July 14, 2020

People Column


2017 Fritz Beebe winner Yi-Ling Liu was named winner of the Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award. Based in Beijing, Liu covers the effects of technology on Chinese. She has written for The Economist, The Guardian, the New Yorker online, Foreign Policy Magazine, Guernica Magazine, Off Assignment and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Liu previously reported for the Associated Press in Hong Kong on an OPC Foundation Fellow

Suman Naishadham, the 2018 H.L. Stevenson winner, who had an OPC Foundation fellowship at the Reuters bureau in Mexico City, will be returning to the Mexico capital, this time in the internship program for The Wall Street Journal. She is graduating from the master’s program in journalism at the University of Missouri in May.

Yifan Yu, Jerry Flint winner in 2018, has left New York City for the West Coast where she will now cover tech for the Nikkei Asian Review.

Theodore Anderson, winner of the 2015 Walter and Betsy Cronkite Scholarship, is now the digital editor of the San Francisco Business Times. Anderson had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the AP bureau in Bangkok.

Two OPC Foundation scholars were among the winners announced by the Military Reporters and Editors association, the preeminent organization for U.S. media professionals specializing in national security. The competition for defense journalism produced in 2018 was judged by faculty at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Sophia Jones, Reuters winner in 2012, won the award for Print Overseas, Large Market division for the Fuller Project, which was produced in partnership with The New York Times Magazine. She wrote about the complicated role the U.S. played in recruiting and training Afghan women in the armed forces. The Emanuel R. Freedman winner in 2004, Garance Burke, won for Print Domestic, Large Market. She and a colleague from The Associated Press broke the news that more than 500 immigrant recruits and reservists in the US. armed forces had been discharged through July 2018, many for questionable reasons. The winners will be formally recognized at MRE’s annual conference scheduled for Oct. 25 at the Navy League of the United States headquarters in Arlington, Virgina.

Garance Burke was also part of the AP team that was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting. The staff was recognized for its authoritative coverage of the Trump administration’s migrant family separation policy that exposed a federal government overwhelmed by the logistics of caring for and tracking thousands of immigrant children..

Many OPC award winners and others with OPC ties were honored with Pulitzer Prizes this year. A Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting went to the “staff of Reuters, with notable contributions from Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo,” who won the OPC’s Bob Considine Award for their reporting from Myanmar. Winners of the Hal Boyle Citation for Excellence this year, Maggie Michael, Maad al-Zikry and Nariman El-Mofty of The Associated Press, also won a Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. 2016 Hal Boyle Award winner Hannah Dreier of ProPublica won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for her series on Salvadoran immigrants on New York’s Long Island in the wake of a botched federal crackdown on the international criminal gang MS-13. Former OPC Governor Rukmini Callimachi of The New York Times was a finalist in the International Reporting category for the “Caliphate” podcast. Other winners received honors for international reporting, including The Breaking News Photography category that went to Reuters photo staff for photos of migrants en route from Central and South America to the US. And Lorenzo Tugnoli of The Washington Post won the Feature Photography category for covering famine in Yemen. Maggie Steber, this year’s OPC President’s Award recipient, was one of the finalists in that category along with Lynn Johnson of National Geographic for reporting on the youngest face transplant recipient in the U.S.

Former OPC Governor Martin Smith was honored with a Peabody award for his work on “Separated: Children at the Border,” a Frontline documentary. The award is Frontline’s second Peabody of 2019 in the news category. In the film, Smith investigates the origins and impacts of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. He traced what happened to children who were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, and examined the immigration policies of both the Trump and Obama administrations. He found that separations were happening to families who’d crossed the border months before “zero tolerance” was actually announced.

Former OPC Governor Rukmini Callimachi, who has won three OPC awards including this year’s Lowell Thomas Award for the podcast she hosts called “Caliphate,” also garnered a Peabody award in the radio/podcast category in April for the same program. “Caliphate” is the first narrative podcast series from The New York Times, and this marks the first Peabody awarded to a Times podcast. The Peabody Awards highlight work that demonstrates how the media can defend public interest, encourage empathy, and expand its audience’s understanding of the world around them. Callamichi was also named a Pulitzer Prize finalist this year for “Caliphate” and “The ISIS Files.”

