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SPJ 2023 Diversity Fellows announced


Eleanore Vega, SPJ Diversity & Inclusion Committee Chair, emvega777@gmail.com
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program 2023 Fellows are Khorri Atkinson, Sheetal Banchariya, Charisse Gibson, Mechelle Hankerson, Bria Lloyd, Kishor Panthi, Angélica Serrano Román and Shen Wu Tan. This program aims to open minds and open doors in newsrooms around the country by giving fellows the opportunity to see first-hand how the Society of Professional Journalists works and what it has to offer.

The fellows will attend the SPJ23 Journalism Convention in Las Vegas, Sept. 28-30, where they will have access to networking events, meet SPJ leaders at the national and local levels and interact with other leaders in journalism who are making an impact in areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“SPJ strives to amplify new and diverse voices both within the organization and in journalism overall. This program, once again, brings together an outstanding group of journalists from diverse background and gives them the tools to be leaders in the Society and their workplaces,” said Claire Regan, SPJ National President. “I look forward to meeting them all at SPJ23 this fall.”

Maynard was an SPJ Foundation Board member beginning in 1999. In 2001, she was named an SPJ Fellow of the Society. Maynard was well-known for tirelessly working to ensure diversity in the newsroom. She challenged the news media to look at themselves and what she called “distorted coverage of communities of color” when covering America’s ongoing racial struggles and the impact it has on the country.

"SPJ is about opening doors for those who did not see opportunities in the past because of their diverse backgrounds,” said Rebecca Aguilar, SPJ Diversity Leadership program coordinator. “The Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program continues to help journalists of diverse backgrounds to find their voice, overcome challenges and hone their leadership skills in the newsroom and classroom. We appreciate the SPJ Foundations' support in helping make this program possible."

“We are happy to welcome eight exceptional fellows from across the country selected for the 2023 Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program,” said Eleanore Vega, SPJ Diversity & Inclusion Committee chair. “With support from the SPJ Foundation, we can continue Dori Maynard’s vision to train, inspire, and champion diversity by preparing these fellows as future newsroom leaders.”

Khorri Atkinson covers labor and employment at Bloomberg Law and has written for The New York Times, Axios and other publications. Atkinson is a member of SPJ, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists, where he's served in various leadership roles. He's president of the Washington Association of Black Journalists.

Sheetal Banchariya is working as a city reporter for the New York Daily News after graduating from Columbia Journalism School with a master's degree in May 2023. Banchariya is also the 2023 Journalism Fellow at Women’s eNews and covers the Equal Rights Amendment with a specific focus on the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Charisse Gibson is a national Edward R. Murrow and Emmy award-winning journalist, producer, and evening news anchor at WWL-TV in New Orleans. She is currently producing a docu-series highlighting how discriminatory housing practices led to generational divestment from minority communities in New Orleans.

Mechelle Hankerson is news director at WHRO Public Media, the NPR affiliate station in eastern Virginia. She's a newspaper journalist at heart who believes in the importance of maintaining quality journalism on whatever platform is most sustainable and accessible.

Bria Lloyd started her career as a multimedia journalist at WDVM (now DC News Now) based in Winchester, Virginia. It was there that she found her passion for investigating. Since then, she's worked at Al Jazeera English, PBS NewsHour and Scripps News. She is currently an investigative reporter at Connecticut Public Radio.

Kishor Panthi, a New York-based Nepali American journalist, leads Khasokhas and NepYork and has been published in Huffington Post, Thrive Global and City Limits. An ex-ABC TV Nepal editor and anchor, Kishor authored "Kampan," "UNTRANSLATABLE" and "Zero Mile." Panthi was honored with the President's Lifetime Achievement Award and holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from CICA International University.

Angélica Serrano Román covers state tax policy for Bloomberg Tax. Before covering taxes, she was a journalist and web editor at Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism. She teaches journalism at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico and holds a Master of Arts in business and economic reporting from New York University.

Shen Wu Tan is a freelance writer who has worked as a reporter for five years at three different news agencies, including The Wyoming Truth and The Washington Times, covering a wide array of stories. She briefly worked as an intern for the Weekend Argus in Cape Town, South Africa.

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