Meet the Reporters 2011

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Scooby Axson is a newspaper concentration graduate student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has worked for the Oklahoma Daily, Tulsa World and has written for the start-up online publication 6Magazine, which focuses on sports. He graduated with B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and served 16 years in the United States Army. You can follow him on twitter @ScoobAxson or email him at tma2125@columbia.edu.
Andrew Bell is a graduate student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He graduated from Trinity College, where he co-founded the school’s first online Newspaper, 4legs, which was the featured platform for an impassioned school wide debate over the recent string of racist incidents around campus. He has also blogged for the Huffington Post. Andrew is also an aspiring screenwriter, playwright and director. He recently directed an innovative take on Donizetti’s legendary opera L’elisir D’amore for Divaria Productions, which was performed on the New York off-Broadway stage and will go on tour next at Tuxedo Park in November. He’s at @andrewbell33 or ajb2214@columbia.edu
Mengwei Chen is a 22-year-old journalist from Beijing and an M.S. candidate at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University, where he was editor-in-chief of Beiwaifeng, the university’s official newspaper. He has also worked for the China Central Television News Channel (CCTV) and the Central Government News Center of Xinhua News Agency, where he focused on bilingual international reporting. You can reach him at @chenmengwei or email him at c.mengwei@gmail.com
Alex Contratto, a recent graduate of Columbia University, is pursuing an M.S. at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, with a concentration in magazine journalism. Originally from southern California, Alex considers himself a comfortable New Yorker, despite the fact that he uncovers interesting things about the city every day.  He covers popular culture for The Midtown Gazette, and looks forward to contributing to a compelling and provocative collaboration. Please follow him on Twitter @amcontratto12, or email him at  amc2236@columbia.edu.
Laura Fosmire, from the small town of Marquette, Michigan, is an alumna of Michigan State University’s journalism school, where she majored in the arts and humanities and worked on the State News, the award-winning student newspaper. She has six years’ experience as an on-air personality for a Marquette radio station, where she served a brief stint as news director, and was a correspondent for Capital News Service wire service. Most recently, she was a summer intern writing for Great Lakes Echo, an online environmental news publication based in Lansing, Michigan. Reach her at @fosmirel or email her at fosmirel@gmail.com
Catherine Griffin, a Sarah Lawrence graduate with an interest in environmental reporting, covers the Hudson River waterfront for The Midtown Gazette.  A Houston, Texas native who interned at The Buzz magazine in Houston, she is working toward her M.S. at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, in the magazine concentration. In addition to the environment, she is interested in photography, travel, and the general hubbub of New York City. Reach her at @cthegriffin or cwg2115@columbia.edu
Anna Irrera is an Italian journalist pursuing an M.S. degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She holds a graduate degree in law from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, with a concentration in International Law. Anna has worked at the national publication ItaliaOggi, covering law and taxes, and is the author of “Prendo a calci il sole- Bahia, i bambini, la strada”, 13 true stories of Brazilian meninos de rua (children of the street), a project she began while a visiting student at Harvard University in 2007. You can follow her on twitter @annairrera or email her at ai2182@columbia.edu.
Carolina Küng graduated from London’s Royal Holloway University in 2011, where she studied international relations, Spanish, business management and European politics. She worked as a political reporter at the newspaper O Publico, and has interned at Swiss embassies in Europe and the United States. Half Swiss and half Portuguese, born in Brazil and raised in Portugal, Carolina is a globetrotter as well as a music and sports enthusiast, and intends to use her year at Columbia to expand beyond political news writing. She is at @carolinalobok or clk2132@columbia.edu.
Evan Lambert originally from Virginia Beach, VA, is pursuing an M.S. degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism after graduating from Dartmouth College in June 2011 with an Anthropology major and a minor in English literature. His journalistic interests are disparate — science, fashion, arts, entertainment — but he has experience reporting in all of those fields for his college’s campus paper, “The Dartmouth.” Follow him at @evlams or email him at evan.e.lambert@gmail.com.
