The University of Michigan Arts Initiative and the Wallace House Center for Journalists jointly announce the creation of a Knight-Wallace Arts Journalism Fellowship for the 2024-2025 academic year. This specialized fellowship is designed to underscore the importance of arts reporting and criticism in American journalism.
The Knight-Wallace Arts Journalism Fellowship will provide professional development opportunities and engagement with leading scholars, creators and innovators in the arts. The inaugural fellow will be a member of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship, now celebrating its 50th year, and a member of the University of Michigan’s campus-wide Arts Initiative, which seeks to illuminate and expand human connections, inspire collaborative creativity, and build a more just and equitable world through the arts.
The Knight-Wallace Arts Journalism Fellowship emerges as a crucial lifeline for art journalists as arts reporting positions are disappearing nationwide.
“By adding this dedicated Arts Journalism Fellowship, Wallace House affirms the importance of coverage of artists and the work they create to enrich, reflect and challenge society,” said Lynette Clemetson, director of Wallace House. “We hope to foster new ways of approaching and sustaining arts journalism across a range of platforms.”
The Knight-Wallace Arts Journalism Fellow will pursue an ambitious journalism project related to the arts and will have access to university courses, research and art creation across various disciplines, including art history, performance, policy, business, technology and design.
The Fellow will receive an $85,000 living stipend, $5,000 relocation reimbursement, and health insurance coverage for the academic year. They will participate in weekly Wallace House seminars, cohort-based workshops and training, and engagement with leaders and changemakers in journalism and the arts.
Arts Journalism Engagement
“The mission of the Arts Initiative includes energizing and nurturing the arts on campus and in our state,” notes its Interim Executive Director, Mark Clague. “This not only means making art happen, but it means inspiring a robust critical dialogue about creative work and its meanings—its joy, humanity, and challenges to our beliefs and understandings. The new Knight-Wallace Arts Fellow will be a catalyst of such conversations, especially for U-M students, and amplify the impact of the arts for all.”
Now Accepting Applications
Applications for the Knight-Wallace Arts Journalism Fellowship are now open to arts journalists and critics with at least five years of professional experience. Coverage areas may include but are not limited to music, dance, theater and other performing arts, visual arts and museum culture, literature and poetry, film and new media, architecture and design.
The application deadline is February 1, 2024. Applicants must be U.S. citizens. The selected fellow will be expected to relocate to the Ann Arbor area for the 2024-2025 academic year to study on campus at the University of Michigan.
On the application form, applicants for this new fellowship must describe their arts journalism work experience in their personal statement and explain in their journalism project proposal how their fellowship project is related to coverage of the arts.
Wallace House Center for Journalists and the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia at the University of Michigan vehemently condemn the brutal attack on Russian journalist Elena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov on July 4th when she was reporting in Chechnya. Elena spent this last year with us in Ann Arbor and decided to forgo her second year of fellowship and return to Russia because, as she expressed, “there is work to do” there.
As today marks the 100th day of Evan Gershkovich’s wrongful detainment in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, we stand in solidarity with Elena, Evan, and all journalists and scholars whose freedom of speech is curtailed and whose life is threatened for bringing to light vital social and political issues. We hold dear and defend civil liberties and the rule of law, core principles of democratic societies. We wish Elena a full recovery and the ability to continue her work without harm or retribution. We will continue to uphold the vital work of journalists and scholars in uncovering, analyzing, and disseminating facts and truth. And we will continue to support those who spread knowledge about human rights abuses around the world.
Lynette Clemetson, Director, Wallace House Center for Journalists Geneviève Zubrzycki, Director, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and Professor of Sociology
On a Monday evening in late November, throngs of University of Michigan students, faculty, staff, and Ann Arbor residents waited expectantly outside the Michigan Theater to attend the premier showing of the film, “She Said.”
The movie chronicles the reporting of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, credited with successfully revealing decades of sexual misconduct by film producer Harvey Weinstein and igniting the #MeToo movement. When the film ended and the two reporters walked onto the stage, the packed audience stood for an extended standing ovation and students lined up in the the aisles to ask questions.
In March, campus and community members converged again, this time at Rackham Auditorium, for An Evening with CNN Anchor Chris Wallace and Governor Gretchen Whitmer, with an opening welcome by U-M President Santa Ono. Hundreds of student tickets were claimed within 15 minutes, despite the fact that the students were on spring break when they were announced. Whitmer and Wallace engaged with each other and the audience on topics important to the student body—from gun legislation in Michigan, to funding for mental health services on campus, to the responsibility of media to combat disinformation and to allay, not fuel, polarization.
The two events were quite different. But each featured journalists prompting incisive conversation on difficult topics across points of social and political difference. As deans of the School of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy respectively, we take seriously our responsibility to serve the public good by bringing diverse groups together to grapple with important issues. Through these conversations, in partnership with the Wallace House Presents series, it is our hope that we all might be inspired and energized to make positive change in our communities.
