Meet the 2014 Editor Fellows

leilaniprof Leilani Leach Washington State, US (American)

  • Undergraduate studying Digital Technology and Culture; interest in media consumption by youth.
  • Reporting experience in politics, technology, research, cops & courts, city council (currently state legislation reporter); Ran college paper with a circulation of 11,000.
  • Project idea: In-depth reporting on the use of drones for surveillance or journalistic purpose.

searchmore Searchmore Muridzo, Polokwane, South Africa (Zimbabwean)

  • Masters student studying new media & society; 3-mo skills program at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
  • Reporting & editing experience in social issues, religious reporting in Zimbabwe, Botswana; consulted for Associated Press Group in Zimbabwe.
  • Project idea: Today’s youth perspective of South Africa, 20 years after the Apartheid in South Africa.

sofia Sofia Lotto Persio,
Aarhus, Denmark (Italian) @sofiaellepi

  • Masters student in Journalism, Media, and Globalisation (Erasmus Mundus) w focus on biz reporting.
  • Started own University newspaper and ran it until 2013; corp comms experience at Siemens.
  • Project idea: Sustainability on the move: a look at developments in urban mobility around the world.

olga Olga Khrustaleva, Missouri, US (Russian) @olgacrystal

  • Masters student at University of Missouri (Top-5 j-school) concentrated on investigative & intl reporting, documentary filmmaking; Fulbright scholar.
  • 2+ yr professional reporting and experience in Russia (Moscow News, St. Petersburg Times,
  • Project idea: “Ukraine-Russia-EU Gas Transit.” A look into the economic consequences of Ukrainian revolution by focusing on natural gas.

More about the program: 


A 4-month fellowship program for journalism students to launch and manage their coverage project around a business or economics phenomena. Each fellow receives a stipend of $3,000(US) and project budget capped at $4,000 which can be used for recruiting writers, field reporting trips, events, and travel.


  • To scale our experimental newsroom model by developing a template for unique “obsessions” coverage of a current business or economics phenomena.
  • To incubate entrepreneurial journalism talent (editors) and writers with a deep topic focus.
  • Leverage our $23,000 commitment through grant-matching partners.

MEASURES OF SUCCESS:                                                                                                                   

  • 3 in-depth reporting projects (6 with grant matching).
    • A major event coverage or reporting trip per project
    • 15 articles produced per project
    • Recruitment and training of 15 student writers (min. 5 per project)
    • 1 work session in NYC, conference: “How to Build an Obsessions Newsroom”


  • 15 March: Fellowship selection
  • 25 ~ 27 April: Program kickoff and NYC work session
  • 15 May ~ 30 July: Run projects and publish content
  • 15 July: End of program webinar

Our Story

Student Reporter has been for two years working in journalism education and outreach. Through our conference reporting programs, we’ve incubated over 100 young writers and have covered business and economics phenomena at both niche workshops and meetings of large international organizations all over the world.

In each of these projects, our editors are in charge of developing a coverage strategy around conference “beats”, training and leading the reporters (topic expert, but non-journalism, students), and publishing the outcome on our outlet.

Our challenge to every project, and to the journalism community through the fellowship is this: How do you cover a business or economics phenomena for the global Under-30 crowd? Our goal is to scale the lessons learned through this fellowship program as an overall editorial strategy for our journalism brand for the youth.