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Report for America

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WYPR is proud to be a host newsroom for a Report For America corps member. Zshekinah Collier, WYPR’s second Report For America corps member. Under the direction and mentorship of our WYPR’s Executive Director News, Danyell Irby, Zshekinah covers education and in her short time here she has already reported on various topics such as hate crimes in schools, student debt, and learning loss related to the pandemic. With the addition of Zshekinah to our newsroom, WYPR can continue efforts to reach diverse communities by providing the highest quality news and information to Maryland.

What is Report for America?

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Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017, Report for America is creating a new, sustainable system that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization with an established track record of training and supporting teams of emerging journalists around the world, including the recent launch of Report for the World in partnership with local newsrooms in India and Nigeria. With a mission to strengthen communities and our democracy through local journalism that is truthful, fearless, fair and smart, Report for America is taking on news deserts at scale. In 2021, they are deploying over 200 talented, service-oriented journalists to report on under-covered topics such as health, education, immigration, climate and justice. Corps members improve communities and hold powerful institutions accountable.

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Where is the need?

The collapse of local journalism across our country has created a crisis for democracy. Many residents no longer get the information they need to understand the critical issues facing their community, to make good decisions for their family, and hold elected officials accountable. This problem is not going to be solved by a new phone app or an increase of a few pennies in digital ad rates.

How can YOU help?

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Report for America leverages a 3:1 regional funding match model, paying half of a corps member’s salary and requiring the other half to come from WYPR directly and local and regional funders to contribute the final quarter. This approach promotes new models for shared investment in local journalism, increasing the chances of sustaining on-the-ground reporting, for the community, by the community. Consider a gift in support of Zshekinah's work today or a multi-year contribution to help WYPR fund her work for years to come or add an additional RFA Corps member to our news team. Please contact Carolyn Jewell at 410-235-1855 for more information on funding the future of journalism.

More about Zshekinah Collier

Most recently, Collier was a producer for the weekly talk show “Disrupted,” on Connecticut Public Radio, where she served as a radio production and storytelling intern.

In 2021, Collier was a member of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting’s inaugural summer internship program where she gained training, mentorship, and experience as a member of USA Today’s investigative team. While there, she contributed to coverage of the Capital riots and the media organization’s Title IX investigation. She was also an editorial intern at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists through the Emma Bowen Foundation Fellowship.

Collier received her B.A in Justice and Law with a minor in Communication from American University in 2020. While at American University, she was co-editor-in-chief of The Blackprint, a student-run online and print publication covering issues affecting students of color, news, and pop culture. After graduation, Collier covered local events as a freelancer in her hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.

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