Emily Kenny is photojournalist for Spectrum News in Syracuse, New York covering farming and
food production. In 2021, she graduated with her master’s degree in photojournalism from the
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and, prior to that, she graduated from Buena
Vista University as a dual major in digital media and psychology. Emily grew up on a farm in
Schaller, Iowa which has led her to be interested in stories about farming and agriculture. 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 partner, Dan, and their two rescue dogs, Chanel and Athena
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 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.
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.
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.
Kierra Sam is a political reporter for the Houston Defender Network, covering issues of environmental racism, criminal justice, voter suppression and more. A Texas native with a passion for storytelling and keeping communities informed about the world around them, Kierra attended the University of Houston and received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in Spanish. While at the university, she worked on several video projects with different departments and also interned at KPRC Channel 2 News in Houston. Kierra started her professional journalism career as a digital MSJ at an NBC/ABC news affiliate television station in Beaumont, Texas. She has reported on stories covering hurricanes, plant explosions, criminal investigations, as well as profile pieces. Outside of news, Kierra likes to go to music festivals, take road trips and explore new places with family and friends.
Samantha Searles covers gun violence and prevention for WHYY, the major public media organization in the Greater Philadelphia area. Prior to joining WHYY, Searles was an on-air reporter for Suffolk University/New England Cable News and a contributor to Framingham Source, a news site covering Framingham, Massachusetts. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism with a broadcast concentration from Suffolk University. When she’s not reporting, she loves the performing arts, gardening and getting her dog out of trouble.
Shannon Sollitt is a bilingual journalist covering agricultural labor in Salem, Oregon for the Statesman Journal. A multimedia journalist, Sollitt’s career started in her hometown of Jackson, Wyoming, reporting breaking news, local politics, housing and economic injustice for various news outlets. Her coverage of sexual violence prompted curriculum changes in the local high school. Sollitt says that there are few things she knows with certainty: words are powerful. Even small ones carry weight. She strives to use them to tell stories that heal, that help, that hold a mirror up to the world and ask it to change. Sollitt holds a master’s in journalism from Boston University and a bachelor’s from Willamette University.
Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter in northern Michigan for WCMU public radio, which is based in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Homsi covers rural environmental issues, and their intersection with public health and Michigan commerce. Holding a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in environmental studies, journalism and anthropology, she was a beat reporter for Central Michigan Life, the student paper, and interned for the Huron Daily Tribune and for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s superfund program. Homsi helped start her university’s sustainability office, and implemented projects, policy and programming. Her work has gained national and international recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Ashley Miznazi covers the Haitian community in the South Florida/Miami area for The Haitian Times, a news organization based in Brooklyn, New York. Previously, Miznazi was a multimedia fellow for The Texas Tribune, where she created short documentaries on Afghan resettlement and the foster care system. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Miznazi worked in the photo and video departments at the student paper, The Daily Texan. She is the host of “Darkness,” a podcast about the 2018 Austin bombings.