July 15, 2024

People Column

2019 January-June Issue

June 2019


Diksha Madhok, the OPC Foundation’s 2011 Theo Wilson winner, has returned to Quartz, this time as editor and director of the Quartz India platform. Previously she served as digital editor at ThePrint from 2017 to 2019, a stint at Quartz as India editor and ideas editor from 2014 to 2017, and before that was a reporter for Reuters in New Delhi starting in 2011.

Leticia Duarte, the winner of the 2019 Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in memory of I.F. Stone, has been named one of two GroundTruth Global Fellows for Democracy Undone, a new reporting initiative covering the rise of authoritarianism around the globe. Her project will focus on the connection between the rise of populism in Brazil and the U.S. Duarte’s OPC fellowship is with GroundTruth.

Maria Repnikova, 2009 Alexander Kendrick Scholarship winner, has won a book of the year award from the International Journal of Press and Politics at the International Communication Association for her book Media Politics in China. Repnikova had an OPC Foundation fellowship at Reuters in Beijing.

OPC past president David A. Andelman won the Deadline Club Award in Opinion Writing category for his Reuters work entitled “The World Through the Prism of Donald Trump.” This marks the second year in a row Andelman was winner in the opinion category. Last year, he won the Opinion Writing award for his work with CNN. The Deadline Club Awards were presented during a dinner on June 14. Finalists for that category this year included Jesmyn Ward of TIME for “My True South,” and Steve Dunlop of The Journal News/lohud.com for “Tappan Zee Bridge Name Change.” In the Deadline Club Award’s Digital Innovation category, winners were Maurice Tamman, Matthew Green, Mari Saito, Sarah Slobin and Maryanne Murray of Reuters for “Ocean Shock,” a story about the impact of biofuels in Southeast Asia that also won the OPC’s Citation for Excellence in the Whitman Bassow category this year.

OPC member and OPC Foundation scholar Dake Kang has racked up several accolades along with the Associated Press team that produced the series “China Clamps Down” on the religious crackdown in China. The series won the Osborn Elliot Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia; the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for foreign correspondence; the Society for Advancing Business Writers and Editors Best in Business Award, in the International Reporting category; and the Wilbur Award for best national print publication reporting on religion. The series also received an OPC Citation for Excellence in the Joe and Laurie Dine category this year, and was a finalist for a Deadline Club Award for beat reporting as well as an ASNE-APME O’Brien Fellowship Award for Impact in Public Service Journalism. The AP team risked detention to document how China’s Communist Party is bearing down on the country’s far-Western Xinjiang region, suppressing religious freedom and minority rights. Kang won the OPC Foundation’s 2016 Fritz Beebe Fellowship that sent him to the Beijing bureau. He has reported extensively in Xinjiang, including a May 7 story co-bylined with OPC member Kathy Gannon, who is senior correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan for the AP, about Pakistani Christian girls being trafficked to China as brides for Chinese men.

OPC Olivier Rebbot Award winner Nariman El-Mofty was named with colleagues as winner of the Michael Kelly Award by Atlantic Media. El-Mofty, along with investigative journalist Maggie Michael and Yemeni video journalist Maad al-Zikry, won a Citation for Excellence this year in the Hal Boyle category for reporting on Yemen for The Associated Press. Judges for the Michael Kelly Award said the team untangled complexities of the war in Yemen that are very difficult for outsiders to follow, confronting threats from several fronts and filing stories “that consistently broke new ground, brought the nature of the conflict vividly alive, and exposed the ruthless cynicism of those perpetuating the conflict.” The team’s work also garnered this year’s Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. El-Mofty and Michael are the first Egyptians to win the Michael Kelly Award.

The team of Myanmar journalists that received this year’s OPC’s Bob Considine Award, Wa Lone, Kyaw Soe Oo and colleagues, has won a Human Rights Press Award in the investigative feature writing category for “Myanmar Burning.” Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in December 2017 and convicted on trumped-up charges of disclosing state secrets but were pardoned and released on May 7 amid international pressure. On World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the two journalists were honored with the 2019 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize. The team also won a Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting on April 15. The Human Rights Press Awards are a nonprofit organization based in Hong Kong recognizing rights-related reporting from around Asia, organized by The Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Journalists Association and Amnesty International Hong Kong.


HBO announced on June 10 that the network has canceled VICE News Tonight, ending a seven-year partnership with VICE Media. The 30-minute nightly news program premiered in 2016, and quickly grew its viewership. Led by Josh Tyrangiel, the executive vice president of news at VICE Media, the show won several awards during its run, including the OPC’s 2018 David Kaplan and David A. Andelman and Pamela Title Awards, as well as five Emmy awards for various news segments. Tyrangiel told his employees that he would be leaving VICE at the end of June. VICE Media has seen significant upheaval over the past several months, starting with layoffs of 10 percent of its staff in February.

The New York Times announced on June 10 that the paper will no longer publish daily political cartoons that ran in the paper’s international edition and online. The decision came after complaints about a caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that ran in April. The move means the Times has also ended its relationship with two contracted cartoonists, Heng Kim Song and Patrick Chappatte. Chappatte won the OPC’s awards for best cartoons in 2011, 2015 and 2018. The editorial page editor, James Bennett, said in a statement that he was grateful for the work of Kim Song and Chappatte, and that the decision had been in the works for more than a year. In an NPR interview with Chappatte, the cartoonist said that the Times’ decision and statement “sends a signal discarding a whole genre that is so rooted in the history and tradition of democracy.”

