About Voting Wars

“Voting Wars,” an investigation of voting rights and election participation, is the 2016 project of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a national multimedia, investigative reporting project produced by the nation’s top journalism students and graduates. Each year, students selected into the program report in-depth on a topic of national importance.

This year, 31 journalism students from 18 universities traveled to 31 states, conducted hundreds of interviews, reviewed thousands of pages of state statutes and other records, and built databases and data visualizations documenting the issues surrounding voter rights and participation.

The students work began in January 2016 with a video-conferenced seminar that included reporting and research. In May, they began the 10-week investigative reporting fellowship based out of a newsroom at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University’s downtown Phoenix campus.

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News21 Fellows

Lily Altavena

Lily Altavena | @lilyalta

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Lily Altavena is a second-year graduate student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Previously, she’s worked at MSNBC, NBC News and The New York Times. She received her undergraduate degree in journalism and metropolitan studies at New York University, where she was the city/state editor at the Washington Square News, NYU’s student newspaper.

Alex Amico

Alex Amico | @AlexFAmico

Alex Amico is a senior at Syracuse University. He previously worked at the Smoot Tewes Group in Washington, D.C., as a communications intern, and as a finance intern on a congressional campaign. In Syracuse, he hosts a weekly public affairs show on CitrusTV called Talking Points.

Alejandra Armstrong

Alejandra Armstrong | @JandraArmstrong

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Alejandra Armstrong is a 2016 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in digital journalism and a master’s degree in mass communication from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She was an investigative reporter and digital content producer for Cronkite News. Her work can also be found in The Arizona Republic, Phoenix magazine and the Downtown Devil.

Lian Bunny

Lian Bunny | @lbunny15

Lian Bunny is a senior journalism and mass communication major at St. Bonaventure University. She is also minoring in Spanish, history and psychology. Lian has had internships at The Hamburg Sun, Tri-State Christian Television station and WBFO-FM Buffalo. Currently, she works as a photo editor for the Buffalo Bills and her campus newspaper, The Bona Venture. Find her work at lianbunny.weebly.com or lianbunnyphotography.wordpress.com.

Elizabeth Campbell

Elizabeth Campbell | @ecampbell360

Elizabeth Campbell is a junior journalism and political science double major at Texas Christian University. She previously interned with the CBS station in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and served as a senior editor for PolitiFrog.com, a millennial-focused political news site, and as a managing editor for the109.org, a student news site in Fort Worth.

Andrew Clark

Andrew Clark | @Clarky_Tweets

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Andrew Clark is a journalism senior at the University of Oklahoma. He most recently served as the news managing editor of The Oklahoma Daily and will resume that position in the fall of 2016. He has reported for The Huffington Post and The Oklahoma Daily. His work has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and more.

Nicole Cobler

Nicole Cobler | @nicolecobler

Nicole Cobler is a journalism senior at the University of Texas at Austin. She was an investigative reporting fellow for The Texas Tribune. Her work also has appeared in the San Antonio Express-News, Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman and the Victoria Advocate.

Courtney Columbus

Courtney Columbus | @cmcolumbus11

Reynolds Fellow

Courtney Columbus is a second-year master’s student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Previously, she worked as a Peace Corps volunteer. She graduated from Allegheny College, where she studied environmental science and Spanish. Her work has been published in the Arizona Capitol Times and the Tucson Sentinel.

Hillary Davis

Hillary Davis | @hillarydavis

Hearst Fellow

Hillary Davis is a 2016 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a master’s degree in mass communication. Before returning to school, she spent nine years as a reporter at newspapers in Flagstaff, Yuma and Tucson, Arizona. During her professional career she has been named a Community Journalist of the Year finalist six times by the Arizona Press Club.

Sami Edge

Sami Edge | @sami_edge

Sami Edge is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. She has worked as a crime reporting intern at The Seattle Times and a watchdog reporting intern at Willamette Week in Portland, Oregon. She served as the editor of the independent student newspaper, The Emerald.

