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This summer, the Midwest Center was gifted with five hard-working up and coming journalists - either just finishing school or recently graduated. It is this issue of our newsletter, then, that we dedicate to the work of our Summer 2020 interns: Frank Hernandez, Madeline Perry, Marissa Plescia, Heather Schlitz and Sam Trilling.
Frank Hernandez is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso, majoring in philosophy and multimedia journalism. Previously, he reported for Borderzine.com, an online news magazine covering life on the US-Mexico border. He is interested in reporting on the environment, climate change and vulnerable communities across the country and the world.
Pedro Cabrera Flores, 70, had spent the past eight summers packing green beans into cans in Gillett, Wisconsin. In order to be hired again, he had to complete the season, but, in August, he decided to quit his job because he felt unsafe, he said.
New workers were not being tested for the coronavirus, he said.
Madeline Perry is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy and Democratic Institutions and a minor in Journalism. She hopes to one day inspire systemic change with her stories.
Marissa Plescia is from Barrington, IL, and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a major in journalism and a minor in public relations. Over the last few years, she has interned with the Chicago Tribune's collection of suburban papers, The Daily Herald and Southwest Lake Lifestyle Magazine. She also worked with The Daily Illini as a features reporter and later assistant features editor.
By Marissa Plescia, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting June 23, 2020
Meg Moynihan knows what it’s like to struggle.
In 2016 she and her husband, who own an organic dairy farm in Minnesota, found themselves without a processor, which turns farm milk into a consumer product. Their farm was too far a drive for too little milk, they were told. They didn’t find another processor for eight months.
Heather Schlitz is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studies journalism, global studies and East Asian languages and cultures. Previously, Heather reported on climate change and the environment as a Dow Jones Data Journalism intern at AccuWeather and has spent three years writing about science news for the student newspaper and the University News Bureau.
Samuel Trilling is a recent graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where he majored in Journalism and Political Science. A Dow Jones intern at the Midwest Center, Sam spent last summer in Sarajevo, Bosnia working for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Sam is originally from rural New Jersey and is currently based in Philadelphia, and hopes to continue working in investigative reporting.
By Samuel Trilling and Pramod Acharya, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting August 26, 2020
A very small percentage of businesses in the agriculture industry received Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans, which were intended to help keep people employed as the economy convulsed during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, of the agricultural companies that did receive loans, dairies received the most, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of federal data released in July.