Two new members of The Coronavirus Storytelling Project will focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Hispanic and Cherokee communities in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma-based Inasmuch Foundation has pledged $50,000 to launch the project aimed at helping journalists facing difficult times and promoting compelling stories about the people and places impacted by the pandemic. The project is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Watch and the Inasmuch Foundation, which provided initial funding for five $500 grants each week for four months and a project manager. 

The next round of recipients will be announced later this week. Apply here.

Here are this week’s five recipients:

Daisy Creager

Creager was the energy and aerospace reporter and digital strategist for The Journal Record when she was laid off due to COVID-19-related cuts. She received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oklahoma in December 2017. Creager’s project will focus on the problems the journalism industry is facing in attracting and keeping young journalists with a digital-first mindset and multimedia training, needed to usher in change.

David Dishman

Dishman is the business editor at The Oklahoman and has spent nearly a decade reporting in Oklahoma, Missouri and Colorado; and internationally in Greece, Costa Rica and India. His work in Oklahoma includes time in McAlester and Oklahoma City, where he received national recognition for uncovering cases of fraud and embezzlement, as well as business reporting. Dishman is examining the economic effects of the pandemic on city and state sales tax revenues, and on residents who use services funded by these taxes. 

Art Haddaway

Haddaway serves as the news editor for the Owasso Reporter. His project will follow the owner of two recently opened Owasso restaurants who let 60 to 70 of his staff go shortly after the state shut down because of the coronavirus. It will explore his journey through this process, what the future looks like for his restaurants and employees and how their experiences can help others struggling in the industry.

Cecilia Hernandez-Cromwell

Hernandez-Crowwell is the news director and anchor at Telemundo Noticiero Oklahoma. She has five years of reporting experience covering crime, education, health, politics and other topics.

Hernandez-Crowwell is producing a video story on how local Hispanic restaurants are coping with their unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heather Slingerland

Slingerland, a freelance photographer who recently returned to Yukon from New York City,  is working on a photo essay on the challenges the Cherokee people in the state faces due to the pandemic.

One death and 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have brought Cherokee business operations to a halt and created food insecurity for many citizens.

Mike Sherman is an executive editor for Oklahoma Watch and project manager for the Coronavirus Storytelling Project. He spent 24 years as a sports writer and sports editor for The Oklahoman. He was the deputy editor for sports at the Tampa Bay Times until being laid off in March. Contact him at msherman@oklahomawatch. Follow him on Twitter at @mikesherman

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