May 23, 2024

People Column

2017 January-June Issue

June 2017


OPC member and 2015 Emanuel R. Freedman scholar Ben Taub has won a prestigious Livingston Award – the largest all-media, general-reporting prize in the country. The Livingston, which is sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the University of Michigan, honors accomplished journalists under age 35. Taub won for “The Assad Files,” his New Yorker story about smuggled documents that tie Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to torture and other abuses.

Elisa Mala, the Flora Lewis Internship winner in 2012, has a six-month contract at Google in New York. She will be managing logistical components at three offices for the Engineering Residency program, a rotational program for early-career engineers. Elisa spent her OPC Foundation fellowship in the AP bureau in Bangkok.

Stephen Kalin, who won the Roy Rowan Scholarship in 2013, is now senior correspondent in the Reuters bureau in Riyadh. Stephen joined Reuters in 2013 and was posted to Beirut, Cairo, and Bagdad before moving to his current position in Saudi Arabia. He’ll be working alongside Katie Paul, the Irene Corbally Kuhn winner in 2007. Katie has been a staff reporter covering business and politics in Saudi Arabia since September 2015.

Pete Vernon, the 2016 Theo Wilson Scholar, had some measured words for The New York Times after it eliminated the position of public editor. The paper said it would handle reader feedback directly via social media and the comments section, but that’s “a curious way of replacing an experienced journalist who could offer nuance and perspective while writing with the institutional backing of the nation’s most influential newspaper,” he wrote in The Columbia Journalism Review. Vernon is currently a CJR Delacorte Fellow.

Ed Ou, Dan Eldon Scholarship winner in 2007, is now a visual journalist with NBC Left Field, a new documentary journalism unit of NBC News. NBC Left Field bills itself as an internationally-minded video troupe that makes short, creative docs and features, all designed for social media and internet. Ou will be based in New York. He is currently represented by Reportage by Getty Images and has previously worked for Reuters and The Associated Press.

OPC member and 2004 Roy Rowan Scholar David Shaftel has co-launched a tennis magazine called Racquet with Caitlin Thompson of the Swedish podcasting company Acast. “We are in this world and we love it. We were doing it before we had a magazine,” Thompson told the Nieman Lab, adding that Racquet is positioned to be an independent voice in what she sees as the insular world of tennis broadcasting and journalism. Shaftel is a freelancer in New York City; he has lived and worked in Mumbai, London, Trinidad, Louisiana and Cambodia.


OPC member Dean Baquet handed the Mirror Awards i-3 Award for Impact, Innovation and Influence to New York Times Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. on June 13. The awards are presented by the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. “The New York Times recognizes, evaluates and embraces the digital transformation of journalism to remain relevant in a constantly evolving landscape,” said Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham in a statement. The Fred Dressler Leadership Award went to Tom Brokaw, who won the OPC President’s Award in 2013.


NEW YORK: OPC member Ali Velshi is co-hosting a new show on MSNBC. Velshi & Ruhle pairs him with fellow anchor Stephanie Ruhle to discuss big-picture business news. Velshi told Forbes the show sprang from the lively conversations the two would have in his office about stories that were getting overlooked in the increasingly frantic breaking news environment. “We’re not running a market show at all, and we’re not doing personal finance,” Velshi said. “It’s this whole category in the middle.” The show airs on Saturdays at 12:30 Eastern Time.

OPC member Howard Chua-Eoan has been named co-deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, a role he shares with Jim Aley. He will continue overseeing the front of the book in addition to his new duties. Chua-Eoan is a former news director for TIME magazine and has written several books.

Hannah Dreier, who won the Hal Boyle Award at the OPC Annual Awards Dinner this spring, is slated to start covering immigration for ProPublica in July. Dreier has been the AP’s Venezuela correspondent for three years. Her winning story, “Venezuela Undone,” is also a finalist for a Gerald Loeb Award.

“Latin America has a great deal to teach the rest of the world,” says New York Times Brazil bureau chief Simon Romero, who is moving back to the U.S. after 12 years in the region. “[T]he portrayal of Latin America as a simmering cauldron of problems doesn’t coincide with the region I’ve had the privilege of covering,” he told the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. Romero won the 2013 Robert Spiers Benjamin Award. He will remain at the Times, where he’s been since 1999, and will cover immigration from his home state of New Mexico.

The Associated Press has published a lengthy review of its World War II-era arrangement with Nazi Germany, in which A.P. photos were published in Nazi propaganda and Nazi photographs were made available to U.S. news outlets. The report, written by Columbia University adjunct assistant professor and former A.P. editor Larry Heinzerling, concludes that the wire service “took steps to retain its independence and provide factual, unbiased information to the world despite intense pressures from Nazi Germany.” A German historian has claimed the arrangement allowed the Nazis to “portray a war of extermination as a conventional war.”

