July 25, 2024

People Column

2015 January-June Issue

June 2015
By Trish Anderton


2014 Flint winner John Ismay got a front-page byline on a major investigative story in the June 7 New York Times, along with Mark Mazzetti, Nicholas Kulish, Christopher Drew, Serge F. Kovaleski and Sean D. Naylor. The piece takes an in-depth look at Seal Team 6, the Navy unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden and, as the story argues, “one of the nation’s most mythologized, most secretive and least scrutinized military organizations.” The Times pulled together “dozens of interviews” and government documents to build a case that the unit has become “a global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight.”

This has been an exceptional award season for 2006 Schweisberg winner Gregory Johnsen. Along with his BuzzFeed News colleagues, he won the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress from the National Press Foundation for the story titled “60 Words and A War Without End.” Johnsen also won a Peabody Award for his collaboration with Radiolab on the same topic: the broad, malleable wording of the Authorization of Use of Military Force Act, approved by near-unanimous Congressional vote shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and how its interpretation has expanded military power and secrecy.

Accolades continue for 2009 I.F. Stone scholar Jonathan Jones and his colleagues at ProPublica, PBS Frontline and Rain Media, for “Firestone and the Warlord.” Besides Rain Media’s Marcella Gaviria getting a citation for the OPC’s Edward R. Murrow award this year, the team took first place in the 2014 Investigative Reporters and Editors award in the Large Multiplatform category, won an RFK Journalism Award and were named a finalist in the International Category for a 2015 Gerard Loeb Award. The story examines how Firestone managed to continue operating during the brutal Liberian civil war. The team used diplomatic cables, court documents and accounts from Americans who ran a rubber plantation as Liberia descended into chaos. This was the topic of Jones’s winning essay in 2009. The Loeb Award winners will be announced June 23 at its banquet at Capitale in New York City.

In the same month that 2015 Freedman winner Ben Taub graduated from Columbia School of Journalism, his thesis on the journey from Belgium to Syria and back for a teenage jihadi ran as a cover story in The New Yorker. Ben began his research two years earlier partially funded by a stipend he received as a candidate on The Voice. He joined the OPC even before becoming fellow, having been recruited by OPC Governor Rukmini Callimachi, who won two OPC awards last year. He has an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Jerusalem. See page 2 to read Taub’s thoughts and background about his work on the New Yorker story.

Nizar Manek, 2012 I.F. Stone winner, has published his exhaustive investigation of corruption in the Egyptian government in Africa Confidential. His story, co-bylined by Jeremy Hodge, tracks billions of dollars stashed in unaudited government accounts.



OPC member Rebecca Blumenstein, deputy editor-in-chief at The Wall Street Journal, will receive the 2015 Lawrence Minard Editor Award, named in memory of Laury Minard, founding editor of Forbes Global and a former final judge for the Loeb Awards. This award honors excellence in business, financial and economic journalism editing, and recognizes an editor whose work does not receive a byline or whose face does not appear on-air for the work covered.

OPC Second Vice President Abigail Pesta, a freelance journalist, has won a New York Press Club Journalism Award in the Feature Reporting category. Pesta’s story “Who Are You Calling a Bully?” probed the suicide of 12-year old Rebecca Sedwick in Lakeland, Florida and the subsequent prosecution of Katelyn Roman and Guadalupe Shaw for allegedly harassing her. The story, which ran in Cosmopolitan magazine, won a National Headliner Award earlier this year.

OPC Board member Rukmini Callimachi of The New York Times has won a Deadline Club Award from the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Callimachi’s story “Underwriting Jihad” won the Daniel Pearl Award for Investigative Reporting. The story revealed how Europe funds Islamist terror organizations by paying ransoms for its kidnapped citizens, sometimes under the guise of development aid.

Syrian journalist Mazen Darwish, who has been imprisoned since 2012, has won UNESCO’s Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize. Darwish co-founded syriaview.net, an independent news site banned by the government in 2006. He has also served as president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression. In a press release, UNESCO cited “the work that he has carried out in Syria for more than 10 years at great personal sacrifice, enduring a travel ban, harassment, as well as repeated detention and torture.”

Sheri Fink, a member of the New York Times team that won the 2014 Hal Boyle award for its Ebola coverage, has won a PEN Literary Award for her book about Hurricane Katrina. Five Days at Memorial recounts the critical decisions made at a New Orleans hospital during and after the storm. It has won several other prizes, including the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Sergei Loiko and Carol Williams of the Los Angeles Times, who won the 2014 Bob Considine Award for their coverage of the conflict in Ukraine, have won the Los Angeles Times Editorial Award for Beat Reporting. The Times said their reportage “takes guts, game – and a career’s worth of knowledge of the region.”

Don Bartletti, part of the Los Angeles Times team that won this year’s Robert Spiers Benjamin award, walked away with the Los Angeles Times Publisher’s prize. The Times said the story he co-reported on the lives of Mexican farm laborers “makes readers confront what they might prefer to ignore.”

Matthieu Aikins, who won the 2014 Ed Cunningham Award along with Sebastiano Tomada, has also been honored with the Livingston Award for international reporting. The Livingston Awards are given to outstanding journalists under the age of 35. They are sponsored by the University of Michigan and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Judges on the Livingston panel include OPC members Dean Baquet and Christiane Amanpour.



Politico has posted a wonderful tribute to the campaign photography skills of longtime OPC member David Hume Kennerly. “I Want to Be With the Circus” – the title is Kennerly’s own expression of his hunger to get behind the scenes – showcases his work over countless elections, from Senator Robert Kennedy flashing the victory sign shortly before being assassinated in Los Angeles, to Barack and Michelle Obama sharing a rare intimate moment on the night of his inauguration. Kennerly’s comments on each photo add fascinating insights into both the images and the candidates they capture.

