December 2, 2021

People Column

SCHOLARS

Rose Gilbert, the 2021 Stan Swinton Fellowship winner, is now a multimedia producer for This Is Nashville, on Nashville’s public radio station WPLN. Her new post follows a reporting internship at The Tennessean, where she covered Nashville and central Tennessee. In 2020, she was senior producer for the USA TODAY podcast “Changing the Game.”

Diana Kruzman, the recipient of the 2021 Harper’s Magazine Award in memory of I.F. Stone, filed a travelogue and photo essay for Insider on Nov. 1 recounting her 35-hour train ride aboard the California Zephyr from Denver to San Francisco. She described and photographed stunning views through the Rocky Mountains during autumn leaf season along the Colorado River and reviewed some of the frustrations of the slow-paced Amtrak as it stops to give way to freight traffic, and limited space and services.

The 2021 Edith Lederer Scholarship recipient, Kira Leadholm, co-wrote an investigative piece published by the Illinois-based watchdog group Better Government Association on Nov. 8 about how the privatization of Illinois’ health care system has shifted hundreds of millions of dollars to insurance companies and away from frontline medical providers. The four-month project, conducted with colleague David Jackson, included “dozens of interviews and a review of thousands of previously unpublished documents.” They found the current system lacks oversight and allows for-profit insurance companies to “routinely deny, delay and reduce reimbursements to providers who treat low-income families, foster children, pregnant women and the elderly.” The piece got a mention in Politico’s Illinois Playbook column.

Arno Pedram, the 2021 Flora Lewis / Jacqueline Albert-Simon Scholarship winner, co-wrote a piece from Paris for The Associated Press on Oct. 24 about a campaign by French sexual abuse victims to denounce inappropriate responses from police involved in their cases. Pedram and colleague Sylvie Corbet wrote about the #DoublePeine campaign, a hashtag that translates as “Double Sentencing,” a reference to victim-blaming or mishandling of complaints from women reporting sexual abuse. A French women’s rights group, NousToutes, counted at least 30,000 accounts of police mistreatment shared over social media and a website collecting those stories.

2020 Flora Lewis Fellowship winner Meg Bernhard wrote a piece for the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 3 about the territorial fight over solar farms in the Mojave Desert. Bernhard reported in from the Pahrump Valley in Nevada, speaking to protesters trying to block the Yellow Pine project, a 3,000-acre solar farm that would generate 500 megawatts of electricity for California, which activists say will disrupt fragile desert ecosystems.

The 2019 Stan Swinton Fellowship winner, Claire Parker, has a new position at The Washington Post. She was named a staff writer on the foreign desk, where she first interned in 2019. Parker, who had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Associated Press bureau in Paris, rejoined the Post in April as editor of the Today’s WorldView newsletter. She also spent a year in Tunisia studying Arabic and freelancing.

AWARDS

Bhat Burhan, who received a freelance micro-grant from the OPC earlier this year, was named Newcomer of the Year in the Free Press Awards. Burhan, a video producer, camera operator and a photojournalist based in New Delhi, was selected among two other nominees, Aye Min Thant from Myanmar and Israel Graca Campos from Angola. “His stories are risky and have landed him in police stations in 2018 and 2020 with his colleagues,” the award jury said in a statement. “He not only stands out with his documentaries but also writes in a comprehensive way.” The award includes a scholarship of 1,500 euros.

UPDATES

OPC member Andrew Nagorski has a new book set to publish on May 10 next year. Saving Freud: The Rescuers Who Brought Him to Freedom will follow the story of Sigmund Freud’s last-minute escape to London after Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. Freud was eighty-one years old, battling cancer, and ready to stay in Vienna despite the Nazi threat. A group of concerned and well-connected friends urged him to emigrate to England, including a Welsh physician, Napoleon’s great-grandniece, an American ambassador, Freud’s youngest daughter Anna, and his personal doctor. The book’s publisher is Simon & Schuster. Nagorski won the OPC’s 1978 Bache Award for best business news reporting from abroad for work in Newsweek.

A Michigan judge dismissed felony charges on Oct. 26 against a Detroit Police Department officer accused of shooting riot control ammunition at three photojournalists, including OPC member and freelancer Seth Herald. Daniel Debono faced three counts of felonious assault in connection with the shooting of non-lethal ammunition that injured Herald, MLive photographer Nicole Hester, and Matt Hatcher, who was taking photos for Getty Images. Hester was struck by as many as a dozen pellets in her face and body, leaving welts and narrowly missing an eye, according to testimony. The shooting happened after midnight on May 31 last year while the group was covering a protest in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis during his arrest on May 25. The journalists each had press credentials and carried multiple, large-frame cameras when they were shot from about 50 feet away while walking to their car in a nearby garage. The officer’s attorney argued that police gave an order to disperse before the shots were fired and that press badges the journalists carried were too small for officers to see.

OPC member Jim Brooke is slated to speak in an online program hosted by the library of his hometown in Lenox, Massachusetts on Nov. 21. His lecture is titled “Ukraine: The Gates of Europe, Besieged by Russia.” Brooke, who speaks Russian, worked as a journalist for eight years in Moscow, first as Bloomberg bureau chief, then as the Voice of America correspondent for Russia and the former Soviet Union. The program will start at 4:00 p.m. and is available to stream via Zoom, but registration is required. Visit the library’s website to learn how to access the livestream.

A photo provided by the OPC makes an appearance in a documentary about photojournalist André Liohn, winner of the 2011 Robert Capa Gold Medal Award. Liohn is the focus of You Are Not A Soldier, which premiered at the Hot Docs festival in late April and early May. OPC Executive Director Patricia Kranz sent a photo of Liohn with James Foley from an OPC awards dinner in 2012. The film by director Maria Carolina Telles follows Liohn’s struggle with grief and life as a conflict photographer, as he copes with the horrors he has witnessed and the loss of Foley and other colleagues Marie Colvin, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who were killed during the course of their work.

OPC member Barbie Nadeau, correspondent-at-large for The Daily Beast, reported for CNN from Rome on flooding in Italy on Oct. 27. One man was found dead and others reported missing after flash floods inundated Catania on the Italian island of Sicily where up to 20 inches of rain fell over about two days. “This is a city that’s used to threats. They are at the foot of Mt. Aetna, a volcano that often rains ash on them,” Nadeau said, adding that the floods had devastated the city center.

OPC Governor Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer for FRONTLINE, spoke to Variety magazine for a Nov. 1 profile piece to discuss her career and the ups and downs of the changing media landscape. She talked about the rise of services like Netflix, and her push to increase transparency in their reporting as well as expansion of diversity among filmmakers. Aronson-Rath joined FRONTLINE in 2007 as a senior producer, becoming deputy executive producer in 2012, and executive producer in 2015. She has won a string of OPC awards over the years, most recently the 2019 Peter Jennings Award for the documentary For Sama.