South Jersey Information Equity Project welcomes 2023 reporting fellows
The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University is excited to announce five new fellows as part of the 2023 South Jersey Information Equity Project (SJIEP) fellowship cohort. The project, currently in its second year, aims to support local journalists and media creators and address media inequity in South Jersey.
After a successful pilot in 2022, SJIEP co-published stories with three local media partners, Black in Jersey (Tennyson Donyea), Front Runner New Jersey (Clyde Hughes), and Scoop USA Media (Sherri Darden). This year, the project continues its efforts by welcoming a new cohort of fellows who will report from their communities in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties.
South Jersey Information Equity Project congratulates inaugural 2022 reporting fellows
We’re excited for the next round of reporting fellowships
SJIEP fellows will be assigned to work with one of our three partner newsrooms. They will meet with community members in a series of convenings to identify coverage gaps and help inform their reporting. Fellows will also attend training and career development workshops. They will each have monthly calls with one of our returning mentors, Melanie Burney of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Celeste Whittaker of the Courier Post, and noted photojournalist and media educator, Velvet McNeil. These mentorship pairings and additional workshops are part of SJIEP’s goals to further invest in our fellows throughout and beyond the 6-month program.
Read on to learn more about the 2023 cohort of SJIEP reporting fellows: Mya Calderon, Charles Curtis, III, Tyriq DeShields, Sade Osuji, and Jenise Rolle.
We’re so excited to welcome this group and share updates about the restorative narrative-oriented stories they’ll produce about and for Black communities in South Jersey!
Meet the 2023 SJIEP reporting fellows
Mya Calderon (Gloucester County) is from a small town in Southwest Minnesota. Small as in the population was less than 500, and the nearest mall was nearly two hours away. Growing up, she faced adversity being the only Black person in her school. Calderon was set on becoming a journalist because of the ability it gave her to connect with people, share their stories and speak up for those who couldn’t. Her family might say it’s because she likes to talk a lot. When she’s not sharing stories or diving into them, she likes to spend time with her cat, as well as travel and try new things. Calderon graduated from Rowan University as a first-generation college student with a 3.9 GPA in May 2022.
Charles Curtis, III (Camden County) has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kean University and synthesizes his poetry and political knowledge to encourage community interaction with local government. Currently, he works with CamdenOne to disseminate information to the public and connect community members to art and entertainment events happening locally. He is the founder and owner of Broken Minds LLC, which utilizes creative art as a form of therapy for inner-city residents. As a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Curtis has a passion for community service. He loves anime and his hobbies include listening to music, attending open mics, trying new foods, and watching documentaries.
Tyriq DeShields (Burlington County) was born and raised in Camden. DeShields is a South Jersey-based photographer who loves helping people and telling stories. He graduated from Bryant University with a B.A. in Communications, having played football for the entirety of his college career. Also a lover of film and music, he enjoys watching movies and practicing saxophone and piano in his spare time. He hopes the SJIEP fellowship grants him the opportunity to help someone by helping tell their story.
Sade Osuji (Burlington County) is a resourceful educator and community events organizer with an eye for detail and a passion for creating experiences for people of diverse backgrounds. She graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Communications and Human Resource Management and is currently a private pilot. Osuji is committed to increasing social engagement in spaces for positive community impact.
Jenise Rolle (Camden County) Jenise Rolle is a Camden, New Jersey native and community organizer. She is passionate about uplifting resident voices in an effort to bridge the gap between businesses, organizations, and the community. As a community organizer, she has strategically planned more than a dozen large-scale community events and serves as a civic liaison to help develop a stronger collaborative network for Camden families. Rolle believes that every voice matters, and it has become her mission to encourage residents to use their voices and teach the skills necessary to mobilize Camden community members and make sustainable change.
SJIEP looks forward to providing more insight into South Jersey communities and strengthening local partnerships.
Special thanks to the Independence Public Media Foundation for their funding support.
👋 Want to learn more and stay up-to-date about SJIEP and the work of our fellows?
Adrienne Bauldock is the project coordinator for the South Jersey Information Equity Project. Contact her at email@example.com.
About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a primarily 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.