Foot in the Door Fellowship Testimonials

Steven Vargas - 2022 Fellow

The Foot in the Door Fellowship helped me make connections and build my network with journalists and editors in the industry. I've been able to find support and guidance from people I never thought I'd be able to connect with so early in my career. The fellowship helped me find my place in the industry by connecting me with reporters covering similar fields. The advice and conversations I had with the people I got to connect with helped me feel more comfortable navigating my career path.

Since starting the fellowship, I've been hired as an arts reporter at the Los Angeles Times after spending the summer as an intern in the Entertainment and Arts section. While in undergrad and grad school at USC, I've focused my work on covering dance, theatre and its intersection with social change. Now I'm able to cover the arts in Los Angeles with a major publication, which is a big step in my career. In the position, I'll also be working on larger projects for the LA Times arts section. During my time in the fellowship, I also completed my master's thesis on dance as a tool for abolition and liberation and graduated in May 2022.

In the future, I hope to continue reporting on the rich and diverse dance culture in Los Angeles while also adding to the conversation as a practitioner myself. Being a dancer and a reporter has helped me connect to dance stories in more intimate and detailed ways. I hope to continue the practice and document the dance scene that is thriving in the city, reporting on everything from queer dance cultures to new innovative contemporary work.

I recommend other journalists apply to the fellowship because it is an incredible opportunity to build your network and meet others in the industry. It also allows you to explore different facets of journalism and the opportunities that are available by meeting other professionals and hearing how they got to where they are today.

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert - 2021 Fellow

I’m a breaking news reporter with Insider, covering truly a little bit of everything. On any given night, I’ll report on U.S. and international politics, emergencies and natural disasters, or the latest Kardashian baby. Some stories I’m proud of include a report on Meta’s chatbot bugs, the antitrust consequences of Amazon’s Roomba acquisition and the strike efforts of Portland strippers.

I’m looking forward to developing some expertise in my reporting and advancing at Insider for now — my interests are in business and labor issues, criminal justice and law enforcement, as well as conspiracies, hoaxes and misinformation.

I frequently remind myself of the encouragement my mentor offered in one of our early conversations, telling me there’s room for me in L.A. to report on my specialties and interests. Having someone there to answer those “afraid-to-ask” questions and throw their support my way was incredible.

Diego Pineda Davila - 2021 Fellow

Since finishing the fellowship, I began working at The Independent en Español as the Weekend Editor. In this role, I focus on audience engagement and article management and write culture/entertainment pieces in Spanish and English. I’ve written about the best Spanish-language shows to stream, the rise of the Millennial Loteria gameLatino representation in Hollywood and Colombian singer ​​Elsa Margarita Carvajal. As for the next steps of my career, I hope to continue at The Independent, growing and learning as a journalist. The Español site is still in its early stages, so it has been exciting to see its growth.

What I found the most helpful through this fellowship was connecting with other journalists of color who are just as passionate about news as I am and who are working hard to take their careers to the next level. In a way, it reassured me that I was not alone in my job search and with my goals as a journalist.

Danielle Broadway - 2022 Fellow

The Foot in the Door Fellowship helped me in numerous ways to improve my writing, network with experts in the industry and even find out about my current Entertainment Reporter position at Reuters. It also helped me make friends and learn from mentors that I continue to be inspired by.

I am very proud to be an LA Press Club award winner and to work at Reuters as an Entertainment Reporter with the phenomenal LA Press Club president, Lisa Richwine. She's helped me so much during my time at Reuters so far and I've written some engaging news stories, covered press junkets and exciting events. I am thrilled to be reporting on the D23 Disney convention and the Primetime Emmys soon. My future goal is to continue as an Entertainment Reporter and become a stronger reporter and help others navigate this industry just as I was helped. I want to continue to advocate for equity as both a journalist and activist.

Without a doubt, I’d recommend this fellowship to others. This is an excellent opportunity in which the mentors ask the mentees what they need and do their best to help. Each mentor, including my central mentor, Shana Nys Dambrot (love her!), went above and beyond with everything they did even while juggling their own work schedules and responsibilities. It was a passion for mentorship that made this such a success. This is a fellowship for those that are ready to see all of the possibilities that are out there to help them grow as writers, professionals and overall people. Plus, it's a lot of fun to meet new friends and mentors!