Announcing the Los Angeles Times Fellowship’s 2023-24 class

Los Angeles Times Fellows for 2023-2024.
The incoming class, top row: Ashley Ahn, left, Michael Blackshire and Anthony De Leon. Center row: Jireh Deng, left, and Defne Karabatur. Bottom row: Angie Orellana Hernandez, left, Caroline Petrow-Cohen and Ananya Thyagarajan.
(Los Angeles Times)

The following announcement is sent on behalf of Assistant Managing Editor for Culture and Talent Angel Jennings and Deputy Editor for Culture and Talent Joseph Serna:

This upcoming year marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Los Angeles Times’ in-house program to diversify journalism, Metpro, now known as the Los Angeles Times Fellowship.

Since the program’s founding, The Times has worked to provide opportunities and build a pipeline of journalists from diverse backgrounds and life experiences who write, photograph, share and edit stories that connect with our globally connected communities.


We’re excited to introduce the latest class of fellows — a mix of writers, visual journalists and editors — to help fulfill that mission.

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 visual 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.

Please learn more about each of our fellows below:

Ashley Ahn is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she was the executive editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian. She previously covered the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for CNN’s health unit, breaking news for NPR and Asia for Foreign Policy Magazine. She also has bylines in USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She enjoys Pilates and visiting family in Atlanta, Georgia and South Korea. She joins The Times as a reporting fellow.

Michael Blackshire was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. Blackshire’s hometown developed his interest in storytelling as he explored the history of the city as a youth. He graduated from Western Kentucky University in the spring of 2020 and is finishing up his graduate studies at Ohio University. He originally majored in film, not joining the photojournalism program until his senior year of college. Blackshire will be working on the photo desk and is excited for the year ahead. He hopes to make new friends, have new adventures and maybe even go to a red carpet or two.

Anthony De Leon was born and raised in Fresno to a Chicano family. He pursued his higher education in his hometown, attended Fresno City College, earned an associate‘s degree in journalism, and then moved on to Fresno State, where he earned a bachelor’s in media, communications and journalism. Eventually, he finished his master’s in media innovation at the University of Nevada, Reno. Since starting in journalism in 2017, De Leon has worked in Los Angeles and New York. He interned as a business reporter at the Los Angeles Times in 2022 and, most recently, as a personal finance intern at the Wall Street Journal. His passion for storytelling and reporting has led him back to L.A. as a part of the 2024 Times fellowship class.


Jireh Deng (they/them) is a queer Asian American writer and filmmaker born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. They are a recent graduate of Cal State Long Beach, where they double majored in international studies and economics. Previously they interned at In These Times Magazine, NPR and the Los Angeles Times. As a freelancer they’ve written for the Guardian, the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, the Huffington Post, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and more. Deng currently co-directs the Asian American Journalists Assn. LGBTQIA+ affinity group. In 2022, they directed a short documentary about a transgender Asian American elder, “Mia’s Mission,” which was selected to screen at several Asian American film festivals this year. They’re excited to continue making moves behind the camera as a video fellow at The Times. When they aren’t working, they’re scheming to put together a list of their favorite queer BIPOC parties in LA. Follow their work on Instagram at @bokchoy_baobei.

Defne Karabatur was born in Norwalk, Conn. At age 6, she moved to Istanbul, Turkey, where her parents are from, and lived there until coming back for college. In May, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s in applied mathematics with minors in English and political economy. Prior to joining The Times as an audience engagement fellow, she was the creative director of the Daily Californian, Berkeley’s independent, student-run newspaper. There, she maintained consistency in print and online branding, while overseeing all creative projects and the weekly production of the paper. Before that, she was the social media editor of the newspaper, where she also wrote columns and poems, did interviews, shot photos and worked as a layout designer. Outside of the newsroom, Karabatur can be found cooking Turkish food, strolling with her analog camera, playing the piano or reading. @defnekarabatur

Angie Orellana Hernandez was born in Guatemala and raised in Sacramento. She graduated from USC, where she combined her passions for news media and Latin American culture by studying journalism and Spanish. She previously covered entertainment, as well as human interest, legal and crime stories at E! News. She got her start in journalism at USC’s Daily Trojan, reporting on underrepresented communities before serving as managing editor. She later worked at The Times as an arts and entertainment intern. Her writing can also be found in USA Today, the Boston Globe, CNN and KCRA3. Outside of work, she can be found at movie theaters. She is excited to return to The Times as a reporting fellow.

Caroline Petrow-Cohen is a recent graduate of Duke University, where she studied journalism, English and environmental science and policy. She became hooked on journalism early in her college career and has previously written for the Charlotte Observer, the Los Angeles Times, the Tampa Bay Times, Politico and the Dallas Morning News. She enjoys writing about politics, breaking news and social justice issues. Petrow-Cohen grew up in a small town in New Jersey and enjoys hiking, traveling and snowboarding. She’s excited to make the cross-country move to Los Angeles when she joins The Times as a reporting fellow.

Ananya Thyagarajan is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, where she studied public health and environmental studies. In college, she worked for the Daily Californian, where she served as the head of the copy desk. She was The Times’ inaugural Henry Fuhrmann Multiplatform Editing intern in summer 2023 and is excited to continue her work on the copy desk as a fellow. She is passionate about reducing environmental health inequities through investigative journalism and hopes to contribute to this work as a copy editor. In her free time, she enjoys trivia, long walks and making niche Spotify playlists.

Anabel Sosa is also joining this group as the inaugural California Local News fellow. She started earlier this month and is based in Sacramento.