July 25, 2024

People Column

2018 July-December Issue

November-December 2018


Ben Taub, the 2014 Emanuel R. Freedman winner, has been honored by the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) with the Prince Albert II of Monaco and UNCA Global Prize for Climate Change. The award recognizes print, digital and broadcast media for coverage of climate change, biodiversity, and water issues. Taub received the gold medal at the 70th Annual UNCA Awards and Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists gala event on Dec. 5 in New York. Taub won the OPC’s 2016 Best Investigative Reporting Award for coverage of Syria.

Hiba Diewati, the Sally Jacobsen Fellowship winner in 2018, worked on a documentary that was just nominated for an IDA Documentary Award for Best Feature. Directed by Joshua Bennett and Talya Tibbon, Sky and Ground is an 84-minute film about a large, extended Syrian-Kurdish family as they make their way from their home in Aleppo to Berlin.

Derek Kravitz, winner of the 2014 Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in memory of IF Stone, along with three other colleagues at ProPublica, were awarded the 2018 Free Speech & Open Government Award from the First Amendment Coalition for its “Trump Town” project, which exposed how dozens of obscure Trump campaign staffers, including conspiracy theorists, had populated the government through hiring mechanisms meant for short-term political appointees. They also found at least 188 former registered lobbyists in the Trump administration, many of whom once lobbied in the same areas that are regulated by the agencies they joined.

Katherine Sullivan, the 2017 S&P Global Awardee, won a 2019 duPont-Columbia Award. Sullivan was a researcher on the ProPublica team that partnered with WYNC and the Investigative Fund to produce Trump Inc., a collaborative reporting podcast that tackled the business relations among the Trump administration, the Trump family, the Trump business and the rest of the world. Katherine was an OPC Foundation fellow with Forbes Asia in Mumbai.

As special counsel Robert Mueller gains traction in the ongoing investigation into President Trump and his inner circles, Elizabeth Barchas Prelogar, the 2006 Flora Lewis Fellowship winner, is among the team of prosecutors in the spotlight. Prelogar was recruited as part of Muller’s team from the solicitor general’s office last year. A New York Times explainer on Nov. 30 covering developments called Prelogar the team’s resident Russian speaker, and said she has been “involved in pretrial litigation and witness interviews.” She shelved her admission to Harvard Law School to pursue a Fulbright scholarship in St. Petersburg, Russia, and later served as clerk for Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

2014 Jerry Flint Fellowship winner John Ismay was one of three military veterans at The New York Times who spoke on a call-in panel on Nov. 12 for subscribers as part of the paper’s observance of Veteran’s Day. Ismay served as an explosive-ordnance disposal officer in the Navy. The panel also included C.J. Chivers, an OPC award winner in 2011 and 2014, who served as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, as well as Washington bureau reporter Thomas Gibbons-Neff, who served as a Marine infantryman.

Masha Gessen
, winner of the OPC’s 2016 Best Commentary Award, recently received the fourth annual Hitchens Prize on Dec. 3 for reporting that “reflects a commitment to free expression and inquiry.” In accepting the award, Gessen spoke about the importance of reporting on immigration issues, particularly on refugees seeking asylum. Gessen identified herself as an immigrant and “technically, a refugee.” She recounted her family’s immigration from Russia to the United States in 1981, an experience that made her aware of “the right to have rights.” The transcript of Gessen’s speech was printed in an article for The Atlantic. Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker, and author of multiple books.

OPC member and former Governor Abigail Pesta won two awards from Folio Magazine during their annual Eddie and Ozzie Awards. Pesta was recognized for two articles: “To Forgive a Killer,” featured in Notre Dame Magazine, and “Women Who Change the World” which was featured in five different publications. She also received an honorable mention for her article “We All Trusted Him,” published in Cosmopolitan Magazine. Earlier this year, Pesta won two Front Page Awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, including Best Magazine Feature for her article in Texas Monthly, and the winning entry for Best Magazine Essay, which was told to Pesta by Reverend Sharon Risher and also featured in Notre Dame Magazine. One article she wrote highlighted the women who took down predator Larry Nassar, and Pesta is writing a book on the topic which is slated for publication next year.

PBS investigative series FRONTLINE, which has won multiple OPC awards over the years, has won the first duPont-Columbia Gold Baton given in a decade. The award is Columbia University’s highest honor for excellence in journalism. The program received the award for a range of work across multiple platforms, including broadcast documentaries, digital interactive storytelling, and an original narrative podcast. The podcast series was recognized as a “standard bearer and innovator.” In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Frontline received OPC awards for excellence in reporting.

Fred Ryan, CEO of The Washington Post, was recently honored at the Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Awards, where he dedicated his speech to slain Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Ryan recounted in his acceptance speech how Khashoggi was “lured into a death trap,” tortured and murdered by agents of the Saudi government, including members of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s personal security team. Ryan said that Khashoggi was killed for reporting on corruption in the Saudi government, “but for Jamal, as for too many journalists, the truth he sought to expose was inconvenient – at least for leaders trying to cover up their abuses of power. And so the Saudi government decided to silence Jamal, forever,” he said.