Simon Kilmurry, co-winner of the OPC’s 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award along with Rachel Boynton, has been appointed Executive Director of the International Documentary Association. Kilmurry previously served as Executive Producer of POV, the PBS documentary series.

OPC Award-winning photographers Marcus Bleasdale and Marcus Bleasdale will travel to seven countries this year to help raise awareness of retinopathy of prematurity, a preventable form of blindness that affects premature babies. The photographers will visit Australia, Fiji, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uganda to document the devastating impact of avoidable blindness. An exhibition of their photographs, Time to See, will be sent around the world starting in late 2015. The effort is sponsored by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and partner Standard Chartered.

OPC member Roy Gutman is the first Western journalist to land an interview with Syrian rebel leader Zahran Alloush. Gutman, working with colleague Mousab Alhamadee, sat down with the Army of Islam commander in Istanbul. He reported that Alloush, who has previously denounced democracy as a corrupt system, struck a far more moderate tone, saying “If we succeed in toppling the regime, we will leave it to the Syrian people to choose the form of state they want.”

NEW ORLEANS: OPC member Dean Baquet delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, St. Augustine High School in New Orleans. “The goal is not to just tell somebody’s story,” he advised journalism students at the school in a pre-graduation chat. “It’s to come as close to telling the truth as you can.” The son of a New Orleans restaurateur, Baquet started his journalism career at the Times-Picayune after attending Columbia University.

NEW YORK: John Corporon, OPC president from 1996 to 1998, who is credited with dramatically improving the club’s finances, reports from the heart of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that at age 86, he is feeling better every day. He has had five surgeries within the past year. “But none of the ailments were life-threatening and a current kidney stone attack is under control,” he reports.

OPC Foundation board member Jim Gaines has been hired to lead content operations at The Atlantic’s branded-content division, Atlantic Re:think. Gaines, a former top executive and editor at Time Inc. who was managing editor of Time, Life and People magazines, has more recently worked as a top editor at Reuters.

BOSTON: OPC member Charles Sennott was featured on the Memorial Day edition of PBS NewsHour, along with coverage from the organization he founded, the GroundTruth Project. Sennott was talking about Foreverstan, GroundTruth’s project on the war in Afghanistan.

JAFFA, ISRAEL: Lea Bouchoucha, who joined the OPC in 2014 while a journalism student at NYU, started a job as an editor at I24 News, an international news channel that broadcasts in French, English and Arabic, in early June. The newsroom is in Jaffa, Israel. Lea, who was born in France, works for I24’s French service.



Leonard Saffir, who served as OPC president from 1988 to 1990, died Jan. 3 in Lake Worth, Fla. at age 84. Saffir was a foreign correspondent and columnist who founded four newspapers and wrote three books. He reported from New York, Dallas and Tokyo for the International News Service. Saffir was a public relations consultant for Ferdinand Marcos, and developed a strategy that helped Marcos get elected president of the Philippines in 1965. Saffir became disillusioned with the president long before details about Marcos’s graft came to light. In 1988 he wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times titled “Imelda and Freddie Really Took Me In.” Saffir won accolades from the Sigma Delta Chi Professional Journalistic Society for distinguished journalistic achievement, and received multiple awards from the New York Press Association and the Public Relations Society of America. He authored Power Public Relations, How to Get PR to Work for You, Power Public Relations: How to Master the New PR, and PR on a Budget.

Former foreign correspondent Fred Brown died peacefully in his sleep on March 31 in Jamestown, NY. Brown’s first overseas reporting assignment was with the Far East Network, covering Tokyo. He spent the rest of his career with the Voice of America, working in locations ranging from Nigeria to India to Lebanon. In Lagos, Nigeria, he covered the civil war and the unconditional surrender of Biafra, which he described as his first and biggest scoop in his 2013 memoir, My Family, My Life. “A happy man who loved his work, Fred possessed a sharp mind and a keen sense of humor –   laughing particularly hard at his own jokes. He is fondly remembered by friends around the world,” reads his obituary in the Jamestown Post-Journal.

Malawian journalist and press freedom activist Raphael Tenthani, 43, was killed in a car accident outside Blantyre on May 16. Tenthani was a contributor to the Associated Press and BBC. His weekly “Muckraking” column tackled controversial issues. He won several awards, including the United Nations Media award in 2010. Tenthani was once arrested for reporting that then-President Bingu wa Mutharika had moved out of his official residence because he feared it was haunted. “He was fearless in the pursuit of truth and any cause in which he believed,” wrote fellow columnist Thom Chiumia. “He was everything a great journalist should be.”

May 2015
By Randy Fung and Chad Bouchard


2008 H.L. Stevenson winner Mayank Bubna has been hired to work for the Joint Operations Center in the UN Mission in South Sudan, a small team that plans military and humanitarian operations across the country, and is the information hub for the mission. Since his OPC Foundation win in 2008, Bubna has worked for defense think tanks in New Delhi, the advocacy group Enough Project on his first trip to South Sudan, an academic appointment in Switzerland,  and Small Arms Survey, among others in Afghanistan. He continues to freelance.

Jeff Roberts, 2010 Reuters Fellowship winner, was named a 2015-2016 Knight-Bagehot Fellow. Now covering technology and policy for Fortune Magazine, Roberts also has worked for GigaOm, paidContent and Reuters. He had an OPC Foundation fellowship in Paris. Roberts has a law degree from McGill University and a master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The Knight-Bagehot Fellowship provides full tuition and a $55,000 stipend for the nine-month program that involves graduate courses at Columbia’s schools of business, law and international and public affairs.

Yale University has taken note that Fritz Beebe Fellowship winner Alexander Saeedy will soon embark for Brussels, where he will work as a foreign correspondent for the Reuters bureau after his graduation from the school this spring with a B.A./M.A. in history. “Larry Martz took me out to lunch, and we discussed the future of journalism,” Saeedy told Yale News in an interview about the fellowship. “The whole event just made me feel like I was making a big leap into adulthood, being treated as someone who writes and thinks about the world.” Saeedy was a staff writer for the Yale Herald starting in his freshman year. In his winning essay for the fellowship, he explored the growth of low cost air carriers in Europe and explained why there hasn’t been a similar growth in the United States.

