- ___ 2014 July-December
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2022 January-June Issue
June 10, 2022
The Asian American Journalists Association has announced that Angelique Chen, this year’s Reuters Fellowship winner, is one of five recipients of the 2022 Facebook Journalism Project Scholarships. Recipients will receive $10,000 each to use toward tuition. Chen is pursuing a master’s in business and economic reporting at New York University. She will be working with Reuters this summer as an OPC fellow. Chen graduated from National Taiwan University in 2021 with a degree in international business and a minor in English Literature. Over the past few months, she has been a part-time market reporter at CoinDesk.
Isabel DeBre, the 2018 Stan Swinton Scholarship winner, is among a class of 25 Associated Press journalists who will participate in the organization’s inaugural LEAD program, which is designed to “help participants better understand how AP operates across departments and to build skills needed to inspire change, lead teams and propel innovation.” She had an OPC Foundation fellowship with the AP in Jerusalem, and then was hired on as a reporter.
Freelance journalist Neha Wadekar, the Reuters Scholarship winner in 2016, has been selected as the winner of the Pulitzer Center’s annual Breakthrough Journalism Award. The $12,000 prize recognizes the achievements of Pulitzer Center-affiliated freelance journalists who report on underreported global issues. Wadekar was recognized for her reporting about the fight for Cabo Delgado in Mozambique. This underreported conflict has displaced over 700,000 people and killed thousands more. According to Wadekar’s reporting, tranquil coastal towns once popular with tourists have been ravaged by ISIS-affiliated militants who have propelled Mozambique’s insurgency onto the global stage.
Two OPC Governors served on reporting teams that won Peabody Awards this year. OPC Governor Hendrik Hinzel was part of a VICE News team that won a Peabody for a series he co-created called “Transnational” about global transgender rights and resilience. The series includes coverage of a trans ballroom community in Detroit, a government-sponsored safe haven in Mexico City, and stories in the UK and Indonesia. A post on the Peabody website said the series focuses on “on-the-ground activists and their hard-earned victories,” and said each episode also “celebrates the joy that can exist within resistance. There’s an agency to the reporting here; no doubt a byproduct of this GLAAD co-produced endeavor being fronted by a team of trans journalists.”
OPC Governor Raney Aronson-Rath, as executive producer for FRONTILNE, was part of the teams that won two Peabody Awards, one for a documentary on Maria Ressa, titled A Thousand Cuts, and another for Escaping Eritrea, about abuses faced by Eritreans at home and on perilous migration routes. Ressa helmed the Rappeler website that fought for press freedom in the face of President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on news media. A post profiling the winners said the documentary takes the audience inside escalating conflict between Rappler and the government. “With astonishing access and chilling precision, A Thousand Cuts is a journalistic profile in courage for our time and a cautionary tale for global press freedom straining against the rise of populist autocracies around the world.” Escaping Eritrea also received a Citation for Excellence (runner-up) in the David A. Andelman and Pamela Title category. The Peabody award page said that “amid threat of incarceration, torture, and execution in a country with no free press, the subjects and filmmakers … conducted an unprecedented, years-long investigation.”
White attending an awards ceremony to receive a New York Press Club Award on June 6, OPC Governor Vivienne Walt said she was “especially honored to be recognized by my peers” for reporting on Saudi Arabia’s entanglement with Hollywood for FORTUNE magazine. She won the award in the category of Entertainment News National, Magazine. “The billions of dollars in both directions interweave the interests of two juggernauts: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS, and Hollywood, whose progressive image is at odds with the Kingdom, but whose thirst for fresh markets and content has rocketed with the rise of streaming,” Walt wrote in LinkedIn post from the awards dinner.