John Moore, OPC member and award winner, recently won the Inaugural Impact Award from the Lucie Awards program. The Lucie Awards honor great achievements in photography. A senior staff photographer for Getty Images, Moor has also received a Pulitzer Prize and World Press Photo award for his work. He won the 2007 Robert Capa Gold Medal Award and received a Capa citation for his work in 2015. He started working for Getty in 2005 and has been an OPC member since 2013.


Descendants of Hal Boyle visited the OPC’s office during a holiday in New York in late November to view the club’s archives. The club’s oldest award for best reporting from abroad was given in 1940 and renamed for Hal Boyle in 1978. The award is now for “best newspaper, news service or digital reporting from abroad.” Kathy Boyle Youngquist, whose grandfather was Hal’s brother, brought her two children, Hazel and Jack, with her to New York from Perry, Kansas. They were happy to see a framed photo of Hal on the wall of the OPC’s office and to receive copies of dozens of photos of him from the OPC’s files. Hal Boyle himself was a legendary war correspondent who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for his coverage of World War II for The Associated Press. Boyle was only 17 years old when he joined the AP in 1928 as a copy boy at the organization’s Kansas City bureau. In an email, Kathy said: “My teenager did a reading for a high school Forensics competition of one of Hal’s stories from [Boyle’s book] Help, Help! Another Day! My Dad is in one of the pictures in this book. The Boyle family was very close knit and we still are today.”

In June 2003, OPC member and former Governor Brian Byrd was a member of the U.S. delegation for a Saudi Arabian-American relations meeting at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy. A photo Byrd sent to the Bulletin (above right) shows Jamal Khashoggi, indicated with a red arrow, among those who participated as a member of the Saudi delegation. In an email, Byrd wrote that “during those four days of discussions – which sometimes got heated – he remained a thoughtful and engaging person. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around his senseless murder and our government’s support for the mastermind. Also present: Gary Hart (yellow arrow), the former US Senator and presidential candidate, who – in response to an announcement that lunch will be on a boat on Lake Como – made a funny joke about not having particularly good luck when it comes to boats.”

Ingrid Wall, the mother of OPC member Kim Wall who was murdered in 2017 while reporting on board a submarine, wrote a book about her daughter that was published on Nov. 9. In the book, titled The Book of Kim Wall: When Words End, Ingrid said that she wrote the book because “Kim should be presented as the engaged and strong-willed women she was, as the person and journalist Kim Wall – not as the victim.” Ingrid also said that she feels “no hate” for Peter Madsen, who was convicted of killing her daughter. “I have no energy to waste on Madsen,” she told Swedish news site The Local. “It causes him no pain if I hate him. In fact it certainly makes no difference to him at all.” Ingrid Wall spent 20 years as a reporter for the newspaper Trelleborgs Allehanda.” Ingrid and Kim’s father, Joachim Wall,  lit the Candle of Concern during the OPC’s Annual Awards Dinner in April this year.

Thomson Reuters Corp. announced on Dec. 4 that the company plans to cut 3,200 jobs by 2020 as it tries “streamline the business and improve operating efficiencies.” The cuts were announced as part of a strategy overview during an investor day in Toronto. Reuters employs more than 2,000 journalists. The company did not say what part of its operations the job cuts would come from. Executives also said the company would reduce its global office footprint by 30 percent by 2020.

OPC Governor David Ariosto released a new book on Dec. 11 that draws on his experience as a photojournalist in Cuba to examine dramatic changes in the Caribbean nation over the last decade. His book, This Is Cuba: An American Journalist Under Castro’s Shadow, begins with his first posting in Havana for CNN at the start of a 2-year assignment for the network. He follows the waning days of Fidel Castro’s regime and the uncertainty and crisis that now brews in the power vacuum. Ariosto’s book was named as one of “10 Books to Read – and gift – in December” in a Washington Post year-end article in the Books section.

OPC Governor Christopher Dickey, who serves as foreign editor for The Daily Beast in Paris, covered the violent “yellow vest” protests in Paris on Dec. 8 and reported in an email that “my OPC press pass got me through 9 out 10 police barricades.” He wrote in an article that police drove protesters into his own neighborhood in the city, where teargas floated in the air and “cars and motor scooters burned on the street behind my place, and the street in front, and near my favorite café.” Separately, Dickey and OPC Governor John Avlon, who works for CNN, spoke together at the Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival over the weekend of Nov. 10. Lynsey Addario, a former OPC award winner and photojournalist, also spoke at the event. The four-day festival is now in its second year.

A documentary by OPC member Benedetta Argentieri about three women fighting for equality in the Middle East had its world premiere at DOC NYC in early November. The film, titled I Am the Revolution, was sold out for weeks beforehand. Argentieri filmed the documentary in three countries. In Afghanistan, she trailed a politician named Selay, who traveled with armed protection to teach women about their rights. In Iraq, a woman named Yanar pushed for parliamentary reform while running shelters for abused women. Lastly, Rojda, a commander of the Syrian Democratic Army, led 60,000 troops to defeat ISIS. She helped free the city of Raqqa and its people. Argentieri has been a member of the OPC since 2016.

