Overseas Press Club of America Announces Annual Award Winners

Contact: Patricia Kranz, executive director, Overseas Press Club of America

(917) 971-0746 – patricia@opcofamerica.org

81st Annual Overseas Press Club Awards Recognizes the Finest International Reporting in 22 Categories; The New York Times Leads All Outlets for the Second Straight Year; Immigrants Fleeing Violence and a Post-Caliphate ISIS are Recurring Themes; 2020 OPC Awards Dinner Canceled Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

NEW YORK, April 2, 2020 — The plight of immigrant populations fleeing violence across several continents and the state of ISIS after the caliphate emerged as the leading storylines among the 22 winners of the 81st Annual Overseas Press Club Awards.

America’s oldest association dedicated to international news canceled this year’s awards dinner, which was originally scheduled for April 23, due to concerns with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The OPC is planning to honor the winners in an online awards ceremony in the coming weeks. Please check the OPC website – www.opcofamerica.org – for details.  

“The OPC Award winners carry on the great tradition of international reporting through their curiosity, tenacity and bravery,” says Pancho Bernasconi, president, Overseas Press Club of America. “Though we cannot honor the winners in person this year, we do recognize that the lessons of their riveting journalism are why the world needs transparency and a free press.”

The 2020 OPC honorees were selected from a record number of submissions. Scott Kraft, OPC board member and the Awards Chair, said the nearly 100 jurors who spent a month reviewing entries to select the winners “were deeply impressed by the high quality of the work in every category. For all of us, it was a welcome sign that international reporting remains strong and vital.” 

A total of six OPC awards relate to different aspects of the global migration crisis, including two stories each on the fallout from lethal violence in Latin America and the complicated Syrian conflict. Five awards cover the activities of loyal ISIS fighters in different parts of the world following the collapse of the caliphate.

For the second straight year, The New York Times led all media outlets, winning five awards, including two different stories on the export of Russia’s deadly influence, the ISIS murder of two Americans in Tajikistan, Latin America’s homicide crisis and the Flora Lewis Award for commentary. The Times has taken home at least one OPC honor for 16 consecutive years. 

The Wall Street Journal earned three OPC awards, including reporting and photography prizes for the same story about a Swedish man trying to rescue his seven grandchildren from ISIS hands in Syria. The Journal added a third award for business reporting by chronicling the arrest and escape from Japan by former Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. 

Two-time winners include PBS FRONTLINE, National Public Radio’s “Rough Translation” podcast, BuzzFeed News and The Associated Press, which has won at least one OPC award for 11 straight years.

The AP captured the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal Award given for best photography requiring exceptional courage. Photographer Dieu Nalio Chery was wounded at a protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti when a senator opened fire into a crowd.

Chery remained to cover the chaotic seven and deliver a series of engrossing images. AP also captured the prestigious Hal Boyle Award for its team coverage of the global migration crisis. AP has won the Boyle prize in four of the last five years.  

PBS FRONTLINE rounded out the dual winners with a compelling first-person video about the horrible events that continue wreaking havoc in Aleppo, Syria. FRONTLINE’s second award explained how the trade confrontation developed between the U.S. and China. FRONTLINE producers have won a total of 16 OPC awards since the show’s 1983 debut.

BuzzFeed News won for the first time ever. It captured the Madeline Dane Ross award for a deeply reported story about the human condition with a series on the fight for women’s rights in Latin America. BuzzFeed’s second prize resulted from a thorough investigation into the murderous partners of the World Wildlife Fund, which triggered a series of reforms.

Ecco/Harper Collins is another first-time OPC winner for best nonfiction book about international affairs. Katherine Eban authored “Bottle of Lies: Inside the Generic Drug Boom,” a probe into the fraudulent practices of Indian pharmaceutical suppliers. 

Alex Perry won Outside magazine’s first OPC award with a humanizing portrait of a young missionary who was killed on a remote island in the Indian Ocean.  

The OPC also awarded runner-up citations in 20 of the 22 award categories. The Washington Post led with four citations, followed by NBC and The Associated Press with two. Click here for a full list of citation winners.  

Please contact the OPC’s Patricia Kranz at patricia@opcofamerica.org or (917) 971-0746, if you have additional questions.

For a full list of award winners, see below. To see citation (runner-up) winners, click on this link. A list of all our awards judges is posted here.


