Twelve Missouri School of Journalism students and alumni chosen as 2023-24 Report for America corps members

Report for America

By Nate Brown

(Columbia, Mo., April 27, 2023) — Four members of the Class of 2023 and eight alumni will join the 2023-24 class of Report for America, which sends journalists to news outlets across the country to report on under covered issues and communities.

This year’s reporting corps of more than 200 journalists and photojournalists will be dispatched in July to local news organizations across the country. Eight RFA journalists, in collaboration with their respective newsrooms, will report for the Mississippi River Basin Ag and Water Desk, which is based at the J-School.

Report for America is a two-year program with a one-year check-in. Alumni Danielle DuClos, Connor Giffin, Laura Kebede, Xcaret Nuñez and Hannah Norton are returning for their second year; Maria Benevento and Jacob Steimer are returning for the optional third year.

New to the program are graduate students Adam Goldstein and Claudia Rivera Cotto; undergraduate students Maia Bond and Sofi Zeman; and recent alumna Madison McVan.

Zeman, who will graduate in May, will cover education, safety and crime for the Uvalde Leader-News in Texas. She’s currently an assistant city editor at the Columbia Missourian.

“My time at MU has really shown me how important community-oriented reporting is,” Zeman said. “At the Columbia Missourian, I was able to immerse myself in this town and its local public school district, and that’s an opportunity I’ll forever be grateful for.

“I look forward to being able to continue providing hyperlocal news to communities that need it most.”

Here’s the complete list of the School’s students and alumni in the 2023-24 RFA class and their beats.

Maria Benevento, MA ’21: education for The Kansas City Beacon.

Maria Benevento

Maia Bond, BJ ’23: Poverty and health care in Dubuque, Iowa, for the Telegraph Herald.

Maia Bond

Danielle DuClos, BJ ’22: watchdog education, including what’s working in schools, for the Green Bay Press-Gazette in Wisconsin.

Danielle DuClos

Connor Giffin, BJ ’22: pesticide runoff and climate change for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky (Mississippi River Basin Ag and Water Desk).

Connor Giffin

Adam Goldstein, MA ‘23: Environment and climate for The New Bedford Light.

Adam Goldstein

Laura Kebede, BJ ’12: civil rights cold cases in Tennessee for the Institute for Public Service Reporting at the University of Memphis.

Laura Kebede

Madison McVan, BJ ’20: Economic mobility for the Minnesota Reformer.

Madison McVan

Hannah Norton, BJ ’22: Texas legislature and its hyperlocal effects on communities for Community Impact Newspaper in Texas.

Hannah Norton

Xcaret Nuñez, BJ ’22: Oklahoma agriculture and rural issues for KOSU radio in Oklahoma City.

Xcaret Nuñez

Claudia Rivera Cotto, MA ‘23: Politics and immigration for Enlace Latino NC in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Claudia Rivera Cotto

Jacob Steimer, BJ ’16: poverty, power and politics in Shelby County, Tennessee, for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism.

Jacob Steimer

Sofi Zeman, BJ ’23: Education, safety and crime for the Uvalde Leader-News.

Sofi Zeman

RFA is an initiative of The Ground Truth Project.

Updated: October 5, 2023

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