OPC member Andrew Nagorski recently donated original cassette tapes of his interviews to The Hoover Institution. The tapes have now been digitized and made available at the Hoover Archives. Nagorski spent more than three decades as a foreign correspondent and editor for Newsweek. During his career, he interviewed major political and cultural figures, as well as dissidents and activists from Central and Eastern Europe. The tapes were recorded between 1976 and 2008. Nagorski said he donated the tapes to the Hoover Archives because he has found their collections useful while researching his books, and hopes his tapes will also be useful to students and historians.

OPC member Murat Bilgincan has filed a new article for the Al-Monitor site and filmed a documentary on political polarization in Turkey. The article, titled “One Vote, Three Corpses,” is a look into how a referendum in Turkey divided a village and a family. Bilgincan wrote about the Yildiz family, who were deeply invested in the election, and how their opposing views tore them apart. His documentary, titled A Report Card for Democracy is a thirty-minute look into how the family has grappled with the aftermath of the divisive election. Bilgincan has been a member of the OPC since 2016.

Longtime OPC member Robert Pledge wrote a piece in The New York Times about his friend Lu Guang, an internationally acclaimed photographer from China, who disappeared in early November while en route to Urumqi. He was reportedly seen with state security agents. Friends and family have asked the Chinese government about his fate, but have not received answers.

Two-time OPC award winner Brian Reed discussed his groundbreaking podcast S-Town at the Bard Fisher Center on Nov. 10. His presentation centered on “developing an entirely new kind of storytelling.” S-Town was downloaded over 40 million times in its first month, setting a podcasting record. Reed’s research for the podcast spanned more than three years. It began when a man named John B. McLemore asked Reed to investigate an alleged murder in his small Alabama town. In 2012, Reed was part of teams that won The Thomas Lowell Award and The Joe and Laurie Dine Award, both for investigation of a 1982 massacre in Guatemala.

OPC award winner Adam Ellick told NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross in November that a conspiracy theory about the origin of AIDS that was spread by disinformation agents in the Soviet Union in the 1980s still has traction today. Ellick, who was part of teams that won OPC awards in 2007, 2010 and 2015 for coverage of Pakistan and the Arab Spring, has launched a three-part video series on the New York Times website. The series covers fake news operations from Russia, including an episode about a rumor that AIDS virus was created by the U.S. military for use as a biological weapon, specifically against African-Americans and homosexuals. The other episodes are “The Seven Commandments Of Fake News” and “The Worldwide War On Truth.”

October 2018


Elizabeth Miles, the Flora Lewis Fellowship winner in 2017, has a year-long editorial fellowship with Foreign Policy in Washington DC. She had an OPC Foundation fellowship with the Reuters bureau in Brussels. She later went to Bogota on a research fellowship, working for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on transitional justice issues, before freelancing full time there.

Jad Sleiman, the David R. Schweisberg Memorial Scholarship winner in 2013, has landed a full-time job with the NPR show “The Pulse,” where he has been working as a freelance producer. The multimedia journalist covered conflict as combat correspondent for the US Marine Corps, with video work around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and more than a dozen other countries.

2016 Fritz Beebe Fellowship winner Dake Kang has been covering the effects of China’s crackdown on Uighurs from Xinjiang Province for the Associated Press. He traveled with colleague Yanan Wang to report on Uighur children who are separated from their parents and stripped of their identities amid a massive campaign to subdue a restive region that has forced one million Muslims into indoctrination camps. Kang and Wang have filed several longform stories covering the lives and challenges of displaced Uighur children. Empty places at the table: Uighur children missing in China covers life in overrun orphanages where Chinese authorities are placing the children, and China Treats Uighur Kids as “Orphans” After Parents Are Seized, explores the effects of separation and an education system that bans any use of the Uighur language.


OPC member and former Governor Abigail Pesta will receive a Front Page Award from The Newswomen’s Club of New York during a ceremony on Nov. 8. The organization announced that Pesta will receive the Best Magazine Feature for her story “The Convert” in Texas Monthly. The story profiled a young woman who escaped jihad in Syria and went on to de-radicalize herself in Texas. The story previously won a Clarion Award for magazine feature writing from The Association of Women in Communications. Former OPC Governor Anjali Kamat will also receive a Front Page Award in the magazine category for in-depth reporting along with The Investigative Fund and The New Republic, for the piece “Political Corruption and the Art of the Deal.” The group named Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, as Journalist of the Year, and will honor Martha Teichner of CBS Sunday Morning with an award for Lifetime Achievement.

OPC award winners Arwa Damon and Nick Paton Walsh of CNN won an Emmy for the reporting that also won them The David Kaplan Award from the OPC earlier this year. Walsh and Damon, both senior international correspondents, won in the category of Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a Newscast for their reporting in “The Fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.” Walsh had rare access to the final moments of the push against ISIS in the city of Mosul. He was also one of the first journalists allowed to enter Raqqa, the ISIS capital, after US airstrikes allowed forces into the city. The FRONTLINE PBS documentary “Mosul” won an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Cinematography, and was nominated for Outstanding Short Documentary. That piece received the OPC’s Edward R. Murrow Award this year. That team included Raney Aronson-Rath, James Jones, Olivier Sarbil, Dan Edge and Andrew Metz. Winners of this year’s Peter Jennings Award garnered several Emmy nominations. The HBO team that produced “Cries from Syria,” including Evgeny Afineevsky, Den Tolmor and Aaron I. Butler, received nominations in four categories.

