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Announcing the Los Angeles Times Fellowship program, a revamp of Metpro

Images of nine Los Angeles Times fellows in a grid
The 2021 inaugural Los Angeles Times fellows, top row from left: Angel Carreras, Anumita Kaur and Ashlea Brown; middle row: Jaimie Ding, Jason Sanchez and Jonah Valdez; bottom row: Kenan Draughorne, Melissa Hernandez and Salma Loum.

The following announcement was sent on behalf of Assistant Managing Editor Angel Jennings and Deputy Editor Joseph Serna:

For nearly 40 years, the Metpro program has trained hundreds of award-winning journalists, providing them with the skills to report, edit and photograph some of the biggest and most sensitive stories in the world and lead newsrooms across the country.

And now, as The Times ushers in a new era under the ownership of Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and the leadership of Executive Editor Kevin Merida, it’s time for the next chapter.

We’re proud to announce the Los Angeles Times Fellowship, a one-year program for early-career journalists to train and work alongside some of the best in the world. The new program, which was created over the last year by the Metpro Advisory Committee, will continue to foster deep connections with our communities through fellows who bring a diversity of life experiences and perspectives.

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These fellows will receive six weeks of instruction on how to operate, navigate and succeed in a major newsroom, with training geared toward their specific interests. The next stage of their training includes multiweek rotations across the newsroom, where they will write, produce, edit, create data projects and more with coaching from seasoned L.A. Times staff.

During that time, fellows will receive formal mentorship, frequent performance evaluations and career counseling. The Metpro Advisory Committee, a group composed of more than 15 managers, Guild members and Metpro alumni — all of whom share a deep passion for creating space and opportunities for young, diverse talent to thrive in our newsroom — will also work with the fellows. Going forth, the group will be called the Fellowship Advisory Committee and will provide the fellows with guidance and support.

Beyond training, the program will provide fellows with professional development opportunities where they can polish their resumes, sharpen their cover letters and prepare for future opportunities in the industry. The inaugural class of the Los Angeles Times Fellowship starts Monday.

Please join us in welcoming them. Their bios are below:

Angel Carreras is a Bakersfield-raised Cal State Long Beach journalism graduate. He comes to The Times from KCRW, where he was a part of the station’s inaugural Report LA Fellowship. He created character-driven work with subjects that included budding musicians, professional wrestlers and puppeteers as well as mutual aid groups and community activists making runs for political office. He is excited to continue his career in audio covering the sounds and voices of L.A. He joins the audio team as a fellow. You can find him on Twitter @stellarstuffs.

Anumita Kaur was born and raised in California. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara, where she studied sociology and history, and spent a lot of time at the beach. Most recently, she was a reporter with Pacific Daily News on Guam, where she also spent a lot of time at the beach. Her reporting on Guam included just about everything, but she brought particular focus onto the island’s U.S. military presence. She’s thrilled to now serve her home state audience as an L.A. Times reporting fellow. Kaur will be based out of The Times’ Washington, D.C., bureau, which may not offer beaches, but a new adventure altogether. You can find her on Twitter @anumitakaur.

Ashlea Brown is a native of North Carolina who majored in English at Spelman College in Atlanta. There, she worked on the university’s newspaper, the BluePrint, and joined the National Assn. of Black Journalists. She enrolled in UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2019, where she discovered a love for audio reporting, and graduated in May. She has freelanced for KQED, interned with CapRadio in Sacramento and worked as a producer on UC Berkeley’s Law School podcast, “Climate Break.” Brown is most proud of her thesis work, a 30-minute audio documentary on the untold story of anguish and exile of former Black Panther Barbara Easley-Cox. She just completed the Los Angeles Times’ 2021 summer internship program, during which she worked on “The Times” podcast and took on a role as a fill-in producer. She will be based in Los Angeles as an audio fellow. Find her on Twitter @_ashSAID.

Jaimie Ding is a recent graduate of Scripps College, where she studied politics. She comes to The Times from her local paper, the Oregonian, where she covered police, criminal justice and protests as the night breaking news reporter. Ding began her journalism career as news editor for the Claremont Colleges newspaper before interning at the Sacramento Bee. During the summer of 2020, she interned for AP Entertainment while living in Seoul, where she also studied abroad. She’s excited to branch out and try new beats at The Times. She’s also passionate about good food and live music. She will be joining The Times as a reporting fellow. You can find her on Twitter @j_dingdingding.

Jason Sanchez recently graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in communications and an emphasis in journalism. At Fullerton, he contributed to the student newspaper and deejayed a hip-hop show for the campus radio station. Sanchez recently completed The Times’ 2021 summer internship program on the copy desk as a Dow Jones News Fund multiplatform editing intern. In his free time, he likes to catch up with friends, listen to music or watch TV. He is thrilled to rejoin the copy desk as a fellow. Find him on Twitter @jasongsanch.

Jonah Valdez was born in Loma Linda and raised in San Diego. With a Filipino postcolonial history professor for a grandfather on one side and a poet on the other, Valdez grew up with a critical eye toward those in power and appreciative of what brings joy and beauty into the world. While studying history and English at La Sierra University, he ran the campus newspaper and interned at his hometown paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune. After graduating in 2016, he freelanced for Voice of San Diego and the San Diego Reader. Valdez eventually found a new home in Los Angeles, where he worked for KABC-TV as a news assistant, then covered crime, disasters and breaking news for the Southern California News Group. On his days off, Valdez allows gluttony to lead the way toward his next meal in this amazing food city; soundtrack: “FUN!” by Vince Staples and “Better Than Me” by Blood Orange. He’s excited to join The Times as a reporting fellow. You can find him on Twitter @jonahmv.

Kenan Draughorne is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, where he studied journalism and served as an editor at the Daily Trojan. An avid music fan, his byline can be found at several music publications including DJBooth, HipHopDX and Ones to Watch. Previously, he was a local editor at Patch, covering multiple communities across Los Angeles. When he’s not writing a story, you’ll find him skating down Dockweiler Beach, learning a new song on piano or furiously updating his Spotify playlists. He will be joining The Times as a reporting fellow. You can find him on Twitter @kenandraughorne.

Melissa Hernandez was born and raised in Miami. She is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she studied journalism and environmental science. She just finished The Times’ 2021 summer internship program, during which she covered general assignments on the Metro desk. Before arriving in California, she was an investigative/enterprise reporter for Fresh Take Florida, a news service offered by UF. Hernandez is a three-time Society of Professional Journalists award winner and her biggest passion is long-form investigative reporting. She’s an avid lover of golden retrievers and rocky road ice cream and is beyond excited to be continuing her stay at the Los Angeles Times as a reporting fellow. She can be found via Twitter, @melissamh_.

Salma Loum is a recent graduate of Stanford University with a master’s degree in journalism and a focus on computational investigative projects involving women’s rights. She moved from Cairo, Egypt, to Los Angeles at the age of 21 after covering the Egyptian Revolution and Muslim Brotherhood unrest between 2011 and 2013. During that time, she was a freelance war-zone camera operator working with Sky News Arabia and BBC Arabia among other local Egyptian news stations. Loum’s most recent bylines are with the Minneapolis Star Tribune data team covering the reverberations following George Floyd’s murder. Her interests include hot yoga, hiking, traveling the world and everything cameras. She is excited to use her diverse skill set to create effective stories when she joins the L.A. Times Data and Graphics team as a data fellow. Find her on Twitter @SalmaLoum.


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