Omidyar Network Announces Third Class of Reporters in Residence

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Omidyar Network Announces Third Class of Reporters in Residence
Program Aims to Increase Quality News Coverage of Pressing Economic Issues

December 14, 2023

Washington, DC – Today, Omidyar Network announced the three latest journalists to join its Reporters in Residence program. The three reporters—Walter Frick, Helaine Olen, and s.e. smith—will spend the first six months of 2024 reporting on economic issues related to Omidyar Network’s Reimagining Capitalism area of practice, which works to shape a new, inclusive economy where markets serve the interests of all people and society. The Reporters in Residence program aims to expand the breadth and depth of coverage about a range of economic issues, such as the growing movement for worker power, the changing role of corporations in society, and new policy ideas that could fundamentally alter the shape of our economy.

“Our Reporters in Residence program has been hugely successful in giving journalists the breathing room to generate deep and nuanced reporting that helps to drive national conversations and inform important policy debates,” said Alexis Krieg, a director of strategic communications at Omidyar Network and the lead for the residency program “Helaine, s.e., and Walter all have a distinct perspective and proven expertise in exploring the more unconventional angles of economic narratives. We’re eager to see what new stories they will uncover over the next six months.”

About the reporters:

Helaine Olen will focus on Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good. She is a former columnist for Washington Post Opinions, where she wrote on the intersection of the economy, personal finance, politics, and our personal lives. She’s the author of Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry and co-author of The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be Complicated. Her work has been published in numerous other outlets including The New York Times, the Atlantic, and Slate. Her media appearances include The Daily Show, Frontline, MSNBC, and NPR. She serves on the advisory board of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

Walter Frick will focus on New Economic Paradigms. Walter is a freelance editor and writer focused on the intersection of economics, public policy, and technology. He is currently chief editor at the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center and a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, where he was previously a senior editor. He has been an executive editor at Quartz and both a Knight-Nieman fellow and a Berkman-Klein Assembly fellow at Harvard University.

s.e. smith will focus on Worker Power. They are a National Magazine Award-winning journalist and essayist based in Northern California. smith’s cultural analysis and coverage of inequality, disability, LGBQTIA communities, and other social issues has appeared in publications such as the Washington Post, TIME, The Nation, Vice, In These Times, Esquire, and Catapult.

Olen, Frick, and smith will comprise the Winter 2024 cohort of the program. Previous Reporters in Residence include Bryce Covert, Megan Greenwell, Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein, Kim Kelly, Hamilton Nolan, and Edward Ongweso Jr. Collectively, their work has been featured in publications: ABC News, Bloomberg, Columbia Journalism Review, Fast Company, The Guardian, In These Times, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New York Times, Slate, The American Prospect, and Teen Vogue, among others. The Summer 2023 cohort,—Greenwell, Kaiser-Schatlzien, and Nolan—covered a wide array of economic issues during their tenure, including: exploring the role of private equity in facilitating an employee-ownership model; detailing how companies manipulate “stay or play” clauses to trap workers in undesirable jobs; and theorizing how journalists, creatives, and unions could work together to respond to new developments in artificial intelligence.

The Winter 2024 cohort will be active from January to June of 2023, with each reporter continuing to follow the leads on the economic issues they deem most important. Reporters will receive a monthly stipend, coverage of some travel expenses, and access to Omidyar Network partners and staff throughout the course of the residency program. Following Omidyar Network’s commitment to transparency and journalistic independence, the reporters will maintain full editorial control and discretion over their work.

The application period for the next cohort is expected to open in April of 2024.