About the Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship
We’ve turned our traditional fellowship model outward for the 2020-2021 academic year with the creation of the Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship, a working fellowship designed to support ambitious reporting projects and adapted to the remote needs of Covid-19.
The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowships provide an academic year of support and collaborative learning for journalists to pursue and publish in-depth projects. Our cohort of Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows remain where they live while pursuing their projects and pair with a local or national news organization to develop and publish their work.
Lisa Armstrong is a multimedia journalist and associate professor at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. She reports on incarceration and has recently written about Covid-19’s effect on prison and jail populations. Armstrong has also produced and directed documentaries on juvenile incarceration and how poor mental healthcare provided by for-profit companies has led to an increase in prison suicides. She holds a B.S. in environmental architecture, a Master of Community Planning from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in journalism from New York University. @LisaArmstrong
Reporting Project: Covid-19 in Correctional Facilities
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed issues that have long plagued the nation’s prisons, including overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and poor health care. Working with The Marshall Project, Armstrong will examine the impact the pandemic continues to have on current and newly released inmates and how the crisis, amid the backdrop of a national conversation on race and criminal justice reform, might force policy changes throughout the system.
Sindya Bhanoo is an independent reporter. She worked for The New York Times as a science reporter and longtime columnist of “Observatory,” and The Washington Post, where she is still a frequent contributor. Bhanoo earned a B.S. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.J. from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and an M.F.A. from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, where she studied fiction. Her first collection of fiction is forthcoming in 2022. A longtime Bay Area resident, she currently lives in Austin, Texas. @sbhanoo
Reporting Project: Distance Learning and Inequality in Public Schools
Bhanoo will explore how the pandemic has exacerbated and brought attention to issues of inequity in public education, as schools across the nation turn to distance-learning methods that leave large swaths of students at a clear disadvantage. Focusing on public elementary schools in and around San Francisco’s Mission District, which has the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the city, she will apply an innovative, multi-platform approach to highlight the unseen hurdles that students in underserved communities face throughout the school year. Bhanoo’s work will appear in Mission Local, an independent, bilingual news site.
Valeria Collazo Cañizares is an independent investigative journalist based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her reporting focuses on politics and social justice. Previously she was an investigative reporter for the Telemundo Puerto Rico investigative news program, “Jay y sus Rayos X.” She has led investigations on subjects ranging from political corruption to environmental issues. Collazo Cañizares received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras Campus, and an M.A. in Latin American studies from Stanford University. @ValeriaCollazoC
Reporting Project: Waterless Island: Converging Crises and the Water Shortage in Puerto Rico
Collazo Cañizares will detail how multiple crises including climate change, earthquakes, Hurricane Maria, the coronavirus pandemic, and government failures converged to turn an already critical water shortage in Puerto Rico into a looming humanitarian crisis. She will produce a documentary film for Telemundo that investigates the root causes of the ongoing shortage and explore its numerous ramifications on the economy, the environment, public health, and social justice.
J. Lester Feder is an independent journalist based in Michigan. Most recently, he was a senior world correspondent with BuzzFeed News, covering human rights, extremism and the environment. He was named the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association’s Journalist of the Year in 2015. Before joining BuzzFeed News, Feder covered health policy in the Obama administration for Politico. He has a B.A. from Brown University, an M.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Ph.D. in musicology from UCLA. @jlfeder
Reporting Project: Inequality and the Transformation of the Cities and Suburbs of the Midwest
Throughout the nation, metropolitan areas may be on the verge of one of the biggest transformations since the civil rights era, thanks to the triple shocks of Covid-19, economic collapse, and widespread uprisings against structural racism. Feder will report throughout the Midwest as communities navigate the changing relationships between cities and suburbs and the inequalities they perpetuate.
Alissa Figueroa is a senior editor and producer at Type Investigations, where she directs the Ida B. Wells Fellowship and oversees broadcast partnerships. She was previously a producer at Fusion, where she helped launch the network’s investigative unit and produced several documentaries. Prior to joining Fusion, Figueroa was an associate producer at NBC News. She has a B.A. in history from Amherst College and an M.S. from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Figueroa lives in Baltimore, Maryland. @alissafig
Reporting Project: Police Reform Five Years After the Death of Freddie Gray
In a documentary film for Type Investigations, Figueroa will address a question that’s being asked across America in the wake of the death of George Floyd: Can a broken police department truly be reformed? Focusing on Baltimore, where Freddie Gray’s death helped spark a national reckoning over police brutality, Figueroa will explore the state of reform efforts and police-community relations in the city today and what it means for the nation.
Mya Frazier is an investigative business journalist based in the Midwest, where she writes in-depth narratives about the nexus of money and power, as a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek and Columbia Journalism Review. Previously she was a business journalist at The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) and American City Business Journals. Her work has also appeared in Outside Magazine, Harper’s, Guardian Long Read, and NewYorker.com. Frazier earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio University. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. @myafrazier
Reporting Project: Private Power: The Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Working Poor
The pandemic has created an economic crisis of historic proportions for millions of Americans and especially for workers living paycheck to paycheck. Millions of Americans are out of work and a tsunami of evictions is looming. Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, Frazier will investigate the impact of the economic crisis on the most vulnerable workers, while chronicling the private sector’s role in a future economic recovery.
