The 10 reporters for the Hidden Surge investigate team were selected from a pool of student applicants. Each was awarded a $7,500 scholarship to help defray the costs of the quarter of investigative reporting under the auspices of the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative.
Lauren Everitt, a Texas native, specialized in health and science reporting at Medill; her work appeared in the Northwest Indiana Times, Skyline News, Chicago Journal, Shore Magazine, Science in Society blog, Get Healthy online magazine and the University of Chicago Spiritual Life website. Prior to Medill, Lauren worked in information technology and made the jump to journalism after moving to South Africa to write for The Big Issue in Cape Town.
Gina Harkins completed her master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in December 2011. She focused her time at Medill covering national security, public policy and military issues. Her work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Military Times, the Sacramento Bee and United Press International. Gina is a Chicago-area native and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international relations and comparative politics from Northeastern Illinois University.
Kyle Jahner finished his graduate requirements at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in spring 2011, spent the following summer as a News 21 fellow before working on the National Security Reporting and is now a reporter for the News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He reported on education, health care and national security in his time at Medill after a brief career as a sportswriter in Santa Barbara, Calif. A native of St. Louis, Kyle moved to Singapore at 13. After high school he headed off to the University of Southern California, where he earned a journalism bachelor’s degree and a business minor. USC is also where he picked up his rugby habit, one he has consistently indulged in for more than eight years for five teams in four states.
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Karla Dawn Meier finished her M.S.J. degree from the Medill School of Journalism in December 2011. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn., Meier joined Medill after one year as a staff writer for World Tribune, a weekly newspaper exploring Buddhist philosophy, in Santa Monica, Calif. At Medill, she reported on housing issues and education policy. She received her B.A. from Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, Calif. where she studied American literature and history.
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Growing up in India and dreaming of a career in journalism, Sridhar Natarajan worked with a sports management company right after college, covering golf for nearly two years. Sridhar earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology from Uttar Pradesh Technical University in India. At Medill, he participated in the summer 2011 innovation project.
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Caitlin O’Neil graduated with her master’s degree from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in December 2011. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010 with a bachelor’s in journalism. At Medill, Caitlin focused on business reporting and national security reporting with an interactive publishing concentration. She also participated in the summer 2011 innovation project.
Gulnaz Saiyed graduates with her master’s degree from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in June 2012. She’s a 2008 graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans, with a degree in English and Women’s Studies. As a Medill student, she is concentrating on magazine publishing. She has covered education and innovation in learning as well as national security. For two years prior to enrolling at Medill, she taught eighth grade English/Language Arts in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley with Teach for America. She spent summer 2011 as a News21 fellow at Northwestern.
Bob Spoerl is a native of Wisconsin. After studying philosophy and English at Loyola University Chicago, he enrolled in a master’s program at the Medill School of Journalism and earned his degree December 2011. Before working on Hidden Surge, Bob was the first John Callaway Fellow in Online Journalism at WTTW’s news hour Chicago Tonight.
Phillip Swarts, a native of Warsaw, Ind., attended both undergraduate and graduate school at Medill. He focused on government, the military and public affairs, and he interned at The Oregonian in Portland, Ore. He volunteers at the Newseum. He has been to six continents, and will be checking off his seventh (Africa) in 2012.
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Andrew Theen finished his MSJ at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in December 2011. His work has appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio, McClatchy News Service, Bloomberg Newsw, DIME Magazine, Military Times and distributed through United Press International and elsewhere. In addition to being a fellow with the National Security Reporting Project, he was also a Carnegie-Knight Initiative News 21 fellow in summer 2011. After graduating, he began an internship with Bloomberg News.
Josh Meyer left the Lost Angeles Times/Tribune’s Washington Bureau in early 2010 to help launch the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative, which aims to find the best ways to teach and to do national security journalism in this changing media environment—especially across all digital platforms. Meyer won numerous local, state and national awards in his 20 years at the Times, including his last nine years as the paper’s terrorism/national security reporter. He is based in Washington at Medill. He teaches a class, Covering Conflicts, Terrorism and National Security, and leads groups of post-graduate students on three-month investigations as part of the initiative’s National Security Reporting Project. As the initiative’s director for education and outreach, he is also responsible for helping build the initiative’s efforts to assist and inform working journalists and scholars as well as students and educators.
Ellen Shearer is the William F. Thomas Professor at Medill and director of the school’s Washington Program, Medill News Service. She is co-director of the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative. She is co-author of “Nonvoters: America’s No-Shows” and has written chapters in five media books. Before joining the Medill faculty, she was a senior editor at New York Newsday, a consulting editor at Newhouse News Service, marketing executive and Reuters, and held positions as senior executive, bureau chief and reporter during a 10-year stint at United Press International.
Kat Downs is the Interactive Projects Editor at The Washington Post. Before coming to The Post in early 2008, she worked at The Baltimore Sun. She creates multimedia projects that combine video, photography, graphics and social media. The youngest of seven girls, she grew up in Franklin, a small town in western North Carolina. She studied visual communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her work has been honored by the Peabody Awards, the Society of Newspaper Design, the Online Journalism Awards and the Malofiej International Infographics Awards.
Greg Linch is the web producer for world and national security coverage at The Washington Post. He previously worked at Pubilsh2, a journalism-technology start-up, and in college co-founded CoPress, a college media and technology start-up. A graduate of the University of Miami, Linch and has interned at the Dallas Morning News, The Miami Herald and South Florida Sun Sentinel.