Introducing the 2022 MJ Bear Fellows

Honoring six stand-out journalists under age 30 who are pushing innovation in digital news

By on August 10, 2022

The Online News Association today announced the 2022 MJ Bear Fellows, digital journalists under age 30 whose innovative work represents the best of the industry.

The yearlong MJ Bear Fellowship is designed to provide support as early-career journalists work on an innovative digital project. Fellows benefit from guidance on a digital journalism project, networking within the industry, complimentary ONA membership for three years and opportunities to showcase their work to ONA’s global community. From Sept. 21–24, they will attend the 2022 Online News Association Conference (ONA22) to learn alongside peers and industry leaders focused on audience engagement, product and digital business strategy.

The 2022 MJ Bear Fellows are:

Alex Castro is a Senior Social Media Producer at GMA Network, the Philippines’ most trusted news organization. For the 2022 presidential election, her team launched a multi-platform digital campaign focused on engaging and educating young Filipino voters. The #eLeksyonSerye project revitalized Philippine digital media’s authority over facts.
Caitlin Hernández, Reporter at Southern California Public Radio, built KPCC/LAist’s public-facing and participatory style guide, The Dialogue. Caitlin wants to explore new ways to increase transparency and access. The guide’s revision history is public, which aids the public’s ability to hold their newsroom accountable.
Jessica Lee, Senior Assignments Editor at Snopes, leads a team of fact-checkers to share their knowledge of identifying and debunking harmful internet content. Jessica is collaborating with development staff to create a new landing page that would serve as an interactive space for all media literacy articles.

Myrka Moreno is the Audience Engagement Producer at The 19th. Myrka pitched and developed an Instagram template for the series The 19th Explains, which led to less text-heavy and more visually captivating content and increased shares. Currently, she is collaborating alongside the audience team to build a new cross-departmental workflow.

Tazeen Pathan is a freelance data journalist currently working with BBC World Service. For a recent election, she collaborated with the BBC’s visual and data journalism team to build an interactive calculator that enabled voters in Uttar Pradesh, India, to access profiles of each local candidate in their constituency and compare them across the criteria of education, criminal records, wealth and representation of women.
Claire Thompson, Associate Editor at Grist, launched the Looking Forward newsletter for Fix, Grist’s climate solutions lab. The newsletter aims to show readers that a clean, green, just future is still possible, and to introduce them to the people and ideas laying the foundation for it today.

2022 Selection Committee

  • Laura Amico, Harvard Business Review, MJ Bear Committee Chair, 2011 MJ Bear Fellow
  • Alex Laughlin, Freelance writer, 2016 MJ Bear Fellow
  • Anand Katakam, Reuters, 2018 MJ Bear Fellow
  • Jake Carpenter, TellTail
  • Jody Brannon, Center for Journalism & Liberty
  • Denise Ajiri, Investigative/Data Journalist, 2012 MJ Bear Fellow
  • Eduardo Suarez, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

The MJ Bear Fellowship is made possible through generous contributions by the MJ Bear Estate, friends of MJ Bear and ONA, MSN International and Microsoft.

Mary Jane “MJ” Bear, whose wide-ranging career took her to pivotal roles at Microsoft’s MSN Portals and MSN International, NPR and American University, was renowned for her kindness and digital know-how. She played a vital role in ONA’s history as a member of the original Board of Directors, helping to incorporate the organization in 1999 and serving on the Education, Fundraising, Conference and Legal Affairs committees until 2003.

The Online News Association was founded in 1999 as a forum for digital news pioneers to collaborate on common challenges and encourage the highest journalistic standards. Become an ONA member or make a donation to sustain our mission to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism.

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