Twelve journalists have been selected for the 2022-2023 National Science-Health-Environment Reporting Fellowships (SHERF).
This is the second year of the fellowship, a collaboration of AHCJ, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) and the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). It offers training, mentoring, and networking opportunities to early-career journalists pursuing — or a strong interest in pursuing — careers in science, health or environmental reporting, or some combination of the three — while they continue their work.
“Today’s science, health, or environmental reporter needs to be able to cover all these topics well and understand how they intersect with each other and a wealth of social, cultural, and political issues,” said Rosalind Reid, CASW executive director. “This extraordinarily accomplished and diverse group of fellows will gain important skills, knowledge, and connections for covering issues critical to regional and national audiences.”
Funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Science Education and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the program will offer selected fellows niche workshops, customized webinars, registration and support to attend national conferences, access to unique resources, and professional mentors to assist with their career development.
“The future of science, health, and environmental journalism depends on creating a more sustainable career path for talented reporters —- and flexible, free, early career fellowship programs like this one fill a missing rung on the career ladder, especially for journalists from groups that have been traditionally under-represented in the field,” said Meaghan Parker, executive director of SEJ. “We are especially pleased that journalists of color comprise more than half of the group.”
The 2022-23 fellows are:
- Aarón Miguel Cantú, Type Investigations fellow, climate reporter, Capital & Main, California
- Bella Isaacs-Thomas, digital science reporter, PBS NewsHour, Washington D.C.
- Christian von Preysing-Barry, reporter, KRGV-TV, Texas
- Darian Benson, reporter, Side Effects Public Media, Indianapolis
- Devi Shastri, health and medical science reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin
- Erin Rode, environment reporter, The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Calif.
- Jena Brooker, environment reporter, BridgeDetroit, Detroit
- Neel Dhanesha, climate change reporter, Vox, Washington, D.C.
- Rachel Cohen, reporter, Boise State Public Radio, Idaho
- Sarah True, independent health care journalist, Washington, D.C.
- Shantal Riley, independent health and environmental journalist, New York
- Zoya Teirstein, staff writer, Grist, Brooklyn, NY
As it did its first year, the fellowship for 2022-2023 attracted many highly qualified applicants with more than 90 journalists applying for the opportunity.
“Our first class immediately demonstrated the value of the fellowship because the fellows came from so many different backgrounds, which contributed to the group’s overall awareness of important, untold stories on these beats,” said Katherine Reed, AHCJ’s director of education and content. “Their work reflected the richness of that experience, and I am confident the next group will benefit in much the same way.”