Announcing the 2023 Early Childhood Reporting Fellowships
The Dart Center's third inaugural International Early Childhood Journalism Initiative are virtual programs -- one global in scope, one focused on Brazil, and a third aimed at Latin America broadly -- that aim to illuminate issues related to young children’s growth and development, and the well-being of their caregivers. The three programs will support 36 journalists with reporting stipends, coaching and mentoring, and monthly webinars to build and deepen knowledge on early childhood development and its intersection with the most pressing issues of today. The deadline has passed. Selected applicants will be informed by April 14, followed by a public announcement of three new cohorts in mid-May.
We're pleased to announce the third year of Fellowships for the Dart Center's International Early Childhood Journalism Initiative. These virtual fellowships -- one global in scope, one focused on Brazil, and one for Latin America broadly -- strive to illuminate issues related to young children’s growth and development, and the well-being of their caregivers. The three programs will support 36 journalists with reporting stipends, coaching and monthly webinars to deepen knowledge on early childhood development and its intersection with the most pressing issues of today. The deadline has passed. Selected applicants will be informed by April 14, followed by a public announcement of three new cohorts in mid-May.
For more information on the Global fellowship (to be conducted in English) click here.
For more information on the Brazil fellowship (to be conducted in Portuguese) click here.
For more information and on the Latin America Fellowship (to be conducted in Spanish) click here.
The Global Early Childhood Reporting Fellowship will be led by Karen Brown, a public radio reporter, print journalist, essayist and audio documentarian, with a special focus on health, trauma, and mental health. In addition to 20 years reporting for New England Public Radio, Karen has contributed to NPR, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, American Radioworks and other national outlets. She has focused recently on training other journalists, including consulting for the Dart Center’s workshops on Early Childhood Development and serving as mentor/senior fellow for the USC Center for Health Journalism’s training program. Her own reporting projects have explored the biology of resilience, trauma-informed communities, bipolar disorder in children and addiction treatment. In 2019, she co-produced the narrative podcast for PRX’s Radiotopia called “The Great God of Depression.” Her awards include the National Edward R. Murrow Award, The Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, Public Radio News Directors Inc. Award, the Erikson Prize for Mental Health Media and the Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma (Honorable Mention). She was an MITKnight Science journalism fellow and a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism fellow. For a selection of stories, visit karenbrownreports.org.
For a decade, Caselli was a foreign correspondent in Latin America, reporting for the BBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times and others. In 2019, she started covering early childhood for The Correspondent. In January 2021, she launched her own newsletter, The First 1,000 Days, where she continues her writing about the first 1,000 days, the foundational period of our lives that is too often overlooked, partly influenced by her experience as the mother of Lorenzo and León.
She published a chapter in “Unbias the News,” a book about how to make journalism more diverse. She produced a documentary on women’s football and gender inequality, and one of her short films on the same subject received a prize for collaborative journalism.
Caselli has been awarded fellowships by the International Women’s Media Foundation, the European Journalism Centre and the Solutions Journalism Network. She speaks six languages (English, Italian, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese), and is now learning Greek.
The Brazil Early Childhood Reporting Fellowship will be led by Fábio Takahashi, a former editor at the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, where he ran the data journalism desk. Takahashi previously worked as an education reporter at Folha from 2003 to 2016, and helped create Folha’s University Ranking, Brazil’s most comprehensive evaluation of college-level institutions. Takahashi was a Spencer fellow at Columbia University 2016-2017.
He is also the founder and current president of Jeduca (the first association for education reporters in Brazil, the Education Reporters Association), which was launched in 2016. In 2013, he was the first journalist to attend the Executive Leadership Program in Early Childhood Development, a short course at Harvard University. Currently he works as a PR content manager at Loft.
Mariana Kotscho will serve as a story mentor for the Fellowship. Kotscho is a journalist with, has 30 years experience as a reporter and television host, and has worked for several major TV Stations in Brazil, including TV Cultura and TV Globo.
She is the winner of the Vladimir Herzog Award for coverage of human rights issues for Globonews and a volunteer consultant at the Instituto Maria da Penha.
Kotscho created the program "Papo de Mãe," which covers topics related to education, behavior and child health. After 12 years on TV, Papo de Mãe is now UOL's partner website. On TV Globo (Bem Estar), Mariana Kotscho is a commentator on family relations and violence against women. She is the mother of three teenagers: Laura, Isabel and André.
Daniela Tófoli will serve as a story mentor for the Fellowship. Tófoli is an editorial director at the Brazilian publishing house Editora Globo, where she oversees work on Marie Claire, Quem, Crescer, Galileu, TechTudo, Casa e Jardim, Vida de Bicho and Monet. She is a member of Associação Nacional de Editores de Revistas, the Brazilian National Association of Magazine Editors. Her work has focused on the areas of parenting, family, health and education.