“When you’re coming here, you’re coming broken,” Mexican immigration activist Rudy Lopez told OPC Foundation board member Nicholas Schifrin in a recent story on deportation. Schifrin headed to Mexico to see what’s happening to longtime U.S. residents who are being sent there. He found deportees disoriented in an unfamiliar country, missing their families in the U.S. and unsure how they were going to make a living in Mexico. Schifrin is a special correspondent for PBS News Hour.

IBT Media, which bought Newsweek in 2013, has rebranded itself as Newsweek Media Group. Newsweek is now the company’s mass-market news brand; it continues publishing more narrowly focused properties, including International Business Times, iDigital Times, Latin Times and Medical Daily. Adweek reports the newly reorganized company will also produce conferences and other events.

The New York Times has offered buyouts to editors as it reorganizes newsroom roles. “Our goal is to significantly shift the balance of editors to reporters at the Times, giving us more on-the-ground journalists developing original work than ever before,” wrote Times executive editor and OPC member Dean Baquet and managing editor Joseph Kahn in a memo. The paper hopes to hire up to 100 additional journalists with the savings.

Other New York-headquartered outlets experiencing layoffs or buyouts include HuffPost, Vocativ and Time Inc. HuffPost laid off 39 staffers “as part of a corporate-wide layoff in connection with Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo,” according to a statement from the employees’ union. Yahoo and AOL, operating operating as a single business unit called Oath, own HuffPost and other properties. Time Inc. announced in June that it’s cutting 300 positions worldwide through layoffs and buyouts with a goal “to become more efficient and to reinvest resources in our growth areas.” Vocativ cut some 20 writers and text editors as it shifts its focus to video.

First Look Media’s Topic studio plans to turn the story of Vietnam War reporter Kate Webb into a movie. On the Other Side will star Carey Mulligan and is slated to start production in 2018, according to the New York Post. While serving as UPI’s bureau chief in Phnom Penh in 1971, Webb was captured by the Viet Cong and held for 23 days; her death was reported in The New York Times before she was finally released. The native New Zealander went on to report from the Philippines, Iraq, Indonesia, South Korea and Afghanistan before retiring to her adopted homeland of Australia.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: NPR says new information casts doubt on the official account of the deaths of its journalists David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna in Afghanistan last year. “The two men were not the random victims of bad timing in a dangerous place, as initial reports indicated,” wrote NPR’s Robert Little on June 9. “Rather, the journalists’ convoy was specifically targeted by attackers who had been tipped off to the presence of Americans.” Furthermore, the men’s injuries were not consistent with initial accounts of an RPG attack. Gilkey, a photographer, and Tamanna, a reporter working as an interpreter, were traveling in a convoy of Humvees on a remote road in southern Afghanistan when their vehicle came under attack. NPR is continuing to investigate their deaths.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep, who shared the OPC’s 2014 Best Multimedia News Presentation with others at NPR, is co-hosting a new podcast aimed at capturing the morning news audience. Up First is a ten-minute podcast distributed every weekday by 6 a.m., in which Inskeep, David Greene and Rachel Martin highlight the top two to three stories of the day. It is positioned to take on The New York Times’ short morning newscast, The Daily.

PHILADELPHIA: Former OPC Governor Michael Moran has joined software firm microshare, where he will manage communications and security strategy, among other duties. Moran, an international security and political analyst, previously worked at Control Risks. He has also worked for numerous news organizations, including as a correspondent for the BBC and head of international news for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Times announced another round of buyouts in June. In a memo, editor and publisher Davan Maharaj said the buyouts would be voluntary and limited to non-union employees with at least 15 years of employment at the paper. Some 80 reporters and editors left the paper in a previous round of buyouts in 2015.

SYDNEY: OPC member Stephen Dupont has created a live stage show around his conflict photography. “Don’t Look Away” debuted at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art and will tour nationally. “I’ve spent years doing talks and lectures, keynotes,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I needed another kind of approach to my work, one that uses photographs, soundscapes, music and videos, but most importantly one that allows me the presence on stage to deliver really personal and revealing stories.” Dupont lives in Sydney and divides his time between production there and work in the field.

BEIJING: OPC member Jaime FlorCruz was recognized at Peking University’s 119th anniversary celebration along with two other distinguished alumni. FlorCruz was interviewed onstage about his experiences as a member of the famed “Class of 1977” – the first class accepted in the wake of the Cultural Revolution, and one that yielded a number of political, intellectual and business leaders. “They had rich life experiences and were good in academics,” FlorCruz told the audience.”They were keen to learn and help reform China.” FlorCruz, who retired as CNN’s Beijing bureau chief in 2014, is writing a book about the Class of 1977 slated for publication at the end of this year.

MOSCOW: A green disinfectant called zelyonka has become a tool of oppression in Putin’s Russia, OPC member Sabra Ayres recently reported in the Los Angeles Times. Journalists and activists have have had the liquid thrown at them, sometimes mixed with other substances, in an apparent effort at intimidation. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny underwent surgery in May to repair damage done to one of his eyes in such an attack.