One of the many remarkable things about the University of Michigan is the caliber of public events that the university sponsors on campus and in the community. Together we lead Democracy & Debate, a university-wide educational initiative that encourages students, faculty, staff, and community members to explore the exchange of ideas and free speech; the responsibilities of members of a democratic society; structural inequalities in our democratic systems; the power of the individual voter; and democracy from a local to a global perspective. Now finishing its second year, it has prompted projects and collaborations spanning numerous departments and disciplines.
Universities are central to thriving democracies. Journalists and journalism are essential as well. Excellent works of journalism bring facets of enormous, unwieldy issues into sharper focus. Rather than accepting that the stories we see, hear and read every day function as mere background noise or posts to scroll past, scholars and journalists share a desire to capture people’s attention with evidence, analysis and humanity and to turn consumption of information into a conscious act.
Democracy & Debate and Wallace House Presents are well- suited partners in this endeavor. And it has been gratifying to bring our scholarly and journalistic styles together for interesting pairings.
Celeste, who founded the Ford School’s Center for Racial Justice, interviewed Jelani Cobb, dean of the Columbia Journalism School and staff writer for The New Yorker. The conversation, titled The Half-Life of Freedom: Notes on Race, Media and Democracy, examined how historic challenges to democracy are reflective of a long history of fissures and contradictions in our democratic ideals.
From his unique vantage point as a journalist and historian, Cobb powerfully reminded us that the question of who America is for has yet to be resolved and that U.S. social justice movements are collective attempts to challenge our country to live up to its democratic ideals. He took a topic that could intimidate and distance an audience and provided relatable points of entry and even humor.
Anne, a linguist and host of the weekly podcast and Michigan Radio segment on language, “That’s What they Say,” interviewed journalist and best-selling author Anna Quindlen about the importance of personal writing. While the discussion focused on Qundlen’s book, “Write for Your Life,” the conversation captured the fundamental role written language plays in shaping not only our individual experience, but our history and collective memory.
The lively exchange urged audience members increasingly conditioned to process their days through texts to consider the long-term value of contemplative daily writing—whether in a journal, on a notepad, or in a phone. Quindlen, with all of her accolades as a writer of fiction and non-fiction, was wise, funny, and deeply human, as she shared with us the joys (those “aha!” moments) and challenges (reading feedback from editors) we all face when we put words to paper, whether we are students or professional writers.
The goals of the Wallace House Presents series are to highlight the vital role journalists play in our society; to bring transparency to how journalists pursue their work; to extend the reach of the issues they examine; and to foster civic engagement and civil debate—on campus, in the classroom, and in the broader community.
These goals resonate with key aspects of both our schools’ missions: the rigorous pursuit of knowledge and truth; the humanizing of large-scale problems, as well as the process of understanding and addressing them; the commitment to democratic values, including academic freedom and the freedom of the press; and respectful, well-informed debate.
As deans, we worry that the issues we collectively face are so big and so pressing that people will become numb to them. Difficult topics are so loud in our rapid, repetitive information cycle, that people can inadvertently, or self-protectively, stop listening and thinking about them.
But our experience with university events demonstrates that, when given meaningful opportunities, people lean in and engage. The “She Said” screening, which was also co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the College of Engineering, drew one of the largest audiences the Michigan Theater had seen since before the pandemic. We were particularly inspired by the number of women student journalists who asked questions about how to use journalism to effect social change and how to navigate the numerous assaults on the profession. The event was one of the most memorable evenings of both of our academic years.
We are grateful to work alongside Lynette Clemetson and the Wallace House Center for Journalists to bring signature events like these to campus. And we look forward to continuing the important work of ensuring that democratic ideals, principles, and institutions continue to thrive on the University of Michigan campus and beyond.
Anne Curzan is dean of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and serves on the Wallace House Executive Advisory Board.
Celeste Watkins-Hayes is the Joan and Sanford Dean of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, founding director of the school’s Center for Racial Justice and serves on the Wallace House Executive Advisory Board.
Launching my career in a disrupted media landscape, I became skilled in multimedia news. As a senior digital editor, I helped journalists learn how to embrace technological advances, to tell stories in new ways to audiences who expect news delivered to their ever-changing hand-held devices.
But another disruption shaped my career and life, one wrought by climate change and increasingly extreme weather. When Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, eventually causing more than 2,900 deaths and nearly $100 billion in damages, it left many newsrooms, mine included, in shambles. What good is all the technology in the world when the power grid and internet are knocked offline for up to six months? What do you do when whole regions of your audience are entirely cut off from communications and desperately need information to save their lives?
We were forced to adapt and get information to those in need. We improvised and launched successful text-based versions of our websites, making the news easier for audiences with limited internet to download.