Derek Kravitz, 2014 I.F. Stone winner, is one of three co-authors of the Columbia Journalism Review’s analysis piece critiquing Rolling Stone’s story about an alleged rape on the University of Virginia campus. Reporters from other media raised doubts about the plausibility of the story soon after its publication and the magazine retracted it. Rolling Stone then contacted Columbia about conducting an investigation into what had gone wrong. Kravitz and co-writers Sheila Coronel and Steve Coll found that the magazine allowed avoidable “failures of reporting, editing and supervision.”

Jonathan Jones, who won the 2009 I.F. Stone scholarship, along with his colleagues at ProPublica, PBS Frontline and Rain Media, won the 2014 Investigative Reporters and Editors award in the Large Multiplatform category for “Firestone and the Warlord,” which also received an Edward R. Murrow citation this year. The story examines how Firestone managed to continue operating during the brutal Liberian civil war. The team used diplomatic cables, court documents and accounts from Americans who ran a rubber plantation as Liberia descended into chaos. This was the topic of Jones’s winning essay in 2009. The IRE Awards, which honor the best in investigative journalism, will be presented at the 2015 IRE Conference in Philadelphia on Saturday, June 6.


OPC Second Vice President Abigail Pesta, a freelance journalist, won a National Headliner Award for her reporting in Cosmopolitan magazine. Her award for “magazine feature writing by an individual on a variety of subjects” recognizes work in three of her stories: “Who Are You Calling a Bully,” “I’m Still Alive” and “From Grad School to Prison.” The first is an investigation of a tragedy in Florida: A girl leapt from a tower to her death, and two middle-school girls were arrested and charged as felons for alleged bullying. The second is about a young woman who survived a campus shooting and became a campus police officer at the same school where she nearly died. The third is about a young woman who was sent to Rikers Island, accused of assaulting an officer at an Occupy protest, when she says the officer assaulted her.

OPC member Sheila Nevins, the president of HBO Documentary Films, won CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s 2015 Journalistic Achievement Award. As an executive producer or producer, she has received 28 primetime Emmy Awards and 32 News and Documentary Emmys. Nevins was part of a team that won the 2013 Edward R. Murrow Award for the documentary “Tales from the Organ Trade.” She has supervised the production of more than 1000 documentary films and won the first George Foster Peabody award for “She’s Nobody’s Baby,” produced with Ms. Magazine.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan has announced results from its inaugural FCCJ Freedom of the Press Awards. The club released results on May 3 to coincide with World Press Freedom Day. Awards honored work in categories including the Japan Investigative Journalism Awards, Friend of the Free Press, Publication of the Year, Fallen Hero and Lifetime Achievement. To see winners, watch videos from the ..and read more details about the awards, check the club’s website at fccj.or.jp.

The New York Times staff that won this year’s Hal Boyle Award from the OPC also won the Pulitzer in the International Reporting category for “vivid human stories” in its coverage of Ebola in Africa. Ned Parker of Reuters was a finalist along with a team from his agency for reports on Iraq and the rise of Islamic State. Feature Photography honors went to Daniel Berehulak, a freelance photographer for The New York Times, for his photographs of the Ebola epidemic. 2014 John Faber Award winner Bulent Kilic, of Agence France-Presse, was a finalist for the award for his photographs of Kurds fleeing Islamic State attacks in Iraq. Tyler Hicks, the 2013 Robert Capa Gold Medal Award winner, was a finalist for the Breaking News Photography Award, along with New York Times colleagues Sergey Ponomarev and Wissam Nassar, for coverage of conflict in Gaza. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch won the award for capturing images of outrage in Ferguson, Missouri.

Three OPC Award winners won accolades in the Spot News category in the 2015 World Press Photo Contest. Bulent Kilic landed First Prize Singles for a photo of a young girl who was wounded during clashes in Istanbul, Turkey. He also won Third Prize in the same category for an image of a fiery mushroom cloud during a US-led airstrike against Islamic State. Second Prize went to Tyler Hicks for a photo of the bloody aftermath of an Israeli missile strike on a beach in Gaza City. 2014 Olivier Rebbot Award winner Jérôme Sessini won first and second place in the Spot News Stories category for his photos of wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines shot down over Ukraine and his coverage of violent clashes in that country.

PARIS: OPC member John Morris, photo editor, has announced the May 15 opening of an exhibition of his 1944 photographs at the Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie in Bayeux, France. The exhibition will include the letters he wrote home from the First Army Press Camp, a chateau in Vouilly. Robert Pledge, also a photo editor, who is an OPC member and an awards judge, will be on hand with his colleague to speak and sign books. The recently created Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center in Budapest will host a similar exhibition in June, along with the traveling exhibition of Robert Capa in Color, which opened at the International Center of Photography in New York last year. Morris is working on a book called My Century, aimed to be published in two years around his centennial birthday.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and OPC Member David Hume Kennerly will join Politico Magazine as a contributing editor to cover the 2016 presidential elections. Kennerly, who has been a OPC member since 1992, will also follow the campaign trail for Politico over the course of the next two years to mark his 50th year of documenting political campaigns. The May/June issue of the magazine will highlight his work with a 30-page retrospective of his career, which began during the 1966 midterm elections.

BRUSSELS: OPC member Jonathan Kapstein was elected as president of the Press Club Brussels Europe on March 31. Kapstein previously served as bureau chief for Businessweek in Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Milan, Johannesburg, and Brussels. While in Belgium, he covered European affairs and the nordic region for the magazine. After several years working as Europe director of government affairs for two major corporations, he returned to journalism as an independent. Kapstein won an OPC award for Best Reporting from Latin America and shared two other OPC citations for his work.