Former OPC award winner Hannah Dreier recently won the WBUR Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Drier is an immigration reporter at ProPublica. Her winning segment was an hour-long investigative report titled “The Runaways.” Dreier investigated the Suffolk County Police Department in New York and their failure to look into the murders of immigrant teenagers. Days after her story aired, the Suffolk County Legislature forced the police department to conduct an internal investigation. Dreier won the OPC’s 2016 Hal Boyle Award for her story “Venezuela Undone” for The Associated Press.

OPC Governor Alix Freedman of Reuters in April served as a judge for the 2019 Hillman Foundation Prizes for Journalism. The Hillman Foundation every year honors journalists for outstanding “service of the common good.” This year’s winners featured writers from Reuters, The Miami Herald, and MSNBC. Freedman was a judge along with author Ta’Nehisi Coates, Jelani Cobb and Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker, The American Prospect’s Harold Myerson, and The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel. The Hillman Foundation has been awarding journalists for their work since 1950.

The Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics recently announced their 2019 winners, who included two past OPC award winners. Hannah Dreier, who won the 2016 Hal Boyle Award, received the award for her story in ProPublica titled “A Betrayal.” The story follows a teenager and MS-13 gang member who became a government informant and was betrayed by federal agents. The Associated Press also won for their reporting on Yemen throughout 2018. The team, comprised of reporters Maggie Michael, Nariman El-Mofty, and Maad al-Zirky, also won the Hal Boyle Citation for Excellence this year for “Yemen’s Dirty War.” Additionally, El-Mofty won the OPC’s Olivier Rebbot award this year for a series of photographs titled “Yemen: On the Edge.”.


OPC President Pancho Bernasconi and Executive Director Patricia Kranz met with visitors from Press Club Polska in late April for lunch and conversation. Jaroslaw Wlodarczyk, secretary general of the International Association of Press Clubs, and Magdalena and Maksymilian Rigamonti traveled to the United States to collect the prize for Photography Book of the Year in the Pictures of The Year International (POY) competition for the Rigomonti’s book Echo, which was published by the Press Club Polska.

Bill Keller, head judge of the OPC’s Best Commentary Award this year, is stepping down from his role as editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on criminal justice issues. Keller will be replaced by Susan Chira, a former reporter and editor for The New York Times. Bill Keller had previously worked for the Times for thirty years, including eight as the paper’s executive editor. He joined The Marshall Project when it was founded in 2014. Since then, it has won multiple awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. Keller will now become a board member of the organization while teaching at Princeton University and Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY.

David Ariosto, an OPC Governor and executive producer at GZero Media, told  MSNBC host Ali Velshi on April 30 that there is little more the U.S. can do to increase support for opposition against Nicolás Maduro Moros in Venezuela, short of boots on the ground, because so many sanctions and other measures are already in place. He said those strategies include indirect pressure on the regime’s allies. “When you see the Trump administration ratchet up pressure against Cuba, it’s partly to pressure Venezuela,” he said. He added that most Americans would not support sending U.S. ground troops for support. Separately, Ariosto spoke to an audience at the New York Public Library on April 24 about his newest book This is Cuba, which was published late last year. In the book, Ariosto examined sweeping changes in the country over the last decade. Ariosto sat with photographer and photo editor Cynthia Carris Alonso to discuss the book.

OPC Past President Larry Smith has co-written a book titled Hidden Hearts – The Peterborough Letters with author Betty Beeby. The book is a window into the early 20th Century. It is the story of a woman and the son she bore out of wedlock who seeks her out when he is in his twenties. By then, she is an independent small-town dressmaker and the shock of finding her son shatters her peace. Bill Holstein, past president of the OPC, writes that “Smith is a master story teller in the classic American tradition. In this book, he uses letters more than a century old to patiently build a psychological drama…It becomes riveting.”