Anne Morrissy Merick, who worked with other female reporters to overturn a ban on women staying overnight in battle zones in Vietnam, died on May 2 in Naples, Florida. She was 83. In 1967 Gen. William Westmoreland issued an order saying female journalists could not stay in the field with troops overnight. This effectively barred them from most combat missions. Morrissy helped organize a handful of women to appeal to the Defense Department, which overrode the ruling. Morrissy worked for ABC news, covering civil rights and the space program before her assignment to Vietnam.

Sally Jacobsen, the A.P’s first female international editor, died on May 12 in Sleepy Hollow, New York at the age of 70. After assuming the top editorial position over the news wire’s foreign bureaus in 1999, she oversaw coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Veteran AP correspondent Bob Reid said Jacobsen was “a calm, steady, collegial hand” for reporters laboring in war zones. Jacobsen began her career at the AP in Baltimore in 1976 and later served as a correspondent in Mexico City and Brussels.

April-May 2017


Congratulations to two Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winners saw their work recognized at the OPC Awards Dinner this year. The Panama Papers project, overseen by 2005 winner Marina Walker Guevara of the International of the Consortium of Investigative Journalism, claimed the Malcolm Forbes Award. The project also snagged the Pulitzer for Explanatory Reporting. Ben Taub, who was a Scholar just two years ago in 2015, was honored by the OPC with the Best Investigative Reporting Award for detailing evidence of war crimes by the Syrian government based on more than 600,000 pages of leaked documents. Ben Hubbard, who won the Stan Swinton Scholarship in 2007, shared a Hal Boyle Award citation with colleagues from The New York Times.

Emily Steel, who won the David R. Schweisberg Memorial Scholarship in 2005, co-wrote the New York Times story that led to the ouster of longtime Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. It wasn’t the media reporter’s first clash with iconic broadcaster; two years ago, after she investigated his exaggerated claims about his Falklands War coverage, he told Steel, “I am coming after you with everything I have.” Nevertheless, she persisted in detailing multiple allegations of sexual harassment against O’Reilly in a story that landed in early April. Fox forced out him soon after.

The 2016 Fritz Beebe Fellow, Dake Kang, is joining the Associated Press in Cleveland. Kang will spend eight months covering Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. He spent his fellowship period with the AP in Bangkok, where he reported on human rights issues and illegal fishing, among other issues.

Russell Midori, who won the Nathan S. Bienstock Memorial Scholarship in 2016, just joined CBS News as an Associate Producer. He will be based in the documentary unit, field producing mostly international pieces. His previous positions include metro news stringer for The New York Times, production assistant for the HBO news documentary series VICE and spokesman for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Mark Anderson, the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2014, has moved from Business Editor to Nairobi Bureau Chief at The Africa Report. He will coordinate the magazine’s coverage of East Africa and the Horn. Anderson has previously covered global development for the Guardian in London and written for Africa Confidential.


OPC member Martin Smith and FRONTLINE have won a Peabody Award for Confronting ISIS, which traveled to five countries to examine the difficulties the U.S. faces in its effort to eradicate the Islamist organization. “Veteran correspondent Martin Smith’s deliberate reporting provides context to America’s ongoing war against Islamist extremists in this essential primer on the origins and timeline of the conflict,” said the judges. FRONTLINE won a second Peabody for Exodus, a film about the refugee crisis.

Former OPC Governor and multiple OPC Award winner Harry Benson received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Awards on April 24. The ICP notes that Benson “marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement; photographed the Watts Riots; was embedded in the Gulf War; was next to Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated; and has photographed the last 12 U.S. presidents from President Eisenhower to President-Elect Trump.”

Daniel Berehulak’s chilling reportage of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, which won the OPC’s Olivier Rebbot Award in April, has also been honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. In addition, Berehulak recently received the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage for his lifetime body of work. A freelancer and regular contributor to The New York Times, Berehulak lives in Mexico City.

Everyday Mumbai, the Instagram account launched in 2014 by OPC member Chirag Wakaskar, has won a 2017 Social Media for Empowerment Award. The prize in the Citizen Media & Journalism category recognized Everyday Mumbai for creating a crowdsourced photography community that aims to be a “democratic and collective voice of the photographers who document the city, its issues, its life and its people.” Everyday Mumbai has over a million followers on the photo-driven social media platform.


NEW YORK: OPC member and legendary broadcaster Dan Rather is making a splash in a new medium: Facebook. As Politico’s Michael Kruse wrote in a glowing profile recently, Rather has two million Facebook fans and his multimedia production company, News and Guts, has another million. “On average,‘News and Guts’ gets more likes, comments and shares per post than BuzzFeed, USA Today or CNN,” writes Kruse, who goes on to dub Rather one of “the leading voices of the Trump resistance.”

