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Pulitzer Center Update October 25, 2021

Introducing the 2021 Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows

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Post-Grad Reporting Fellows
The Pulitzer Center is pleased to announce the 2021 cohort of Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows. Graphic by Katherine Jossi.

Editor’s note on October 25, 2021: The first four Reporting Fellows from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism were selected in July, and an additional six in October. This post has been updated to include all 10 Reporting Fellows.

Editor’s note on September 27, 2021: This post has been updated to include Post-Graduate Fellows from the Medill School of Journalism.

The Pulitzer Center is pleased to announce the selection of 14 journalists from Columbia and Medill journalism schools for its 2021 Post-Graduate Reporting Fellowship Program.

Fellows receive mentorship from the Pulitzer Center team, which also pairs each Fellow with an adviser. Our advisers are Pulitzer Center Grantees with a particular interest or expertise in the Reporting Fellow's proposed project.

Below is a list of our 2021 Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows, including descriptions of their proposed projects.

Columbia Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows

Funding for Columbia University Fellows working in the international arena comes from the Li Center for Global Journalism at Columbia.

“We are pleased and proud to work with the Pulitzer Center once again to support our graduates as they pursue creative, ambitious, and impactful journalism. It's a special honor this year to inaugurate the Li Center for Global Journalism fellowships as part of our continued commitment to elevate journalism around the world,” says Jane Eisner, director of academic affairs at Columbia Journalism School.

The following Fellows were selected in July 2021:

Rich Brown is a multimedia reporter focusing on international relations and grassroots activism in the Americas. Based in Guatemala from 2013-2019, he was editor-in-chief of Revista EntreMundos and wrote for various Guatemalan outlets to cover social conflict, climate, migration, and US policy in Central America. In 2021, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Political Reporting from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Brown is returning to Guatemala to report on land and water conflict and criminalization and violence against Campesino rights organizations.

Rebecca Kelliher is an investigative audio and print journalist covering higher education and criminal justice inequities. She will be reporting on halfway houses and accountability for contractors. She is a staff writer at Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, reporting on public policy and university leadership. Before studying journalism, Rebecca worked in higher education for eight years at three institutions, including in the United Arab Emirates. A Barnard College graduate, she recently graduated from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she investigated halfway house contractors.

Matthew Reysio-Cruz will report on the present-day consequences of the U.S. "Secret War" on Laos and will investigate failures to assist the survivors of accidents involving the leftover U.S. bombs. Reysio-Cruz is completing a dual degree in journalism and international affairs at Columbia University. Born and raised in Manila, he was a reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country’s top newspaper, where he covered education, courts, and politics. While there, he produced features that probed social and economic injustices under the Duterte administration. He was recently a Stabile investigative reporting fellow at Columbia and a recipient of scholarships from the Overseas Press Club Foundation and ProPublica.

Catharine Smith is a recent graduate of Columbia Journalism School's master of science program where she focused on audio broadcast production, investigative reporting, and literary journalism. A graduate of Hampshire College, Smith worked at HuffPost for nearly a decade as an editor in technology, business, and impact. For her Pulitzer Center project, she will be reporting on the privatization of water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on Pennsylvania, one of the "friendliest" states to water privatization. The title of her project is "Wall Street Is Coming for Your Tap Water."

These Fellows were selected in October 2021:

Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu is currently working as the global religion news intern at the Associated Press. Prior to joining AP, he was a freelance journalist based out of Accra, Ghana, with a special interest in social justice, health, and the environment. His reporting has been published in numerous international outlets including The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, and Public Radio International. His Pulitzer Center project will focus on a new anti-LGBT+ bill that is going through Ghana’s parliament.

Shane Burke’s work focuses on policy, demographics, and culture using data analysis and narrative reporting to shed light on pressing issues and trends. Currently, he reports on demographics and the census for the Salt Lake Tribune. Prior to entering the journalism field, Burke was a manager at a market research firm. At Columbia, Burke specialized in data journalism. For his Pulitzer Center project, he will be looking at HIV and AIDs prevention in South Africa.

