February 24, 2024

2015 OPC Foundation Scholarship Luncheon


Award-winning journalist, filmmaker and author Sebastian Junger will be the keynote speaker at the annual OPC Foundation Scholarship Luncheon on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, at the Yale Club. At the event, the Foundation will award a combination of scholarships and fellowships to 15 graduate and undergraduate college students aspiring to become foreign correspondents.

The winning recipients are from Columbia University, New York University, Northwestern University, Oxford University (England), Tufts University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Tulsa, and Yale University. For the first time this year, the Foundation will be presenting the Fritz Beebe Fellowship. The award, which supports business journalism, is endowed by Anne and former OPC president Larry Martz and is named for Beebe, a former Wall Street lawyer who, as acting CEO for the Washington Post Company, had a special appreciation for journalism and journalists. (See below for more details)

“In my 20 years of serving as president of the Foundation,” said OPC Foundation President Bill Holstein, “I have seen the importance of our mission become more critical with each passing year. News media organizations have pulled back on maintaining their own networks of seasoned correspondents and are relying more heavily than ever on young correspondents like our winners. At the same time, in zones of conflict, these young, mostly freelance reporters face mounting dangers. They have become targets as we have seen in Syria and Yemen.”

Given the perilous climate, Holstein said that Junger’s selection as keynote speaker is “the perfect choice for these troubled times.” Besides being among the foremost freelance foreign correspondents of his time, Junger is also the founder of Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC), an organization that trains freelance journalists in treating life-threatening injuries on the battlefield. Junger started RISC in memory of his friend and collaborator, Tim Hetherington, who died from a shrapnel wound in Libya only days before he was to host the OPC Annual Awards Dinner in 2011.

As a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and as a contributor to ABC News, Junger has covered major international news stories around the world and has been awarded the National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for Journalism. Author of The Perfect Storm and WAR, he is also a documentary filmmaker whose Restrepo, a feature-length documentary chronicling the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, was nominated for an Oscar. Junger’s latest film, a documentary from HBO films titled Which Way Is The Front Line From Here?, chronicles Hetherington’s life and career.

Holstein noted that dramatic changes in international journalism present new challenges to the Foundation and others. “We are cognizant that we have a responsibility to make sure our winners engage in the world’s stories in ways that keep them safe. We are working with the Overseas Press Club, the Frontline Club in London and other organizations to try to create a code of conduct that governs how organizations work with freelancers,” he explained. To do its part, the OPC Foundation is hosting an extra day this year for its winners to receive risk assessment and situational training from Global Journalist Security, a hostile environment training firm based in Washington, DC. The day is funded by an anonymous grant the Foundation received in 2014.

Events for the 2015 winners will now extend over two and one-half days starting on Thursday night with the traditional reception Reuters hosts for current and past winners at its Time Square headquarters. On Friday, besides addressing a distinguished audience of more than 200 luncheon guests, the award winners will also tour the Associated Press and meet with veteran international journalists in a pre-luncheon breakfast hosted by Holstein. For many, said Holstein, the opportunity to meet and observe prominent journalists in action is as valuable as any monetary awards.

Up to ten of this year’s winners will receive fellowships to work in the foreign bureaus of the Foundation’s media partners, including The Associated Press, Reuters,

The Wall Street Journal, GlobalPost and Forbes. The fellowships will ensure that the awardees gain valuable experience working with veteran journalists. In 2014, the Foundation funded fellowships in bureaus across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Foundation picks up the cost of the airfare and one to two months living expenses for the winners.

Holstein is grateful to Bloomberg which again hosted the judging in December and to the dedicated panel of judges who chose the 2015 recipients: Bob Dowling; Allan Dodds Frank; Christine Glancey, Wall Street Journal; Sharon Gamsin; Bill Holstein; Sally Jacobsen, AP; Felice Levin; Larry Martz; Paul Mason; Rosalind Massow; Marcy McGinnis, Al Jazeera America; Kate McLeod; Ellen Nimmons, AP; David Rohde, Reuters; Charlie Sennott, GroundTruth Project and GlobalPost; Michael Serrill; and Karen Toulon, Bloomberg.

Luncheon tickets are $75 for OPC members and $150 for non-members. The Foundation encourages media and corporate support at its three levels of giving: Benefactors, $9,000; Patrons, $6,000; and Friends, $3,000. Tables seat 10. The reception is at 11:30 a.m.; the luncheon ends promptly at 2:00 p.m. All proceeds benefit the OPC Foundation. For further information, contact Jane Reilly at 201-493-9087 or foundation@opcofamerica.org.

OPC Foundation to Launch a New Fellowship in 2015


The OPC Foundation will be upping its arsenal of funded scholarships and fellowships at the OPC Foundation luncheon in 2015 with the addition of the Fritz Beebe Fellowship. Endowed by former OPC president Larry Martz and his wife Anne and aimed at aspiring business journalists, the fellowship is named for Frederick S. “Fritz” Beebe who ran The Washington Post Co. as a regent between the death of Philip Graham in 1963 and Katharine Graham’s full command in the early ‘70s.

As Martz explains, Beebe had a special appreciation for journalism and journalists. A Wall Street lawyer and adviser to the Grahams, he had served on The Post’s board for years and played a key role when The Post bought Newsweek magazine in 1961. As acting CEO, Beebe had, Martz notes, the astonishing idea that editorial talent was vital to making money in journalism, and he bestowed corporate stock and options on reporters, writers and editors as well as the business side. His vision, according to Martz, made this award possible.

“Although I have covered some tough spots in the world,” said Bill Holstein, president of the OPC Foundation, “my career has been mostly devoted to business and economic coverage. So it is with personal pleasure that I thank Anne and Larry Martz for endowing this fellowship.” The Beebe award brings the number of OPC Foundation scholarships/fellowships supporting business and financial journalism to four.