Ted Genoways is a contributing writer at Mother Jones and The New Republic. He is the author of five books, including “This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm,” winner of the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Award, and “The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food,” a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Writing and Literature. He holds a B.A. from Nebraska Wesleyan University, an M.A. from Texas Tech University, an M.F.A. from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa. Genoways lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. @TedGenoways
Reporting Project: Food Security and Worker Safety on the Front Lines of the Pandemic
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, grocery stores have seen shortages, farmers have been forced to cull millions of livestock, and tens of thousands of meatpackers and fieldworkers have fallen ill. Genoways investigates how the pandemic exposed threats to the nation’s food security and the risks posed to the safety of front-line food industry workers as well as consumers. Using a multi-media approach, he will focus on the pandemic response of the meatpacking industry and its effect on the nation’s fragile food supply chain, as well as its unique impact on the Midwest, where some of the largest meatpackers are located.
Mario Koran is a contributing reporter for The Guardian US, where he spent a year on the West Coast covering wildfires, protests of police brutality and the impact of Covid-19 on communities of color. Prior to joining the Guardian, Koran was an education reporter for Voice of San Diego. There his stories prompted legislative action and helped unseat a school board president. He has written for The New York Times, The Appeal, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. He holds a B.A. in Spanish literature and an M.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. Koran lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. @MarioKoran
Reporting Project: Barriers to Learning in Three Marginalized School Districts Upended by the Pandemic
School officials, students, and their families across the nation have struggled to adapt to the unprecedented challenges brought about by the coronavirus. But in communities already gripped by poverty, gun violence, and economic inequality, the pandemic has made an already difficult learning environment nearly impossible. Reporting for The Guardian US, Koran will examine three such marginalized communities in Wisconsin, home to some of the nation’s most striking racial disparities in education, incarceration, and health outcomes. By following the ways that various communities respond to the pandemic, Koran will document how the crisis unfolds for the state’s most vulnerable residents, tell the story of resilient communities, and explore potential solutions to the challenge of schooling during the pandemic.
Chris Outcalt is an independent journalist whose work appears in The Atlantic, The Atavist Magazine, Wired and The California Sunday Magazine, among others. His in-depth writing often covers topics such as immigration and the criminal justice system. Previously, he was an editor at 5280 Magazine, Denver’s city and regional monthly magazine. In 2019 Outcalt received the Livingston Award for his narrative feature about a murder at a high-security prison, the FBI agent who tries to solve the case, and the inner workings of the Mexican Mafia. He holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of New Hampshire. He lives in Denver, Colorado. @chrisoutcalt
Reporting Project: The Powerful Forces Behind Medical Fraud
From the billions of dollars bilked out of the Medicare and Medicaid systems every year to the numerous opportunities for fraud presented by the pandemic, Outcalt takes an in-depth look at the pervasive problem of medical fraud and abuse and its staggering cost to the economy and to the most vulnerable health care consumers. Using a long-form narrative approach, he will explore some of the worst cases of abuse in the medical, pharmaceutical, and health industries and provide a deeper understanding of the greed and bureaucracy that stymie reform efforts.
Nicholas St. Fleur is an independent science reporter who writes about archaeology, paleontology, space and other curiosities of the cosmos. Previously he was a science reporter for The New York Times and covered science, health, and technology for The Atlantic. He has also written for Scientific American, Science Magazine, NPR and the San Jose Mercury News. St. Fleur received a B.S. in biology from Cornell University and a graduate certificate from the science communication program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. @SciFleur
Reporting Project: Racial Bias in Science, Health and Medicine
Data collected during the coronavirus pandemic have reinforced what medical and health policy researchers have known for some time: that communities of color shoulder a disproportionate burden of the nation’s public health challenges. Writing for the health and medical news site STAT, St. Fleur will expand the organization’s coverage to focus on the intersection of race, medicine, and the life sciences. He will investigate systemic racial disparities in health care and medical science and address how long-standing — and often unrecognized — discrimination contributes to the nation’s most pressing health problems, from the Covid-19 pandemic to untreated mental health struggles.
Mazin Sidahmed is the co-executive director at Documented, a nonprofit newsroom covering immigration in the New York area. Previously, he was a reporter at The Guardian US and The Daily Star in Beirut, Lebanon. He holds a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Windsor in Canada and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. @mazsidahmed
Reporting Project: The Role of Local Police in Federal Immigration Enforcement
The widespread calls for police reform following the death of George Floyd come on the heels of a recent national debate to reform another law enforcement agency: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. Reporting for the immigration news site Documented, which he co-founded, Sidahmed will examine how ICE forms official and unofficial partnerships with local police to perform federal immigration enforcement functions. Looking specifically at the NYPD as well as national trends and data collected from across the country, he will address how local police indirectly support federal immigration enforcement efforts through the over-policing of black and brown neighborhoods and feeding into a prison-to-deportation pipeline.