Columbia Journalism School Names 2021 Postgraduate Reporting Fellows | Columbia Journalism School

Columbia Journalism School Names 2021 Postgraduate Reporting Fellows

Columbia Journalism Investigations (CJI), Columbia Journalism School’s postgraduate fellowship program, is proud to welcome nine new fellows for the 2021-2022 academic year. Drawn from recent J-School graduates, the 2021 fellows will engage in intensive, full-time investigations with CJI and its Cross-Borders Data and Global Migration Projects.

“We are thrilled to welcome this year’s cohort of postgraduate fellows to the CJI family,” Kristen Lombardi, CJI editor and program director, said. “These emerging investigative reporters represent all corners of the journalism school, from investigative reporting to data and the M.A. programs. They are coming together to learn the nuts and bolts of team-based investigations, collaborating with each other and professional news outlets to tell deeply reported stories in the public interest. We look forward to working with them and seeing their hard work come to fruition over the next year.”

Since 2014, CJI has served the dual mission of providing extraordinary recent graduates the opportunity to deepen their investigative skills while helping meet the gap for talent and investigative resources in today's newsrooms. The fully paid fellowship lasts from six months to one year, during which fellows partner with editors and senior reporters at leading news organizations to produce investigations that would not otherwise be possible.

The 2021 fellows join three uniquely focused verticals within the program: 

Columbia Journalism Investigations: This team pairs postgraduate fellows with an experienced investigative reporter and editor, as well as faculty, graduate students and others to produce deep investigations into urgent matters of public interest without respect to beat. Past fellows have published in National Public Radio, the Center for Public Integrity, ProPublica and The Guardian.

The 2021 Columbia Journalism Investigations fellows are Zak Cassel, '20 M.S. Stabile; Olga Loginova, '19 M.A. Science, and Alex Lubben, '21 M.A. Science. Julia Shipley, '20 M.A. Arts and Culture, who joined the CJI team in January, will continue in her current role. Learn more about the fellows, CJI director Kristen Lombardi and the fellowship.

CJI fellows (l-r): Zak Cassel, Olga Loginova, Alex Lubbin and Julia Shipley
CJI fellows (l-r): Zak Cassel, Olga Loginova, Alex Lubben and Julia Shipley

The Cross-Borders Data Project: Comprising the global arm of CJI, this fellowship offers recent graduates the opportunity to apply their data and investigative skills to produce global stories of public interest in collaboration with international reporters and news organizations, including the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Latin American Center for Investigating Reporting (CLIP).  Past stories have been published in The New Yorker, ProPublica, Univision, WNYC and NBC News.

Joining project supervisor Giannina Segnini are Marco Dalla Stella, ‘21 M.S.; Mathilde Berg Utzon, ‘21 M.A. Politics, and Sheridan Wall, ‘21 M.S. Data. Learn about the Cross-Borders Data Project and the fellows.


Cross-Borders Data Project fellows (l-r): Marco Dalla Stella, Mathilde Berg Utzon and Sheridan Wall
Cross-Borders Data Project fellows (l-r): Marco Dalla Stella, Mathilde Berg Utzon and Sheridan Wall

Global Migration Project: Global Migration Project fellows spend six months investigating stories at the intersections of gender and refugee/immigration issues. This year, they will develop an investigation into the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic on New York City’s immigrant neighborhoods. Past fellows have reported on five continents, publishing in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Al Jazeera and the Guardian.

In 2021 Fazil Khan, ‘21 M.S. Data, and Chris Riotta, ‘21 M.S., will join advisor Sarah Stillman. Learn more about the Global Migration Project and the fellows.


GM fellows
Global Migration Project fellows (l-r): Fazil Khan and Chris Riotta

The 2021 fellows join Columbia Journalism Investigations following a wide-ranging and productive year. In the lead-up to the 2020 November election, fellows with CJI’s Voter Access team produced an extensive series of stories related to voter disenfranchisement that provided the basis for the Peabody Award-winning Frontline PBS documentary “Whose Vote Counts.” A rolling 2020-21 series on the health impacts of climate change by CJI’s Hidden Epidemics team, done in collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity and multiple local newsrooms, won best-reporting awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists, the South Carolina Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. After an August 2021 investigation by another CJI team working with NPR and local public-radio stations uncovered a dramatic rise in preventable worker deaths from high temperatures, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under President Biden announced that it would add new worker protections and begin developing a federal rule to safeguard workers against heat illnesses. Following an earlier investigation into the lack of screening for sexual predators on online dating platforms, a fourth project by CJI showed that moderators are expected to resolve reports of sexual assault in minutes with no special training. Global Migration Project fellows also published a widely read New York Times story on how the COVID-19 pandemic worsened conditions for home health care aides, while the Cross-Borders Data team worked with the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP) to investigate the export of illegally cut wood from the Amazon by companies previously sanctioned and banned by U.S. trade authorities.


Columbia Journalism Investigations Fellowships are among several exclusive paid fellowships available through the Journalism School. For more information, visit Exclusive Fellowships and Internships.

About Columbia Journalism School
For more than a century, the Columbia Journalism School has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the school opened in 1912 and offers Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science in Data Journalism, a joint Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Journalism, The Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism and a Doctor of Philosophy in Communications. It houses the Columbia Journalism Review, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, The Simon and June Li Center for Global Journalism, the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security, and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The school also administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, the John Chancellor Award, the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award, the Mike Berger Awards and the WERT Prize for Women Business Journalists.