2020-21 Report for America corps includes May graduates and J-School alums: Journalists will serve in under-covered communities across U.S.

RFA | Report for America Class of 2020-2021 | MU J-school students and alumnae

By Nate Brown

Columbia, Mo. (April 24, 2020) — Five current Missouri School of Journalism students and five alumnae will join the 2020-21 class of Report for America, which sends journalists to news outlets across the country to report on under-covered issues and communities. RFA is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

The reporting corps of 225 journalists will be dispatched in June to 162 newsrooms from Alaska to Puerto Rico. More than 1,800 applicants vied for positions this year.

Seth Bodine
Seth Bodine

Master’s student Seth Bodine of Aurora, Colorado, is going to Oklahoma’s KOSU radio, which has studios in Oklahoma City and Stillwater. He’ll focus on agriculture and rural issues, which he’s been reporting on for the Columbia Missourian and KBIA-FM for the past year. He graduates in May.

“I really developed an interest and passion for the topic” while at Mizzou, said Bodine. “It’s really important to report on the people who produce the country’s food. Farmers across the country are operating on thin margins, and this is getting worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As newsrooms shrink across the country, Bodine believes he can make an impact in central Oklahoma.

“The power of local journalism is that it provides a platform to be heard and spurs discussion that ultimately creates a more connected, informed society,” he said. “I’m really excited to … continue listening and reporting on these issues. Being a Report for America corps member presents an exciting opportunity to be embedded in a community that has lost a listener.”

Jacob Douglas
Jacob Douglas

Senior Jacob Douglas of Dallas City, Illinois, will focus on rural issues in Missouri for Kansas City PBS. “Coming from a rural background, I’m really passionate about telling stories in those areas,” Douglas said. “I’m excited to do so by joining a newsroom I am quite fond of at Flatland,” which is KCPT’s digital magazine. “I hope I can serve those communities I will be covering well.” Douglas was a fall 2019 intern at CNBC.

Corps members may choose preferences for where they’d like to serve.

“I clicked ‘anywhere you need me,’” said master’s student Jessi Dodge, BJ ’19, of Kiowa, Colorado. “I ended up in Buffalo, Wyoming, which I’m thrilled about. I couldn’t have asked for a better place.” Dodge is currently an assistant director of photography at the Missourian, where she was a staff photojournalist and reporter as an undergraduate. Her experience shooting sports and community activities will serve her well: she’ll be the sole photographer at the Buffalo Bulletin.

Jessi Dodge
Jessi Dodge

Dodge successfully defended her master’s project on April 23, the day RFA announced its new corps members. “It feels like I’m finishing one chapter and starting the next one all in one day,” she said.

Here is a complete list of the School’s students in the 2020-21 RFA class and their beats:

  • Kassidy Arena, senior: Iowa statehouse, especially issues affecting underserved populations, for Iowa Public Radio.
  • Seth Bodine, master’ student: Oklahoma’s KOSU radio, which has studios in Oklahoma City and Stillwater, focusing on agriculture and rural issues,
  • Jessi Dodge, BJ ’19 and master’s student: photographer at the Buffalo Bulletin.
  • Jacob Douglas, senior: will focus on rural issues in Missouri for Kansas City PBS.
  • Renee Hickman, MA ’18: population loss and its effects for the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin.
  • Catherine Hoffman, senior: COVID-19 coverage and health care for Kansas City PBS.
  • Yehyun Kim, MA ‘19: photojournalism, especially in communities of color for The Connecticut Mirror.
  • Humera Lodhi, BJ ’19: a team approach to coverage of gun violence in the city for The Kansas City Star.
  • Erin McKinstry, MA’18: Sitka, Alaska, and surrounding communities for KCAW radio.
  • Kaitlin Washburn, BJ ’19: a team approach to coverage of gun violence in the city for The Kansas City Star.

Updated: April 27, 2020

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