Journalism veterans Stapp and Stencel named to SPLC's Board of Directors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Beverly Keneagy 904.626.0017 /

The managing editor for digital news at National Public Radio and an award-winning journalist and former high school journalism adviser have been elected to the Student Press Law Center’s Board of Directors.

The new board members are Mark Stencel, who is responsible for overseeing all content on and the network’s other online platforms, and Mary Stapp, who taught journalism at the largest public school in Washington, D.C., and co-advised the school’s student newspaper.

The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) is a Washington, D.C.-area non-profit whose mission is to advocate for free-press rights for high school and college journalists. It also provides legal information and referral assistance at no charge to students and the educators who work with them.

“I am delighted to welcome Mary and Mark to the Board, and I am especially pleased that they each bring a lifelong of involvement in student journalism to the SPLC's work,” said Mark Stodder, an executive with Minneapolis-based Dolan Company and chairman of the SPLC Board of Directors. “In Mary, we have a colleague who can speak directly to the adversity and challenges that advisers face daily in the classroom, and in Mark, we have a colleague who has been at the forefront of digital media innovation. They are both highly respected in their fields, and they will be superb and committed advocates for the rights of students everywhere.”

Stencel, a graduate of the University of Virginia, formerly served as the executive editor and deputy publisher at GOVERNING, a monthly magazine and website written for leaders in state and local government published by Congressional Quarterly. He served as a managing editor at CQ, where he helped lead one of the largest news staffs on Capitol Hill, coordinating daily coverage of Congress, online and in print.

Stencel began his career at the Washington Post as an assistant to syndicated columnist David S. Broder and as a researcher for the newspaper's national politics staff. After a stint as a science and technology correspondent for The News & Observer in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, Stencel returned to the Post in 1996 to help launch the company's first website, PoliticsNow.

In addition to his work as an editor, Stencel was a vice president at the Post Company's online division, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, where he directed the business side of early mobile and multimedia efforts and managed content partnerships and projects with other news organizations, online publishers and mobile phone carriers and device makers.

Stapp taught journalism at Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. from January 2008 through June 2011, and co-advised the school’s student newspaper, The Beacon.

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in English from University of Miami in 1985, Stapp began her journalistic career writing for the Miami News, and wrote for local publications such as South Florida Magazine, Miami Today and New Times before becoming an architecture critic for The Fort Lauderdale News/Sun-Sentinel in 1987. Before moving to Washington, D.C., in 1990, she covered ports and international trade for the International Business Chronicle.

While raising three daughters in Washington, D.C., with her husband, author Joel Achenbach, she freelanced stories and worked as a research assistant for a variety of book, television and grant-writing projects.

The new members were elected unanimously by electronic ballot, and will begin their work with the SPLC’s Jan. 27 Board meeting. Leaving the Board due to term limits are Robert Garcia of NPR and Jerry Ceppos of the Louisiana State University Manship School of Communications.

The Board also re-elected to three-year terms three incumbent members: attorneys Pat Carome of Washington, D.C., Mike Godwin from San Francisco, and Laura Lee Prather of Houston. The SPLC’s 15-member all-volunteer board includes representatives from the journalism, legal, education, philanthropic and nonprofit management fields.

Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been devoted to educating high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment, and supporting the student news media in covering important issues free from censorship. The Center provides free information and educational materials for student journalists and their teachers on a wide variety of legal topics on its website at