September 20, 2021

People Column


Tik Root, the 2017 H.L. Stevenson Fellowship winner, is joining the Climate and Environment team as a reporter for Climate Solutions at The Washington Post. Most recently, he was at Newsy, a live news channel, where he worked in the documentary unit. A veteran freelancer, his work has appeared many times in the Post, including as a lead author of the paper’s daily newsletter from the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang. Root has written about climate solutions in the past, including a story about an effort to restore coral reefs in Belize for National Geographic and a piece about the pitfalls of individual action to fight climate change for The New York Times.


OPC member Sonali Prasad was named among the 2021 TED Fellows on March 30. In a release, the organization said TED Fellows are selected for “remarkable achievements, the potential impact of their work and their commitment to community building,” and said Prasad’s work as artist and environmental journalist “tells stories about loss, survival and resilience in response to environmental crises and natural disasters. She establishes new rituals and practices to help us mourn a world stricken by catastrophic climate events.” The TED Fellows program is in its twelfth year, and to date includes a network of 512 Fellows from 100 countries.


OPC Governor Sandra Stevenson has accepted a new position at CNN as Associate Director of Photography. She previously worked as assistant photo editor for The New York Times, where she served in various roles since 2005. Separately, in March Stevenson was on a panel of judges that selected winners of this year’s Leica Women Foto Project Awards, the second year of a project that is part of “an ongoing commitment to diversity in visual storytelling to help empower the female point of view through photography.” At the OPC, Sandra was one of the judges for the freelance grant program that gave out $1000 grants to 92 journalists in March.

OPC member John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s magazine, was featured in a New York Times article for the Media section that chronicled challenges and turbulence in the magazine’s recent history. The article, titled “Inside America’s Most Interesting Magazine, and Media’s Oddest Workplace,” chronicles MacArthur’s beginnings as publisher in the 1980s when his family’s foundation rescued the magazine from bankruptcy, his hiring of editor Lewis Lapham and building a crew of excellent writers, navigating the dawn of the digital age, and turbulent conflicts between staff and management over the last decade. Most recently, the magazine drew a spotlight for publishing a letter last year signed by more than 150 writers and others that MacArthur characterized as “a public stand against political correctness and ‘cancel culture.’” The letter sparked outrage publicly and among many staff members who saw it as a rejection of protests against racism.

OPC member Sima Diab provided several photos from Egypt for a New York Times story on March 27 about the Ever Given container ship that ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week. Diab’s photos accompanied a story by Vivian Lee that outlined efforts to free the ship and profiled Manshiyet Rugola, a small Egyptian village on the banks of the canal near the grounding site where residents of the poor community watched in fascination. Diab’s photos depict the ship towering over the town, where Lee wrote that people were reluctant to talk to journalists because government security personnel “had passed through, warning residents not to take photos of the canal and generally spreading unease.”

OPC member Sudarsan Raghavan also covered the Ever Given crisis for The Washington Post. On March 31, he wrote an autopsy of the disaster along with colleagues Siobhán O’Grady and Steve Hendrix that reconstructed a timeline of the rescue effort and ripple effects across the world. In a followup on April 7, he examined how the effort from Egyptial salvage crews boosted national pride and provided a shift in the narrative of what Raghavan called “a low expectation of Egypt’s ability to fix its own problems.”

OPC member Rachel Donadio reviewed a book for The New York Times in March, her first since leaving the paper in 2017. Donadio wrote about Philippe Sands’ non-fiction work, The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive, which follows the story of Otto Wächter, a high-ranking Nazi official in occupied Poland who was indicted on a charge of mass murder after the war, but escaped. Donadio credits Sands for suspenseful storytelling and “his fiercely inquiring mind, his excellent researchers, the wealth of documents and his ability to make them come to life.” She has served as contributing writer for The Atlantic in recent years, writing about COVID-19 and a police campaign against crime syndicates in Italy last year.

OPC member Borzou Daragahi connecting dots in tactics used for disinformation campaigns from Syria, Russia and the Capitol Hill insurrection in January in a piece he wrote for the Independent in late March. He wrote about how the Syrian government’s campaign of violence against its own citizens and the its “machinery of lies that fuelled the conflict” was copied elsewhere. “One can trace a line between the barrage of Assad’s chemical weapons that struck the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta in 2013 and the hordes of American fascists who stormed the United States Capitol on 6 January,” Daragahi wrote.

The OPC heard from Dana Rowan, son of OPC Past President Roy Rowan, that Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York is maintaining an archive of his father’s work. Roy Rowan died on Sept. 13, 2016, at the age of 96. Dana noted that the archive includes references to Roy’s tenure as OPC President from 1998 to 2000, items about the OPC Foundation’s Roy Rowan Scholarship, photographs and more. Click here to see a detailed inventory of the Roy Rowan Manuscript Collection. There is also a website about his life and work at OPC Past President William Holstein and other friends and colleagues contributed to an extensive remembrance page on the OPC website here.