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Class of 2021

Bukola Adebayo

Bukola Adebayo is a senior producer for CNN Digital in Lagos, Nigeria, where she reports on breaking news, writes features and produces enterprise stories about Africa for CNN International. She has covered a wide range of topics including gender inequality, social injustice and political uprisings. Her investigation of a 2018 sex-for-grades scandal at a Nigerian university contributed to the prosecution and conviction of a lecturer for sexual misconduct, a rarity in her country. She previously reported for The Punch, Nigeria’s most widely read newspaper, where she ran the health desk and wrote investigative stories about medical and environmental issues.

She is studying the media coverage shaping narratives that expose sexual harassment and gender inequality in Africa, where the #MeToo movement has been struggling to find its footing.


Yasmin Amer

Yasmin Amer is a Boston-based journalist who most recently worked as a senior podcast reporter and producer for WBUR’s iLab. She joined WBUR in 2016 as a field producer for “Morning Edition.” Before that, she spent six years at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta where she worked as a writer, producer and news editor. As a fluent Arabic speaker, she helped cover several breaking stories out of the Middle East, including the Arab Spring protests and the Syrian civil war.

She is researching how local newsrooms can use location-based media to create new interactive storytelling environments as a way to increase audience engagement.


John Archibald

John Archibald is a columnist for the Alabama Media Group. His columns appear in The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times, the Mobile Press-Register, and its social brand, Reckon. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2018. His book “Shaking the Gates of Hell,” about his family, civil rights in the South and the church’s role in a conspiracy of silence, will be released in May 2021.

Archibald is examining the way journalists cover police and crime in the digital age and how the changing media landscape affects perceptions of crime. He also is seeking to determine whether algorithms that often favor crime stories contribute to a culture of fear.


Joseph Bernstein

Joseph Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News in New York, where he writes feature stories about the effects of social platforms on American society. He arrived at BuzzFeed in 2013 to cover the gaming industry. Since 2015, he has been covering the intersection of technology, media, ideology and politics, with a focus on right-wing media and online radicalization. He previously worked as editor at Kill Screen Magazine and a fact checker and reporter for Popular Science.

He is studying the ways recent technological change has contributed to alienation in 21st century American life.


Marc-Olivier Bherer

Marc-Olivier Bherer is a staff editor and reporter for the Ideas-Debates section of the French daily Le Monde. Working primarily for the op-ed pages, he commissions and edits articles on diverse topics, both national and international. He also writes about intellectual life, often in America, as well as populism and social issues. He regularly contributes to the paper’s weekly literary supplement, Le Monde des Livres. He has translated Jonathan Israel’s “Revolutionary Ideas” and his translation of Omer Bartov’s “Anatomy of a Genocide” will be published in 2021. He started his career at Courrier International, and his work has been published by Harper’s and L’Express, among others.

Bherer is studying the weakening of the international liberal consensus established after the Cold War, focusing on deficiencies in democracy exposed by the rise of the far right and exacerbated by growing social inequalities.


Austin Bogues

Austin Bogues covers Asbury Park and Neptune Township as well as race relations for the Asbury Park Press, part of the USA Today Network in New Jersey. He previously worked for the Daily Press Media Group in his hometown of Newport News, Va., covering a variety of beats including crime, transportation and education. He has won awards for his reporting on local government, environmental matters and federal drug policy.

He is studying the impact of political, cultural and social polarization on news consumers and best practices for journalists wishing to engage readers in constructive dialogue.


Samantha Broun

Samantha Broun is a Massachusetts-based radio journalist who serves as managing editor for Atlantic Public Media’s, which channels new work, voices and ideas into public media. She works with APM on all its projects, including Transom workshops for radio/audio producers. Broun’s reporting focuses on the personal and political impact of violent crime. Her radio documentary, “A Life Sentence: Victims, Offenders, Justice And My Mother” was honored with a 2016 Third Coast International Audio Festival Silver Award and a 2017 Dart Award, and was a finalist for a Peabody Award. Her two-part radio documentary, “Living With Murder” was one of eight “Frontline” features honored with a 2019 Gold Baton from the Alfred duPont-Columbia Awards.

She is studying public perceptions and expectations of those who survive or commit violent crime, how those views have shaped our understanding of justice, and the role radio journalism might play in providing more nuanced narratives and transformative justice.


Emily Corwin

Emily Corwin is an investigative reporter and editor for Vermont Public Radio. Previously, she reported on criminal justice for New Hampshire Public Radio, where she reported and hosted “Supervision,” a short-run podcast chronicling one man’s life on parole. Her reporting has won a Gracie Award and numerous regional Edward R. Murrow awards, including one for investigative reporting in 2019. Her collaborative investigation into lax oversight and poor care at Vermont long-term care facilities was a finalist for a 2019 IRE Award. Her podcast “Supervision” was also a finalist for a 2020 Livingston Award.

She is studying how the growing wealth gap influences equity in the judicial systems of rural New England. For her fieldwork as an Abrams Nieman Fellow for Local Investigative Journalism, she will create a serial podcast that explores a different aspect of the justice system each season through investigative and in-depth audio storytelling across New England.


