September 19, 2021

People Column

SCHOLARS

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting has named Brett Simpson, the 2021 Irene Corbally Kuhn Scholarship winner, to its 2021 cohort of Reporting Fellows focused on the environment. Simpson plans to travel to Norway to report on the taking of Indigenous lands for Norwegian Arctic renewable energy projects, the subject of her winning essay. Simpson has worked as a metro reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, KQED, and Yale Climate Connections.

Annie Todd, the S&P Global Award for Economic and Business Reporting winner in 2020, was named the breaking news/community reporter for Argus Leader Media in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

A.J. Naddaff, the Richard Pyle Scholarship winner in 2019, has an article published on June 15 in Middle East Eye on the plight of independent bookstores in Beirut. Naddaff had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Associated Press bureau in Beirut.

Claire Parker, the Stan Swinton Fellowship winner in 2019, has an article published in The Washington Post on June 6 about American ex-pats who want access to COVID-19 vaccines. She wrote that a growing chorus among the estimated 9 million Americans who live outside the U.S., who unlike most expatriates from other countries are required to pay taxes, is arguing that they should be entitled to receive U.S.-approved coronavirus vaccines.

Serginho Roosblad, the 2017 winner of the Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in Memory of I.F. Stone, will join the global investigative team at The Associated Press as the first hire in a new program funded by the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting. The program, based at the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, is dedicated to increasing the presence and retention of journalists of color in the field of investigative reporting. Roosblad will serve as an investigative producer and reporter.

Military Times named Jp Lawrence, the HL Stevenson Fellowship winner in 2015, to its top ten list of military veterans in journalism. As a reporter for Stars and Stripes, Lawrence covered the ongoing threat from ISIS as the group has tried to recruit members of the Taliban. A U.S. Army veteran, he has reported for numerous outlets including The Associated Press and VICE. Lawrence had an OPC Foundation fellowship with AP in Uganda. He most recently wrote an article for Stars and Stripes on June 10 about calls for the U.S. to evacuate thousands of interpreters and others who aided the U.S. military and government to the Pacific territory of Guam while they await decisions on immigration visas.

Portia Crowe, an OPC member who won the Reuters Fellowship in 2014, has been named an assistant editor on openDemocracy’s Tracking the Backlash investigative team, with a particular focus on getting the team’s Francophone Africa coverage off the ground. Crowe had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Nairobi. She was featured in a Bulletin profile last year and joined an OPC Foundation panel this spring on the future of global journalism.

Tess Taylor, who won the Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in the name of I.F. Stone in 2004, has an article in Harper’s June issue on art as a catalyst for healing civic wounds, and the need for expression in the aftermath of what President Joe Biden called “our uncivil war.” She wrote about her own recovery process after the 2016 U.S. election that “stung like a fresh injury” as she arrived in Northern Ireland on a Fullbright scholarship. Taylor said living in a region that was still suffering the wounds of fierce division, “it dawned on me how many stitches of the urban fabric here seemed to be embedded in the arts.”

AWARDS

OPC member Lila Hassan on June 14 was named one of five Ida B. Wells Fellows for 2021-2022. The fellowships go to emerging and mid-career journalists, and each receives a $20,000 stipend and funds to cover reporting costs for their first substantial piece of investigative reporting. The program lasts for one year, during which they receive editorial feedback, legal counsel, research resources, mentoring, story placement, and publicity assistance. Hassan is an investigative journalist based in New York, and focuses on extremism, human rights and immigration. She plans to report on “ICE arrests and accountability.”

The Indiana Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) awarded OPC member Steve Raymer First Place in the Features Photography category (for publications with circulation above 30,000, news services and digital media) in its Best of Indiana Journalism 2020 Awards on June 14. The award honored his images for a piece titled “The Chin People of Indianapolis” for Indianapolis Monthly last December. In an email to OPC, he thanked the writer of the piece, Susie Salaz, who came up with the idea for the piece.

In May, MacDowell named OPC member Rukmini Callimachi as one of 47 artists for a residency fellowship. The residencies were originally awarded last spring just as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was going into effect in the U.S. Awardees are from 13 U.S. states and three countries across seven artistic disciplines. Callimachi is in the “Writers and Poets” category. The fellowships are meant to give the fellows “uninterrupted time to work and enjoy the rare opportunity for multidisciplinary exchange.” Each has an average value of more than $13,000.

A number of journalists with ties to the OPC won accolades in this year’s Pulitzer Prizes. This year’s winners of the Kim Wall Award, Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing and Christo Buschek of BuzzFeed News, received a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for their series on China’s Xinjiang camps. Their winning work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The same series was named as finalist for the Pulitzer’s Explanatory Reporting category.

OPC member Joshua Irwandi, a freelance photographer for National Geographic, was a finalist in the Breaking News Photography category for his photograph of a solitary coronavirus victim in an Indonesian hospital.

The OPC Foundation’s 2016 Fritz Beebe Fellowship winner, Dake Kang, was a finalist in the Investigative Reporting category along with his Associated Press colleagues for reporting on shortcomings in China’s coronavirus response. Kang won this year’s Roy Rowan Award for the same reporting.

This year’s Joe and Laurie Dine Award winners, Margie Mason and Robin McDowell of The Associated Press, were also finalists in the Pulitzer’s Investigative Reporting category, both distinctions honoring their series on exploitation, slavery, human trafficking and sexual harassment in the production of palm oil. Mason and McDowell also won the 2015 Hal Boyle Award and Malcolm Forbes Award with colleagues for reporting on slavery in the seafood industry.

The New York Times staff who won an OPC Citation for Excellence in the Bob Considine category for reporting on the Trump administration’s coronavirus shortcomings was also a finalist in both the Pulitzer Prize categories of National Reporting and International Reporting this year.