OPC member David Fondiller has joined Altran, a global innovation and engineering consulting firm. Fondiller will serve as the company’s new VP of communications for its North America division. In his new role, he will oversee public relations, executive and internal communication, and digital and social media. He will also lead communications at one of the division’s subsidiaries, Frog, a design and innovation firm. Fondiller has previously worked for Merill Lynch, Marakon, and Boston Consulting.

OPC member Johnathan Katz has launched a newsletter to delve into the “backstory” behind big international stories. The subscription email, currently provided for free, is called The Long Version, and aims to “provide the deep context the 24-hour news cycle tends to miss.” So far he has covered U.S. influence in Venezuela, myth-making among white supremacists, and the political legacy of Nicaraguan civil wars, among others. The Los Angeles Times on June 9 asked him to adapt one of his Long Version pieces as an op-ed for the paper. The piece, entitled “Call Immigration Detention Centers What They Really Are: Concentration Camps,” examined President Trump’s Border Patrol processing centers and other immigration lockups, in which at least seven migrant children have died in the last year while in custody. More information and a signup form for The Long Version is available at katz.substack.com.

Fifty images from OPC member Nicole Tung were featured in a photo exhibition in Hong Kong through May 26 to mark the centenary of Save The Children Hong Kong. The images focused on Iraq and Syria, many depicting the effects of conflict on children. Tung told the South China Morning Post that she had not consciously focused on children in her work, but on documenting the effects of war on civilians overall. She said only when she started curating images for the exhibition did she realized how many of her images showed kids living in a world of destruction. “There were kids working in fields or outside playing no matter what the conditions were around them. It’s like they had become used to this rhythm of war – it had become part of their life. And what’s even more frightening is they can name every type of weapon,” she said.

Two years after OPC Governor Azmat Khan and member Anand Gopal first filed their 2017 article “The Uncounted,” the investigative piece continues to serve as inspiration and a door-opener in the search for accuracy in underreported civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes around the world. A May 15 piece in the Columbia Journalism Review called their reporting for The New York Times Magazine, which won the OPC’s 2017 Ed Cunningham Award, “an often-cited standard bearer of civilian casualty investigations.” The CJR article details reporting in 2018 by American freelancer Amanda Sperber on the Pentagon’s decade-long operations against al-Shabab in Somalia. Like Khan and Gopal, she uncovered denials and discrepancies in U.S. casualty reports. The article outlines steps Khan and Gopal took in reporting “The Uncounted,” including on-the-ground tours of wreckage of nearly 150 strike locations, recording of GPS coordinates, photos and 3D-mapping using a commercial drone that was cross-checked against satellite imagery, local news reports, and government records.

OPC Governor Vivienne Walt interviewed former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis for a May 23 article in Fortune magazine. Varoufakis ran as an E.U. parliamentary candidate in May elections under a new political party called DiEM25, an abbreviation for “Democracy in Europe Movement 2025.”  The group is one of the few international parties, having run in a total of 11 countries. Walt write that the party aims to solve problems of stagnation, inequality and high unemployment by “stopping Europe’s major corporations from sitting on mountains of cash, and by having central banks boost investment with higher interest rates.” Varoufakis said in the interview that a growing income gap, which many see as the root cause for Europe’s populism, “is the greatest gift to the fascists. I don’t call them populists. I call them fascists, just so we know what we’re talking about.”

OPC Governor Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, penned an op-ed for The Washington Post for the May 15 edition calling for FIFA to reconsider naming Saudi Arabia as co-host of the 2022 World Cup. Worden outlined the country’s poor human rights record, including unlawful attacks in the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen, restricting life-saving aid, beheading 37 Saudi nationals in April, criminalizing same-sex relations, and an egregious record on press freedom. Qatar had been slated as likely candidate to host the games, which sparked international outcry over human rights abuses. Qatar lacks the infrastructure for a recent expansion of the tournament from 32 teams to 48, so would likely need to share hosting with Saudi Arabia. Worden argues that groups had worked for years to improve conditions in Qatar, including better safety for migrant workers building stadiums, but that those efforts could not be repeated in Saudi Arabia where human rights activists are routinely jailed or silenced. She wrote that FIFA’s consideration of Saudi Arabia “stands in stark contrast to the organization’s claims that human rights are a key part of its values and the rules of the game.”


Tony Horowitz, winner of the 1990 Hal Boyle Award, died on May 27 at the age of 60. According to his publisher, Horowitz suffered cardiac arrest while in Washington, DC on tour for his newest book Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide, which was released just two weeks before his death. He won the Hal Boyle award for his coverage of the Gulf War for The Wall Street Journal along with his wife, Geraldine Brooks. Horowitz grew up in DC, and graduated from Brown University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He spend a decade overseas as newspaper reporter, mainly covering wars and conflict in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans for The Wall Street Journal.

