SFJ announces Diversity Fellowship winner and 5 Craig Newmark Philanthropies fellows


The fellows are, clockwise from top left: Vanessa Taylor, Mesfin Fekadu, Nicole Clark,
Wei-Huan Chen, Prince Shakur and Chris Ip

INDIANAPOLIS, July 10, 2019 – The Society for Features Journalism (SFJ), an organization promoting the craft of writing and innovation in journalism is proud to announce that Wei-Huan Chen, the Arts + Culture Writer and Theater Critic for the Houston Chronicle will receive SFJ’s 2019 Penny Bender Fuchs Diversity Fellowship.

Additionally, a generous first-time grant from Craig Newmark Philanthropies will fund fellowships for five journalists of color to attend SFJ’s September conference in Detroit.

The Society for Features Journalism is a member-based organization whose members write for large and small publications nationally, covering stories about race, identity, culture and community. Every year, SFJ hosts a conference for writers, editors, students and journalists interested in learning about honing their craft. Through the Penny Bender Fuchs Diversity Fellowship Program, journalists of color can attend the conference for free. The conference allows fellows to gain insight on the workings of features departments nationwide, to network with outstanding journalists, and to share their insights with the journalistic community.

“My aim is foremost to raise awareness, leaving artists and administrators to take action,” said Wei-Huan Chen. “And perhaps most important: during a time of national trauma and distrust, I love writing about beauty, joy, inspiration and brilliance.”

Chen has written for the Chronicle since 2016. He combines arts criticism and investigative reporting to produce groundbreaking coverage that highlights diversity. The SFJ Foundation will cover Chen’s all-expenses paid fellowship to the conference.

Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, assisted the SFJ in funding these fellowships through a generous first-time grant. These funds will give five additional journalists of color the opportunity to attend the conference: helping cultivate conversations about tech trends, the #MeToo movement, social media, and the media’s coverage of communities of color nationwide.

The five Craig Newmark fellow recipients are:

–       Nicole Clark, Vice Media, Staff Writer, Los Angeles. Nicole writes on film, television, book reviews and was previously a legal writer.

–        Mesfin Fekadu, Associated Press, Music Editor and Senior Journalist, New York. Mesfin has worked at the AP since 2008, overseeing the text music coverage as well as video and photo production.

–        Chris Ip, Engadget, Associate Features Editor, New York. Chris writes features on the intersection of culture, society, and technology.

–       Prince Shakur, Freelancer, Columbus, Ohio. Prince has written for a variety of publications including Teen Vogue, AfroPunk and Vice. His Two Woke Minds video project won the 2017 Rising Stars Digital Innovator Award from G.L.A.A.D.

–       Vanessa Taylor, Afrotech, Writer and Editor, Philadelphia. Vanessa covers politics, culture and religion. As a teenager, she co-founded the Black Liberation Project, a grassroots collective of Black youth based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

SFJ is excited to bring such a diverse class of fellows to this year’s The Society for Features Journalism National Conference, taking place September 18-21, 2019, in Detroit.

Margaret Myers
2019 SFJ President