Home » News » TFAS Announces Recipients of 2022-23 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship

TFAS Announces Recipients of 2022-23 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship


The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) is pleased to announce the 2022-23 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipients. The 2022 Fellows are Billy Binion of Reason, Jack Butler of National Review, John Hirschauer of The American Conservative, Madeleine Kearns of National Review, Kate Bachelder Odell of The Wall Street Journal, Brad Polumbo of the Foundation for Economic Economics (FEE), and Joseph Simonson of The Washington Free Beacon. These seven journalists will spend one year researching and providing in-depth reporting on a variety of topics pertaining to a free society. Themes to be covered by the 2022-23 cohort include the student debt crisis, the political shift of Hispanic voters and law enforcement misconduct, among others.

The Fellowship recipients were selected from a highly competitive pool of qualified applicants whose work represents an array of backgrounds. Please see below for the full biographies of each recipient.

“Our Novak Fellows are emblematic of the thorough, ground-breaking reporting that is critical in uncovering the stories that matter to our nation,” said Ryan Wolfe, the manager of Continuing Education Programs at TFAS. “These seven remarkable journalists will join the ranks of a prestigious network dedicated to sharing the truth. I’m looking forward to working with them in the year ahead and seeing the hard-hitting work they produce.”

The Fellowship is named for Robert D. Novak, renowned columnist, CNN broadcaster and reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. Since its founding in 1994, the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship has empowered over 150 promising young journalists to partake in research and long-form content creation that would not have otherwise been possible for them. Novak Fellows have gone on to become leaders in journalism as Pulitzer Prize winners, leaders of national outlets and authors of bestselling books. Former Novak Fellows include CEO and editor of The Dispatch, Steve Hayes, Novak ’94; senior political columnist at the Washington Examiner Tim Carney, Novak ’03; Fox News contributor and editor-in-chief of The Federalist Mollie Hemingway, Novak ’04; and Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward, Novak ’05.

The 2022 Fellows will be honored at the 29th Annual TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner at the Metropolitan Club in New York City on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The 2022 Joseph Rago Memorial Fellow for Excellence in Journalism, Carine Hajjar, will also be honored at the event. For more information about the dinner and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jane Mack, Special Events Director, at jmack@TFAS.org.

2022-23 Fellowship Recipients

Billy Binion

Project: Unqualified Impunity: Law Enforcement Misconduct, Government Accountability, and the Need for Reform
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Billy Binion is an associate editor at Reason magazine, where he covers criminal justice and government accountability. He has been published in Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle, HuffPost and the Washington Examiner, among other publications, and his work has been cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Review, Fox News and The Daily Beast. Prior to his career in journalism, Billy worked as a contractor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and as a professional performer, appearing with such companies as the Virginia Opera and Virginia Musical Theatre. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

Jack Butler

Project: Healthycons: The Conservative Case for Living Well
Hometown: Loveland, Ohio

Jack Butler is the submissions editor of National Review Online, which he joined as an associate editor in 2020 after many years of fervently reading and admiring the publication. His writing for National Review and other outlets, such as The Washington Free Beacon and Commentary, has touched on conservative internecine debates, the possibility of extraterrestrial visitation, Dune, The Lord of the Rings and more. His primary pastimes involve popular culture and distance running. Though Midwestern by temperament and longing, he currently resides in Washington, D.C.


John Hirschauer

Project: The Faces of Deinstitutionalization
Hometown: Southbury, Connecticut

John Hirschauer is the assistant editor at The American Conservative and a former William F. Buckley, Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism at National Review. His writing has been published in The American Conservative, National Review, City Journal, RealClearPolitics and other outlets. He is on the board of directors of an advocacy group at a state-run institution for adults with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities in his hometown.



Madeleine Kearns

Project: Sex Rejected: How America Spawned the Transgender Contagion
Hometown: Glasgow, Scotland

Madeleine Kearns is a staff writer at National Review and a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum. She is a contributor at The Spectator and has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and UnHerd, among other publications. Kearns has a first-class bachelor’s degree in English from the University of St. Andrews, a postgraduate diploma in education from the University of Glasgow and a master’s degree in journalism from New York University. She also writes and performs music.


Kate Bachelder Odell

John Farley Memorial Alumni Fund Fellow

Project: Another ‘Gathering Storm’: Preparing the American Military for a World War
Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia

Kate Bachelder Odell is a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. She joined the Journal in 2013 and covers a range of domestic policy issues, including spending, entitlements and national defense. She is a graduate of Hillsdale College and lives in Virginia with her husband, a U.S. Navy pilot, and their sons.


Brad Polumbo

Project: Scammed: The Student Debt “Crisis” Doesn’t Exist
Hometown: Bellingham, Massachusetts

Brad Polumbo is a libertarian-conservative journalist and co-founder of BASEDPolitics. His work has appeared in outlets such as USA Today, Newsweek, National Review, the Independent and the Daily Beast. He has testified before the U.S. Senate and had his work cited by top lawmakers, including Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Nancy Mace. He covers economics and regularly appears on Fox Business.



Joseph Simonson

Project: Immigration Politics in a New America
Hometown: Darien, Connecticut

Joseph Gabriel Simonson is a senior investigative reporter with The Washington Free Beacon. He previously worked as an investigative reporter and campaign correspondent for the Washington Examiner. Before that, Joseph worked as a reporter for the Daily Caller and for the opinion section at the New York Post. His writings have appeared in other outlets, including National Review and City Journal. A Hamilton College graduate originally from Darien, Connecticut, Joseph now lives in Washington, D.C.


Recent Posts


Deception and the Fight for Truth with Senator Rand Paul

This week, another exceptional guest joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Senator Rand Paul.

Exploring Liberty from Budapest to Washington, D.C., with Anna Smith Lacey

This week, another exceptional TFAS alumna joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Anna Smith Lacey '07, '08, PPF '12, executive director at the Hungary Foundation.

Remembering Thomas (Tom) L. Phillips

It is with great sadness we share news that TFAS Trustee Emeritus Thomas (Tom) L. Phillips passed away at his home in Newport Beach, California, last week. Tom was a generous man who supported TFAS for many years, including a $1 million gift in memory of TFAS…