WeissWrite Speakers Bureau

You can book these speakers for your event by sending an email to weisswrite@gmail.com or calling Dick Weiss at 314-725-4233.

Sylvester Brown Jr.Sylvester Brown

Former Post-Dispatch columnist Sylvester Brown Jr. is as provocative and compelling at the podium as he is in his columns and blogs. He has appeared with Bill Cosby at a town meeting in St. Louis and crossed verbal swords with Bill  O'Reilly on the Fox Network's O'Reilly Factor. Brown offers workshops and speeches on diversity issues, politics and storytelling. To learn more read Brown's blog. and his columns at STLtoday.com.

His topics:


I Am Leroy: Journalists of Color in Today's Newsroom
  • Know thyself and proudly use it.
  • The mean streets - going where other reporters can't.
  • Beyond welfare queens and carjackers -- putting a face on stereotypes.
  • Taking readers where they don't want to go.

The Columnist as Provocateur

  • Hate me, but read me.
  • Getting the reader on your side.

Brains, Heart and Courage - Jounalism in the Land of Oz

  • Stand alone and deliver
  • Journalist as activist - promoting voter turnout, challenging racism and exposing religious and political hypocrisy.


Lane DeGregoryLane DeGregory

Lane DeGregory
LaneDeGregory is a St. Petersburg Times features writer who has won 12
national awards. Her stories are, by turns, poignant, witty, quirky and always fascinating. She has followed a cop trying to help a
prostitute, traced the path of a Pepsi bottle -- and the boy who had stuffed a note in it 19 years ago. She hung out with a fugitive,tracked a teenager making her Broadway debut, and spent a week on a carnival midway with the fat man and the midget.

Lane's stories have appeared in The Best Newspaper Writing 2000, 2004 and 2006 editions. Her work also has been featured in Reader’s Digest and a variety of specialty publications, from Commercial Fisherman to Pagan World Report. She has been a speaker at Harvard's  Nieman Narrative Conference, aNational Writers Workshops in Florida, Delaware, Missouri and California; at The Poynter Institute; and the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors’ annual conference.

Her topics:

  • For writers: "Finding stories off the beaten path."
  • For editors: "20 tips your reporters won't tell you."
  • For writers and editors: "Deconstructing the story." Lane shows step-by-step how she put together a prize-winning feature story."

Read a sampler of Lane's stories.


Todd FrankelTodd Frankel

Todd FrankelTodd C. Frankel is a metro general assignment reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Most recently, he was a key reporter in the daily's coverage of the "Missouri Miracle" -- the kidnapping and rescue of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby.Before settling below the Gateway Arch in 2003, he worked at The Herald in Everett, Wash.; The Daily Mail in Charleston, W.Va.; and The Gleaner in Henderson, Ky. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Frankel was a finalist for the Livingston Award in 2006 and won a Sigma Delta Chi award for feature writing and a Casey Medal for coverage of families and children in 2002. He was named best newspaper reporter by St. Louis' alternative newspaper, the  Riverfront Times, in 2004. His topics:

  • Making Sense of The Missouri Miracle

As a key reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Frankel found himself in the midst of a worldwide media event with the kidnapping and rescue of youngsters Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby. His reports were both compelling and insightful. Todd recounts how he found his footing on a very slippery media terrain and provides lessons for others who may find themselves in similar situations.  

  • Bringing Pizzazz To Mundane Topics

Like most of us, Frankel has been called on to write the weather stories and cover the parades dozens of time. And yet, he is almost always able to come up with a fresh angle that delights his readers. Frankel tells how he does it in a witty and engaging one-hour session.  

  • Telling Compelling Stories In 20 Inches Or Less

Frankel frequently amazes his editors and delights his readers by turning in stories with a reading time under three minutes. He always finds a way to capture the essence of a story quickly while still being able to write in scenes, include crucial details, and use a voice that's at once engaging and insightful. Frankel reads from his work and shares the secrets of his craft.