Later, I realized that few newsrooms have comprehensive editorial and operational plans for natural disasters—especially small and medium-sized newsrooms already working with scarce resources because of the financial challenges facing journalism. So, I applied to the Knight-Wallace Fellowship to address this problem and to create guidelines for newsrooms affected by the devastating natural disasters they must cover.
Could journalists use ham radios to get our stories to the public when we lose our beloved internet?
After diving into the 24,000 courses offered at the University of Michigan, I began auditing a course called “Extreme Weather in a Changing Climate.” Professor Perry Samson helped me understand the recipe for hurricanes and how to better forecast which areas will be affected by storm surges in order to plan where to deploy reporting teams. He introduced me to the five wind tunnels at the university. I became particularly fascinated with one used to simulate tropical storms. I also discovered dozens of online resources to help me and the journalists I would marshal better cover the next natural disaster.
I learned about nuclear winter and geomagnetic storms, a “sneeze” from the sun that can destroy all communications across the planet for months. Each class was simultaneously mind-blowing and amazingly straightforward. I cringed each time Prof. Samson pointed out simple mistakes committed by newsrooms, such as journalists using the wrong hurricane symbol.
I was eager to share what I was learning with others. Working with Wallace House, I convened “Covering Natural Disasters: A Newsroom Preparedness Symposium.” We invited a group of select reporters and editors from Michigan, Texas, California, and Florida to come to Ann Arbor and join my class of Knight-Wallace Fellows for a day of collaborative learning with extreme weather experts. The symposium ended with us breaking into small groups and workshopping best practices for bringing together operational and editorial processes. I am now turning these ideas into a set of guidelines for newsrooms.
Among my biggest fascinations from the year was a paper I found about the historical role of radio amateurs in helping devastated communities during natural disasters. I learned that Herbert V. Akerberg, a student in Michigan, gave birth to emergency radio after a disastrous flood in Ohio in 1913.
That story of a young radio amateur whose mother brought him meals so he could continue broadcasting during the night stuck in my mind. Could journalists use ham radios to get our stories to the public when we lose our beloved internet?
The answer is yes, we can. Although several amateur radio programs exist, I could not find any that actively partnered with newsrooms. In March, I became certified as a spotter for the Skywarn program to report to the National Weather Service and city emergency offices about extreme weather conditions.
Satellites, as it turns out, can’t see everything. If a family has difficulty getting out of a house in the middle of a flood, there is no way for a satellite to know. Nor can a satellite identify when a tornado knocks down a line of 10 or 20 trees. But people in communities connected by radio can get the word out.
I knew immediately that the fellowship had opened a new door for me: to become an amateur radio journalist. I won’t be the first. I met a fellow amateur radio journalist living in Michigan. After I finish writing my emergency guidelines, my next step as an experienced digital leader will be to ensure that multiplatform news outlets understand the analog skills they still need to survive.
María Arce is Editorial Coach for Latin America at Global Press, where she leads learning and professional development for a team of reporters in the region. She also accepted a Reynold’s Journalism Institute Fellowship where she will continue her Knight-Wallace Fellowship work and develop and launch a training and resource guide on how journalists can work with ham radio operators.
Today the Livingston Awards honor stories that represent the best in local, national and international reporting by journalists under the age of 35. The winning stories uncovered text messages indicating Mississippi’s misuse of federal welfare funding, the inner working of the U.S. government’s child separation policy, and the atrocities committed by Putin’s army against civilians in Ukraine. The $10,000 prizes are for work released in 2022.
The Livingston Awards also honored Ken Auletta, author and writer for The New Yorker, with a special tribute for his enduring commitment to the Livingston Awards and the careers of young journalists. Auletta joined the Livingston board of national judges in 1983, the third year of the program, and served in that role through 2022.
Livingston Awards national judges Sewell Chan of The Texas Tribune,María Elena Salinas of ABC News and Matt Murray of News Corp introduced the winners at a ceremony hosted by former Livingston Awards national judge Anna Quindlen, author.
“The best reporters keep looking, questioning and documenting when they are told there is nothing more to see,” said Lynette Clemetson, Livingston Awards director. “This year’s winners laid bare abuses of power and the networks of complicity and complacency that allowed those abuses to unfold. Their work influenced the public record and how history will regard the players and their deeds. It is an honor to recognize them for their tenacity, rigor and storytelling excellence.”
Today’s ceremony included special remarks from Matthew Luxmoore, a Livingston Award finalist and reporter from The Wall Street Journal who covers Russia, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. He spoke at the podium in support of his friend and colleague, Evan Gershkovich, who has been wrongfully imprisoned in Russia since March 29 of this year.
Celebrating its 42nd year, the awards bolster the work of young reporters, create the next generation of journalism leaders and mentors, and advance civic engagement around powerful storytelling. Major sponsors include the University of Michigan, Knight Foundation, the Indian Trail Charitable Foundation, the Mollie Parnis Livingston Foundation, Christiane Amanpour, the Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation, Dr. Gil Omenn and Martha Darling and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The 2023 winners for work released in 2022 are listed below.
