Columbia Journalism School
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  • Exxon_lp

The Energy and Environment Reporting Fellowship

The Energy & Environment Fellowship Project has published its exclusive reporting pieces in the Los Angeles Times:

What Exxon Knew About the Earth's Melting Arctic

How Exxon Went From Leader to Skeptic on Climate Change Research

Columbia Journalism School Responds to Exxon

Big Oil Braced for Global Warming While It Fought Regulations

The Energy & Environment Fellowship Project is an intensive, full-time investigative reporting opportunity for four recent graduates of Columbia Journalism School. The fellows work independently and in teams to rigorously examine issues related to the environment and energy resources on an international level. Fellows perform extensive archival, public records and database research, as well as conduct interviews with a variety of sources from government, academia and industry. Fellows work under the guidance of veteran investigative reporter Susanne Rust.

The project advisors are Steve Coll, Dean of the Columbia Journalism School, Sheila Coronel, Dean of Academic Affairs, and Marguerite Holloway, professor and Director of Science and Environmental Journalism. The program is supported by the Energy Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Family Fund, Lorana Sullivan Foundation, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund and the Tellus Mater Foundation.

For more information about the initiative, please e-mail Energy & Environment Fellowship Project editor Susanne Rust at

2015-2016 Fellows



Elah Feder is a Canadian journalist and radio producer who received a Master of Science degree from Columbia Journalism School in 2015. She recently interned at Public Radio International’s Science Friday where she produced biology and tech stories. She has contributed radio stories to CBC programs like The Current, The Sunday Edition, and Spark, and has written for publications like Xtra, Canada’s LGBT newspaper and The Grid, a former award-winning Toronto alt-weekly. She focuses on data and science journalism, and holds a master’s in evolutionary biology from the University of Toronto.



Dino Grandoni received an M.A. in Science, Environment and Medicine from Columbia Journalism School in 2015. Before school, he was the editor of the technology section at The Huffington Post. He has interned at The New York Times, The Atlantic, GQ, New York Daily News and The Buffalo News. He was born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y. and has a bachelor's in economics and political science from Columbia.



Michael Phillis graduated with a master’s degree from the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism in 2013. After graduating, he first went to Wisconsin as an intern with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. There, he wrote about problems with banks complying with the national mortgage settlement, efforts to change abortion laws and the impact of frac sand mining on local communities. He has worked at two places since: The Bergen Record where he covered state politics and courts and later for PhillyVoice, an online startup in Philadelphia.


Asaf Shalev is a recent graduate of the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia Journalism School. After graduating, he worked at the Alaska Dispatch News as a reporting fellow covering climate change and energy issues in the Arctic. Previously, Asaf worked in Tel Aviv as an online editor for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He also wrote for the alternative newsweekly The San Francisco Bay Guardian. Asaf was raised mostly in California and has a bachelor's in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Energy & Environment Fellowship Project staff:



The project editor is Susanne Rust, who came to Columbia in 2014 from the Center for Investigative Reporting, in Emeryville, California. There, she covered topics ranging from the dairy and fishing industries to the mishandling of toxic waste. Her award-winning investigations appeared in a variety of different news outlets, including The Guardian, PBS NewsHour and the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2009, Rust left the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – where she started her career in 2003 – to spend a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Fellow. Rust has won numerous national journalism awards and honors over her career, including being selected as a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009, with her colleague Meg Kissinger. Before becoming a journalist, Rust was a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied primate ecology and evolution.

The 2014-15 fellows are:



Melissa Hirsch graduated last year from the Columbia Journalism School, where she was a fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. She has reported for various publications, including The Dallas Morning News, Minneapolis Star Tribune and The New Orleans Times-Picayune. A New Orleans native, she graduated from Loyola University, where she was editor of its weekly paper. She worked in France before attending Columbia.



Katie Jennings received a Masters of Arts from Columbia Journalism School in May 2014, where she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow in science and health reporting. Her investigation into a secretive committee convened by the American Medical Association that helps determine how much Medicare should pay doctors was published in POLITICO Magazine in August 2014. She has reported for Capital New York, Business Insider and KALW Public Radio, among others. Jennings has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University where she studied nonfiction writing with a focus on radio reporting.



Amy Lieberman is a journalist whose coverage typically centers on international affairs, immigration and human rights. Her work has appeared in Slate,, World Policy Journal, The Christian Science Monitor and Thomson Reuters Foundation’s TrustLaw Women, among other news outlets. She has reported out of the United Nations Headquarters, Mexico, Colombia, Nepal, Cambodia and five other countries. Her investigative coverage on immigration detention centers was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism in 2013.  She is a native New Yorker and graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. in 2008. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School’s Master of Arts politics and government program in May 2014.





Sara Jerving is a recent Columbia graduate, where she was a Lorana Sullivan Scholar and received a Masters of Arts in business and economic reporting. Before this, Jerving worked as a reporter in East Africa for Bloomberg News. She also worked for the Center for Media and Democracy, where she was part of a team that won an award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation for investigative reporting and an “Izzy” award for independent media. Other positions include a health reporting fellowship with the GlobalPost and internships with The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and the Associated Press and a community radio station in Nairobi, Kenya. Jerving attended University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in Journalism and International Studies.



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