Food Security Fellow Justice Baidoo on assignment in northern Ghana. Baidoo will work at the Los Angeles Times during the fellowship.


Journalists chosen for the fellowship Class of 2019 come from countries with independent news reporting environments that range from the near impossible, in China, to the incredibly dangerous, Afghanistan, to an environment with elements of both state control and menace, Russia.

The other three journalists in the six-month fellowship program come from Ghana, India and Moldova.  Three broadcasters from Macedonia will join the class this spring for the initial training.

The six fellows will spend five weeks learning at the Missouri School of Journalism from more than a dozen faculty, all professional journalists with extensive experience, and five months getting hands-on experience in top American newsrooms: Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, Minneapolis Star Tribune and Newsy. They’ll return with the skills and knowledge they need to become more effective journalists and leaders in their profession.

Justice Baidoo

Accra, Ghana

Joy News | Los Angeles Times

Baidoo  is an award-winning news videographer who works on documentaries for Joy News, one of Ghana’s most influential broadcasters. Baidoo will work on the staff of the new television news operation at the Los Angeles Times.

At Joy News, Baidoo’s multimedia stories focus on issues including health, climate change, environmental problems and food security. He is the recent winner of the Global Health Reporting contest from the International Center for Journalists.

His story on bad roads connecting farms in Ghana to markets won the Food Sustainability Media Award organized by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. He was selected to attend the Global Climate Reporting Program administered by the International Center for Journalists this year and was Ghana’s business journalist of the year in 2015 and 2016.

After a dilapidated school in rural Ghana collapsed and killed six children, “a series of stories I did moved the government and philanthropists to put up new structures for the entire community,” Baidoo said.

Baidoo is our second Food Security Fellow and will receive academic training along with hands-on training at MU and will spend a week at Danforth Plant Science Center.

Yan Zhang

Tianjin, China

Initium Media| USA Today

Zhang writes for Hong Kong’s largest native online media for Chinese readers worldwide. She formed The Initium’s reporting team from mainland China, reports on topics such as urbanization and economic reform and writes “what China’s officials didn’t want the world to know.”

“Working under China’s Great Firewall for eight years, I’m thinking how the Wall affects the world, and how journalists respond to such influence,” Zhang said. “The best way to defend freedom is to continue to tell the truth. … I call my experience ‘peeling the onion’. I strip off the outer layer of the truth like peeling the onion skin, and show the core to the public.”

Zhang will work at USA Today, on the Money and Technology teams.

Vivian Wu, Hong Kong Bureau Chief of BBC World Services, said Zhang has produced “outstanding” stories explaining a rapidly transiting China to the readers. “Her angle is always international and comparative, never constrained to a local view,” Wu said. “For example, she has reported how the Internet empowered Chinese young mothers seek optional challenges for safe milk formula and children products through global e-commerce platforms.”

Zhang’s fellowship is funded by is funded by Bill and Christy Gautreaux, Norm and Lynette Siegel, and George Hanson.

Humayoon Babur

Kabul, Afghanistan

Pasbanan Media

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Babur has written about a wide variety of topics in the war-torn country, from combat and car bombs to corruption and the effectiveness of foreign aid, in Pashtu, Dari and English. He’s written extensively on environmental issues, including recent stories on groundwater contamination and cross-border disputes over water, one of which won an award from the International Water Management Institute.

Before joining Pasbanan Media Group, Babur was a contributor for The Associated Press and a regional reporter for an Afghan news agency.

Babur will work on the reporting staff at the Post-Gazette and do independent reporting and research projects at Park Point University’s Center for Media Innovation.

The CEO/Founder of Pasaban, Sher Shah Nawabi, wrote that Babur, a deputy and instructor for the Afghanistan Journalists Council, “has donated countless hours of his time training hundreds of Afghan youths on the fundamentals of journalism and reporting.”

Babur’s fellowship is funded by the Daniel Pearl Foundation. He is the 29th Daniel Pearl Fellow, continuing the legacy of the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002.

Lily Dobrovolskaya

Lily Dobrovolskaya

Moscow, Russia

Transparency International

The Wall Street Journal

Dobrovolskaya has worked for six years as a journalist in Russian and Armenian independent media and is now head of the North American Investigations Division at Transparency International in Russia.

Dobrovolskaya will work with investigative journalists on WSJ’s data team.

Dobrovolskaya recently co-authored an article published in the Miami Herald about a Russian general who owned $38 million in Florida real estate and another article published through her anti-corruption nonprofit about a U.S. gas exporter’s lobbyists who failed to disclose Russian interests.

“I want to explore the new tools, resources and new technologies used by American media

and apply this knowledge in my organization in Russia,” Dobrovolskaya said. “Since corruption is one of the major issues inherent to the Russian government precluding the country from moving forward, it has become my major focus and goal to fight corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society.”

Miami Herald reporter Nicholas Nehamas called Dobrovolskaia “an inspirational journalist. At great personal risk, she reports on high-level corruption and wrongdoing among the highest levels of Russian government and business. She is a natural collaborator with a

keen eye for detail and an irrepressible instinct for obtaining crucial documents.”

Dobrovolskaya’s fellowship is funded by TRACE International’s Foundation, which supports projects that encourage greater commercial transparency.  

Danish Raza

New Delhi, India;

Hindustan Times

Minnesota Star-Tribune

Raza’s reporting at the Hindustan Times, India’s second largest English language daily newspaper, focuses on social justice, gender and caste violence.  Assignments range from covering the Maoist insurgency to national politics.

“His articles display a passion to cover humanitarian issues with a nuanced approach,” HT’s editor-in-chief, Sukumar Ranganathan, wrote. “He is able to grasp complex issues.  Boiling down policy matters successfully requires a mastery of the subject. …Victims and survivors, rather than experts and aid workers, do most of the talking in his articles.”

Raza recently was promoted to assistant editor and has experience teaching journalism ethics and law to college students. By the end of his fellowship, he intends to produce a handbook for journalists, “Covering Muslims in India.”

“Based on my experience of covering Muslims, Islamic affairs in India, combined with the insights gained at the host newsroom (during the fellowship), I wish to help news organisations back home become pluralistic and inclusive, particularly in their portrayal of Muslims,” Raza said.

Raza’s fellowship is funded by the Patrick and Janna Stueve Foundation.

Danish Raza conducts an interview in Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India. Raza will work at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.


Dumitru Stoianov

Chisnau, Moldova

RISE | Newsy

Stoianov is a reporter for RISE Moldova, a media outlet that investigates organized crime, money laundering, corruption, smuggling, tax fraud, arms trafficking, and the hidden business of politicians.

“From a small community of activists we grew up to a professional organization able to generate public reactions on high-level corruption, conflict of interest and misuse of power,” Stoianov

Stoianov will work at Newsy, a cable and over-the-top video news network based in Columbia.

In Moldova, he is an investigative team coordinator for projects implemented by RISE and a fact checker for the Organized Crime and Corruption Project, including its work on The Panama Papers transnational reporting project. He developed an implemented the whistleblower platform on the RISE website.

Editor Nicolae Cuschevici, said ”he proved to be highly interested in promoting such values as democracy, freedom of information, human rights and civil society development through the journalism he produced and activities he implemented at RISE Moldova.

Dima’s fellowship is funded by John and Kathy Schirger of Kansas City.