The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships today named nine U.S. Fellows to join the seven international fellows previously announced for the class of 2023-2024.
The U.S. fellows are veteran and emerging journalism leaders from big and small newsrooms; they are entrepreneurs and investigative data journalists, documentarians, nonprofit innovators and public media journalists. They will come to Stanford University for 10 months to explore and test practical solutions to urgent and systemic problems facing journalism.
“We’re eagerly announcing this diverse group of change agents for whom the status quo in our industry is not good enough – and they want to do something about it,” said JSK Director Dawn Garcia.
Before coming to Stanford, these journalists have taken the initiative to begin efforts to address news and information gaps in underserved communities, the promise and perils for journalism of generative AI and the creator economy, systemic racism in news coverage, and the deterioration of legacy local news outlets. Journalists in this year’s fellowship cohort include leaders from The Arizona Republic, Consumer Reports, El Tímpano in Oakland, Lede New Orleans, OpenNews, The TRiiBE and WBEZ public radio in Chicago and WURD Radio in Philadelphia.
“We look forward to building on the talents and enhancing the leadership skills of these fellows as they join a cohort of U.S. and international journalism leaders.”Dawn Garcia, JSK Director
“We can’t wait to see all they will learn from each other, from JSK workshops and the many resources and experiences on the stimulating Stanford campus.” Garcia said.
The fellowship runs from September 2023 to June 2024. The fellows will document their work publicly throughout the year, highlighting key strategies and lessons learned.
The U.S. fellows will join seven international fellows already selected for the 2023-2024 academic year. The international fellows are journalists from Afghanistan, Austria, Czechia, Georgia, Mexico, the Netherlands and Nigeria. These international JSK Fellows will work on ideas that respond to threats to independent reporting, some from countries where it is dangerous to be a journalist. These threats run the gamut from imprisonment and physical danger, to intimidation, financial pressure and government censorship.
JSK provides fellows with several benefits, including a stipend of $95,000, a housing supplement and an additional supplement for fellows with children. JSK also covers Stanford health insurance for fellows, spouses and children. As part of this cohort of innovative journalism leaders, fellows receive individual coaching from the program directors, participate in leadership workshops and can sit in on Stanford classes. They also have access to the world-class faculty and other resources of the university.
The Class of 2023-2024 joins a thriving JSK community. More than 1,000 people from over 80 countries have participated in journalism fellowships at Stanford since the program first began in 1966.
The U.S. Fellows were selected by the JSK Program Committee, a group of Stanford faculty, staff and journalists, with review by JSK alumni and the fellowship directors. The Program Committee members are: Adam Banks, professor, faculty director, Program in Writing and Rhetoric and the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University; Sara Catania, vice president of network strategy, Solutions Journalism Network; Dawn Garcia, JSK director, Stanford University; Tonya Mosley, co-host, Fresh Air; Marcia Parker, vice president, philanthropic partnerships, The New York Times; Cheryl Phillips, Hearst Professional in Residence, director, Big Local News, Stanford University and Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, public editor, Public Broadcasting Service.
U.S. fellows, JSK Class of 2023-2024
Madeline Bair is the founder of El Tímpano, an award-winning local news and civic engagement organization designed with and for the Bay Area’s Latino and Mayan immigrants. El Tímpano has been cited as an inspiration by news outlets across the country striving to better serve diverse communities. Bair’s work straddles the intersection of citizen journalism, human rights, and community organizing, with the goal of equipping community members to tell impactful stories about issues affecting them. As Senior Program Manager at WITNESS Media Lab, she collaborated with media activists around the world using technology in novel ways to document injustice. At Free Press, she strengthened the capacity of newsrooms to build trusting relationships with the communities they cover and serve. Bair’s stories have appeared in The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Orion, and Colorlines, and broadcast on The World and Independent Lens.
P. Kim Bui is the senior director of product and audience innovation at The Arizona Republic. A native Iowan, she’s focused her career on leading real-time news initiatives and creating new storytelling forms for digital, print and broadcast companies catering to local, national and global audiences. Prior, she was editor-at-large for NowThis News and deputy managing editor for reported.ly, a distributed social journalism startup. She was in the inaugural class of the Executive Program in News Innovation and Leadership from City University of New York’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. She’s spoken on journalism and leadership worldwide and written about empathy in journalism for a number of research outlets. She writes a newsletter for emerging leaders called The Middles and collaborates on a column about creating a better workplace for journalists of color called Sincerely, Leaders of Color.
Araceli Gómez-Aldana is a news reporter and weekend anchor at WBEZ in Chicago. Before joining WBEZ, Gómez-Aldana was a reporter at Side Effects Public Media where she covered health and its impacts on place, policy and economics in the Midwest. In 2019, the Society of Professional Journalists Indiana Professional Chapter named Gómez-Aldana, along with three of her colleagues, the Indiana Journalist of the Year for their reporting that highlighted the human costs of the state’s opioid crisis as well as their work on the danger women of color face giving birth. Previously in Indiana, Gómez-Aldana was a reporter and local All Things Considered host at WBOI in Fort Wayne. She started her radio career at WFHB in Bloomington as a producer and host of HOLA Bloomington, a Spanish language news and public affairs show. She was also co-anchor of the station’s daily local news. Born in Guadalajara, México, Gómez-Aldana was raised in Whiting, Indiana.
