Dakota (USD), Rhoades has a long history of journalism experience, both with editorial and advertising. At a young age he worked at his family’s weekly newspapers in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. He carried that experience to USD and worked four years on The Volante which led to a job at the Argus Leader upon graduation. In 2010, he and a business partner started Web Concentrate. He and his wife opened their first Scooter’s in 2013. They have two sons, Caleb and Calvin.
Secretary – Jon Hunter, Madison, S.D., is the publisher of the Madison Daily Leader. He was named to that position in July 1990. He also served as president of the South Dakota Newspaper Association.
Nancy Turbak Berry, Watertown, S.D., is an attorney, former South Dakota state legislator and longtime advocate of open government. Turbak Berry served in the South Dakota Senate, 2007-2010, where she championed efforts to promote public access to information about state and local government. As a result, she received the Eagle Award from the South Dakota Newspaper Association, honoring her efforts on behalf of government transparency. Turbak Berry was the 1996 Trial Lawyer of the Year in South Dakota, is past president of the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association and has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of South Dakota School of Law. Turbak Berry’s education began in a one-room schoolhouse in Kranzburg, S.D. She graduated from Watertown High School and obtained her undergraduate degree from Harvard University. She received her law degree from the University of California. Turbak Berry founded Turbak Law Office in Watertown, where she works with her sons Seamus Culhane and Liam Culhane.
Christine Hamilton is the co-owner and managing partner of Christiansen Land and Cattle, Ltd. in Kimball, S.D. The company is consistently in the forefront of innovation embracing new technologies, and participating in research and development opportunities within the agriculture industry. She is the co-founder and chair of the Matson Halverson Christiansen Hamilton Foundation whose mission is to improve quality of life and create opportunities for growth and development, primarily in rural areas.
Shannon Brinker, Rapid City, S.D., is the former publisher of the Rapid City Journal. She worked in advertising and marketing for Lee Enterprises newspapers for more than 15 years, including time in Duluth, Minn.; Columbus, Neb.; Davenport, Iowa; and Carbondale and Bloomington, Ill.
Arnold Garson, Sioux Falls, S.D., is a retired journalist and media executive. He worked in the newspaper business for 46 years as a reporter and editor at the Omaha World-Herald, The Des Moines Register and The San Bernardino County Sun, then as president and publisher of Argus Leader Media, group vice president for Gannett Co. and president and publisher for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky. He operates a part-time small business researching and writing long-form family histories: Family Stories by Arnold Garson.
Cory Myers, Sioux Falls, S.D., is the news director for Argus Leader Media. He has been with the Argus Leader since 2005 in various capacities including photo editor and consumer experience director. He is a member of the South Dakota Newspaper Association Board of Directors.
Letitia Lister, Spearfish, S.D., is publisher and part-owner of the Black Hills Pioneer. A native of Kansas, Lister has more than 30 years of experience in the newspaper industry. She serves on numerous community boards, and was president of the South Dakota Newspaper Association in 2019-20.
Marci Burdick retired in 2019 after a 48-year career in broadcasting. Burdick worked continuously in the broadcasting business since age 14, beginning with an after-school job in radio in her hometown of Rapid City, S.D. Burdick moved to TV at age 18 as a weathercaster & reporter and later rose to positions as news director, general manager and corporate officer.
Burdick spent most of her career with Schurz Communications; News Director at KYTV (Springfield, MO 1988-2000), President/GM at WAGT (Augusta, GA 2000-2002) and was named Senior Vice President of the Electronic Division (cable, TV and radio) in 2002. During her tenure, she doubled the company’s size through acquisition. Burdick led the $452 million-dollar sale process when the company opted to divest its radio & TV divisions. When the sale closed in 2016, Burdick was named as a senior advisor to work on company and industry projects.
She has won numerous awards for broadcast both as a reporter and news manager. They include two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, the national Iris Award, the national Silver Gavel Award, a regional Emmy Award and several dozen other regional and state broadcast journalism awards.
Burdick and her husband, John, have 4 children and 7 granddaughters.
Tim L. Waltner has been a community journalist for four decades. He became editor of the Freeman (S.D.) Courier in 1973 and became owner/publisher in 1984. In 2016 he passed that title to his son, Jeremy, although he has remained active as a writer, editor and photographer through spring of this year.
Waltner has served as a board member of the South Dakota Newspaper Association (president in 1991 and 1993) and the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (president in 2000). He is chair and a charter member of the SDNA First Amendment Committee. In 2012 he received the Eugene Cervi award, established by ISWNE in 1976 to honor the memory of Eugene Cervi of the Rocky Mountain Journal in Denver, for a career of outstanding public service through community journalism. In 2016 he was inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame.
Waltner and his wife, Mary “Bix,” continue to live in Freeman. They have two grown children and five grandchildren.