Time Inc. is no longer for sale. After evaluating expressions of interest from potential buyers, the company announced in late April that it would pursue its own strategic plan instead. According to The New York Times, chief executive Rich Battista is “eager to continue transforming Time Inc. from a print publisher to a multimedia company.” Time Inc. publishes more than 100 magazines, including Time. Sports Illustrated, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Fortune and People.

For the first time, the International Olympic Committee has added human rights principles to its Host City Contract — a move Human Rights Watch and other groups have long pushed for. “Time after time, Olympic hosts have gotten away with abusing workers building stadiums, and with crushing critics and media who try to report about abuses,” OPC Associate Board member Minky Worden, HRW’s director of global initiatives, said in a statement “The right to host the Olympics needs to come with the responsibility not to abuse basic human rights.” The language will first take effect for the 2024 Summer Olympics

PHILADELPHIA: ISIS is losing ground, but it is not demoralized, OPC Governor Rukmini Callimachi told Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air in March. “I don’t see any evidence of ISIS backing down,” Callimachi said. “They’re fighting tooth and nail for this territory. And they’re doing it through numerous innovations,” including a highly developed network of tunnels and the use of drones to identify enemy positions and drop explosives. Callimachi had just returned from the front line in Mosul, where she was embedded with Iraqi troops.

WASHINGTON, DC: Foreign correspondents should always defer to local knowledge when reporting on events abroad, OPC Governor Hannah Allam told students at a panel discussion on “Women in Conflict” co-hosted by American University’s School of Communication and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. “Their word must be the final word,” said Allam, adding that freelancers must credit local journalists for their work. Allam is a former Baghdad and Cairo bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers. She now covers Muslim life in the U.S. at BuzzFeed.

LONDON: The Atlantic is establishing its first overseas bureau, sending veteran correspondent James Fallows to London to “bring Atlantic-quality journalism to a global audience in a very deliberate way,” according to editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg. The 10-person office will include writers and editors as well as sales, marketing, events and communications staff. The magazine says it increased its newsstand sales by 19 percent in 2016 and has seen total revenues grow at a double-digit pace for the last three years.


Rupert Cornwell, who spent more than four decades as a foreign correspondent in Europe, the Soviet Union and the U.S., died at age 71 on March 31 in Washington, DC. Cornwell joined the London-based Independent when it launched in 1986. Before that, he spent 14 years with the Financial Times. “Rupert was as humble as he was brilliant, his peerless range extending far beyond the politics of Moscow or Washington, to boxing, ballet and baseball,” said Independent editor Christian Broughton, as quoted by the paper. Cornwell published his final story just 11 days before his death, despite undergoing treatment for cancer.

Lifelong Associated Press correspondent, editor and columnist George Bria died on March 18 in New York City. He was 101. In his early years, reporting from Europe, Bria covered the execution of Mussolini, the German surrender in Italy and the Nuremberg war crimes trials. Later he became a senior editor on the foreign desk in New York. “George was a great editor,” recalled Victor L. Simpson, who served as AP bureau chief in Rome for more than three decades. “He taught me to read my copy out loud.” Bria retired in 1981 but went on to write gardening columns for the wire service for more than a decade.

February-March 2017


The American Society of Magazine Editors has honored 2015 Emanuel R. Freedman scholar Ben Taub with an ASME Next Award for Journalists Under 30. Taub, who spent his OPC fellowship at the Reuters bureau in Jerusalem, is currently a contributing writer at The New Yorker. He has written extensively about Syria and ISIS.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has won the George Polk Award for Financial Reporting for its massive Panama Papers project, which was co-managed by Marina Walker Guevara, the 2005 Emanuel R. Freedman scholar. Guevara is deputy director of the ICIJ. More than 370 reporters in 76 countries were involved in the project, which exposed the secret offshore bank accounts where super-wealthy individuals and corporations stash their money.

Mariano Castillo, who won the 2008 Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in Memory of I.F. Stone, has been recognized with the LASA Media Award. The award, given out by the Latin American Studies Association, honors long-term journalistic contributions to analysis and public debate about Latin America in the United States and in Latin America, as well as breakthrough journalism.


Longtime OPC member Kathy Gannon of the AP is a finalist for the 2017 Anthony Shadid Award in Journalism Ethics. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Journalism Ethics, which sponsors the award, praised her series “Honor Bound” for taking “fairness and balance to an unusual level by seeking to understand the motives of men in some parts of the world who torture and murder women.” Gannon has covered the Middle East for the AP as a correspondent and bureau chief for nearly 30 years.

OPC member Daniel Berehulak has won the George Polk Award for Photojournalism for “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals,” his harrowing photo essay for The New York Times on the extrajudicial killings of alleged drug dealers and users in Manila. It is his second Polk Award. Berehulak is a former staff news photographer with Getty Images; he now freelances and is a regular contributor to the Times.

