Meet Our 2016 American and Australian Google News Lab Fellows

LaToya Drake
Jun 29, 2016 · 22 min read

Earlier this month, we were thrilled to welcome the American and Australian winners of our inaugural Google News Lab Fellowship class to Google HQ in Mountain View.

In the fall of 2015, we launched the Google News Lab Fellowship — in the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Australia — to offer students interested in journalism and technology the opportunity to work with some of the most prestigious media organizations in the world.

In the U.S. alone, more than 1800 candidates applied to the Fellowship. After a rigorous application process, 8 US fellows were hand-picked by their host organizations.

From Australia:

  • Matt Baker, University of New South Wales; Fairfax Media

The week in Mountain View was an opportunity for our Fellows to get to know the Google News Lab — and most importantly, each other — a little better. Fellows also got to hear from our data editor, Simon Rogers, renowned data visualization expert, Alberto Cairo, and a number of Google VR and storytelling experts. They also got a chance to hang out at YouTube headquarters, where they took this amazing motion still.

The Fellows show what they can do at the YouTube basketball court.

The program is a reflection of our values at the Google News Lab. For all the opportunities technology may enable, great journalists will always be at the heart of great journalism. We look forward to continue strengthening the program and helping develop the next generation of storytellers. (The application window for the 2017 News Lab Fellowship will open in Fall 2016.)

We are proud to introduce you to our Fellows — and wanted to give each of them an opportunity to describe the work they’ll be doing this summer and where their passion for journalism comes from.

University of California, Berkeley

Center for Investigative Reporting

Jieqian is a data and graphic reporter at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She’s also spent time as a freelance graphic designer with our Google Trends team, creating the widely used horserace graphic. Jieqian was previously a data / visual intern at ChinaFile, an associate news producer at RTL, and a news assistant at Le Figaro.

What she’ll be working on this summer:

Why CIR is important:

What she hopes to learn this summer:

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

University of California, Berkeley

Investigative Reporters & Editors

Brett Murphy is a Bay Area journalist finishing up his master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley this May. He’s a Mark Felt Scholar at the Investigative Reporting Program with a focus on data reporting and new media. A product of Boston, Brett was a magazine writer and editor in Pittsburgh before moving out west. He likes to write about the economy, science, crime and labor.

What he’ll be working on this summer:

Why IRE is important:

What he hopes to learn this summer:

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

Syracuse University

Nieman Journalism Lab

Taylyn Washington-Harmon is a senior magazine journalism student at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication, minoring in women’s and gender studies and concentrating in fashion and beauty communications. In 2013, Taylyn launched SWEETEST Media and its flagship website SWTST.co. In 2014, she received seed funding in Raymond Von Dran IDEA Competition and was one of the few startups selected to go on to the New York State Business Plan Competition. She enjoys reading and writing fiction, fashion illustration, and collecting art books.

What she’ll be working on this summer:

Why Nieman is important:

What she hopes to learn this summer:

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

MIT

Pew Research Journalism Project

Sophie Chou is a computer scientist and writer from the MIT Media Lab, a place where students research everything from building bionic limbs and robot farms to stopping gender discrimination on social media. Her Master’s thesis looks to understand why certain news stories are perceived as biased by different groups of people, and develop ways to computationally predict those behaviors. Before MIT, she attended Columbia University, studying computer science with a focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

What she’ll be working on this summer:

Why Pew is important:

What she hopes to learn this summer:

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

Columbia University

Poynter

Sonali Prasad is interested in technology, science, and storytelling. A Masters student at the Columbia Graduate School Of Journalism, she is a data and drone junkie and loves to explore multimedia projects on sports, climate change, environment and energy. She is a passionate marathon runner and has covered two editions of the Olympic Games — the London Olympics and the Sochi Winter Olympics.

What she’ll be working on this summer:

Why Poynter is important:

What she hopes to learn this summer:

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

University of California, Berkeley

ProPublica

Fan Fei is currently attending the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated from Fudan University with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Economics and is a recipient of the 2015 Asian American Journalism Scholarship. Previously, she interned at the Economist and the New York Times Shanghai Bureau. Fan sees herself as a right-brained oil-painter, a left-brained developer, and, most importantly, as a data journalist who uncovers the truth.

What she’ll be working on this summer:

Why ProPublica is important:

What she hopes to learn this summer:

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

Northeastern University

Matter

Jorge is a Colombian journalist interested in how digital media transforms societies. He received a Fulbright scholarship to explore how digital media can contribute to the reconstruction of social cohesiveness in Colombia, a country that has suffered an armed conflict for more that sixty years. He is currently enrolled in the Media Innovation program at Northeastern University. In his spare time, he loves street photography, reading myths, eating ice cream, listening to his wife’s music, and doing yoga.

What he’ll be working on this summer:

Why Matter is important:

What do he hopes to get out of the summer:

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

Columbia University

Witness

Niko is currently a student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Niko graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science, where his academic interest in the disillusion of the Ottoman Empire led him to pursue the self-directed Fox Fellowship in Istanbul. Niko was also the communications director of The NO Project, an award winning, global education campaign that targets youth awareness of human trafficking and modern day slavery though multi-platform storytelling and art. Niko has also served as the Executive Director of the Yale International Relations Association, a co-coach for the national debate team of Greece, and a reporting intern for Kathimerini in Athens.​

What he’ll be working on this summer:

Why Witness is important:

What he hopes to get out of the summer:

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

FROM AUSTRALIA

University of New South Wales

Fairfax Media

Matt Baker studied Statistical Physics in the Australian National University, where he spent a year at UC Berkeley. He was awarded a John Monash Scholarship,and used it to complete a D Phil in Biological Physics at the University of Oxford studying bacterial flagellar motor — the tiny rotary machine that rotates the propellor that makes nearly all bacteria swim. When he returned to Australia, he became involved with community radio. In 2015, he was awarded a top 5 under 40 residency at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which gave him the opportunity to produce radio. He loves interviewing, live conversations, and working with small teams.

What he’ll be working on this summer:

Why the Sydney Morning Herald is important:

What he hopes to get out of the summer?

Why journalism? Why is it important?

Favorite piece of journalism:

A huge congratulations to our News Lab Fellows! We’ll be sure to check in on the amazing work they’ll be doing throughout the summer.

Google News Lab

We work with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the…

LaToya Drake

Written by

I'm snuggly soft. News Lab @Google. @googlenewslab

Google News Lab

We work with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. The News Lab is Google's effort to empower innovation at the intersection of media and technology

LaToya Drake

Written by

I'm snuggly soft. News Lab @Google. @googlenewslab

Google News Lab

We work with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. The News Lab is Google's effort to empower innovation at the intersection of media and technology

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