Four Sierra College Student Journalists Recognized with Fellowship
Written by: Sierra College Marketing Student Assistants
Collaboration is Key to Investigative Journalism
Spring ’22 was an exciting term for a team of four student journalists at Sierra College. All of them had experience working on Roundhouse News & Review through journalism courses at Sierra. They knew how to collaborate and work as reporters, photojournalists, podcasters, writers, or anchors and when an opportunity came to apply for a fellowship, they were ready.
The California Humanities Emerging Journalist Fellowship (formerly, Democracy and the Informed Citizen) supports programs at California Community Colleges and student journalists to work together and do investigative journalism on locally relevant stories. In December 2021, a team of four student journalists in Sierra’s Journalism program was awarded this grant.
They are collaborating on a story on the American River and its relationship with local communities, and issues impacting it told through photography, writing, and video. Look for their stories and others produced by students in Comm 78/79: Media Production I & II, in the Spring 2022 issue of Roundhouse News & Review on May 20th!
To learn more about the Journalism program at Sierra College and its online and on ground course offerings, reach out to the faculty adviser, Jen Vernon at email@example.com.
Aviana Loveall, 20, from Rocklin, wanted to participate in the Journalism Fellowship program because she has always been drawn to reporting and this was an opportunity to work in journalism on a professional level. She has a passion for broadcast and is looking forward to learning how to blend her videography skills with other forms of media. Journalism is important to her because it is a platform that can illuminate important topics and inform readers about something they may have never known. Not only can it be informative it can also spread joy and inspire. After she graduates, she would like to work for a pop culture news station. Her passion is entertainment news, and she specializes in anchoring. She will be able to add this fellowship to her resume as professional experience in the journalism field. Aviana will transfer to Chico State in fall ’22 to further her studies and career journey.
Vontress Ortega, 34, from Sacramento is a self-published author and single mother of six. Participating in the Fellowship gave her an opportunity to connect with others who are passionate about storytelling and hone her skills as a journalist. In Vontress’ view, there are so many developing aspects of journalism and there is always something to learn and something to teach others. She believes journalism is important because journalists are the voice of reason for so many. Vontress says that when you are passionate about what others know and advocate only for truth, journalism can be the best outlet to bring people from all walks of life together through a story. When she completes school, she plans to become a news anchor. In her view, if she is in a seat of power, it will allow her to give a voice to people who may not be heard. Her goal as a journalist is to be able to allow the voices of the community and communities in her city to be heard. In fall ’22, Vontress will transfer to Sac State to continue her career path in Journalism.
Madalyn Wright, 24 from Fair Oaks, Nisenan land, wanted to participate in the Fellowship not just to continue refining their journalism skills, but to work with a team just as passionate as they are on stories that matter. Madalyn hopes to learn more about investigative journalism. They believe Journalism is important because journalists are given the opportunity to speak truth into the world and empower the public with information that is really important to them– not just nationally or globally but what is impacting their day to day lives and communities. Madalyn hopes to hit the ground running reporting on a daily grind kind of beat and continue on through Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Madalyn believes their articles, photos, and interviews will show how much care and attention they put into their stories.
Katelyn Venersammy, 19, from Rocklin, wanted to participate in the Journalism Fellowship program because she has a passion for storytelling, and she thinks it’s important to be the voice for those who don’t have the resources to tell their own story. She hopes to not only enhance her journalism and photography skills, but to also learn from the people included in the reporting project. In Katelyn’s view, journalism is important because it’s a platform for all kinds of stories. Everyone has a story, even if it may not seem so at first. These stories can inspire others that are in the same situation or give a new outlook to everyday experiences. She would like to work in the photography field after graduation. She’s passionate about photojournalism which is when the photo tells the story. Within this fellowship, Katelyn is planning on doing a photojournalism segment and work on those storytelling photos.