George Soros Funding Criminal Justice Reform Plants In Legacy Media
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democratic megadonor George Soros will pay journalists anywhere from $63,000 to $85,000 to advance progressive criminal justice reform.

Soros is offering media fellowships, or “Soros Justice Fellowships,” through his nonprofit: the Open Society Foundations (OSF). Fellows must produce projects that align with Soros’ goals of reducing incarceration rates and sentencing guidelines.

Media fellowships last 12 months, with the expectation that fellows make the projects their full-time work. Up to three people may apply jointly for a single fellowship.

Journalists aren’t the only ones eligible for these fellowships. OSF offers three distinct categories of fellowship funding — advocacy, media, and youth activism — which may pay up to six figures, according to scholarship data provided to universities. These categories qualify a wide variety of professions such as lawyers, advocates, grassroots organizers, artists, and filmmakers.

As The Daily Wire has reported over the years, Soros Justice Fellowship alums have made headlines for their activism — this includes Mark-Anthony Johnson, longtime ally of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, and Susan Burton, founder of the criminal justice reform activist group, A New Way of Life (ANWOL).

The fellowship program isn’t new — Soros has offered this funding for over 25 years. Since the program’s inception, a total of 469 individuals have received fellowships. Most of the earliest fellows involved in media went on to become acclaimed journalists across a variety of major legacy outlets.

The following are current fellows involved in mainstream media, out of 18 total fellows for 2022:

  • Yasmine Arrington, of Washington, D.C., will produce a podcast featuring only “Black and brown youth voices” discussing the criminal justice system, including juvenile probation, reentry, and recidivism. Arrington has written for TeenVogue, Essence, Black Enterprise, Forbes Magazine, Washington Post, and Baltimore Times.
  • Zachary Siegel, of Chicago, Illinois, will write and narrate news coverage concerning current approaches to overdose deaths. Siegel has written for Harper’s Magazine, New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Nation, New Republic, WIRED, Politico, and Scientific American.
  • Irene Franco Rubio, a Phoenix, Arizona, native attending the University of Southern California, will produce a podcast on juvenile minority incarceration and their criminalization in public school systems. Franco Rubio has written for Forbes, USA Today, Teen Vogue, and NPR, as well as worked for Michelle Obama’s nonprofit. Franco Rubio was recognized as a scholar by a number of prominent groups: Facebook Journalism Project, Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Equal Voice News, International Center for Journalists, and ProPublica Diversity.

Several current fellowships went to budding journalist-activists:

  • Tiera Howleit, a student reporter at Indiana University’s collegiate paper. Howleit’s fellowship profile says that she will use the funds to “elevate the voices of people of color […] impacted by the criminal justice system.” Howleit founded “Black Collegians” in 2020, a social justice advocacy group.
  • Katherine Owojori, a pre-law student at USC, will work with Franco Rubio to produce the above-mentioned podcast. Owojori is an active member of Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles.

Past fellows involved in mainstream media, in the order in which their fellowship was awarded:

