From left to right: Laurie Mazur - Editor with Island Press, Christina Sturdivant Sani - Fellow, AJ Earl - Fellow, Julie Strupp - GGWash Lead Editor, Kyler Geoffroy - Online Marketing Manager with Island Press.

Greater Greater Washington is launching an urbanist journalism fellowship this fall. We are so excited to introduce the inaugural fellows and announce a partnership with Island Press's Urban Resilience Project!

What's the point of the fellowship again?

When DCist was shut down back in November, we realized that there's a dearth of opportunities for young reporters to gain paid experience. And at GGWash, we frequently have ideas for in-depth investigations that we can't cover with existing staff and volunteer contributor capacity. So we decided to launch this fellowship to help local journalists build their careers, gain more of a background in urbanism, and provide our readers with an even richer array of stories. We also specifically wanted to lift up voices and perspectives that aren't as prevelant on the site.

There were many talented applicants, who had varying levels of journalism experience and urban planning knowledge. But alas, we only have capacity to take on two fellows in this inaugural cohort. So, without further ado, meet the two fellows.

Welcome Christina and AJ!

Christina Sturdivant Sani is likely a familiar name. She's written for City Paper, CityLab, Washingtonian Magazine, DCist, and Washington AFRO-American Newspapers.

You may have caught her January piece in CityLab exploring the use of dockless bikes by black Washingtonians, particularly younger people. Born and raised in DC, Christina is really intrigued by urbanism and is a keen observer about how transportation and urban planning are implemented in communities across the District. Through this fellowship, Christina hopes to gain a deeper understanding of urbanist principles and the forces that shape how she and her fellow Washingtonians interact with the built environment.

Alex-jon (AJ) Earl is newer to the Washington region, and sees this fellowship as an opportunity to hone their writing about cities. They have written for Willamette Week, Portland Mercury, Travel Portland, INTO, and The Urbanist.

AJ is interested in issues related to transit and livability, and successfully helped protect a bus route serving an important cultural home to urban Native Americans in the Seattle area. They are a second-year journalism fellow with the Native American Journalists Association, and are interested in learning more about the transit and bus systems in the Washington region and how they serve the diverse needs of area residents. AJ is also currently enrolled in American Unversity's Master's program in Public History.

Our partnership with the Urban Resilience Project

Island Press is a nonprofit publisher that seeks to better address the interrelated issues of environmental, economic, and social justice in cities, and specifically in the Washington area. Through their Urban Resilience Project, Island Press is exploring what it means for cities to be sustainable, equitable, and resilient into the future.

Image by Island Press used with permission.

Even though Island Press has traditionally published books (some by GGWash contributors and friends), they are committed to broadening the conversation of urban resilience by amplifying new and diverse voices through short-form journalism, making them an obvious partner for the urbanist journalism fellowship.

What's next?

The fellows begin their work this week and will be with us through the middle of December. They have already pitched some really intriguing story ideas, which will entail some deep dives into urbanist issues, and will also be writing some more traditional GGWash pices. So, keep your eye out for their bylines in the coming weeks.

Do you have questions or story ideas for the fellows? Let us know in the comments.

Sarah Guidi is Greater Greater Washington's Managing Director. A social worker by training, Sarah brings knowledge of nonprofit management, policy and advocacy, and community engagement to Greater Greater Washington. When she's not working, she enjoys visiting new parts of the city by bike, doing gymnastics, and reading novels. Sarah lives in the Petworth neighborhood of DC.