July 4, 2022

People Column

SCHOLARS

Diana Kruzman, the recipient of the 2021 Harper’s Magazine Award in memory of I.F. Stone, was named Midwest Fellow at Grist, a nonprofit independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solution and justice. She will spend the next six months based in Columbus OH focusing on environmental stories of all kinds in the region. She was most recently a fellow with Religion News Service and the Religion and Environmental Story Project.

Meena Venkataramanan, winner of the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship in 2021, wrote a book review for the Los Angeles Times about Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho. The debut novel is a collection of linked short stories, spans 30 years of friendship between two Taiwanese American women from L.A. “Story by story, the book captures the way friendships negotiate their own boundaries, at times dissolving unexpectedly and at others flourishing into something more, even if just fleetingly,” Venkataramanan wrote.

Letícia Duarte, the Harper’s Magazine Scholarship winner in 2019, is joining Report for the World as a country manager for Brazil. In this role, she’ll be working with partner newsrooms InfoAmazonia and Marco Zero to support and bring their reporting to a larger audience. Duarte had an OPC Foundation fellowship with the GroundTruth Project and was subsequently named a GroundTruth Global Fellow for Democracy Undone, a reporting initiative covering the rise of authoritarianism around the globe. She is the author of Vaza Jato (2020), in partnership with The Intercept Brazil, about the investigation by The Intercept that exposed wrongdoings inside the so-called anti-corruption Operation Car Wash. The book was a finalist for the acclaimed 2021 Jabuti Prize, the highest literary award in Brazil. She has contributed to multiple media outlets, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Revista Piauí. For 13 years, she worked as an investigative reporter for Zero Hora, the leading newspaper in Southern Brazil. She received major national journalism awards, including the Esso Prize for best reporting and the Vladimir Herzog Human Rights Award, for her feature A Son of the Streets, a 3-year-investigation on a Brazilian homeless child trajectory.

Elizabeth Barchas Prelogar, the 2006 Flora Lewis Fellowship winner, was recently confirmed as the 48th Solicitor General of the United States and serves as the fourth-ranking individual at the Department of Justice. As Solicitor General, she is responsible for conducting and supervising all Supreme Court litigation on behalf of the United States. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she clerked for several Supreme Court justices and served on the special counsel investigation with Robert Mueller in 2016-2018.

UPDATES

OPC member Minky Worden has appeared on several news programs to discuss human rights concerns surrounding the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Feb. 5 and discussed human right abuses that she said have been “masked” by China’s Olympic efforts since the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 that have included arrests of journalists and activists, worker rights violations, surveillance and abuses of Uyghur groups, among others. On ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Feb. 8, she said that by approving China’s hosting of the games, International Olympic Committee was sending a message that it is possible to hold a successful Olympics without protections for human rights for athletes or journalists, “and against a backdrop of crimes against humanity and Xinjiang, repression in Hong Kong and Tibet, and the silencing of Chinese athletes like Peng Shuai,” the Chinese tennis player who disappeared from public view in early November after a public allegation of sexual assault against a retired top official in China’s Communist Party. Worden also appeared on PBS Newshour on Feb. 8, with comments about how China has used the games to “sportswash,” covering abuses and projecting a positive image to the rest of the world. Worden is author of China’s Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights about the 2008 summer games.

OPC Governor Beth Knobel wrote a piece for the Columbia Journalism Review on Jan. 31 about Russian spies tailing and monitoring foreign journalists long after the fall of the Soviet Union, including during own stint as Moscow bureau chief for CBS News from 1999 to 2006. She wrote that an article in January by Russian journalist and author Andrei Soldatov indicated that according to secret documents, someone inside the CBS Moscow bureau was reporting on their activities. Russian counter-intelligence operatives presented a letter to Vladimir Putin about one of the news agency’s investigations into aftermath from a terrorist attack at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater, Knobel wrote.

One of the recipients of the OPC’s grants for Afghan journalists in the U.S., Khushnood Nabizada, shared a Jan. 29 piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch with the OPC recounting his family’s flight from the Taliban last summer and their efforts to rebuild a life in Virginia. “As the plane carried us away from Afghanistan last August, the feelings washed over me: Relief, dread, déjà vu,” Nabizada wrote. “My family was safe. My country was not.” The Taliban had previously forced him to flee his home 23 years ago. Nabizada, who formerly worked for the Khaama Press, was one of 15 Afghan journalists now in the U.S. who each received $2,000 grants from the OPC to help them adapt to new lives in America.

Second-generation OPC member Gregory DL Morris, along with his wife and a colleague, have written a book on the history of the theater-costume business. A History of the Theatre Costume Business: Creators of Character distills more than a decade of reporting and follows the growth and evolution of the industry in the U.S. and Europe, with dozens of first-hand interviews and extensive archival research. Morris is an independent business journalist who has reported from around the world. His wife Triffin made Tony-Award winning costumes on Broadway over a 20-year career, and is now head of the graduate costume technology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Co-author Rachel E. Pollock has been a craftsperson on Broadway and regional theater around the country. The Taylor & Francis Group has released it under the Routledge imprint.

Past OPC member Elias P. Demetracopoulos, who was a correspondent for papers including Kathimerini, Makedonia, The Athens Daily Post and the International Herald Tribune, died in 2016 and is now the subject of a new biography by James H. Barron. The Greek Connection: The Life of Elias Demetracopoulos and the Untold Story of Watergate follows Demetracopoulos’ storied life and career, including his childhood in Athens and resistance efforts against Nazis, covering Greek domestic politics as investigative journalist, his flight to Washington, DC during the 1967 takeover by the authoritarian Greek junta, and discovery of an illegal money transfer from the Greek CIA to the 1968 Nixon campaign.

PEOPLE REMEMBERED

John Vinocur, a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times and The Associated Press who later became executive editor of The International Herald Tribune, died on Feb. 6 in Amsterdam at the age of 81. Vinocur’s career spanned some of the biggest stories of the 20th century, including the war in Cambodia, the hostage crisis at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the civil war in Nigeria, and the championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire in 1974. Vinocur won the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting for a story titled “A Republic of Fear: 30 Years of General Stroessner’s Paraguay,” which appeared in The Times’s Sunday magazine in 1984. In 2008, he was named a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor by President Nicolas Sarkozy.