Florida Courier writer awarded Guggenheim Fellowship
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Florida Courier writer Penny Dickerson was selected as one of 20 U.S. journalists from print, online and broadcast outlets to receive an H.F. Guggenheim reporting fellowship organized by the New York City-based John Jay Center on Media, Crime and Justice housed at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.
Dickerson is the third Florida Courier writer to receive a journalism fellowship. Senior Editor Jenise Griffin Morgan was awarded a 2013-2014 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism. Publisher Charles W. Cherry II is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow.
Dickerson, a longtime contributor to the Florida Courier, has been a freelance reporter since 2001, advancing from local to more regional and national affiliates. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Lesley University.
Her literary approach to news produces engaging narratives across a broad spectrum. However, underrepresented populations are the cornerstone of her pursuits.
She is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville, the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute’s Minority Writers Editorial Conference, and recipient of the Four Freedoms Fund Immigration Fellowship.
“I owe much of my editorial advancement to diverse reporting opportunities that the Florida Courier has offered,” said Dickerson. “The guidance and support from my senior editor Jenise Griffin Morgan has been immeasurable.”
Focus on Black males
Along with Dickerson, selected Guggenheim Fellows from publications such as Newsweek, the Boston Globe and the Las Vegas Review-Journal will report on issues such as biases in jury selection, the treatment of mental health issues in jails, campus sex assaults, and the implications of the growing commercial marijuana industry.
Dickerson’s research topics are an extension of her 2013, six-part investigative series on “The Life and Death of Jimmy Jackson,’’ which explored the unsolved shooting death of a young Black man outside of a Jacksonville nightclub.
Her upcoming Florida Courier series will explore the continual rise of Black male homicides in Florida in addition to gun laws, “Stand Your Ground,” and 10-20-Life legislation. The Jacksonville-area African-American community’s relationship with controversial State Attorney Angela Corey will also be examined.
Dickerson will also explore the current racial climate debate around the country as related to the shooting deaths in Florida of Black male teenagers Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.
Guggenheim Fellows were selected from a wide pool of applicants based on editors’ recommendations and on investigative reporting projects currently underway or in the planning stages. Projects must be related to the conference topic for the 10th Annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America entitled, “Race, Justice, Community: Can We All Get Along?” to be held in New York City Feb. 9 and 10.
Each awarded fellowship recipient will receive financial assistance or stipends that enable them to attend the conference and related events.
Only national conference
The John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium is the only national gathering that brings together journalists, legislators, policymakers, scholars and practitioners for candid on-the-record discussions on emerging issues of U.S. criminal justice.
Overall financial support for the fellowships and upcoming conference comes from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.
Additional support is provided by the Ford Foundation, Quattrone Center for Fair Administration of Justice, the Pew Center on the States Public Safety Performance Project and the Public Welfare Foundation. The fellowships are aimed at encouraging and promoting top-quality journalism on criminal justice.