Anna Wolfe, 28, of Mississippi Today for “The Backchannel: Mississippi’s Welfare Scandal,” a multiyear investigation into Mississippi’s 2% approval rate of applicants for federal welfare funding uncovering text messages between then-Governor Bill Bryant, state officials and Bryant’s friends, including NFL football legend Brett Favre and unraveling the largest public fraud in Mississippi’s history.
“Anna Wolfe’s dogged investigation into Mississippi’s misuse of funds intended to help needy families demonstrates the power of journalism to expose corruption. She was the first to reveal text messaging indicating that welfare funds had been diverted to a pharmaceutical company in which a retired NFL star was an early investor. Her tenacious digging, over multiple years, has had a staggering impact on a state with high levels of poverty and inequality.” — Sewell Chan, Livingston Awards national judge
Caitlin Dickerson, 33, of The Atlantic for “We Need to Take Away Children,” a masterful examination of the U.S. government’s child separation policy revealing how officials at every level heedlessly and often deceptively advanced policy that defied the country’s most basic stated values.
“In her exhaustive reconstruction of the Trump administration’s implementation of its family separation policy, Caitlin Dickerson brought to life jaw-dropping and eye-opening details of how the policy was accepted and implemented at different levels of government. Through exclusive interviews at multiple levels, she meticulously laid out how a handful of people set off a chain reaction of chaos and pain that continues to this day. Her reporting has established a new public record of a devastating episode in our nation’s history.” — María Elena Salinas, Livingston Awards national judge
Vasilisa Stepanenko, 22, of The Associated Press for “A Year of War,” a series of harrowing videos exposing the atrocities against civilians committed by Putin’s army in Ukraine and laying bare the devasting human toll of war.
“In a year that saw a great deal of amazing and powerful work from journalists covering the Ukraine war, Vasilisa’s stories had a unique immediacy and visceral power that vividly bore witness to the impact of the war in her country. Her work had an undeniable impact on the world’s understanding of the struggle. And the great personal courage she displayed amid tremendous peril underscores the stakes of the battle to tell the truth on the ground.” — Matt Murray, Livingston Awards national judge
Ken Auletta, author, media and communications writer for The New Yorker and Livingston Awards judge from 1983 to 2022.
This year the Livingston Awards honored Ken Auletta with a special tribute for his enduring commitment to the program and the careers of young journalists. Anna Quindlen, author and Livingston Awards judge from 2009 to 2022, presented Auletta with the award and introduced a video with tributes from his fellow Livingston Award judges and past Livingston award winners. Kara Swisher said in the video tribute, “There’s an expression. Anything that can shine does. Ken shines a light on the things that shine, which is really important when it comes to young reporters.” Auletta’s most meaningful legacy is in the lives and careers of journalists he helped transform.
In addition to Buzbee, Chan and Murray, the Livingston national judges panel includes Raney Aronson-Rath of PBS; Sally Buzbee of The Washington Post; Audie Cornish of CNN; Lydia Polgreen of The New York Times; Bret Stephens of The New York Times; and Kara Swisher of New York Magazine.
The Wallace House Center for Journalists and the University of Michigan are pleased to announce the 2023-2024 class of Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellows. This cohort of 19 accomplished journalists marks the 50th class of Fellows in the program’s history.
Representing nine countries and a broad cross-section of the U.S., the Fellows will pursue ambitious journalism projects, audit courses at the university and participate in weekly seminars with journalism leaders, renowned scholars, media innovators and social change agents. Most seminars will take place at Wallace House, a gift from the late newsman Mike Wallace and his wife, Mary, and the program’s home base.
“These journalists and their compelling range of projects reflect the breadth of challenges journalists must understand – from the far-reaching societal impacts of climate change, to the rise of social media-fueled disinformation, to the unique challenges of reporting from countries ensnared in media crackdowns, wars or rampant violence,” said Lynette Clemetson, Director of Wallace House. “Now more than ever, the work of these and all journalists is essential to protecting and expanding democratic values. We are honored to support them.”
After a three-year pause on international news tours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wallace House plans to travel with this year’s cohort to South Korea in February 2024 to learn more about the country’s changing media environment and engage with its political and social landscape.
The fellowship started in 1973 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This class will be joined by alumni from several decades in September 2023 for a weekend reunion honoring the history of the fellowship and the hundreds of journalists from around the world with ties to the program.
Wallace House’s Knight-Wallace Fellowship program is funded through endowment gifts from foundations, news organizations, individuals, and ongoing contributions from funders committed to journalism’s role in fostering an informed and engaged public.
The 2023-2024 Knight-Wallace Fellows and their journalism projects:
Elizabeth Aguilera is an independent multimedia journalist focused on migration, environmental health and equity. She is an editor-at-large for Zócalo Public Square and a mentor and editor for Next Gen Radio. She will explore the impact of climate change on devastated areas of the U.S. that have already suffered from environmental racism, the disproportionate placement of hazardous materials near marginalized communities.