Max Garland

Max Garland | @maxgarlandtypes

Max Garland is a 2016 Elon University graduate with a major in print and online journalism and a minor in American studies. He’s reported for the Burlington Times-News in North Carolina, written as a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and served as an assistant news editor at The Pendulum, Elon’s student newspaper.

Taylor Gilmore

Taylor Gilmore | @TaylorGilmore20

Taylor Gilmore is a senior at the University of Tennessee. She is pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism and political science. Prior to News21, Taylor worked as a reporter for her campus news station, UT Today, and has interned with WBIR-TV and WATE-TV.

Natalie Griffin

Natalie Griffin | @nat_griffindor

Natalie Griffin is a University of Maryland graduate with degrees in journalism and Arabic studies. She worked as copy desk chief and assistant online managing editor at The Diamondback, a multimedia journalist at Capital News Service and a Web production intern at Bethesda Magazine. Follow Natalie on Instagram at nat.griffin.

Marianna Hauglie

Marianna Hauglie | @workableearth

Reynolds Fellow

Marianna Hauglie is a 2016 graduate of Arizona State University with dual bachelor’s degrees in journalism and conservation biology. She has previously worked for KPHO/KTVK in Phoenix, various video investigations and the U.S. Forest Service as a Student Conservation Association Americorps intern.

Sean Holstege

Sean Holstege | @SeanHolstege

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Sean Holstege is a master’s degree student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He was an investigative reporter at The Arizona Republic, the Oakland Tribune and during a 30-year print journalism career, was part of a team that produced two Pulitzer Prize finalist submissions in breaking news.

Pinar Istek

Pinar Istek | @pinaristek

Pinar Istek is a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin. She most recently worked as a freelance photographer in Turkey. Previously, she worked as a photojournalist and a photo editor for The Voice of Guanacaste in Costa Rica, The Guatemala Times and the Columbia Missourian.

Phillip Jackson

Phillip Jackson | @phillej_

Phillip Jackson is a senior at Hampton University, majoring in journalism in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism program. He worked as Web editor for his campus newspaper, The Hampton Script, and has interned with WETA, The Root and freelanced for The Washington Post Magazine. He has received fellowships with Politico, the Online News Association and the National Association of Computer Assisted Reporting.

Roman Knerster

Roman Knerster | @RomanKnertser

Roman Knertser is a Fulbright graduate student in photography from Russia who most recently attended Syracuse University. He has attended three schools of documentary photography and photojournalism in Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. His work has been published in Russia as well as internationally. He received a Golden Pen award for picture of the year in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2012, and an award of excellence at College Photographer of the Year in 2015. Find his work at www.romanknertser.com.

Mike Lakusiak

Mike Lakusiak | @lakusiak

Mike Lakusiak is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in Vancouver. His work has appeared in local and national media outlets across Canada as well as on VICE News and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Emily L. Mahoney

Emily L. Mahoney | @mahoneysthename

Louis A. “Chip” Weil Fellow

Emily Mahoney is a master’s degree student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she also received her bachelor’s degree. She has investigated asset forfeiture use by Arizona law enforcement and reported from Mexico, Hungary and Slovakia as part of the borderlands program. Her stories have been published in USA Today and The Arizona Republic.

Jimmy Miller

Jimmy Miller | @miller_jimmy

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick Fellow

Jimmy Miller is a senior at Kent State University pursuing a multimedia news degree with a minor in business management. He’s previously worked with the Akron Beacon Journal and had bylines on NCAA.com and AmicoHoops.net. He will be the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Kent Stater, this fall.

Emily Mills

Emily Mills | @EmilyMills818

David Dix Fellow

Emily Mills is a 2016 Kent State University graduate with a degree in multimedia news and political science. She previously worked with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Emily was also editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Kent Stater, for two semesters.

Michael Olinger

Michael Olinger | @MikeJOlinger

Fred W. Smith Chair Fellow

Michael Olinger is an undergraduate student at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the recipient of the Paul A. and Gwen F. Leonard Scholarship, the Edward W. Scripps II Scholarship and the Reno News & Review Scholarship. He was an intern for The Fresno Bee.