Bill Seamans, longtime OPC member and award winner, died on April 21 at the age of 93. Seamans was a decorated World War II veteran who earned two Bronze stars and a Purple Heart for his service in the U.S. Army. He later attended Brown University on the GI Bill and graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He earned an Emmy for his work with CBS. He joined ABC News as a correspondent and served for 29 years, including five years as bureau chief in London, and 22 years as bureau chief in Tel Aviv. He covered the Gulf War and won an Emmy for the news special Nightline: In the Holy Land. In 1975, he won the OPC award for best interpretation of foreign affairs-television. He was an OPC member from 1977 to 2009.

April-May 2019


2017 Fritz Beebe winner Yi-Ling Liu was named winner of the Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award. Based in Beijing, Liu covers the effects of technology on Chinese. She has written for The Economist, The Guardian, the New Yorker online, Foreign Policy Magazine, Guernica Magazine, Off Assignment and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Liu previously reported for the Associated Press in Hong Kong on an OPC Foundation Fellow

Suman Naishadham, the 2018 H.L. Stevenson winner, who had an OPC Foundation fellowship at the Reuters bureau in Mexico City, will be returning to the Mexico capital, this time in the internship program for The Wall Street Journal. She is graduating from the master’s program in journalism at the University of Missouri in May.

Yifan Yu, Jerry Flint winner in 2018, has left New York City for the West Coast where she will now cover tech for the Nikkei Asian Review.

Theodore Anderson, winner of the 2015 Walter and Betsy Cronkite Scholarship, is now the digital editor of the San Francisco Business Times. Anderson had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the AP bureau in Bangkok.

Two OPC Foundation scholars were among the winners announced by the Military Reporters and Editors association, the preeminent organization for U.S. media professionals specializing in national security. The competition for defense journalism produced in 2018 was judged by faculty at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Sophia Jones, Reuters winner in 2012, won the award for Print Overseas, Large Market division for the Fuller Project, which was produced in partnership with The New York Times Magazine. She wrote about the complicated role the U.S. played in recruiting and training Afghan women in the armed forces. The Emanuel R. Freedman winner in 2004, Garance Burke, won for Print Domestic, Large Market. She and a colleague from The Associated Press broke the news that more than 500 immigrant recruits and reservists in the US. armed forces had been discharged through July 2018, many for questionable reasons. The winners will be formally recognized at MRE’s annual conference scheduled for Oct. 25 at the Navy League of the United States headquarters in Arlington, Virgina.

Garance Burke was also part of the AP team that was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting. The staff was recognized for its authoritative coverage of the Trump administration’s migrant family separation policy that exposed a federal government overwhelmed by the logistics of caring for and tracking thousands of immigrant children..

Many OPC award winners and others with OPC ties were honored with Pulitzer Prizes this year. A Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting went to the “staff of Reuters, with notable contributions from Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo,” who won the OPC’s Bob Considine Award for their reporting from Myanmar. Winners of the Hal Boyle Citation for Excellence this year, Maggie Michael, Maad al-Zikry and Nariman El-Mofty of The Associated Press, also won a Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. 2016 Hal Boyle Award winner Hannah Dreier of ProPublica won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for her series on Salvadoran immigrants on New York’s Long Island in the wake of a botched federal crackdown on the international criminal gang MS-13. Former OPC Governor Rukmini Callimachi of The New York Times was a finalist in the International Reporting category for the “Caliphate” podcast. Other winners received honors for international reporting, including The Breaking News Photography category that went to Reuters photo staff for photos of migrants en route from Central and South America to the US. And Lorenzo Tugnoli of The Washington Post won the Feature Photography category for covering famine in Yemen. Maggie Steber, this year’s OPC President’s Award recipient, was one of the finalists in that category along with Lynn Johnson of National Geographic for reporting on the youngest face transplant recipient in the U.S.

Former OPC Governor Martin Smith was honored with a Peabody award for his work on “Separated: Children at the Border,” a Frontline documentary. The award is Frontline’s second Peabody of 2019 in the news category. In the film, Smith investigates the origins and impacts of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. He traced what happened to children who were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, and examined the immigration policies of both the Trump and Obama administrations. He found that separations were happening to families who’d crossed the border months before “zero tolerance” was actually announced.

Former OPC Governor Rukmini Callimachi, who has won three OPC awards including this year’s Lowell Thomas Award for the podcast she hosts called “Caliphate,” also garnered a Peabody award in the radio/podcast category in April for the same program. “Caliphate” is the first narrative podcast series from The New York Times, and this marks the first Peabody awarded to a Times podcast. The Peabody Awards highlight work that demonstrates how the media can defend public interest, encourage empathy, and expand its audience’s understanding of the world around them. Callamichi was also named a Pulitzer Prize finalist this year for “Caliphate” and “The ISIS Files.”

Former OPC award winner Hannah Dreier recently won the WBUR Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Drier is an immigration reporter at ProPublica. Her winning segment was an hour-long investigative report titled “The Runaways.” Dreier investigated the Suffolk County Police Department in New York and their failure to look into the murders of immigrant teenagers. Days after her story aired, the Suffolk County Legislature forced the police department to conduct an internal investigation. Dreier won the OPC’s 2016 Hal Boyle Award for her story “Venezuela Undone” for The Associated Press.