OPC Awards (for work in CY2019)

Newspapers, News Services, Print or Digital


Best newspaper, news service or digital reporting from abroad.

Sponsor: Norman Pearlstine in memory of Jerry Flint

The Associated Press Staff, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

“Outsourcing Migrants”

Judges: The AP series exposed how policies in Western and developed nations were creating a huge pool of languishing people.

Eduardo Castillo recused himself from the jury’s final decision.



Best newspaper, news service or digital interpretation of international affairs.

Sponsor: William J. Holstein and Rita Sevell

Isabel Coles and Rena Effendi

The Wall Street Journal

“Children of No Nation”

Judges: The WSJ informed readers of the larger story about Europe, its homegrown Muslim foreign fighters and post-conflict Syria in a way that readers could relate to and engage with.

Stephen Fidler recused himself from the jury’s final decision.



Best magazine-style, long-form narrative feature in print or digital on an international story.

Sponsor: Michael S. Serrill

Alex Perry


“The Last Days of John Allen Chau”

Judges: Perry weaves a deeply humanizing portrait…and illuminates the ongoing effects of missionary work, adventurism and the exoticism of the world’s remote peoples.



Best international business news reporting in newspapers, news services, magazines or digital.

Sponsor: Forbes Magazine

Nick Kostov and Sean McLain

The Wall Street Journal

“The Fall of Carlos Ghosn”

Judges: Kostov and McLain’s persistent enterprise over the course of the year helped Journal readers solve a great mystery.



Best international reporting in the print medium or digital showing a concern for the human condition.

Sponsor: Linda Fasulo

Karla Zabludovsky

BuzzFeed News

The Fight for Women’s Rights in Latin America.

Judges: Zabludovsky wrote with great passion and a sense of urgency about ordinary women in Latin America whose lives were upended by the restrictive – and sometimes deadly – reproductive health laws that are the norm in the region.



Best story or series of stories on international affairs using creative and dynamic digital storytelling techniques.

Sponsor: Molly Bingham

Malachy Browne, Evan Hill, Christiaan Triebert, Whitney Hurst, Dmitriy Khavin 

and the Visual Investigations Team

The New York Times

“The Russia Tapes: Health Care and Civilians Under Attack in Syria”

Judges: The New York Times team approached this under covered story with innovative use of digital tools – not just to enhance the storytelling but to report the story itself.


TV, Video, Radio or Podcast



Best radio, audio, or podcast coverage of international affairs.

Sponsor: Deborah Amos

Gregory Warner, Karen Duffin, Marianne McCune, Jess Jiang, Sebastian Meyer and team

NPR’s “Rough Translation” podcast

“The Search: Parts 1 and 2” 

Judges: Most powerful are the voices of (the late) Kamaran Najm’s family and friends…in telling their story with such honesty and openness, NPR’s Rough Translation has helped us grasp the very human long-term legacy of conflict.



Best TV or video spot news reporting from abroad.

Sponsor: ABC News

Hind Hassan, Craig Thomson, Madeleine Haeringer, Julia Lindau and Joe Hill

VICE News Tonight

“Uganda: Orphanage, Inc.”

Judges: VICE revealed a horrendous story of unregulated orphanages in Uganda that bring in some $250 million in donations from rich countries like the U.S. for what turns out to be – at least in part – a corrupt business scam.



Best TV, video or documentary interpretation of international affairs with a run time up to 30 minutes.

Sponsor: CBS News

Singeli Agnew, Rukmini Callimachi, Geoff O’Brien and Victor Tadashi Suarez

The New York Times


Judges: This episode tells a tale of poignant tragedy, through meticulous reporting and strong visual imagery. From the victim’s excited dispatches home, to the chilling cell phone videos from the killer, the film leaves the audience moved and disturbed, with a lot to contemplate.



Best TV, video or documentary about international affairs with a run time over 30 minutes.

Sponsor: The Jennings Family

Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts and Dan Edge and Raney Aronson-Rath


“For Sama”

 Judges: A powerful personal story about a mother’s love for her young daughter, a city on the brink of destruction and a war that unleashes a terrible humanitarian disaster.



Best international business news reporting in TV, video, radio, audio or podcast.

Sponsor: Marc Lemcke

Rick Young, Emma Schwartz, Laura Sullivan and Fritz Kramer


“Trump’s Trade War”

Judges: The report did an excellent job of guiding viewers through an up-close understanding of the places, from Wenzhou, China to cities in Ohio, and the people, including President Trump himself, who forged this confrontation between the United States and China.