NEW YORK: After nine years at Bloomberg News, Michael Serrill, former OPC president, has gone freelance. He plans to travel and continue writing and editing on international affairs and global finance, and possibly to write a book on Cornelius Vanderbilt IV, a foreign correspondent who was one of the original members of the OPC. Before joining Bloomberg in 2006, Serrill was a writer and editor for 15 years at Time magazine and six years at Businessweek. He plans to take the summer off before launching new projects.

Al Jazeera America found itself under the spotlight after a wrongful termination lawsuit, the departure of top executives, and replacement of the foundering news station’s interim chief executive, Ehab Al Shihabi. OPC member Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president of outreach, resigned, telling The New York Times that she “didn’t like the culture of fear” at the station and that “people are afraid to
lose their jobs if they cross Ehab.” The lawsuit from former employee Matthew Luke alleges anti-Semitism and sexism from another high-level executive. Al Shihabi had claimed the network would keep him on, but Al Jazeera English founder Al Anstey is taking Al Shihabi’s position.

OPC member David Alpern, longtime writer and editor for Newsweek, has taken a new job with an OPC connection. After closing down the For Your Ears Only radio and Internet program that he began in 1982 as Newsweek on Air, Alpern has launched a podcast at the urging of former OPC President David Andelman, the editor-in-chief of the World Policy Journal at the non-profit World Policy Institute. Alpern interviews authors and experts on World Policy On Air, which launched in February. Guests have included Nina Khrushcheva, the grand-daughter of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and now a Russian expert at the New School University in New York. Episodes are available on iTunes.


John C. Lucht, a longtime OPC member, died April 13 at the age of 81. He was an author and
executive recruiter known for bringing senior executives into major corporations in the U.S. and abroad. After starting his career in general management and marketing, he joined Heidrick and Struggles in 1970 as a recruiter until launching his eponymous consultancy in 1977. Rites of Passage, a book about job searches, negotiating compensation and career advice for executives, quickly became a bestseller on the topic when it was first published in 1988. The book was frequently updated in new editions, most recently last year.

Juan Leon, a former Associated Press correspondent and press freedom activist, died after a battle with pancreatic cancer on April 16 at age 72. The native Bolivian was exiled durng the country’s dictatorship in t he 1970s, and he was one of many journalists arrested and tortured during a coup led by General Luis Garcia Meza in 1980. Leon began his journalism career at age 18 for the La Paz daily Presencia, where he worked as news editor. Leon then joined the AP as a stringer 1978 and was hired full time in 1980 after the government expelled AP correspondent Harold Olmos. Leon is survived by his wife, Daysi Vacaflor, and his two children Esteban and Romina.

Sandra Mackey, a journalist and author based in the Middle East, died on April 19 at age 77. Her journalism career began in secret, reporting undercover for U.S. newspapers from Saudi Arabia under the pseudonym Michael Collins while her husband worked in a Riyadh hospital. For four years, she concealed her identity and smuggled stories out of the country to circumvent the ban on foreign journalists. Her work appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor. Mackey is also the author of two books: The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom, and Passion and Politics: The Turbulent World of the Arabs. She is survived by her son, Colin Mackey.

March/April 2015
By Randy Fung and Chad Bouchard


John Ismay, 2014 Flint winner, is now the Veterans & Military Issues Reporter at KPCC Public Radio in Los Angeles. Ismay had an OPC Foundation fellowship with GlobalPost. He was also a contributor to the C.J. Chivers’ story in The New York Times of American military exposure to chemical weapons in Iraq.

Nizar Manek, winner of the 2012 I.F. Stone award, will now be at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. With a keen interest in Africa, he will be focusing on Egypt’s automotive sector. Manek was previously a Marjorie Deane Fellow at the Financial Times in London and Barron’s in New York. Manek is a frequent contributor to Africa Confidential.

Michael Miller
, former OPC foundation fellow at the AP bureau in Mexico City, has taken on the Morning Mix team at the Washington Post. Michael won several Society of Professional Journalist Awards for his work the last five years with the Miami Times.


Heidi Levine became the first inaugural winner of the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award for her work in Gaza. The award, which was in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer Niedringhaus, who was murdered by Afghan police in Afghanistan in April 2014.

Four-time recipient of the OPC’s Thomas Nast award, Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher, cartoonist for the Baltimore Sun and The Economist, received two awards in less than one month. He received Europe’s Grand Prix Award for cartoon of the year, and the 2015 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Kal has been an editorial artist for nearly four decades and his cartoons are widely distributed by CartoonArts International and the New York Times Syndicate.

Photographer Mads Nissen of the Danish newspaper Politiken received the World Press Photo of the Year 2014 for his image of a gay couple during an intimate moment in St Petersburg, Russia, where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people live under the shadow of discrimination and harassment. The photo also won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category.

Syrian lawyer and human rights activist Mazen Darwish has been named as World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute (IPI). Darwish has defended media freedom Syria for more than a decade, and carried out his work over the last three years from prison. The award was presented on March 28 in Yangon, Myanmar during IPI’s annual World Congress.


HOLLYWOOD, Calif.: Steven Spielberg will direct Jennifer Lawrence in a biopic based on the memoir of OPC member and war photographer Lynsey Addario. Addario won the OPC’s Olivier Rebbot Award in 2010. She also received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, and was part of a New York Times team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for International Reporting for work in Waziristan.

SEATTLE, Wash.: Three-time OPC Award winner Rajiv Chandresakaran, has announced he will leave the Washington Post to launch a startup in Seattle, in partnership with Starbucks, that will produce long-form documentaries focused on social impact. Chandresakaran recently co-authored a book about veterans, For the Love of Country, with Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz.

NEW YORK: Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent John F. Burns has retired after 40 years at The New York Times. Burns started reporting from his first overseas post in South Africa in 1976. He has since filed stories from bases around the world, including Moscow, Bosnia, China, Afghanistan and Iraq. He served as head of the Baghdad bureau during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. During his career, he has written more than 3,000 articles and has won two Pulitzer Prizes for International Reporting.