Two-time OPC award winner Tyler Hicks of The New York Times was a finalist in that category for his images of the toll of the coronavirus deep in Brazil’s Amazon. Hicks won the 2015 John Faber Award and the 2013 Robert Capa Gold Medal Award.

UPDATES

Starting June 21, OPC member Jodi Schneider will begin serving as political news director at Bloomberg. She will direct political coverage across all of Bloomberg’s TV and Radio shows, including the flagship program “Balance of Power” with David Westin. Schneider will also oversee the editorial team in Washington. In a LinkedIn update, she said she is “very excited about and grateful for this next opportunity in the terrific ride that has been my journalism career— in the past 10-plus years with Bloomberg it’s meant great stints in D.C., Tokyo, Hong Kong and NYC.” Schneider is currently a senior editor on the Bloomberg News global business team, and has played a major role in coverage of Covid-19 vaccination. She joined the Bloomberg News Washington bureau in 2010, leading coverage of tax policy and the U.S. Congress. She was overseas from 2015-2020, as an economics editor in the Tokyo bureau and then as senior international editor based in Hong Kong, where she was also president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

OPC member Sarah Lubman wrote on her LinkedIn feed in early June that she worked her last day at SoftBank after nearly two and a half years. She said it was “the only company I ever considered going in-house for and I’m hugely grateful for the experience,” and added that this would be her last full-time gig. Lubman plans to pursue a book idea, travel with her husband, support causes, and tend her garden. She served as acting chief communications officer and as a corporate communications partner at SoftBank during her time there. Before that, she was a partner at Brunswick Group from 2005 to 2019, Asia editor at Newsweek in 2005, editor and reporter at the San Jose Mercury News from 1995 to 2004, and Wall Street Journal reporter from 1992 to 1995. Lubman spent six of her 17 years as a reporter in Tokyo and Beijing. She has also served as a longtime governor of the OPC and served multiple times as chair of the OPC Annual Awards Dinner.

A book by OPC member Abigail Pesta made The Boston Globe’s list of summer reads. The Girls, a book about doctor Larry Nassar’s years of sexual assault against gymnasts, and the girls and women who broke their silence to help seal his conviction. Globe books editor Katie Tuttle in a blurb on the paper’s app wrote that “in this harrowing exposé, Pesta focuses on the survivors to explore how the abuser Nassar gained access to the Olympic team, and even more victims.” The Girls is among ten recommended books in the Sports category.

Andrew Nagorski, an OPC member and award-winning journalist who spent more than 30 years as a foreign correspondent and editor for Newsweek, discussed pivotal events in the early years of World War II on the Leaders and Legends podcast on June 7. The interview focused on his book, 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War, in which he makes the case that Hitler sowed the seeds of his own defeat early in the war with blunders such as turning the Soviet Union from ally to enemy and goading the U.S. to enter the war. Nagorski told host Robert Vane of Veteran Strategies that his book tries to explain how the Allied nations joined forces, the relationships among them, and “what was Hitler’s crazy internal logic for constantly escalating this battle until he had to lose it.” Nagorski is also author of Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power and The Nazi Hunters, among others.

OPC member Ben Taub, who won the OPC Foundation’s 2015 Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship and now writes for The New Yorker, was quoted in a The New York Times piece published on June 13 about the magazine’s ongoing labor disputes. The New Yorker formed a union in 2018 and has since been locked in negotiations over a contract that would lay out employee benefits, pay, and other issues. The piece by Times writer Ben Smith looks into how the magazine’s staff writers, including Taub, did not join the union and were excluded from some early meetings due to concerns they might leak information to management. Smith wrote that Taub confronted an organizer from NewsGuild during a meeting who had falsely claimed to colleagues over WhatsApp that staff writers were already being organized by NewsGuild. Taub won the OPC’s 2016 Best Investigative Reporting Award for his piece about Syria’s war crimes against its own citizens.

OPC member and freelancer Maggie Anderson, who is partly based in Rwanda, filed a story with many photos on the Free Malaysia Today news site on June 13 profiling community medical workers fighting COVID-19. She wrote that 83 percent of Rwanda’s infectious diseases are treated at home, and mobile health workers are a crucial part of the country’s front-line treatment and dissemination of health information.

Maria Hinojosa of the Latino USA program, which won this year’s Lowell Thomas Award, has secured funding for an investigative unit for the nonprofit news organization she founded in 2010 that produces the program. On June 7, Futuro Media announced that Futuro Unidad Hinojosa Investigative (FUHi) has gained support from Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP). The Harlem-based organization creates podcasts “that delve into and give voice to the diverse American experience.” Hinojosa has worked for nearly three decades as a journalist for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN, NPR and an Emmy Award-winning talk show on WGBH called One-on-One. Hinojosa shared the Lowell Thomas Award with colleagues Julieta Martinelli, Fernanda Camarena, Benjamin Alfaro and Marlon Bishop for their reporting on border issues between Mexico and the U.S.

In this installment of People, catch up on OPC Foundation scholars Brett Simpson, Annie Todd, A.J. Naddaff, Claire Parker, Serginho Roosblad, Jp Lawrence, Portia Crowe and Tess Taylor; notable awards for people with ties to the OPC including Lila Hassan, Steve Raymer, Rukmini Callimachi, Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing, Christo Buschek, Joshua Irwandi, Dake Kang, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell and Tyler Hicks; and updates on members Jodi Schneider, Sarah Lubman , Abigail Pesta, Andrew Nagorski and Ben Taub as well as OPC award winners Maggie Anderson and Maria Hinojosa.