Knight-Wallace Fellows 2022-2023

About the Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists

The Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists provide accomplished journalists an academic year of study, collaborative learning and access to the resources of the University of Michigan to pursue ambitious journalism projects.

After a rewarding experience with two remote fellowship classes producing innovative work and in-depth journalism on the most pressing issues of the day, Wallace House is delighted to announce the return to in-person Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowships at the University of Michigan for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Knight-Wallace Fellows and their Journalism Projects

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian is an independent journalist, writer, and former editor at The Nation and Al Jazeera America. Her reporting and criticism have appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The London Review of Books, The Intercept, and many other publications. She is the author of “The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen,” a book about statelessness, citizenship, and the global market for passports. Abrahamian grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. @atossaaraxia

Secret Space: How Places Outside Nations Are Remaking Our World

Abrahamian will examine the extraterritorial jurisdictions that exist above, between and beneath nations, from the special economic zones that prop up world trade to the micro-states rewriting the laws of outer space. Drawing from original reporting, legal theory, economic history and literature, she will investigate how, far from challenging the nation-state system, these liminal jurisdictions are what sustain it, allowing nationalism to co-exist with globalization.

María Arce is an Argentinean journalist based in Puerto Rico, where she works as the multiplatform director of El Vocero newspaper. She previously worked at Univision as digital director and at the Buenos Aires-based newspaper Clarín as editorial coordinator. She has also worked for KUT, Marfa Public Radio, EFE News Agency, and GFR Media, and has covered a range of issues including natural disasters, tragedies, politics, and sports. She won the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation Prize and the King of Spain International Journalism Award for her live multimedia coverage of the 2008 U.S. presidential election. She and her editorial team won an additional King of Spain Award for their multimedia coverage of unaccompanied children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. @maria_arce

Strengthening the Emergency Coverage Plans of Small Newsrooms in the Face of Disaster

After covering earthquakes, hurricanes, and major storms for the last decade, Arce will examine the emergency plans of small newsrooms to cover natural and biological disasters throughout the United States. She will analyze public policies, programs and resources – existing or future – and identify instruments, agents and channels that can help these newsrooms enhance and advance their disaster coverage plans. Arce will also explore proposals to classify journalists as frontline workers during these disasters to help them expand their coverage and better serve their audiences during times of tragedy.

Elaine Cromie is a photojournalist and documentary photographer based in metro Detroit. She contributes regularly to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NPR, The Atlantic and other publications and has reported internationally for NBC News, Vox, Vice and The Globe and Mail. She is a board member of the Authority Collective, vice-president of the Michigan Press Photographers Association, a member of Women Photograph and a teaching artist for a local non-profit. Her 2014 short documentary, “Soldiers Without A Nation,” won second place at the United Nations Human Rights Council Gender and Justice Film Competition in Mexico City. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, she is a proud sansei or third generation Shimanchu and Puerto Rican born in Aurora, Colorado. @cromiee

Shimanchu Digital Diaspora: Using Community-Driven Storytelling and Photography to Document Efforts to Save a Language from Extinction

In the Loochoo Islands, renamed Okinawa by Japanese colonizers, the indigenous Shimanchu or Uchinaanchu people have been resisting erasure for well over a century, from the start of the Japanese colonization to the end of World War II and the continued U.S. military presence today. During this time, approximately one-third of the population was killed. As a result, the native languages, including Uchinaaguchi, are in danger of becoming extinct. Cromie will produce a multimedia reporting project consisting of interviews, archival footage and portraits of her family and the Shimanchu diaspora who speak or are helping to preserve the language, their histories and cultures for the future. This work will be translated into the many languages spoken throughout the diaspora.

Mary Cuddehe is an independent journalist. She has contributed to Harper’s Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, “This American Life,” The Atlantic, The Atavist, Rolling Stone, and many other outlets. Fluent in Spanish, she began her reporting career as a foreign correspondent in Mexico. As well as practicing journalism, Cuddehe has worked on death penalty cases as a mitigation investigator writing biographies of dozens of people facing execution in U.S. prisons. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University. @marycuddehe

Exploring the Future of Medical Privacy in the Digital Age

Artificial intelligence and data analytics have revolutionized healthcare, enabling services ranging from telehealth visits to viewing test results online, creating searchable databases of clinical and biomedical information, and leading to explosive growth in the multibillion-dollar health data industry. But as the sheer amount of healthcare data grows by the day, technology is moving faster than regulation can keep pace. By studying privacy law and medical data management, Cuddehe will explore systemic vulnerabilities inherent to storing and sharing vast troves of sensitive health information and will examine the legal, regulatory, and security implications of safeguarding patient data into the future.

