3 New Senior Fellows to Play Key Roles in IJJ Immigration Program

3 New Senior Fellows to Play Key Roles in IJJ Immigration Program

The Institute for Justice and Journalism has named three new senior fellows who will play key roles in the upcoming IJJ fellowship program, “Immigration in the Heartland: The 2012 Elections and Beyond.”

The three are:

  • Vallery Brown, a staff writer for the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, who is a member of the newspaper’s watchdog investigative team. She has covered a variety of topics ranging from health to immigration to landlord-tenant issues. She took part in IJJ’s 2010 Immigration in the Heartland fellowship program. Her project explored how the incarceration of illegal immigrants had become big business for some Oklahoma counties.
  • Phuong Ly, who founded and directs Gateway California, a nonprofit that helps connect journalists and immigrants. She developed the project while she was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford during the 2010-11 academic year. She worked for seven years at the Washington Post. A portfolio of her stories about immigrants won the 2006 American Society of Newspaper Editors/Freedom Forum Award for Distinguished Writing About Diversity. While working as a freelancer, she received an IJJ grant for a 6,800-word story for the Washington Post Sunday magazine about an undocumented college student.
  • Kari Lydersen, a Chicago-based journalist working for the Chicago News Cooperative, which produces stories for the local edition of The New York Times. She is the author of three books and teaches at Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She is a former Washington Post staff writer in the newspaper’s Midwest Bureau and has taken part in two previous IJJ fellowship programs.

All three are helping to develop the curriculum program for the fellowship conference, to be held April 20-25 at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. (The application deadline for the program is January 17.) Ly has led recruiting efforts for the program and also is managing IJJ’s new Twitter account, @ijjnews.

Program discussions will focus in part on how immigration and related economic issues are affecting the 2012 election debate and how newly naturalized citizens may impact the vote. Other subjects to be covered include demographic trends, the controversial Secure Communities program and other law enforcement practices focusing on illegal immigrants.

The three new senior fellows will be joined on the program faculty by Senior Fellows Warren Vieth, Martha Mendoza, Dianne Solís and Dan Kowalski.

Vieth, a professor at OU’s Gaylord College, is the project director. Mendoza, a national reporter for the Associated Press, and Solís, a senior writer at the Dallas Morning News, will offer hands-on training in the use of online databases, such as TRAC and GuideStar, and on the filing of effective Freedom of Information requests. Kowalski, an Austin immigration attorney and editor of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin – Daily Edition, will lead sessions demystifying the arcane word of immigration law.

The program is funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College and its Institute for Research and Training are partnering with IJJ in this program. More information on past Heartland programs is available here and at the main IJJ website.