Serginho Roosblad (’18) named first fellow of Associated Press and Ida B. Wells Society collaboration

June 21, 2021

From the Ida B. Wells Society For Investigative Reporting, a news trade organization which seeks to raise the awareness of, and opportunities for, investigative reporting among journalists of color:


June 14, 2021

Serginho Roosblad will be joining the global investigative team at The Associated Press as the first hire in a new program developed in collaboration with the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting. Roosblad will serve as an investigative producer and reporter.

Funding for the position was made possible through the Society, housed at University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, as part of its mission to increase the presence and retention of journalists of color in the field of investigative reporting.

A person with curly hair and a beard, resembling Serginho Roosblad, is smiling warmly at the camera. They are wearing a black shirt and are seated indoors with a softly lit background, which includes wooden panels and stairs. The lighting casts a pleasant glow on their face.

Through the collaboration, the Society supports The Associated Press efforts to diversify its staffing, by funding the position for a full year in exchange for a commitment to continue the employment permanently upon successful completion of the first year. The arrangement is meant to be a departure from the traditional fellowship model which often leads to only temporary placement.

“Serginho is exactly the kind of young journalist this fellowship was established for,” said Ron Nixon, head of AP’s global investigations team and a co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society. “He brings a number of skills as a documentary filmmaker and experience reporting from African and European countries. The fellowship will allow him to blend his existing skills with new ones that he will learn as an investigative reporter and producer on AP’s global investigative team. His hiring furthers the missions of the AP to provide top-level visual investigations to its clients worldwide and the Ida B. Wells Society, which is to increase the number of journalists of color in the field of investigative journalism.”

Serginho is an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, and photographer.  His work has been published by KQED News, the Voice of America, AJ+, The BBC, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and many others.   

Serginho currently resides in San Francisco, California, but hails from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with roots in the Caribbean and South America.

He said he is grateful for the opportunity to use his skills as a documentarian to cover new territory in investigation.

“It’s really significant for me,” he said. “Seeing what has been going on in this country for the last five years as a non-American has been a lot. To be able to, as a Black journalist and a Black filmmaker, dig in and do investigative work feels really important, in terms of race relations, in terms of rich and poor, in terms of the political climate.”

Prior to living in the U.S., he lived in Uganda, where he worked as a freelance correspondent covering Africa’s Great Lakes region.  

He has traveled to and reported from over a dozen African and European countries; from the Arctic archipelago Lofoten on Norwegian whaling, to the negative impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and the visit of Pope Francis to Uganda.  He has documented the lives of homeless single mothers in California’s Central Valley to the plight of Spätaussiedlers (Russian immigrants with German ancestry) who have returned to their ancestral home in Germany, and aspiring dancehall artists in Zimbabwe.  

Serginho holds a Masters of Journalism degree from UC Berkeley, where he was the Marlon T. Riggs fellow in documentary filmmaking and a Dean’s Merit Fellow. He also holds a Masters of Philosophy degree in African studies from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where he studied visual trauma culture in post-apartheid South Africa, as depicted by the country’s most popular political cartoonists.  His Bachelor’s degree in Journalism is from the Hogeschool Utrecht (The Netherlands).

He is the producer on the upcoming feature-length documentary film ‘Exposing Muybridge,’ on motion picture pioneer Eadweard Muybridge, slated to premiere in 2021.

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