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Penny Dickerson Awarded New America Media Fellowship

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2015 Equal Voice Fellows and Scholars Announced

NEW YORK — (August 21, 2015) — Marguerite Casey Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2015 Equal Voice Fellowship and Scholarship.

Sixty journalists nationwide competed this year for six journalism grants to support at least one or a series of investigative and exploratory reporting projects on critical poverty issues in underserved communities. These include projects on faces of poverty in the southern Appalachian region; economic struggles that Latino families face in Los Angeles; and the interface between poverty, race, gender and HIV.

Selected fellows will receive a stipend of $2,250, plus up to $1,000 in travel reimbursement, while $500 and up to $800 in travel reimbursement for the scholars.

The fellowship and scholarship will provide the journalists from ethnic and mainstream media with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of critical issues of poverty in communities that they serve and to increase the public’s understanding of poverty in the United States.

This year New America Media oversaw the application and selection process.

Marguerite Casey Foundation, a private, nonprofit grantmaking organization, seeks to increase the public’s understanding of the issues and policies that affect families living in poverty. The goal of its journalism fellowships and scholarship on poverty is to support a cadre of journalists who, through their reporting, can document the intersection of policy and poverty and dispel the myth that people are poor by choice.

The Fellows are:

Araceli Martinez Ortega, La Opinion, Glendale, CA
Araceli will look at economic challenges that confront Latino families in the Los Angeles area. Her five-part series of stories will focus on Latinos who live in overcrowded dwellings, parents who make a living from collecting garbage or street hawking, and families who survive on fast food meals.

Beth Walton Braaksma, Asheville Citizen-Times, Asheville, NC
Beth will explore the demographics and different faces of poverty in southern Appalachia, highlighting the diversity of the region’s poor. Her two multimedia stories will include interactive features such as maps, video and photo slideshows.

Jacob Anderson-Minshall, Plus Magazine, Valle Vista, CA
Jacob will examine the intersections between poverty, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV. His investigative series will focus on the criminalization of HIV, the role incarceration plays in HIV transmission, the link between depression and HIV, and trans women with HIV.

Merdis “Penny” Dickerson, Florida Courier and Daytona Times, Tallahassee, FL
Penny will give voice to Florida’s poor by reporting from four-quadrants of the state: Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Daytona and Miami. Through profiles, vignettes and features, her four-part series hope to shift public perception and broaden awareness in areas that critically affect the definition of poor people of color throughout Florida.

The Scholars are:

Justine May Calma, The Ground Truth Project and Columbia University-New York, Brooklyn, NY
Justine will examine how teen pregnancy, reproductive health and family planning are factors in economic inequality in the United States. Her fellowship stories will have accompanying video that follows the lives of young parents, showing what happens when teen moms and dads grow up with a family in tow.

Rachel Hinton, The DePaulia, DePaul University-Chicago, Chicago, IL
Rachel will focus on redlining — the practice of drawing red lines on a map to determine which neighborhoods would receive approved mortgages — and its effects on Chicago neighborhoods, contributing to segregation of the city. Her series will also look at the policies that allow redlining and how its presence can still be seen in today’s communities.

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