Orlando DeGuzman

Orlando de Guzman is a video journalist and filmmaker whose work has appeared in The New York Times and on Vice News, Al Jazeera and Univision. As a camera operator, he has worked in the Central African Republic, Brazil, Venezuela, Nagorno-Karabakh and dozens of other countries and disputed territories. At Vice News, de Guzman won an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for his unflinching look at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, including the now-iconic images he captured of torch-bearing white supremacists chanting racist slogans. Prior to television, de Guzman was a radio journalist covering Southeast Asia and the second Iraq war for WGBH and the BBC’s “The World” magazine show. He holds a B.A. in international studies from the University of Washington. @odeguzmano

Small Town Justice: Sheriffs, County Prosecutors and the Criminalization of the Poor in the Rural Midwest

County prosecutors have enormous discretion to decide the outcome of criminal and civil cases against police officers accused of wrongdoing. Focusing on the tight-knit, small-town relationships among elected county prosecutors, sheriffs and judges, de Guzman aims to understand the factors affecting the delivery of justice in rural Midwest communities. Following up on his film “Pulled Over: The Hannah Fizer Case” set in rural Missouri, de Guzman will look at the politics, culture and economics of the county courthouse and sheriff’s office, and how these institutions participate in larger systems of criminalization among the rural poor.

Makeda Easter is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles and an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Southern California. She was previously a staff arts reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where she covered the intersection of the arts and identity. She won several Los Angeles Press Club Awards as well as an Online Journalism Award in 2020 for a project she led on how social media is democratizing the dance industry. Before working in journalism, Easter was a science writer for a university supercomputing center and a grant writer for a children’s advocacy non-profit. She holds a B.S. in science, technology and international affairs from Georgetown University. @makedaeaster

The Art Rebellion: Telling the Stories of Artist-Activists Creating Change in Underreported Communities

The financial challenges facing the news industry for a generation have had a dire effect on arts journalism across the country. In smaller communities, arts reporting has either been scaled back dramatically or eliminated entirely. Many publications now focus only on established mainstream artists working in the coastal hubs of New York and Los Angeles, while the innovative and provocative work of artists in other regions of the country goes unnoticed. Easter will build an independent arts media platform dedicated to telling the untold stories of artist-activists working to create change in underreported communities. Easter will engage with local artists and draw upon the expertise of leaders in the arts, education, policy, and social justice worlds to identify strategies to enhance arts coverage and service journalism in areas that have long been overlooked, from Native American communities to prisons.

Jarrad Henderson is a filmmaker, educator, storytelling coach and visual journalist based in Washington, D.C. His work with USA Today has earned him four Emmys while covering topics such as re-entry from prison into society, breaking down the culture of retaliation in policing and documenting one family’s connection to the first enslaved Africans to arrive in America in 1619. Henderson is committed to helping others pursue their dreams of becoming visual storytellers through his roles as co-founder of the Obsidian Project, a member of the Filmmaker Development Council for the Video Consortium, and as a board member for the National Association of Black Journalists. Henderson holds a B.F.A. from Arizona State University and a M.A. from the University of Missouri-Columbia. @jarrad_tweets

Sync: Addressing Diversity In Visual Journalism Pipelines Through Mobile Training Solutions

Attempts to increase diversity and equity in visual journalism have often revolved around short-term, project-based work and moving around existing talent rather than focusing on recruiting, training and developing new talent. The gap which exists between community training of underrepresented visual creators of color and early retention of professionals in the workplace can be inhibited by access to resources, technology and storytelling methodology. Through this entrepreneurial project, Henderson seeks to strengthen the diversity pipeline by bringing resources to the front doors of creative but underserved populations. Focused primarily on production and post-production workflow, he will develop a new journalism business which serves as a hands-on, pop-up style, mobile storytelling community.

