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The SPJ Freelance Fellowship

The SPJ Freelance Fellowship helps independent journalists attend SPJ’s national convention by providing conference registrations and stipends that enable freelancers to participate in the event.

Fellowships are awarded to SPJ members who are professional journalists and earn a majority of their income from freelancing. Selections are based on need, merit and the applicant’s contributions to the Freelance Community and SPJ.

The fellowship was established under the SPJ Foundation Freelance Fund in 2022 to help independent journalists attend the MediaFest convention in Washington, D.C. SPJ will welcome the second class of Freelance Fellows to its 2023 convention in Las Vegas, Sept. 28-30.

The SPJ Foundation Freelance Fund was chartered by the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation to support programs that help independent journalists participate in training, education, awards and other opportunities they could not otherwise pursue. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity, and gifts designated for the Freelance Fund are tax-deductible.

Meet the 2023 SPJ Freelance Fellows!

Dina Weinstein is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Richmond, Virginia. Her writing appears on the Virginia Commonwealth University News website, as well as the Washington Jewish Week, Cardinal News, Style Weekly and Richmond magazine. She also co-hosts the weekly radio public affairs show Open Source RVA on WRIR Community Radio and does tape syncs around central Virginia for various podcasts. Weinstein is president ex-officio of the SPJ Virginia Pro chapter.

Haley M. Sawyer is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles who is passionate about elevating women’s sports. She covers UCLA and USC sports as well as high school sports for the Southern California News Group publications, which include the LA Daily News and Orange County Register. She also writes features for community newspapers around Los Angeles and is an adjunct professor at College of the Canyons.

Janelle Harris Dixon is a freelance writer and journalist in Washington, D.C., where she crafts stories that intersect race, gender, culture and class. She owns The Write or Die Chick, a boutique editorial services agency that centers women and people of color, and her work has appeared in Essence, Smithsonian and Washington Post.

SPJ Freelance Fellowship Inaugural Class, 2022

Clayton Gutzmore is a freelance journalist based in South Florida who covers topics from the entertainment industry to women’s health and incarcerated writers. A non-traditional graduate of Florida International University, he was one of two freelancers selected for SPJ’s Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program in 2021. Gutzmore currently writes for Variety magazine and Billboard.

Hanan Daqqa is an independent multimedia journalist in Northern Virginia with a background in science and filmmaking. Her stories have appeared in The Lily, Washington Parent and the Fairfax County Times, among other publications. She teaches writing as adjunct faculty at George Washington University. She edited the SPJ Freelance Community’s weekly newsletter from August 2022 to August 2023 and serves on the board of SPJ’s D.C. Pro Chapter.

Sergy Odiduro is a freelance journalist based in Louisiana, where she founded a local chapter of the SPJ. She reports on architectural trends, business, fine arts and local conservation efforts for the New York Post, Miami Herald, Artburst Miami, Coral Gables Magazine and Biz New Orleans, among others. She serves as membership chair for the SPJ Freelance Community and president of the Louisiana Pro Chapter.

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