API fellowship allows Case to help improve newsrooms

Emily Case ’14 hails from a small Nebraskan town with little diversity, yet she’s developed a passion for giving a voice to minority populations.

“I feel like on the most basic level, I’ve always been interested in other populations,” Case said. “I am from Gibbon, Nebraska, which doesn’t have a lot of diversity, so I was always interested to encounter people from other backgrounds.”

Case’s post-Hastings College pursuits have led her on a path of combining her interest in diversity with her talents as a journalist. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

During her first year of study at UNL, she enrolled in the Nebraska Mosaic course. This multimedia class requires students to create unique journalistic content about the refugee and immigrant communities in Nebraska.

“I thought it would be a cool opportunity to develop some portfolio pieces and continue giving a voice to the voiceless,” Case said. “In the end, it gave me experience and helped me grow my interest in covering refugee populations.”

Case transferred her experience with the Mosaic multimedia course to a 2017 summer fellowship with the American Press Institute (API). API describes the fellowship as a program for “students with high levels of initiative, analytical thinking and ambitious ideas about inventing future models of journalism.” Each fellow must propose a project with the application.

The project can range from in-depth reporting to industry research to technology development; however, it must be geared toward helping news organizations solve problems.

“This year, there were three different themes for the project pitch, but the one that stood out to me immediately was diversity and empathy,” Case said. “I saw an opportunity to continue the work I had done with Mosaic.”

Case’s project aimed to improve newsroom coverage of refugee populations in two ways: raising awareness of refugee communities and providing resources to help reporters connect with these individuals.  

For the fellowship, Case developed a website that analyzes refugee resettlement data throughout the nation. Reporters can use the site as a tool to find the refugee populations in their cities.

She also completed a strategy study intended to identify best practices for working with refugees and immigrants.

“I talked to different reporters who cover these populations to find common themes in how they connect with refugee communities,” Case said. “This will help other reporters learn things to consider when you’re doing interviews and how to respond to skeptical audiences.”

Case said she is grateful for the support she received at Hastings College. For her, the direct mentorship and flexibility to explore different disciplines led her to finding the perfect fit in the job industry.

“The liberal arts encourage you to combine many diverse interests, and Hastings College was the perfect environment for me to experiment with different things and really run with it once I found my passion,” Case said. “Now, I have a full-time fellowship that combines my passion with a sense of purpose, which was, in the broadest sense, my ultimate career goal.”

By Mallory Gruben, a senior from Eckley, Colorado, majoring in journalism

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