Meet Manola Secaira, our first Emerging Journalist Fellow

Introducing a new program from Crosscut and KCTS 9 that will serve as a launching pad for our region’s most promising early-career journalists. 

Emerging Journalist Fellow Manola Secaira works at her desk on Monday, August 6, 2018 at Cascade Public Media in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Sarah Hoffman/KCTS 9)

Whether explaining the plight of trans travelers at the airport or tracking down the source of Seattle’s smoky haze, Crosscut’s newest writer has already been making an impact on our readers — and she isn’t even two months out of college.

Manola Secaira, a June graduate of Seattle Pacific University, is the first Emerging Journalist Fellow for Cascade Public Media, Crosscut's parent organization. The six-month fellowship is a full-time position designed to jumpstart the career of a new professional at a time when journalism is both increasingly vital and threatened. Along with the rest of the news staff, our fellows will help our readers exercise their responsibilities as citizens in an informed manner. And we hope that they will also help create journalism that is more representative of the communities we serve with Crosscut and our sister organization, KCTS 9 public television.

At Seattle Pacific University, Secaira majored in communications and English and worked on the school newspaper, The Falcon, for most of her first three years. She also completed internships with The News Tribune in Tacoma, Seattle Met Magazine and Grist, the Seattle-based online environmental magazine.

Born in Philadelphia, Secaira moved with her family to Washington state when she was 5 years old. She speaks Spanish and has frequently visited Guatemala, where she has relatives on both sides of her family, and studied abroad in London.

Since joining our team in mid-July, Secaira has reported on politics and the environment, with an arts story in the works. She has even jumped in to shoot photos for a couple of stories.

Greg Hanscom, executive editor for Crosscut and KCTS 9, said that her work reflects what he and others had in mind when they developed the fellowship to give new journalists “a little rocket fuel [for their careers] in the form of producing journalism for our site, knowledge and an entrepreneurial mindset.”

The hope is to expand the fellowship in the future and have two or more emerging journalists working at the same time — whether in video storytelling, photography, writing or, as Hanscom has put it, “some mashup of all of these.”

“Manola has gotten off to a good start,” he said, “and it makes us think we are on the right course for helping our community hear stories from emerging journalists while they get started on really promising careers.”

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