University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute Announces Spring 2018 Student Innovation Fellows

Soo Rin Kim, Lily Oppenheimer, Mica Soellner, AnnMarie Welser

The RJI Spring 2018 Student Innovation Fellows are (clockwise from top-left): Soo Rin Kim, Lily Oppenheimer, AnnMarie Welser and Mica Soellner.

Columbia, Mo. (Nov. 30, 2017) — Four Missouri School of Journalism students will bring their skills and passions to Washington, D.C., and New York City newsrooms as 2018 Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) Student Innovation Fellows.

The 2018 class of fellows are Soo Rin Kim, a graduate student from Seoul, South Korea, and seniors Lily Oppenheimer from Pittsburgh, Mica Soellner from Belleville, Illinois, and AnnMarie Welser from Mokena, Illinois.

As part of the newly-launched fellowship, RJI is partnering with forward-looking news outlets to financially support Missouri School of Journalism students as they work 30 hours a week at one of those outlets. Students will receive at least a $4,000 stipend.

“We wanted a way to expand the already-deep connections between students at the Missouri School of Journalism and leading innovators in the news business,” said Mike McKean, RJI associate director. “And we found it with an outstanding group of inaugural partners in our fellowship program.”

According to McKean, students will work on projects including state-of-the-art storytelling techniques and engagement strategies with initial partners Mic, PolitiFact, NowThis and ABC News.

The spring 2018 fellowships were open to juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students. Students were encouraged to apply for positions with the partner organizations that fit their skills and interests.

“PolitiFact is a small organization with less than a dozen journalists, so we need our interns to contribute,” says Executive Director Aaron Sharockman. “The University of Missouri and RJI have a track record of delivering students who are ready on day one, and we’re excited to be working with them.”

“At Mic, our audience are those who most influence and impact the world, and we very much see that in the class at the Missouri School of Journalism,” says Publisher Cory Haik. “We’re excited to bring their creative and curious minds into the Mic newsroom to further our mission in setting the pace on cultural movements, and innovating in and around new forms of visual journalism, both of which we believe this intern class to very much help shape.”

The 2018 Student Innovation Fellows are:

  • Soo Rin Kim, who is studying investigative and data journalism for her degree and interned as a data reporter for the Center for Responsive Politics and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. She will head to ABC News to work with the Washington Bureau’s politics and criminal justice teams as a data reporter. “I hope to be able to work on a good mixture of quick hits for the website, as well as longer-form enterprise stories involving data,” she says.
  • Convergence radio student Lily Oppenheimer, who wrote stories and produced multimedia content as an intern at The Kansas City Star this past summer, will be working as an assistant video editor at Mic, located in New York City, where she will help create social videos. “I applied because I love incorporating video pieces alongside my writing, but I still have so much to learn,” she says. “At The Kansas City Star, I didn’t just write. I also was given the creative freedom to produce my own photos and videos. Mic will allow me to explore my potential.”
  • Convergence journalism student Mica Soellner, who interned at The Independent in London earlier this year as a reporter, will be heading to PolitiFact’s Washington, D.C., office. During her fellowship, she’ll help create multimedia content for the respected fact-checking website. Missouri School of Journalism students helped create the PolitiFact Trump-O-Meter during Sharockman’s 2016-17 RJI Fellowship. “I want to be able to take my abilities to report the truth even further,” Soellner says. “I hope to improve my insight on accuracy, research and fact-checking that is more important than ever in journalism today.”
  • International convergence journalism student AnnMarie Welser, who was a multimedia intern at KCPT, the PBS station in Kansas City, Missouri, earlier this year, will head to New York City to work at NowThis, which produces video content for social platforms. In this role, she’ll be part of the organization’s video production team, editing and producing video packages, as well as helping expand on its long-form video projects. “This is an amazing opportunity for me, and it just felt like the perfect fit for me,” says Welser. “I love video, and it’s my dream to work as a multimedia journalist.”

After the fellowship, the students are required to submit a final report for RJI’s audience detailing their project and how what they learned can benefit others in the news business. RJI Student Innovation Fellowships are available during the fall and spring semesters.

About the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute
The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute works with citizens, journalists and researchers to strengthen democracy through better journalism. RJI seeks out the most exciting new ideas, tests them with real-world experiments, uses social science research to assess their effectiveness and delivers solutions that citizens and journalists can put to use in their own communities.

Updated: October 26, 2020

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