Media trailblazers join seventh cohort of Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program

  • By Newmark J-School Staff

Two authors, a classical musician, and a video store owner are among those selected for the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program (EJCP) at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. These 23 journalism entrepreneurs — that currently reside in or are from 16 countries, nations, states or administrative regions around the world — will spend 100 days developing their skills and knowledge to strengthen and grow their niche ventures. 

This online program provides accelerated training for independent journalists developing newsletters, podcasts, local sites, and other niche news products. The program, which begins October 17, includes live classes, mentorship, workshops and project-based learning. 

“Our goal in gathering these rising stars from around the globe is to give them time, space and support to strengthen their entrepreneurial ventures,” said Jeremy Caplan, the EJCP’s founding program director. “A cohort like this can create a sense of community for those who might not otherwise have access to close collaborators, and it’s exciting to see how much progress entrepreneurs can make in a focused period of 100 days.”  

Since the program launched in 2020, 171 creators from more than 45 countries around the world have been selected from more than 700 applicants. Graduates have gone on to develop flourishing new ventures, some of which have been profiled in a series of six case studies.

Previous scholarship support for this program has been provided by the Meta Journalism Project, Substack, The European Press Prize, Media Lab Bayern, LION, FJUM, Swapstack, the Center for Community Media at the Newmark J-School, the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Newmark J-School, the Center for Cooperative Media, the New Jersey Information Consortium, and the Military Veterans in Journalism.

Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program Cohort #7

Ali Al Ibrahim

Current location: Jönköping, Sweden
Country of origin:
Sweden
Pronouns:
he/him

Ali Al Ibrahim is an investigative journalist, researcher, and the founder of SIRAJ, a unit dedicated to investigative journalism. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has made significant contributions to advancing investigative journalism and accountability through his impactful investigations, shedding light on stories related to abuse of power, human rights violations, corruption, and financial tracking. Al Ibrahim has worked on, achieved, and collaborated with renowned international media outlets, including the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), The Guardian, Lighthouse Reports, BBC, and more. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including the BBC’s Best Young Journalist Award in 2018, the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press in 2019, and recognition by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) for one of the best investigations in the Arabic language in 2020. He has also been honored with the Swiss Foundation for Journalism’s Investigative Journalism Award in 2022 and the AACR June L. Biedler Prize for Cancer Journalism in the United States in 2023. In addition to his investigative journalism work, Ali Al Ibrahim is a TED Fellow since 2019, a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Journalism Studies (OCJN) at the University of Oxford, UK, since 2022, and a consultant and trainer at the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet) in Washington, D.C. since 2017. He regularly provides materials on investigative journalism, effective integration of artificial intelligence techniques in journalistic investigations, and related topics.

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Gabriela Barzallo

Current location: New York, New York, United States
Country of origin:
Ecuador
Pronouns:
she/her

Gabriela Barzallo is a multiplatform journalist, documentary filmmaker, and media entrepreneur based between New York City and Latin America. She tells stories from Latin America and the United States diasporas, including human rights, the environment, solutions, and more. Her work has been published in media outlets in English and Spanish, including Al Jazeera, BBC, El Pais, Democracy Now!, and others. She is a fellow of One World Media, Solutions Journalism Network, and the International Women’s Media Foundation grantee. Gabriela is passionate about digital explanatory and interactive storytelling for younger and multicultural generations. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from New York University in Media, Culture, and Communications. Her passion is to continue to grow LAT MEDIA, a digital platform that explains and tells stories of Latin America and US-Latin American relations.

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Mary Lucia Darst

Current location: Danville, Kentucky, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: she/her

Mary Lucia Darst is a doctoral candidate in Music at the University of Oxford. In addition to working as a consultant and writer, Mary Lucia is a filmmaker and an active classical musician. Mary Lucia worked for the Moving Picture Institute (MPI) as an intern and as Production Coordinator for MPI’s short film Moving Violation. She received Oxford University’s Cameron Macintosh Drama Fund grant to attend the London Film School’s Director’s Workshop with Udayan Prasad. Currently, she is a Distinguished Fellow with the Richmond Arts Institute and Richmond International Film Festival. Her website is www.maryluciadarst.com.


