CCM Announces 2021 City Elections Reporting Fellows

  • By Center for Community Media

The Center for Community Media is pleased to announce the 30 recipients of the 2021 Elections Reporting Fellowship.

The 30 journalists write in nine languages and tell the stories of more than 15 communities – including African, Arab, Bangladeshi, Black, Caribbean, Chinese, Filipino, Haitian, Indian, Irish, Jewish, Korean, Latino, Nepalese, Pakistani and Russian – across the tri-state area and around the world. The group also includes journalists serving local geographic communities from Bushwick to Parkchester, and Brooklyn to Westchester.

Over the next four months, with generous funding from the Revson Foundation, these fellows will produce in-depth reportage, investigations, and explainers with graphics. We are proud to support their efforts to keep their audiences informed about how to vote in this year’s crucial local and citywide elections.

The fellowship is aimed at expanding and deepening community media’s coverage of local and citywide elections so the journalists can inform New Yorkers who are often excluded and marginalized in local politics about how and where to vote. 

Meet the reporting fellows:

Mohammad Zainal Abedin is the editor of The Runner News, a bilingual weekly that publishes in Bengali and English.

Akeem Alao Babatunde is a reporter at the Parkchester Times, which covers the neighborhood and the Bronx as a whole.

María del Carmen Amado is the publisher of Westchester Hispano, New York Hispano and New Jersey Hispano. Before launching her own publications in 2006, she worked at El Nuevo Hudson (the Spanish edition of the Jersey Journal) as a community news reporter, WADO Radio (Univision) as a New Jersey correspondent, Noticias 1380 24 Hours News Radio in NYC, and as news editor and a producer at HITN.

Josh Barker is a staff writer at the New York Amsterdam News, one of the country’s oldest newspapers for the Black community. He is also the host and producer of the “New York Amsterdam News Podcast” and on weekends, serves as a commentator on WBAI 99.5 FM and 107.5 FM WBLS.

Lev Borschevsky is a journalist writing for V Novom Svete, a Russian-language newspaper based in New York.

Ben Brachfeld is a Brooklyn-based freelance reporter who covers politics, policy, and governance in New York City and State. He has written for Bklyner, Gotham Gazette, Gothamist, City & State NY, and Streetsblog NYC.

Lotus Chau is the chief reporter of Sing Tao Daily, a Chinese-language newspaper where she has worked since 1997 and is in charge of 10 reporters.

Parveen Chopra is managing editor for The South Asian Times, based in New York. He has worked as a professional journalist for 30 years, including as the founding editor of Life Positive magazine in India and as senior copy editor of India Today, the Time magazine of India.

Angie Damlakhi is the publisher and editor of Allewaa Alarabi Newspaper, an Arabic-language publication.

Victoria Falk, of Caribbean American Weekly and the People, Power & Politics Podcast, is a feature writer and radio host.

Mohammad Farrukh is the editor of Weekly Awaz, an Urdu-language newspaper based in New York that serves the Pakistani community.

Javier Gochis Illescas is a freelance journalist who has written for Diario de México USA edition, and is the founder of Letra Capitular

Chunxiang Jin is a reporter for the Chinese newspaper World Journal in New York. Her work focuses on news pieces and in-depth series of stories featuring topics such as city elections, immigration policy, and Chinese American history and narratives.

Andrew Karpan is a reporter and editor at Bushwick Daily, and a legal journalist and freelancer elsewhere.

Hannah Lane is a citizen journalist, essayist, and screenwriter based in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who writes for Bushwick Daily and Human Parts on Medium. She is a queer woman interested in local politics, art, community, and the hospitality industry in New York City.

Gary (Baruch) Lytle is a staff writer at The Jewish Press, a Brooklyn-based weekly. He is an African American Jewish convert, of the Hasidic Orthodox persuasion. Previously, he worked in environmental and social advocacy as an organizer at Sierra Club. 

Peter McDermott is the deputy editor of Irish Echo, the oldest Irish American newspaper in the country.

Linda Nwoke is senior writer at The Immigrant’s Journal, a publication of Caribbean American Weekly.

Olayemi Odesanya is a freelancer working for the new Black media outlet OneVoiceFM. She has also written for New York Amsterdam News, The Network Journal and Age Friendly Incentive Newsletter.

Mutiu Olawuyi is chief editor and senior reporter at the Parkchester Times, which covers the neighborhood and the Bronx; and New York Parrot, which was started to “change the narratives of media operations.” He is also CEO of the Muslim Media Corporation.

Kishor Panthi is the founder and editor-in-chief of Khasokhas, a New York-based outlet that publishes in Nepali and English. The first accredited Nepali journalist by the U.S. Department of State, he is also an anchor, host and U.S. representative for ABC Television Nepal, and the primary host of the ABC Television (Nepal) talk show Talk of the Town USA. 

Garry Pierre-Pierre is the publisher of The Haitian Times, an online newspaper based in Brooklyn for the Haitian diaspora.

Ricky Rillera is executive editor of the Philippine Daily Mirror. Previously, he wrote for the Manila Times in the Philippines, the Manila Times East in New York, the Filipino Express in New Jersey, and other publications. He served as president of the Filipino American Press Club of New York from January 2016 to December 2017.

Indrajit S. Saluja is chief editor of The Indian Panorama, a weekly based in New York and Dallas serving Indian communities in the U.S.

Seungjae Seo is a photographer and writer who has worked at The Korea Times and Korea Daily in New York. Last year, he graduated from the International Center for Photography’s Photojournalism and Documentary one-year certification program. Previously, he worked at the Korean Broadcasting Company (KBC) in Chicago. 

Jason Smith is editor-in-chief of Impacto Latino, one of New York’s longest running Spanish-language news organizations. 

Elaine Velie is a freelance writer for Bushwick Daily.

Gery Vereau is a reporter and photographer at Reporte Hispano. Originally from Peru, he has been a journalist for 36 years, working for several Peruvian newspapers and magazines and for the U.S.-based publications El Especialito, Noticia Hispanoamericana, Latin Week, Hora Hispana, Hoy, N.Y. Al Día and Diario de México USA Edition.

AJ Woodson is editor-in-chief of Black Westchester Magazine, which serves Westchester and the tri-state area, and the co-owner of the parent company, Urban Soul Media Group. He is a father, author, writer, rapper, radio personality, hip-hop historian and a freelance journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.

Mohsin Zaheer is a multimedia journalist and editor of Urdu News, a New York-based newspaper serving the Pakistani community. He launched the Pakistani American community’s first online newspaper in 1996, The Pakistani Newspaper. Previously, in Pakistan, he served as deputy editor of reporting at Daily Khabrain, Lahore, the Urdu-language newspaper with the largest circulation in the country, to which he continues to contribute news stories and columns.

The fellowship is part of the 2021 City Elections Initiative, started by the Center for Community Media to support community media in deepening and expanding their coverage of local and citywide elections, and connect community-based publishers with prospective advertisers in political campaigns, city government agencies, and voter education campaigns.