Erika Hayasaki, associate professor of English in UCI’s Literary Journalism Program, has been named a University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellow for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is among 11 journalists who will participate in a remote fellowship to pursue and publish in-depth reporting projects examining pressing public challenges.

Created to support ambitious journalism, the fellowship program provides an academic year of support and collaborative learning. Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows are traditionally housed on the Ann Arbor, Michigan campus, but they will work remotely this year due the pandemic, receiving a stipend of $70,000 for the academic year plus an additional $10,000 in supplemental support to cover extra costs.

Hayasaki’s reporting project will result in separate narrative profiles of two towns, one in Illinois and the other in the Mississippi Delta. She will examine education, criminal justice and housing histories, with a focus on Black and Asian Americans. In the tradition of literary journalism, she will use immersive on-the-ground reporting with residents and in-depth interviews with academic experts who are studying relationships within systems of structural racism.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship,” said Hayasaki. “Though we will be working remotely and independently through the year, we will meet weekly on Zoom for training sessions and spend a couple of weeks on the University of Michigan campus together. I am looking forward to the trainings, as well as to learning and collaborating with such an inspiring cohort of fellow journalists.”

The program is geared toward mid-career journalists. Each reporting fellow will pair with a local or national news organization to develop and publish their reporting project. The support of the fellowship allows news organizations to pursue ambitious journalism with the support of experts, newsroom innovators, as well as private seminars and workshops to sharpen reporting and writing skills.

Photo credit: Carolyn Cole
Center for Storytelling
Literary Journalism