Meet the new winners of the Lenfest Next Generation Award 

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is excited to announce 20 first-time winners of this year’s Lenfest Next Generation Award. The Lenfest Next Generation Fund supports professional development opportunities for Philadelphia-area journalists, media executives, and students of color.  

This year, 17 individuals are receiving support through the NextGen Professional Development Track for the first time. This provides up to $1,200 per person and allows them to attend an association conference or professional training of their choice or purchase new, work-related equipment.  

The NextGen Internship Support Track is also supporting three individuals in internships at Philadelphia-based media organizations that would otherwise have been unpaid. Award winners work in digital, television, radio, podcasting, and print media in multiple languages across the Philadelphia region.  

The Lenfest Next Generation Fund is an important component of the Institute’s Philadelphia local journalism strategy that supports an interconnected ecosystem of Philadelphia’s news and information providers. The Institute believes developing a field of media professionals that is representative of Philadelphia is critical to serving the city’s diverse communities and achieving positive business outcomes for publishers. This year’s first-time recipients join a larger pool of NextGen awardees dating back to 2019.  

The programming intentionally supports individual journalists and media professionals of color in Philadelphia to ensure that diverse leaders at every stage of their career are equipped with skills to lead their organizations and build sustainable, community-centered news products.  

 “The NextGen awards are an integral part of The Lenfest Institute’s strategy to support a robust and representative media ecosystem in Philadelphia,” said Shawn Mooring, head of Philadelphia programs. “We are always excited to see the innovation and enthusiasm of our NextGen applicants.” 

Please join us in congratulating the newest winners of the NexGen Award:  

Daisie Cardona 

Kensington Voice 

NextGen Track: Professional Development  

Professional Development Opportunity: Camera equipment 

Daisie Cardona is an Afro-Latina Asexual-Lesbian poet, photographer, artist, and writer. Cardona works for Kensington Voice as a media lab manager and resilience reporter/photographer and has been published in other news organizations, including Billy Penn and The Philadelphia Citizen. Cardona is the founder of Ace Photography and Design and is currently working on both a poetry book and a novel set in an inventive Latine world. 

Khysir Carter 

Kensington Voice 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: DSLR camera and laptop 

Khysir Carter is the youth program director at Kensington Voice, a community hub and newsroom serving the Kensington area. In addition to photography and reporting, Khysir oversees programming fostering the creativity of local youth through poetry, essays, and other media. His current role came about from a passion to highlight the voices of the youth that are growing up in the same neighborhood he came from. Outside of his work, Khysir is passionate about poetry, creative writing, and community journalism. 

Abigail Chang 

NextGen Track: Internship Support – REVIVE Radio 

Abigail Chang is a Southwest Philly writer and reporter. She is currently enrolled at NYU studying Activism in Medicine with a minor in journalism and broadcasting. Coming from a family of Jamaican immigrants, Chang learned at a young age the importance of hard work and establishing community. She often writes about Philly’s community organizers and events, while also highlighting societal issues on gun-violence, sports commentary, and more. She has worked with The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Citizen, WHYY, and appeared on Fox29 and PHL17. In her future career, Abigail hopes to tackle the intersections of medical disparities and racial injustice through the combined efforts of scientific justice and activism. 

Denise Clay-Murray 

Philadelphia Hall Monitor 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: NABJ Convention and Career Fair 

Denise Clay-Murray is the co-host of Philadelphia Hall Monitor, a radio program covering Philadelphia City Council and city government. In addition to her hosting duties, she has been an independent journalist since 2005, and has covered politics in Philadelphia for a variety of news outlets including the Philadelphia Sunday Sun, Philadelphia Magazine, Love Now Media, Resolve Philadelphia, City and State Pennsylvania, and Billy Penn. Her work has also appeared on MindSite News, the BBC World Service, the Australian Broadcasting Company, Votebeat and She previously covered politics and education for the Elmira Star-Gazette, the Reading Eagle-Times, the Bucks County Courier Times, and the Philadelphia Tribune. 

Monique Curry-Mims 

Civic Capital Consulting  

NextGen Track: Professional Development  

Professional Development Opportunity: ONA Conference 

As Principal and Founder of Civic Capital, an international social impact firm, Monique Curry-Mims works with nonprofits, philanthropic organizations, government institutions, and community organizations to deliver innovative strategies that facilitate, educate, and inform organizations on how to meet their mission and the needs of the communities they serve. As part of the content division of Civic Capital, she is publisher of Generocity, a hyperlocal social impact media outlet whose mission is to build better communities through community-driven impact. 

