August 9, 2022

People Column


Leah Finnegan, the Stan Swinton Scholarship winner in 2010, has been hired by Bustle Digital Group as editor in chief for the relaunch of Gawker. Most recently Leah, a former Gawker editor, was executive editor at BDG’s Outline until its sudden shuttering in April 2020. She was once a staff editor at the mobile Opinion team at The New York Times. On hiatus from HuffPo in the spring of 2011, Finnegan went to Cairo on a OPC Foundation fellowship to cover the Arab Spring for The Associated Press.

Meg Bernhard, the 2020 Flora Lewis Fellowship winner, wrote an article published in The New Yorker on April 11 about significant challenges in shipping the body of a college athlete who died in upstate New York and his final 9,000-mile trip back to be buried in New Caledonia. She wrote about the knotty bureaucracy of sending bodies across borders, which requires “a combination of notarizations, translated apostilles, health-department authorizations, burial permits, letters that certify bodies do not carry infectious diseases, and other official sign-offs.” Even after some countries opened their borders, Bernhard wrote, officials were hesitant to accept bodies from the U.S. because of its high rate of COVID-19 infection.

Claire Parker, the Stan Swinton Fellowship winner in 2019, is returning to The Washington Post’s foreign desk as editor of Today’s WorldView. In addition to her editing responsibilities, she will cover international news from DC. Parker had an OPC Foundation fellowship with The Associated Press bureau in Paris.


OPC Governor Derek Kravitz, who works on FOIA and data journalism projects at Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation in New York, was named one of 28 recipients in the latest round of grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ). Grant recipients do not reveal the nature of the stories they are working on until after publication. Separately, Kravitz and the Documenting COVID-19 team at The Detroit Free Press have been rolling out findings from months of research about how the U.K. variant has ravaged Michigan over the last few months.

OPC Past President Allan Dodds Frank wrote about the life and misdeeds of Bernie Madoff for The Daily Beast following the notorious fraudster’s death in a North Carolina prison on April 14 at the age of 82. He chronicled how Madoff built trust among wealthy Wall Street investors and ultimately carried out the largest Ponzi scheme ever prosecuted. Dodds Frank quoted Madoff’s former defense lawyer, Ira Sorkin, who also served as a federal prosecutor and a Securities and Exchange Commission regional enforcement chief, as saying that Madoff should have seen warning signs much earlier and would have stopped the scheme sooner.

On April 12, Reuters announced that Alessandra Galloni, winner of the Malcolm Forbes Award in 2003 who later served as awards judge, will be the news service’s next editor-in-chief. Galloni previously served as global managing editor at Reuters. According to a Reuters news release, she will “oversee all editorial functions for the newsroom and its 2500 journalists in 200 locations around the world,” and will become the first female editor-in-chief in Reuters in the news service’s 170-year history.

OPC Past President David Andelman is slated to speak at a virtual event hosted by the Harvard Club of the United Kingdom on April 28 about his book, Red Line in the Sand. The book examines physical, military and diplomatic boundaries nations and opponents have established across the world. The moderator will be former BBC journalist Richard Howells, who currently works as a lecturer, author and broadcaster. The OPC held an event to discuss Andelman’s book in January with OPC member Deborah Amos. Andelman released a companion podcast to the book that is available on Spotify and other podcatchers.

OPC member Robert Nickelsberg spoke and showed his photographs at a virtual event on April 17 hosted by the Explorers Club Washington Group. He discussed his experiences as a photographer covering the civil war in El Salvador from 1981 to1984 for TIME magazine and working in Afghanistan for three decades. Nickelsberg’s book, Afghanistan – A Distant War, received the 2013 Olivier Rebbot Award. His latest book, Afghanistan’s Heritage: Restoring Spirit and Stone, done in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, was published in English and Dari in May 2018 and will soon be published in Pashto. He was an Explorers Club fellow in 2015.

Filming has started on the Netflix adaptation of OPC member Charles Graeber’s book, The Good Nurse. An April 17 article on the “What’s on Netllix” site reported that BAFTA-nominated Danish writer-director Tobias Lindholm will direct the film, with a script written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who was nominated for an Oscar for her screenplay on 1917. Graeber’s 2013 book, titled The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder, chronicles the true story of Charles Cullen, a serial killer suspected of murdering up to 400 patients during his 16-year career as a nurse.

Aryana Noroozi, a photojournalist and OPC member, had several photographs accompany a story for an April 4 story in the San Diego Union-Tribune about added challenges that displaced people in a Somali community faced as a result of the pandemic. Noroozi photographed families for the piece by Kate Morrissey, which followed Somali residents in San Diego struggling to secure affordable housing, employment and education and facing language barriers that were magnified during lockdown.