Pam Ortega

Pam Ortega | @pamortega17

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Pamela Ortega is a journalism and political science senior at the University of Oklahoma. She’s served as a reporter for Routes TV, Oklahoma Routes and executive producer for OU Nightly en Español. She’s a contributing reporter for The Huffington Post and associate producer for the Mitchell in the Morning radio show.

Kate Peifer

Kate Peifer | @katlapeif

Reynolds Fellow

Kate Peifer is a second-year graduate student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and has a bachelor’s degree in both French studies and English from the University of Portland in Oregon. She previously worked as a reporter for her undergraduate paper, The Beacon, alternative weekly newspaper Willamette Week, the Globe-Miami Times and Portland-based magazines Render: Feminist Food and Culture Quarterly, and AboutFace.

Jeffrey Pierre

Jeffrey Pierre | @mrjeffpierre

Jeffrey Pierre is recent graduate of Florida International University in Miami where he majored in print journalism. Jeffrey has done work for publications in Miami and Washington, D.C., including the Miami Herald, WLRN and the Scripps Howard Foundation. A majority of Jeffrey’s feature and news reporting comes from minority and mostly African-American communities.

Sarah Elizabeth Pitts

Sarah Elizabeth Pitts | @s_spitts

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow

Sarah Pitts graduated from the University of Oklahoma. She was the communications assistant on the MV Explorer for Semester at Sea, a reporter and travel blogger for The Oklahoma Daily, a contributing writer for Red Dirt Report, Web designer and managing editor of Oklahoma Routes, and a political blogger for The Huffington Post. Find her at sarahelizabethpitts.com.

Amber Reece

Amber Reece | @_amberreece

Dallas Morning News Fellow

Amber Reece is a senior at the University of North Texas. She is pursuing her degree in broadcast journalism from the Mayborn School of Journalism. Amber worked as a reporter for her campus news station, NTDaily TV, and a writer for Denton Live magazine.

Ali Schmitz

Ali Schmitz | @schmitzmedia

Ali Schmitz is a recent graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, where she majored in telecommunication - news. She most recently worked in UF’s Innovation News Center as a multimedia reporter, producer and anchor for WUFT News. She has contributed to NPR, multiple local NBC and CNN affiliates, and the Independent Florida Alligator. Find her work at alischmitz.com.

Rose Velazquez

Rose Velazquez | @Rosee_Vee

Rose Velazquez is a senior at Louisiana State University pursuing a double major in journalism and creative writing. She’s worked with the campus newspaper, The Daily Reveille, for the past two years and will be co-managing editor this fall. She has previously had bylines in The Advocate and The State.

Erin Vogel-Fox

Erin Vogel-Fox | @ErinVogelFox

Hearst Fellow

Erin Vogel-Fox is a master’s degree student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Erin previously worked as an associate producer for Fox News in Washington, D.C., which included working with the White House Unit and producing shows for the bureau’s weekend program “America’s News HQ.” You can find her work at erinvogelfox.com.

News21 Staff

Jacquee Petchel

Jacquee Petchel | Executive Editor

Jacqueline Petchel, a longtime investigative reporter, editor and producer in newspapers and broadcast, is a professor of practice at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and executive editor of News21. She previously served as senior editor for investigations and enterprise at The Houston Chronicle. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and editor at The Miami Herald, the Arizona Republic and the Indianapolis Star/News and produced investigative journalism for CBS television stations in Minneapolis and Miami. She is a graduate of Arizona State University and a member of the Cronkite School Hall of Fame.

Len Downie Jr.

Len Downie Jr. | Professor and Editor

Leonard Downie is the Cronkite School’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism and vice president at large for The Washington Post, where he served as executive editor from 1991 to 2008. He is a founder and board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. and chairman of the board of advisers of Kaiser Health News. During his 44 years at the Post, Downie was an investigative reporter, editor on the local and national news staffs, London correspondent and managing editor and helped supervise the newspaper’s Watergate coverage. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Ohio State University. At the Cronkite School, Downie teaches the News21 seminar and an accountability journalism class.