Reporters Without Borders USA Director Delphine Halgand will receive the James W. Foley American Hostage Freedom Award in May for her work on behalf of American journalists taken hostage. Emma Beals, co-founder of the Frontline Freelance Register. will be presented with the James W. Foley World Press Freedom Award; CNN Senior International Correspondent Arwa Damon will receive the James W. Foley Humanitarian Award.


NEW YORK: OPC Governor Steven L. Herman is the new White House bureau chief for Voice of America. Herman had moved to Washington from Bangkok just last fall to cover the State Department for VOA. He spent 26 years in Asia, including serving as VOA correspondent and bureau chief in India, Korea and Thailand.

OPC Governor Hannah Allam is moving to BuzzFeed to cover Muslim life in America. Allam was previously at McClatchy, where she wrote about race, culture and identity; she has also done stints as the newswire’s bureau chief in Baghdad and Cairo.

Mort Rosenblum, who has been an OPC member since 1980, has won a McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He’ll team up with international investigative journalist Ana Arana to explore the impacts of the copper mining boom in Arizona and beyond. Rosenblum is a former editor of The International Herald Tribune. He won the OPC’s Hal Boyle Award in 1990.

The New York Times has put Rebecca Blumenstein on its masthead as a deputy managing editor. Blumenstein, who keynoted the annual OPC Foundation Scholar Awards Luncheon in late February, is now one of the highest-ranking women at the paper. She previously worked at The Wall Street Journal as deputy editor-in-chief. Blumenstein started at the Journal in 1995 and was part of a team that won the Gerald Loeb Award in 2003 for coverage of WorldCom. In 2007 she oversaw the China team that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.

OPC members Alan Riding, Nicholas Kristof, Rachel Donadio, Roger Cohen and Jim Brooke are part of a star-studded cast of journalists participating in The New York Times’ Journeys program, which sells package tours with reporters and editors serving as expert guides. The trips range from shorter jaunts, such as the 11-day Silk Road tour Brooke will accompany, to a $135,000, 26-day voyage around the world featuring Kristof and Riding, and including time in Iran, Cuba, Colombia, Australia, Myanmar and Iceland. Times Journeys launched in 2012.

The Wall Street Journal made a series of cuts to its European bureaus on and around January 31. According to The Atlantic magazine, the Budapest, Madrid and Riyadh bureaus have been shuttered, while Moscow and India lost two reporters and Warsaw one. A staffer was reportedly cut in Berlin, while the Scandinavian bureau has been reduced to one. The cuts, combined with internal controversy over what some see as the paper’s too-friendly coverage of Donald Trump, have created a “pretty grim and pretty depressing” mood at the nation’s premiere business daily, an anonymous reporter told The Atlantic. In a statement to the magazine, a Journal spokesperson declined to clarify the number of layoffs and said the paper remained committed to covering the world.

American CEOs must speak out against a rising global tide of anti-trade sentiment, argues OPC Foundation chairman William J. Holstein in a recent column for Chief Executive magazine. Among his suggested talking points for business leaders: “Tell people that trade is not a one-way street” and “Attack the myth that ‘Americans don’t make things.’” He also recommends investing in training to create American jobs and repatriating funds stashed in offshore accounts. “Revving up the success of American companies and their international strategies,” Holstein posits, “would be a far more effective way of generating jobs than imposing tariffs.”

OPC member Lisa De Bode has teamed up with fellow reporters and photographers to produce a handbook for refugees entering Europe. Europa: An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees is available on the Magnum Photos website. It offers information on routes into Europe, the basics of European society and history, and how the EU works, as well as specific information on settling in individual countries. De Bode said the book is designed partly to counter refugees’ shame at leaving their countries by reminding them that Europeans fled war and chaos within their own nations during the 20th century. “Politicians seemed to have forgotten about this history,” she told Boston-based WBUR-FM, “or at least, they wanted to enforce a collective amnesia of our own immigration history.”

Jim Impoco is stepping down as Newsweek editor-in-chief as the magazine transitions into an overtly global brand. Matt McAllester, who was previously the editor of Newsweek International, is now Newsweek’s global editor in chief. “Jim literally brought this iconic brand back to life and in many ways it is better than it has ever been,” said Dev Pragad, CEO of parent company IBT Media. “He leaves an inspiring legacy at Newsweek that we will work hard to maintain.”

Time Inc. is seeking bids from potential buyers. AdWeek reports at least five groups have expressed interest in the company, whose publications include TIME magazine, Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune. TIME is valued at nearly $1.8 billion. It rejected a takeover bid by billionaire investor Edgar Bronfman Jr. in November 2016.

Fresh off a $1 million dollar donation to the journalism-focused Poynter Institute, Craigslist multi-millionaire Craig Newmark announced a $1 million gift to nonprofit investigative outlet ProPublica in late February. The fund will “allow ProPublica to deploy resources and address opportunities, including adding staff, where they are most needed over a wide range of issues in the public interest,” according to a release from the news organization. Newmark told the Nieman Lab he is committed to giving a total of $6 million to news and information ventures in the coming months, saying “It’s incumbent on me as an ultra-patriot to spend like a sailor on shore leave.”

