Local News Fellows Named for 2021-2022

Departmental News

Posted:  September 22, 2021

The New Mexico Local News Fellowship program, managed by the UNM Communication and Journalism Department, is announcing four newsroom matches for 2021-2022.

The program matches four recent graduates with four local newsrooms and pays for their first 9-months of employment. After the fellowship ends, the program hopes to see each fellow pursue an ongoing career in local news in New Mexico.

“We’re proud to move forward with another four graduates of New Mexico journalism schools,” said program manager Gwyneth Doland-Parker. “These promising journalists will be placed under the guidance of four leaders at local newspapers around our state.”

These are the newly selected fellows and their host newsrooms:

Sol Traverso

 UNM Taos News Taylor Hood
Claudia Silva

 UNMSU Carlsbad Current-Argus Jessica Onsurez
Will Jennings

 UNM Gallup  Independent Richard Reyes
Bella Davis UNM Santa Fe Reporter Julie Ann Grimm


The fellowship program started in 2019 and is supported by the New Mexico Local News Fund. The program’s mission is to facilitate school-to-work opportunities for journalism graduates, while helping support the diverse staffing needs of local newsrooms around the state.

“It’s exciting to be entering our third cycle of fellowships,” said Michael Marcotte, UNM Professor of Practice in Journalism, the program’s founder. “Journalism today is in a state of flux and both graduates and employers need help in keeping newsrooms strong for the benefit of our local communities. This program really helps.”

These fellowships began as the previous fellowships came to successful ending.

The four young journalists who just concluded their fellowships are: Makayla Grijalva, a UNM graduate who wrote for the Silver City Press under mentor Nick Seibel; Bryce Dix, a UNM graduate who produced programming for New Mexico PBS under mentor Kevin McDonald; Leah Romero, an NMSU graduate who reported for the Las Cruces Sun-News under mentor Lucas Peerman; and, Felicia Pohl, a UNM graduate who wrote for the Independent in Edgewood under mentor Leota Harriman.

This year the program expanded to include alumni applications from the state’s three leading journalism programs: UNM, NMSU and ENMU. All newsrooms in New Mexico are eligible to apply as host sites. These include radio, television, newspaper, magazine and digital-only.

Under the program, each newsroom is provided $28,500 to employ their fellow for nine months. This year, the program also added a pre-fellowship “bootcamp,” managed by journalism trainer Julia Goldberg. The new fellowships began in June and conclude in March 2022.