Carol Williams, who has won multiple awards from the OPC, won The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Trivia Bowl along with her teammates from the Los Angeles Times. The LA chapter of the AAJA has been hosting trivia bowls for years. The Times team has won the bowl four times now. Williams is a former senior international affairs writer for the publication. Williams has won five awards from The Overseas Press Club on her reporting, including a shared 2014 Bob Considine Award for coverage of Ukraine along with Sergei Loiko. Williams served as Times bureau chief in Budapest, Vienna, Moscow, Berlin, and the Caribbean. She has reported from over 80 countries and left the Times in 2015.


OPC Secretary Paula Dwyer has started a new position at Bloomberg News. Dwyer is joining Bloomberg’s editing hub, a team of senior editors that handles daily, enterprise, and long-form stories for Bloomberg’s terminal, the web, and magazines. Dwyer’s job will also include newsroom mentoring. She was most recently an editor at Blomberg’s QuickTakes. Dwyer wrote editorials on politics, economics, and finance for Bloomberg View. She was the London Bureau Chief for Businessweek and Washington economics editor for The New York Times. She is also a co-author of the book Take on the Street: How to Fight for Your Financial Future.

Former OPC Governor – and current OPC Foundation Governor – Tim Ferguson will step down as editor of Forbes Asia and exit the company at the end of this year as the Asia publication’s staff is consolidated at its business HQ in Singapore. Ferguson has edited at Forbes for 23 years, spending the last 16 at the helm of its overseas title while based in New York.

OPC Governor John Avlon, who joined the board this September, published a piece for CNN on Oct. 10 looking at the possible political aftermath of Hurricane Michael as it bore down on the Gulf Coast. In the piece, titled The High-Risk Politics of Hurricanes, Avlon examined the possible effect of hurricane response on upcoming elections. According to the article, hurricane relief efforts in the past have had a major impact on elections they preceded. With midterms only four weeks after Hurricane Michael, he said politicians in the South who deny climate change could have their beliefs challenged by voters suffering losses from the storm.

OPC Second Vice President Christopher Dickey wrote an article for The Daily Beast in mid-October about the fight against Ebola in a war-torn region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The city of Beni has been victim to multiple attacks in the past few months. Islamist military groups killed twenty-one people in seven different attacks during August and September. After the attacks subsided, the town was hit with another lethal force – Ebola. Fifteen people were diagnosed with the disease over one week, triggering a city-wide lockdown. This is the tenth outbreak of Ebola in the DRC. Dickey wrote that despite hopes that the virus might eventually be contained, war is a disease that “defies a cure.”

OPC Governor Vivienne Walt landed another cover story for TIME magazine’s Europe edition. The Oct. 10 edition features Walt’s profile piece “Kylian Mbappé Is the Future of Soccer,” which delves into the life of the 19-year old French pro footballer who plays for Paris Saint-Germain and the France national team. Walt paints a portrait of a teenager caught in a high-powered adult world, having missed out on the trappings of a normal youth. “I did not have the moments of so-called normal people during adolescence,” he told Walt in the interview, “like going out with friends, enjoying good times.”

OPC member Kim Hjelmgaard, a foreign correspondent for USA Today, reported extensively on strained relations between the US and Iran this summer, gaining rare access to the country and filing videos, photos and a total of nearly 14,000 words. Hjelmgaard said this reporting marks the first time a USA Today journalist has been to Iran in nearly 15 years. His coverage follows the aftermath of President Trump’s decision in August to re-impose sanctions on Iran and withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal. In the multimedia series, titled “Inside Iran,” Hjelmgaard and his team explored how US sanctions affect businesses and people on the ground in Iran. He has been a member of the OPC since 2015.

OPC member Dennis Redmont, currently head of communications, media and development at the Council for the US and Italy in Rome, will feature in “3 Mulheres,” a 13-part Portuguese public TV series that premiered on Oct. 26 on the channel RTP1. The docudrama series follows the efforts of three courageous women, poetess Natália Correia, publisher Snu Abecassis, and journalist Vera Lagoa (pseudonym of Maria Armanda Falcão), to fight media censorship imposed by Premier Antonio Salazar’s regime. Actor Simão Cayatte plays Redmont, who was served as Associated Press correspondent in Lisbon from 1965 to 1967, and experienced pressure from police and authorities targeting foreign correspondents who covered opposition to the government and guerrilla activities in Portuguese colonies. The series may eventually be distributed internationally.

The Getty family has regained control of the photo agency six years after The Carlyle Group acquired it by buying a major stake in the company. The family’s newfound control of Getty ends ten years of private equity control that contributed to the US photo agency’s growing debt. The deal leaves Getty’s value at about $3 billion, including debt. The company was valued at $3.3 billion when acquired by the Carlyle group six years ago. The Getty family had kept a minority stake in the company, but now Mark Getty has been named Chairman. Craig Peters has been made the new CEO.