WASHINGTON, DC: Just months after grabbing headlines globally with its Panama Papers investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has broken away from its founder, the Center for Public Integrity. “As of Feb. 24, ICIJ is a fully independent nonprofit news organization,” director Gerard Ryle wrote on the ICIJ blog, adding that “We believe this new structure will allow us to extend our global reach and impact even farther.” reports that the move was inspired in no small part by a recent financial squeeze at the CPI.

A fellowship will honor the legacy of pioneering journalist Gwen Ifill, who died in November 2016. The Gwen Ifill/PBS NewsHour Journalism Fellowship is a ten-month program for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need who want to pursue a career in journalism. Applications are set to become available in March on the PBS NewsHour Jobs webpage. Ifill was a co-anchor and managing editor of the flagship PBS NewsHour, as well as the moderator of Washington Week.

WYOMING: 2012 Madeline Dane Ross Award winner Mark Jenkins is delivering a talk called “Tea, Trade, & Tyranny: Tibet & China Over Time” in six places around Wyoming this spring. Jenkins  is currently a University of Wyoming writer-in-residence. The talks are free to the public as part of the UW Center for Global Studies “World to Wyoming Tour.”

DHAKA: More than three years after the Rana Plaza disaster claimed more than 1,100 lives, Bangladesh’s textile factories have grown somewhat safer – but companies are still literally working working employees to death, OPC Governor Anjali Kamat reported for Slate recently. Kamat tells the story of Taslima Aktar, a 23-year-old garment worker who collapsed with a fever and cough, was sent back to work at the sewing machines, and then died. Efforts to unionize have been thwarted and labor conditions were largely ignored in reform efforts inspired by the 2013 factory collapse, Kamat writes.

Our War, a documentary co-written and co-directed by OPC member Benedetta Argentieri, made its debut in Italian movie theaters in January. Our War follows three young men who leave their homes in the U.S., Italy and Sweden to fight against ISIS in northern Syria. The 68-minute documentary has already played at film festivals including Venice and Stockholm. Argentieri is a freelance journalist focusing on national security,  military issues and social conflicts. Her previous film, Capulcu: Voices from Gezi, covered the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul. It won an Amnesty International Award in 2014.


Bernard Redmont, a foreign correspondent for outlets including Westinghouse Broadcasting and CBS News, died on Jan. 23 in Canton, Massachusetts at age 98. Redmont covered Leon Trotsky’s assassination in Mexico and the Six-Day War in the Middle East. In 1968 he broke the news that North Vietnam was open to peace talks; he was honored with the OPC’s Ben Grauer Award in 1969. Redmont joined the OPC in 1948 and remained a member until his death. His son, Dennis Redmont, is also a veteran foreign correspondent and OPC member.

George Krimsky, who covered the USSR and the Middle East before founding the International Center for Journalists, died in Washington, Connecticut on Jan. 20. He was 75. Krimsky went to the Soviet Union in 1974 for the AP. He was expelled on false charges of espionage after meeting secretly with Josef Stalin’s grandson, who wanted to visit the U.S. He was later stationed in Beirut. Krimsky left the AP in 1985 to co-found the organization that became the ICFJ. “He reported bravely and truthfully from Moscow, seeking out dissidents and ordinary Russians at a time when Western reporters were under constant surveillance,” AP vice president for standards – and OPC member – John Daniszewski told Newsday, adding that “by founding ICFJ he went on to champion a free press globally.”

Selig Harrison, who covered Asia in the ‘60s and early ‘70s for The Washington Post, died on Dec. 30 in Camden, Maine at the age of 89. Harrison started at the Post as New Delhi bureau chief in 1962, later becoming Tokyo bureau chief. He left the paper in 1974 to join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he became a noted Asia expert and wrote several books.

Former AP foreign correspondent and former longtime OPC member Sam Summerlin died on Feb. 27 in Carlsbad, California. He was 89. Summerlin began his career in 1951, covering the Korean War. Two years later he was the first to report the war’s end, a scoop he attributed to being the fastest correspondent in a race to the one phone available at the armistice signing ceremony in Pyongyang. He went on to report from Cuba, Argentina and the Philippines before becoming an executive at The New York Times. Later he became a producer of biographical documentaries.


January 2017


Simon Akam, the 2009 Emanuel R. Freedman Scholar, has been named a 2017 fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good’s Logan Nonfiction Program for 2017. Akam will continue working on his Penguin Random House book on the recent evolution of the British Army.  The Logan Nonfiction Program supports deeply-reported, longform nonfiction about the most pressing issues of the day and helps to disseminate it on a variety of media platforms.