OPC Governor Alix Freedman of Reuters in April served as a judge for the 2019 Hillman Foundation Prizes for Journalism. The Hillman Foundation every year honors journalists for outstanding “service of the common good.” This year’s winners featured writers from Reuters, The Miami Herald, and MSNBC. Freedman was a judge along with author Ta’Nehisi Coates, Jelani Cobb and Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker, The American Prospect’s Harold Myerson, and The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel. The Hillman Foundation has been awarding journalists for their work since 1950.

The Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics recently announced their 2019 winners, who included two past OPC award winners. Hannah Dreier, who won the 2016 Hal Boyle Award, received the award for her story in ProPublica titled “A Betrayal.” The story follows a teenager and MS-13 gang member who became a government informant and was betrayed by federal agents. The Associated Press also won for their reporting on Yemen throughout 2018. The team, comprised of reporters Maggie Michael, Nariman El-Mofty, and Maad al-Zirky, also won the Hal Boyle Citation for Excellence this year for “Yemen’s Dirty War.” Additionally, El-Mofty won the OPC’s Olivier Rebbot award this year for a series of photographs titled “Yemen: On the Edge.”.


OPC President Pancho Bernasconi and Executive Director Patricia Kranz met with visitors from Press Club Polska in late April for lunch and conversation. Jaroslaw Wlodarczyk, secretary general of the International Association of Press Clubs, and Magdalena and Maksymilian Rigamonti traveled to the United States to collect the prize for Photography Book of the Year in the Pictures of The Year International (POY) competition for the Rigomonti’s book Echo, which was published by the Press Club Polska.

Bill Keller, head judge of the OPC’s Best Commentary Award this year, is stepping down from his role as editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on criminal justice issues. Keller will be replaced by Susan Chira, a former reporter and editor for The New York Times. Bill Keller had previously worked for the Times for thirty years, including eight as the paper’s executive editor. He joined The Marshall Project when it was founded in 2014. Since then, it has won multiple awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. Keller will now become a board member of the organization while teaching at Princeton University and Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, NY.

David Ariosto, an OPC Governor and executive producer at GZero Media, told  MSNBC host Ali Velshi on April 30 that there is little more the U.S. can do to increase support for opposition against Nicolás Maduro Moros in Venezuela, short of boots on the ground, because so many sanctions and other measures are already in place. He said those strategies include indirect pressure on the regime’s allies. “When you see the Trump administration ratchet up pressure against Cuba, it’s partly to pressure Venezuela,” he said. He added that most Americans would not support sending U.S. ground troops for support. Separately, Ariosto spoke to an audience at the New York Public Library on April 24 about his newest book This is Cuba, which was published late last year. In the book, Ariosto examined sweeping changes in the country over the last decade. Ariosto sat with photographer and photo editor Cynthia Carris Alonso to discuss the book.

OPC Past President Larry Smith has co-written a book titled Hidden Hearts – The Peterborough Letters with author Betty Beeby. The book is a window into the early 20th Century. It is the story of a woman and the son she bore out of wedlock who seeks her out when he is in his twenties. By then, she is an independent small-town dressmaker and the shock of finding her son shatters her peace. Bill Holstein, past president of the OPC, writes that “Smith is a master story teller in the classic American tradition. In this book, he uses letters more than a century old to patiently build a psychological drama…It becomes riveting.”

Vivienne Walt, TIME magazine’s Paris correspondent and a Governor for the OPC, landed another cover story for the magazine’s issue in Europe for the week of April 22. The article, titled “How Nationalists Are Joining Together to Tear Europe Apart,” examines how many leaders are using white supremacist rhetoric and touting anti-immigrant policies, a campaign spearheaded by ex-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Walt tracks his travels to Europe where he met with multiple leaders, encouraging them to embrace the strategies used by President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Earlier in April, Walt talked to NPR host Ailsa Chang about the fire that ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral on April 15. In her interview, she described witnessing the fire from her own balcony. Walt had reported on the cathedral for TIME and told NPR that church officials had shown her conditions of the roof at the time. According to her, the gargoyles on the roof had been falling off and were being fixed with PVC pipes. Walt believes that disrepair, along with inadequate funding for the cathedral, contributed to the fire. Walt lives in Paris and has reported for TIME since 2003.

OPC member John Moore in April was awarded the World Press Photo of the Year for a photo taken at the US-Mexico border last June. The picture, titled “Crying Girl on the Border,” went viral after it was posted, and was also used on a cover of TIME magazine. The photo is of a young girl named Yanela who had just arrived in the U.S. with a group of a dozen refugees from Central America. Moore has spent a decade focusing on immigration in his photography. He photographed along the US-Mexico border and captured rare images of ICE raids and mass deportation. He published them in a book titled Undocumented.

Minky Worden, an OPC Governor who serves as director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, was recently in the news for her remarks on the crisis in Asian football. Asia’s football chief and FIFA’s second-in-command, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, was elected to a second term in early April. He was criticized last year for silence over the imprisonment of soccer player Hakeem al-Arabi, who was detained in Thailand. Worden accused Sheikh Salman of failing to protect human rights. In commentary released after his election, she wrote “Sheikh Salman should commit to uphold and to carry out FIFA’s 2017 Human Rights Policy, including in his home country.” His new term lasts until 2023.