Roberson Alphonseis head of national news at le Nouvelliste, Haiti’s largest daily newspaper, and the director of information at Radio Magik9, where he hosts a popular daily program. He survived an assassination attempt in October of 2022 and was able to flee to Miami, where he has continued hosting his radio show. His project will focus on helping Haitian journalists navigate an increasingly volatile press environment.
Rustin Dodd is a senior reporter at The Athletic where he has written about subjects such as the impact of opioid abuse on professional baseball and the analytics revolution in Major League Baseball and the National Football League. He is the co-author of “Kingdom Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs, and How a Once Swingin’ Cow Town Chased the Ultimate Comeback.” He will examine the rise of legalized sports gambling in the U.S., its societal costs and its implications for sports media.
Sharif Hassan is a former Washington Post and New York Times reporter from Afghanistan who is now working in exile in Canada following the Taliban takeover of his country. His research will take a deep dive into environmental and sustainability challenges in North America, enabling him to report on these challenges with expertise and cross-regional context.
Peter Hoffman is an independent documentary photographer who has reported on environmental and climate issues for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Bloomberg Businessweek and others. He will combine photography and narrative storytelling to explore the challenges of stewarding southeast Michigan watersheds– the primary, and often compromised, source of drinking water for numerous communities.
Yunhee Kim is the politics editor for Munhwa Ilbo, a daily newspaper in Seoul, where she has covered three presidential elections and numerous general and local elections, as well as multiple corruption scandals. She will explore how to strengthen Korean presidential election coverage in a hyper-polarized political climate.
Mila Koumpilova is a senior education reporter in Chalkbeat’s Chicago bureau, where she has reported on topics including the pandemic’s impact on vulnerable students and federal COVID-19 relief spending. She will explore how U.S. cities can strengthen programs that aim to re-engage unemployed young people who are not enrolled in high school or college — a goal that policymakers and experts see as key to fighting poverty, racial inequities and gun violence.
Efrat Lachter is an investigative correspondent for Israel’s Channel 12 News and the weekly newsmagazine “Friday Studio.” As the first female war correspondent in her newsroom, much of Efrat’s work has illuminated the lives of women in conflict zones such as Ukraine, Syria and Sudan. She will study ways to preserve journalistic integrity in unstable political contexts.
Victor Kai Shing Law is a senior reporter for AM730, a Hong Kong local newspaper. He was previously a reporter for the Apple Daily newspaper and Stand News, both of which were forced to close amid a government crackdown on independent media. His research will illuminate the vision and mission of Hong Kong’s new experimental media, the challenges they face, and strategies that could broaden their reach.
Jaime Lowe is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and other publications, as well as the author of three books, including “Breathing Fire: Female Inmate Firefighters on the Front Lines of California’s Wildfires.” Having previously embedded with the maternal-fetal medicine department at the Cleveland Clinic, Lowe will expand on this subject by reporting on evolving abortion law and the availability of reproductive healthcare in the Midwest.
Iuliia Mendelis an independent Ukrainian journalist, political commentator, and opinion writer for The Washington Post who served as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s press secretary from June 2019 to July 2021. She wrote a book about this experience, titled “The Fight of Our Lives.” Her research will seek solutions to protect and empower truth-seeking journalists in Ukraine and around the world in a climate of growing populism.
Kwan Ling Mok is a visual journalist and filmmaker who recently reported for Hong Kong’s Ming Pao Weekly and Stand News. Her film “Far from Home,” about a family’s tumultuous experience during the 2019 protest movement, was banned after she refused demands from authorities to make 14 cuts to the 25-minute film. Mok will study Hong Kong’s psychological recovery from China’s recent crackdown, historical patterns of collective trauma and how journalism, especially visual journalism, can foster individual and societal healing.
Josh Raab is the former director of Instagram and TikTok at National Geographic, where he managed teams that oversaw 40 accounts with 325M+ followers, including @NatGeo. He will explore how journalistic videos that have inherently challenging and difficult subject matter, such as climate change and conflict, can break through the algorithmic noise to reach younger audiences and combat misinformation on social platforms that often prioritize entertainment.
Tamanna Rahman is a United Kingdom-based investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker who has directed and reported for the BBC, Channel 4 and VICE. To lay the groundwork for a complex and multifaceted investigative documentary, Rahman plans to meticulously map food production and trade flows, examining the risks and long-term implications of a handful of unregulated companies and commodities traders controlling the main flows of food around the world.
Joshua Sharpe is a journalist with the San Francisco Chronicle whose reporting has helped free two innocent people from life in prison. He is writing a book for W.W. Norton and Company titled “The Man No One Believed.” While tracking multiple cases of potential wrongful conviction, he will take criminal justice courses, study post-conviction relief and examine the unseen ways that such cases damage lives.
