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Woodrow Wilson Foundation Launches New Fellowship for Journalists Covering Career and Technical Education Issues

Program Name Nation's Top Education Journalists as First Class, Noted Ed Reporter as Program Chair

January 28, 2020

By The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

PRINCETON, N.J. (January 28, 2020)–Journalists are a vital component of developing and stewarding a strong field of any type. For the field of postsecondary career and technical education (CTE), having journalists able to explore and probe the field are essential for it to thrive.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is pleased to recognize 10 of the top education journalists as the first class of a prestigious new program, the Woodrow Wilson Higher Education Media Fellowship. Funded by the ECMC Foundation, the WW Higher Ed Media Fellowship aims to increase the number of journalists equipped with tools and networks to provide more comprehensive coverage of postsecondary education, particularly CTE.

The spring 2020 ECMC Foundation Fellows include Jenny Brundin (Colorado Public Radio), Jason Gonzales (The Tennessean), Lori Higgins (Chalkbeat Detroit), Jon Marcus (The Hechinger Report), Patrick O’Donnell (The Plain Dealer), Amy Scott (Marketplace), Ashley A. Smith (EdSource), Debbie Truong (WAMU), Alia Wong (The Atlantic), and Mikhail Zinshteyn (Freelance).

Representing national and local organizations, the 10 ECMCF Fellows have more than 50 years of combined experience. Their reporting has garnered praise from the Edward R. Murrow Awards, the Education Writers Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Helping shape this program and providing strategic support as program chair is noted education journalist Greg Toppo, former senior editor at Inside Higher Ed, and national education reporter at USA Today and The Associated Press.

“A critical part of field building is the storytelling, oversight, and analysis journalists provide,” says WW President Rajiv Vinnakota. “As a leader in fostering strong fields, The Woodrow Wilson Foundation is proud to highlight and support the great work these Fellows do both in covering CTE and in covering American education as a whole. These Fellows bolster the already robust legacy and network of WW Fellows addressing the nation’s critical challenges.”

Each ECMCF Fellow will receive an award of $10,000—a $5,000 stipend and $5,000 to support a special CTE reporting project. Fellows will attend an expense paid symposium focused on topics related to postsecondary CTE and professional development. Following the symposium, Fellows will complete a CTE reporting project, such as a special report or series.

The funding for the program supports four Fellowship classes. In order to foster a strong community among WW Higher Education Media Fellowship classes, Fellows from the first class will be invited to mentor future classes. Each Fellow in the first class was selected not only for their excellent work but also for their ability to contribute their knowledge and experience to on-going coverage of CTE.

“The Woodrow Wilson Higher Education Media Fellowship will play a critical role in improving the breadth and depth of postsecondary career and technical education coverage,” said Jennifer Zeisler, senior program director of career readiness, ECMC Foundation. “We are thrilled to support the launch of this fellowship and see its impact on education reporting and more broadly, the postsecondary education field.”

The funding for this program is a part of the ECMC Foundation’s CTE Leadership Collaborative, an initiative focused on bringing together diverse perspectives and equipping CTE leaders with the tools, resources and skills needed to advance postsecondary CTE.

“Throughout their careers, this group of reporters have covered some of the most important issues facing American education,” said Mr. Toppo. “I am excited to bring together and begin working with each of these stellar journalists as they explore an ever more important sector of postsecondary education—career and technical education.”

Applications for the second class of ECMCF Fellows of the WW Higher Ed Media Fellowship are now open. More information about the program, eligibility requirements, and the application process can be found at


CONTACT: Frances Hannan | Program Officer, Higher Ed Media Fellowship | | 201-587-4755
Patrick Riccards (@Eduflack) |  |  (703) 298-8283

About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation ( identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.

About the ECMC Foundation
ECMC Foundation ( is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group ( enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential.

The WW Higher Education Media Fellowship’s ECMC Foundation Fellows, Spring 2020

  • Jenny Brundin | Colorado Public Radio
  • Jason Gonzales | The Tennessean
  • Lori Higgins | Chalkbeat Detroit
  • Jon Marcus |The Hechinger Report
  • Patrick O’Donnell | The Plain Dealer
  • Amy Scott | Marketplace
  • Ashley A. Smith | EdSource
  • Debbie Truong | WAMU
  • Alia Wong | The Atlantic
  • Mikhail Zinshteyn | Freelance


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