Announcing the 2021 Lenfest Next Generation Award Winners

June 1, 2021

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is proud to announce the 10 members of the 2021 class of The Lenfest Next Generation Fund. The Lenfest Next Generation Fund supports professional development opportunities for Philadelphia-area journalists and students of color. 

This year, the NextGen Fund has two tracks. The Lenfest Next Generation Award provides stipends for a variety of opportunities and resources and The Next Generation Internship Support Track supports students taking on unpaid internships. 

The Next Generation Award winners will purchase equipment upgrades, attend workshops or courses, and participate in conferences that will help them advance their careers. 

The Internship Support Track will provide stipends to students interning this summer at Vox Media, the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Grant amounts range from $500 to $7,200. The full list of NextGen Award Winners is below.  

The NextGen awards and related programming are supported in part by Independence Public Media Foundation. 

The Lenfest Institute recently shared our goals for our work in Philadelphia over the next five years. The Next Generation Fund is an annual investment the Institute is making to help achieve the goal of building more equitable and representative news organizations in Philadelphia. 

Please join us in congratulating the 2021 NextGen Award Winners:

Kylie Cooper

Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

NextGen Track: Professional Development Track

Professional Development Opportunity: National Press Photographer Association student membership, Photo Software, and Asian American Journalists Association Conference registration

“To be an NPPA member would be an amazing professional development opportunity, as it would connect me to other photojournalists in a way that I haven’t been able to, as my school doesn’t have an NPPA chapter or even any photojournalism classes. Being a NPPA member demonstrates dedication to a high standard of photojournalistic ethics, and would open many additional doors for me.”

“I traveled to Manhattan to photograph the Stop Asian Hate protests and vigils. They were unlike anything I’d covered before; I shared the same grief that the attendees did and knew all too well the stories of hate that the speakers shared. Despite not photographing a major news event since the Capitol insurrection, my photos were better than they’d ever been. It wasn’t just being more mindful of the technical aspects; my personal connection with the events fueled me with passion and determination that translated into my images. Diversity of journalists and content within the industry is crucial to genuinely tell stories.”

Dominique DeMoe

Affiliation: The Philadelphia Inquirer

 NextGen Track: Professional Development Track

Professional Development Opportunity: An iPad for digital design and illustrations

“Part of my job is creating illustrations and renderings. Currently I use a mouse and keyboard and click on a screen to complete these tasks, while doable, it is suboptimal. In the past, I have worked with tablets to create projects, and I hope to purchase an iPad Air so that I can take advantage of the full screen design and photo editing capabilities to develop better and more immersive visualizations for Inquirer readers.”

Beatrice Forman

Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

NextGen Track: Internship Support Track

Professional Development Opportunity: Internship Support at The Goods by Vox

“Interning with The Goods by Vox will enable me to get essential experience in how to take what I’m good at — colorful profiles, dealing with hostile sources, and research — and combine it with skills that are necessary for deep business reporting — reading and examining financial documents, basic data journalism, and learning the industry metrics of a healthy business. While at Vox, I hope to begin building a strong reputation as a reporter who incorporates diverse sources into all that I do. This internship will enable me to learn how to source inclusively while under immense time constraints and pressure. Simply put, I want to prove to myself, the students I mentor at The Daily Pennsylvanian, and the industry as a whole that you can expand your web of connections and practice inclusive journalism always, regardless of whatever constraints you may run up against.”

Ronald Gray

Affiliation: Independent Journalist

NextGen Track: Professional Development Track

Professional Development Opportunity: Peter Hurley’s Headshot Intensive Workshop

“This workshop is highly coveted among headshot photographers, who learn best through kinesthetic instruction and experience…The potential of being one of the few given the opportunities is amazing, but the goal isn’t just to have my work noticed, but I also wish to lift as I climb. I want to open doors for all of those who feel as though they may not have opportunities to have their work seen on the largest of platforms, whether Black, Latino, Asian or LGBTQI or the trans community.”