OPC Governor Azmat Khan and her colleagues continue to garner honors for New York Times Magazine reporting on casualties from U.S. airstrikes due to neglect and poor ground intelligence, and the efforts to cover up deadly mistakes. She won the 2022 Freedom of the Press Catalyst Award, for “reporting that has had a significant impact.” The award is given by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Khan was one of just five recipients of the press awards this year. The airstrike investigation also won a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award for New Media, and the John Siegenthaler Courage in Journalism Award. The project also won this year’s Roy Rowan Award from the OPC and as mentioned in the May 13 People column, the project won a Pulitzer Prize in the international reporting category.
The Los Angeles Times has announced that Scott Kraft, who has served as head judge for the OPC Annual Awards for many years and is a vice president of the club’s Board of Governors, will now serve in a newly created role as the paper’s editor at large, enterprise journalism and special projects. Kraft currently serves as managing editor for the Times. An announcement in the Times said that Kraft would keep some of his current responsibilities and expand on them as editor at large, and oversee the Investigations department, standards and practices, contest entries, polling and survey research projects, and newsroom-wide reporting initiatives.
British Vogue has named OPC member Dana Thomas as European sustainability editor. She will write a column dedicated to sustainability, the environment and fashion. Thomas will also continue to host the podcast The Green Dream with Dana Thomas, where she talks with guests about politics, fashion and sustainability. She has written for a number of magazines including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and is the author of several books, including Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes.
Columbia University has announced that OPC Governor Ginger Thompson has been elected to serve on the Pulitzer Prize Board. Thompson is currently chief of correspondents and deputy managing editor of ProPublica. Her career has included extensive reporting on Latin America. She has worked for eight years at ProPublica overseeing recruitment and retention while also working on reporting projects. Thompson won the OPC’s 1995 Eric and Amy Burger Award along with colleague Gary Cohn for reporting on Honduras for The Baltimore Sun. Thompson was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at The New York Times and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service two times.
OPC member Andy Katell decided to come out of retirement to help The Associated Press with its news coverage of Russia-Ukraine. Working remotely out of his house in the Greater New York City area, Katell is reporting and editing several days a week as part of the AP’s global team, returning to journalism after a 28-year absence and after completing two other careers. Starting in the 1980s, he worked full-time for the AP for 14 years as a correspondent and editor in Moscow, the United Nations, the International Desk in New York and the Charleston, West Virginia bureau.
OPC member Kathy Gannon announced on Twitter that she has received the Joan Shorenstein Fellowship for the fall semester at the Harvard Kennedy School. She wrote that she “couldn’t be more grateful and excited to explore the extraordinary challenges facing journalism today.” Gannon announced in May that she is retiring after 35 years of covering Afghanistan and Pakistan for The Associated Press.
May 26, 2022
Krisztián Sándor, the Reuters Fellowship winner in 2021, is joining Coindesk’s U.S. Markets team as a reporter on stablecoins and Wall Street. He had been interning at the media organization since February, and transitioning into a full-time role following graduation from New York University. Sándor had an OPC Foundation fellowship with the Reuter’s finance and markets team in London where he rotated among teams covering emerging markets, EU monetary policy and crypto regulations.
Meena Venkataramanan, the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2021, published a review of Grace D. Li’s novel Portrait of a Thief in the Boston Globe on May 5. The book is set in Cambridge, Massachusetts and follows Chinese American art thieves cultural artifacts. Venkataramanan wrote that in the novel, Li “grapples with the American Dream, recognizing the protagonists’ attempt to rescue its idealized notion from their parents’ clutches and reshape it for themselves.”
Marta Orosz, the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2020, joined Reuters as a banking and economics correspondent covering Berlin and Frankfurt. She previously worked for Business Insider Germany as a business editor.
Serginho Roosblad, winner of the Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in memory of I.F. Stone in 2017, is now a video journalist with The Associated Press Global Investigations. He joined the AP’s global investigative team in 2017 as the first hire in a program funded by the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting.
