Five Student Journalists Receive $2500 Deadline Club Scholarships

Contact: George Bodarky,

Deadline Club scholarships highlight the work of students from
Hofstra, William Paterson and Columbia universities

The Deadline Club, the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is pleased to announce five winners in its 2019 scholarship competition.

The prizes will be presented at the club’s annual awards dinner on May 20 at the Harvard Club of New York City.

A total of 60 applications were received, representing a range of colleges in the New York metropolitan area and covering critically important issues in communities near and far.

“It couldn’t be any more inspiring to see so much interest and enthusiasm in wanting to make an impact through the field of journalism,” said George Bodarky, scholarship committee co-chair with Katina Paron. “At a time when press freedoms are consistently under attack, it’s critically important to invest in the future of journalism. The Deadline Club hopes this scholarship program plays a role in strengthening journalistic efforts in the U.S. and beyond.”

The five winners have demonstrated an extraordinary dedication to storytelling in underrepresented communities and uphold the standards of truth and fairness. Each will receive $2,500 and a certificate acknowledging their journalistic accomplishments.

The five winners are:

  • Tess McClure, a journalist from New Zealand, is completing a master’s degree in global affairs and political journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported from the Philippines, Cambodia and Madagascar, and her writing is focused on mental health, human rights and supply chains.
  • Alaa Elassar, a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. is a news journalist at Storyful and freelance writer and producer on the CNN international desk, where she worked as an undergraduate student. Alaa’s passion for journalism stems from her love of national and international politics and her goal of uncovering hidden stories with impact.
  • Bianca Fortis is a master’s degree candidate at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she is specializing in investigative reporting. She has written for the Detroit Free Press, VICE, NBC News and CNBC. She got her start in newspapers and has reported from the halls of the White House to the foothills of an active volcano.
  • Sarah Emily Baum is a rising sophomore at Hofstra University Honors College with a double major in journalism and public policy. She started her freelance career at 17, while still in high school. By graduation, she had done crisis reporting on mass shootings with Teen Vogue, begun working as a senior project reporter with The Trace and The Miami Herald and had an op-ed piece published in the online and print editions of The New York Times.
  • Olivia Biel is a student journalist at William Paterson, where she writes for The Beacon, the university newspaper. Originally an English major, she decided to pursue journalism in the spring of 2018 after a course in media writing inspired her to shed light on critical issues.

The May 20 awards dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Harvard Club, 35 West 44th Street, and feature keynote speakers Maggie Haberman of The New York Times and Brian Stelter of CNN. For reservations, visit 2019 Awards Dinner.

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