Student Media has awarded the third-annual gifts from the Moore-Hodges fund, which honors and builds on the legacies of people of color whose presence, voices and work have helped make our historically predominantly white institution better reflect the community we serve.
Daily news editor Jazz Wolfe and news reporter Anusha Fathepure are the 2022-23 recipients. Each will receive $500 this academic year to support their ongoing work at the OU Daily.
“As a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, it is vital to me that the voices of everyone in that family be heard,” wrote Wolfe, a senior who aspires to a career in science journalism and was the Daily’s summer 2022 editor-in-chief.
“I've grown up in Oklahoma my entire life, but because my parents were from Vegas, I was shielded from the bigotry queer people face in small towns like Enid. Until I started middle school, I didn't even realize I was different from my peers in a way that was looked down on. As soon as I realized that — from the slurs thrown around in the hallways to the barely-hidden disgust teachers showed when the topic came up — I knew it was unfair. Still, when I complained, I wasn't heard.
“In my time at the Daily, I have already written articles dedicated to highlighting the successes of people in the community like Mauree Turner, Oklahoma's first openly nonbinary legislator and the drag stars of OU's campus. I've also written on the challenges the queer community has faced and how they — we — have overcome them, especially in Oklahoma. People in every community deserve to be heard, especially those that have been historically silenced. I hope that my work at the Daily and beyond gives them a voice.”
Fathepure, a first-year student from Stillwater, wrote, “It is a particularly hard thing to be a first-generation American. You look at the world around you and find yourself among thousands of boxes and you do not fit. My identity is a strange amalgamation of India and America. When you grow up as a minority in a majority culture, you are often just trying to fit in.
“I often felt voiceless growing up. No one was trying to see life from my perspective, telling the story I knew. I was almost always being fed the ‘model minority’ myth, by my well-intentioned, but perhaps misguided, parents, friends or teachers. Journalism taught me to fight these stereotypes. Every person, regardless of background or race, has a unique story. Media permeates our life and has a significant influence on society, so journalists need to accurately represent stories of people from all backgrounds. These narratives can shape how people are viewed and how they view themselves as their own individual identity.
“Through my work at the OU Daily, I aim to report the news with integrity and chase the truth. Telling the stories of people whose experiences are often overshadowed by others has allowed me to reflect my own voice in theirs. Journalists hold the power to fight fear, hatred, and lies. They are champions of truth, but real truth can only be revealed through diverse perspectives. I hope someday another young Indian girl will see the name Fathepure at the top of a headline and know she can be a champion of truth too.”
The Moore-Hodges fund is intended to help further systematic change at OU Daily, from the composition of its staff to the substance of its coverage to the community trust it must continue to earn with historically marginalized groups on campus.
It honors the legacies of the first Black students to work on staff at OU Student Media. In 1964, Zelbert Moore was the first Black man to join the staff of The Oklahoma Daily. OU’s first Black journalism graduate, he ultimately went on to become a professor emeritus in Black studies at SUNY New Paltz. In 1965, Guinnevere Hodges became the first Black woman to join the staff of Sooner yearbook, the predecessor to Crimson Quarterly magazine. She went on to help design Project Threshold, a program meant to recruit, retain and graduate more people of color from the University of Oklahoma.
This support fund is awarded to two students per year with experience in or a special commitment to working with marginalized communities who aspire to a career in media, with a priority given to applicants for whom it can make a financial difference in their ability to work on our staff. Prior honorees were Alexia Aston (2021), Marien Lopez-Medina (2021, 2020) and Trey Young (2020).
To donate, visit our Student Media page with the OU Foundation and specify your gift, via the comment field, to be directed to the Moore-Hodges fund.