Newsweek magazine is entangled in a multi-million dollar fraud and money laundering conspiracy, according to an indictment brought against the company that was unsealed on Oct. 10. Two publishers, IBT Media and Christian Media Corporation, were charged with trying to defraud lenders by pretending they were borrowing money for about $10 million in computing services. IBT Media owned the magazine, while Christian Media Corporation is an online publisher in based in Washington, DC. Newsweek announced in September that the magazine has become an independent company.

Ben Sherwood is stepping down from his position as president of the Disney/ABC Television Group. Sherwood has served as Disney’s president and co-chair of the Media Networks division. He was rumored to be considering leaving his post for the last two months, with Fox’s Peter Rice taking over his duties. Sherwood and ABC have been longtime supporters and sponsors of the OPC. Sherwood sponsored the David Kaplan Award for many years, and this spring extended his sponsorship of the award for the next ten years in the name of ABC News.

September 2018


Valerie Hopkins, winner of the Jerry Flint Fellowship for International Business Reporting in 2013, is now the Southeast Europe correspondent for the Financial Times covering Hungary, Romania and the former Yugoslavia. She is based in Budapest. Hopkins had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Belgrade. She speaks Serbian/Croatian, some Albanian, some Russian, basic German and basic Spanish. Her new role will make it necessary for her to learn Hungarian as well.

Ben Hubbard, who won the Swinton Award in 2007, was named the New York Times bureau chief in Beirut. An Arabic speaker, he has reported from Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. He had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Associated Press bureau in Jerusalem, a posting that lunched his career, which lasted until he joined the Times as a correspondent in 2013.

Pete Vernon, the 2016 Theo Wilson scholar, wrote an article published on July 30 in the Columbia Journalism Review surrounding an off-the-record meeting between President Trump and New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. The story recounts Trump’s claims over Twitter that the meeting included discussion of “the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media.” Sulzberger responded that he had met with Trump “to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.” That prompted tweets from Trump painting media as “unpatriotic.” Vernon wrote that Sulzberger had made a mistake in “expecting that Trump would both provide an accurate account of the meeting and change his approach to the media, two things he has shown no interest in doing.” Vernon’s article also examined Ronan Farrow’s latest campaign against high-profile sexual abusers, foreshadowing the New Yorker investigation into allegations against CBS chairman Leslie Moonves and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager. Vernon completed an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Johannesburg.


Last month’s People column neglected to mention a notable accolade for past OPC President David A. Andelman, who won this year’s Deadline Club Award for Opinion Writing. Andelman is a columnist at CNN who regularly contributes opinion pieces on global affairs. He is a veteran foreign correspondent, author, and commentator. He was also recently elected president of the Society of the Silurians, a prestigious club of past and present staff members of newspapers and related organizations in the New York area. He succeeds Allan Dodds Frank, who is also a past OPC president. Andelman served as president of the OPC from 2010 to 2012.

Several OPC members received accolades from the Online News Association on Sept. 16. Work from OPC Governor Coleen Jose, Jan Hendrik Hinzel and late OPC member Kim Wall received a 2018 General Excellence in Online Journalism award in the “small newsroom” category. The award went to The Marshall Project, a multimedia report on climate change and nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands. The project was published in Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Guardian, Mashable and other publications. OPC member Nicholas Kristof garnered an ONA award for Online Commentary, along with other New York Times colleagues. This year’s James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting went to OPC member Nicole Tung for “powerful coverage of social issues and conflict in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and her work as a dedicated advocate for freelancers’ rights and safety.” Tung is a freelancer based in Turkey.

OPC member and former Governor Abigail Pesta has won multiple awards this summer. She won third place in the National Headliner Awards for magazine feature writing on several topics she had covered in Mother Jones, Cosmopolitan and Texas Monthly. She also won a New York Press Club Award in sports feature writing for her article on Lindsay Lemke, who was one of the first gymnasts to publicly identify herself as a victim of abuse by Larry Nassar. Pesta also won a Clarion Award for magazine feature writing from the Association of Women in Communications for a profile in Texas Monthly of a young woman who escaped jihad in Syria and went on to de-radicalize herself in Texas. Pesta is working on a novel highlighting stories from hundreds of women who teamed up to take down Nassar. The book will be published next year by Hachette (Seal Press).

Three team members who worked on an OPC award-winning project are recipients of the McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism. Margie Mason, Robin McDowell and Martha Mendoza are members of the The Associated Press investigative team for Seafood from Slaves, which won the OPC’s Malcolm Forbes and Hal Boyle Awards in 2017. The fellowship will build on the award-winning project, which exposed human rights abuses in the fishing industry in Southeast Asia. The project led to the release of more than 2,000 enslaved migrant fishermen and the seizure of millions of dollars in assets and revisions to U.S. law. The three team members will receive $15,000 to continue examining labor abuses and international supply chains.

