Chips Quinn Program Announces 2023 Early Career Journalism Fellows

Freedom Forum Announces 2023 Chips Quinn Journalism Fellows

By Freedom Forum

The Chips Quinn Scholars Program for Diversity in Journalism has selected 13 fellows from across the United States for this year’s early career mentorship program, provided by the Freedom Forum. Many of the fellows are local journalists working in a variety of roles, beats and mediums. This cohort embodies the emerging talent that the journalism industry must strive to retain.

While the industry endures various challenges, we know that having a caring mentor who has been through similar work and life experiences can make a difference for someone navigating the start of their career. This is an opportunity for fellows to access relationships and training that will enrich their careers as they advance within the industry.

“The Chips Quinn program is tapping into its vast alumni network to provide mentorship and training to the next generation of journalists. In our diverse nation, newsrooms should represent the communities they serve,” said Patty Rhule, vice president and chief content officer for the Freedom Forum. “We’re supporting freedom of the press by providing this training to the emerging talent we see throughout the journalism industry. We thank our media partners and mentors for helping make the Chips Quinn program possible.”

Here are this year’s fellows:

  • Tammy Galarza, inside associate, The Marshall Project
  • Brian Lopez, public education reporter, The Texas Tribune
  • shaylyn martos, newsroom associate producer, YR Media
  • Cheyenne McNeill, contributor, EducationNC
  • Marisa Mecke, environment reporter, WABE
  • Gautama Mehta, climate reporter, The (Macon, Ga.) Telegraph
  • Jordan Mendoza, trending and breaking sports reporter, USA TODAY
  • Di’Amond Moore, photo editor, USA TODAY
  • Maria Palma, underserved communities reporter, KUNR
  • Gabriel Poblete, reporter, The City
  • Megan Sayles, business reporter, The Afro-American Newspapers
  • Taylor Velazquez, reporter, KUNM News
  • Allyson Waller, newsletter writer, The Texas Tribune

Fellows were nominated by several industry organizations that have partnered with the Freedom Forum, including Journalism Funding Partners, NPR’s Next Generation Radio, the Public Media Journalists Association, Report for America, The Marshall Project, The Texas Tribune, USA TODAY, and WABE. All program expenses are covered by the Freedom Forum, and fellows and mentors each receive a $2,000 stipend.

For nearly thirty years, the program placed college interns into newsrooms across the country, which has created an alumni community of more than 1,400 people, many working in leadership positions for local and national media outlets. Now, these experienced reporters, editors and managers are stepping up to support the next generation of journalists.

Here are this year’s mentors:

  • Kainaz Amaria, national visual enterprise editor, The Washington Post
  • Khristopher J. Brooks, reporter, CBS MoneyWatch
  • Emma Carew Grovum, director of Careers and Culture, The Marshall Project
  • Mariana Dale, senior K-12 education reporter, LAist
  • Tyler Davis, breaking news editor, The Dallas Morning News
  • Jordan Gass-Pooré, independent investigative journalist and podcast producer/creator
  • Tracie Hunte, correspondent/producer, WNYC Studios
  • Adam Kealoha Causey, assistant news director for Texas and Oklahoma, The Associated Press
  • Isabel Lohman, education reporter, Bridge Michigan
  • Nereida Moreno, digital equity reporter, LAist
  • Meena Thiruvengadam, founder and editor-in-chief ,
  • Blanca Torres, producer and reporter, KQED
  • Francisco Vara-Orta, director of Diversity and Inclusion, Investigative Reporters and Editors

The fellowship program kicks off this month with an in-person training event in Washington, D.C., where fellows will attend sessions on various power skills. The curriculum includes concepts derived from the Power Shift Project, such as psychological safety, self-advocacy, newsroom inclusivity and workplace integrity. A First Amendment specialist at the Freedom Forum will also offer training on journalism law, and the American Press Institute will provide guidance on understanding and managing burnout and imposter syndrome. After the event, the cohort will continue receiving virtual programming through early December. Both fellows and mentors will earn career stipends of $2,000 for participating, as well as either an annual membership to an industry organization or a one-year subscription to DeleteMe.

Learn More: Chips Quinn Scholars Program for Diversity in Journalism

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