Sheila Hodges

Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

NextGen Track: Professional Development Track & Internship Support Track

Professional Development Opportunity: ONA21 Conference, 2021 Collaborative Journalism Summit 2021 NICAR Conference, 2021 IRE Summit and Internship support at the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting

“I am aiming to transform the world through my storytelling. My mission is to create an international platform that tells the often overlooked stories of marginalized people… My internship at the Center will aid me in accomplishing this dream because it will allow me to help journalists debunk the stereotype that African Americans are innately prone to violence. As both experts in the various fields and community members know, there are many factors such as one’s socioeconomic status and proximity to violence that foster criminal behavior. Through fostering more community reporters and connecting local reporters with members of the Philadelphia community, I hope for gun violence articles in Philadelphia to become more holistic and empathetic, fostering a new mindset on the issue of gun violence and more unity across cultures citywide.

“Not only will the funding to attend the four conferences give me the valuable opportunity to engage with impactful journalists world-wide, but it will give me the chance to forge connections that will last for a lifetime. These friendships will provide me with the support I need to remain optimistic about my big dreams and the mentorship I need to know what steps I need to take to achieve them.”

Daralyse Lyons

Affiliation: Demystifying Diversity Podcast 

NextGen Track: Professional Development Track

Professional Development Opportunity: Marketing and Writing Workshops

“I am very dedicated to my craft, however, working independently can be emotionally draining and I’d love to connect with others in the field. I also very much crave more marketing experience and techniques because the work I do of diversity, equity, and inclusion journalism tends not to be as visible as it ought to be. I would love to learn how to reach more people and impact more lives.”

María Paula Mijares Torres

Affiliation: Drexel University

NextGen Track: Professional Development & Internship Support Track

Professional Development Opportunity: Voces de Marca podcast training and Internship Support at The Philadelphia Inquirer

“I think that today more than ever, we need to integrate all the communities and in more languages to avoid disinformation and inequality in access to news, especially as the United States is on its way to becoming the country with the Spanish speakers in the world.”

Julian Moore-Griffin

Affiliation: Lil Filmmakers/Guideline Media

NextGen Track: Professional Development Track

Professional Development Opportunity: 2021 Virtual NABJ Convention and Career Fair and purchasing a printer

“I do not know many professional Black journalists on a personal or professional level. Attending this conference will be a great opportunity for me to meet professionals that look like me, that can relate to the stories I want to tell, and help me navigate the professional media field as a Black man.”

“My ultimate career goals are to be hired by a Black-owned media organization as a staff photographer that will allow me to tell the stories of my people around the world. I also have goals to start my own smaller digital magazine highlighting people that I find interesting and are great at their own craft that may not receive the attention from other media outlets.”

Ernest Owens

Affiliation: Ernest Media Empire, LLC

NextGen Track: Professional Development Track

Professional Development Opportunity: Podcasting equipment

“This will allow me to increase my broadcasting talent beyond print media. Since the pandemic, I have self-funded the podcast through my own media company via freelance labor. This support will help allow me to improve my interview skills and show my versatility as a journalist in various media platforms.”

Stefan Roots

Affiliation: Chester Matters 

NextGen Track: Professional Development Track

Professional Development Opportunity: Poynter’s Writers Without Editors: How to Edit Your Own Writing Workshop and Facebook Advertising

“I’ve created tens of thousands of blog posts since 2010 and have published close to 60 issues of a community newspaper, all without an editor or a formal background and education in journalism. Although much of my writing are opinion pieces written in a storytelling fashion, I’m cognizant of just how much more powerful and effective these articles could be if I knew a little more about the fundamentals of editing. I know I break the rules of editing and punctuation often, and finding misspelled words after the fact is embarrassing. It’s time to clean up my copy without compromising the appeal my casual style has on the people who enjoy my work.”

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