‘FisayoSoyombo is the former managing editor of Sahara Reporters and editor-in-chief of Nigeria’s Foundation for Investigative Journalism. He is best known for “breaking into prison.” Posing as a criminal, he spent five days in a police cell and eight days as an inmate at Ikoyi Prison in Nigeria. While writing an expanded version of his 2019 investigation of the Nigerian criminal justice system, Soyombo will simultaneously explore prison reform, restorative justice and strategies for preventing and responding to inhumane and corrupt practices within prisons.
Ben Steverman is a reporter for Bloomberg News based in New York, where he has covered the U.S.’s wide and persistent racial wealth gap, the pandemic’s effects on inequality, and the tax loopholes and philanthropic strategies deployed by the ultra-rich. His research will examine the broad social costs of the decline of American nightlife– which was struggling well before the pandemic– and what can be done to revive nightlife and help mend the country’s fraying social bonds.
Doris Truong is senior director of teaching and diversity strategies at the Poynter Institute of Media Studies. She previously worked at The Dallas Morning News and The Washington Post in roles ranging from copy editing to oversight of breaking-news operations. She will study ways to help journalists better understand their own gaps in life experience around issues including race, gender, socioeconomics, sexual orientation and stage of life, to thereby strengthen newsgathering and news judgment.
About Wallace House Center for Journalists Committed to fostering excellence in journalism, Wallace House at the University of Michigan is home to the Knight-Wallace Fellowships, the Livingston Awards and the Wallace House Presents event series, programs that recognize exceptional journalists for their work, leadership and potential. wallacehouse.umich.edu
Wallace House Center for Journalists and the University of Michigan announced today the 2023 Livingston Awards finalists in local, national, and international reporting. The awards support young journalists and honor the best reporting and storytelling by journalists under the age of 35 across all forms of journalism. The finalist selections were chosen from more than 450 entries for work released in 2022.
This year’s winners will be announced on June 13, 2023, at an in-person awards ceremony hosted by Anna Quindlen with a special tribute to Ken Auletta for his enduring commitment to the Livingston Awards and the careers of young journalists.
“This year’s finalists and the issues they pursued affirm the commitment of young reporters to tackle the toughest of stories,” said Lynette Clemetson, director of the awards and the Wallace House Center for Journalists. “The breathtaking range of this exceptional work demonstrates the unique ability of journalism to make us stop, take notice, bear witness, and expect accountability.”
Celebrating its 42nd year, the awards bolster the work of young reporters, create the next generation of journalism leaders and mentors, and advance civic engagement around powerful storytelling. The sponsors include the University of Michigan, the Knight Foundation, the Indian Trail Charitable Foundation, the Mollie Parnis Livingston Foundation, Christiane Amanpour, Dr. Gil Omenn and Martha Darling, the Judy and Fred Wilpon Foundation, Emerson Collective, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Associated Press and The New Yorker.
The Livingston Awards regional judges read all qualifying entries to select the finalists in local, national and international reporting. The regional judging panel includes Molly Ball, national political correspondent, TIME; Stella Chávez, immigration and demographics reporter, KERA Public Radio (Dallas); Chris Davis, deputy for the Local Investigative Reporting Fellowship, The New York Times; David Greene, Co-founder, Fearless Media and Host, “Left, Right & Center” KCRW (Los Angeles); Stephen Henderson, Executive Editor, BridgeDetroit and Host, WDET, public radio Detroit and Detroit Public Television; Shirley Leung, columnist and associate editor, The Boston Globe; and Amna Nawaz, co-anchor, PBS “NewsHour.”
The Livingston Awards national judges review all finalist entries and select the winners. The national judges are Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer, “FRONTLINE”; Sally Buzbee, executive editor, The Washington Post; Sewell Chan, editor in chief, The Texas Tribune; Audie Cornish, anchor and correspondent, CNN; Matt Murray, consultant, News Corp; Lydia Polgreen, opinion columnist, The New York Times; María Elena Salinas, contributor, ABC News; Bret Stephens, opinion columnist, The New York Times; and Kara Swisher, executive producer, Code Conference.
We present the 2023 Livingston Awards finalists and invite you to review their work here.
