Board of Directors
Victor Luckerson is a journalist and author who also serves as the president of MASTHEAD. At UA Victor was the editor-in-chief of The Crimson White from 2010-2012, and the co-founder of the online magazine Changing Tides in 2009. During his time as a student journalist he led coverage of structural racism in the white college greek system, the presence of Confederate monuments on campus, and corruption in student government elections. After a few years working as a technology and business reporter for Time magazine and The Ringer, he is now a freelance journalist who writes about Black businesses and the inequities embedded in the U.S. economy. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and he’s writing a book about Tulsa’s Black Wall Street for Random House. He hopes MASTHEAD will expand the opportunities for young journalists just finding their footing at the University of Alabama.
Ashanka Kumari is the secretary for MASTHEAD. From 2009-2013, Kumari served as a contributing writer, staff reporter, and ultimately Chief Copy Editor for The Crimson White while completing her BAC in Journalism and a BA in English. Since her time at the University of Alabama, Ashanka went on to complete her MA (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and PhD (University of Louisville) in English, Rhetoric and Composition. Now, Dr. Ashanka Kumari is assistant professor of English at Texas A&M University–Commerce where she teaches undergraduate and graduate writing courses. Ashanka hopes to bring her investment in mentorship and anti-racist research and teaching practices toward supporting and sustaining MASTHEAD.
Joseph D. Bryant is a board director for MASTHEAD. A 2001 University of Alabama journalism graduate, he became the first African-American editor of The Crimson White in 2000. While at the Capstone, Bryant also worked for Alabama Public Radio and for the office of communication in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. His more than 20 year communications career includes 12 years as a reporter with The Birmingham News/AL.com, where he spent a decade covering the mayor’s office and city government. After leaving news, Bryant spent three years at The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District, where his roles included serving as spokesperson and as interim vice president for community engagement at Alabama’s largest affordable housing agency. He currently works in communications at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Jasmine Cannon is a board director for MASTHEAD and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. While at UA, Jasmine was a writer for Changing Tides and a reporter for the news and sports desks at The Crimson White. Jasmine went on to study documentary storytelling at the Medill School at Northwestern University where she focused on social justice and sports content before landing in New York City and working as a video producer at Time Inc. Jasmine has worked in various capacities in the film and television industry on a number of different projects including PBS’ “Unladylike2020,” Quibi’s “Nightgowns,” and Disney’s “Black is King.” For MASTHEAD, Jasmine is planning and organizing a mentor program that will connect Nineteen Fifty-Six staff with working professionals.
Will Tucker is a board director for MASTHEAD. He graduated from UA in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in international studies. Today he is an investigative reporter for the Southern Poverty Law Center, where he covers civil rights in the South. He has written about corruption in Alabama’s prison alternative programs, Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in Mississippi and health & safety in Southern prisons. Prior to moving to Montgomery in 2016, Will was an investigative reporter in Washington, D.C. covering the Texas Congressional delegation and money-in-politics. Reports under his byline led to two Ethics Committee investigations in the House of Representatives involving misconduct by 11 members of Congress and the federal conviction of a former congressman on nearly two-dozen corruption charges. He was editor-in-chief of The Crimson White from 2012 to 2013.
Rebecca Griesbach serves as editor-in-chief of The Crimson White and is an ex-officio member of MASTHEAD. Griesbach received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Alabama in 2019 and is a second-year graduate student in the Gender and Race Studies department, where she researches the intersection of race, gender and news media. A Tuscaloosa native, Griesbach was introduced to the journalism world in high school, where she worked on numerous projects to document segregation in the local public school system. Her recent work includes covering teacher training in Memphis, requesting and sorting election data, and serving in a variety of visual and editorial roles at The CW. Since April, Griesbach has worked part-time as a stringer for The New York Times, where she helps cover COVID-19 in the prison system. She plans to use her scholarship and media experience to launch and oversee a variety of initiatives in the CW newsroom, including a new race and identity desk, source monitoring and staff trainings.
Tionna Taite serves as the editor-in-chief of Nineteen Fifty-Six and is an ex-officio member of MASTHEAD. Tionna is a sophomore majoring in News Media on a Pre-Law track. A Montgomery native, Tionna has been exposed to journalism since elementary school, where she gave the morning announcements as her school’s news reporter. At the University of Alabama, Tionna is the editor-in-chief of MOSAIC Magazine for the Honors College and a member of the Alabama Forensic Council, the speech and debate team. Tionna’s blog Becoming Black Excellence was listed as the “Top 35 Black Millenial Blogs to Follow in 2020” and is currently ranked 13 out of the 35 blogs mentioned. Tionna has a passion for journalism because it gives her the opportunity to write and speak about topics that people need to know about.
Abbey Crain is a board director for MASTHEAD.