Published Article Leads to an Internship

After writing a story about one of their projects, Elena ’22 was awarded an internship with the Prison Journalism Project.
Thacher junior Elena’s interest in prison reform led her to journalist and author Yukari Kane who co-founded the Prison Journalism Project to encourage journalism in prisons and amplify the voices of the incarcerated. When the pandemic hit, Elena wondered if “we would even know about the covid-19 outbreak in prisons if it weren’t for journalists within those walls.” That led her back to the San Quentin News, an inmate-published newspaper, which she had learned about in 2017. This unique publication became the subject of a story she wrote for News Decoder: Newspaper run by prisoners offers a new chance to convicts.

The story highlights Jonathan Chiu, the layout artist for the publication, and how working on the newspaper changed his prison experience, changed him, and ultimately led to the commutation of his sentence. Elena’s takeaway: “Rehabilitation should be at the heart of any discussion about prison reform. Jonathan Chiu and so many other San Quentin News contributors who have since rejoined society demonstrate that people can overcome the mistakes they made in their past.”

As a result of the story, Elena has received an internship with the Prison Journalism Project. She is looking forward to the virtual opportunity: ”I'm excited to do whatever I can to support an organization that is at the intersection of two things I care about and want to learn more about, journalism and criminal justice.” 

News Decoder partners with schools to teach journalism and media literacy.

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