April 23, 2024

People Column


Humza Jilani, the Roy Rowan Scholarship winner in 2022, has earned his first byline for Reuters. The Sept. 1 story covers looming closures for pubs in the United Kingdom amid surging energy costs and a struggle to recover from the past COVID-19 years. Jilani, a Harvard graduate studying at Oxford as a Marshall Scholar, has an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in London.

Meena Venkataramanan, the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2021, will be staying on at The Washington Post after her internship at the paper ended last week, to write more stories and anchor the About US newsletter “on identity, an initiative to illuminate conversations around race, gender and other crucial (and underreported) aspects of selfhood.”

Sam McNeil, the Walter and Betsy Cronkite Scholarship winner in 2014, now a video journalist who has been in the Beijing bureau for The Associated Press, has returned to the Middle East in the AP’s Jerusalem bureau. McNeil has been with AP since his OPC Foundation fellowship in AP’s bureau in Cairo.

Valerie Hopkins, winner of the Jerry Flint Internship for International Business Reporting in 2013, has continued to cover the war in Ukraine for The New York Times. She returned to Moscow for the first time in six months for a front page story published on Sept. 6 about the insulated nature of life in Moscow, where the war and even economic impacts felt elsewhere in the country have not appeared to change life for most residents in the city.

Alex Pena, the first Walter and Betsy Cronkite Scholarship winner in 2011, is now a producer and digital journalist for VICE News. Pena spent the last seven years at CBS News, ultimately as a producer for the CBS Reports Documentary News Series. He began his career as reporter for Stars & Stripes.


The New York Times announced on Aug. 26 that OPC Vice President Azmat Khan will join the paper’s staff and will serve as investigative reporter for both the newsroom and The New York Times Magazine, where she has been a contributing writer. “She has demonstrated again and again the difference that tenacious journalism — rigorous, principled and committed to holding power to account — can make in the world,” Jake Silverstein, editor-in-chief of the Times magazine, wrote in an announcement post. Khan is a professor at Columbia Journalism School and heads the Li Center for Global Journalism. She won the OPC’s 2017 Ed Cunningham Award for “The Uncounted,” a story in the Times magazine about civilians killed by drones in Iraq, and lead the team that won this year’s Roy Rowan Award for “Airstrikes Gone Wrong,” a piece expanding on her earlier drone reporting. She started her new post on Aug. 29.

OPC Treasurer Sandra Stevenson started a new job on Sept. 6 as deputy director of photography at The Washington Post overseeing international, climate and health. She was previously associate director of photography at CNN. Before CNN, Stevenson was at The New York Times, where she oversaw digital visual editors on the news desk and worked on visual content for Race/Related and Gender.

OPC member Barbie Latza Nadeau published a book on Sept. 6 about women in organized crime, titled The Godmother: Murder, Vengeance, and the Bloody Struggle of Mafia Women. She wrote that women in Italy-based criminal groups such as the Camorra “are making far more progress climbing the ladder and being treated as equals than their law-abiding peers.” Nadeau is an American journalist and author who has lived in Rome since 1996. She has worked as the Rome bureau chief for Newsweek Magazine and is currently bureau chief for The Daily Beast.

Rebecca Wright, an OPC member, television presenter and journalist based in New Zealand, has become co-host of the political current affairs show Newshub Nation on the national TV channel Three. She will join Simon Shepherd on the program, replacing Oriini Kaipara, who stepped down from the role in August. She said in an interview that “it’s a fascinating time with the political landscape changing so much and I’m looking forward to diving into the issues on behalf of our audience.” Wright has more than 15 years of experience in television reporting.

Many OPC Governors and members are slated to speak at the 2022 International Press Institute (IPI) World Congress that runs from Sept. 8 to 10 at Columbia University. The event, which is held online and in person, will have welcome remarks from OPC member John Daniszewski, a “town meeting” program featuring OPC Vice President Azmat Khan and OPC member Michael Slackman, a program about the Pulitzer Prizes with OPC Governor and Pulitzer Prizes administrator Marjorie Miller, a program about local news with OPC President Scott Kraft and OPC member Sewell Chan, and other speakers from the OPC community such as Charles Sennott and Karen Toulon. To find out more, the schedule is posted here.


Anne Garrels, longtime foreign correspondent for NPR who served in recent years as a judge for the OPC awards, died on Sept. 7 at the age of 71. She was a judge for this year’s Lowell Thomas Award as well as previous years, and in 2016 held a book night with the OPC to discuss Putin Country, a book about Chelyabinsk, an industrial “middle Russia” city about 1,000 miles east of Moscow. Garrels’ colleague, OPC Governor Deborah Amos, in a piece for NPR remembered meeting Garrels soon after she arrived in 1988 after serving as ABC News bureau chief in Moscow and Central America. “She’d had this long and remarkable career before she landed here … She was always braver than me, and I always understood that she was braver than me,” Amos said.

Bernard Shaw, an OPC Award winner who served as CNN anchor for 20 years, died on Sept. 7. He was 82. His career spanned the founding of CNN in 1980 and the two decades as anchor before his departure in 2000 included live coverage of events at Tiananmen Square in 1989 and live coverage of the First Gulf War from Baghdad in 1991. Shaw won the 1989 David Kaplan Award along with Dan Rather for coverage of China and was part of a CNN team that won the Edward R. Murrow Award in 1996 for a program looking back at the Gulf War. He was presenter for the OPC Annual Awards Dinner in 1990.