OPC award winner Matt Kaminski was recently named the new editor-in-chief of Politico. Kaminski won the OPC’s 2014 Commentary Award. He most recently served as global editor of Politico. He’ll be replacing John Harris, who was not only editor-in-chief, but founded the publication in 2007. Harris will stay aboard to serve as chairman of the editorial oversight committee, as well as editor-in-chief of Politico Europe. He will also be writing a column about the 2020 election. Kaminski joined Politico in 2014, after working for The Wall Street Journal for a decade. It was there that Kaminski wrote “On Ukraine,” which garnered the OPC award.


Veteran correspondent Peter Gall passed away March 9 in Edina, Minnesota, after a 14-year battle with Parkinson’s disease at age 82. He began his career in journalism with a brief stint as a reporter for the Pasadena Independent and Star-News. Gall then enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he attended language school and became fluent in Russian. Later he worked for 18 years at McGraw-Hill, Inc., starting out as a correspondent for Business Week, covering environment, labor, and the White House, and for three years was the bureau chief in Moscow. He later became director of McGraw-Hill World News, a multi-media business news network based in New York City. Gall is survived by his wife of 57 years, Pali Gall, his brother Pirie Gall, his three children and six grandchildren.

Bernard Krisher, publisher of The Cambodia Daily and former Newsweek Tokyo bureau chief, died of heart failure on March 5 at a hospital in Tokyo. He was 87. Krisher began his career as a foreign correspondent in Japan. He wrote for Newsweek, Fortune, and Wired. He was founder of The Cambodia Daily, the country’s first English-language newspaper. He supported the OPC Foundation and accepted several scholars as fellows. The government’s closure of the print edition in September 2017 drew condemnation from press freedom groups. He dedicated his last three decades to humanitarian work in Cambodia as chairman of World Assistance for Cambodia. Krisher is survived by his wife, his two children and two grandchildren.

February-March 2019


Amelia Nierenberg, the 2018 Flora Lewis Fellowship winner, has been named to the inaugural New York Times year-long Fellowship Program. She has been assigned to the Food section. Amelia is currently in Dakar, Senegal, for an OPC Fellowship with The Associated Press. The Times received more than 5,000 applications for the program.

Ben Taub, the 2015 Emanuel R. Freedman winner, won his second George Polk Award in Journalism this year in the category of Magazine Reporting for his 2018 story in The New Yorker about the campaign against ISIS in Iraq, which has led to mass executions, detainment camps, and a culture of revenge. Award presenters lauded Taub’s tenacity in reporting a story that had gone largely unreported despite being “repeatedly threatened and detained by militias during his three weeks in Iraq.” Taub is only the eighth person to win back-to-back Polk Awards since the prize was founded, and the first to do so in the last two decades.

Along with Ben Taub, OPC member Jane Ferguson of PBS NewsHour was also among the roster of George Polk winners this year. Ferguson won the Foreign Television Reporting for her reporting on victims of the humanitarian disaster in the proxy war between forces allied with Saudi Arabia and Iran in northern Yemen. Winners of the 2018 awards will be honored at a ceremony at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan on April 5. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo of Reuters received the Polk Award for Foreign Reporting covering police exactions of Rohingya Muslims in the village of Inn Din in Myanmar. The reporters were convicted of violating their nation’s official secrets act and are serving seven years in prison despite global pressure to free them.

OPC member Martyn Aim was among the photographers shortlisted for a Gomma Photography Grant, a prize for “emerging image-makers.” The grant ultimately went to Tabitha Barnard (first place), Vladimir Vasilev (second place) and Fatima Abreu Ferreira (third place). The Gomma Grant launched in 2014 as a way to support early-career photographers and unpublished talent.

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation has announced honorees for the 2019 James W. Foley Freedom Awards to be hosted in Washington, DC, on April 2. Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian will receive the 2019 World Press Freedom Award. U.S. diplomat Bret McGurk will receive the 2019 Hostage Freedom Award for his part in securing the release of Rezaian and several other Americans held captive in Iran.

Several journalists with ties to the OPC are among the finalists for the 2019 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics. The list includes 2016 Hal Boyle Award winner Hannah Dreier of ProPublica; 2017 Joe and Laurie Dine Award winner Maggie Michael of The Associated Press; OPC Foundation scholar Garance Burke of the AP, who won the 2004 Emanuel R. Freedman scholarship; Martha Mendoza of the AP, who was part of the investigative team that won the 2017 Malcolm Forbes and Hal Boyle Awards, and Gary Marx of The Chicago Tribune, who garnered a citation in 2005 in the Robert Spiers Benjamin Award category. The Shadid Award winner will be announced on March 14.


On February 13, the ACOS Alliance appointed seven new directors to its board, including: Mathias Dreissig of Deutsche Welle; Sally Fitton of the BBC; Elisa Muñoz, executive director at the International Women’s Media Foundation; Finbarr O’Reilly, freelancer photographer based in London; Andréa Schmidt, freelancer based in Toronto; Art Sotloff, founder of the 2LIVES Steven Sotloff Memorial Foundation; and Daniella Zalcman, photojournalist based in New York and London. ACOS was founded to champion safe and responsible journalistic practices and embed a culture of safety across newsrooms and among freelance and local journalists worldwide.

