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Economic Hardship Reporting Project Announces Inaugural Reporting Grant Recipient

CUNY Graduate Max Maldonado to develop short documentary with filmmaker Juanita Ceballos

 NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a nonprofit that supports independent journalists telling stories about systems that perpetuate economic inequity, announces that Max Maldonado is the winner of the inaugural Economic Hardship Reporting Project (EHRP)/Newmark J-School Reporting Grant.

EHRP has awarded a $5,000 grant to Maldonado, a recent graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, and has paired him with an experienced mentor, filmmaker Juanita Ceballos. She will help him develop a short documentary.

The purpose of the grant is to provide funding to an exceptional Newmark graduate to produce ambitious works of journalism about inequity. Grantees receive a reporting stipend, mentorship and connections to editors at news organizations. Grantees have access to Newmark J-School production equipment and facilities during the grant year, and to a reporting mentor, who also receives a stipend.

Maldonado’s documentary investigates environmental racism through the practice of sugarcane burning in the Florida Everglades. While pre-harvest burning has been mostly phased out around the world, Big Sugar continues to hold fast to this process despite claims from health experts that the smoke is harming the nearby black and brown communities. Maldonado developed an interest in the area after he helped a local non-profit deliver food to the residents of the low-income communities of the Glades. He is currently working on the project with his co-director José Jesús Zaragoza.

Maldonado is a freelance journalist and cinematographer based in New York City. He started in journalism working for his undergraduate college’s radio station, reporting on local stories in South Florida. At the Newmark School, he specialized in documentary filmmaking with a concentration in health and science reporting.

His mentor, Ceballos, is a documentary producer and cinematographer in New York. She has covered Colombia’s civil conflict, police brutality in the United States and the refugee crisis in Venezuela.

SOURCE Economic Hardship Reporting Project

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