The UpTake Institute Fellowship

Introducing The UpTake Institute Fall 2015 Conflict-Sensitive Video Journalism Fellows. This fellowship is a new 12-week vocational program dedicated to enhancing local journalists’ ability to report on the political, social, economic, and cultural conflict that impacts the civic well being of their communities through the unique power of video journalism.


Andy Birkey is the editor of The Column and has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right, and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards. Most recently, his series on conservative religious movements in Minnesota placed third for best news writing in the 2015 National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association awards. Much of his writing focuses on social conflict and he is excited to join The Uptake’s Conflict Sensitive Journalism Fellowship team.


Angilee Shah is a Minnesota-based journalist with Public Radio International where she works in the digital space to produce stories for and its social media channels. She is the community editor for Global Nation and focuses on building features that encourage dialogue, especially by connecting diverse communities online. Shah has also reported from across Asia, including China, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Her writing has appeared in the LA Weekly, Far Eastern Economic Review, Mother Jones Online, Pacific Standard, TimeOut Singapore and Global Voices.

Lolla Nur is a writer/editor, journalist and multidisciplinary creative. As a journalist, her bylines include: Colorlines Magazine, The Nation, Voice of America, Minnesota Public Radio, Pioneer Press, Twin Cities Daily Planet and more. She is an alum of the University of Minnesota — journalism and political science (with focus on international development and Africana studies), and an alum of Georgetown University’s Institute on Political Journalism.


Paige Elliott is the online and entertainment editor with the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, as well as a freelance reporter and multimedia storyteller. Prior to the MSR, she worked at Twin Cities Daily Planet as a freelance writer, reporter and editorial assistant. Paige graduated from the University of Minnesota with an Individually Designed Interdepartmental B.A., with emphasis on diverse media representations.


Patience Zalanga is a movement photographer and photojournalist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has photographed the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and has begun to document the BlackLivesMatter movement in Minnesota as well as traveling to Baltimore Maryland to document protests happening for Freddie Gray. Her work has been featured in the Twin Cities Daily Planet and Al Jazeera+.

About Conflict-Sensitive Journalism

The fellowship serves as an incubator for conflict-sensitive journalism—an approach to journalism that emphasizes understanding, solution finding and peace building within communities and our state. Conflict-sensitive journalism borrows from conflict resolution research and practice to help journalists understand the many types of conflict—political, social, economic, cultural, religious—that they cover on a daily basis. In doing so, journalists can then operate with greater sensitivity and understanding of the role they play as writers, photographers and video journalists reporting on issues where conflict is a central feature. The goal for journalists should be to “minimize harm.” To do so, they must first understand what journalism practices are harmful and exacerbate conflict.

Download Ross Howard’s “Handbook for Conflict-Sensitive Journalism” to learn more.

About the Fellowship

The program provides fellows with a monthly stipend of $500 and an iPad Mini + video production accessories to go back into their communities to produce video news reports for their fellow citizens. Fellows attend one 3 hour training per week (schedule TBD) as well as attend two (2) public symposiums with conflict-sensitive journalism and conflict resolution experts. These symposiums will be live streamed and made available to others in the broader journalism community. At the same time, the symposiums will primarily serve to spark ideas and conversation among our cohort of fellows.

Sponsor one of our Fellows

The UpTake Institute is a not-for-profit organization and is currently seeking funding to support the training and empowerment of local journalists from underrepresented communities. Contact UpTake Executive Director Jeff Achen at to learn how you can support this important work. Sponsorship packages available for $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000.