Mayowa AinaandKari Plog, KNKX Public Radio and The Seattle Times
James Barragánand Davis Winkie, The Texas Tribune and Military Times
Sarah Blaskey and Nicholas Nehamas, Miami Herald
Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times
Niki Griswold, Austin American-Statesman
Samantha Hogan, The Maine Monitor
Maya Kaufman, Crain’s New York Business
David Lefflerand Savanna Strott, Public Health Watch in partnership with The Pulitzer Center, the Investigative Reporting Workshop and Grist
Alex Mann, The Baltimore Sun
Max Nesterak, Minnesota Reformer
Krystal Nurse, Lansing State Journal
Phoebe PetrovicandNina Earnest, Wisconsin Watch and Wisconsin Public Radio
Albert Samaha, BuzzFeed News
Will Sennott, The New Bedford Light in partnership with ProPublica
Langston TaylorandZachary T. Sampson, Tampa Bay Times
Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle
Carter Walker, LNP | LancasterOnline
Julie Zauzmer Weil, Adrian Blanco RamosandLeo Dominguez, The Washington Post
Anna Wolfe, Mississippi Today
Rachel Adams-Heard andDavis Land, Bloomberg News
Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohenand Dan Merica, CNN
Jasper Craven, Mother Jones
Gaby Del Valle, TheVerge
Caitlin Dickerson,The Atlantic
Robert Downen, The Houston Chronicle
Nicholas Florko, STAT
AlexHeath, The Verge
Astead W. Herndon, TheNew York Times
Cassandra Jaramillo, Reveal from TheCenter for Investigative Reporting
Caroline Kitchener, The Washington Post
Ava Kofman,The New Yorker and ProPublica
Samantha Michaelsand Mark Helenowski, Mother Jones
Brett Murphy, ProPublica
Elissa NadwornyandLauran Migaki, NPR
Andrea Patiño Contreras, Univision News Digital
AlexandraRain, Deseret News
Lauren Rosenthal, Jamie Hobbsand Anna Canny, American Public Media
Meg Shutzer and Rachel Lauren Mueller, The New York Times and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism
Anjali Singhvi, The New York Times
Lynzy Billing, ProPublica
Regine Cabato and Shibani Mahtani, The Washington Post
Isabelle Khurshudyanand KamilaHrabchuk, The Washington Post
Oscar Lopez, The New York Times
Matthew Luxmoore, The Wall Street Journal
Lyse Mauvais and Solin Muhammed Amin, Al-Monitor
Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times
Alexander Sammon, The New Republic
Mia Sato, The Verge
Emily Schultheis, Coda Story
SarahSouli, The Atavist
Vasilisa Stepanenko, The Associated Press
Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post
Elizabeth Trovall, Houston Chronicle
Vivian Yee, Allison McCann and Josh Holder, The New York Times
More on the finalists’ work and links to watch, listen and read here.
Wallace House Center for Journalists is excited to welcome Ashley Bates as its Associate Director.
In this position, Bates will manage the daily operations of Wallace House and the Knight-Wallace Fellowship activities and support Wallace House director Lynette Clemetson in the strategic direction and running of all organizational programs and initiatives. Bates will also be responsible for alumni engagement, outreach activities across the journalism industry, and recruitment for the Knight-Wallace Fellowships, ensuring a diverse range of program participants.
“I am honored to join the Wallace House Center for Journalists team,” said Bates. “I look forward to getting to know this community, working in creative partnership with news organizations and alumni, and offering responsive programming and individualized support to Knight-Wallace Fellows.”
Bates comes to Wallace House with both organizational leadership and journalism experience. She has a demonstrated record of administering complex programs, nurturing alumni communities, leading professional development training, recruiting underrepresented voices, and executing imaginative programming that is tailored to the needs of organizations and their participants. For the past four years, she has served as the Program Manager for the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, a top-ranked MFA program for fiction authors and poets. Previously, Bates managed graduate student recruitment and career mentorship initiatives for the University of Michigan’s International Institute.
Bates worked as an investigative journalist in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel, and the United States, producing videos and long-form features for The Nation, Haaretz, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, Tikkun, Jerusalem Post Magazine, GlobalPost, and Columbia Journalism Review.
Fluent in Arabic, she served for eight years as the Program Director and then the Executive Director of an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and social justice advocacy organization called Hands of Peace.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School. Bates will start at Wallace House on May 1.
Audie Cornish, Sally Buzbee and Sewell Chan join the Livingston Awards
Wallace House Center for Journalists and the Livingston Awards panel of national judges welcome Audie Cornish of CNN, Sally Buzbee of The Washington Post and Sewell Chan of The Texas Tribune to the Livingston Awards national judging panel. They will join our regional and national judges in identifying the best reporting and storytelling by journalists under 35.
Cornish is an anchor and correspondent for CNN. She hosts the CNN Audio podcast “The Assignment” and appears on CNN covering national, political and breaking news. Before joining CNN, Cornish was the co-host of NPR’s afternoon news program, “All Things Considered.” She began her journalism career with The Associated Press in Boston in 2001.
Buzbee is the executive editor of The Washington Post. She is the first woman to lead the Post’s newsroom. Under her leadership, the organization has created four managing editor roles and added 41 editor positions. Starting with The Associated Press in 1988 as a reporter in Kansas, she served as the organization’s Middle East regional editor, based in Cairo, Washington bureau chief, and executive editor.
Chan is the editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune. Previously he was the deputy managing editor and editorial page editor at the Los Angeles Times. Chan worked at The New York Times as a metro reporter, Washington correspondent, deputy op-ed editor, and international news editor. He began his career as a local reporter at The Washington Post in 2000.
