Fresno’s Ugly Divide / Unequal From Birth
In August 2018, The Atlantic published one of the largest group projects in our history: seven multimedia master’s theses exploring Fresno, California: the state’s poorest major city and its legacy of segregation, discrimination and poverty that continues to impact residents today.
Reports by Rachel Cassandra, Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Briana Flin, Alexandria Fuller, Margaret Katcher, Mary Newman and Reis Thebault (all ‘18) ran in a powerful weeklong series “Fresno’s Ugly Divide” on the storied magazine’s website. Bay Area public broadcasting station KQED then posted the original thesis versions, including an additional project by Sawsan Morrar (‘18), as an online multimedia collection of photographs, videos, audio stories, animations, data visualizations and writing titled “Unequal From Birth.” Multimedia instructors Richard Koci Hernandez and Jeremy Rue, and John Temple of the School’s Investigative Reporting Program spearheaded and facilitated this complex undertaking.
A number of students were honored for their contributions to this project. “Justice for who? Unequal treatment is the norm in Fresno,” by Reis Thebault and Alexandria Fuller won the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter’s top award for student special project (all media) and was a finalist for best Online In-Depth Reporting and Best Use of Multimedia in the Society of Professional Journalists’ best collegiate journalism in Region 11 2019 Mark of Excellence Awards.
“Dirty Business” and two other projects were also named finalists for the ONA’s David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award (Small Newsroom).
Susie Neilson’s (’18) “On the Line,” about the working conditions of California’s recycling sorters was a finalist in the. Students Liliana Michelena, Yutao Chen and Francesca Fenzi contributed to the project. Alex Nieves provided research.
“Smoke and Mirrors,”— about severe immigration consequences for non-citizens working with cannabis— by Anne Wernikoff and Simon Campbell was also a finalist.”Dirty Business” took home the top prize.