Emerging Journalists, Community Stories

A new fellowship program pairs promising journalists with Pulitzer Prize finalists to explore Oregon stories.

Over the summer and fall of 2018, three early-career journalists will create in-depth works exploring stories in Oregon communities under the mentorship of Pulitzer Prize finalists through Oregon Humanities’ new Emerging Journalists, Community Stories fellowship, offered in partnership with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Pulitzer Prizes.

“The landscape of journalism—traditional watchdogs, storytellers, and purveyors of information—is changing dramatically,” says Kathleen Holt, associate director of Oregon Humanities. “We hope the access to support and mentorship this project will provide will help emerging journalists advance their careers and have an impact on their communities.”

The journalists selected for the fellowship are Intisar Abioto, Caitlyn May, and Emilly Prado.

Intisar Abioto is an adventurer, dancer, writer, and photographer originally from Memphis, Tennessee. With a research focus on the African diaspora, her unique form of story inquiry as a way of life has taken her from Memphis to Berlin to Djibouti, seeking the authentic stories of people within the diaspora. She's the creator of The Black Portlanders, an ongoing photo essay and exploratory blog imaging people of African descent in Portland, Oregon. Abioto swears by the true life and love that can be found in fantasy, folklore, language, and movement. She will work with mentor Kimberly A.C. Wilson, a former investigative journalist at the Oregonian and the Baltimore Sun who is now director of communications at Meyer Memorial Trust, on a story about the history and present of Black art in Oregon.

Caitlyn May started her journalism career by accident in a small newsroom in Nevada before earning her degree from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in 2016. She is currently at a rural Oregon publication where she works on improving media literacy and digital inclusion and strives to engage with communities that would otherwise have little to no representation in the mainstream media. May will work with mentor Les Zaitz, a former Oregonian reporter and the current editor and publisher of the Malheur Enterprise, to cover the closure of libraries in Douglas County due to lack of public funds.

Emilly Prado is a freelance writer, photographer, and teacher living in Portland, Oregon. Her work focuses amplifying the voices of people from traditionally marginalized communities and has appeared in nearly two dozen publications including NPR, the Oregonian, Marie Claire, Bitch Media, and the Portland Mercury, where she writes a weekly column called “From Slacktivism to Activism.” In her free time, she makes zines and DJs. See more of her work at emillyprado.com. Prado will work with mentor Inara Verzemnieks, a former feature writer for the Oregonian who now teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa, on a story about undocumented communities from a multigenerational perspective.

The stories written during the fellowship will be published in Oregon Humanities magazine and on our website by early 2019. The fellowship program will culminate in an event that will showcase fellows’ work and offer an opportunity for public discussion of their stories in the context of journalism and democracy.

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