Ned Colt, a former NBC News foreign correspondent who covered Asia and other regions around the world, died after a stroke on Feb. 12 at age 58. He was instrumental in the networks coverage of the Iraq War, and was kidnapped for three days near Fallujah during his stint there. After leaving NBC in 2009, Colt worked at the United Nations reporting on the Syrian refugee crisis and with the International Rescue Committee. He joined NBC News in 1996 and worked in London, Beijing and Hong Kong. Colt is survived by wife, Cathy Robinson.

Maria Golovnina, Reuters bureau chief for Afghanistan and Pakistan, died in Islamabad on Feb. 23 at age 34. Golovnina joined Reuters in Tokyo in 2001 and worked in London, Singapore and Seoul. She was based in Russia from 2002 to 2005, and later became chief correspondent in Central Asia. She reported from Afghanistan during the 2009 presidential election and reported from Iraq. Golovnina moved to the London editing desk in 2010, and covered the war in Libya in 2011. She was found unconscious in Reuters’ Islamabad office, but could not be revived.

February 2015
By Susan Kille


Frederick Bernas, winner of the 2013 Walter and Betsy Cronkite Scholarship, belongs to a collective of 30 photographers who produced The Warld Cup, an exhibit shown in Brazil and Argentina documenting poverty and hardship in Brazil while the country’s government spent vast sums to stage the World Cup. The collective is seeking partners to produce a book and take the exhibition around the world.

Olivia Crellin, who won the Theo Wilson Scholarship in 2014, has a five-month fellowship with BBC News in Washington. Last summer, Crellin had an OPC Foundation fellowship with The Wall Street Journal in Madrid.

Gregory Johnsen, who received the 2006 David R. Schweisberg Memorial Scholarship, was a guest on the “Charlie Rose” show in January for a panel discussion on Libya, Yemen and the four-year anniversary of the Arab Spring. Johnsen is the author of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia.


OPC Board member Rukmini Callimachi was a winner of the George Polk Awards in Journalism for 2014. Callimachi, who writes for The New York Times, won the award for international reporting for exposing how European nations funded the Islamic State by secretly paying millions of dollars in ransom for kidnapped citizens. Other awards announced Feb. 16 also had an international focus. Six reporters for The Times won the health reporting award for risking their health and safety while providing the earliest and most reliable coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa:Helene Cooper, Daniel Berehulak, Sheri Fink, Adam Nossiter, Norimitsu Onishi and Ben Solomon. A three-year investigation into international tax dodges won business reporting honors for The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a group of 120 journalists from 58 countries and 42 news organizations, working as part of The Center for Public Integrity. Rania Abouzeid, an Australian-Lebanese, won the foreign reporting award for “The Jihad Next Door,” an authoritative account of the rise of the Islamic State, published online by Politico Magazine. James Verini won the award for magazine reporting for a piece published online by National Geographic on the seeming futility of U.N. intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Garry Trudeau, the creator of the “Doonesbury” comic strip, won the Polk career award.

With six of 14 awards, public broadcasters were again the big winners Jan. 20 when the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards were presented. Perhaps more notable is that Netflix won its first award while broadcast networks received no honors. Two duPont awards went to projects that won OPC honors last year: NPR’s “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt” and “Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn” by The Seattle Times. Other duPont awards for international coverage included Frontline for “Syria’s Second Front” and Netflix for Virunga, a documentary about rangers in the Congo who protect endangered mountain gorillas. Abi Wright, an associate member of the OPC board, administers the awards, which are regarded as the broadcasting equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes.

Buzzfeed News in January named Joshua Hersh, who was the Middle East correspondent for the Huffington Post, as the site’s second Michael Hastings National Security Reporting Fellow, a one-year appointment given in honor of Hastings, an award-winning journalist killed in a car accident in 2013.


HONG KONG: Being called “an absolute prick” and a “piece of shit” by a former public relations executive elicited a classy response from Keith Bradsher, an OPC member who is Hong Kong bureau chief for The New York Times. In the February issue of Car and Driver, Jason Vine, who worked for Chrysler, Ford and Nissan, said he became friends with most journalists covering the auto industry. “The only ones I didn’t become friends with were assholes – like Keith Bradsher of The New York Times,” Vine said, going on to add the descriptions above. Bradsher responded on the website of media blogger Jim Romenesko that he has been “quietly grateful” to Vine for acknowledging his reporting by telling other journalists, although not him, that Ford engineers referred to a safety feature as “Bradsher bars.” Bradsher said: “If Jason comes through Hong Kong, I’ll certainly invite him to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club and try to buy him a beer.”

PALM BEACH, Fla.: On Jan. 21, Robert Nickelsberg, an OPC Board of Governors member, talked about his nearly 30 years of photographing Afghanistan for Time magazine and other publications at FOTOfusion, an annual conference at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre. Afghanistan: A Distant War, his book about his work in Afghanistan, won the 2013 OPC Olivier Rebbot Award. On Jan. 28, Nickelsberg was a panelist at Boston University during a discussion of the Future of Long-Form Visual Journalism.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif: In an interview with Capital New York posted Jan. 30, Jonathan Dahl explains why he left The Wall Street Journal, where he was editor-in-chief of WSJ.Money magazine and executive director of page one, in October to become managing editor of Ozy, a digital news startup. “I couldn’t resist the challenge,” he said. “No question, The Journal was great to me – it was home for three decades. But from the first, Ozy struck me as utterly new and original. We’re a digital magazine that focuses on fresh trends and people who aren’t getting covered anywhere else. We’re not afraid to go long, to go global. And we’re also not afraid to staff up and build resources, which, sadly, is a huge struggle in my industry these days.”