John Duchneskie

The Philadelphia Inquirer 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: ONA Conference and membership 

John Duchneskie is the Graphics Editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has worked for 38 years. His career in visual journalism has covered everything from the early days of desktop publishing and midnight print deadlines to digital-first publishing and 8 a.m. news meetings. His work at The Inquirer includes creating and editing information graphics, illustrations, and maps, with a heavy dose of data analysis. 

Jemille Q. Duncan 

Student journalist and freelancer 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: Tablet 

Jemille Q. Duncan is an experienced public policy professional and columnist who, since the age of 14, has written over 70 pieces of legislation for lawmakers in the City of Philadelphia. In addition to policymaking, Duncan influences local politics with his eloquent and timely columns, focused on enhancing Philadelphia’s quality of life and civic health. He writes for news outlets like the Philadelphia Citizen, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and City & State PA. For his many achievements and political insight, Duncan has been quoted and featured by 6ABC Action News, WHYY, NBC10, the Philadelphia Inquirer, CBS Philadelphia, FOX29, the Philadelphia Tribune, the Philadelphia Daily News, and many others. Duncan is also a Gates Scholar at Swarthmore College, where he is a rising sophomore. 

Maxayn Gooden

Women of Valor74 and Jahworld_18 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: Laptop and recording equipment 

Maxayn Gooden is the founder of Women of Valor74, which provides life coaching, workshops, and panel discussions that empower women. She also created the Jahworld_18 scholarship and mentorship program in honor of her late son Jahsun Patton, which empowers boys of color through healing-centered care and safe spaces to express emotions and grief. Outside of her organizations, Gooden is the executive assistant for the executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of Violence Prevention and is a community engagement manager at the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting. She is relaunching the podcast “Dear Gun Violence,” which gives space for survivors and co-victims to heal and share their stories. Gooden was featured in the book “H.E.R. Story Too” and is currently working on another book to help others with grief. 

Rhonda Heckstall

6abc WPVI-TV Philadelphia 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: Video editing classes with American Graphics Institute 

Rhonda Heckstall is a TV news producer for 6abc WPVI-TV Philadelphia. She is passionate about local news and keeping people informed of what’s happening in their communities. Rhonda started her professional career working for a local news organization in NYC but is now based in the City of Brotherly Love. She is currently developing a hyperlocal news and information site that covers Black and Brown women and girls. 

Karen Hua

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: AAJA Conference 

NBC Philadelphia  

Karen Hua is a general assignment reporter at NBC Philadelphia, where she covers everything from gun violence to AAPI issues. Before Philly, she worked at News 12 in New York City and was a reporter and lifestyle host for KGET, the NBC affiliate in Bakersfield, California. However, her career started in print and digital as a lifestyle writer for Forbes magazine. Born and raised in Boston, Hua is a proud first-generation American to parents who immigrated from China and is fluent in Mandarin. She studied English, psychology, and film at the University of Michigan. 

Pryce Jamison 

NextGen Track: Internship Support – Chestnut Hill Local 

Pryce Jamison is an intern reporter at Chestnut Hill Local and a recent graduate from Cabrini University. He served as the Lifestyles section editor for Loquitur News Media, covering news, lifestyle, and sports topics while also editing the work of staff reporters and moderating events with special guests. While serving in this position, he received the Keystone Student Media Award for Ongoing News Coverage in 2022. Jamison also served as co-editor of the creative nonfiction and poetry sections for the Woodcrest Literary Magazine and worked with House67 Productions as a videographer, video editor, and script writer. Jamison interned with the Bucks County Courier Times (now known as the PhillyBurbs), covering special events, local businesses, health and wellness, education, and breaking news.  

Stephen Jiwanmall

La Salle University 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: NLGJA National Convention 

Stephen Jiwanmall is an assistant professor of communication at La Salle University in Philadelphia. He was a multimedia journalist for eight years, reporting in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, and Georgia in print, TV, radio, and digital platforms. He earned state and national recognition for a series on transgender issues following the suicide of a local teen. Stephen has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Business Journal, The Morning Call (PA), The Gay Journal (PA) and Brown Girl Magazine. He has also been a guest lecturer at Lafayette College and Oberlin College. He is a member of AAJA, SAJA, NLGJA, and SPJ, where he serves as a board member of the Keystone Pro chapter. 

