Dear Berkeley Journalism Community,
Black History Month presents an opportunity to reflect on the country’s struggle with race relations going back to 1619. And it’s a chance to celebrate the successes of Black people in re-envisioning the world through art, ideas and culture, including journalism.
As a school, we want to deepen our engagement with the issue of journalism and race. To celebrate Black History Month, we are inaugurating a fellowship program in pursuit of this goal.
Each fall, we will welcome an outstanding journalist to our school to lecture, attend classes, engage with our students and provide inspiration to us all.
This visiting journalist will spend two weeks with us and receive an honorarium of $10,000. This will serve as compensation for their time and also cover travel, housing costs, and incidentals.
The idea for this fellowship came out of the working groups that many of you joined back in the summer of 2020 to develop our Anti-Racism Plan. One of our proposals was to bring a journalist whose work focuses on covering the Black community and other underserved communities to our school each year to serve as a mentor and role model.
We are thrilled that Prof. Bill Drummond, who first taught a Race and Journalism course here in the Fall of 1991, has agreed to serve as chair of a small committee that will review candidates and make a recommendation in April for the upcoming Fall semester.
An honored tradition of Black History Month at our school is to celebrate members of our extended journalism community who have recently produced outstanding work or received special honors. As we do so, we feel the need to ask for your forgiveness, in advance, because we will surely miss someone.
Pete Nicks (’99) screened his much buzzed about new documentary “Underrated,” featuring the breakout story of NBA superstar Steph Curry at the Sundance Film Festival.
Pendarvis Harshaw (’14) and Brandon Tauszik produced “Facing Life,” an inspired multimedia project about eight formerly incarcerated people making their way in the free world after decades behind bars in California.
Alsanosi Adam (’16) of NPR was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Audio Reporting for “compelling, accessible and empathetic stories on the complicated war and threats to democracy in East Africa.”
“Black Mothers Love & Resist” by Débora Silva (’14) premiered at the SF Film Festival. Myah Overstreet (’23) was an associate producer on the film.
Traci Curry (’05), the Academy Award-nominated co-director and producer of the Showtime feature-length documentary “Attica,” was named a duPont Award finalist.
Serginho Roosblad (’18) was named to DOC NY’s annual “40 Under 40” list. Now in its fifth year, the list shines a spotlight on emerging documentary talent. Roosblad is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist and photographer, who is part of the Associated Press’ Global Investigations team. He was also selected for FRONTLINE’s Investigative Journalist Equity Initiative (IJEI), a new effort aimed at increasing diversity in the documentary filmmaking landscape.
Byrhonda Lyons (’13) was a finalist for OJA’s best explanatory journalism award for the story that aired on PBS Newshour about California drought.
Abené Clayton (’19) joined a new CNN unit reporting on all aspects of the complex/divisive issues surrounding guns and gun violence in America.
Prof. Lisa Armstrong reported on a mother watching helplessly as her teenage boy deteriorates in a Texas youth prison, in The Texas Tribune.
Myah Overstreet (’23) reported on ‘villages’ for the aging coming to more Black communities for the Washington Post.
Iqra Salah (’23) through her Pulitzer Center fellowship reported on some 300,000 stateless people who live in Zimbabwe.
William Jenkins (’23) and Myah Overstreet‘s (’23) documentary short “The Oakland Coliseum: Past, Present and Future” screened at The Roxie Theater as part of The Bay Area Media Maker Summit.
Corey Antonio Rose (’23), hosted “Here, Black, and Queer: New Visions for Covering the Black, Non-Binary and Transgender Communities” with Xtra Magazine editor Tre’Vell Anderson, Archivist and Ballroom Historian Noelle Deleon, and Host of Marsha’s Plate Diamond (Stylz) Collier who explored the complicated history of reporting on the Black transgender experience.
And our NABJ chapter hosted, “Comrade Sisters: Women Of The Black Panther Party,” a discussion centered on Stephen Shames’ and Ericka Huggins’ photo book. They were joined by Judy Juanita and Madalynn Rucker for a discussion moderated by Corey Antonio Rose (’23) and emceed by Williamena Kwapo (’23) that highlighted the contributions of the women in the Black Panther Party.
On behalf of the Berkeley Journalism community, we salute these outstanding Black journalists–and look forward, with great excitement, to the upcoming visit of the inaugural fellow in our new program.
Dean of Berkeley Journalism
William J. Drummond
Sr. Director of Academic & Student Affairs
June 15, 2023
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