Diederich College of Communication announces 2022-23 O'Brien Fellows in Public Service Journalism

May 3, 2022

MILWAUKEE — The J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University has announced the next class of journalists joining the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism.

The fellowship teams up Marquette student journalists with reporters for nine-month investigations into complex national and local issues.

Samantha Shapiro
Lauren Lindstrom
Lee Hawkins
John Diedrich
Samantha Shapiro
Lauren Lindstrom
Lee Hawkins
John Diedrich

The incoming fellows for the 2022–23 academic year are:

  • Samantha Shapiro, independent journalist. She’s been a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine since 2007.
  • Lauren Lindstrom, independent journalist. She recently reported on housing and health at the Charlotte Observer as a Report For America corps member.
  • Lee Hawkins, independent journalist. He’s a special correspondent for American Public Media and a former reporter at The Wall Street Journal.
  • John Diedrich, reporter and editor with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s investigative team.

Since 2013, the O’Brien Fellowship has helped journalists produce in-depth public service journalism projects for their home news organizations or other outlets. This program was the result of an $8.3 million gift from Peter and Patricia Frechette in honor of Patricia's parents, Marquette alumni Perry and Alicia O'Brien. In 2021, the fellowship received an additional $5 million from the Frechette family to expand the program’s reach. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel co-founded the fellowship.

The fellowship seeks projects aimed at exposing injustice, uncovering potential solutions and igniting change. Journalists propose the topics.

“We look forward to assisting these journalists on their ambitious projects and helping train the next generation of in-depth reporters,” said Dave Umhoefer, O’Brien Fellowship director. “In line with our program goals, our fellows will be reporting deeply on homelessness, gun violence, the intergenerational impact of racism and childhood trauma on Black American families, and dangerously unsafe rental housing.”

Fellows receive a $70,000 salary stipend and additional funding. Sponsoring news organizations get an in-depth reporting project with the potential to affect societal change and a summer intern following the fellowship. O’Brien Fellows use Marquette’s O’Brien Fellowship newsroom in Milwaukee as their base, traveling widely and leading a group of Marquette student interns.

About the 2022-23 fellows
Shapiro is a long-form freelance writer. Her recent work for the New York Times Magazine includes a story on homeless students in New York. Her award-winning stories have been reprinted in textbooks, general interest books and syndicated internationally. Shapiro has worked as a freelancer since 2005, publishing stories in Mother Jones, Foreign Policy, ESPN, Crain's, Slate and Wired.

Earlier in her career, she worked as a reporter at The Forward, a national outlet serving the American Jewish population, and The Stranger, an alternative bi-weekly newspaper in Seattle. Her stories have been awarded best feature from the Education Writers Association and she has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award. Shapiro graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with bachelor’s degrees in literature and history.

Lindstrom is an independent journalist focusing on health and housing. As a Report for America corps member for three years at The Charlotte Observer, she wrote about the human toll of evictions during the pandemic, substandard housing conditions and challenges to solving homelessness. Previously, she was the health reporter for The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, where she wrote about the state’s opioid crisis and childhood lead poisoning. Her reporting on local officials’ failure to ensure remedies for hazardous homes resulted in reforms by the local health department.

Lindstrom earned two Touchstone Awards from the Press Club of Toledo for her stories on long-term trauma for clergy sex abuse victims, childhood lead poisoning and housing in Toledo. Lindstrom graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2014.

Hawkins is producing a podcast in partnership with APM Studios, the podcast division of American Public Media, and is also the author of the forthcoming book, “NOBODY'S SLAVE: How Uncovering My Family's History Set Me Free” (HarperCollins 2023). In 2021, he received the Adam Clayton Powell Reporting Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists and was a finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. He is a four-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists’ "Salute to Excellence" Award.

At The Wall Street Journal over 19 years, Hawkins covered a variety of assignments and education topics. He is also known for his on-camera interviews with influential newsmakers and icons. His career began in Wisconsin at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in political science, where he was editorial page editor of the Badger Herald student newspaper.

Diedrich is an investigative reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His most recent work includes a team investigation into deadly electrical fires in impoverished neighborhoods. In 2019, he led a team examining the long-time practice by hospitals of turning away ambulances, which can endanger patients’ lives by delaying care. His stories have won numerous national honors, including a George Polk award, Gerald Loeb Award, National Headliner Award for Public Service and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award.

Formerly, Diedrich covered the military and national security for the Colorado Springs Gazette and government and politics at the Kenosha News. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism.

The current class of O’Brien Fellows includes independent journalist Katherine Reynolds Lewis, independent journalist Sarah Carr, the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Sari Lesk, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Guy Boulton.

About the O’Brien Fellowship

The Perry and Alicia O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette began with Peter and Patricia Frechette’s commitment to uphold the future of in-depth reporting and honor Patricia’s parents, Marquette alumni Perry and Alicia O'Brien. In 2013, the Frechettes funded this fellowship and worked with Marquette's Diederich College of Communication and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to construct it.

Every year, the O’Brien Fellowship teams professional reporters with Marquette journalism students on nine-month reporting projects aimed at holding American institutions accountable and uncovering potential solutions to difficult problems. The student component was essential to the Frechettes, who knew that finding a job after college is often difficult for students.