Jamal Jordan is an educator and multimedia documentarian. His work spans photography, video and text. No matter the medium, he strives to create work from the heart. He has worked with VICE News, Belgium’s VRT News, NBC News and The New York Times. He’s the author/photographer of Queer Love in Color, a book that documents his worldwide search for examples of love between queer people of color, which is based on his first New York Times article. Having suffered a difficult beginning to his career, he puts a lot of work into education and mentorship. He has worked as a lecturer in multimedia storytelling for The Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences and as the lead mentor for The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists’ Association student journalism program. He believes stories are the one thing that bond all humans together, and is willing to proudly profess this despite how corny it sounds.
Sara M. Lomax is the President and CEO of WURD Radio, Pennsylvania’s only African-American owned talk radio station. She is also the co-founder of URL Media, a network of Black and Brown media organizations that share content, distribution and revenues to increase their long-term sustainability. She has transformed WURD Radio from a legacy talk radio station to a multimedia communications company that provides original programming on air, online, through video and community events. Prior to her work with WURD and URL, Lomax co-founded HealthQuest Magazine, an African-American consumer health magazine that grew from a quarterly publication to a bi-monthly with a national circulation of over 500,000. In 2020 she was a coach in the Major Metro Table Stakes Program and was the Program Lead for the BIPOC Sustainability Accelerator designed to empower Black and Brown owned media organizations. She was a 2022 JSK Community Impact Fellow.
E’jaaz A. Mason is the program director and co-founder of Lede New Orleans, a community journalism nonprofit that equips young creatives with skills, tools and resources to transform local media. Prior to co-founding Lede, Mason spent five years teaching multimedia storytelling in local public high schools, where he founded the award-winning digital media program at New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School. Mason’s professional storytelling journey began in the film industry. In 2015, Mason and his partner, Edward Buckles Jr., began work on a project that shed light on the government’s mishandling of PTSD and lack of investment in adequate mental health support for the generation of children who experienced Hurricane Katrina. This project would go on to become the HBO/Time Studios documentary Katrina Babies, winning two awards at the Tribeca Film Festival and shortlisted for Best Documentary by the International Documentary Association. Mason’s latest documentary, Black Suit: Sewing [Her]story, is set to premiere in November 2023.
Erika Owens is Executive Director of OpenNews, where she convenes people and projects across journalism and technology to move the industry forward. Owens and the OpenNews team seek ways to build enduring connections by supporting a thriving network of creating inclusive, caring spaces for the journalism-tech community. Her adroit community work has been instrumental in establishing OpenNews as a leader in how to foster and sustain networks. Owens also serves on the board of the Movement Alliance Project (formerly Media Mobilizing Project) and has trained as a donor organizer through the Giving Project at Bread and Roses Community Fund. Previously, Owens was web editor at the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. From tutoring in the D.C. Public Schools to voter outreach to nonprofit, mission-driven journalism, each area of her work has reinforced the importance of building and strengthening relationships and community bonds.
Kaveh Waddell is an investigative journalist at Consumer Reports, where he uses documents, data and rigorous testing to reveal corporate harms and overreach. Much of his reporting focuses on digital rights and environmental justice. In 2022, Waddell’s data-driven investigation into the harmful effects of Amazon warehouses on surrounding communities was a finalist for the Livingston Award and a Deadline Club award. Previously, Waddell co-wrote the Axios Future newsletter, reporting on developments in emerging technology such as artificial intelligence, robotics and neurotech. He was a 2018 AI fellow at the National Press Foundation. He spent a year as a freelance journalist in Beirut, Lebanon where he wrote about a secret effort to map Lebanon’s disappearing civil war graves, and a small, brave group of urban cyclists in the notoriously car-centric capital. Waddell’s career began in Washington, D.C. where he covered technology policy for National Journal and privacy and technology at The Atlantic, with a focus on the disproportionate harm of surveillance on marginalized groups.
Tiffany Walden is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE, a digital media platform that is reshaping the narrative of Black Chicago and giving ownership back to the people. Through her work, she demonstrates a fierce advocacy for systemic change, giving agency to under-represented voices in Black communities. Walden helped lead The TRiiBE to three 2021 Peter Lisagor Award wins for Best Neighborhood/Community News Website, Best Sports Story and Best Print Design. Walden is a 2023 Studs Terkel Community Media Award-winning journalist with bylines in local and national publications such as the Chicago Reader, BBC Travel, Complex Magazine and VICE. In 2021, Chicago Magazine named her a change maker in The New Power 30 issue. In 2020, she earned a Leaders for a New Chicago Award. Prior to launching The TRiiBE in 2017, Walden worked as a Breaking News Reporter at the Orlando Sentinel.