In March, the Stigler Center will welcome eight world-class journalists from the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Romania, Ukraine, Slovenia, and the United States for an intensive 12-week program of professional development at Chicago Booth.



From a pool of over 200 applicants from Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, the selection committee for the 2020 Journalists in Residence (JIR) Program at the Stigler Center has chosen eight world-class journalists from the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Romania, Ukraine, Slovenia, and the United States. 


Launched in March 2017, the JIR Program provides a transformative learning experience for print and broadcast journalists from around the world. It aims to shape the next generation of leaders in political economy reporting.


The program will take place over approximately 12 weeks at the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus, during which selected participants will audit classes, participate in events, collaborate with peers, and socialize with the university’s greatest scholars.


The participants are:




Kate Allen (United Kingdom) – The Financial Times


Kate Allen is the Financial Times’ international economy news editor. She previously covered capital markets, Westminster politics and international real estate for the FT as a correspondent. Before joining the FT in 2012, she edited a specialist journal on UK housing finance.




Gabriel Baldocchi (Brazil) – Valor Economico


Gabriel Baldocchi is an assistant editor for Brazil’s Valor Econômico and has been working as a financial journalist for the main national newspapers and magazines in Brazil in the past 10 years. He was a World Press Institute Fellow in the United States.   




Joe Bavier (USA, reporting from South Africa) – Reuters News

Born in Tasmania but raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Joe landed in Africa in 2005. He started working for Reuters in Kinshasa two years later amid Congo’s first democratic polls in four decades. Weeks into that assignment, the election euphoria already fading, he found himself dictating copy over a crackling mobile network as a three-day gun battle engulfed the city. Joe has reported from 17 African countries on everything from gold smuggling in West Africa to the hunt for infamous rebel leader Joseph Kony in the forests of Central African Republic and urban crocodile removal in Abidjan. His interest in the impact of global business in Africa has led to stories on the torture of cocoa farmers by forestry agents in Ivory Coast and Monsanto’s failed foray into Burkina Faso’s cotton sector. In 2018, Joe became Reuters’ Africa Business Correspondent, filling a newly created role that sees him covering emerging trends in business on the continent, reporting on trade and investigating corporate malfeasance in developing economies.



Anca Gurzu (Romania, reporting from Belgium) – POLITICO Europe


Anca Gurzu has been covering energy and climate issues for POLITICO Europe in Brussels since 2015. Her reporting focuses on the intricate workings of European Union institutions and the impact that rules decided in Brussels have on member countries. Her core beats include energy security, electricity markets, renewable energy and gas pipelines, which she enriched by traveling throughout Europe for local angles. In 2019, Anca was one of the several energy journalists from around the world selected to participate in the Energy Journalism Initiative at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy in New York City. Before moving to Brussels in 2013, Anca covered Canadian external relations in Ottawa for Embassy News (now The Hill Times), a foreign policy publication. Her reporting focused on trade and immigration. Anca got her degrees from Canada’s Carleton University, which recognized her in 2017 as one of the university’s most distinguished alumni. She also won the Canada-EU Young Journalist Award in 2009.



Nian Liu (China) – The Financial Times

Nian Liu is an associate reporter and researcher for the Financial Times. She covers a variety of topics on China’s tech industry, following and breaking news on tech giants, unicorns, start-ups, US-China tech relations, and tech policies, etc. Previously, Nian Liu covered China’s business and general news for Handelsblatt and the German Press Agency (DPA).




Olga Rudenko (Ukraine) – Kyiv Post


Olga Rudenko is the deputy chief editor of Kyiv Post, an English-language newspaper in Kyiv, Ukraine. She reports on various topics and leads a multicultural team of journalists. She started at the Kyiv Post in 2011 as a reporter. She contributed to the newspaper’s coverage of the Ukrainian revolution and Russian aggression that won the Kyiv Post the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism in 2014. She co-founded Lustrum, an online magazine that pioneered explanatory journalism in Ukraine. She is a board member at the Media Development Foundation, a non-profit organization strengthening local journalism in Ukraine. 



Christopher Walljasper (USA) – Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting


Christopher Walljasper is an investigative reporter based in Chicago, IL, who grew up in a small town in Southeast Iowa, where much of his family still lives. He covers issues facing rural America and the agriculture industry for the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. His work has been published by New Food Economy, In These Times, Global Post, the Des Moines Register, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Science Friday, and more. Chris also does freelance audio production and has recorded for NPR, BBC, WNYC, APM and others. He graduated from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois and received his master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. When he’s not reporting, Chris is spending time with his three kids and wife, or cycling around Chicago.





Blaž Zgaga (Slovenia) – Freelancer, Nacional


Blaž Zgaga is an investigative journalist from Slovenia who writes for the Croatian weekly news magazine Nacional. He began his career at the Slovenian daily newspaper Delo and is an expert in national security, defense, corruption, tax evasion, and the business of sport. Zgaga is the co-author of the investigative trilogy In the Name of the State, which explores arms trafficking into the Balkans during the conflicts of the 1990s. He’s a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and works with European Investigative Collaborations (EIC). His articles have appeared in Der Spiegel, The Guardian, Mediapart, L’Espresso, and many other publications. Zgaga was named among Reporters without Borders’ 100 Information Heroes in 2014 and shares the New York Press Club award and the Scripps-Howard award, among others.


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