Pen Denver: Truth and Consequences

This panel will address the consequences of truth-telling, in which journalists will share stories around the consequences they’ve faced as a result of their writing, and strategies on what to expect and how to respond when consequences arise in a journalism career.

This conversation will highlight the balance between editorial priorities and responsible community reportage.

This panel is in partnership with the PEN America Denver Chapter.


Donna Bryson is a national affairs editor at Reuters, working with reporters across the United States who cover breaking news and produce deeper dives into the news. Before joining Reuters in 2021 she was for two decades a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press. She also has covered local news as a freelancer for such publications as Stars and StripesThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor, and as a staffer on the housing and hunger beat for Colorado Public Radio’s Denverite. She is the author of two nonfiction books, “It’s a Black-White Thing,” about race relations among young South Africans, and “Home of the Brave,” about a small American town’s efforts to help military veterans reintegrate into civilian life.

Tina Griego is a journalist/coach with the Colorado News Collaborative. She has spent most of her career in Colorado as a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post and was the first Latina city columnist for a major daily in the state. She has won national recognition for her reporting on immigration, education, and urban poverty, including the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Frank del Olmo Print Journalist of the Year award, and the National Headliner Award. She is also a member of the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame for commentary. In October 2019, Griego was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame. Grigo lives in Fort Collins with her husband and two kids. She’s a native New Mexican and prefers red over green.

Lisa Kennedy writes on popular culture, race, and gender among other topics – and has for more than two decades. From 2003 to 2015, she was film critic for the Denver Post. In 2012, she added theater critic to her beat. She’s been published in the New York TimesEssence magazineAmerican, and Variety. Before becoming a full-time writer she was an editor at the Village Voice, among other publications. She writes the blog “Little Wanderings” on She is at work on Icarus Ascending, an experimental memoir that unfolds during the AIDS crisis. She currently lives in Denver, CO—the city where she was raised—with her mate, Becky, and Gus & Jax, their awesome substandard poodle and just as awesome rescued terrier mix.


William Johnson is the PEN Across America program director at PEN America. A longtime steward in the writing community, Johnson was the editor and publisher of Mary Literary, a literary magazine committed to showcasing work of artistic integrity. He also co-produced Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, the first major anthology for queer poets of color in the United States. In 2011, Johnson began his tenure at Lambda Literary, an organization dedicated to promoting LGBTQ literature. As the deputy director of Lambda Literary, Johnson oversaw many of the organization’s most dynamic programs and public events, including the Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices and Lambda’s web magazine, the Lambda Literary Review.

In 2021, Johnson was awarded The Publishing Triangle’s Leadership Award, an award recognizing contributions to LGBTQ literature by those who are not primarily writers, such as editors, agents, librarians, and institutions.

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