The Intercept launched the Ady Barkan Reporting Fellowship on Monday, honoring a progressive activist with Lou Gehrig’s disease at the center of protests against the GOP tax cut legislation and Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
The Intercept, an online news site launched by eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar in February 2014, hopes to crowdfund upwards of $70,000 to hire an experienced journalist for the year-long reporting fellowship. The recipient could begin as early as January and would be tasked with covering social movements and protests of the kind Barkan has led and championed.
Although the fellowship is currently a one-time opportunity, The Intercept would ultimately like to fund a year-long fellowship in Barkan’s honor every year, according to Ryan Grim, the outlet’s Washington bureau chief. (Grim, who ran HuffPost’s Washington bureau until June 2017, previously edited this reporter’s work.)
Grim was covering Barkan’s protests of the Kavanaugh confirmation and approached him with the idea for the fellowship. Barkan, a regular opinion columnist for the Columbia University newspaper who interned for the editorial board of The Miami Herald, warmed to the proposal.
“I want to promote journalism with a conscience ― journalism that takes the progressive movement seriously, and journalism that takes human dignity seriously,” Barkan told HuffPost. “I think the Intercept does all that, and I would love to help encourage more young journalists to pursue that kind of livelihood.”
Barkan, a 34-year-old attorney, has a history of innovating grassroots movements that force elected officials and technocrats to face the people affected by their decisions. As a leader at the Center for Popular Democracy, which advocates for low-income communities, Barkan pioneered the Fed Up campaign in 2014, which successfully nudged the Federal Reserve in a more progressive direction.
In October 2016, Barkan was diagnosed with ALS, a terminal disease that slowly paralyzes people. Barkan, who has a two-year-old son with his wife Rachael King, renewed his commitment to rank-and-file activism, vowing to do everything in his remaining days to stop President Donald Trump’s agenda, beginning with the proposed tax cuts.