The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) and The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page are pleased to announce Sierra McClain as the 2023 recipient of the Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism.
Sierra McClain grew up on a small ranch in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and attended the University of Oregon where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history (Phi Beta Kappa) and a master’s degree in journalism.
In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, singing, ballroom dancing and oil painting.
Since 2019, she has reported full-time for the Capital Press, a regional newspaper covering agricultural business and policy news across California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Her work has won national awards and has been syndicated by dozens of publications, including the Associated Press and U.S. News & World Report.
She also authored a peer-reviewed chapter in “Interviewing: The Oregon Method,” a college journalism textbook published by Oregon State University Press.
McClain was a 2022 Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellow, a 2021 fellow with Investigative Reporters and Editors and a 2019 intern with the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She is also a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.
As a Rago Fellow, McClain will work with the Opinion section of The Wall Street Journal through a nine-month internship beginning this fall. This Fellowship is named in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Joseph Rago, who was a rising star at The Wall Street Journal and a key member of its editorial page team before he passed away at the age of 34 in 2017.
McClain said she is honored to have the opportunity to carry on Joe’s legacy at The Wall Street Journal.
“Joe Rago was an exceptional writer with a talent for blending wisdom and wit,” she said. “I am inspired by his example and feel blessed to accept this position in his memory.”
Joe Rago was an exceptional writer with a talent for blending wisdom and wit. I am inspired by his example and feel blessed to accept this position in his memory.” – Sierra McClain, Rago ’23
She expressed excitement at the prospect of learning from the authors and editors who contribute to The Journal’s editorial pages.
“I am an avid reader of The Wall Street Journal, and I look forward to working with writers whose work I have long admired,” she said. “I appreciate that The Journal’s Opinion section promotes honest inquiry and fosters respectful debate about the most important global issues of our time. I am grateful I will get to play a role in facilitating those conversations.”
McClain is the sixth annual recipient of the Fellowship. She will join former Fellows Elliot Kaufman, Matthew Taylor King, Alessandra Bocchi, Faith Bottum and Carine Hajjar on the path of continuing Joe’s legacy.
Current Rago Fellow Carine Hajjar expressed her gratitude for having the privilege to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal Opinion pages and to learn from the best journalists in the business.
“The Rago Fellowship is a rare opportunity for young writers to learn world class editing and writing skills from some of the most thoughtful, intelligent journalists in the business,” she said. “I am grateful to TFAS, the Rago family, and The Wall Street Journal editorial board for the chance to start my career with guidance from such talented professionals.”
The Rago Fellowship is a rare opportunity for young writers to learn world class editing and writing skills from some of the most thoughtful, intelligent journalists in the business. I am grateful to TFAS, the Rago family, and The Wall Street Journal editorial board for the chance to start my career with guidance from such talented professionals.” – Carine Hajjar, Rago ’22
TFAS will formally present McClain with the 2023 Rago Fellowship at the 30th Annual TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner on Nov. 14, 2023, in New York City. During the dinner, TFAS will honor prominent leaders in journalism with the Thomas L. Phillips Career Achievement Award and the Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award for Outstanding Journalism. TFAS will also present a new class of rising journalists with the 2023 Robert Novak Fellowship Awards.
To learn more about the awards dinner, please visit TFAS.org/Jawards23.