Tess Taylor’s second book of poetry, Work & Days, was named among the best poetry books of 2016 by The New York Times. Taylor won the 2004 Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in memory of I.F.Stone.

Sophia Jones, Reuters Scholarship winner in 2012, has joined the Fuller Project for International Reporting as a senior editor and journalist reporting from Istanbul and surrounds. She has spent the last three years as a Middle East correspondent for the Huffington Post. The Fuller Project is a global team of journalists, photographers and filmmakers and researchers dedicated to in-depth and independent reporting, with an emphasis on the traditionally underrepresented role of women in media. Their articles regularly appear in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, CNN, TIME, VICE, ELLE, Newsweek, The Guardian and other outlets.

Derek Kravitz is now a contributing research editor at ProPublica. Previously, he was a reporter and editor for the Greater New York section of The Wall Street Journal; a national economics writer for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C.; a local government and transportation staff writer at The Washington Post; and a crime reporter at the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri. He was also a postgraduate research scholar at Columbia University, and co-authored the journalism school’s independent review of Rolling Stone magazine’s now-retracted campus rape story. Kravitz won the 2014 Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in memory of I.F.Stone.

Matt Whittaker, the Stan Swinton winner in 2004, is now a contributing writer at US News & World Report, where he covers natural resources. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and other international publications. Whittaker has reported from the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Pete Vernon, 2016 Theo Wilson winner, is now a Delacorte Fellow at the Columbia Journalism Review. He did an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Johannesburg.


The GroundTruth Project will receive an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award on Jan. 25 for the two episodes of its Foreverstan project, “The Girls’ Schools” and “Razia’s Way.” The episodes focus on the efforts of one Afghan woman from Massachusetts who returned to her country to educate girls. GroundTruth is a nonprofit international news organization founded and headed by OPC member Charles Sennott. Foreverstan combines video, podcasts, text and photos to document America’s longest war – the conflict in Afghanistan.


NEW YORK: OPC member Daniel Berehulak’s harrowing account of extrajudicial killings in Manila for The New York Times has sent ripples across social media. The story is an “instant Pulitzer contender,” tweeted The Wall Street Journal’s James Grimaldi, while the BBC’s Nomia Iqbal called it “astonishing journalism.” Berehulak spent 35 nights on the streets of the Philippines’ capital, photographing and writing about the victims of government-sponsored death squads that have targeted alleged drug users and dealers. One of the images was included in TIME’s list of the top ten photos of 2016.

Apple has removed the New York Times news app from the Chinese version of its app store, citing a request by Chinese authorities. According to the Times, the government has been blocking its websites since 2012 when it published a series of stories on riches accrued by relatives of then-Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The International Business Times called the move the “highest profile instance of Apple’s acquiescence to China’s efforts to censor certain content.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists saw a spike in donations after Meryl Streep gave them a very high-profile callout at the Golden Globe Awards. Streep used her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement to criticize Trump and highlight the importance of independent media. “We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage,” Streep said. “So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.” The CPJ received about 500 online donations after the remarks aired, according to

The New York Times will consolidate its space and begin subletting “at least eight floors” at its headquarters, according to Politico. “The current way we have configured our office makes us slower and less collaborative. It is also, frankly, too expensive,” wrote Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and president and CEO Mark Thompson in a note obtained by the news site. Sulzberger and Thompson added that their large offices would be eliminated in the new layout.

OPC member Seymour Topping celebrated his 95th birthday in Scarsdale in December with “children, grandchildren and great grandchildren plus so many to whom ‘Top’ gave a start in the business,” according to Politico. Topping worked for 34 years at The New York Times as a foreign correspondent and top editor. He later spent nearly a decade as the administrator of the Pulitzer Prize at Columbia University, retiring in 2002.

The Associated Press is laying off two dozen employees in its global news operation, Politico reports. “Like so many media companies, especially in the news business, AP must reduce expenses in order to continue to provide its objective, indispensable news report around the world,” the newswire said in a statement. At least two of the cuts targeted the statehouse bureau in Albany, NY.

OPC member Cyma Rubin has launched an exhibit of Korean War photos that languished for years in the photographer’s basement. Former AP photojournalist Max Desfor called Rubin to offer her the images in 2013. She had the black-and-white negatives converted into a digital format. “When I put that disc up on the computer, I couldn’t believe what I saw,” she told the Columbus Dispatch, adding that she was moved by the images’ “humanity.” The 36 photos recently made their US debut at the Ohio History Center.

ISIS’s vaunted propaganda machine is stumbling, a reflection of the pressure the terror group is facing in Syria and Iraq, OPC member Kathleen Caulderwood writes for VICE News in a piece co-bylined by Nick Miriello. Researchers have found that the group’s posts to its official channels dropped to just under 200 in August 2016, from 700 in August 2015. “Statehood is essential to the IS brand,” said Mara Revkin, a resident fellow at Yale Law School’s Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization, adding that it’s uncertain how well the group can continue recruiting members and funders since it has “failed to live up to its slogan of ‘remaining and expanding.’”

