Emily Kenny

Emily Kenny is photojournalist for Spectrum News in Syracuse, New York covering agriculture and food production. In 2021, she graduated with her master’s degree in photojournalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and, before that, she graduated from Buena Vista University as a dual major in digital media and psychology. The agriculture beat made sense for Emily as she grew up on her family farm in Schaller, Iowa. She has worked on multiple long-term stories: her master’s project about women and their insecurities, and the other focusing on her family’s farm. Emily resides in Syracuse, New York with her two dogs, Chanel and Athena.


WFAE is the NPR station serving a 32-county listening area in the Charlotte region. Our mission is to produce journalism that informs, enriches and inspires. For 32 years, people across the Carolinas have relied on WFAE to offer comprehensive and in-depth reporting on the topics they need to understand, whether of local, national, or international importance. Acclaimed NPR programs and our local show, Charlotte Talks, continue to be cornerstones of our trusted on-air brand. Our increasingly diverse community consumes content through our broadcast signals, online at WFAE.org, through smart speakers, newsletters, podcasts and social media. Stories produced by our staff often air on NPR stations across the country as well as on BBC news.  

Patricia Ortiz

Patricia Ortiz is the bilingual reporter at Enlace Latino NC, covering state and midterm elections, municipal and sheriff elections, and immigration issues affecting the community, including workers at meat processing plants, farms and construction sites. Ortiz is a Colombian-American journalist, with more than 16 years of experience as a reporter in Spanish-language written media in North Carolina. She emigrated to the United States in 1999 seeking a better life and professional opportunity, which came in 2004 when she began working as a local reporter for Mi Gente newspaper in Charlotte. Under the supervision of the general editor Rafael Prieto, Ortiz won her first journalistic awards for articles on immigration, politics, and police investigations. During her professional career in North Carolina, Ortiz has had the opportunity to work as a correspondent for AOL Latino – Nuestra Voces, Qué Pasa-Charlotte Newspaper, and La Noticia, and most recently was part of the team at Enlace Latino NC. As a reporter who has written local and state news, features, and stories, Ortiz has had the opportunity to be very close to the Hispanic and immigrant community in North Carolina, and to experience the changes and achievements over the years, as well as the constant challenges in a southern state.

Joshua Yeager

Joshua Yeager covers environmental and health issues in Bakersfield and Kern County, California. He previously worked for the Visalia Times Delta, where his reporting exposed inequalities in Tulare County towns suffering contaminated and insufficient drinking water. He won a first-place California News Papers Association award for his coverage of Sierra Nevada’s historic 2020 wildfire season. An avid Sierra hiker, he has recently investigated forest management policy oversights that have resulted in the death of thousands of giant sequoia trees.

Rachel Crumpler

Rachel Crumpler reports on gender and prison health and health inequities for North Carolina Health News, a nonprofit news service that covers health care in the state. She is a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she majored in journalism and minored in history and social and economic justice. As an intern for The Triangle Business Journal, she wrote daily stories about the economy and businesses in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Crumpler also wrote more than 50 stories on events and developments impacting the campus community for her college newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. She was named a 2020-21 Hearst investigative reporting award winner for her data-driven story spotlighting funding cuts at local health departments across North Carolina and the impact it had on Covid responses. Crumpler’s work has appeared in The News and Observer, WRAL, Greensboro News & Record, NC Policy Watch and other publications. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys crossing items off her bucket list, such as going skydiving to celebrate her college graduation.

Leo Bertucci

Leo Bertucci covers energy and environment for the Victoria Advocate in Victoria, Texas. Prior to joining the Advocate, Bertucci served as a newsletter editor and news reporter for Western Kentucky University’s student newspaper, the College Heights Herald. Bertucci also wrote feature stories and previewed local events as a summer intern for the Daily News in Bowling Green, Kentucky. When he is not writing stories, Bertucci enjoys visiting baseball stadiums and eating hot peppers.

Brittany Brown

Brittany Brown covers workers and labor in Memphis, Tennessee for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, which reports on policy, poverty and power in Memphis and Shelby County. Prior to joining MLK50, Brown reported on the criminal justice system in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana for the Gulf States Newsroom, NPR’s southern news hub. She was the inaugural Emerging Reporters Fellow at Mississippi Today, where she covered the state’s criminal legal system through the lens of justice and equity. Brown’s journalism career began in student media at the University of Mississippi, where she worked as a reporter and editor for the student newspaper, tv station and yearbook. In college she worked as a breaking news intern with The Baltimore Sun and was a reporting fellow with Carnegie-Knight News21 at Arizona State University, where she reported on hate crimes in America. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is currently completing her master’s documentary thesis project in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Grant McLaughlin

Grant McLaughlin is an economic development/ workforce reporter for the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, Mississippi. As an undergraduate at The University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media l, McLaughlin worked for The Daily Mississippian, Rebel Radio, and started his own literary arts/ news website and magazine, The Underground Poet. He also participated in the Journalism School’s in-depth reporting class, writing about Fannie Lou Hamer and her Freedom Farm Cooperative. McLaughlin has also been a photography intern for Invitation magazine, where he worked local events in Oxford, Mississippi. He has a passion for writing poetry and creative nonfiction and has been published in Quasar Arts Magazine and the Landshark Review.

Grant Ritchey

Grant Ritchey covers education and the growing workforce for Knox Pages, a digital news organization serving residents of Knox County, in central Ohio. Prior to joining Knox Pages, Ritchey was a general assignment reporter for the Ashland Times-Gazette based in Ashland, Ohio, for which he reported and wrote features on sex trafficking, catalytic converter thefts, county and local government, crime, courts, new businesses, and on important and overlooked members of the community. While enrolled at Ohio University, Ritchey worked at the student-run news publication, The Post. There, he gained experience in meeting coverage, breaking news, investigative reporting, and feature writing. Ritchey interned at The Borgen Project, a nonprofit that addresses global poverty, where he wrote reports on internet access, clean drinking water and the steps being taken toward solving those issues.

Jeffrey Ruiz

Jeffrey Ruiz covers disinvested neighborhoods in search of solutions for the city's systemic inequalities in Dallas, Texas for Dallas Free Press. While an undergraduate at the University of North Texas, Ruiz was a special contributor for The Dallas Morning News and reported on a city redevelopment project in McKinney, Texas that cleared an entire mobile home community. His bilingual skills in Spanish played a major role in this investigative piece. Ruiz enrolled in a practicum with The North Texas Daily as a news reporter covering social issues at the local and county level, based on initiatives and programs declared by the city council and the administration of UNT. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism with a concentration in digital and print media. Whenever he isn’t reporting, Ruiz spends his time serving the community through his local church.