April 15, 2024

People Column

SCHOLARS

Nuha Dolby, the 2023 Roy Rowan Fellowship winner, and Katherine Swartz, the 2022 Stan Swinton Fellowship winner, have been named to the inaugural class of fellows at the Allbritton Journalism Institute (AJI). As fellows in the two-year program, they will learn from and work alongside top reporters and editors on AJI’s team. AJI is backed by a $20 million grant from Robert Allbritton, the founding publisher of Politico. The new non-profit organization and newsroom, staffed by veteran journalists, will train aspiring reporters to produce fact-based, non-partisan journalism on government and politics. As an OPC Foundation fellow, Dolby covered business and technology this summer in the London bureau of The Wall Street Journal.

Francis Tang, the 2023 David R. Schweisberg Scholarship winner, has started his OPC Fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Tokyo. In his first published story, about abuse in the J-pop industry, he shared a byline with Reuters reporter and the 2020 Stan Swinton Fellowship winner, Kantaro Komiya. Komiya started his career with an OPC Fellowship in the Associated Press Tokyo bureau.

Yuchang Tang, the 2023 Richard Pyle Scholarship winner, published seven articles, including three feature stories and several breaking news pieces during his OPC Foundation fellowship with The Associated Press in Bangkok, including articles on young Chinese nomads and Chinese LGBTQ tourism in Thailand.

Kaela Malig, the Sally Jacobsen Scholarship winner in 2023, was named this year’s Tow Journalism Fellow. She will spend her year-long fellowship at FRONTLINE immersed in all phases of documentary storytelling, from reporting to the production process. Before attending Columbia Journalism School, she reported on the bloody drug war in her native Philippines. A four-time winner of the Society of Publishers Asia Awards for Editorial Excellence, she interned for Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa’s news outlet Rappler and reported for The Washington Post and CNN before working for the Philippines’ biggest broadcast company.

Youcef Bounab, 2023 winner of the Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in memory of I.F.Stone, recently returned from his OPC Foundation fellowship with the Associated Press bureau in Paris. Among the stories he covered were French lawmakers approving tapping devices, booksellers along the Seine, and Bastille Day celebration after recent unrest.

Claire Parker, the Stan Swinton Fellowship winner in 2019, was named Cairo bureau chief for The Washington Post, leading the coverage of North Africa and Yemen. She was previously a staff writer on the Post’s international desk and a freelance journalist in Tunisia. She was an OPC Foundation fellow with The Associated Press in Paris.

Jeff Horwitz, who won the Fred Wiegold Scholarship in 2009, and a team of journalists from The Wall Street Journal received the 2022 Impact Award for Distinguished Financial Journalism from the New York Financial Writers Association for their “Facebook Files” series, which details Facebook’s knowledge of the harmful impact of Instagram on young users – particularly teenage girls, and how the company hid and played down this knowledge. View the winning articles here.

AWARDS

The judging committee for the 2023 Hinzpeter Awards announced winners in four categories in September. Winners include the documentary “Inside Russia: Putin’s War at Home,” which covered narratives inside Russia following the onset of the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, won the grand prize of The World at a Crossroads Award; “The Battle of Bakhmut,” with reporting from reporters Adam Desiderio, Julia Kochetova and Ben C. Solomon, covering southeastern Ukraine’s treacherous battleground, won the Award for News; “Russian Soft Power in The CAR,” with reporting from Carol Valade and Clément Di Roma, exposing manipulated public opinion and brutality by Russia’s Wagner Group in the Central African Republic, won the Award for Features; and four Ukrainian journalists from Central TV in Ukraine, honored for their coverage of the ground coverage of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant catastrophe, won the May Gwangju (Lifetime Achievement) Award. An awards ceremony will be held on Nov. 8 at the National Assembly Library Auditorium in Seoul, Korea.

The Washington Post’s multi-part story “The Amazon, Undone,” which received the Robert Spiers Benjamin Award this year, has also won a Gerald Loeb award for international reporting. The investigation, led by Terrence McCoy, the Post’s Rio De Janeiro bureau chief, examines the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest. The series also won a George Polk Award and was a Pulitzer finalist for explanatory reporting earlier this year.

UPDATES

OPC member Kim Hjelmgaard is covering the war in Israel for USA TODAY, with the most recent piece covering President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel and his assurances on Oct. 18 that the U.S. would stand by Israel and provide help in its war against Hamas. Other reports include an Oct. 11 piece about a 67-year-old American activist for Palestinian rights who was presumed kidnapped by Hamas. He wrote that Cindy Flash, along with her Israeli husband Igal, were among more than 100 who vanished from areas near Gaza. “They are breaking down the safe room door,” Hjelmgaard quoted Flash as writing in one of her final messages to her daughter Keren, who had been communicating with her parents from a few houses away. Hjelmgaard also wrote breaking news updates on the Hamas attacks, and contributed to a piece about the history of Israeli and Palestinian conflict in graphics. on Oct. 18

Nilo Tabrizy, a visual forensics reporter for The Washington Post who serves as OPC governor, spoke to the Post Reports daily podcast in late September about crackdowns in Iran, where human rights groups say security forces have killed at least 530 protesters over the last year. “I think that the government understands the power of grief and how powerful that can be to move people,” she said. Tabrizy detailed her recent reporting on the Heydari family, which was among the first to go public about the death of a loved one after their son Javad was killed on Sept. 22 while protesting in the northwestern city of Qazvin.

