May 23, 2022

People Column


Tre’Vaughn Howard, the 2021 Nathan S. Bienstock Memorial Scholarship winner, is now working as a digital associate producer on the CBS News social media team in New York.

Rajiv Golla, the Walter and Betsy Cronkite Fellowship winner in 2017, is now a senior editor for a podcast studio called Campside Media. Golla spent the last few years reporting from East Africa, where he produced The Missionary, an investigative 8-part podcast, for iHeart Radio. He had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Nairobi.

Military Veterans in Journalism named J.p. Lawrence, the H.L. Stevenson Fellowship winner in 2015 and reporter for Stars & Stripes in Iraq and Afghanistan, to its list of Top 10 Military Vets in Journalism of 2021. Lawrence had an OPC Foundation fellowship with The Associated Press in Uganda. He recently evacuated Kabul on a plane alongside U.S. embassy staff, recounting his experience in an Aug. 17 piece for Stars & Stripes.


The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) on Sept. 29 honored two photojournalists with ties to the OPC. Iranian-Canadian photographer Kiana Hayeri, who won this year’s Robert Capa Gold Medal Award, and freelance Brazilian photographer Adriana Zehbrauskas, who spoke on an OPC panel in September 2016 and contributed to the OPC’s Dateline magazine, each received honors from the IWMF. Judges said that Zehbrauskas, who is now working in Phoenix, Arizona, had “energetic yet sensitive portrayals of migration and the toll of COVID-19 in Latin America,” while Hayeri, who is based in Kabul, Afghanistan, “spotlighted the rising conflict and looming crisis in Afghanistan from an alternative perspective.” Palestinian Journalist Fatima Shbair received the organization’s Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award for her portfolio of images depicting “unique moments of tension, violence, devastation, and hope all captured from Gaza City in May 2021.”


Quartz announced on Sept 27 that OPC member Aurora Almendral will serve as senior reporter in Asia. Almendral, an OPC award winner based in Southeast Asia, has been reporting from the U.S.-Mexico border for Quartz. Her other recent work includes a New York Times Magazine piece about an experiment to retrofit cargo ships with sails to reduce carbon consumption and a piece for Nikkei on the global shipping crisis. Almendral won the 2017 David A. Andelman and Pamela Title Award for coverage of the Philippine drug war along with collaborator Ed Ou, who won an OPC Foundation scholarship in 2007.

OPC member Kim Hjelmgaard, a correspondent for USA Today, spoke on a podcast episode on Oct. 3 covering Afghan journalist and colleague Fatema Hosseini’s escape from Kabul and his role in helping her. “Hjelmgaard swung into action to help Fatema escape. With assistance from military contacts, Kim managed to get Fatema a seat on plane bound for Ukraine. Later, she would make it to the U.S,” according to a description of the Five Things podcast episode. Hjelmgaard discussed the story with Hosseini in an interview recorded at a café in Ukraine only days after the events.

Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post correspondent, OPC member and past award winner, spoke on the WHYY program Radio Times from Kabul on Sept. 22 with his observations on how Afghans are coping with the new Taliban rule. He talked about an incident in which Taliban fighters severely beat two journalists from the Kabul-based paper Etilaat-e Roz who were covering protests, and then a week later Taliban officials visited their offices and apologized. “The event went viral, and the Taliban is extremely keen on presenting a good image to the world – at least the top officials are – in order to get Western aid. They want to keep the Western dollars flowing,” Raghavan said. The two journalists did not accept the apology, he added, as the officials appeared to blame them for the beatings and cautioned them about covering protests. Raghavan has won three OPC awards, most recently the 2018 Hal Boyle Award for coverage of the crisis in Yemen.

OPC member Jim Brooke submitted the following personal message to share with members:

“Shortly after college, I left my native Lenox [Massachusetts] and a part time reporting job at The Berkshire Eagle for a clerking job with James Reston, Washington columnist for The New York Times. Four decades and 100 countries later, I came home last month to Lenox. Now, the generational turn of the wheel brings me to columnizing: writing a fortnightly Foreign Affairs column for the Eagle. I have not hung up my foreign correspondent hat – five nights a week, I write 1,000 words for my morning news email, the Ukraine Financial News. Here in Lenox, I have bought out my siblings for a family house with four acres of field and woods. My 5-year-old George goes to the local elementary school, complete with a presidential seal of approval by the front door. After five years in Kyiv, wife Pen is enjoying country living, plotting to grow Cambodian vegetables and raise chickens. In addition to hiking, sailing and (this winter) skiing, I love the amazing cultural offerings here – Tanglewood, the Clark Art Museum, and last week, Shakespeare & Co. When OPC friends escape the city for music or fall foliage, drop me a line and let’s catch up over lunch in Lenox! – cheers Jim (”

On Oct. 28, Miceál O’Hurley, an OPC member who serves as editor in chief of Diplomat Ireland, will participate in a day-long Public Relations and Media Professional Development Day along with a lineup of journalists and other media experts. Organizers have invited ambassadors, consul, counsellors, trade representatives and embassy staff to gather at the Stephens Green Hibernian Club in Dublin. Session topics will include how to make better use of press offices, storytelling tips for media releases, information handling during crises, and the relationship between diplomacy and journalism.

Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who spent almost two years in Tehran’s Evin prison, launched a podcast on Sept. 28 recounting his experience over more than 17 months in jail and the story of what it took to secure his release in January 2016. 544 Days has released five episodes so far, with a new installment published each Monday. It is a Spotify Original podcast, produced by Gimlet, Crooked Media and A24. Rezaian held a book night with the OPC in May 2019 to discuss his book about the ordeal, Prisoner, and in 2016 he lit the Candle of Remembrance at the Annual Awards Dinner to honor journalists killed, injured or missing in connection with their work.