Oronde McClain

Oronde McClain Foundation and Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting 

NextGen Track: Professional Development  

Professional Development Opportunity: Laptop, hotspot, and printer 

In April 2000 at the age of 10, Oronde McClain was shot in the head while walking in his Mt. Airy neighborhood. He was in a coma for a month and was unable to talk or walk for 10 months. He transformed his life-altering experience into a driving force for change by becoming a motivational speaker, author, and educator. He established the Oronde McClain Foundation, which advocates for gun violence prevention and helps gun violence survivors cope. This year, he joined the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting as the organization’s first credible messenger newsroom liaison, where he works with journalists and news organizations in Philadelphia to share knowledge and work together to advance the practice of reporting on gun violence.  

Sunny Morgan

The Almost Adult Podcast 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: MacBook Pro 

Sunny Morgan is a journalist and content creator based in Philadelphia, PA. She is the creator and co-host of The Almost Adult Podcast, and a freelance writer with bylines including Billy Penn and TheJasmineBrand. Currently, Morgan works as an Associate Media Instructor at WHYY. In addition to media work, she is also a singer and songwriter. 

Nathan Mutale

Love Now Media 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: New laptop and camera lens 

Nathan Mutale is a producing editor for Philadelphia-based multimedia magazine, Love Now Media. As an editor, Mutale has both produced and been featured in Love Now Media programming such as the Love Imagined television series and the Every Voice, Every Vote campaign. Mutale is currently a student at Temple University and serves as a reporter and producer for the university’s premiere news program, Temple Update. 

Mariyum Rizwan

Resolve Philly 

NextGen Track: Professional Development  

Professional Development Opportunity: AAJA Conference 

Mariyum Rizwan is an investigative journalist and a senior at Temple University. She currently is an engagement reporter at Resolve Philly and a reporter at Temple’s Fox School of Business. From a young age, she took an interest in writing and how it could be used as a tool to explore the world around her. Inspired by the transformative power of journalism, she is pursuing a journalism degree to hone her skills and immerse herself in the complexities of the craft. She is interested in reporting on menstrual hygiene inequality and sharing narratives of her Sri Lankan-American heritage.  

Tamara Russell


NextGen Track: Professional Development  

Professional Development Opportunity: NABJ Conference 

Tamara Russell, also known as P.O.C. (Proof of Consciousness), is the founder and host of REVIVE RADIO, an online broadcasting platform, and a media correspondent for the joint venture REVIVE Media. Her interviews stimulate conversations on politics, societal issues, small businesses, music, health, nonprofits, and trending topics. P.O.C. became the youngest African-American woman regularly scheduled on Philadelphia’s NPR WHYY station 90.9 FM in 2020. She is an active member of WHYY’s “N.I.C.E.” Program and other professional development programs, including the Constellation News Leadership Initiative. P.O.C. is an honorary founding member of the National Black Media and Press Association and a member of For(bes) The Culture. P.O.C. was a recipient of The National Black Media and Press Association Award for excellence in audio media.  

Kiara Santos

WURD Radio 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: MacBook Pro 

Kiara Santos is a multimedia journalist currently serving as a co-producer on the morning drive show “Wake up with WURD” with Host Solomon Jones, offering a fresh and insightful perspective as an Afro-Latina millennial at WURD Radio. Santos is a recent graduate of Drexel University who has been recognized by The Philadelphia Inquirer and Al Día for her efforts for reviving her school newspaper, The Triangle, and for her historic term as the paper’s first Afro-Latina Editor-in-Chief. Prior to joining WURD Kiara served as an intern at Resolve Philly and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. 

Dashawn Walker

NextGen Track: Internship Support – Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting 

Dashawn Walker is an intern at the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting and will be attending Shippensburg University. During his senior year of high school, he was shot while walking home, preventing him from fulfilling many senior year milestones like prom and graduation. This experience inspired Walker to make a difference in the world, and he is planning to start a nonprofit after earning his business degree. He plans to work with journalists and survivors to improve newsrooms and hopes his internship with PCGVR will help end harmful reporting around gun violence. 

Feini Yin

Our Fishing Log podcast 

NextGen Track: Professional Development 

Professional Development Opportunity: Podcast equipment 

Feini Yin is a journalist and fishmonger who works at the intersection of food, environment, science, and social justice. In 2023, they co-launched “Our Fishing Log,” a Philly podcast and storytelling project about our local fish, people who love fish, and the ways fish connect us to the world, each other, and ourselves. In addition to being a journalist, they support several organizations working to build fair and just seafood systems that nurture healthy oceans and thriving fishing communities. These include Fishadelphia, the North American Marine Alliance, and the Local Catch Network. Previously Yin worked as a science, health, and environment reporter for The New York Times and WHYY.  

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