Hello! My name is Emma Stiefel, and I’m a storyteller and student. I am currently an editorial intern for Cincinnati CityBeat. I also serve as an editor for the Quest, the independent student news source of Minerva Schools at KGI, where I am a third-year student majoring in history and data science.
I’ll tackle any story, but care most about ones that will have community impact: whether that means writing about heroin addiction in my Ohio hometown, tenants’ rights in San Francisco, or student government elections at my college. My favorite (and best) stories are long, in-depth, magazine-style articles, but I’ve written short newspaper pieces and shot photos and videos as well. I’m also fascinated by the storytelling potential of new technologies and platforms and look forward to experimenting with data analysis, virtual reality, and other innovative approaches to journalism.
Here’s Where I’ve Worked:
Cincinnati CityBeat (current): I assist this local alt-weekly’s editors with fact-checking and producing regular content covering local events and businesses. I also write feature articles and create videos.
Minerva Quest (current): I joined the Quest as the San Francisco editor and a reporter in August 2017. I manage the Class of 2021 staff, assign and edit stories, and cover the college and surrounding city.
Minerva Schools at KGI: I brainstormed and wrote marketing content for social media and designed visual content and videos. My main project was interviewing and writing 500-word features about 10 incoming students for the #21meets22 Facebook series.
AAJA Voices Program (May-August 2018): I was selected to attend this journalism fellowship program. I attended summer training sessions with industry leaders and the 2018 AAJA national conference in Houston. As part of the program, I worked with two other students to create a long-form podcast feature about accents. I learned to interview, write, and edit for audio from an NPR reporter.
Street Sheet (October 2017 -February 2018): I am a volunteer reporter for this newspaper, which is published by the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness to provide a source of income for homeless vendors and educate the general public on homelessness and poverty issues.
Hamilton Journal-News (June-August 2017): As a part-time intern for my local paper, I wrote timely stories about topics ranging from juvenile court to the county fair.
iSPACE (June-August 2017): I have volunteered at iSPACE, a local STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education nonprofit, for the past four years, mostly as an assistant for their summer camps. This summer, I wrote several marketing articles about the organization’s summer camps, field trips, and corporate programs.
Lakota East Spark News Magazine (August 2013-May 2017): I joined Spark when I was a sophomore at Lakota East High School and quickly fell in love with reporting for the magazine. I’ve written several award-winning stories for Spark and served as editor-in-chief my senior year. During my tenure as an editor, I pushed the print-centric publication to expand its online presence by supporting efforts to redesign our website and experiment with new ways of telling stories digitally.
Here’s What I’ve Accomplished:
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the journalism awards I’ve received:
- Journalism Education Association National Journalist of the Year Runner-up
- National Scholastic Press Association News Story of the Year First Place
- 2017 Quill and Scroll Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest In-Depth/Individual Reporting National Sweepstakes Winner
- 2017 Quill and Scroll Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest Photo Slideshow National Sweepstakes Winner
- 2017 Quill and Scroll Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest Political Writing National Sweepstakes Winner
- Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Scholarship
- Selected to attend AAJA’s JCamp
And here are the measures of success that I value the most:
- Finishing a story despite resistance. Several of the articles I’ve written, such as this one about transgender students in my school district, have been received less than enthusiastically by the administrators they involve. I’ve learned to fight for my stories and make my reporting bulletproof by navigating PR statements and elusive officials.
- Every time someone thanks me for writing a story. This first happened when I covered Ohio’s heroin epidemic in 2016; the substance abuse counselors I interviewed thanked me for fighting misconceptions about addiction.
- When a story I write has an impact. After my article about a woman searching for a locket that contained her dead fiance’s ashes was published, for example, a man contacted a local funeral home and offered to buy her a new piece of cremation jewelry.
Here’s What I Can Do:
- Report on a range of topics for a range of outlets
- Write powerfully and succinctly
- Shoot photos and video
- Use Adobe Creative Suite products, especially InDesign, Premiere, and Photoshop
- Create graphics, animated GIFs, and editorial layouts
- Manage a staff and edit my peers
- Refine and create website pages using HTML and CSS
- Analyze data using Python
- Copyedit articles for AP style, grammar, and spelling
- Recite the First Amendment from memory
Wait, where do you go to school?
I currently attend Minerva Schools at KGI. Minerva is a new (the first class graduated in May 2019), innovative university designed for the 21st century. Our curriculum emphasizes core critical thinking, creativity, communication, and interaction skills intended to prepare students to adapt to a changing job market and world. Minerva also emphasizes developing a global mindset: about 85 percent of my classmates come from outside of the United States, and after our first year in San Francisco my class will travel to a new world city (Seoul, Hyderabad, Berlin, Buenos Aires, London, and Taipei) every semester.
I had the chance to attend schools that offered me full-ride scholarships or that had renowned journalism programs (like Northwestern University). I chose Minerva, however, because its approach seemed perfect for an aspiring journalist (I wrote this Medium post further explaining my decision). Here, I am learning the skills I will need to succeed in an industry that must constantly respond to both technological and societal shifts. Minerva’s focus on teaching students to be global citizens, furthermore, is preparing me to empathize with people from any background imaginable, a vital ability for any journalist who hopes to make an impact with their work.