In addition to Cornish, Buzbee and Chan, the national judging panel includes Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer, “Frontline,” PBS; Matt Murray, editor in chief, The Wall Street Journal; Lydia Polgreen, opinion columnist, The New York Times; María Elena Salinas, contributor, ABC News; Bret Stephens, op-ed columnist, The New York Times; and Kara Swisher, executive producer, Code Conference and host of the podcast “Pivot.” The national judges read all final entries and meet to select the Livingston winners in the local, national and international reporting categories and the Richard M. Clurman recipient, an award honoring a senior journalist for on-the-job mentoring.
As we welcome these three new judges, four of our long-serving national judges will move to emeritus status and continue to serve the Livingston Awards in various capacities. These include our longest-serving Livingston Award judge, Ken Auletta, who joined the judging panel in 1982; Clarence Page, who has been with the Livingston Awards since 1993; and John Harris and Anna Quindlen, who became Livingston Awards judges in 2009.
The Livingston Awards regional judges read all qualifying entries and select the finalists in local, national and international reporting categories. Their selections move to the national judges for the final round of judging. The regional judging panel includes Molly Ball, national political correspondent, TIME; Stella Chávez, immigration and demographics reporter, KERA Public Radio (Dallas); Chris Davis, deputy for the Local Investigative Reporting Fellowship, The New York Times; David Greene, host, “In the Moment with David Greene,” Religion of Sports and PRX; Stephen Henderson, executive editor, BridgeDetroit; Shirley Leung, associate editor, The Boston Globe; and Amna Nawaz, co-anchor, “PBS NewsHour.”
This year’s Livingston Award winners will be announced on June 13, 2023, at a ceremony in New York City.
About the Livingston Awards
Livingston Awards honor journalists under the age of 35 for outstanding achievement in local, national and international reporting across all forms of journalism. The awards bolster the work of young reporters, create the next generation of journalism leaders and mentors, and advance civic engagement around powerful storytelling.
If I had to write a self-help book about the week I spent in Ann Arbor this spring with the Knight-Wallace classes of 2021 and 2022, I’d call it “Chicken Soup for the Journalist’s Soul.”
The two fellowship classes from the pandemic years called ourselves “The Virtuals” because few of us had ever met in person, although we’d all spent an academic year attending seminars and making online connections with other Fellows from our cohorts.
These had been challenging times for many of us as we navigated through the havoc the pandemic caused in our professional and personal lives. And spikes in Covid cases had forced us to cancel at least two previously planned in-person fellowship gatherings. So by the time we arrived at Wallace House in April, most of us felt overdue for the face-to-face experience Wallace House Director Lynette Clemetson and Associate Director Robert Yoon had been telling us about for months.
As much as I had anticipated the trip, I still wasn’t prepared for the warm and loving atmosphere that awaited us. Lynette, Rob, Alexis, Patty, Jayson, Melissa, Lisa and everyone associated with Knight- Wallace showed us the highest hospitality the entire week, and for the first time I felt like more than one of 11 participants in a great and robust fellowship.
I looked at the group photos on the wall of the classes that came before mine. I saw the gifts that each of these groups left behind.
And in those moments I realized that being part of the Knight- Wallace Fellowship wasn’t a year-long program. The other Fellows and I had joined a group of journalists who’d had the privilege of spending hours together at Wallace House laughing, crying, learning, growing and recharging so they could go back out into the world as better journalists and human beings.
Although we had several great activities during our week together, our most profound moments came in the sessions where we sat in the living room at Wallace House and shared our experiences. During the fellowship, many of us had relied upon one another for support and advice. But in person, the encouragement was infinitely more profound. It was, in short, the safest place I’ve ever had to share my experiences as a journalist.
I wasn’t alone. Nichole Dobo, one of the Fellows from my cohort, told me she similarly felt the warmth of being among “people who are bringing their whole selves to work.”
“Our backgrounds are our strengths, especially when we come from underrepresented communities,” Nickie said. “We only got one week in person, but it felt like so much longer. I left feeling empowered by the idea that things other people might see as a weakness are actually our superpowers.”
After our graduation ceremony, instead of sitting in small groups at the tables arranged in the backyard, we pushed all the tables together because none of us wanted to be apart from the others. That night, the jokes, war stories and heartfelt moments we shared belonged to all of us.
“I left feeling empowered by the idea that things other people might see as a weakness are actually our superpowers.”
Lester Feder from the class of 2021 remembered the dance party we had that evening after we pushed the chairs to the corners of the living room where we had shared so much in the days before.
“It was a moving reminder,” he said, “of the humanity of the people who give so much of themselves to this work, which demands that we give so much of ourselves.”
Daphne Duret is a 2022 Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellow and recently joined The Marshall Project as a staff writer covering policing issues across the country.