Alexandra Folwarski

Current location: Vienna, Austria
Country of origin: Germany
Pronouns: she/her

As a dedicated media innovator and founder of the district magazine “Ottakringer Flaneur” and a mentoring platform Medienatelier, Alexandra has consistently demonstrated a passion for local journalism and media innovation. Leading the way in developing forward-thinking media solutions as Team Lead at the Media Innovation Lab of the Mediengruppe Wiener Zeitung, she shares her expertise as a lecturer in Journalism and Media Management at FH Wien and as a mentor at FJUM and the Women’s Media Network. Her collaborative efforts with renowned Austrian and German media houses showcase her industry knowledge and tireless commitment to the media industry.

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Jazmin Goodwin

Current location: Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Country of origin: Germany
Pronouns: she/her

Jazmin Goodwin is a multimedia storyteller and community builder passionate about bridging the worlds of media, tech and entrepreneurship. As a business reporter for CNN and USA TODAY, she covered diverse topics from the economy to financial markets. She’s also worked with a global accelerator program and VC firm supporting early-stage startups. Jazmin is deeply committed to advocating for women and minorities, aiming to reshape the entrepreneurial landscape and amplify diversity in media. She is driven by telling impactful stories and building rich communities. She holds a B.A. from Howard University and a M.A. from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

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Florencia González Guerra

Current location: Mexico City, Mexico
Country of origin: Mexico
Pronouns: she/her

Florencia is a Mexican on-camera video journalist, podcast host, and producer. She currently serves as host and scriptwriter of Perra Nación, a Spotify original podcast, and as host of Continuar Viendo, a Netflix show. In podcasting, she has worked with Gatopardo, Sonoro, Así Como Suena, and Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad. She was also part of the founding team of Brut México. This year she was selected in the Emerging Media Leaders program of the ICFJ (International Consortium of Journalists). Thanks to this program she worked with WNYC, New York’s public radio. Some recognitions for her work are an honorable mention in the Walter Reuters German Journalism Award and the award for Best Use of Online Video awarded by WAN-IFRA for a small media outlet, for the video El Tren Maya y la Impunidad Ambiental (The Mayan Train and Environmental Impunity). In addition, in 2017, the Universidad Iberoamericana gave her the Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Commitment. She was part of the third generation of the Latin American Network of Young Journalists.

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Amanda Harford Ponce

Current location: Babahoyo, Los Rios, Ecuador
Country of origin: Ecuador and United States
Pronouns: she/her

Amanda Harford Ponce, a graduate from The New School’s Journalism and Design program, has spent a decade working in media. Now, with vision and passion, she embarks on reviving her grandfather’s legacy in Babahoyo, Los Ríos, Ecuador. “El Clarín,” the city’s iconic and first newspaper founded in the 1970s, is set to resurface under her stewardship. Amanda promises to rewrite the narrative of journalism in Babahoyo, blending legacy with modernity.

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Stephanie Kariuki

Current location: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Country of origin: Kenya
Pronouns: she/her

Stephanie Kariuki is an audio journalist who currently executive produces podcasts at Vice News. In 2022, she led the team behind the series AUTHENTIC: The Story of Tablo. Previously, Stephanie co-created the documentary unit at Stitcher and produced Unfinished: Deep South, which was nominated for a Peabody in 2020. She also produced The Dream and Marvel’s Wolverine series. As part of the development team at Stitcher, Stephanie contributed to the pilot-making and green-lighting of dozens of award winning podcasts. She has also enjoyed teaching storytelling courses throughout her 10+ years in audio.

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Ashlyn Raine Lipori-Russie

Current location: San Diego, California, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: she/her

Ashlyn Raine Lipori-Russie is an audience engagement journalist, marketing manager, and content creator dedicated to connecting modern media consumers with the news. Ashlyn began her career at NBC Bay Area in San Francisco, where she worked on a Peabody and duPont award-winning investigative series before age 20. After a few years in broadcast, she left the traditional news industry to understand the full scope of the digital media landscape. Most recently she worked as Content Manager at a nonprofit newsroom called inewsource. In her free time, Ashlyn has been creating original news content for TikTok and Instagram with the intention to re-engage audiences that feel disconnected from traditional news models.