Christina Leonard

Christina Leonard | Assistant Editor

Christina Leonard leads the Reynolds Business Reporting Bureau for Cronkite News at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She joined the Cronkite school in 2015 after 17 years as a reporter and editor at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix. Her leadership roles included Phoenix-West Valley regional editor, state politics editor, assistant business editor and editor-in-chief of two business magazines, Arizona Woman and bizAZ.

Brandon Quester

Brandon Quester | Multimedia Editor

Brandon Quester is the founder and executive director/editor of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit accountability newsroom based in Phoenix. His multimedia and data journalism work has focused on children living along the U.S.-Mexico Border, U.S. soldiers serving in Kuwait and Iraq, and the impact of immigration across Central America and the Caribbean. Quester’s recent work has focused on statewide investigative reporting projects in Arizona, covering issues from election administration and law enforcement to the regulation of hazardous materials.

Nic Lindh

Nic Lindh | Web Developer

Nic Lindh is the web administrator for the Cronkite School and Arizona PBS sites among many others. He has taught graduate boot camp, multimedia and graphic design at the Cronkite School. Prior to coming to Arizona State University, he worked as a writer, programmer, designer and system administrator.

Hari Subramaniam

Hari Subramaniam | Data Visualization Developer

Hari Subramaniam is the lead developer for the New Media Innovation Lab at the Cronkite School, working with students to develop digital products and enterprises. Hari used to run platforms at The Arizona Republic and worked independently with other software consulting services.

Steve Doig

Steve Doig | Data Editor

Steve Doig holds the Knight Chair in Journalism at the Cronkite School, specializing in computer-assisted reporting. He had a 23-year career as a newspaper journalist, including 19 years at the Miami Herald. His investigative projects have won major journalism prizes, including the 1993 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service. Doig is a political science graduate of Dartmouth College. He also graduated from, and later taught at, the Defense Information School and spent a year as a combat correspondent for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

Evan Wyloge

Evan Wyloge | Data Editor

Evan Wyloge is the senior reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. He earned a political science degree from Northern Arizona University in 2005 and a master’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University in 2010. He’s passionate about investigative reporting that has real impact and that uncovers stories that would have otherwise gone uncovered. When he’s not trying to break open the next big story, Evan enjoys snowboarding and hanging out with his niece and nephew.

Rebecca Blatt

Rebecca Blatt | Digital Production Bureau Director

Rebecca Blatt directs the Cronkite School’s Digital Production Bureau, where she leads a team of students who produce and manage digital content for Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS. She guides undergraduate and graduate students in multimedia storytelling, social media, data visualization, audience engagement, cross-platform collaboration and newsroom leadership. Blatt previously served as director of the Cronkite Public Insight Network Bureau, and she began her journalism career in public radio at North Carolina Public Radio, WAMU 88.5 FM and NPR.

Theresa Poulsen

Theresa Poulsen | PIN Bureau Chief

Theresa Poulson directs the Public Insight Network Bureau, the Cronkite School's audience and community engagement hub. She came to Cronkite after eight years as a multimedia journalist in Washington, D.C., which included stints at National Journal and The Washington Post. She holds a master’s degree from the Cronkite School and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, where she was editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper, The Daily Targum.

Alex Chihak

Alex Chihak | Copy Editor

Alex Chihak is an editor at Gannett’s Phoenix Design Studio. He has worked as an editor for The Associated Press, The Palm Beach Post, the Austin American-Statesman, The Denver Post and several community newspapers.

Kristin Gilger

Kristin Gilger | Administrative Editor

Kristin Gilger is associate dean in charge of professional programs for the Cronkite School and is the chief administrator of News21, which is headquartered at the school. She was previously director of Student Media at Arizona State University, deputy managing editor for news at The Arizona Republic, managing editor of The Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon, and served in various editing positions at the Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans. Gilger holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Nebraska. This is her seventh national News21 project.

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