She has been an invited speaker on the subjects of maternity for fathers, as well as mothers and businesses. She is a weekly columnist for Rádio CBN and author of the blog “Mãe de Tween,” about pre-teens, on the website of the newspaper O Globo. She is author of the book "Pré-Adolescente: Um Guia Para Entender Seu Filho” (“Pre-adolescent: A Guide to Understanding Your Child”). Tófoli is a graduate of the faculty of communication at Casper Libero College, a private university in São Paulo, and completed a magazine publishing course at Yale University. She is also the mother of 12-year-old Helena.
Bob Ortega will serve as story coach. He is a senior writer for CNN Investigates, covering border and immigration issues from Phoenix, Arizona.
Beginning his journalism career in Alaska, Ortega worked as a television reporter in Fairbanks, Juneau, and Anchorage and later moved into print journalism at the Anchorage Times, where he uncovered a military program testing deadly biological and chemical agents in a remote military base near Delta, Alaska. Ortega later served as managing editor of the Homer News, and moved to the Seattle Times and the Wall Street Journal where he reported on child labor and other issues. While at the Journal, Bob wrote "In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton and Wal-mart, the World's Largest Retailer."
Ortega spent ten years working overseas training journalists in investigative reporting in countries such as Paraguay, Georgia, Belarus and Ukraine, working through a military coup in Paraguay and revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine. A program he led to assist independent news media in Belarus was shut down by the Lukashenko regime, which revoked his visa and forced him to leave the country.
Ortega is the recipient of the Hillman Prize for social justice reporting, and the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. In 2013, he also received the Sidney Award for reporting on a deeply flawed and widely used screening test for cervical cancer. He served as a Knight International Press Fellow in Paraguay, and has trained journalists in 17 countries on four continents. Ortega was also a professor of journalism at Ryerson University, in Toronto, Canada.
Ortega moved with his family from Mexico City to the United States when he was nine. He has a degree in history from Princeton University and graduate degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Paula Perim will serve as a story mentor for the Fellowship. Perim has over 25 years of experience in journalism, strategic communication, branded content, and communication for social causes. She holds a master's degree in Communication and Semiotics from PUC, a bachelor's degree in Journalism from FIAM and Photography studies, all in São Paulo, Brazil. Paula also completed executive courses in Marketing Strategy, at the London School of Economics; Publishing Magazines, at Yale University; Executive Leadership in Early Childhood Development, at Harvard University, and studies in Behavioral Economics and in Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC).
From 2017 to 2021, Paula worked as Communication and Awareness Director at Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation, one of the most important organizations focused on Early Childhood in Brazil. Before that, Paula worked for 17 years at Editora Globo as editor-in-chief at Crescer (focused on parenting) and later became the publisher of a group of magazines: Casa e Jardim (decorating and gardening), Casa e Comida (cooking), Galileu (science and youth behavior), in addition to Crescer. She is the author of the book "101 ideas to enjoy with your child - before he/she turns 10" and editorial director of the books: "Babies of Brazil - A portrait of Brazil in photos and stories of 27 children" (partnership with UNICEF) and "Crescer por um mundo melhor” (“Growing up for a better world”). Paula began her career working as a producer at MTV-Brasil. She is the proud mother of Júlia and Beatriz.
Joanne Silberner will serve as a story coach. Joanne is an independent multimedia journalist who lives in Seattle and over the course of her career has reported from 19 countries on global health and mental health issues.
After studying biology in college, she got a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and then wrote for a series of magazines. She made a mid-career switch to radio and worked at NPR for 18 years, doing audio stories on medical research, health policy, global health, and mental health. In 2010 she moved to Seattle where she freelanced and taught journalism and radio reporting for 8 years at the University of Washington, then continued freelancing from London for 2 years, meanwhile commissioning and editing global health stories for the British Medical Journal. She’s won numerous awards, including the Victor Cohn Prize for Medical and Science Writing and the Keck Communication Award from the National Academy of Sciences, had year-long fellowships at the Harvard School of Public Health and from the Kaiser Family Foundation, and was a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow, focusing on the treatment of mental illnesses, including post-partum depression, in developing countries. She’s mentored Pulitzer Center grant recipients and has received support from the center for a series of reporting projects from Haiti, India, Uganda, Australia, and Fiji. She’s a founding member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Recent stories have appeared in STAT, WIRED, NPR, Undark, and Global Health.
These fellowships are part of “The Early Childhood Reporting Initiative: Covering Trauma, Resilience and the Developing Brain,” a multi-year Dart Center training program to improve news coverage of early childhood development around the world.
This initiative has been underwritten by the Bernard van Leer Foundation (Netherlands), the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation (Brazil), and The Two Lilies Fund (United States).