Quinnipiac University

Journalism students selected for prestigious Carnegie-Knight Initiative

January 20, 2021

Headshot of Emily DiSalvo and Jessica Simms

Emily DiSalvo '21 and Jessica Simms '21 have been selected to participate in the Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative.  

The national News21 Initiative is part of an effort by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York to change the way journalism is taught in the U.S. and train a new generation of journalists capable of reshaping the news industry.

“I am so excited to be accepted as a Carnegie-Knight News 21 fellow because I am always looking for a chance to expand my skillset when it comes to journalism,” said DiSalvo. “I really believe that investigative journalism is a necessity for democracy to function. Without it, things go uncovered, people are left unaccountable and stories are left untold. I think that working on this year’s News 21 project relating to poverty and the pandemic will open my eyes to investigative techniques, allow me to immerse myself in a story that is part of a truly historic moment.”

Arizona State University’s Cronkite School serves as the national headquarters for the initiative, which includes top journalism students from across the country. Since 2008, the Cronkite School has been the recipient of nearly $10 million in grants from the two foundations to support the News21 program.

“Being selected as a fellow for the Carnegie-Knight News21 program is not only a huge honor, but it also will be a lifechanging experience,” said Simms.  “The initiative will allow me to step out of my comfort zone in the journalism industry through this hands-on investigative project. This program will teach me how to work on a team to produce a detailed investigative project. It will be a unique opportunity to learn about the different ways the pandemic has impacted poverty in the United States, which is the focus of the News21 project this year."

Students selected for the program work under the direction of leading news veterans and participate in an intensive seminar in the spring semester during which they research and hear from experts on a topic that will become the basis of a national investigation.

DiSalvo and Simms are the first Quinnipiac students to be selected for the News21 Initiative.

“News21 is for top journalism students around the country, so the fact that two Quinnipiac journalism students were selected shows the quality of our program,” said Chris Roush, dean of the School of Communications. “I couldn’t be happier for Emily and Jess.”

The students then move into paid summer fellowships, during which they work out of the Cronkite School’s digital media complex in downtown Phoenix for 10 weeks in the summer. The fellows travel the country and sometimes go abroad to report stories and produce content for publication or broadcast across a number of platforms.

Past News21 national investigations have focused on food safety, transportation safety and voting rights.

The student works gets wide national distribution through partnerships with The Washington Post, nbcnews.com and the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity.

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