Four distinguished journalists were selected for the next group of Spencer Fellows in Education Reporting for the 2020-2021 academic year, the first year Columbia Journalism School has expanded its traditional residential fellowship to include two non-residential options.
The fellows come from Los Angeles, Detroit, Boston and Brooklyn, bringing a variety of backgrounds and diverse professional experience to study with Columbia professors and produce significant works of journalism. The projects this year include reporting on the crisis among small colleges in middle America, on efforts to diversify schools in three New York City neighborhoods, on youth activists past and present, and on the challenges of teaching race and racism in volatile times. The winners were chosen by a distinguished board of journalists and education scholars after a competitive application process.
The residential fellows are Sonali Kohli, local education reporter for The Los Angeles Times and Max Freedman, journalist, teacher, and theater artist based in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The two fellows who will be living off campus are David Jesse, higher education reporter for the Detroit Free Press, and Linda K. Wertheimer, freelance journalist and author of "Faith Ed: Teaching about Religion in an Age of Intolerance." Each fellow receives a stipend ($85,000 for residential, $40,000 for non-residential) plus research expenses to support their year studying with professors in person or virtually throughout Columbia campuses and working on projects under the guidance of mentors at the Journalism School.
“The Journalism School welcomes these four accomplished, enterprising journalists to join the Spencer Fellowship network,” said Prof. LynNell Hancock, child and family policy expert, who serves as director of the fellowship. “Their work promises to influence the critical conversations to come, deepening our understanding of child poverty, inequity and race in this rapidly changing world.”
This year’s fellows are: