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Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program
2019 Recipients

The goal of the Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program, ultimately, is to increase the diversity participation of SPJ members within national committees and on the national board of directors. The following people were selected to receive Diversity Leadership Grants to attend the Excellence in Journalism 2019 Conference in San Antonio.


Aisha Al-Muslim

Aisha Al-Muslim is an award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist at The Wall Street Journal. She is currently a reporter writing about breaking business news, company earnings, mergers and acquisitions, executive changes and economic indicators for the Dow Jones newswires, WSJ.com and the print paper. She also writes about the business of travel, covering online travel booking companies, cruise line operators, lodging providers, and casino operators.

Aisha is a former business reporter at Newsday, covering retail and small businesses on Long Island, N.Y. Before that, she was a town reporter for Newsday.

Aisha is also a former editor of the Spanish-language community newspaper, El Correo de Queens, and a former reporter for its sister newspaper, The Queens Courier.

Born in the Republic of Panama, the Brooklyn resident is a graduate of the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism, since renamed the Craig Newmark J-School, She is also a graduate of Lehman College.


Daisy Contreras

Daisy Contreras is a reporter for NPR member station WUIS in Springfield, Illinois, where she covers state politics and local communities.

Daisy helped cover the state’s two-year budget impasse — the longest of any state — and continues to cover the aftermath of cuts on social services.

Before going into journalism, Daisy was working with nonprofit organizations in Chicago doing communications work. She has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield; a bachelor’s degree in science communication from the Illinois Institute of Technology and an associate degree in French language from Harry S. Truman College in Chicago. She is a graduate of Lane Tech high school.

Daisy grew up in Chicago and was born in Mexico City. She is fluent in Spanish, and although she has used her bilingual skills to connect with sources, she hopes to one day produce radio stories in Spanish so her parents (and extended family in Mexico) can fully appreciate the art and creativity of radio journalism. Daisy lives in Springfield, IL with her cat Tori.


Rebecca David

Rebecca is a video journalist at KWQC TV6 News in Davenport, IA. She was born in Uganda and moved to Minnesota when she was nine years old. She went to St. Cloud State University, where she majored in Mass Communication and double minored in Communication Studies and International Relations.

Prior to joining KWQC, she worked as a multimedia reporter in Sioux Falls, SD.


Stephanie Lin

Stephanie is an award-winning TV anchor and reporter based in Northern California. Her reporting has taken viewers to the front-lines of California's devastating wildfires, given voice to the afflicted and shut-down consumer scams. Stephanie also covered President Trump's 2018 tour of fire-ravaged Butte County with the White House Press Pool. She believes in the power of storytelling to bridge differences between people and bring the world closer together.

Stephanie is a Bay Area native and a graduate of UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) with degrees in Mass Communication and Chinese. She is an SPJ Diversity Leadership Fellow, Miss Asian America 2015, and is part of the team that won a 2019 AP Award for Best Spot News coverage.

Prior to KHSL-TV, Stephanie spent nearly a decade producing marketing campaigns for top tech companies and is proud to bring her knowledge of Silicon Valley business to the newsroom. She began her career at ABC 20/20, where she cut her teeth researching for Diane Sawyer, John Quinones and ABC News correspondents. She is an alumni of the NBC Page Program.


Taheshah Moise

Taheshah Moise is an Evening Anchor/Reporter at WFMY News 2 in Greensboro, NC.

Several of her stories since joining the team September 2017 have gone viral being featured on TV stations across the country, USA Today, and national talk show “The Talk.” Her story on a woman’s nightmare pedicure led to changes at the state level.

In 2018, Moise was a part of the team that produced award-winning coverage celebrating the life of the Reverend Billy Graham. The coverage won the team a NC Association of Broadcasters award for breaking news coverage. TEGNA Pinnacle Awards also named the coverage a finalist for Breaking News/Big Story Coverage. It garnered an EMMY nomination as well.

Moise previously spent two and a half years as a morning anchor at KXXV in Waco, Texas.


Hatzel Vela

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he has covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.

Months after arriving on the island, he exclusively spoke to Mariela Castro — daughter of President Raul Castro — about her father, a coming transition on the island and human rights. He was on the central northern coast of the island as Hurricane Irma — then a Category 5 storm — battered the entire island. Subsequently, Hatzel covered the damage left behind.

Since the story broke on the mysterious attacks on American embassy workers, Hatzel has stayed on top on new developing information.

Prior to his assignment in Cuba, Hatzel has covered some of the biggest Cuba-related stories at Local 10. In the early morning hours of Nov. 26, Hatzel was the first on air at Local 10 to tell viewers about the death of longtime Cuban President Fidel Castro. In March 2016, he was part of a team to cover President Barack Obama's historic visit to Cuba. Hatzel covered the first American diplomatic visit in January 2015 and was on the island twice when Pope Francis visited; the first for a pastoral visit and subsequently to meet Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Hatzel is likely the first American journalist to tour the entire, once-hardly accessible island since the renewed U.S.-Cuba relations.

The unprecedented series of stories which documented the lives of Cubans throughout the island was called "Historic Access: Cuba Coast to Coast." The 34 individual stories and subsequent two-hour documentary focused on the island's beauty, culture, history and the challenges Cubans face every day.

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