Twitter
LinkedIn


Hui Liu

Current location: Hong Kong
Country of origin: China
Pronouns: she/her

Hui Liu specializes in breaking news reporting, fact-checking, and covering stories related to China. Throughout her journalism career, she has remained dedicated to delivering accurate and reliable news, providing trusted sources of information to various newsrooms and their diverse audiences. She used to contribute to CGTN, AFP Fact Check and NBC News. Her current passion is to create a newsletter project for overseas Chinese, focusing on trending stories and cultural phenomena in China. She holds master’s degrees in journalism and English Literary Studies from HKU and CUHK. Today, she writes and produces in Hong Kong, where she also serves as a creative communication teacher. She actively initiates creative collaborations with artists in Asia and is committed to producing genuine stories while inspiring younger generations.

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Mia Lobel

Current location: Red Hook, New York, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: she/her

Mia Lobel is a veteran audio producer, manager, and educator, and the former VP of Content and Production at Pushkin Industries where she oversaw all podcasts including Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, Broken Record, and many more. She now works as a mentor and consultant, helping individuals and companies build great teams, set up sustainable production processes, and create impactful, entertaining, and memorable content. Mia received a master’s degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. She’s also founder of the long-standing community group, Freelance Cafe, a networking resource for public media independents.

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Jillian Melero

Current location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: she/her

Jillian Melero is a multimedia journalist and editor who wants to help build, empower, and engage with communities. She has reported on energy technology, environmental policy, and sustainability in the U.S. and abroad. She is especially interested in efforts to build sustainable, renewable, and equitable energy and infrastructure in Puerto Rico, with the goal of self-reliance. She earned her master’s degree in editorial journalism specializing in health, environment, and science reporting from Northwestern University in 2019. Since 2013, she has worked across print, digital, and broadcast media, covering issues from LGBT news to news on immigration and immigrant communities.

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Rann Miller

Current location: Sicklerville, New Jersey, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: he/him

Rann Miller is an educator and freelance writer based in Southern New Jersey. His Urban Education Mixtape blog supports urban educators and parents of children attending urban schools. Rann is also the author of Resistance Stories from Black History for Kids, with an anticipated release date of an expanded edition on February 4, 2024.

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Hera Mir

Current location: Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: she/her/they/them

Hera Mir is a storyteller and communications professional with half a decade of experience telling the stories of immigrants and Black and Brown communities seeking justice in New Jersey. They are the founder and creator of The Real New Jersey, a movement journalism platform covering the advocacy and grassroots organizing for social justice locally. The Real New Jersey centers its reporting on stories of Black, Indigenous, Brown and all communities disrupting systemic inequality across the state.

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Domenico Mussolino

Current location: Sassari, Sardinia, Italy
Country of origin: Italy
Pronouns: he/him

Domenico Mussolino is a freelance journalist. He founded the news organization CyberCrimeClues, which focused on uncovering cybercrime through cyber investigations. He aims to create a more secure web, alerting readers of scams they can face and handle. He worked as a fraud analyst for Groupon and Accertify, where he was in charge of the department newsletter. He was a contributor to AlgheroEco and Indip. He managed the blog DepletedIsland on military bases in Sardinia (where he comes from). He has a Degree in Philology from Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and a Master’s degree in Journalism from Lumsa of Rome.

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Ryan Restivo

Current location: Long Island, New York, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: he/him

Ryan Restivo is the creator and founder of YESEO, an app for Slack that helps newsrooms with SEO best practices. He was a 2022 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow where he worked to build YESEO from concept to launch. YESEO has been installed by over 300 workspaces since its March launch. He has more than a decade of industry experience and currently works at Newsday. Prior to that, Restivo spent six years at MLB Advanced Media. He graduated from Marist College in 2008 and lives on Long Island with his wife and son.