New York Times veteran Ian Fisher will be the paper’s next Jerusalem bureau chief. His previous positions include East Africa bureau chief and Rome bureau chief. Reuters has named Simon Robinson as its regional editor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Robinson has been with the wire agency since 2010. Meanwhile, The Associated Press has promoted veteran reporter and editor Michael Weissenstein from Cuba bureau chief to Caribbean news director.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Washington Post is adding “dozens of journalists” to its staff, publisher and CEO Fred Ryan told Politico in late December. Ryan declined to name an exact figure but the news site, citing unnamed sources, estimated it at more than 60. Ryan wrote in a memo to staffers that the paper would “finish this year as a profitable and growing company.” He said digital ad revenue and subscriptions were sharply up in 2016, and he singled out the Post’s campaign coverage for praise.

Election-season hacking “was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance,” NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers told OPC member Rebecca Blumenstein at a Wall Street Journal election forum in mid-November. “This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.” Rogers said the answer to cyberattacks must be an integrated approach by the public and private sectors, and he urged the public to get involved. Blumenstein has been deputy editor in chief of the Journal since 2013.

PHILADELPHIA: Liberian journalism is suffering a “brain drain” as NGOs lure talented journalists away with offers of better pay, OPC member Prue Clarke told the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas in late October. “If anyone has a chance to earn a good wage in government or aid agency they will go there,” she told the gathering. “In many cases we are getting hustlers, who see journalism as a way to get money before stepping into an aid or government job.” Clarke said media organizations in many parts of Africa must pay journalists better in order to develop the profession. She is the co-founder and executive director of New Narratives, a project supporting independent media in Africa, and director of the International Reporting Program at CUNY.

  1. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA: Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, has given the Poynter Institute a million dollars for a five-year program on fact-checking, accountability and ethics in journalism. “I want to stand up for trustworthy journalism, and I want to stand against deceptive and fake news,” said Newmark in an announcement. The gift is the largest in Poynter’s 41-year history.

SAN FRANCISCO: Online publishing platform Medium has laid off 50 people, “mostly in sales, support, and other business functions,” according to a message from Ev Williams, its founder and CEO. Williams wrote that the company was trying to break away from an ad-driven system to “find a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’re creating for people.”

TORONTO: Print is not dead, declared OPC member John R. Mac-
at a forum hosted by the Canadian Journalism Foundation in November. “We’re finding (through) our subscriber surveys, that the vast majority of our readers still prefer to read on paper,” the Harper’s president and publisher said, as quoted by the British media organization FIPP. “I want to dispute the premise that there is still gold in them there digital hills,” he added. “If we just figure out how to monetize it, or how to manipulate the digits … I just don’t buy it.” Harper’s currently allows users to read one free article per month on its website but requires a print subscription to read more.

DHAKA: OPC member Hasan Mahmud was recently honored by the Srejon Laletocola Academy, a Dhaka-based arts and cultural organization. Mahmud has been a reporter for newspapers and TV in Bangladesh for over twenty years; his reporting has included the conflict in South Sudan, the World Trade Organization, and, in 2016, covering the U.N. from New York.


Investigative reporter Phllip Knightley died on Dec. 7 at age 87 in London. Knightley, an Australian, began working at the Sunday Times of London in the 1960s, giving the newspaper a new investigative heft. He famously exposed the birth defects associated with the morning-sickness drug Thalidomide in the 1970s, and uncovered previously secret facts about KGB mole Kim Philby. His book The First Casualty, about war correspondents’ struggles with government influence and their own biases, won the OPC Award for Best Book on Foreign Affairs in 1975.

Iva Drapalova, who covered Soviet-era Czechoslovakia for The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and other outlets, died at age 91 on Dec. 31. The AP hired Drapalova as a translator in 1968, the year the USSR invaded. After the agency’s correspondent left the country, she began filing copy herself. She worked under continuous surveillance during two decades of Soviet rule; in 1989, she obtained thousand-page file on her activities that had been amassed by the secret police.

Irish journalist Austin Hunter, who reported on Northern Ireland during the height of its sectarian conflict, died in Bahrain on Dec. 3. He was 64. Austin was a television and radio reporter for 10 years at the BBC before moving over to lead the broadcaster’s public relations department in Belfast. Hunter was struck by a car in Bahrain while working for the nonprofit Northern Ireland Co-operation Overseas.

Clare Hollingworth, the reporter who broke the story of the start of World War II, died in Hong Kong on Jan. 10. She was 105. Hollingworth had been a journalist for less than a week when she saw tanks massing on the German-Polish border and filed a story for the Daily Telegraph predicting imminent invasion. She went on to report from all over the world, including Vietnam, Algeria, India, Pakistan, China and Jerusalem. Hollingworth spent her last few decades in Hong Kong, where she was a regular at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.