CHICAGO, Sept. 21, 2016 — Maria Zamudio, an award-winning investigative reporter for The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, TN, has been named the third recipient of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Journalism Fellowship on the Economics of Aging and Work.

The residential AP-NORC fellowship will enable Zamudio to spend the next 10 months in Chicago working with world-class research scientists, economists, and other experts to develop the economic and
analytical skills needed to produce research-based enterprise journalism focused on the economics of aging and work in the United States.

Zamudio was awarded the fellowship after a national competition, open to journalists with at least five years’ experience and a demonstrated interest in research-based reporting on issues related to the economics of aging and work in the United States.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work and learn from some of the brightest minds in Chicago,” said Zamudio. “I became interested in learning more about the economics of aging and work because of my parents, who are both retired. The stories about aging and retirement rarely focus on the working poor. I would like to learn more about it and to write more in-depth stories.”

The fellowship was established by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The AP-NORC Center is a joint venture of The Associated Press (AP) and the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago.

“Understanding the changing dynamics of the aging American workforce will be critical for both policymakers and employers,” said Trevor Tompson, vice president for public affairs research for NORC at the University of Chicago and director of The AP-NORC Center. “We are excited we will be working with Maria for the next 10 months to explore this issue. Maria brings a background of investigative journalism to the fellowship, and we are excited to add data and research based
reporting to her portfolio.”

As an AP-NORC fellow, Zamudio will write a series of in-depth stories on issues linked to the economics of the aging workforce in the United States that will run on the media platforms of the AP. She will also participate in original AP-NORC Center projects related to aging and work.

Other elements of the fellowship include:

  • Access to the research and academic resources of the University of Chicago, including its renowned economics faculty, and to the broader economics research community.
  • A senior NORC scientist as a mentor throughout the fellowship. NORC carries out many of the largest social science research initiatives funded by the federal government, including the General Social Survey, second only to the U.S. Census as a source of research-based information on many aspects of American life.
  • A highly individualized training program, including one-on-one tutorials, seminars, and the opportunity to audit selected University of Chicago courses.

In 2015, Zamudio and a team of reporters from National Public Radio’s (NPR) Latino USA received a Peabody National Award for their coverage of Central American migrants. Prior to joining The Commercial Appeal, she worked for the Chicago Reporter magazine covering immigration and labor. Zamudio also spent three years in California working for daily newspapers.

She’s a bilingual reporter and blogger with experience producing audio and visual stories. She was awarded the Social Justice Reporting Fellowship by the International Center for Journalists in 2014.
She has participated in the 2013 New York Times Fellowship, 2012 Justice in Journalism Fellowship, Knight Digital Media Foundation’s 2011 Independent Journalist Fellowship, and the 2010 Education Writers Association’s Research and Statistics Fellowship.

Zamudio graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007. Her work has appeared on NPR, NBC 5 Chicago, Telemundo, and Univision, among others.

Information about The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research is available at:

About The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research taps into the power of social science research and the highest-quality journalism to bring key information to people across the nation and throughout the

The Associated Press (AP) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP.

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.

The two organizations have established The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research to conduct, analyze, and distribute social science research in the public interest on newsworthy topics, and to use the power of journalism to tell the stories that research reveals.


Contact: For more information, contact Eric Young for NORC at or (703) 217-
6814 (cell); or Paul Colford for AP at