June 2, 2023

People Column


The Asian American Journalists Association has announced that Angelique Chen, this year’s Reuters Fellowship winner, is one of five recipients of the 2022 Facebook Journalism Project Scholarships. Recipients will receive $10,000 each to use toward tuition. Chen is pursuing a master’s in business and economic reporting at New York University. She will be working with Reuters this summer as an OPC fellow. Chen graduated from National Taiwan University in 2021 with a degree in international business and a minor in English Literature. Over the past few months, she has been a part-time market reporter at CoinDesk.

Isabel DeBre, the 2018 Stan Swinton Scholarship winner, is among a class of 25 Associated Press journalists who will participate in the organization’s inaugural LEAD program, which is designed to “help participants better understand how AP operates across departments and to build skills needed to inspire change, lead teams and propel innovation.” She had an OPC Foundation fellowship with the AP in Jerusalem, and then was hired on as a reporter.

Freelance journalist Neha Wadekar, the Reuters Scholarship winner in 2016, has been selected as the winner of the Pulitzer Center’s annual Breakthrough Journalism Award. The $12,000 prize recognizes the achievements of Pulitzer Center-affiliated freelance journalists who report on underreported global issues. Wadekar was recognized for her reporting about the fight for Cabo Delgado in Mozambique. This underreported conflict has displaced over 700,000 people and killed thousands more. According to Wadekar’s reporting, tranquil coastal towns once popular with tourists have been ravaged by ISIS-affiliated militants who have propelled Mozambique’s insurgency onto the global stage.


Two OPC Governors served on reporting teams that won Peabody Awards this year. OPC Governor Hendrik Hinzel was part of a VICE News team that won a Peabody for a series he co-created called “Transnational” about global transgender rights and resilience. The series includes coverage of a trans ballroom community in Detroit, a government-sponsored safe haven in Mexico City, and stories in the UK and Indonesia. A post on the Peabody website said the series focuses on “on-the-ground activists and their hard-earned victories,” and said each episode also “celebrates the joy that can exist within resistance. There’s an agency to the reporting here; no doubt a byproduct of this GLAAD co-produced endeavor being fronted by a team of trans journalists.”

OPC Governor Raney Aronson-Rath, as executive producer for FRONTILNE, was part of the teams that won two Peabody Awards, one for a documentary on Maria Ressa, titled A Thousand Cuts, and another for Escaping Eritrea, about abuses faced by Eritreans at home and on perilous migration routes. Ressa helmed the Rappeler website that fought for press freedom in the face of President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on news media. A post profiling the winners said the documentary takes the audience inside escalating conflict between Rappler and the government. “With astonishing access and chilling precision, A Thousand Cuts is a journalistic profile in courage for our time and a cautionary tale for global press freedom straining against the rise of populist autocracies around the world.” Escaping Eritrea also received a Citation for Excellence (runner-up) in the David A. Andelman and Pamela Title category. The Peabody award page said that “amid threat of incarceration, torture, and execution in a country with no free press, the subjects and filmmakers … conducted an unprecedented, years-long investigation.”

White attending an awards ceremony to receive a New York Press Club Award on June 6, OPC Governor Vivienne Walt said she was “especially honored to be recognized by my peers” for reporting on Saudi Arabia’s entanglement with Hollywood for FORTUNE magazine. She won the award in the category of Entertainment News National, Magazine. “The billions of dollars in both directions interweave the interests of two juggernauts: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS, and Hollywood, whose progressive image is at odds with the Kingdom, but whose thirst for fresh markets and content has rocketed with the rise of streaming,” Walt wrote in LinkedIn post from the awards dinner.

OPC Governor Azmat Khan and her colleagues continue to garner honors for New York Times Magazine reporting on casualties from U.S. airstrikes due to neglect and poor ground intelligence, and the efforts to cover up deadly mistakes. She won the 2022 Freedom of the Press Catalyst Award, for “reporting that has had a significant impact.” The award is given by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Khan was one of just five recipients of the press awards this year. The airstrike investigation also won a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award for New Media, and the John Siegenthaler Courage in Journalism Award. The project also won this year’s Roy Rowan Award from the OPC and as mentioned in the May 13 People column, the project won a Pulitzer Prize in the international reporting category.


The Los Angeles Times has announced that Scott Kraft, who has served as head judge for the OPC Annual Awards for many years and is a vice president of the club’s Board of Governors, will now serve in a newly created role as the paper’s editor at large, enterprise journalism and special projects. Kraft currently serves as managing editor for the Times. An announcement in the Times said that Kraft would keep some of his current responsibilities and expand on them as editor at large, and oversee the Investigations department, standards and practices, contest entries, polling and survey research projects, and newsroom-wide reporting initiatives.

British Vogue has named OPC member Dana Thomas as European sustainability editor. She will write a column dedicated to sustainability, the environment and fashion. Thomas will also continue to host the podcast The Green Dream with Dana Thomas, where she talks with guests about politics, fashion and sustainability. She has written for a number of magazines including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and is the author of several books, including Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes.

Columbia University has announced that OPC Governor Ginger Thompson has been elected to serve on the Pulitzer Prize Board. Thompson is currently chief of correspondents and deputy managing editor of ProPublica. Her career has included extensive reporting on Latin America. She has worked for eight years at ProPublica overseeing recruitment and retention while also working on reporting projects. Thompson won the OPC’s 1995 Eric and Amy Burger Award along with colleague Gary Cohn for reporting on Honduras for The Baltimore Sun. Thompson was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at The New York Times and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service two times.

OPC member Andy Katell decided to come out of retirement to help The Associated Press with its news coverage of Russia-Ukraine. Working remotely out of his house in the Greater New York City area, Katell is reporting and editing several days a week as part of the AP’s global team, returning to journalism after a 28-year absence and after completing two other careers. Starting in the 1980s, he worked full-time for the AP for 14 years as a correspondent and editor in Moscow, the United Nations, the International Desk in New York and the Charleston, West Virginia bureau.

OPC member Kathy Gannon announced on Twitter that she has received the Joan Shorenstein Fellowship for the fall semester at the Harvard Kennedy School. She wrote that she “couldn’t be more grateful and excited to explore the extraordinary challenges facing journalism today.” Gannon announced in May that she is retiring after 35 years of covering Afghanistan and Pakistan for The Associated Press.