Hearst Foundation Fellowships Put Professional Futures within Reach

February 13, 2018

(From left to right: Rachel Loyd, Pablo De La Hoya and Briana Flin)

Photo Credit: Rosa Furneaux (’18)

For Rachel Loyd, a Master of Journalism degree from UC Berkeley is the first step towards a bright career as a multimedia journalist. But the financial reality of attending graduate school almost put her dreams out of reach. “I don’t have help from family, so financial support is really important,” says Loyd, a second-year student from Chicago.

Fortunately, when Loyd received her acceptance letter she was also named one of the Journalism School’s Hearst Fellows–a factor that, she says, greatly influenced her decision to attend Berkeley.

Alongside her studies, Loyd now works as an assignment editor at KRON 4 News in San Francisco, and is co-president of UC Berkeley’s National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) student chapter. “I feel like I can focus on school, I can focus on reporting, and I’m not necessarily worried about money,” she says.

As Loyd’s story illustrates, the Hearst fellowships play a vital role in bringing talented students to the School. According to Dean Edward Wasserman, applicants who clearly meet the School’s demanding intellectual and academic standards are sometimes compelled to decline invitations to study at Berkeley because the School cannot offer them enough financial aid.

Students who enter the program despite heavy financial cost often graduate with burdensome loans, a situation aggravated by the continuing marketplace instability in the news industry.

The Foundation’s $200,000 fellowship grant is being distributed over three years. In all, it will help support nine highly-qualified Berkeley Journalism students pursue their studies.

Pablo De La Hoya, a documentary film student and one of this year’s fellows, says, “I was really excited when I first found out about it, because going to grad school was going to be financially difficult for me.”

While he preferred Berkeley’s two-year program, he had also been looking into attending a graduate journalism program in Los Angeles that would have allowed him to live rent-free at home. Receiving the fellowship, however, made his decision easier. “I think I made the right choice,” he says, smiling.

De La Hoya is president of UC Berkeley’s National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) student chapter, and is a video producer at Youth Radio, an award-winning, youth-led news organization in Oakland. He is currently completing his thesis project, a documentary about gentrification in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights.

Briana Flin is a multimedia journalist and Bay Area native. Working in new media and video journalism, she is interested in issues of class, race, identity and culture.

“The fact that I got in, and I was awarded the fellowship, was so encouraging,” Flin says. “It also made it completely possible for me to be here. I think there’s no way that I would have taken the risk to come to journalism school at this time without this fellowship. It was amazing.”

For her thesis project, Flin is working on a multimedia-based story about immigration and mixed-status families in Fresno, Calif., focusing on issues surrounding U.S. citizen children born to undocumented parents.

The Hearst Foundation Fellowships extend the foundation’s long-standing support for journalism education, which includes the prestigious Hearst High School Journalism awards.

“At no time has it been more important to have skilled and competent students entering the field,” says Paul Dinovitz, executive director of the Hearst Foundation. “We are proud to have UC Berkeley students receive Hearst fellowships to further their careers and inform the sector. We know that the caliber of work produced by UCB journalism students is stellar and among the best in the country.”

The Hearst Foundation was established by William Randolph Hearst in 1945 to provide funding that advanced Hearst’s philanthropic vision, according to its website. Hearst was a hugely influential figure in the American newspaper industry, at one time owning more than 25 newspapers across the country.

“As one of the country’s premier journalism schools, we’re proud of the values and history we share with the Hearst family and its extraordinary legacy,” says Dean Wasserman. “We’re eager to see ‘Hearst Foundation Journalism Fellow’ mentioned prominently on the resumes of tomorrow’s leaders of the journalism profession.”

This year’s fellows join three classmates who last year became the School’s inaugural Hearst fellows:

Rafael Roy, a New York City native filmmaker, focuses his lens on subcultures and social justice issues. His work has appeared in outlets including KQED, Mother Jones, The Establishment and Mission Local.

Spencer Silva specializes in audio production, data analysis and narrative writing. HIs work has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, KQED and Oakland Magazine.

Yesica Prado, a documentary film student, is a former photojournalism intern at the San Francisco Examiner; she works in both photography and video journalism.

By Rosa Furneaux (’18)


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