Amanda Aronczyk recused herself from the final decision.



Best international TV, video, radio, audio or podcast reporting showing a concern for the human condition.

Sponsor: David A. Andelman and Pamela Title

Gregory Warner, Jane Arraf, Marianne McCune, Michael May, Sana Krasikov and team

NPR’s “Rough Translation” podcast

“D.I.Y. Mosul”

Judges: Jane Arraf (and her Rough Translation team) tells these stories of grassroots civic action with uncommon sensitivity and insight into Iraqi culture – insight born of long years covering a very complicated country.

Leila Fadel recused herself from the jury’s final decision.


Any Medium


Best reporting in any medium on Latin America.

Azam Ahmed

The New York Times

“Kill or Be Killed: Latin America’s Homicide Crisis”

Judges: Ahmad’s stories have vivid scenes, with unforgettable characters, that propel readers forward. Judges were also deeply impressed by the photography, graphics and forensic mapping that accompanied the work.



Best investigative reporting in any medium on an international story.

Sponsor: Marcus Rowan

Michael Schwirtz, Dionne Searcey, David Kirkpatrick and the Visual Investigations team

“Russia’s Shadow War”

Judges: The analysis of the cockpit recordings, the digital forensics, the deciphering of the Russian military codes was unlike anything any of us had seen before by a news organization. It brought us a view of Russia much darker and sinister than we’d seen before.



Best commentary in any medium on international news.

Sponsor: Paula Dwyer

Li Yuan

The New York Times

“The New, New World”

Judges: Li Yuan’s pieces on China and Hong Kong were informative, insightful, and delightful to read; a great mix of vivid reporting with restrained but knowing perspective, and much of it entailing personal risk.

Bill Keller and Eleanor Randolph recused themselves from the final decision.



Best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues.

Sponsor: Robert Serio

Tom Warren and Katie J.M. Baker

BuzzFeed News

World Wildlife Fund’s Secret War”

Judges: BuzzFeed’s stories led the WWF to overhaul its human rights guidelines even as Congress investigated how the U.S. government could have unwittingly helped fund such atrocities.



Best international reporting in any medium dealing with human rights.

Angus Berwick, Sarah Kinosian, Brian Ellsworth, Mayela Armas, Carlos García Rawlins and Reuters’ Venezuela Bureau


“Maduro’s Venezuela”

Judges: Against all odds, a team of Reuters reporters reported an indispensable account of the corruption inside (President) Maduro’s government and the physical dangers faced by Venezuelan citizens, many of whom have had to flee the ravaged country.




Best photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise published in any medium.

Sponsor: Getty Images

Dieu Nalio Chery

The Associated Press

“Haiti: Nation on the Brink”

Judges: Even after being hit in the jaw with a fragment from the bullet, Chery remained and bravely covered the chaotic scene. His images were raw, precise and engrossing.



Best photographic news reporting from abroad in any medium.

Moises Saman

National Geographic

“El Salvador: A Country in Crisis”

Judges: Saman’s images reflect the complexity of a situation that is too often only documented through scenes of gore. The humanity of the individuals entangled in this web comes across in each of his photographs.



Best feature photography on an international theme published in any medium.

Sponsor: Sony Images

Rena Effendi

The Wall Street Journal

 “He lost a daughter to the Islamic State. Can he save his grandchildren?”

Judges: Effendi’s photographs brought to life the statistics of thousands of children left behind as a result of war, and the fraught nature of international response to the crisis.




Best non-fiction book on international affairs.

Sponsor: Friends of Richard Threlkeld

Katherine Eban


“Bottle of Lies: Inside the Generic Drug Boom”

Judges: Eban documents the massive fraud by which Indian drug makers have evaded a fumbling U.S. FDA to sell billions of dollars in unsafe and ineffective drugs to the U.S. This is a book that should inform and alarm the many millions of Americans (and their doctors) who use generic drugs.




Best print or digital graphic journalism, including cartoons, on international affairs.

Sponsor: Daimler

Adam Zyglis

The Buffalo News

Judges:  An impressive caricaturist, Zyglis is the kind of cartoonist who would have to be jailed immediately if he lived abroad. That’s the standard by which all great political cartoonists should be judged.


#  # #