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Announcing the Los Angeles Times Fellowship’s second cohort

Portraits of eight people in the L.A. Times fellowship
The incoming class, clockwise from top left: Vanessa Arredondo, Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, Carlos De Loera, Anastasia Dextrene S. Johnson, Kenya Romero, Katie Licari, Helen Li and Astrid Kayembe.
(Los Angeles Times)

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

For nearly 40 years, the Los Angeles Times Fellowship program, formerly known as Metpro, has provided opportunities for journalists to be trained and coached by some of the best in the world and launched the careers of some of our most respected peers.

With our work being shared on new platforms, the fellowship program will continue to evolve.

We’re excited to introduce our second class of Los Angeles Times fellows, a cohort of journalists working in reporting, audio, data, multiplatform editing and, for the first time since the program’s relaunch, audience engagement. All will be working alongside us for the next year.

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 program includes multiweek rotations across the newsroom, where they will write, produce, edit, create data projects and more, with coaching from seasoned members of The Times’ staff.

During that time, fellows will receive formal mentorship and frequent performance evaluations. The Fellowship Advisory Committee — comprising managers, Guild members and alumni of the previous Metpro program, all of whom share a passion for creating space and opportunities for young, diverse talent to thrive in our newsroom — will also work with the fellows.

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Beyond training, the program will provide fellows with professional development opportunities in which they can polish their resumes and sharpen their cover letters to prepare for future opportunities in the industry.

The second-ever class of the Los Angeles Times Fellowship starts Monday.

Anastasia Dextrene S. Johnson was born in Toronto and raised in Montreal. She holds an honors bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto, a master of fine arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a master of science degree in journalism from Columbia University. Johnson’s early work in journalism earned her a position as a newsletter editor at the Senate of Canada and, later, as a copy editor and staff writer at the Washington Square News. She most recently completed The Times’ 2022 internship program through the Dow Jones News Fund as a multiplatform editor, where her career as a Billboard-featured singer-songwriter-actor made her a proud contributor to the entertainment and features copy desk. Johnson is thrilled to continue with the team as a fellow. When away from work, she can be found enjoying sunny Los Angeles or traveling the world. @AnaDextrene

Astrid Kayembe grew up in South-Central Los Angeles and is a recent graduate of USC, where she studied journalism. Most recently, she covered South Memphis, Whitehaven and Westwood for the Memphis Commercial Appeal through Report for America. She has also contributed to national and regional stories for the USA Today Network. While at USC, she was an Intersections South L.A. editor at USC Annenberg Media and arts and entertainment editor at the Daily Trojan. She previously served as a COVID-19 reporting intern at Los Angeles Times, a Truth Told fellow at Refinery29 through the Google News Initiative and social media associate at L.A. Taco. She is excited to return to The Times as a reporting fellow. She loves to explore local culture and subcultures through her reporting. Outside of the newsroom, she can likely be found looking for the best fried plantains in the city, taking pottery classes or rewatching “Insecure.” @astridkayembe_

Carlos De Loera is an L.A. County native and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in history and minored in journalism, ethics and democracy. He was previously an L.A. Times editorial assistant and an intern with the entertainment and arts team. He has also worked at the Houston Chronicle. His interests include talking about music, movies and his love for the San Gabriel Valley. He joins The Times as a reporting fellow. @carlosdeloera96

Helen Li grew up in Richmond, Va. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied international development. After working as a university teacher through the Princeton in Asia fellowship in China and Nepal, she pivoted to freelance journalism. She comes to The Times as an audio fellow from Rest of World, where she served as a fact-checking intern and freelance contributor. During the 2020 elections, she worked remotely with a team of volunteers to produce “Fresh Off the Vote,” an explanatory podcast about Asian American civic engagement. Her multilingual writing focuses on youth activism, international affairs, labor, technology and identity. She aspires to learn more about the human experience through different forms of storytelling. @helenliwrites

Katie Licari was a 2022 summer intern with The Times’ data and graphics department, where she covered local campaign finance. She recently graduated from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she focused on data journalism. Before her education took her up to the Bay Area, she studied political science and journalism at Santa Ana College and UC Irvine. She was a finalist for an L.A. Press Club SoCal Journalism Award for news feature for her work at the Daily Pilot. More recently, she won an SPJ NorCal James Madison Freedom of Information Award for her reporting on election misinformation for CalMatters. When she is not reporting, Licari can be found tending to her garden or bouldering in Joshua Tree National Park. She is excited to join The Times’ data and graphics team as its fellow. @bykatielicari

Kenya Romero is an East Los Angeles native and a graduate of Cal State L.A., where she studied television, film and media, with an emphasis in journalism. Before joining The Times as an audience engagement fellow, she was a digital producer at the Southern California News Group, where she handled 11 branded social media accounts and covered live entertainment events. Prior to that, she was a digital strategy intern at the Cedars-Sinai newsroom and worked as a social media coordinator at the news outlet Entertainment Scoop. She got her start in journalism working as a community news reporter at the University Times, Cal State L.A.’s newspaper, where she reported on underrepresented communities. Outside of the newsroom, Romero enjoys singing, playing the piano, creating content and reading a good book. @kenyaromero_

Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu is from Accra, Ghana. He comes to The Times from Protocol, where he covered tech policy and climate. Previously, he covered global religion news at the Associated Press in New York. Before that, he was a freelance journalist in Accra covering social justice, health and environment stories for international media. His reporting has been published by the New York Times, CNN, Al Jazeera English, Quartz, the Guardian, Public Radio International and more. He has a master of science degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor of arts from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

Vanessa Arredondo is a Chicana born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She is a proud product of community college and studied journalism at Pierce College. She acquired her skills while interning in Los Angeles newsrooms, including assignment desk duties at ABC-7, digital news writing at NBCLA and video editing/production at CNN Newsource. She transferred to UC Berkeley and graduated in 2020 with an English degree. She accepted a two-year Hearst Fellowship position at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she worked on the breaking news desk and later on the product side. She is a California girl through and through, sometimes unable to decide whether she likes L.A. or S.F. more. She is a fan of both the Dodgers and the Giants, which some may find strange. She has been freelancing in the Bay Area and is incredibly excited to join her hometown newspaper as a reporting fellow. @v_anana


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