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) announced that this year’s Gwen Ifill Award winner is Karen Amanda Toulon of Bloomberg News. Toulon serves as a board member for the OPC Foundation. The Gwen Ifill Award recognizes an outstanding female journalist of color whose work furthers Ifill’s legacy of supporting women journalists. The IWMF said in a release that Toulon received the honor for “developing and promoting the broadcast skills of Bloomberg journalists and researchers around the world, while helping to diversify Bloomberg’s global lineup.”


On Sept. 9, 2018, Leslie Moonves stepped down as Chairman of CBS on following several sexual abuse allegations against him. An investigative piece published in an August issue of The New Yorker included accusations of intimidation, sexual coercion, assault and misconduct from 12 women in incidents spanning from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Moonves’ resignation marks one of the most powerful media executives to face abuse allegations since the start of the #MeToo movement in October last year. After Moonves’ resignation, CBS announced it would donate $20 million to organizations to support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace. The Los Angeles Times reported that the CBS board plans to negotiate a severance settlement after the conclusion of an investigation by two prominent law firms. Joseph Ianniello, who has served as the company’s chief operating officer since 2013, has been appointed president and acting CEO. The chairman position will remain open until the company names a permanent CEO.

Only a few days later, CBS News fired longtime 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager, who was dismissed following a text message he sent to CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan that warned her to “be careful” about a story she was working on about allegations that he had groped CBS employees at company parties. The text read “There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.” Soon after Fager’s resignation, Quinnipiac University rescinded a Fred Friendly First Amendment Award that Fager had received at a luncheon ceremony in June.

OPC member and veteran CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour has started her new role as host of a talk show on PBS that has replaced Charlie Rose’s former slot. PBS launched “Amanpour and Company” on Sept. 10. Rose’s show ended nearly ten months ago after he was accused of sexual assault by multiple women. PBS began running Amanpour’s CNN International program in Rose’s slot soon after it went off the air. Amanpour is CNN’s chief international correspondent, and served as a war correspondent for the network in the early 90s, covering conflict in the Persian Gulf, Haiti, Bosnia and Rwanda. She told Salon in an interview that despite her career as a show anchor, she remains a reporter at heart. “I’ve spent my whole career in the field. And I genuinely view my role as an anchor, almost like sort of drawing on all my experience in the field, bringing that into the studio and into the conversation.” The show is a co-production between WNET and CNN, and will continue to air on CNN International on weekdays. The show’s format includes three interview segments per night, with Amanpour on camera for two of them and the third done by a contributor. Amanpour has been a member of the OPC since 2009.

Former OPC Governor Chrystia Freeland, who now serves as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, sparked a row between Canada and Saudi Arabia in early August over comments about a jailed female civil rights activist in Saudi Arabia. Freeland, along with many other Canadian public figures, have voiced concern about the Saudi kingdom’s human rights violations. Human rights advocates have spoken out against the recent imprisonment of multiple activists in the country’s Eastern province. Freeland voiced concern for Israa al-Ghomgham, who was accused of “starting protests,” “filming protests and posting them on social media,” and “providing moral support to rioters.” Freeland and other advocates are worried that Ghomgham could face the death penalty for her charges. Freeland started her journalism career as a stringer based in Ukraine for the Financial Times, The Washington Post and The Economist, and later served as Moscow bureau chief and then U.S. managing editor of the FT, global editor-at-large of Reuters, and editor of Thomson Reuters Digital. Freeland left journalism in 2013 to begin a career in politics.

OPC Governor Vivienne Walt penned the cover story of TIME magazine’s Europe edition on Sept. 24 with a profile of Italy’s far-right nationalist Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini. He spearheaded a political movement that defeated traditional parties in Italy’s elections in March, mobilizing supporters with nationalist rhetoric, drumming up fear over the immigrant crisis and collapse of Syria, and criticizing the European Union. Walt wrote that his “rocketing rise over just six months has jolted Europe’s establishment and threatens to finally upturn a political system that has reeled under a populist surge for the past three years.” She wrote that former White House chief strategist and nationalist Stephen Bannon met Salvini in Rome on Sept. 7 to discuss creating a hard-line coalition across Europe ahead of E.U. elections slated for May next year. In an interview with Walt, Salvini he outlined a plan to change Europe from within the E.U., rather than push for a Brexit-like departure for Italy.

OPC member Beth Knobel will speak on a panel about her new book on watchdog reporting on Oct. 17. The book, The Watchdog Still Barks: How Accountability Reporting Evolved for the Digital Era, rejects a popular notion that investigative journalism is in decline, and presents a study of how the form came of age in the digital era at American newspapers. The evening will get underway at 7:00 p.m. at Book Culture near Columbia at 112th and Broadway. Knobel is a professor at Fordham and a former CBS News producer. Other panelists include OPC member Kim Murphy of The New York Times and Steven Waldman, Report for America co-founder. A reception will follow the panel.

