July 25, 2024

Achieving Academic Outcomes

Enhancing Student Success

Award-winning Carnegie-Knight News21 welcomes fellows, launches project about American democracy

3 min read

Just weeks after winning the prestigious Grand Prize in the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, Carnegie-Knight News21 has launched a new reporting project examining the state of American democracy.

Twenty-nine student journalists representing 14 universities have convened at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication for this unique summer reporting fellowship. 

“This year’s presidential race is the first since the 2021 siege on the U.S. Capitol, the first featuring a former president with felony convictions, and the first amid the rapid rise of artificial intelligence,” said News21 Executive Editor Pauline Arrillaga. “Distrust in the system has increased even as disinformation campaigns have surged.

“Many Americans see this moment as a possible turning point in our democracy, and our student journalists are ready to help illuminate how we got here and where we’re headed,” Arrillaga said.

Fellows, whose specialties include writing, video, audio reporting, photography and data visualization, conducted extensive research before arriving in Phoenix in late May to begin their 10-week fellowship. 

The final project, to be published in late August/early September, will be shared with national media outlets for publication. Previous Carnegie-Knight News21 work has been featured in outlets including The Associated Press, The Washington Post, USA Today, NBC News and The 19th.

In past years, News21 fellows have taken on topics including police reform, COVID-19, extremist groups and juvenile justice. Last year’s “America After Roe” project, examining the aftermath of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, took home the RFK Grand Prize, an award typically given to professional outlets rather than student journalists. The project also won the College Journalism Award in that contest, as well as two Telly Awards, three first-place Editor & Publisher EPPY Awards and a “People’s Voice” Webby Award.

Core funding for News21 is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and individual fellows in the 2024 cohort are supported by their respective universities as well as a variety of foundations, news publications and philanthropic partners including the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation, The Arizona Republic/azcentral, Gray Television, Myrta Pulliam and more.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Knight Foundation came together in 2005 to launch News21 as a cornerstone of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.

Students interested in learning more about News21 and future scholarship opportunities should visit Media organizations interested in potentially publishing the project or portions of it should reach out to Arrillaga at [email protected]. More information on past News21 projects is available at

Fellows in this summer’s program are: 

  • Abigail Beck, Arizona State University, Don Bolles/Arizona Republic Fellow
  • Celia Frazier, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Christopher Lomahquahu, Arizona State University, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Dani Ingram, University of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Delaney Chase, St. Bonaventure University
  • Denzen Cortez, Arizona State University, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow 
  • Donovan Johnson, Arizona State University, Howard G. Buffett Foundation Fellow
  • Eliana Alzate, DePauw University, Myrta J. Pulliam Foundation Fellow
  • Emily Richardson, Virginia Commonwealth University, Cronkite/NBCU Fellow
  • Eshaan Sarup, Arizona State University, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Gabi Morando, Butler University
  • Hannah Lee, University of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Hudson French, Arizona State University, Howard G. Buffett Foundation Fellow
  • Ismael Lele, University of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Jordan Moore, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Howard G. Buffett Foundation Fellow
  • Joshua Harrison-Williams, Morgan State University
  • Josie Malave, University of Alabama
  • Juanita Hurtado Huerfano, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Kyle Chouinard, Syracuse University
  • Lillie Boudreaux, Arizona State University, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Marshal Farmer, North Texas University, Gray Television/Cronkite Fellow
  • Nate Engle, Arizona State University, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Olivia Talkington, University of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Peggy Dodd, University of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation Fellow
  • Pierce Gentry, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Romie Avivi Stuhl, University of Oregon
  • Samantha Grove, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Howard G. Buffett Foundation Fellow
  • Shelby Rickert, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Howard G. Buffett Foundation Fellow
  • Vivian Serafin, Arizona State University, Howard G. Buffett Foundation Fellow

Arrillaga, a former national writer and enterprise editor at The Associated Press, is joined by industry veterans in overseeing this year’s project. They include longtime Arizona Republic journalist Venita Hawthorne James; Adriana Zehbrauskas, Cronkite’s Howard G. Buffett Visiting Professor of Visual Journalism; Regina Revazova, founder and executive producer of the podcast company Open Conversation; and Angela Hill, former senior video producer at The Washington Post.

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