How COVID-19 is impacting immigrant communities in Tulsa, domestic violence cases across Oklahoma and couples expecting during a pandemic are among the topics that will be examined by the newest members of The Coronavirus Storytelling Project.

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 soon. Apply here.

Here are this week’s recipients:

Elizabeth Caldwell

Caldwell is a recent graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, where she studied radio and podcasting. She had planned to move from Maine to Oklahoma before the pandemic and debated about whether to go through with it before making the move in April. Her project focuses on Airbnbs during the pandemic, who stays in them at a time like this and what it is like running one now. Follow her on Twitter at @eliza_well

Kristi Eaton

Eaton is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Associated Press, The Washington Post, Ms. Magazine and elsewhere. She is a Tulsa Artist Fellow and is based in Tulsa, which was recently selected to take part in a research grant opportunity exploring how the COVID-19 response affects immigrant communities. Her story will explore the Zomi/Burmese population in Tulsa and how they are affected by the coronavirus.

Mark Lewis

Lewis and his wife, Cindy, own the Wynnewood Gazette. Lewis, a retired Oklahoma City firefighter, is writing about a local woman who came out of retirement from her nursing career to take a position as the entertainment director at a Pauls Valley assisted living center. His story details the personal sacrifices she has made to care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of residents.

Sheila Stogsdill

Stogsdill is an award-winning freelance journalist for the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman.  She has spent over 20 years mostly covering crime, including the disappearance of two Craig County teens, Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman.  She has also covered the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeast Oklahoma, the Interstate 40 bridge collapse, and many tornadoes.  Her story covers the rise of domestic violence cases amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jacob Unruh

Unruh, who covers Oklahoma State University athletics for The Oklahoman, is married to Ashley Keeling, and they are expecting their first child in October. His story centers on the joy, the nerve and the unknowns of childbirth in a pandemic. Following nearly two years of trying to start a family and multiple fertility treatments, the Keeling-Unruh family learned on Valentine’s Day that a baby was on the way. Then, the world shut down. Follow Unruh on Twitter at @jacobunruh

Mike Sherman is an executive editor for Oklahoma Watch and project manager for the Coronavirus Storytelling Project. He spent 24 years as a sportswriter 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.org or michael.o.sherman@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikesherman



Support our publication

Every day we strive to produce journalism that matters — stories that strengthen accountability and transparency, provide value and resonate with readers like you.

This work is essential to a better-informed community and a healthy democracy. But it isn’t possible without your support.