Emma Cotton

Emma Cotton reports for VTDigger, a news publication and watchdog based in Montpelier, Vermont, where she focuses on Southern Vermont, which has been plagued by everything from contaminated drinking water to population decline and opioid abuse. Since 2016, Cotton has been a Vermont based reporter and writer. For the Addison County Independent, she explored the intersection of agriculture and water quality decline in Lake Champlain for a three-part investigative series called “The Giving Stream.” Formerly, she served as assistant editor of Vermont Ski + Ride and Vermont Sports Magazines, where she won “Best Columnist” from the New England Newspaper & Press Association. Her work has also appeared in the  University of Otago’s student publication, Critic Te  Arohi, The St. Pete Catalyst, 5280 Magazine, and The Brandon Reporter. She was the editor-in-chief of Eckerd College’s student publication, The Current, where she won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her coverage of the college’s attempt to change Campus culture surrounding sexual assault. She graduated with Eckerd’s first Bachelor of Science in the Creative Arts collegium after designing her own major in science journalism. Before joining RFA, Cotton toured the country in a homemade campervan.  

PrincessSafiya Byers

PrincessSafiya Byers is a reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service which focuses on low-income minority residents of the Wisconsin city. Her wide-ranging beat covers health, minority businesses, faith, jobs, housing and transportation. A proud Milwaukee native, Byers is a 2020 graduate of Marquette University, the Catholic university in Milwaukee. She has had internships with the Milwaukee Community Journal, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service itself. Byers has also co-produced a community podcast and written for community newsletters. In 2018, she was awarded the Bucks Youth Leader award for community service and leadership. In addition to her journalism, Byers has been working for the non-profit children and family center, COA Youth and Families Center, which began in 1906 as the Children’s Outing Association.

Paul Braun

Paul Braun reports for WRKF and WWNO, the NPR member stations in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where he covers the Louisiana Legislature. His coverage of Louisiana politics and policy as the interim capital access reporter for the stations has aired on national programs, including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Here & Now. Braun continues reporting in the same capacity as a Report for America corps member. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication, where he covered the Louisiana Legislature and the criminal justice system as a member of the Manship School News Service. Braun joined WRKF as an intern in February 2019 and took over as the station’s full-time political reporter six weeks before Louisiana’s gubernatorial primary. He previously worked as an intern at The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, and as a contributing writer and radio reporter for The Daily Reveille, LSU’s student-run newspaper.

John Boyle

John Boyle reports for WFPL News Louisville where he covers the local civics beat—from Census outcomes to the democratic process and elections to how local government works. The reporting provides the historical context of voting law, districting and civil rights. Boyle has spent the past year as a reporter for the News and Tribune, an Indiana publication, covering Clark and Floyd counties in the southern part of the state. In that time, he focused on the operations of local governing bodies, ranging from those of the smallest towns to the largest cities. His first tenure at the newspaper lasted from 2016 to 2017, serving as the education reporter during school board shakeups and major referenda. In between stints, Boyle took a deep dive into the world of health care as an investigative reporter at Berkeley Research Group in New York City. His interest in reporting started at Indiana University Southeast, where he wrote for a number of magazines and the student newspaper, the Horizon.

Annie Berman

Annie Berman covers health care for the Anchorage Daily News. A veteran of AmeriCorps and Vista volunteer programs, Berman is a multimedia journalist who has covered breaking news, crime, culture and politics for Mission Local and KQED, both in San Francisco. She has also helped produce “The Science of Happiness,” an award-winning podcast by PRX, Her work has been published in The New York Times, KQED and The Indian Express, an English-language daily published in Mumbai. She holds a B.A. from Smith College and is graduating from the University of California’s Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in May.

Hibah Ansari

Hibah Ansari reports for Sahan Journal, a news organization based in Minnesota’s capital, St. Paul, that focuses on the state’s immigrants. At Sahan Journal, Ansari covers immigration policy, especially affecting Hmong, Somali, and Latino communities. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she holds a master of science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she was a Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism student. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously, she was a reporting intern for USA Today Network in Wisconsin and Fox Cities Magazine in northeast Wisconsin. She has also contributed to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.