The Knight Science Journalism program at MIT, an internationally renowned mid-career fellowship program, is proud to announce that ten elite science journalists from four countries will make up its Class of 2018-19.
Each year the KSJ program, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, brings journalists to Cambridge for a ten-month fellowship that allows them to explore science, technology, and the craft of journalism in depth, to concentrate on a specialty in science, and to learn at some of the top research universities in the world.
The ten fellows, selected from more than 120 applicants, are an award-winning and diverse group, ranging from veteran science reporters for the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press to the Cairo-based chief editor of Nature Middle East to a Russian-born Ph.D. in economics who found a new career as an investigative data journalist.
“We are thrilled to again bring a remarkable group of science journalists to MIT,” said Deborah Blum, KSJ director, herself a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and the author of six popular science books. “We know they’ll find this a unique, fascinating and influential learning experience — and we look forward learning from them as well.”
KSJ@MIT, supported by a generous endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is recognized around the world as the premier mid-career fellowship program for science writers, editors, and multimedia journalists, and as publisher of the award-winning digital magazine Undark. Since its founding in 1983, it has hosted more than 300 fellows representing media outlets from The New York Times to Le Monde, from CNN to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and more.
With support from the program, fellows pursue an academic year of independent study, augmented by twice-weekly science-focused seminars taught by some of the world’s leading scientists and storytellers, as well as a variety of rotating, skills-focused master classes and workshops. The goal: fostering professional growth among the world’s small but essential community of journalists covering science and technology, and encouraging them to pursue that mission, first and foremost, in the public interest.
KSJ’s academic home at MIT is the Department of Science, Technology and Society, which is part of the School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences.
Pakinam Amer, chief editor of Nature Middle East, published by Nature Research and part of Springer Nature, one of the world’s leading global research publishers. Previously, she worked as a journalist for media including the Associated Press, the German Press Agency, Egypt Today, and Business Today. Before becoming a science journalist, she specialized in current affairs and conflict reporting in Egypt and the Arab world. She produces and hosts Nature Middle East’s podcast, the Arab region’s first science podcast in English.
Magnus Bjerg, a digital projects manager at TV 2 in Denmark, the biggest Danish news broadcaster. He is part of the station’s editorial development team, which won five digital awards in 2017, including honors from the Society for News Design Scandinavia and the Association of Danish Media (best digital story of the year), and is president of the Danish Online News Association. Previously
he was a digital reporter at ekstrabladet.dk, Denmark’s most viewed news site.
Talia Bronshtein, investigative data journalist and former interactives editor at STAT, the Boston-based health news site. After earning a doctorate in economics, she was a Fulbright scholar at Brandeis University, a professor of economics in her native country of Russia, and a consultant on Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Her visualization of 200 years of immigration to the U.S. was featured in “Best American Infographics 2016,” and her investigation of reporting violations in clinical trials won an AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Gold Award.
Jason Dearen, correspondent and member of the global environment team for The Associated Press. His accountability journalism has spurred regulatory action and policy change at both state and federal levels. His coverage of flooded toxic waste sites during Hurricane Harvey exposed inaction by the EPA, resulting in $115 million in clean-up efforts in Houston. He has received numerous honors, including from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists. He attended the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
Lisa De Bode, a freelance journalist who writes in English and Dutch for The Atlantic, NPR, and The Guardian, among others. A former reporter at Al Jazeera America in New York and a field producer at CNN in Brussels, she is the author of “Europa: An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees,” and a 2017 fellow at the International Women’s Media Foundation. In 2016, her reporting sparked a law that provides free pads and tampons to New York City shelters, public schools, and prisons.
Tim De Chant, senior digital editor at NOVA, where he is founding editor of the digital magazine NOVA Next, and a lecturer in MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing. He has written for Wired, the Chicago Tribune, and Ars Technica, among others. Before turning to science journalism, he received a Ph.D. in landscape ecology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. in environmental studies, English, and biology from St. Olaf College.
Jeff DelViscio, director of multimedia and creative at STAT, where he oversees video, photography, animation, interactives, audio, and social media. He previously spent nearly nine years at The New York Times. He holds dual master’s degrees from Columbia in journalism and in earth and environmental sciences. He has worked aboard oceanographic research vessels and tracked money and politics in science from Washington, D.C. When Jeff was 3, science saved his life after a run-in with a lawnmower; he’s been trying to give back to science ever since.
Elana Gordon, reporter and audio producer at WHYY public radio in Philadelphia and a founding member of its health and science show, “The Pulse.” She previously worked at KCUR in Kansas City. She has covered everything from drugs and medical bills to the mystery surrounding a 19th-century horse thief. Her stories have been featured on NPR, Kaiser Health News, “99% Invisible,” The Washington Post, and PRI’s “The World.” In 2017, her documentary about the discovery of Legionnaires’ disease received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
Rachel E. Gross, online science editor at Smithsonian magazine, where she helps readers make sense of new scientific discoveries and spotlights unsung women in the history of science. Before that she was a science reporter for Slate , where she won the 2016 Religion News Association’s Best Online News Story Award for her profile of an evangelical creationist who embraced evolution. She has covered religion and science for Moment, America’s leading independent Jewish magazine, and traveled to Auschwitz on a FASPE fellowship to study journalism ethics.
Amina Khan, science writer at the Los Angeles Times. Over nearly nine years at the paper, she has covered Mars landings, explored underground gold mines, and witnessed a brain surgery. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, she’s the author of “Adapt,” a book about the future of biologically inspired design, and was a staff writer for the Netflix show “Bill Nye Saves the World.”