Katerina Portela selected as first JMS-Pulitzer Center Fellow

Monday, April 22, 2024
Katerina Portela: School of Journalism and Media Studies’ Pulitzer Center Fellow
Katerina Portela: School of Journalism and Media Studies’ Pulitzer Center Fellow

Katerina Portela, a third-year journalism major, has been selected as the School of Journalism and Media Studies’ Pulitzer Center Fellow for the upcoming summer. This recognition is part of the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium Reporting Fellowship, which is aimed at empowering students to effect change and engage diverse audiences through independent journalism projects. This marks the first year of JMS's partnership with the Pulitzer Center to offer this opportunity.

"Receiving the fellowship is exciting because it helps me to prove that I'm doing well in what I'm passionate about and makes me feel more confident as I'm going into the field,” said Portela. “It’s encouraging to see that other people are recognizing my work and feel that my work is valid and has a place.” 

Portela's project will cover the multifaceted transborder sewage crisis impacting the Imperial Beach community — specifically families and long-term residents. She intends to incorporate a cross-border perspective by engaging with residents and leaders in Tijuana. Employing a multimedia approach encompassing photography, audio and video, Portela’s plan is to capture interviews, Tijuana’s infrastructure, the polluted ocean and the daily lives of Imperial Beach’s impacted community.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the project, Portela emphasized the need to delve deeper into the human aspect of the issue. "I'm really excited to pursue this story. I'm hoping to give a more full picture because I felt as if so much reporting I was seeing was on how this is affecting businesses or the environment, which is very important as well. But it wasn't so much about how people are feeling in Imperial Beach and how they are being affected in their day-to-day lives."

Temple Northup, director of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, is excited to see both the new partnership with the Pulitzer Center and that Portela has been selected. 

“I am thrilled to partner with the Pulitzer Center. This provides an incredible avenue to empower our students to pursue impactful stories and amplify important voices. When thinking about the goals of this fellowship, I can’t think of a better first recipient than Katerina Portela."

Ann Winters, director of University and Community Outreach at the Pulitzer Center, echoes Northup's sentiment.

"We are thrilled by Katerina's selection as the first JMS-Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellow. We're eager for her to go forth and report - and for her to come back to campus and share her experiences."

Portela’s work will be published on the Pulitzer Center’s website as well as other media outlets.

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