OPC member Borzou Daragahi, a journalist and nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Program, talked to WNYC’s Here and Now program on Sept 18 about a U.S.-Iran prisoner exchange that included one of his friends. In exchange for the release of five American prisoners, the U.S. released five Iranian prisoners and gave Iran access to $6 billion in oil revenues that were previously frozen under sanctions. Daragahi’s friend, Siamak Namazi, who like all five Americans had duel citizenship with Iran, was held in Evin Prison on unsubstantiated charges of spying. “It broke my heart watching this [incarceration] happen to him. His family, his father was held for a long time, a very elderly father,” he told host Scott Tom. “These are just ordinary people, successful in many respects, there is a common denominator – successful in the West – trying hard to lead a life in the West without their home country of Iran, and they paid an extremely high price.”

Photographs from Ukraine’s front lines taken by OPC member Nicole Tung are on display in a group exhibition through Nov. 12 at Place de la Liberté in Bayeux, France. The display is part of a series of exhibitions in connection with the 30th Bayeux Calvados-Normandie War Correspondents Awards. Her work is on display with six other photographers in an exhibition meant to capture “the resilience, hope, and harsh realities of war.”

Nico Hines, an OPC member who serves as World Editor for The Daily Beast, spoke on a panel from London on “The World This Week” program on France 24 about the Nobel Peace Prize going to human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who’s currently serving what amounts to 12 years behind bars in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. Hines called Mohammadi a “particularly brilliant” winner, “someone who has put their own life on hold for years and years for a determined cause, for liberation for women, something that people all around the rest of the world get to experience on a daily basis.”

OPC member Andrew Nagorski contributed to a piece for the Foreign Service Journal about an online reunion of classmates who attended primary school at the Cairo American College (CAC). The group of so-called third-culture kids included 10 classmates from 60 years ago who had been invited for a reunion in September 2021. The group has been meeting online monthly since then. Nagorski, who was born in Scotland to Polish parents, moved to the United States as an infant, and then traveled the world as his father joined the U.S. Information Service (USIS), serving as a press attaché in Cairo, Seoul, and Paris where he attended American schools. “The initiative by some of my Cairo schoolmates to reconnect so many years later brought back a flood of memories, not just of Egypt but of other postings: riding horseback by the pyramids, getting my first exposure to tear gas while observing South Korean students protesting against the regime of military strongman Park Chung Hee, and celebrating the end of my senior year at the American School of Paris prom at the Eiffel Tower,” Nagorski wrote.

Evening Post Books in Charleston South Carolina has recently acquired OPC member Will Cathcart’s novel, with an expected publishing date of July 1 next year. The book has a working title of The Chopin Agency, and explores the “fractures and violent flareups that constitute that relentless fault line between East and West and the Byzantine pockets of Europe scattered in between,” Cathcart said in an email. “Europe is a tendency, not a geography, and for centuries it has fallen prey to the Russian empire’s oscillating capacity for expansionism—killing what it does not understand. This is a story of survivor’s guilt and existential regret.” The book spans multiple points of view and timelines from 1877 to 2017, beginning in the American South and threading through Warsaw, Paris, Tbilisi, Brussels, and finally the Turkish border. Cathcart is an American war correspondent living in Tbilisi, Georgia, and is originally from Charleston, South Carolina.

Jim Bittermann, an OPC member and senior correspondent for CNN, reported from Paris on the sweeping bedbug infestation and its possible effect on next summer’s Olympics. Bittermann said in an Oct. 2 dispatch that bedbugs are a global problem, but he they are getting noticed more in Paris now because of preparations for the Olympics. “One of the things that has augmented the number of bedbugs, if indeed they are a growing problem, is the fact that after Covid, a lot of people were again traveling. During Covid people were sleeping in their own beds, not moving around, and the amount of contagion was probably restricted,” he said.

OPC member Sayyara Mammadova, a research assistant with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) based in Azerbaijan, spoke at the EU DisinfoLab Annual Conference, which was held from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12 in Krakow, Poland, on tools for public interest investigations. Mammadova and her colleagues from DFRLab presented case studies and an overview of resources for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) investigations through a hub known as the European Open Source Intelligence Organisations Observatory, or ObSINT. The session focused on ObSINT guidelines, which is available to explore via this link.