From Human Trafficking to "Fracking," 2012 International Reporting Fellows Tackle Key Global Issues


The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) announced that 10 U.S. minority journalists will take on important social-justice and economic issues in this year’s International Reporting Fellowship program. The 2012 Fellows, chosen from 128 applicants, will cover a range of key issues, from the latest routes for smuggling people from Mexico into the United States, to a comparison of natural gas extraction called “fracking” in Poland and Pennsylvania.

The program is administered by ICFJ and funded by the Ford Foundation, with additional support for two fellowships from the Brooks and Joan Fortune Family Foundation. The Fellowships are designed to give minority journalists experience reporting on international issues. At a time when newsrooms are cutting back on foreign bureaus, these young reporters will bring home global news of interest to their local communities.

The Fellows competed on the basis of their story proposals. Previous Fellows have produced stories for major news outlets such as, National Geographic, Salon, PBS, NPR, The Christian Science Monitor and The Huffington Post, with a combined audience of 100 million.

The 2012 fellows:

Elizabeth Aguilera, a staff writer on immigration and demographics at U-T San Diego (formerly The San Diego Union-Tribune), will report on human trafficking between the United States and Latin America. You can follow Aguilera on Twitter @utsdaguilera.

Erika Beras, a behavioral health reporter and producer at 90.5 Essential Public Radio station in Pittsburgh, will compare the controversial practice of "fracking” natural gas in southwestern Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region with the burgeoning industry in Poland. You can follow Beras on Twitter @eprerika.

Cindy Carcamo, the immigration reporter at The Orange County Register, will explore how the Pacific Ocean has become the latest route for human smuggling into the United States from Mexico. You can follow her on Twitter @thecindycarcamo.

Nicole Ferguson, a reporter for Fox affiliate WGHP in Greensboro, N.C., will report on how China, a country associated with taking manufacturing jobs away from the United States, is now becoming an importer of furniture and upholstery from High Point, N.C. You can follow her on Twitter @NewsWithNicole.

Arwa Gunja, a New York City-based producer for the public radio program “The Takeaway,” will report on the social and religious implications of France’s decision a year ago to ban women from wearing burqas, or traditional Muslim coverings. You can follow her on Twitter @Arwa_Gunja.

Shirley Jahad, the host of “Weekend Edition” at 89.3 KPCC in Los Angeles, will investigate China's involvement in rare mineral extraction in Africa, for use in manufacturing cell phones, computers and other high tech devices, as well as the environmental impact on the Serengeti.

Phillip Martin, a senior investigative reporter for WGBH Boston Public Radio, will report on the special challenges faced by Asian women migrants working in Boston, New York and San Francisco. You can follow him on Twitter @phillipWGBH.

Antonio Olivo, an urban affairs reporter with the Chicago Tribune, will take a close look at a U.S. immigration program that grants a pathway to citizenship for wealthy investors from abroad.

Simone Sebastian, an energy reporter for the Houston Chronicle, will cover how Texas is capitalizing on the drilling boom in Brazil resulting from the country’s discovery of massive offshore oil deposits. You can follow her on Twitter @SimonesNews.

Hannah Yi, a New York City-based multimedia producer for the PBS show “Need to Know,” will cover the controversial use of U.S. drones in South Asia. You can follow her on Twitter @hannahyi.

For more information on the program, click here.