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SPJ selects Freelance Fellows to attend SPJ23


Stacie Overton Johnson, SPJ Freelance Community Chair,
Kim Tsuyuki, SPJ Communications Coordinator,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Freelance Community of the Society of Professional Journalists will welcome Janelle Harris Dixon, Haley M. Sawyer and Dina Weinstein to Las Vegas Sept. 28-30 to participate as Freelance Fellows at SPJ23, the Society’s annual convention.

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 need, merit and their contributions to SPJ and its Freelance Community.

“We are so happy to host these three talented independent journalists at SPJ23,” said SPJ National President Claire Regan. “This fellowship provides them the ability to further their professional development in a competitive field and see the many exciting opportunities SPJ has to offer its members and freelancers.”

Fellows will be mentored at the convention by members of the SPJ Freelance Community, who will help them network with attendees, choose sessions to attend, and connect with SPJ groups and programs that will most benefit their professional development.

“The applicants for this year’s fellowship exemplified professionalism, integrity and a clear commitment to their craft,” said SPJ Freelance Community Chair Stacie Overton Johnson. “We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to the chosen recipients. They are inspiring examples of informed, involved and dedicated journalists. Their contributions to journalism are to be commended and we’re excited to be part of their professional journey.”

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. Her work has appeared in Essence, Smithsonian and The Washington Post.

Haley M. Sawyer is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles who is passionate about elevating women’s sports. She covers University of California, Los Angeles and University of Southern California 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.

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.

The 2023 SPJ Freelance Fellowship is funded through the SPJ Freelance Fund, established in 2021 under the aegis of 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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