The New Yorker’s move in January from 4 Times Square to One World Trade Center completed the downtown migration of 3,400 Condé Nast editors, writers and advertising executives at 18 magazines. The company occupies 1.2 million square feet from floor 20 through 44. It will soon have a new neighbor. Time Inc., the magazine unit spun off from Time Warner last year, is moving across the street this year to 225 Liberty Street.

Sheila Nevins, an OPC member and president of HBO Documentary Films, was one of three women honored in early February at the fifth annual Athena Film Festival presented by Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Women and Hollywood. Nevins’ productions have won 47 Emmys, 21 Oscars, and 31 Peabody Awards. Also, she won a personal Peabody for excellence in broadcasting.

Four OPC members are among 150 photographers and 75 editors, curators, gallerists and book publishers offering young photographers two days of free private critiques in April during the third annual New York Portfolio Review. The event is sponsored by The New York Times’ Lens Blog and the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. Santiago Lyon, director of photography for The Associated Press and a former OPC Board of Governors member; Paul Moakley, an OPC Board of Governors member and deputy director of photography at Time; Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor at Al Jazeera America; and Jonathan Woods, senior multimedia editor at Time, have agreed to do critiques. Lyon will also speak about building an editorial portfolio.

Lynsey Addario, an OPC member, is a photojournalist known for her work covering conflicts and human rights issues but she is now drawing attention for her writing. An excerpt from It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, a book published in early February by Penguin Press, was published Feb. 1 in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. In the excerpt, entitled “What Can a Pregnant Photojournalist Cover? Everything,” Addario writes that while pregnant with a son born in 2011, she accepted all assignments except military embeds and hid her pregnancy as long as she could: “I adamantly didn’t want any of my editors or colleagues to know that I was pregnant until I could no longer hide it. I worried about being denied work or treated differently.” Addario received a MacArthur fellowship in 2009 and in 2010 won the OPC’s Olivier Rebbot Award for “Veiled Rebellion: Afghan Women” in National Geographic.

Amar Bakshi, an OPC member pursuing a law degree at Yale University, worked with collaborators in Iran to have his Shared Studios collective stage “Portals,” an art project to foster conversation by providing a “portal” between New York and Tehran. For two weeks in December, people in New York could step inside a customized shipping container at Lu Magnus Gallery and converse with someone in Tehran, while images of each party were projected onto a wall. Text translation was provided. Bakshi, a former journalist who served on the OPC board, said he wants to create a network of these shipping containers around the world.


Peggy Polk Sullivan, an OPC member who spent 32 years with United Press International, died Jan. 13 at her home in New Orleans. She was 79. Sullivan, known professionally as Peggy Polk, reported on politics, religion and the arts and made headlines herself. While a junior at Radcliffe College, she became the first woman to complete 10 parachute jumps and earn a license from the U.S. Parachute Association. Sullivan joined UPI in Albany, N.Y., and went on to work in Boston, New York, Washington, Moscow, Madrid and Rome, where she spent 18 years as bureau manager and covered Italian politics including the wave of terrorism in the 1980s, wrote about Italian fashion and closely covered the papacies of Paul VI and John Paul II. After leaving UPI in the mid 1990s, she worked for a year
on publications for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and then joined Religion News Service, where she worked exclusively on the Vatican until 2005. In 2006, she married Scott Sullivan, a former Newsweek correspondent who won an OPC award in 1984.

Stuart Loory, a White House and Moscow correspondent who was an early hire at CNN, died Jan. 16 at his home in Brooklyn. He was 82 and suffered from lung cancer. Loory worked in Washington and Moscow in the early 1960s for the New York Herald Tribune, served briefly as a science writer for The New York Times and became White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times during the Johnson and Nixon administrations, earning a place on Nixon’s “Enemies List.” After leaving the Los Angeles Times, he taught journalism at Ohio State University and was managing editor of the Chicago Tribune. He joined CNN as head of the Washington bureau in late 1980, shortly after the 24-hour news channel went on the air. His credibility and contacts were seen as crucial in getting CNN, which many at the time saw as a dubious undertaking, off the ground. He opened CNN’s Moscow bureau in 1983 and four years later was tapped to lead “World Report,” which gave American viewers a sampling of overseas news broadcasts. He finished his broadcasting career in 1997 as executive vice president of Turner International Broadcasting in Russia and then taught journalism at the University of Missouri, where he edited the magazine Global Journalist. His books included 1968’s The Secret Search for Peace in Vietnam, with David Kraslow, a Los Angeles Times colleague.

Jacques Lhuillery, who had served since July 2012 as Tokyo bureau chief of Agence France-Presse, died Jan. 18 at age 61 in France after a battle with cancer. Lhuillery began his tenure with AFP in 1979. Before arriving in Japan, he had postings in Tehran, Madrid, The Hague, Beirut, Lagos and Abidjan. He was celebrated by his colleagues for his passion for journalism and for his excellent imitations of French presidents.

Al Webb, an American reporter awarded a military medal for battlefield heroism while covering the war in Vietnam, died Jan. 25 in Banbury, England. Webb, who was 79, spent most of his career as a reporter, editor and bureau chief for UPI. His death was attributed to complications of pneumonia and diabetes. Webb, Charles Mohr of The New York Times and David Greenway of Time received the Bronze Star for helping to evacuate a gravely wounded Marine during the Tet Offensive in 1968. He covered many major stories, including the civil rights movement in the United States, the early NASA space missions, the 1978 Jonestown Massacre in Guyana. His overseas postings for UPI included London, Brussels, Hong Kong and Beirut. In the early 80s, Webb moved to U.S. News and World Report and returned to London, where he met his wife and settled. He became a British citizen and, according to friends, became a rare American to embrace the game of cricket.