OPC member and author Stephen Shepard will talk about his new book at the 92nd Street Y on Nov. 1. Rabbi Scott Perlo, with the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life will interview Shepard about A Literary Journey to Jewish Identity: Re-Reading Bellow, Roth, Malamud, Ozick, and Other Great Jewish Writers [Bayberry Books, January 2018]. The literary memoir explores a “golden age” of post-war Jewish writing in America, and how those writers influenced his sense of Jewish identity and faith. Shepard served as editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek magazine from 1984 to 2005, and as editor at Newsweek from 1976 to 1981. He is also the founding dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

OPC member Ruchi Kumar filed an article for Foreign Policy magazine on Aug. 29 about boys and teens forced to join the Taliban or ISIS. The article, “Afghanistan is Trying to Save its Child Bombers,” included interviews with boys ages 12 to 17 who faced threats and intimidation. They discussed lost childhoods and the desire for a better life and opportunities. Kumar wrote about challenges for Afghanistan’s new system in keeping up with the children and offering opportunities for reform and rehabilitation, and she highlighted the urgent need to fill gaps. Kumar called the story “difficult and heartbreaking” to report. She has been an OPC member since the beginning of this year.

A FRONTLINE documentary from OPC Award winner Marcela Gaviria and former OPC Governor Martin Smith aired on July 31. Separated: Children at the Border follows the story of immigrant children separated from their parents. Gaviria produced the film, Smith and Gaviria wrote it, and Brian Funck co-produced and edited the piece. The film explores the impact of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy and compares the treatment of minors at the border under the Trump and Obama administrations. Gaviria was part of a team that won the 2009 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best TV interpretation or documentary on international affairs.

OPC member and former Governor Rukmini Callimachi told The Guardian in August that covering radicalization and the Islamic State for her New York Times podcast “Caliphate” sparks ambivalent feelings. The ten-episode series has been among the top downloads on iTunes since it was launched in April. Callimachi interviewed a young man who calls himself Abu Hufaiza, a Canadian and former member of Islamic State who recounted his experience in Syria. “Deradicalization is not some sort of neat process,” Callimachi told The Guardian. She also spoke about another source, Huzaifa, who was arrested by Canadian police the day after Callimachi first interviewed him. “I cover a bunch of killers, who vary in the level of disgust or empathy that they evoke in me,” she said.

Photojournalist, videographer and OPC member Stefania Rousselle took a road trip across France in 2017 on a quest to collect people’s deepest and most life-changing love stories. The result can be found in her article for The Guardian, “This is What Being in Love Looks Like.” Rousselle had been on a series of bleak and heart-wrenching assignments, including terror attacks and sex slavery, and launched the project to heal her despair. She shared the best love stories she heard on her Instagram page. Rousselle has been a member of the OPC since 2013, and was part of a New York Times team that won the 2015 David Kaplan Award for best TV or video spot news reporting from abroad.

OPC member Markos Kounalakis launched a new book in July warning that state-run media in China and Russia are overtaking Western media as the latter shrinks its foreign desks. The study, titled Spin Wars and Spy Games: Global Media and Intelligence Gathering, found that while the number of foreign correspondents around the world is growing, they are mainly from China and Russia. The book examines how this changing news landscape affects foreign affairs and policy. In an interview for The Washington Times, Kounalakis, a visiting fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and a senior fellow at the Budapest-based Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University, said as Western news bureaus abroad are “supplanted by non-Western organizations with state-driven agendas, the information that we’re getting in the United States is becoming agenda-driven,” resulting in a less informed citizenry that is subject to manipulation by rival foreign powers. Kounalakis has been an OPC member since 2014.


July-August 2018


Charles Rollet, who received the Jerry Flint Fellowship for International Business Reporting winner in 2017, won a 2018 Gerard Loeb Award along with his colleagues at The Wall Street Journal in the international category for the paper’s series entitled “China’s Surveillance State.” Rollet was posted at the Journal’s bureau in Beijing as an OPC Foundation fellow.

Isma’il Kushkush, the Roy Rowan Scholarship winner in 2016, has been named an Ida B. Wells Fellow by the Investigative Fund. He will receive $12,000 plus funds to cover travel and out-of-pocket reporting costs. Kushkush will focus on sports reporting. He had an OPC Foundation fellowship with AP in Jerusalem.

Caelainn Hogan, the H.L. Stevenson Fellowship winner in 2014, has been named a Cill Rialaig resident for 2018 by the Irish Writers Center. Hogan had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Associated Press bureau in Nigeria.

J.p Lawrence, the winner of the 2015 H.L. Stevenson Fellowship who now works as a downrange reporter for Stars and Stripes in Afghanistan, has been covering U.S. and Afghan military operations. On July 8, he reported that special operations troops had captured a stronghold that Islamic State fighters claimed as their local capital. Before his more to Stars and Stripes, Lawrence had an OPC Foundation fellowship with the Associated Press in Uganda.

The list of honors continues to grow for OPC Governor Azmat Khan and OPC member Anand Gopal – the pair won a Deadline Club Award for Magazine Investigative Reporting for their story “The Uncounted” in the New York Times Magazine. The story covers undisclosed civilian casualties from US-led airstrikes against ISIS, won and this year’s Ed Cunningham Award for best magazine reporting.

Two-time OPC Award winner Esther Htusan was on a Associated Press team that won a Deadline Club Award this year in the category of Newspaper or Digital Beat Reporting for “Rohingya Exodus.” The AP team also included Kristen Gelineau, Muneeza Naqvi and Todd Pitman. Htusan was part of the AP team that won the OPC’s 2015 Hal Boyle Award and Malcolm Forbes Award, both for reporting on slavery in the seafood industry in Southeast Asia.

