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Reporting fellows announced for COVID-19 storytelling project with NJ ethnic and community media

Sixteen reporters will produce coronavirus stories during the four-month fellowship

Oni Advincula
May 6 · 4 min read

The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University is proud to announce its 16 COVID-19 reporting fellows, as part of a project to support ethnic and community news outlets in New Jersey to cover coronavirus in their communities.

The diverse group consists of multimedia reporters and editors — including Chinese, Korean and Latino to African American, Pakistani and Bangladeshi online, broadcast and print publications — covering a vast range of topics and information on the coronavirus pandemic for the immigrants and people of color that they serve in the state.

The fellows will begin publishing and broadcasting their stories this month. Through the lens of their communities, the projects take a closer look at the barriers and challenges that low-income and vulnerable communities disproportionately face in the time of the COVID-19 crisis.

Some of the topics the fellows will explore through their reporting and storytelling include:

  • How many Mexican families in New Jersey are repatriating the remains of their loved ones who died of COVID-19 to Mexico?
  • How can undocumented immigrants access free food sites when they don’t have a car or a driver’s license?
  • With no available COVID-19 vaccine or cure, how do Filipinos undertake herbal remedies and other homeopathic measures without exposing themselves to misinformation while fighting the virus?

During the course of the four-month fellowship, recipients will receive reporting training from leading health, government and journalism experts in New Jersey to update them on the latest developments on the coronavirus and help them carry out their reporting so that their communities get first-hand and reliable information. Each fellow will also receive a $1,500 stipend to support their projects, thanks to support from Democracy Fund and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Meet the Fellows:

Abu Taher, editor and reporter, TiME TV and Bangla Patrika (in Bangla)
Project: To report on Bangladeshi families with loved ones who died from COVID-19 complications and how Bangladeshi businesses-owners — including taxi and Uber drivers — have been affected by the coronavirus shutdown.

Carlos Avila, reporter, El Latino News/The Nubian News (in Spanish)
Project: To look into the cultural, language, socio-economic, medical and technological barriers that New Jersey’s undocumented Latino immigrants face during the coronavirus pandemic.

Laszlo Bartus, editor and publisher, Amerikai Nepszava (in Hungarian)
Project: To report on the lives of Hungarian immigrants in New Jersey affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

Jong won Lee, reporter, The Korea Daily — New Jersey (in Korean)
Project: To write about how Koreans in New Jersey struggle with the lack of protective equipment and medical care.

Kevin McNeir, editor, NJ Urban News (in English)
Project: To explore the disparities — increased exposure to the virus, underlying susceptibility and limited access to health care and testing — and what, if anything, is being done or should be done to reduce these inequities among Black New Jersey residents.

Kleibeel Marcano, editor, Reporte Hispano (in Spanish)
Project: To investigate what the state government is doing to help Latino residents in New Jersey.

Adonis Tagala, reporter, ABS-CBN News (in English/Tagalog)
Project: To chronicle the lives of Filipino nurses , doctors and other allied medical work in New Jersey. Reports say that 75 Filipinos have tested positive and succumbed to Covid 19 — and 28 of them were front-line health care workers who died after serving as nurses, doctors, and other allied medical workers

Maria Amado, publisher and editor, New Jersey Hispano (in Spanish)
Project: To look at how Latino immigrants in several New Jersey counties— specifically, Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Passaic — have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Kerith Gabriel, reporter, The Philadelphia Weekly (in English)
Project: To examine how essential Black workers in Camden are compensated, as well as how businesses in South Jersey are coping with the shift from traditional in-person business to online only.

Rong Xiaoqing, reporter, Sing Tao Daily (in Chinese)
Project: To feature Chinese immigrants living in New Jersey who are hardest hit by COVID-19 because of rising racism against Asians.

Marivir Montebon, editor and publisher, OSM! Magazine (in English/Tagalog)
Project: To take a look at how Filipino families turn to alternative medicine due to the absence of COVID-19 vaccine.

Raymond Tyler, reporter and producer, The Shore and WPPM FM 106.5 (in English)
Project: To examine the health of and healthcare for African Americans — who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 — in the Atlantic City area.

Walid Rabah, editor and publisher, Arab Voice (in Arabic)
Project: To write stories about Arab immigrants in New Jersey affected by COVID-19.

Mohsin Zaheer, reporter, Urdu News (in Urdu)
Project: To report on the low-income Pakistani immigrants in New Jersey as they confront the challenges of losing their jobs or closing their businesses — the only means of their survival — in time of the coronavirus crisis.

Diego Maya, reporter and editor, The Latino Spirit (in Spanish)
Project: To do a mini-series of videos on Latino workers in New Jersey affected by COVID-19 pandemic.


Oni Advincula is the ethnic media program coordinator at the Center for Cooperartive Media. Contact him at oni.advincula@gmail.com or advinculaa@montclair.edu.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. The Center is supported with funding from Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab (a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Community Foundation of New Jersey), and the Abrams Foundation. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.

Center for Cooperative Media

An initiative of the School of Communication at Montclair…

Oni Advincula

Written by

Oni is a journalist. He covers immigration, health, politics and government, and ethnic media.

Center for Cooperative Media

An initiative of the School of Communication at Montclair State University

Oni Advincula

Written by

Oni is a journalist. He covers immigration, health, politics and government, and ethnic media.

Center for Cooperative Media

An initiative of the School of Communication at Montclair State University

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