By Braden Ochs | Echo
Carolina Journal Associate Editor and Taylor alumna Kari Travis ('14) has been named a recipient of The Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship.
Affiliated with The Fund for American Studies, the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship grants funds to a major, year-long investigative journalism project. She received a first tier grant, which includes $30,000, plus $5,000 for expenses. Travis will continue to work part-time for the Carolina Journal while working on her Novak Fellowship project.
Named after Robert Novak, the late American journalist known for his strong-willed reporting, the Fellowship was founded in 1994 and has welcomed 141 fellows since the start.
"The Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship is a great opportunity for me to commit to a deep investigation regarding human sex trafficking," Travis said.
Travis was considered for the Novak fellowship when one of her mentors in Washington, D.C. encouraged her to apply. The application process included writing a grant proposal, two rounds of interviews and waiting to hear the results. Travis was one of more than 40 applicants, and she became one of seven total people who were awarded fellowships.
Travis's project, "Not for Sale: Liberty, Responsibility, and the Role of Conservatism in the Fight Against Human Trafficking," will focus on the problem of domestic sex trafficking. Her investigation will be seeking data-based policy recommendations lawmakers could implement to combat human trafficking.
Travis's research will span six intensive articles which she will eventually compile into a book. She hopes this research will be a service to politicians and give them practical steps to fight against modern slavery.
"My hope is that this work will present a reasonable, balanced, and pragmatic voice in the arena of opinions surrounding a very emotional topic," Travis said.
Travis joined the Carolina Journal in April 2015 and began reporting on human trafficking last year. Her reporting on human trafficking started when North Carolina introduced two bills regarding the issue.
Earlier this year, Travis received two North Carolina Press Association awards for portions of her work with the Journal in 2017. The first award was the first place for political and election reporting, and the second was the third place award for news enterprise reporting.
Travis graduated from Taylor in 2014, majoring in professional writing and political science. She served on The Echo newspaper for three years, finishing her time at Taylor with the role of Editor in Chief. Her classroom experience was critical, but she learned a lot from gaining work experience.
"My advice to current communications/journalism/professional writing students is that 'experience is the best experience,'" Travis said. "By this, I mean that an ounce of the training I had on The Echo and during internships was worth a pound of what I learned in the classroom. It's where theory met life."
Travis's reporting for the Carolina Journal can be found on www.carolinajournal.com.