Damilola Banjo is an investigative journalist from Nigeria with a reporting focus on issues of health, education, human rights, and social justice. She is currently working for WFAE, an NPR affiliate based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She was named the 2020 Nigeria Investigative Journalist of the Year by Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism. Banjo worked with BBC Africa as part of the team that produced the Emmy nominated documentary, Sex for Grades. Her Pulitzer Center project will continue to explore sexual violence toward women in Nigeria, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Anna Gordon will focus her Pulitzer Center reporting on public health in rural Kenya during COVID-19. Her master thesis at Columbia was an audio documentary about a new cystic fibrosis drug that could improve the life expectancy of those suffering from the disease. Gordon’s reporting interests include healthcare and economics with a passion for making healthcare both more efficient and accessible.

Monica Hunter-Hart is a graduate of Columbia's dual degree program at the Journalism School and School of International and Public Affairs. For the Pulitzer Center, Hunter-Hart will focus on reconstruction in Turkey following conflict in the country’s Kurdish Southeast. She aims to report digital and audio stories relating to Turkish politics, human rights abuses in conflict zones, and money laundering and financial corruption. Prior to journalism school, she worked in New York writing news and assisting with the refugee housing at the International Rescue Committee.

Giulia Pozzi is a current intern at NewsGuard, an online misinformation tracker. She’s also held positions as a foreign affairs reporter for Rome-based news website, and as United Nations correspondent at New York City-based online newspaper La Voce di New York. Her reporting focuses on migration, human rights, and social justice. For the Pulitzer Center, she will continue her work in Italy, this time with an investigation into the exploitation of migrant workers and the environmental impact of the industrial region of Northern Italy.

Please note that Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, Damilola Banjo, Richard Brown, Anna Gordon, and Matthew Reysio-Cruz have been designated as Li Center for Global Journalism Fellows. Special thanks to Simon and June Li.

Medill Post-Graduate Reporting Fellows

“We’re so proud of these Medill graduates committed to documenting the human impact of under-covered stories like the recent war and ongoing conflict in Armenia, and the slashing of mental health services in Texas prisons; and of past injustices like the chemical attacks on Iraqi Kurds and the boarding schools forced on Native American youth,” said Kari Lydersen, Medill lecturer and director of the Social Justice & Investigative specializations in the MSJ program “Shedding light on these stories promotes accountability—from chemical companies, government officials and others; and demands that we as readers and global citizens think deeply about these situations rather than looking the other way."

Mark Dovich is passionate about stories on Russia and the post-Soviet region, areas of the world often underreported in American mainstream media. He has a particular interest in stories with a human rights focus and aspires to one day be an international reporter. He currently holds an M.S. in social justice and investigative reporting from Northwestern University and an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies from the University of Michigan. Dovich will focus his project on post-war life for residents of southern Armenia’s “border villages.”

Rebecca Holland is a freelance journalist and recent graduate of Medill’s master’s program, specializing in social justice and investigative reporting. Her most recent reporting includes a range of topics from food and travel to human rights issues in Chicago. She received her bachelor’s degrees in journalism and languages and cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Holland’s reporting will follow survivors of a chemical attack in Iraqi Kurdistan, who are still seeking justice decades later.

Yvonne Krumrey is an MSJ graduate from Medill Journalism School. Prior to moving to Chicago, Krumrey was a producer for Denver radio station KGNU and worked for 5280 Magazine. With a background in geography, Krumrey is interested in reporting at the intersection of landscape, the environment, and human rights. Krumrey’s project will focus on the history of Wisconsin’s Native American boarding schools.

Michael Murney is a reporting fellow with the Dallas Observer. His reporting will focus on mental health services in Texas county jails and the ongoing mental health crisis already happening in the jails. His previous projects include probes into Chicago’s surveillance camera network, and private halfway house conditions in Illinois. Much of this work he did while working with journalists at The Washington Post as a member of the Medill Investigative Lab.