January, 2022

Class of 2023 Call for Applications

The application for the Class of 2023 National Fellows is now open!

More information and the application can be found here. The deadline to apply is February 1, 2022.

Three questions with...
2017 Fellow Matthieu Aikins

Your Fellows Project, the forthcoming book, The Naked Don’t Fear the Water, chronicles your experiences following your friend Omar, an Afghan refugee, as he leaves his home country in search of a better life. How did you first meet Omar? Why did you find it best for you to report his story undercover, and how did you pull it off?

Omar was one of the first friends I made in Afghanistan, not long after I arrived there in late 2008. We worked on my first magazine story there, a piece about a drug-smuggling U.S. ally that ran in Harper’s. Over the years, I became close to him and his family, and when they decided to escape their country, it was our relationship that drew me along.

Going undercover was the only way to travel on the smuggler’s road with him, given the danger of arrest or kidnapping. I was able to pull it off because I learned Dari while living in Afghanistan, and because I look Afghan—my mother is of Japanese descent.

As the Taliban reclaimed Afghanistan in 2021, you remained in Kabul reporting on the situation and you utilized Twitter to share live updates. That reporting was recently published in the New York Times Magazine.

How did you decide to stay in the country with your photographer, Jim Huylebroek? And can you share how you think social media benefits, or hinders, journalists in times of crisis?

Jim and I were housemates and when the New York Times, along with most Western media organizations, decided to evacuate their staff in August, we had to decide whether to stay, since we were freelancers. It was a choice that we very much made together. We were at each other’s side throughout the chaos that followed, reporting for the newspaper since we were the only ones the Times had on the ground, along with Victor Blue, another friend. This magazine story is the culmination of our time together.

There was a remarkable amount of rumors and disinformation on social media during the crisis in Afghanistan this summer, so I was trying to share first-hand reporting that people could trust. Twitter and social media can offer an incredible amount of useful information, but it needs to be verified, and I think that because most journalists reporting on Afghanistan were stuck outside the country when it was hot news, they were more vulnerable to reporting on false information.

Omar’s story is only one out of millions of refugees, what impact do you hope your book will have on changing policies and sentiments about refugees?

I hope the book will help readers realize how much violence our deeply unequal world’s borders inflict on the people forced to cross them—and that radical change is necessary if we want to end that violence.

Hot Off The Press

Gangsters of Capitalism

A groundbreaking journey tracing America’s forgotten path to global power—and how its legacies shape our world today—told through the extraordinary life of a complicated Marine.

Publication date: January 18th.

Available for pre-order through our bookselling partner Solid State Books here.

By: Jonathan M. Katz, Class of 2019

Learn More

Two Cents

Fellows discuss the books from their childhood that inspire their current work.

1: I loved to read Nancy Drew novels and in some ways, I can see the connections to my writing and research now. As a professional historian, I am often asking probing questions, following clues, and doing investigative work in order to craft the stories I tell. — Keisha N. Blain, Class of 2022

2: I was a frequent and faithful reader of Roger Ebert as a kid, and for a few minutes thought I would grow up to be a film critic. I still aspire to his clarity, the way his work was both structured but brief, his humor, and his thoughtful analysis and open-minded way of encountering the world around him. — Eve L. Ewing, Class of 2021

3: I read almost every Goosebumps and Fear Street novel, and have been addicted to reading and writing ever since. — Mike Giglio, Class of 2022


Read our Year in Review for an overview of Fellows' accomplishments in 2021.

Lauren Michele Jackson wrote a feature on Mariah Carey for Harper's Bazaar

Benoit Denizet-Lewis wrote about Rennie Davis, one of the Chicago Seven, for the New York Times "The Lives They Lived" section. 

Anna Louie Sussman was interviewed on The Cut podcast about her article on egg freezing and sharing systems.

Adam Harris's book The State Must Provide was reviewed by Kevin Carey, New America's Vice President of Education Policy and Knowledge Management, for the November/December issue of Washington Monthly.

Two Cents
New America Events

The top 3 New America events we recommend you check out. Now.



Mapping the Capitol Attack & Its Aftermath

Join the Future Frontlines team at New America and the Digital Forensics Research Lab at the Atlantic Council as they examine the connections between tech, extremism, and January 6th, one year later. Learn More.


Innovations in Demand-Driven Property Registration

Join the Future of Land and Housing Program and Suyo, a social enterprise that provides tech-enabled land rights services to low-income households in Colombia, for an online event discussing barriers to demand-driven property registration. Learn More.


Gangsters of Capitalism

Join the New America Fellows Program for a conversation with Jonathan M. Katz about his new book Gangsters of Capitalism, which traces America's path to global power, with 2020 Emerson Collective Fellow Clint Smith. Learn More.

Reading this month

The book is real, and harsh, and vulnerable. Saying it makes you think is a cop out, saying it reveals what it looks like for someone else to think publicly is more honest.
— Reginald Dwayne Betts,
Class of 2018

Learn More

This beautifully written memoir lays bare the many challenges Black people face in American society. It draws on the writings of some of the most iconic Black writers and thinkers to explore the intersections of race, religion, and politics in the United States.
— Keisha N. Blain,
Class of 2022

Learn More

This is the best book I've read that explains the connection between the global war on terror and the domestic breakdown in the U.S.
— Mike Giglio,
Class of 2022

Learn More

Free Swag

Fill out the form below for a chance to win a copy of Gangsters of Capitalism by Jonathan M. Katz, Class of 2019. 

Please submit by Monday, January 10th to be considered.

Get Swag!

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