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SPJ selects Freelance Fellows to attend MediaFest22


Rebecca Aguilar, SPJ National President, 317-361-4134, rebeccaaguilar50@gmail.com
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Freelance Community of the Society of Professional Journalists will welcome Clayton Gutzmore, Hanan Daqqa and Sergy Odiduro as its first-ever Freelance Fellows when the SPJ convenes for MediaFest22, the Society’s annual convention, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 27-30.

The three independent journalists are at different stages in their careers, came to journalism from various backgrounds and practice in a variety of media. They were selected based on meris, need and their contributions to SPJ and its Freelance Community.

Members of the SPJ Freelance Community will mentor the Fellows, including by helping them network with attendees, choose sessions to attend and connect with SPJ groups and programs that will most benefit their professional development. The fellowship also covers the cost of convention registration and attendance at the SPJ President’s Installation Banquet; provides a $250 stipend; and, for those attending from outside the D.C. area, offers a supplement of up to $500 for travel and lodging.

“The judges were thrilled to review the work and applications from such qualified candidates — those selected, as well as those we could not extend the award to,” said SPJ Freelance Community Chair Hilary Niles. “Their contributions to SPJ and to public dialogue through their work is thoughtful, heartfelt and inspiring. The board is excited to offer this boost to their careers.”

Clayton Gutzmore is a freelance journalist based in south Florida covering topics including the entertainment industry, 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 and Billboard.

Hanan Daqqa is an independent multimedia journalist in northern Virginia with a background in science and filmmaking, and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University. She is volunteering as editor of the SPJ Freelance Community’s weekly newsletter. Her stories have appeared in The Lily, Washington Parent and the Fairfax County Times, among other publications.

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 publications including the New York Post, Miami Herald, Artburst Miami, Coral Gables Magazine and Biz New Orleans.

“I applaud the SPJ Freelance Community leaders for their vision in putting together a freelance fellowship to help three journalists attend #MediaFest22,” said SPJ President Rebecca Aguilar. “The fellowship is the support independent journalists need to help them continue growing as professionals and thrive in a very competitive profession.”

The 2022 SPJ Freelance Fellowship is funded through the SPJ Freelance Fund, established in 2021 under the SPJ Foundation. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity, and gifts designated for the Freelance Fund are tax deductible.

The Society of Professional Journalists Foundation is a public foundation dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. The SPJ Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Give to the SPJ Foundation.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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