Sandy Socolow, a longtime executive at CBS News, died on Jan. 31 in New York City. He was 86. His sons said the cause was complications of cancer. Socolow, a New York native, began a 30-year career at CBS in 1956 as a writer for the morning news. He soon found himself writing for a midday news program and forming a lifelong bond with its host, Walter Cronkite. Socolow held powerful positions at CBS including co-producer and executive producer of the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” Washington bureau chief and vice president of CBS News, in which he supervised all hard news; but perhaps his biggest role was as liaison to the network’s biggest star. It was a role he continued to play until Cronkite died in 2009, with the two teaming on various projects after Cronkite’s retirement. When Socolow was honored in December with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of the Silurians, his former colleagues spoke of his brilliance and described him as the conscience of CBS News.

Arnaud de Borchgrave, a foreign correspondent who became the confidant of world leaders, died Feb. 15 in Washington after a battle with cancer. He was 88. Born a Belgium count, he volunteered during World War II to serve in the British Royal Navy. He later gave up his aristocratic title to become a U.S. citizen in 1957. After the war, he was hired by United Press and became bureau chief in Brussels, succeeding Walter Cronkite. He joined Newsweek in 1950 and spent decades as a correspondent and editor who parachuted into global hotspots, including, by his count, 17 wars. De Borchgrave’s exclusive reports, personal daring and expense accounts were legendary. His back-to-back interviews with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1971 brought one of his five OPC awards. He left Newsweek in 1980 after a disagreement over his coverage of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Next, he co-wrote with Robert Moss, a former journalist with the Economist, two best-selling novels, The Spike and Monimbo. Although he never worked at a newspaper, in 1985 he became editor The Washington Times, which had been recently launched by the
Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, a religious group often referred to as a cult. He retired from The Washington Times in 1991 and became the top executive at the much-diminished United Press International. Subsequently, he became editor at large at the Times and UPI, which was purchased in 2000 by the Unification Church’s news affiliate. In his last column for UPI, dated Dec. 21, 2014, he urged America to detach itself from the problems of the Middle East and instead focus on problems at home.

January 2015
By Susan Kille


Frederick Bernas, winner of the 2013 Walter and Betsy Cronkite Scholarship, was a producer for Seizing Solar Power, a December story for Al Jazeera English’s Witness series about one woman’s efforts to harness solar energy in rural Argentina. Bernas had an OPC Foundation internship in The Associated Press bureau in Buenos Aires.

In a New Yorker piece in December, Elizabeth Dickinson, who won the 2007 Harper’s Magazine Scholarship honoring the memory of I.F. Stone, considered whether Oman’s institutions are strong enough to survive Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id, the country’s ailing long-time ruler of Oman. Dickinson, who is based in the Arabian Peninsula, is part of Deca Stories, a new writers’ cooperative modeled on photo cooperatives – particularly the member-owned Magnum agency – that changed the rules of photojournalism.

Two OPC Foundation scholars working with GlobalPost have received special funding for reporting projects in 2015. Lauren Bohn, based in Istanbul and winner of the 2012 H.L. Stevenson Fellowship, will be reporting a yearlong series on women and minority rights in the post-Arab spring through support from the Ford Foundation. Jacob Kushner, who is based in Nairobi and won the 2013 Nathan S. Bienstock award, will take on a series of investigative reports with the help of a small team of local African journalists through the support of the Galloway Family Foundation.

Greg Johnsen, winner of the 2006 David R. Schweisberg Memorial Scholarship, and two of his colleagues at Buzzfeed were awarded the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress by the National Press Club. Johnsen now works at BuzzFeed News’s foreign desk and is based in Istanbul.



Dennis Redmont, an OPC member who is a veteran foreign correspondent and news executive, was awarded a Life Career Achievement Argil prize Dec. 12 by the European Union’s office in Rome and the national associations of Journalists of Italy. Redmont was honored for his four decades of work with the AP, reporting from 80 countries, followed by a teaching career at Graduate School of Journalism and Public Broadcasting at Perugia University, and also for his development of the Young Leaders program in Italy and the United States in his capacity as head of Media and Development at the Council for the United States and Italy. The citation read: “he trained a generation of professionals during 15 years of teaching, acting as a great mentor and communicator, as well as reporter and correspondent.” Redmont served four times as president of Italy’s Foreign Press Association. Other honorees this year included Giuseppe Tornatore, the director of Cinema Paradiso, for his role in spreading Italian culture.


SEATTLE: George Bookman, who joined the OPC in 1958 as a financial reporter for Time magazine, turned 100 on Dec. 22. He celebrated the landmark during the preceding weekend with family and friends here, where he moved last year to be close to his son. The OPC was among those who sent best wishes and he responded by wishing club members “the very best in the New Year.” Bookman had a remarkable career in journalism and public relations while generously giving time to the OPC and other organizations working to improve journalism. He headed OPC’s Admissions Committee for many years and served on its Board and its Freedom of the Press Committee. He is a former president of the Deadline Clubappeared in the Financial Follies of the New York Financial Writers’ Association, belonged to Sigma Delta Chi and is a long-time member of the Silurians. As he was turning 94, he finished his autobiography, Headlines, Deadlines and Lifelines, which was published in 2009.

SANTA FE, N.M.: After a December item in the New York Post reported that Time Inc. was cutting ties to Richard Stolley by allowing his contract as senior editorial adviser to expire, the past president of the OPC emailed from his Santa Fe home that ties are continuing. “My plans are still a little vague, but one thing I will continue doing is writing stories for the Time Inc. magazines,” he said. This year he was published in Real Simple and Time and a third piece is to run in Fortune. Stolley was named senior editorial adviser upon his retirement in 1993 as Time Inc.’s editorial director. Stolley joined the company in 1953 as a reporter and went on to serve as assistant managing editor and managing editor of Life, founding editor of People and director of special projects for Time Inc. He serves on the Medill Board of Advisers at Northwestern University, his alma mater, and is on the faculty of the Yale Publishing Course. “As for Time Inc.,” he wrote in his email, “I had a wonderful career there and wish it only the best in these difficult times.”