Scott Dance

Scott Dance writes about the environment for The Baltimore Sun, focusing on the Chesapeake Bay. “Power struggle,” his series detailing how a Maryland subsidy program that promotes renewable energy also subsidizes paper mills and trash incinerators, won second place for explanatory reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists in 2018. He was part of the Sun team named a Pulitzer finalist for coverage of the 2015 death of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore uprising that followed. Before joining the Sun in 2012, he was a business reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal.

Dance is studying the political, economic and cultural factors that are shaping responses and adaptations to climate change and sea level rise, with a focus on rural Maryland communities. As an Abrams Nieman Fellow for Local Investigative Journalism, he will cover related stories about how climate change is affecting vulnerable communities and investigate the consequences and ripple effects for residents, businesses and governments.


Robert Frederick

Robert Frederick is the digital managing editor of American Scientist, where he oversees the magazine’s digital presence and reports on all branches of science. Previously, he was podcaster, video producer, and web editor for Science magazine and a science journalist for St. Louis Public Radio, contributing to the NPR network. Throughout his journalism career, he has freelanced for a wide variety of outlets in print, radio, television and online and is a contributor to “The Science Writers’ Handbook.”

He is studying how people reason about science and what evidence they need to trust that reasoning—issues underscored by the coronavirus pandemic. He is also developing interactive web projects that both engage the public in scientific reasoning and generate data for new journalism projects.


Sarah L. Kaufman

Sarah L. Kaufman is the chief dance critic for The Washington Post and author of “The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life.” She covers the aesthetics and meaning of the arts, entertainment, sports and behavior. She has exposed violence against women in dance companies, broke the story about the lack of copyright protection for Martha Graham’s choreography and her multimedia projects have explored neuroscience and art. She came to the Post after writing and translating in Munich and working at The Buffalo News. Her awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and the Missouri Lifestyle Arts & Entertainment Award for Reporting.

She is studying ways to connect arts and culture journalism with emerging media technologies in order to shape arts coverage for new audiences and platforms and to devise long-term strategies for increasing the viability and reach of arts journalism. She will also examine how public art survives the pandemic, and how artists are adapting to the new landscape.


Vidya Krishnan

Vidya Krishnan is an investigative journalist based in India. She has reported on the Rohingya genocide, the global tuberculosis pandemic and the right-to-health movements in the developing world. Her first book, “Phantom Plague: The Untold Story of How Tuberculosis Shaped our History,” will be published in 2021. She received an International Reporting Fellowship in 2015 to report on changing patent laws in South Africa and their impact on drug prices in African nations.

She is researching how behavioral economics can inform policies that target antibiotic consumption habits. Her work focuses on the link between self-medicating habits in Asian cultures and the rise of superbugs that threaten global health security.


Willoughby Mariano

Willoughby Mariano is an investigative reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she focuses on housing and criminal justice issues. She previously worked for PolitiFact Georgia, the AJC team that fact checked the claims of elected officials, and at the Orlando Sentinel, where she covered crime and breaking news. Past honors include a National Headliner Award in investigative journalism and the Atlanta Press Club’s award for civil and human rights reporting. Mariano is president of the Asian American Journalists Association’s Atlanta chapter and chaired the national organization’s 2019 convention.

She is studying how post-World War II concepts of home and housing have shaped U.S. policy and finance and how shifts since the 2008 housing crisis have influenced popular ideas of home, shelter and identity.


Amber Payne

Amber Payne, executive producer at BET Digital, oversees daily editorial and longform video content for Previously, she served as executive producer of Teen Vogue and them., a vertical focused on LGBTQ+ stories. Payne also founded’s NBCBLK, another vertical created to elevate the conversation around Black identity, and worked on breaking news and features as an award-winning producer for “NBC Nightly News.” She has covered stories throughout the U.S., Ecuador and parts of West and South Africa, including Nelson Mandela’s funeral, the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Vancouver Olympics and Hurricane Katrina recovery. Payne’s new feature-length documentary is “Harlem Rising: A Community Changing the Odds.”

She is examining the cultural scaffolding needed to empower marginalized communities to share their stories in a way that resonates across the borders of race, faith and culture. She also is studying how the uprisings after the killing of George Floyd and broader national awakening to the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the Black community intersect and are changing reporting and storytelling.


Alissa J. Rubin

Alissa J. Rubin is the Baghdad bureau chief for The New York Times and previously served as bureau chief in Paris and Kabul. Before joining the Times in 2007, she covered the Balkans as the Vienna bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times while simultaneously working as Baghdad co-bureau chief. She spent 10 years reporting in Washington before going overseas. Prior to that, Rubin was a reporter in Kansas for the Knight-Ridder newspaper then known as The Wichita Eagle-Beacon. She won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and the 2015 John Chancellor Award for journalistic achievement, among other awards.

She is studying the religions, culture, history and literature of the Middle East, including Iran. She is also exploring medical anthropology and poetry.


Maxwell Strachan

Maxwell Strachan is a senior features editor at Vice where he covers inequality, corporate malfeasance and other topics. Prior to joining Vice, he worked at HuffPost for nine years, most recently as a senior reporter covering the 2020 Democratic primary. Before that, he served as a senior reporter writing feature stories about media and culture and as a senior editor on the business, technology, sports and entertainment desks.

He is studying the venture capital-fueled digital media bubble of the 2010s, with a particular focus on whether the investor-led pursuit of scale ultimately undermined the long-term sustainability of the industry and its workforce.