 Rick Horowitz

Rick Horowitz is a Milwaukee-based syndicated columnist TV commentator and writing coach. He's a winner of two National Headliner Awards for his column, which appears on opinion pages across the country. He's also won two Emmys for his imaginative weekly commentaries on Milwaukee Public Television. Rick has presented his "Getting Your Words' Worth" writing workshops to national, state and regional journalism organizations, newspaper groups and individual newspapers of all sizes.

His topics:

  • Getting Your Words' Worth: Practical Tips for Wring Powerful Stories

Who says newspapers have to be dull? Wouldn't you rather write stories that draw readers to your pages and your websites, inform and entertain them and bring them back again and again? Horowitz offers real-world wrting tips that reporters and editors at newspapers large and small can use to turn out clearer, sharper, better organized, more interesting pieces. You'll discuss how to find stories worth telling. How to craft inviting ledes and compelling kickers. You'll go back to your newsrooms with new ideas, a workbook full of useful examples, a sampler of different writing styles to add to your toolbox, and a new -- and energizing -- way to think about the important work you do.

  • Getting Your Words' Worth: And That's Why They Invented Editors
There's a good story -- maybe even a great story -- hidden in the copy that's just landed on your editing screen. How do you find it? How do you set it free? How do you and your reporters turn facts and figures, people and places into something your readers will want to read? Into something they'll feel they need to read?  In this lively and entertaining workshop, Rick will share plenty of practical tips for hard-working editors. (And reporters are welcome, too!) You'll learn how to turn out stories with a sharper focus and a more interesting pace. How to spot, and repair, problem pieces. How to recognize your writers' different voices -- and why it matters. How to encourage your writers' creativity and still get those school-board meetings covered. Even -- gasp! -- how to make your writers appreciate your edits!
  • The Writing You Do Before You Start Writing
  • Taking Your Stories to Another Level
  • Finding Your Writer's Voice(s)
  • Use Alternate Routes: Different Paths to Effective Writing
  • From Columns to Videos: TV Tips for The Technologically Tentative
  • Writing Editorials With Impact

 Aisha Sultan

Aisha Sultan stunned her family when she dropped off the premed path in college and joined the student newspaper. She was awarded the Dow Jones Copy Editing Internship, followed by a stint at The Wall Street Journal. She took a detour at the University of Chicago, in a graduate program in Social Sciences. Since 1997, she has been covering social isues and breaking news for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Her work has been recognized by the Illinois Press Association and the Council on American Islamic Relations and has been reprinted on numerous websites. She has appeared frequently on network news programs, including CNN, MSNBC and Headline News, most recently reporting on the "Missouri Miracle" -- the kidnapping and rescue of youngsters Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby.

Her topics:

  • The Missouri Miracle And The Lessons We Learned

The kidnapping and rescue of youngsters Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby created a media firestorm and confronted editors and reporters with difficult ethical issues. Aisha Sultan, a key reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tells what it was like on the front lines as the story unfolded and how she tried to bring balance and perspective to her reports.  

  • The Untold Muslim American Narratives

The widely diverse Muslim population in America is full of undiscovered, compelling stories. Learn basic Islamic interviewing etiquette, how to avoid cultural faux pas and build contacts in your community. Tips on finding the Muslim voices largely missing from public discourse. And answers to most frequently asked questions about the religion and its believers.

  • From Model Minority to Prime Suspect

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror has transformed the image of the immigrant Muslim population in America. What was once hailed as a largely educated, upwardly mobile class of immigrants have now become the primary focus of possible terrorism connections. How recent events have changed the community from within and its place in the fabric of American life.

  • The Muslim Mommy Next Door

Second and third-generation Muslim American parents face a whole new set of challenges raising children with a healthy religious identity. How are parents dealing with a culture that links their faith largely with violence and stereotypes? The speaker, a mother of two, explores the Islamic subculture within various contexts: the suburban soccer mom; the hijab-wearing traditionalist; and a new breed of activists.

  • Under A Watchful Eye

The protection of civil liberties have eroded under the new governmental powers authorized by the executive and legislative branches of government. Has the media adequately covered the true impact of such changes on society and upon the ethnic and religious groups most often targeted?