JERSEY CITY, N.J.: After 97 years in New York, Forbes began a new chapter in December by moving about 350 employees to a new glass tower here from the 60 Fifth Avenue building in Greenwich Village it occupied for 49 years. Forbes had sold its former headquarters in 2010 to New York University and had signed a five-year lease that expired in December. In July, a consortium of Asian investors had the winning bid to buy a majority stake in Forbes Media.

LEXINGTON, Va.: “News Ethics in a Time of Terror and Violence” was the topic of a keynote address by Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, an OPC member, in November at Washington and Lee University’s 58th Institute in Ethics in Journalism. In March 2001, Ciprian-Matthews was named vice president of CBS News, where she coordinates all day-to-day news coverage, both foreign and domestic. Her previous posts at CBS News include foreign editor, senior editor for CBS Evening News and senior producer for foreign coverage. She has also worked for CNN and National Public Radio’s Spanish-language news program, Enfoque Nacional.

VIENNA: Barbara Trionfi on Jan. 1 became executive director of the International Press Institute. Trionfi, a Milan native who holds degrees in Chinese studies and international relations, replaces Alison Bethel McKenzie, who had been executive director since 2009. McKenzie worked at The Boston Globe and was Washington Bureau chief for The Detroit News, executive editor at Legal Times and managing editor of the Nassau Guardian, in the Bahamas. In 2008, she spent a year as a Knight International Journalism Ghanaian helping journalists to improve their reporting skills in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.

David A. Andelman, a past president of the OPC, reports the publication of a new Centenary Edition of his most recent book, A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay TodaySir Harold Evans, the former editor of The Sunday Times, has written a new foreword. Andleman, editor-in-chief of World Policy Journal, in his updated introduction writes about lessons for today’s world, pointing to the Middle East fracturing along lines that should have been seen a century in the past. “The lessons are as vital today to President Obama as they should have been to his predecessor 100 years ago,” Andleman said.

Cam Simpson, an OPC member who is a senior international correspondent for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek, is among the journalists interviewed in Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism 2014, an e-book from the Poynter Institute containing interviews with the winners of some of the most prestigious journalism contests of 2014. Simpson discussed his work on Apple’s supply chain, which won a Gerald Loeb Award and the Joe and Laurie Dine Award from the OPC.

As a Christmas gift to his Twitter followers, Quentin Sommerville, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent, posted a link to a YouTube video that shows the risk of standing near 8½ tons of burning heroin, opium and hashish. High on the fumes, Sommerville repeatedly dissolves into giggles and is unable to finish the report. The video, entitled “Don’t Inhale,” was recorded four years ago but not previously released.

For almost a century, entries for the Pulitzer Prize had one major requirement: the project had to be printed in a newspaper. Since digital-only news websites became eligible in 2008, ProPublica, Politico and The Huffington Post have won Pulitzers. In December, the Pulitzer board agreed to allow online and print magazines that meet certain criteria to enter investigative reporting and feature writing categories. The board also decided to allow news organizations when nominating their own employees to include journalists who belong to a news partner that do not qualify to compete for the prizes. For example, this would allow a newspaper to include a television correspondent who contributed to a project. Mike Pride, Pulitzer Prize administrator, said the changes acknowledge shifts in the news industry.


Matthew Franjola, a reporter and photographer for the AP who was among the last Americans in Saigon as it fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975, died Jan. 1 in Hartford, Conn. He was 72 and died after a long illness. Franjola, who spoke Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian languages, went to South Vietnam to work for a war supplies company as U.S. military involvement began escalating. He met journalists and soon became a stringer for the AP. David Hume Kennerly, an OPC member who worked for UPI in Vietnam, told the AP that Franjola’s fluency in Vietnamese saved their lives. Franjola overheard South Vietnamese soldiers speaking among themselves that they would leave the two Americans pinned down as Vietcong fighters approached. “That information led us to get out,” said Kennerly, who later became White House photographer for President Gerald Ford.

Richard C. Hottelet, the last surviving “Murrow Boy,” died Dec. 17 at his home in Wilton, Conn. He was 97. “Richard C. Hottelet was the ultimate CBS News reporter,” Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and executive producer of 60 Minutes, said in a statement from CBS. “He was one of the true gentleman reporters, a real ‘Murrow boy,’ an elegant combination of reporter and storyteller.” The Murrow Boys were a group of celebrated radio journalists working for CBS during World War II under the direction of the legendary Edward R. Murrow. Hottelet, who covered the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, had a distinguished 40-year career covering international news for CBS, including 25 years as United Nations correspondent. Hottelet was among the more than two dozen contributors to As We See Russia by Members of the Overseas Press Club of America, a book published in 1948 by E.P. Dutton & Co., with an introduction by Robert Considine, then president of the OPC.

An aftermath of combat reporting may have contributed to the death of Dominic Di-Natale, who covered international news for Fox News and was found dead on Dec. 10 in Jefferson County, Colo., after an apparent suicide. He was 43. Ernesto Londoño, a member of The New York Times editorial board, wrote a column about his friendship with Di-Natale and what the correspondent had told friends about a progressive neurological illness that included seizures, blurred vision, temporary memory loss, persistent headaches and a bleak prognoses. Di-Natale had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in October 2012 and began quietly seeking treatment before noticing other ailments. A brain scan ordered by a neurologist, Londoño said, “indicated that he had brain damage that may have been caused by concussions he suffered following a mortar attack in northern Iraq in 2009 and a bullet that ricocheted off his helmet in Afghanistan in 2011.” Londoño, a former correspondent in the Middle East for The Washington Post, said Di-Natale “was happiest in war zones, and often restless in the United States.” Di-Natale reported from Osama bin Laden’s compound after bin Laden was killed and from Egypt’s Tahrir Square during the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak. Over Thanksgiving, he reported from Ferguson, Mo., where white police officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown. He resigned from Fox News on Nov. 30.