According to New York Magazine’s blog The Cut, about 2,100 media employees lost their jobs in the last two weeks of January. On Feb. 1, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Vice Media would be laying off 10 percent of their staff. That same day, it was reported that McClatchy, which operates newspapers nationwide, was laying off 450 employees. Both these reports came just a week after massive layoffs at Verizon and Buzzfeed. Verizon owns HuffPost, AOL and Yahoo. They cut 7 percent of their staff, while Buzzfeed laid off 15 percent. The Gannett Company, which runs more than 1,000 daily newspapers and weeklies around the country, also eliminated around 400 jobs.

OPC member Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews has been promoted to executive vice president at CBS News. Ciprian-Matthews is a 25-year veteran at CBS and has served as SVP of News Administration since January 2015. In her new role as Executive VP of strategic professional development, she will focus on recruitment and development of off-air talent. She has been at CBS since October 1993, when she was a senior producer for live segments on CBS This Morning.

Former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez has been accused of sexual misconduct by four different women. One of those women is past OPC Governor and head of communications at Human Rights Watch, Emma Daly. Daly was the second woman to come forward, telling The Washington Post that Arias groped her in 1990 when she was a reporter covering Central America and he was still president. She had asked him a question in a hotel lobby, and instead of answering it, Arias assaulted her. At the time, Daly was based in Costa Rica, working for The Tico Times and Reuters, and frequently covered Arias.

OPC Governor John Avlon is hosting the 54th Ellie Awards at Brooklyn Steel in Williamsburg, New York on March 14. The American Society of Magazine Editors will honor 22 winners, each of which will each receive an “Ellie,” the elephant-shaped statuette that gives the awards their name. More than 500 magazine editors and publishers are expected to attend. The evening will include the presentation of the 2019 ASME Award for Fiction and five winners of the 2019 ASME Next Awards for Journalists Under 30.

OPC member and veteran photojournalist Steven Raymer has been honored with the National Press Photographers of America award for photojournalism ethics. He received the John Long ethics award at a ceremony on March 9. The NPPA said in an announcement that “Raymer’s professional photography spans decades, and he has always held himself to the highest ethical standards.” Separately, in January Raymer addressed members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, which hosted an exhibition of 34 prints from his book, Somewhere West of Lonely, through Feb. 17. He told attendees that “the whole idea of the photographic truth of a picture is very much under attack in this era of fake news.” Raymer’s career as a National Geographic photographer took him to over ninety countries. Before retiring in 2016, Raymer was a tenured full professor in the Media School at Indiana University in Bloomington. He has continued to teach there during his retirement.

OPC Governor and former Brunswick Group partner and Wall Street reporter Sarah Lubman is joining Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank Group Corp. as partner. Lubman spent her time at Brunswick specializing in telecom, media and technology sectors, and providing counsel on transactions and special situations. She spent seventeen years as a reporter, including six in Tokyo and Beijing, working for The Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury News and Newsweek. Softbank is currently awaiting federal approval of its’ merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. They hired Time Warner/News Corp. alum Gary Winsburg as senior VP and head of communications. Lubman began her new role on Feb. 11.

On Jan. 23, OPC Governor Minky Worden served as a panelist at the National Center for Civil Rights’ program titled “Breaking Barriers: Sports for Change.” Her panel was focused on the role of sports in LGBTQ+ rights. Other panelists included WNBA player Layshia Clarendon, rugby player and coach Phaidra Knight, transgender professional boxer Pat Manuel, and Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. Worden is the director of Global Initiatives at the Human Rights Watch.

David Ariosto, OPC Governor and author of the recently released book This is Cuba, joined OPC member Ali Velshi on MSNBC to discuss the current crisis in Venezuela. Ali Velshi hosts a weekly business show on MSNBC called Velshi and Ruhle, on which he and Stephanie Ruhle discuss topics like markets and personal finances. Ariosto was invited on the show because of his vast knowledge on Cuba and other Latin American countries. He had also reported from Venezuela while working for Al Jazeera America in 2014.

OPC member Alice Driver gave a talk at Colorado College on Feb. 5 about reporting on migration. Her lecture focused on the “humanistic” aspect of the migrant caravan from Central America to the U.S. boder that made headlines 2018. Driver said she tried to depoliticize the issue and show different perspectives of the migrant group that Americans could empathize with. Before the talk, Driver said she hoped to “portray what migration and the border look like firsthand, and to shed light on what the real dangers are in the era of misinformation.” Driver spent the last two years reporting on the ground at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Bates College Museum of Art is currently showcasing OPC member and photojournalist Peter Turnley’s work in an exhibit titled “Peter Turnley: Refugees.” The exhibit will be open through March 23. Turnley has spent the last thirty years covering some of the world’s most significant conflicts. One of his most recent projects is an ongoing documentation of refugees around the world. Turnley’s photographs have been featured in numerous publications worldwide, including Newsweek and National Geographic.