  • Cloee Cooper – PBS, The John Oliver Show, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Politico, Nevada Public Radio, Spectrum TV
  • Contessa Gayles – CNN, VICE, PBS Frontline, CBS, Wired, Al Jazeera, Vox
  • Lam Thuy Vo – Buzzfeed News, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, NPR, ProPublica, The Guardian, The New York Times, ESPN
  • May Jeong – Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Harper’s, The Intercept
  • Shanita Hubbard – The New York Times, HuffPost, Essence Magazine, Fusion, The Root
  • Cynthia Greenlee – The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vox, Self, Harper’s Bazaar, The Counter, American Prospect, Dissent, Ebony, Elle, Longreads, Salon, Smithsonian
  • Donovan Ramsey – The New York Times, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Ebony, GQ, New Republic, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Essence
  • Jenni Monet – The Guardian, Yes! Magazine, Los Angeles Times, PBS, Al Jazeera, Indian Country Today, Columbia Journalism Review
  • Julieta Martinelli – Futuro Media, Nashville Public Radio, CBS, Real Atlanta Magazine, Gwinnett Daily Post
  • James Kilgore – Medium, WIRED Magazine, Al Jazeera, Salon
  • Katie Rose Quandt – The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The Appeal, The Nation, Vice, Slate, Mother Jones, Brooklyn Magazine, America Magazine
  • Ebony Underwood – Huffington Post, Vibe, USA Today, The Appeal, Vibe, Mic
  • Isaac Bailey – The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Time, Esquire, CNN, Nieman Reports
  • Nick August-Perna – National Geographic, PBS, HBO, Vox, Vice
  • Judith Levine – Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, Vogue, Mother Jones, The Nation, Boston Review, Salon
  • Maia Szalavitz – The New York Times, Time, The Washington Post, Elle, New York Magazine, New Scientist, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC, NPR
  • Alisa Roth – NPR, CBS, PRI’s The World, Marketplace, The New York Times, Business Week, Nation
  • Mark Obbie – The Atlantic, The Trace, Politico, The New York Times, The American Lawyer, Texas Lawyer, Houston Post, Pacific Standard, Inc. Magazine, Slate
  • Osagie Obasogie – The New York Times, Slate, Scientific American, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, New Scientist
  • Seth Freed Wessler – Associated Press, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, NPR, NBC, This American Life, Elle, PRI’s The World
  • Luis Trelles – NPR
  • James Ridgeway – Mother Jones, The Economist, Parade, Harper’s, The Nation, The New York Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera
  • Jean Casella – Mother Jones, The Guardian, Solitary Watch, The Appeal, Al Jazeera, The Nation
  • Joel Medina – Huffington Post, Univision
  • Erin Siegal – The New York Times, Time, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker
  • Jonah Engle – The New York Times, BBC, NPR, Radio Netherlands International, Deutsche Welle, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Nation Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, Denver Post, Haitian Times
  • Lisa Riordan Seville – NBC News, The Crime Report, The Nation, MSNBC, The Daily Beast, Salon
  • Hannah Rappleye – The Wall Street Journal, Mail & Guardian, The Nation, City Limits, The Crime Report,, MSNBC
  • Chandra Thomas Whitfield – People, Essence, Ebony, The American Prospect, The Guardian, HuffPost, NBC News, NPR, U.S. News & World Report, Christian Science Monitor, MIT Technology Review, Time, Newsweek, The Root
  • Petra Bartosiewicz – Harper’s, Mother Jones, The Nation, New York Magazine, Texas Observer, This American Life
  • Amanda Crawford – Boston Globe, Businessweek, National Geographic, Chronicle of Higher Education, Ms. Magazine, Huffington Post, Arizona Republic, Baltimore Sun
  • Jesse Wegman – The New York Times, Reuters, Daily Beast, Newsweek, New York Observer
  • Renee Feltz – Democracy Now!, The Intercept, The New York Times, Texas Observer, PBS
  • Stokely Baksh – New Republic, Forbes, Mother Jones, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Marketwatch, PBS, The Nation, Al Jazeera
  • Jessica Pupovac – PBS, NPR, WBEZ Chicago, The Chicago Journal
  • Nancy Mullane – NPR, American Public Media
  • Patrice Gaines – The Washington Post, NPR, Washington Informer, Yahoo News, NBC News, Yes! Magazine, New York Times, Essence
  • Jennifer Thompson-Cannino – The New York Times, Durham-Herald Sun, Tallahassee Democrat
  • Erin Torneo – Cosmopolitan, Variety, Independent, indieWIRE
  • JoAnn Mar – NPR, Voice of America, Pacifica Radio, CBS Radio, KALW-FM
  • Jonathan Mahler – The New York Times, The New Republic, Slate, New York Magazine, Bloomberg, HuffPost, MSN, CNBC, Yahoo
  • Laura Mansnerus – The New York Times, Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, MSN, The Boston Globe, Business Standard, Tampa Bay Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Paul Butler – MSNBC, NBC News, Nature, The Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Yahoo, People
  • Susan Koch – ABC, NBC, HBO, PBS, MTV, Discovery Channel, National Geographic
  • David Dent – The Daily Beast, PBS, HuffPost
  • Emily Bazelon – New York Times Magazine, Business Insider, HuffPost, MSN, The Independent, The Washington Post, ABC News, The Atlantic, Yahoo, Miami Herald, Vogue, RealClear Politics, Slate
  • Mary Beth Pfeiffer – Forbes, HuffPost, Scientific American, The Globe and Mail, The Hill, Newsday, RealClear Politics, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Steve Liss – Time, PBS
  • Amy Bach – New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Nation, Slate
  • Elizabeth Amon – Bloomberg News, The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, The New York Times, Harper’s, The Imprint
  • Nathan Blakeslee – Texas Monthly, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, Houston Chronicle, The Texas Observer
  • Robin Mejia – The Washington Post, Science, Mother Jones, LA Times, CNN
  • Slawomir Grunberg – PBS, HBO, ABC, NBC
  • Tyrone Turner – National Geographic, NPR, DCist
  • Brenda Kenneally – New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Ms. Magazine
  • Jan Goodwin – New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie-Claire, Real Simple, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal
  • Sara Cantania – Los Angeles Times, Reuters
  • Adrian LeBlanc – Seventeen Magazine, New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Esquire
  • Alden Loury – Chicago Sun-Times, WBEZ-FM, The Chicago Reporter, WVIK-FM
  • John Biewen – NPR, American RadioWorks
  • Sasha Abramsky – The Nation, American Prospect, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, The Atlantic, HuffPost, San Francisco Weekly, The Guardian, Mother Jones, New York Magazine
  • Andrew Lichtenstein – Yahoo, Business Insider, MSN, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, The New Republic
  • Dan Collison – Newsweek, NPR, Thomson Reuters Foundation
  • Eric Whitney – NPR, CNN, The Washington Post, WebMD, The Atlantic, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New Jersey Public Radio
  • Nell Bernstein – The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, The Crime Report, The San Francisco Standard
  • Jennifer Gonnerman – The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Village Voice

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