PBS NewsHour Announces 2018 Student Reporting Labs Academy Fellows


Video produced by Kristy Choi, Student Reporting Labs

WASHINGTON, DC (May 3, 2018) — Twenty five talented youth storytellers from 17 states will gather in the nation’s capital this summer to advance the future of journalism and public media.

The middle and high school SRL Fellows are participants in the fourth annual Student Reporting Labs Academy in Washington, D.C. On the leading edge of youth reporting, these students will work alongside public media mentors to produce original digital content and sharpen their journalism and production skills. SRL Fellows will help program leaders develop strategies to engage young people with news and current affairs, and ensure that diverse youth voices are active in the conversations about critical issues facing the nation.

“The academy provides students with unparalleled access to a trusted national news organization and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work and speak with professionals they look up to,” said Elis Estrada, director of Student Reporting Labs.

At a time when the national spotlight is shining on youth voice, SRL looks to its network of over 2,000 student journalists to provide coverage and insights on issues affecting their generation.

When asked how youth media can change the world, Fernando Cienfuegos, an SRL Fellow from Covina, California said, “Older generations may sometimes see teenagers as rebellious and oblivious about situations and problems in our lives, but when the youth report on stories, there is a weight that they carry.” He added, “It proves that they are aware of what is happening, and want to be the change they want to see in the world.”

Logan Tsukiyama, a rising ninth grader from Kahlui, Hawaii, said youth media has the power to inspire young people to stay engaged in the world around them. “The recent youth led protests and movements prove that today’s youth understand that there are decisions to be made regarding their futures,” she said. “It’s the job of youth media to inform young people about current events, share different perspectives on how those events affect us, and get them involved in shaping the future in a positive way.”

During the 2017-18 school year, these young journalists contributed to the NewsHour’s broadcast and digital platforms with Misinformation Overload, pieces documenting the national student walkouts and the March for Our Lives, and how the future of work and economic mobility affects young people. More SRL reporting will be featured in an upcoming series on youth movements across America, and two STEM series on health innovators and how engineers shape the world around us.

This year’s Fellows include:

  • Alexis Lesher, Cedar Crest High School, Lebanon, PA
  • Bryan Edouard, Madison Park Technical Vocational School, Boston, MA
  • David Perez, Christopher Columbus High School, Miami, FL
  • Elijah Hernandez-Jordan, Legacy Early College High School, Greenville, SC
  • Elijah Magaña, Etiwanda High school, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Erica Domena, Northside Charter High School, Brooklyn, NY
  • Edward Lee Smith, Pleasure Ridge Park High School, Louisville, KT
  • Fernando Cienfuegos, Northview High School, Covina, CA
  • Jaylah Moore – Ross, John F. Kennedy High School, Silver Spring, MD
  • Linda Olvera-Jones, Dalton Middle School, Dalton, GA
  • Lilly Waterfall, Royal Oak High School, Royal Oak, MI
  • Logan Tsukiyama, Maui Waena Intermediate School, Maui, HI
  • Memphis Cleveland, Black River Falls High School, WI
  • Maya Love Loera, Jersey Village High School, Jersey Village, TX
  • Morgan Fischer, Dominion High School, Sterling, VA
  • Owen Shao, Wauwatosa East High School, Wauwatosa, WI
  • Raegan Byrd, Journalism and Media Academy, Hartford, CT
  • Reid Koslowski, Etiwanda High school, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Ryghtious Frazier, Wauwatosa West High School, Wauwatosa, WI
  • Savannah Burrows, West Ranch High School, Santa Clarita, CA
  • Sean Davis, Hughes STEM High School, Cincinnati, OH
  • Shane Verkest, Frederick V. Pankow Center, Clinton, MI
  • Xavier Dominguez, Las Cruces High School, Las Cruces, NM

The academy will also feature encore appearances by SRL Fellows Becca Messner from Royal Oak High School in Michigan and Nick Hinojosa from Etiwanda High School in California. They will provide peer mentoring and behind-the-scenes reporting and support.

To learn more about the students, please visit the official 2018 SRL Academy Tumblr.

Fellows are connected to local PBS stations CET in Cincinnati, CPBN in Connecticut, KET in Kentucky, KRWG in Las Cruces, WTCI in Chattanooga, Detroit Public TelevisionHouston Public MediaPBS HawaiiPBS SoCalSouth Carolina ETVSouth Florida PBSWETAWisconsin Public TelevisionWNET in New York, and WGBH in Boston.

Student Reporting Labs is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate: Getting to Work initiative, the MacArthur Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award.

On social media, visit PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs on Facebook or follow @reportinglabs on Twitter.