2008 Academy for Alternative Journalism Fellows Named

may 15, 2008  01:15 pm
Ten fellows have been chosen to attend the Academy for Alternative Journalism summer residency program at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The academy trains young journalists in long-form feature writing with the aim of recruiting them into the alternative press. The ten fellows were selected from about 330 applicants for the program, according to program director and Northwestern journalism professor Charles Whitaker.

"This class has a lot of career-changers, including a flight attendant, a former truck driver and an elementary school teacher," Whitaker says. "It's one of the most diverse classes we've had in several years."

The Academy, now in its ninth year, emphasizes the fundamentals of successful long-form journalism, including reporting, story structure and literary technique. Classes are taught by Medill faculty, with guest lectures and workshops led by AAN member editors.

Each student is expected to produce at least one piece suitable for publication by the course's end, and together the class produces an online magazine which, like last year, will be published on the Academy's website.

Fellows receive a $3000 stipend as well as allowances for travel to and housing at the program, which runs from June 22 to August 15.

These are the 2008 fellows:

Phillip M. Bailey
Born in Louisville, Ky., Phillip M. Bailey started in journalism while attending the University of Louisville as an op-ed writer and copy editor with an independent African-American newspaper, The SOULution, for two years. Afterwards, he was a columnist for the main student newspaper, The Cardinal, receiving second place for best commentary at the 2005 Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association awards.

St. John Berned-Smith
Born and bred in Boston, St. John (Sin-JIN) Berned-Smith started college at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, just finishing at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a degree in creative writing in English literature. He has written for Current Magazine, interned at Philadelphia Weekly and freelanced for the Philadelphia Inquirer's op-ed and book review sections.

Elena Brown
Elena Brown is a jet-setting freelancer with more than a decade as a flight attendant. Her articles have been in The Denver Post, the Denver Business Journal, The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs and 5280 magazine. She won a regional Mark of Excellence Award for in-depth reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists and received the Colorado Press Association Scholarship. The Colorado native began her school career at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Angelica Herrera
Born and raised in Chicago's Ukrainian Village, Angelica Herrera's views and perception of how the world works are largely shaped by her Mexican ethnicity, travels to the homeland and her parents and five sisters. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received a B.S. in news-editorial journalism in 2005. She has been through the newsroom doors of The Daily Tribune in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., as a Chips Quinn Scholar, Extra and The Chicago Reporter.

Richard Knight
Richard Knight is a Rutgers graduate who won the Kenneth Alvard Award for having the best journalistic GPA in his class. He freelances for various publications, including GEEK Magazine, Cinemablend and Weightwatchers.com. He's also a sixth-grade teacher in Irvington, N.J., and works to get his students out of the slums and into good jobs.

Corina Knoll
Corina Knoll studied communications and sociology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. She recently stepped down as managing editor of KoreAm Journal, where she garnered two New America Media awards and covered a variety of subjects, including Hurricane Katrina and Virginia Tech. A native of Iowa, she lives in Los Angeles.

Ling Ma
Ling Ma splits her time between Chicago and New York. She has worked as a production controller overseeing book manufacturing in Far East countries, a film reviewer, a web editor and a library shelving assistant (twice). She graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2005. She is the reads editor of Venus Zine.

Tess Martinez
At 19, Tess Martinez left her hometown of Tucson, Ariz., and headed to California, eventually settling in San Francisco. After a few years of goofing around in the Bay Area, she returned to Tucson and finished her studies in journalism at the University of Arizona. She works as a waitress at a sushi bar and enjoys tinkering with Volkswagens.

Tawny McCray
Tawny McCray is a 30-year-old biracial and bilingual native of San Diego. She has known she wanted to be a journalist since the seventh grade, when she wrote her first article for her junior high school paper. She received her B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University and looks forward to a big career. McCray wants to influence people's lives through her words.

Samuel Stoker
Samuel Stoker originally hails from California's San Joaquin Valley but has lived in Arizona for the last decade. After an 11-year stint as a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, he decided to change to a career in journalism. This May, he is receiving his B.S. in journalism and political science. He is currently piecing together a 1957 Indian motorcycle he hopes to have together in time to ride to the Academy in Chicago.