Foot in the Door Fellowship

Foot in the Door-2018-003

About the Fellowship

Everyone needs someone to open a door for them when they’re starting out in journalism. Too many talented young reporters from communities historically excluded from the media might never get their foot in the door with a reputable journalism opportunity because they came up in worlds where the people who know and respect them are outside of journalism.

The LA Press Club wants to change that.

Each year five talented recent journalism college grads will be paired with a veteran in the field to actively work on securing a valuable work opportunity. More than a mentoring relationship, this will be a direct partnership between the fellow and the journalism veteran to figure out how to launch career dreams and take concrete steps together to get there.

Who Can Apply

This fellowship is open to any young journalist looking to move to their next big opportunity. You might be a senior in college studying journalism, a recent grad, or you might be in an entry-level position or internship at a media company. If you have been in journalism for less than five years, you should apply!

Application Timeline

* October — Fellowship applications open
* November 14 — Extended application deadline
* December 1 — Fellows are announced
* January — Six-month fellowship begins
* June — Fellowship culminates at annual Awards dinner with fellows being recognized.

Ready to Apply?

Meet Our Mentors

Ashley Alvarado, KPCC

Ashley Alvarado is the director of community engagement at KPCC, Southern California Public Radio. She works closely with KPCC leadership and content teams to develop strategies and opportunities to engage new and existing audiences across platforms. She is focused on engagement and source development as a means to diversify the sourcing in news coverage and on shows, help enrich programming and grow audience. Among her efforts is Feeding the Conversation, a series of engagement-sourcing gatherings that bring together members of the community with KPCC journalists around specific themes or coverage areas. Her work with community engagement began at the Center for Investigative Reporting, where she served as community news editor and oversaw the news-engagement and public engagement staff at its California Watch and The Bay Citizen projects. The Oregon native is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she earned degrees in journalism and Spanish.

Joanne Griffith, Marketplace

Joanne Griffith is the assistant managing editor of digital for American Public Media’s Marketplace. In this role she develops digital content strategies across the enterprise, to help reporters, editors and show producers make best use of multi-platform storytelling. Joanne is also crafting the editorial voice for Marketplace.org and its social media channels. This work is an extension of Joanne’s leadership in building a culture of audience engagement at Marketplace. As executive producer of Marketplace Weekend, she moved the show from a traditional broadcast format to a digital-first approach, putting the audience at the heart of the show. This strategy led to Weekend stories regularly attracting the highest web traffic and social interaction numbers. Joanne’s career to date has focused on innovation, both in storytelling and improving the business of journalism: from building the BBC’s first multi-platform diversity initiative, integrating live events into coverage at KPCC, creating podcast strategies for entrepreneurs in the U.S. and U.K and reporting on business development in Africa and Europe. Originally from the U.K., this global journalist now calls Los Angeles home.

Sara Catania, Solutions Journalism and USC

Sara Catania is director of journalism school engagement at the Solutions Journalism Network. She teaches journalism at USC Annenberg, serves on the program committee for the JSK Journalism Fellowship, where she was a fellow, and supports the Online News Association Women's Leadership Accelerator as a mentor and advisor. Her journalism experience includes digital leader and newsroom manager, grounded in years of reporting, writing and editing at a wide range of news outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Mother Jones, the LA Weekly and NBC. She is the author of a forthcoming memoir about growing up in Bronzeville on Chicago's South Side.

Deepa Fernandes, Reporter

Deepa Fernandes is an award-winning journalist who has covered guerrilla insurgencies, natural disasters and political coups in countries from Haiti to East Timor. Deepa was awarded the LA Press Club radio reporter of the year for the past three years running, and she was part of KCET’s Emmy award-winning reporting team in 2018. In the past two years Deepa has reported on climate change, migration, child protection issues and economic development from ten countries for the BBC and national radio program “The World.” She is currently an early childhood reporting fellow at Pacific Oaks College. Prior to this, she was the Early Childhood Development Correspondent for KPCC. Deepa was also a national anchor for the Pacifica Radio network, and she founded and ran a national non-profit that aimed to diversify the ranks of journalism by training new reporters in communities of color. In 2012 she was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford. Deepa has an MA from Columbia University and is a board member of the LA Press Club.

Gerri Constant, CBS

Gerri Shaftel Constant is Medical & Special Projects Producer for CBS-2 and KCAL-9 News Los Angeles. Prior to 2014, she held the same position for Fox 11 News Los Angeles. Gerri’s stories have run on Fox and CBS stations throughout the country and have garnered 15 Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, three Golden Mike Awards and a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award. Gerri is a current board member of the L.A. Press Club.

Nic Cha Kim

A native Angeleno, Nic Cha Kim has lived in East L.A., Westlake and the San Gabriel Valley, but will always consider downtown L.A. his home base.

A three-time Emmy-winning reporter, Nic is the Press Club's 2018 “Television Journalist of the Year.” Past accolades also include six Golden Mikes, a National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award, and SoCal Journalism Award. Passionate about covering artist communities, Nic once owned his own digital and video art gallery and is the founder of Gallery Row, a creative district in the heart of downtown L.A.

Before Spectrum News 1, Nic reported for SoCal Connected on KCET and worked as a multimedia journalist for Free Speech TV.

Past Recipients

  • Imani Crenshaw, 25, is a 2017 graduate of Hampton University, where she earned a B.A. in Journalism with a concentration in theater. Imani has interned with KJLH radio, KABC and the Oxygen Network. The Torrance native is pursuing a career in broadcast journalism
  • Brett Hernandez, 34, served in the United States Navy from 2003 to 2011. To reintegrate back into civilian life, he started taking journalism classes at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. Brett freelances as a photographer and content creator, writing and directing advertisements. He also created several short films and a short documentary about Veteran’s Day.
  • Lillian Kalish, 24, is a freelance arts and culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles who works as an associate at the Bail Project, a criminal justice non-profit. After graduating from Vassar College with a degree in political science and Chinese, Lillian moved to Yangon, Myanmar, and spent a year as a reporter for the Myanmar Times. Lillian strives to highlight underrepresented communities through the lens culture, race, gender and politics.
  • Tomás Rodriguez, 24, is a bilingual journalist with a passion for video and audio storytelling. He is the first in his family to graduate from college; he completed his studies this year at California State University, Northridge. There, he served as editor of El Nuevo Sol, a bilingual web site. He is currently working for KABC as a sports intern and hopes to become a city beat reporter
  • Kalaisha Totty, 22, is a recent graduate from California State University, Long Beach, where she received a degree in journalism. Kalaisha studied abroad at the Danish School of Media and Journalismwhere she practiced multimedia reporting. She reported on fake news in Sweden, the European Union’s refugee relocation plan from Belgium, and victims of torture in Turkey.