May 26, 2020

Archive Event Highlight

OPC Scholar Luncheon to Feature Keynote from Reuters’ Clare Baldwin

by Jane Reilly

Clare Baldwin, OPC Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning special correspondent for Reuters, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholar Awards Luncheon on Friday, Feb. 28 at the Yale Club. The event will begin with a reception at 11:30 a.m., followed by the luncheon in the Grand Ballroom which will end promptly at 2:00 p.m. The reception, which is held in the Yale Club’s Rooftop Terrace, will also feature an exhibit of archival photographs by famed Time Inc. photographer Ben Martin.

Bill Holstein, president of the OPC Foundation, said he was especially pleased to have Baldwin headline the Foundation’s signature event. “Clare Baldwin reflects the best values that we seek to instill in our winners. In 2018, Clare was part of the three-person Reuters team that won a Pulitzer for exposing a campaign of deadly violence by Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. She also won the prestigious Hal Boyle award from the OPC for that body of work. Then the very next year, she was part of the Reuters staff awarded the Pulitzer for exposing the military units responsible for the expulsion of the Rohingyas from Myanmar. Based in Hong Kong, she goes to wherever the story is – and nails it.”

Baldwin has also written about cyber thieves, pro-democracy protests, sanction-busting and government bailouts. A native of Alaska and a Stanford University graduate, she previously wrote for The Frontiersman newspaper in Alaska, Wired magazine, The San Francisco Examiner, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and The Peninsula Clarion.

The luncheon will also feature the presentation of a combination of scholarships and fellowships to 16 graduate and undergraduate college students aspiring to become foreign correspondents. Holstein is especially pleased to announce the first award in the name of Deb Amos and Rick Davis. Holstein noted, “Deb Amos, an award-winning correspondent for NPR News, met Rick Davis in Beirut in 1982 and they became a husband-wife team covering the Middle East for decades. Rick, a former NBC News correspondent, passed away in 2019 and Deb has chosen to endow this award in both their names in support of high-quality Middle East coverage.” Amos is First Vice President of the Overseas Press Club and the Ferris Professor of Journalism in Residence at Princeton University. She previously reported for ABC’s Nightline and PBS’s Frontline.

Holstein remains concerned with how the current economic model supporting international news will affect this generation of young journalists. “Never has there been a time in our profession, our craft, when we need to work harder to defend the values we believe in, particularly as it relates to what is happening in the world,” he said.

“Are we going to continue to support on-the-ground telling of truth or will we be swamped by non-truths and non-facts?” asked Holstein. “These young people are part of the answer to that question. They have excellent language skills, and some have multiple passports. They have astute eyes for detail and the ability to capture the complexity of what they see in prose. They have the right stuff. They are ready to go.”

The 2020 winning recipients are from Columbia University, Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY, DePauw University, Kathlieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), New York University, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, UCLA and Yale University. “These young people inspire me every year because they want to travel down what I regard as the sacred path of bearing witness. They just want a chance. Our imperative is to help train them and keep them safe as they explore the world,” Holstein said.

Events for the 2020 winners will last three days starting on Thursday afternoon, when the Foundation will host a media training panel at Reuters for the award winners. That evening, Reuters will host the traditional reception for current and past winners of OPC Foundation awards at the news organization’s Times Square headquarters. On Friday, besides addressing a distinguished audience of more than 200 luncheon guests at the Yale Club, the award winners will meet with Holstein and veteran international journalists in a pre-luncheon breakfast and with several foreign editors following the luncheon. For many, said Holstein, the opportunity to meet and observe prominent journalists in action is as valuable as any monetary award.

On the Saturday after the luncheon, the OPC Foundation will offer a full day of risk assessment and situational training for the winners at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Frank Smyth, president and founder of Global Journalist Security, a hostile environment training firm based in Washington DC, will lead the program. Those who participated in the past called the experience invaluable. “We have a responsibility to make sure our winners engage in the world’s stories in ways that keep them safe,” Holstein said. “We will continue to do what we can, as sponsors of the ACOS Alliance, to see that journalists throughout the world have the training and support they need to do their jobs as well and as securely as possible.”

Up to 10 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, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and the GroundTruth Project. The fellowships ensure that the awardees gain valuable experience and insight working with veteran editors and reporters. In 2019, the Foundation funded fellowships across Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East. 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 2020 recipients: Allen Alter; Bob Dowling; Joe Flint of The Wall Street Journal; Allan Dodds Frank; Bill Glasgall of Volker Alliance; Holstein; Adam Horvath of The Wall Street Journal; Caitlin Hu of CNN; Larry Martz; Kate McLeod; Maria Mercader of CBS News; Ellen Nimmons of AP; Jim Pensiero; Michael Serrill; Steve Swanson of the Bronx Botanical Garden; Ed Tobin of Reuters; Karen Toulon of Bloomberg, and Tiffany Wu of Reuters.

Luncheon tickets are $85 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. All proceeds benefit the OPC Foundation. For further information, contact Jane Reilly at 201-819-2639 or email foundation@opcofamerica.org or katri@opcofamerica.org.