Meet PRNDI's 2017 Early Career Scholarship Winners: Karen Rouse and Stephen Fowler

Jun 16, 2017

Join PRNDI in congratulating our 2017 early career scholarship winners: Karen Rouse and Stephen Fowler.


“The PRNDI early career scholarship program allows journalists to experience our conference without placing that financial burden on their stations," says PRNDI president Terry Gildea. "Karen and Stephen represent an incredible talent pool of rising stars in public media. Our future is bright!”


WNYC's Karen Rouse.

Karen Rouse is the New Jersey reporter for WNYC, New York Public Radio. She is proudly a Bronx-born, South Jersey-reared, first-generation-American.


So, how does it feel to be a PRNDI scholarship winner?


"I actually feel like a one of those game show contestants who has a limited amount of time to grab as many flying dollars bills as possible from the inside of one of those money-blowing booths," Rouse says. "The conference is just a few days, but I plan to glean from my fellow audio storytellers as much as they're willing to share."


Before making the leap to radio reporting in 2014, Rouse was a newspaper reporter for The Denver Post, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Bergen Record (N.J.). She has won awards for coverage of public schools, issues of race, and an investigation of NJ Transit’s multi-million-dollar mistake during Hurricane Sandy.


As a newer radio reporter, Rouse says she's excited to meet more of her public radio colleagues.

"I especially want to hear their strategies -- for listening to tape, how to make the environment you're working in work for you, and mapping out stories in layers, to build suspense and intrigue," she says.


Rouse has a B.A. from Douglass College at Rutgers University, and her M. A. from Rutgers-Newark.


Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler.

Stephen Fowler is the All Things Considered Producer/Back-Up Host at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta. He graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. His thesis was on the rise of the internet rapper via the intersectionality of social media and hip-hop.

“I was drawn to public radio because it opened a world I would’ve never experienced otherwise coming from a fairly homogenous, lower-income South Georgia background," says Fowler.


"I’m excited to use this scholarship and the conference to continue to make others’ worlds come to life and help push the buzzword of ‘diversity’ from paper to practice.”


At Emory, Fowler was the Executive Digital Editor of The Emory Wheel and a member of the inaugural cohort of the Georgia News Lab.


He’s produced a three-hour All Things Considered show live from places such as a baseball stadium, a hip-hop festival, and a rooftop midway. Less than a year into his public radio journey, he’s captured the sounds of sizzling shrimp mofongo, climbed through rubble from a collapsed interstate and covered a funeral for a grocery store. Yes, really.


Keep an eye out for Karen and Stephen at PRNDI 2017. Be sure to say hello and give them a high five!