Award-winning Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis died on March 2 after a long battle with cancer. He was 58 years old. Behrakis was renowned for his work, covering notable conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya, an earthquake in Kashmir, and the Egyptian uprising of 2011. He also led a Pulitzer Prize-winning team in 2016 for coverage of the refugee crisis. Behrakis started at Reuters in 1987 as a freelancer. In 1999, he won OPC’s John Faber Award for best photographic reporting from abroad in newspapers or news services for his work in Kosovo.

Steve Bell, a longtime ABC News journalist and multiple OPC award winner, died at age 83 on Jan. 25. Bell was best known as anchor of Good Morning America and World News This Morning. He served as correspondent from 1967 to 1986. He was professor emeritus of telecommunications at Ball State University, where he taught from 1992 to 2007. Bell won the 1969 Ben Grauer Award for Best Radio Reporting and shared the OPC award for Best Radio and TV Reporting from Abroad in the same year for reporting from Vietnam. He also won a 1975 Lowell Thomas Award as part of a team from ABC News.


January 2019


Isabel DeBre, the 2018 Stan Swinton winner, made the most of her OPC Foundation fellowship with The Associated Press in Jerusalem. She was hired on as a reporter and will remain in Jerusalem until the summer of 2019. In her application for the OPC Foundation in 2017, DeBre wrote about an influential club at the American University in Beirut that became a formidable political force in Lebanon.

Hiba Dlewati, the first Sally Jacobsen winner in 2018, has just been hired as a reporter for Al Jazeera English. She is based in Doha, Qatar. Dlewati had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the AP bureau in Beirut. After her study of medicine in Damascus was cut short by the Syrian War, she moved to the U.S. and finished her bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan in Flint. She has written extensively about Syrian diaspora and the world of shady brokers who book boat passage for refugees traveling from Turkey to Greece.

After an award-winning stretch as an investigative reporter for The Associated Press, Jeff Horwitz, Fred Wiegold winner in 2009, will be leaving Washington, DC for San Francisco where he will be covering Facebook for The Wall Street Journal. Most recently, Jeff was the 2018 recipient of the Knight Bagehot Fellowship’s annual Christopher J. Welles Memorial Prize, for his reporting on the Paul Manafort saga.

Katie Paul, the 2017 Irene Corbally Kuhn winner, is leaving the Middle East after stints in Damascus, Beirut, Amman and most recently as a senior correspondent for Reuters in Dubai and Riyadh. She will now be based in the Reuters bureau in San Francisco. Paul’s new beat is social media, covering Facebook, Twitter and other companies that are based in America but responsible for the flow of information across the planet. Katie had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Buenos Aires.

The New Yorker published a new long-form piece from Ben Taub, the 2014 Emanuel R. Freedman winner, about Iraq’s treatment of suspected jihadis and how it would set the stage for an ISIS resurgence. Taub’s piece, “Iraq’s Post-ISIS Campaign of Revenge,” published in December, follows a brutal campaign by Iraqi government forces and Shiite militias that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims are being detained, tortured and executed or cast out of society because of suspected associations with ISIS. He was interviewed on NPR’s “Fresh Air” in December to talk about the article.

OPC member and freelancer Roopa Gogineni won the Rory Peck award for News Feature in November. The Rory Peck awards honor the work of freelancers covering global news. Gogineni was recognized for her film The Rebel Puppeteers of Sudan, which focused on the creator of a satirical puppet show to share the news of the ongoing conflict in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. She filmed the piece in Sudan in 2016, and it was later broadcast on The New York Times website. Judges of the Rory Peck award acknowledged the risk Gogineni took by making the story with very little funding and little backing. Based in Nairobi, she has spent the last seven years covering the conflict in East Africa. She has been an OPC member since 2017.

Masha Gessen, winner of the OPC’s 2016 Best Commentary Award, was one of this year’s recipients of the CFR Arthur Ross Book Award in early December. She won the bronze medal for her book The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia. She and three other winners of the award participated in a discussion on Dec. 4. The Gold Medal went to Stephen Kotkin for Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941, and the Silver Medal went to Michael J. Green for By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783. The award honors books that make an outstanding contribution to the understanding of foreign policy or international relations. The prize is for non-fiction works from the past year. In early December, Gessen received a Hitchens Prize for a body of work that expresses a commitment to “free expression and inquiry.”

Author and journalist Steve Coll’s book Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan was nominated for the “longlist” for The National Book Award for Nonfiction. The book, published early last year, is a close look at secret security agencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The nonfiction award this year went to Jeffrey C. Stewart for The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, a biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Directorate S was also named as a finalist  for the National Book Critics Circle Award on Jan. 22. Coll is the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and served as president of the New America Foundation, a public policy institute in Washington D.C. His first book, Ghost Wars, won him a Pulitzer Prize. Last March, Coll sat down with the OPC for a book night to discuss Directorate S.

Freelance reporter Asad Hashim was named as winner of the 2018 Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize on Jan. 13. He was recognized for his coverage of the plight of ethnic Pashtuns and blasphemy issues in his native Pakistan. The award, named after one of AFP’s most celebrated correspondents who died in 2007 at the age of 64, recognizes journalism by locally hired reporters in Asia operating in risky or difficult conditions.