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Mayra Rocha

Current location: Miami, Florida, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: she/her

Mayra Rocha is an Emmy award-winning journalist and business on-air personality. With a background spanning television, online, and radio at Univision Networks and NPR Marketplace, she has provided financial insights and analysis to millions of viewers. She holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business and is currently a personal finance freelance reporter and the founder of @eldinerosiimporta (Money It Does Matter), a platform destigmatizing money conversations in the Latino community while empowering the Hispanic Community through information and education. Notably, she takes pride in pioneering the first financial boot camp for Hispanic TV. In her spare time, she enjoys walks on the beach with her son and volunteers to support women who have faced financial abuse.

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Zaid Safi

Current location: Istanbul, Turkey
Country of origin: Jordan/Palestine
Pronouns: he/him

Zaid is an experienced journalist with expertise in investigative journalism and editorial leadership. During a one-year project from 2020 to 2021, he led and trained a team that uncovered the activities of MENA lobbying groups in the U.S., conducting investigations on 5,500 documents and producing 100 stories at Sasapost. Subsequently, as a freelance producer at Al Jazeera, he specialized in podcasting, working on the first Arabic daily podcast, and initiating a track on investigative audio storytelling. He is interested in the future of digital media and digital transformation, and currently is finishing his MA thesis in International Relations.

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Bill Shaner

Current location: Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: he/him

Bill Shaner is an independent journalist based in Worcester, Massachusetts. In his newsletter, Worcester Sucks and I Love It (launched 2020), he covers city life and politics in the spirit of the scrappy alt-weeklies of old. Recently, he co-founded The Worcester Community Media Foundation, a non-profit organization which seeks to provide the sort of institutional support for independent and alternative local journalism that alt weeklies once delivered. In recognizing the need for novel approaches, the WCMF launched in tandem with Rewind Video (@rewindvideostore), a small storefront rental shop which doubles as the foundation’s headquarters.

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Lindsey Stanberry

Current location: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: she/her

Lindsey Stanberry is a writer, editor, and founder of The Purse, a site about women and money. She spent the last decade working for some of the biggest brands in digital media. As an executive editor at Fortune, she oversaw the launch of a number of initiatives to help the storied brand reach younger and more diverse audiences. Before joining Fortune, Lindsey was the deputy managing editor at CNBC Make It and CNBC Select. At Refinery29, she founded the Work & Money vertical and ran Money Diaries, a franchise that garnered an international cult following. Lindsey is the author of Money Diaries: Everything You Want to Know About Your Finances…And Everyone Else’s.

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Michael Tatarski

Current location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: he/him

Michael Tatarski is a freelance journalist and creator of the Vietnam Weekly newsletter. Read by over 6,000 people, it highlights key trends and stories while avoiding traditional media stereotypes about a fast-changing country. He has been based in Ho Chi Minh City for over a decade, where he focuses on environmental issues, urban development, infrastructure, and energy. He has contributed to publications including The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and Mongabay.

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Manon Verchot

Current location: India
Country of origin: France and United States
Pronouns: she/her

Manon Verchot is a French-American multimedia journalist and the co-founder of In Old News, a media company that provides learning resources and technical assistance to journalists and newsrooms. Previously, Manon headed the video operations at publications including Mongabay, Hindustan Times and Mint. She has held many roles within the journalism industry, working as a reporter, manager, trainer, producer, editor and entrepreneur. These roles have given her the opportunity to support thousands of journalists and content creators from over 40 countries to help them in video, photography and audio projects.

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Richard White

Current location: Oakland, California, United States
Country of origin: United States
Pronouns: he/him

Richard White is a multimedia storyteller with 15 years of experience. He created of “The People You Meet Podcast,” and has traveled the world to tell stories. Before that, he was a television sports reporter with stints in Nebraska and Nashville. He’s done work for You Had Me At Black, A&E Networks, Blue Wire, The Grio, and eight different professional sports teams. His passions involve sports, black history, and human interest stories. Aside from being a proud alum of Prairie View A&M University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, he always has a joke ready.

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