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Presenting The 2021-22 Robert Novak Journalism Fellows


The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021-22 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship: Kevin Daley, Emma Freire, Micah Meadowcroft, Sonner KehrtOliver Wiseman and Kenny Xu.

The annual Fellowship provides early-career journalists the opportunity to pursue year-long projects on topics related to the principles of a free society through grant funding.

This year’s cohort of outstanding journalists from across the U.S. will dive into serious reporting on today’s most pressing issues. Fellows will explore several topics, including the background and effects of affirmative action, the rise of privatized and personal security, young conservative voter sentiment, how online connectivity affects humanity, the effects of classical education on civic responsibility, a study of “urban Republicans,” and race in American institutions.

TFAS Continuing Education Program Manger and new Novak Fellowship Program Manager Ryan Wolfe says this year’s Fellows are working to seek the truth in the spirit of the Fellowship’s namesake, Robert Novak.

“The Novak Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for young journalists to rise above day-to-day media fights and engage in deep reporting on important, yet overlooked, trends affecting our country,” Wolfe said. “Through this work, Fellows will exemplify the kind of journalism that Robert Novak practiced throughout his career: fearlessly questioning the dominant media narrative to get to the truth.”

The 2021-22 Robert Novak Journalism Fellows will be formally announced during the TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner on Nov. 3, 2021, in New York City. During the event, TFAS will also introduce the 2021 Joseph Rago Memorial Fellow for Excellence in Journalism, Faith Bottum.

To learn more about the event, please visit TFAS.org/JAwards21.

2021-22 Fellowship Recipients

Kevin Daley

Project: A Sordid Business: Asian Applicants and Racial Preferences at Harvard
Hometown: Buffalo, New York

Kevin Daley is a legal affairs reporter specializing in coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court. He joined the Washington Free Beacon as a staff writer in 2020 after four years covering the High Court for The Daily Caller. His writings about the Court’s arguments, opinions, emergency orders and confirmation battles have appeared or been syndicated in National Review, Business Insider, RealClearPolitics and SCOTUSblog, among other publications. Apart from news, Kevin enjoys fly fishing and upland bird shooting. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Rachel.

Emma Freire

Project: Who Will I Call? How Private Security Bridges the Gap between High Crime Rates and Defunded Police
Hometown: College Park, Maryland

Emma Freire is a freelance writer who has lived in Brazil, South Africa and Europe. She has written for The American Conservative, Human Events, The Federalist and others. A graduate of Patrick Henry College, she previously worked at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a Dutch multinational bank. Emma also interned at the White House and the European Parliament. Today, she lives with her husband and three children in Baltimore.

Sonner Kehrt

Project: Everyday Incompetence: The Costs of Constant Connectivity
Hometown: Berkeley, California

Sonner Kehrt is a journalist in California. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, WIRED Magazine, The Verge and numerous other publications. Before entering journalism, she served as a Coast Guard officer for five years, which included tours in Washington, D.C., and onboard a polar icebreaker. Sonner holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Micah Meadowcroft

Project: An Aristocracy of Everyone: The Revival of Classical Education in America, 1980 to the Present
Hometown: Vancouver, Washington

Micah Meadowcroft is the managing editor of The American Conservative in Washington, D.C. He served as the White House liaison at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and assisted in speechwriting there during the last months of the Trump administration. He holds a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago, where he wrote on political theory. Previously, he worked as associate editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Micah hails from the Pacific Northwest and, like Odysseus, hopes to return home someday after a long exile in the East.

Oliver Wiseman

Project: The Death and Life of the Republican Party in Great American Cities
Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Oliver Wiseman was born in New York, grew up in London and now lives in Washington, D.C. He is a freelance writer who contributes to a range of outlets, including City Journal, Politico Magazine, The Dispatch, UnHerd, The Evening Standard, Reason, National Review, The Spectator and The Telegraph. He is the former U.S. editor of The Critic, a British monthly magazine, the former editor of CapX, and former political editor of Standpoint.

Kenny Xu

Project: Misled by Diversity: The Internalization of Race in America’s Future
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Kenny Xu is the president of the nonprofit Color Us United and the lead insider on the Harvard case. He has spoken on the consequences of the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard case and its identity politics ideology in front of groups as diverse as the nationally renowned Pacific Legal Foundation to the Boston Rally for Education Rights to the all-Black Connecticut Parents Union. His commentary has propelled him to interviews with Fox News, Newsweek, The Epoch Times and various YouTube, radio shows and podcasts. He has also been featured in The New York Times Magazine and National Public Radio. Kenny is a commentary writer for The Wall Street Journal, The Federalist, the Washington Examiner, The Daily Signal, Quillette, New York Post and City Journal. His journalism is beloved by the Asian American community and other meritocratic activists. Asian American activists have frequently solicited his advice on how to organize for meritocracy and equal rights. As such, he maintains extensive connections with the nationwide “meritocracy movement.”


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