Lindsay Kalter is an Ann Arbor-based independent health journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Business Insider, Boston Globe Magazine, Hour Detroit Magazine and WebMD. She has held positions with POLITICO and the Boston Herald and has covered topics from opioid use and health equity to cutting-edge medical research and the Covid-19 pandemic. She has written extensively about mental health, focusing on topics including trauma among marginalized communities and burnout among health care workers, and has written publicly about her own battle with depression. @lkalter

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Abuse and Corruption in the Troubled-Teen Industry

Hundreds of people nationwide bear psychological scars from their time in the corrupt and abusive troubled-teen system. Many teens who need legitimate mental health support – some who were even sent away for not “coping properly” with their respective sexual assaults – are enrolled in these facilities only to be further traumatized. Engaging directly with mental health experts, policymakers, and the facilities themselves, Kalter will use a blend of hard data and compelling personal portraits to uncover what is needed to heal survivors and find alternative approaches to treating troubled teens, with the ultimate goal of empowering survivors to come forward, encouraging lawmakers to enact safeguards, and making clear to readers the difference between true and trauma-producing therapies.

Chris Marquette is a congressional ethics and accountability reporter for CQ Roll Call, where he covers the U.S. Capitol Police, the Jan. 6 select committee, ethics investigations and House Republicans. He uncovered a disturbing pattern of Capitol Police officer misconduct in which accused officers received light punishments from top department officials. Marquette has also covered financial regulation in Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Before joining CQ Roll Call, he covered education and government for Hearst newspapers in Connecticut. Marquette began his career at the Picayune Item in Mississippi. He holds a B.A. in English from the College of the Holy Cross and a graduate degree from Georgetown University. @ChrisMarquette_

Accountability in the U.S. Capitol Police

Responsible for protecting the United States Congress, including its facilities, lawmakers, staff, and visitors, the U.S. Capitol Police have one of the most important and high-profile jobs in law enforcement. But the department is also one of the most opaque. As a part of the legislative branch, they are shielded from the Freedom of Information Act and operate under a shroud of secrecy that makes it difficult to hold the department accountable. Marquette, who has reported extensively on the department, from its lack of transparency to allegations of misconduct leveled against it, will research trends in the department’s policing practices. He will also study issues of contemporary policing and areas for reform.

Meg Martin is a freelance editor. She has rooted her career in local news, most recently as managing editor for regional news at Minnesota Public Radio. She has been an editor, project manager, researcher and producer on investigations, projects, podcasts and daily/breaking news. She and her colleagues were 2018 Livingston Award recipients for their work on the “74 Seconds” podcast, which was also recognized with Peabody and Third Coast awards. She joined the newsroom at MPR in 2013 after a stint at the Public Insight Network and five years at The Roanoke Times, where she led the paper’s digital team. Martin, who began her journalism career at The Poynter Institute as an editor and fellow, holds a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame. @meg_e_martin

The Critical Middle: Supporting and Connecting Editors and Team Leaders to Reimagine Newsrooms

For years, mid-level managers and editors have set the tone for their newsrooms. They are the troubleshooters, problem-solvers, strategic thinkers, mentors, coaches, and project managers, among many other roles. Their work can have a make-or-break impact on who joins and who leaves their organization. While many of these critical newsroom leaders face similar challenges across the country, they are usually left to tackle these problems in isolation, unaware of the creative solutions their counterparts may have implemented in other towns. Martin will study culture change, management and creativity to explore ways that small and medium-sized news organizations can better support and connect their editors and team leaders to build more sustainable, supportive, agile, creative and equitable newsrooms.

KyeongRak Min is a reporter in the media strategy department for Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, where he has covered the economy, finance, social affairs and North Korea. He has done extensive reporting on Korea’s high suicide rate and its societal and policy roots. He directed a short film about Seoul’s Mapo Bridge and its tragic reputation as “Suicide Bridge.” Before working as a reporter, Min produced documentaries for Wonju MBC, a local South Korean broadcasting company. He majored in public administration at Yonsei University and earned a master’s degree in economics at Yonsei Graduate School. @indimill

Exploring the Social Roots of Suicide and Loneliness in Modern Korea

While all countries are touched to some degree by suicide, few have felt the impact more acutely than South Korea, which consistently suffers one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Using a narrative journalism approach, Min will examine suicide in Korea as a social phenomenon and explore how the nation’s accelerated path to post-war economic development and modernity may have played in increased feelings of loneliness, alienation, and isolation among its people. He will also examine how Korean media’s traditional approach to covering suicides may actually exacerbate the problem, in some cases resulting in copycat suicides, a phenomenon known as “The Werther Effect.”

