Coda Story Hires Erica Hellerstein as Senior Reporter

May 17, 2021 — Erica Hellerstein has joined Coda Media as the nonprofit newsroom’s first U.S-based journalist. As a Senior Reporter, based in Oakland, California, Erica will report on national storylines and position them in a global context.

Erica is an award-winning journalist who has spent nearly a decade covering politics and human rights in the U.S. and abroad. Her work has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, ELLE, Marie Claire, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Jose Mercury News, and The Lily, among other publications.

Erica’s position has been made possible by generous and critical support from the Reva & David Logan Foundation, supporting social justice, the arts, and investigative journalism. And by the crucial support of Craig Newmark Philanthropies, promoting trustworthy journalism, including the ethics of news distribution to deny the amplification of disinformation.

“These two foundations, so pivotal to the success of nonprofit journalism, have provided Coda with an invaluable gift. They have transformed our ability to pursue a new level of impact on behalf of our audience,” said Ilan Greenberg, Coda Publisher and Editorial Director.

Coda’s journalism pursues connections, complexity and nuance –whether on foreign disinformation campaigns unleashed on domestic elections or new technologies arising from American companies aiding authoritarian regimes and shaping whole regions. “Erica has proven herself to be a dynamic and talented reporter who will play a foundational role in Coda achieving its ambitious journalism objectives,” said Burhan Wazir, Coda Managing Editor. “I know we will benefit greatly from her reporting and storytelling skills.”

Erica has reported on human rights issues throughout the U.S. and Latin America, covering environmental justice and prosecutorial misconduct in North Carolina, the rise of gender-based violence in post-coup Honduras, the black market for abortion pills in Chile, the U.S.-Mexico border, and Argentina, protests against police brutality in Ferguson and Baltimore, farmworkers’ rights in California, the Colombian civil war’s legacy of sexual violence, and more. 

In 2018, Erica’s investigative series into North Carolina’s commercial hog farming industry won the Reed Award for Environmental Writing and was a finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award for Investigative Reporting and the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting. Other work has been honored by the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the Clay Felker Prize for Excellence in Longform Journalism.

Previously, Erica covered poverty and inequality in the Bay Area at the San Jose Mercury News and the multi-newsroom California Divide project, was an investigative and political reporter for the North Carolina-based alt-weekly INDYWeek and worked as an investigative reporter with ThinkProgress in Washington DC. She was also a researcher on the PBS/Frontline documentary, Rape in the Fields, and worked for a human rights organization. She received her B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Coda is an award-winning 501(c)3 non-profit newsroom dedicated to journalism that investigates the roots of modern crises. Coda tells stories on digital platforms, on podcasts, and in videos and film. Learn more.

Media inquiries:

Natalia Antelava, editor-in-chief
[email protected]

Ilan Greenberg, editorial director
[email protected]