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Scripps Howard Foundation Announces Inaugural Class of Roy W. Howard Fellows

January 25, 2021

Roy W. Howard fellows

The first class of Roy W. Howard Fellows began their yearlong assignments this month at five nonprofit news organizations with strong commitments to investigative journalism.

The fellowships are the latest investment from the Scripps Howard Foundation toward the development and training of emerging investigative journalists. The Scripps Howard Foundation established the fellowship program in 2020 with an investment of up to $1.5 million in honor of Roy W. Howard, legendary journalist and news executive of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).

The fellows are graduates of the Howard Centers for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State University and the University of Maryland and were selected by the news organizations through a competitive process. They will spend the year working side by side with reporters and editorial leaders at their assigned newsrooms.

“The Roy W. Howard Fellowships, like the Howard Centers for Investigative Journalism, were established to honor the legacy of storied journalist and venerable news executive Roy Howard,” said Liz Carter, president and chief executive officer of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “His dedication to pursuing stories across the globe helped shape the field of journalism. We are thrilled that this cadre of emerging journalists will continue in the same investigative tradition and look forward to the important information they bring to light during their fellowships and beyond.”

The first class of Roy W. Howard Fellows:

Agya Aning – Howard Center at Arizona State University
Aning spent several years teaching English as a second language in China and Taiwan before deciding to pursue a career in investigative journalism. While completing his degree at ASU, he interned on the business desk at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Aning is working at InsideClimate News.

Austin Fast – Howard Center at Arizona State University
Fast graduated from ASU with a master’s degree in investigative journalism, which he intends to use to examine systemic issues plaguing America’s diverse and rural populations. At ASU, Fast completed extensive data analysis for two semesters with the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. He also hosted and produced podcasts as the Tampa Bay Times’ first audio intern and reported spot news for Phoenix’s public radio station, KJZZ. Fast is working at NPR.

Chloe Jones – Howard Center at Arizona State University
During her education at ASU, Jones reported in Mexico, Peru and Panama and led an award-winning investigation about sewage on the southern border. She has been a sustainability reporter for Cronkite News, investigative fellow for News21 and an investigative reporter for the Howard Center. She also interned at the local NPR station, KJZZ, and the Arizona Republic, covering spot and breaking news. Jones is working at PBS NewsHour.

Sean McGoey – Howard Center at the University of Maryland
A data journalist, McGoey graduated from UMD’s journalism master’s program in 2020. He obtained and analyzed eviction records for the Howard Center’s “Nowhere to Go” reporting project and worked as a data and graphics reporter for Capital News Service. McGoey is working at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Katie Surma – Howard Center at Arizona State University
Surma is an attorney and journalist practicing law in the area of commercial litigation, with a specialization in rule of law, governance and democracy issues. Katie has worked as a reporter for the Arizona Republic and the Chicago Tribune, covering national politics and business, respectively. Surma earned her master’s degree in investigative journalism from ASU and is working at InsideClimate News.

Helen Wieffering – Howard Center at Arizona State University
Before pursuing investigative journalism, Wieffering worked as a data analyst and freelancer. While earning her master’s degree at Arizona State University, she worked as a graduate research assistant and covered breaking news and state politics for two Arizona newspapers. Wieffering is working at The Associated Press.

“We’ve assigned Agya Aning and Katie Surma, our Roy W. Howard fellows, to energize and deepen our coverage of environmental justice. It's clear to us that the data skills – and the investigative mindset – they've honed during their studies [at ASU’s Howard Center] perfectly position them to get at this critical but long undercovered story,” said Vernon Loeb, executive editor of InsideClimate News. “We've also seen, very quickly, what effect fresh eyes and a jolt of enthusiasm have had on their colleagues. Agya and Katie are clearly force multipliers.”

As the philanthropic organization of The E.W. Scripps Company, the Foundation partners with the company and the Scripps and Howard families to create a better-informed world by advancing journalism and journalism education. The Scripps Howard Foundation funds up to 19 journalism fellowships each year across its Ted Scripps Environmental Fellowships, the Scripps Howard Journalism Fellowships and the newly established Roy W. Howard Fellowships. Other ongoing Foundation journalism initiatives include programs to advance diversity in journalism and the annual Scripps Howard Awards – the only nationally broadcast journalism awards program in the country.

About the Scripps Howard Foundation
The Scripps Howard Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) and the communities it serves, with a special emphasis on journalism education, excellence in journalism and childhood literacy. At the crossroads of the classroom and the newsroom, the Foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development and First Amendment causes. The Scripps Howard Awards stand as one of the industry’s top honors for outstanding journalism and the Foundation’s annual “If You Give a Child a Book …” childhood literacy campaign has distributed more than 352,000 new books to children in need across the nation since 2017. In support of its mission to create a better-informed world, the Foundation also partners with Scripps brands to create awareness of local issues and support impactful organizations to drive solutions that help build thriving communities.