Vivienne Walt, TIME magazine’s Paris correspondent and a Governor for the OPC, landed another cover story for the magazine’s issue in Europe for the week of April 22. The article, titled “How Nationalists Are Joining Together to Tear Europe Apart,” examines how many leaders are using white supremacist rhetoric and touting anti-immigrant policies, a campaign spearheaded by ex-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Walt tracks his travels to Europe where he met with multiple leaders, encouraging them to embrace the strategies used by President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Earlier in April, Walt talked to NPR host Ailsa Chang about the fire that ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral on April 15. In her interview, she described witnessing the fire from her own balcony. Walt had reported on the cathedral for TIME and told NPR that church officials had shown her conditions of the roof at the time. According to her, the gargoyles on the roof had been falling off and were being fixed with PVC pipes. Walt believes that disrepair, along with inadequate funding for the cathedral, contributed to the fire. Walt lives in Paris and has reported for TIME since 2003.

OPC member John Moore in April was awarded the World Press Photo of the Year for a photo taken at the US-Mexico border last June. The picture, titled “Crying Girl on the Border,” went viral after it was posted, and was also used on a cover of TIME magazine. The photo is of a young girl named Yanela who had just arrived in the U.S. with a group of a dozen refugees from Central America. Moore has spent a decade focusing on immigration in his photography. He photographed along the US-Mexico border and captured rare images of ICE raids and mass deportation. He published them in a book titled Undocumented.

Minky Worden, an OPC Governor who serves as director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, was recently in the news for her remarks on the crisis in Asian football. Asia’s football chief and FIFA’s second-in-command, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, was elected to a second term in early April. He was criticized last year for silence over the imprisonment of soccer player Hakeem al-Arabi, who was detained in Thailand. Worden accused Sheikh Salman of failing to protect human rights. In commentary released after his election, she wrote “Sheikh Salman should commit to uphold and to carry out FIFA’s 2017 Human Rights Policy, including in his home country.” His new term lasts until 2023.

OPC award winner Matt Kaminski was recently named the new editor-in-chief of Politico. Kaminski won the OPC’s 2014 Commentary Award. He most recently served as global editor of Politico. He’ll be replacing John Harris, who was not only editor-in-chief, but founded the publication in 2007. Harris will stay aboard to serve as chairman of the editorial oversight committee, as well as editor-in-chief of Politico Europe. He will also be writing a column about the 2020 election. Kaminski joined Politico in 2014, after working for The Wall Street Journal for a decade. It was there that Kaminski wrote “On Ukraine,” which garnered the OPC award.


Veteran correspondent Peter Gall passed away March 9 in Edina, Minnesota, after a 14-year battle with Parkinson’s disease at age 82. He began his career in journalism with a brief stint as a reporter for the Pasadena Independent and Star-News. Gall then enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he attended language school and became fluent in Russian. Later he worked for 18 years at McGraw-Hill, Inc., starting out as a correspondent for Business Week, covering environment, labor, and the White House, and for three years was the bureau chief in Moscow. He later became director of McGraw-Hill World News, a multi-media business news network based in New York City. Gall is survived by his wife of 57 years, Pali Gall, his brother Pirie Gall, his three children and six grandchildren.

Bernard Krisher, publisher of The Cambodia Daily and former Newsweek Tokyo bureau chief, died of heart failure on March 5 at a hospital in Tokyo. He was 87. Krisher began his career as a foreign correspondent in Japan. He wrote for Newsweek, Fortune, and Wired. He was founder of The Cambodia Daily, the country’s first English-language newspaper. He supported the OPC Foundation and accepted several scholars as fellows. The government’s closure of the print edition in September 2017 drew condemnation from press freedom groups. He dedicated his last three decades to humanitarian work in Cambodia as chairman of World Assistance for Cambodia. Krisher is survived by his wife, his two children and two grandchildren.