The Deadline Club’s Feature Photo Award went to James Nachtwey of TIME for photographs of the human cost of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war. Nachtwey has won four photo awards from the OPC over the years, including Robert Capa Awards in 1994 and 1998, a Olivier Rebbot Award as well as a special photo award in 2001. In 2008, he received an OPC President’s Award for his work.


Management at The New Yorker voluntarily recognized a union that editorial staff voted to organize in June. Longtime editor David Remnick said in a note to employees on July 9 that the magazine agreed to recognize the union after “several weeks” of discussion between the parties. “We’re in this together,” he wrote in the note. “The work we set out to do every day is more important than ever.” The magazine, which is owned by Condé Nast, joins the list of several other publications that have recently unionized, including Gizmodo, Vox, HuffPost, VICE, The Intercept, ThinkProgress, Thrillist and Salon. About 90 percent of The New Yorker’s editorial staff voted to form a union with NewsGuild of New York, which also represents employees at The New York Times, The Associated Press, Thomson Reuters, The New Republic and The Daily Beast.

OPC Award winner Clarissa Ward has been named the new chief international correspondent at CNN. Ward replaces OPC member Christiane Amanpour, who was recently promoted to chief international anchor. Ward previously served as senior international correspondent for the network. Last year, she won the OPC’s David Kaplan Award for best TV or video spot news reporting from abroad, for her coverage of rebel-held territory in Syria. Ward has reported from multiple war zones, including Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine. Amanpour has been an OPC member since 2009.

The Los Angeles Times named OPC awards judge and Governor Scott Kraft as the paper’s managing editor on July 9. He has worked at the Times for more than 30 years, most recently as deputy managing editor, and previously as front-page editor and national editor. Kraft has served as correspondent from Kenya; South Africa and France. He will oversee foreign, national, Washington, California and Metro news in addition to investigations and enterprise reporting. In a note to staff Norman Pearlstine, who became executive editor at the paper last month and is a longtime member and award sponsor for the OPC, called Kraft’s promotion “an acknowledgment of the role he instinctively took on during the past tumultuous year, working with teams throughout the newsroom to produce journalism of the highest quality.”

OPC member and former Governor Robert Nickelsberg has been working on a book that is slated for launch in early September. Afghanistan’s Heritage: Restoring Spirit and Stone is a collaboration between Nickelsberg and the Cultural Heritage Program of the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy at the U.S. State Department. “When the U.S. Department of State asked me in 2016 to photograph cultural heritage sites in Afghanistan, the topic and subject matter represented a departure from the news driven reportage style of my previous thirty years of working in the country,” Nickelsberg said. “I discovered that even in a landscape of seemingly endless conflict and war, Afghans have managed to weave their history and culture into daily life. The book represents the extraordinary efforts and resiliency of Afghan craftsmen made over the past decade to preserve their nation’s heritage.” The book, published by The Oriental Institute and University of Chicago, will be launched at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Diplomatic Center at the Department of State in Washington, DC will host an exhibit, also in early September.

The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam is currently exhibiting work from OPC members Coleen Jose, Jan Hendrik Hinzel and late OPC member Kim Wall. The interactive exhibition includes images and video from their reporting on climate change and nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands. Several iterations of the award-winning series have been published in Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Guardian, Mashable and other publications. The exhibit is slated to continue through the next five years.

OPC member John Avlon and his wife Margaret Hoover were featured in a July 11 New York Times piece that centers on the couple’s “post-partisan marriage.” Both work as television commentators, with Avlon presenting an independent point of view and Hoover leaning conservative. She is a former Fox News commentator, worked on George W. Bush’s second campaign, and serves as the new host of “Firing Line” on PBS. She is also the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover. Avlon is an anchor and senior political analyst at CNN, and previously served as editor of The Daily Beast. He has written books criticizing partisanship, most recently Wingnuts: Extremism in the Age of Obama, published in 2014. The couple first met during Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. Avlon had been the mayor’s former speechwriter and followed him on his run for president. The two met when Hoover interviewed for a position on the campaign team. Asked about political conflict in the couple’s marriage, Avlon told the Times that “there is certainly tension because Republicanism is the family religion and she married outside the faith.”

The Washington Post has named OPC member Elias Lopez as senior editor for international opinions. Lopez will helm strategy and operations for the section and lead the planning of new international opinion ventures. He previously worked for The New York Times, where he was most recently the editorial director and founded New York Times en Español. He had worked for the Times for over ten years, and held positions on national, foreign and opinion desks. Before that, Lopez served as reporter and editor at The Miami Herald.

OPC member and photographer John Patrick Naughton had a portrait selected as part of the Fourth Annual Group Show at the Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson, New York from July 14 to Aug. 12. Juror Paula Tognarelli of the Griffin Museum of Photography selected Naughton’s portrait of sculptor Steven Foust. The photo is from a portfolio entitled “Staten Island Artist,” which tracks the migration of talent to the island as rents rise across Greater New York.