Antoni Slodkowski is the Tokyo correspondent for the Financial Times where he covers the biggest business stories in the world’s third-largest economy, a position he assumed this year after working as the deputy bureau chief at Reuters in Tokyo. In that role, Slodkowski led the bureau’s politics and general news team and its coverage of the Olympics and the pandemic. He returned to Japan after four years in Myanmar, where his team covered the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. During that reporting, two of his colleagues, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were arrested and imprisoned in an effort to stop the publication of a story exposing a massacre of ten Rohingya men. That and other stories won the team the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. A native of Poland, Slodkowski is a graduate of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. @slodek

Toward a Deeper Understanding: Refugee Stories Told in Their Own Words

Slodkowski will focus on how refugees around the world are using the news media – both traditional and social – to tell their stories and explain the political and economic changes unleashed by the mass migrations of recent years. He will study how the creativity and ingenuity of migrants can be harnessed to promote a more tolerant environment for a deeper and shared understanding, and how information technology can be turned into a force for positive change – rather than, as it has too often been in Myanmar and elsewhere – a platform for hate.

Alexandra Talty is a multi-media journalist based in Southampton, New York. Reporting on the environment, waterways and climate crisis, her writing appears in The New York Times, The Guardian, Outside Magazine, The Daily Beast and elsewhere. She is the host of the TV show “South Fork Sea Farmers” on LTV East Hampton and writes an agricultural column for The Southampton Press. Previously, she worked as a senior travel contributor for Forbes. In 2019, she was named a National Press Foundation Fellow for Food and Agriculture. Based in the Middle East for seven years, her work investigating LGBTQ+ rights in Lebanon won a Los Angeles Press Club Award. In 2015, she was the founding editor-in-chief of StepFeed, a Middle Eastern news website. Talty holds a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. @Alexandra_Talty

Advancing Coastlines: Can Marine Food Production Pivot Fast Enough for Climate Change?

The world’s oceans are warming much faster than scientists expected. Coastal communities are witnessing the climate crisis’ effect on marine migrations and habitats as common species like lobster, shrimp or salmon disappear. As fisheries look to supplant lost incomes and food sources, some are turning towards regenerative practices like kelp farming or oyster aquaculture. Examining this response, Talty will use a combination of scientific research, commercial fisherpeople observations and Indigenous knowledge from tribes like the Shinnecock, Passamaquoddy and Ojibwe. This work will also investigate whether the American seafood industry – and palate – will shift to accommodate the changing seas.

Asadullah Timory is an Afghan journalist who was most recently a reporter for The New York Times based in western Afghanistan. For the Times, Timory covered the last decade of the long war between international forces and the Taliban within Afghanistan. He has extensive experience working in a variety of roles in journalism: as a reporter, news anchor, political program host, and as a text, sound, and video editor. He also held the position of director of ASR TV, People Radio, and Nowruz Radio. Timory was named the best news anchor by the Afghanistan Institute for Research and Media Studies in 2017. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications at Herat University. In August 2021, he and his family were evacuated from Afghanistan when the country fell to the Taliban. They have started their new life in the United States. @AsadTimory

The Collapse of Press Freedoms in Afghanistan: What Awaits Displaced Afghan Journalists?

Press freedoms have been under severe threat throughout Afghanistan over the last year. With the fall of the Afghan government in August 2021 and the subsequent takeover by the Taliban, a majority of Afghanistan’s expert local journalists were forced to flee the country. A number of media outlets were also forced to stop services. These exiled journalists lost their livelihoods and currently need help. Timory will examine the various ways that these journalists could resume reporting on their country remotely, both to return to their beloved profession as well as to serve the communities that remain in Afghanistan.

Masrat Zahra is an independent photojournalist and documentary photographer from Indian-administered Kashmir. She has covered Kashmir since 2015, and her pictures of human rights violations and everyday hardship have received international acclaim. In response to her work, the Indian government charged her in 2020 under an anti-terrorism law for posting photographs on social media that “glorify anti-national activities,” for which she faces up to seven years in prison. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and TRT World, among others. In 2020, she won the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism and the Anja Niedringhaus Courage In Photojournalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. She holds a master’s degree in convergent journalism from the Central University of Kashmir. @Masratzahra

Political Persecution of Minorities in India
India’s constitution defines the nation as secular and protects freedom of religion for the many faiths represented in the majority Hindu country. But there are growing concerns that religious and other minority groups are targeted with persecution and discrimination, which many charge are sanctioned and carried out by the government. Zahra will research the history and current dynamics surrounding the persecution of Muslims and other minorities in India and the role of the government in violence and polarization.

Read the 2022-2023 Knight-Wallace Fellowship class announcement»