Carly MacLeod, a Massachusetts native, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied English literature and anthropology and wrote the a regular column called Romance 101 for Student Life, the university’s newspaper. Her work has appeared on NPR, CNBC.com and HerCampus.com. In addition to pursuing an M.S. in journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on twitter @carlymacleod or email her at carlymacleod@gmail.com
Theodoric Meyer covers economics, among other topics and is an M.S. candidate at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is a graduate of McGill University, where he worked as managing editor at The McGill Tribune, and has written for The Associated Press, GlobalPost, Torontoist and The Jewish Daily Forward.  He has covered a wide range of topics in locations ranging from Oregon to Spain, including threatening tweets, Syrians in Toronto, avant-garde art, and men who export Montreal bagels at midnight. Follow him at @theodoricmeyer or email him at theodoricmeyer@gmail.com.
Marianna Nash grew up in Bayside, Queens. When she was five, she found some construction paper and glue and wrote The Purim Rangers, a modern retelling of the Purim story with more fight sequences. Since then, her writing has appeared in the Queens Courier, Ms. Magazine, CNN.com and the Daily Hampshire Gazette. She is currently earning a master’s degree in journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is at @mariannanash and mln2112@columbia.edu.
Kate Racovolis graduated from the University of Melbourne at the end of 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She crossed over into arts and culture writing as a contributor to the online and print publication Broadsheet.com.au in Australia. Now living in New York City, she is a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, specializing in magazine journalism. Follow her on @kateracovolis or email her at kate.racovolis@gmail.com.
Ankita Rao is a freelancer writer and student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in several publications including Slate, Huffington Post, India Currents and Washington City Paper. Originally from Tampa, Florida, Ankita studied religion and magazine journalism at the University of Florida. She has interned at The Gainesville Sun, Yoga International magazine, the National Education Association and Religion News Wire. Most recently Ankita completed a one-year Indicorps fellowship in northern India where she designed and implemented an education project at a youth center for a marginalized community. She is at @anrao or ankitarao87@gmail.com.
Frank Runyeon is a print and digital-media journalist interested in investigative and feature stories, and is pursuing an M.S. degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was born in New York City and bounced back and forth between New York and Los Angeles before living in Germany, the Czech Republic, and later Korea. His professional background includes foreign policy research, contract negotiation, and over two years teaching overseas. Follow him at @frankrunyeon or email him at fgr2105@columbia.edu.
Jason Slotkin comes to The Midtown Gazette after a year in Portland, Oregon working part-time as a restaurant host to support his journalistic endeavors. A native Californian, Jason graduated from Evergreen State College in 2009 with a focus in writing and journalism, where he was the editor of the student paper The Cooper Point Journal, a position once held by “The Simpsons” creator Matt Greoning. After graduation, he briefly interned for the Portland, Oregon Willamette Week. Jason is currently pursuing a Masters in Newspaper Journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him at @jasonslotkin or email him at jbslotkin@gmail.com.
Laurenmaria Smith, whom everyone calls Nell, grew up in Rhode Island and recently received a B.A. in English literature from Wheaton College, in Norton, Massachusetts, where she wrote press releases and team biographies for Wheaton’s athletic website.  As a former collegiate track and field athlete, her passion for sports drives her interest in sports writing.  She is an M.S. student with a print concentration in newspapers at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her at @nellsmith626 or email her at nellsmith626@gmail.com.
London-based Alexa van Sickle is in the graduate magazine concentration at the Columbia University School of Journalism and holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh. Alexa did internships at the BBC, HarperCollins and the Edinburgh International Books Festival before working in London at “The Week,”as a politics and travel reporter for the South Africa Times, and as a business/law reporter focusing on Latin America. Alexa was Publishing Editor at a legal think tank in London, editing books on comparative human rights law, post-conflict peacekeeping, and financial and investment law.   She’s at @alexavsickle or lexvansickle@gmail.com.

The Midtown Gazette’s editors are Karen Stabiner and Michelle Slatalla.

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