It has been a tough month for many journalists. BuzzFeed News told staff on Jan. 25 that 43 of the division’s 250 journalists would be laid off. The cut was just the first step in a planned 15 percent reduction in staff overall at BuzzFeed. HuffPost announced 20 employees were cut on Jan. 24 as its parent company, Verizon Media, laid off 7 percent of its staff. Overall, about 800 employees across several brands, including AOL and Yahoo. Cuts of about 400 jobs were also announced at Gannett newsrooms across the U.S.

Award-winning journalist Susan Zirinsky, senior executive producer at CBS News, has been named president and senior executive producer of CBS News. Her new role was announced on Jan. 6 by Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO of CBS Corporation. Zirinsky started working for CBS in the network’s Washington bureau two weeks after the Watergate break-in. Over the next four decades, she produced multiple award-winning documentaries and programs, covering a wide range of stories including the Gulf War, the student uprising in Tiananmen Square, the 9/11 attacks, the Paris terror attacks, and the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida last year. Zirinsky is slated to begin her new role in March.

OPC Governor David Ariosto has moved from his post at Brut to a new gig as executive producer at GZERO Media at Eurasia Group. He previously worked as managing editor at Brut, and has also served as supervising producer of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” You can read about his new book This Is Cuba on Page 10.

Noticias Telemundo announced in December that it will launch its first-ever English-language daily newscast. The video news updates will be distributed exclusively via YouTube. The project won a Google News Innovation YouTube grant. This marks the first time a Noticias Telemundo production will be distributed outside of a Telemundo-owned platform.

OPC member Kathy Gannon, senior correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan for the Associated Press, filed a story with help from 2016 Fritz Beebe win­ner Dake Kang that follows the plight of Muslim ethnic Uighur women, spouses of Pakistani men living in China, who have been taken from families and kept in “education centers.” The piece, titled “Locked away, Forgotten: Muslim Uighur Wives of Pakistani Men,” includes interviews with families searching for mothers and wives who have disappeared. Gannon lit the Candle of Remembrance during the 2015 Annual Awards Dinner and was the keynote speaker at the OPC Foundation Scholar Awards Luncheon in 2016. She survived a brutal shooting attack while covering elections in Afghanistan in 2014. Kang is a video journalist based in Beijing and contributed to the report.

OPC member Jake Naughton launched a Kickstarter for a book project he and his partner Juan Sosa have completed to chronicle their love story in photographs. The campaign raised more than $25,000 from a total of 278 backers. The two have been working the project together for five years, collecting photos, designing and editing the book. The book, titled When We Were Strangers, will be published by Red Hook Editions and is due out in the spring of this year. On the Kickstarter page, Naughton describes the book as a look at “the ups and downs, the challenges and triumphs, the everyday little wondrous moments” of being in love. A recent update indicated that the book is already being printed, and the two creators will hold a book launch and exhibition opening at United Photo Industries in Brooklyn on Feb. 14. Naughton is a world recognized photographer who has been awarded numerous times for his photos. He has been an OPC member since 2017.

Jason Rezaian, journalist for The Washington Post who spent 18 months in an Iranian prison on bogus charges, testified with his family in a $1 billion federal lawsuit against the Iranian government on Jan. 8. The lawsuit seeks damages for his 544-day ordeal, in which he was taken hostage and psychologically tortured by the Iranian government, as well as damages his family suffered. Jason’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, was also arrested and spent 72 days in solitary confinement. The lawsuit seeks $44 million in compensatory and economic damages and $1 billion in punitive damages. Rezaian’s attorney argued that his client was held as a bargaining chip in talks with Iran. Rezaian was the Post’s correspondent in Tehran from 2012 to 2016 and is now a writer for its Global Opinions section. A book about his experience in Iran, titled Prisoner, was released in January. In 2017, Rezaian lit the ceremonial Candle of Remembrance at the OPC Awards Dinner.


Desmond Boylan, a veteran photojournalist for The Associated Press, died suddenly while on assignment in Cuba on Dec. 29. at the age of 54. Boylan was traveling to cover New Year’s festivities in Central Havana for the AP when he reported feeling ill. He asked to rest on a local family’s couch and passed away there. Boylan began working as a photographer for AP in Spain in 1989. He later worked for Reuters, covering the end of apartheid in South Africa, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and war in the former Yugoslavia. Boylan traveled to Cuba in 1994, where he met his wife Gloria Gonzalez. He worked from Madrid and India, covering conflict in Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, and then moved back to Cuba in 2009, returning to the AP in 2014.

Peter Larkin, former foreign editor of CBS News, passed away early New Year’s Eve with his family around him. He was 76 years old. His mission was to help Americans better understand events abroad and their impact on the U.S. He worked at UPI and at CBS News as a war correspondent in Vietnam and during the Indo-Pakistani war. Life-threatening battlefield wounds he sustained while covering the Vietnam war left him with lifelong pain. Despite this, Peter worked at CBS News for more than 20 years. Peter rose from foreign correspondent to CBS News London Bureau Chief, and he became Foreign Editor of CBS News, working closely with Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather. International news coverage directed by Peter won many awards and accolades. He leaves a daughter, Brett Elizabeth Larkin. Donations in his memory can be made to the Overseas Press Club Foundation.