Wei Zhou, winner of the S&P Award for Economic and Business Reporting in 2016, recently joined Bloomberg’s China credit team as a reporter to cover China’s onshore and offshore credit markets. She is currently based in Bloomberg’s Hong Kong bureau, and had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Shanghai bureau of The Wall Street Journal where she later worked as a researcher.
Levi Bridges, the 2016 Stan Swinton Fellowship winner, is based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, covering the former Soviet states mainly for NPR shows and podcasts. The war in Ukraine has upended his plans to return to Moscow, where he once had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Associated Press bureau.
OPC Governor Vivienne Walt won a New York Press Club Award in the category of Entertainment News National, Magazine. In a release, the organization cited her entry titled “Entertaining the ‘New Saudi’” for FORTUNE. In August 2021, Walt reported on media companies like Netflix making a play for the affluent Saudi market despite geopolitical risks. Her more recent reporting includes a May 17 piece for FORTUNE, delving into an “army” of information technology warriors in Ukraine supporting front-line combatants in the war against Russian invaders. She wrote that a group of 20 engineers, managers, executives and entrepreneurs calling themselves the “IT Unit” “have formed an unexpected back office for battles raging about 700 miles east of this picturesque town named Mukachevo.”
Lulu Garcia-Navarro, a New York Times Opinion writer who delivered the keynote address during the OPC Annual Awards Dinner in April, Is set to launch a new podcast on June 9. “First Person” will explore how experience shapes opinions, and each episode will feature “people living through the headlines for intimate and surprising conversations that help us make sense of our complicated world.” Navarro was part of an NPR team that won the 2012 Lowell Thomas Award for reporting on the Arab Spring.
OPC member Valerie Hopkins, winner of the 2013 Jerry Flint Fellowship for International Business Reporting, voiced a May 10 article she wrote for The New York Times about Russian activist and leader of Pussy Riot, Masha Alyokhina, and her dramatic journey from Moscow to Europe so she could tour. Hopkins wrote that Alyokhina disguised herself as a food courier to evade the police who had been staking out the location where she was staying. She left behind a cell phone as a decoy to avoid being racked, Hopkins wrote. She read and recorded the story for the Times.
OPC member Nicole Tung was a guest on the Harper’s Podcast on May 16 about her four photo essays of Ukraine for the magazine, and the power of photojournalism and the ethical complexity of representation. Host and web editor web editor Violet Lucca asked Tung to address how photojournalists can best portray a conflict that is outside of their culture, how to preserve respect for those involved, and how Tung’s experience in war zones has informed her craft. Tung received an OPC Citation for Excellence in the Olivier Rebbot category this year for her for coverage of Syria for The Washington Post.
British Vogue has named OPC member Dana Thomas as European sustainability editor. She will write a column dedicated to sustainability, the environment and fashion. Thomas will also continue to host the podcast The Green Dream with Dana Thomas, where she talks with guests about politics, fashion and sustainability. She has written for a number of magazines including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and is the author of several books, including Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes.
OPC member Jaime FlorCruz, a veteran Asia analyst and China correspondent, spoke to CBS News on the eve of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s election win on May 9, saying the son of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos would likely try to de-escalate sporadic conflicts between the Chinese Coast Guard and Filipino fishermen over territorial maritime disputes. “For pragmatic reasons, I expect the Marcos Jr. administration to keep the two sides offering not just signals of goodwill, but also practical benefits,” he said. “For example, the Marcos Jr. administration may try to renegotiate the Mutual Defense Treaty [with the U.S.] and try to maximize benefits from such a treaty.” Florcruz was born in the Philippines. In the early 1970s, as an activist against the Marcos regime, he was forced into exile while studying in China when Marcos started arresting his opponents and critics. FlorCruz’s passport expired after a year, and he found himself stateless in China for 12 years. He stayed in China and worked as a correspondent for more than 30 years, retiring as CNN bureau chief in Beijing at the end of 2014.
May 13, 2022
Arno Pedram, the Flora Lewis/Jacqueline Albert-Simon Scholarship winner for 2021, is in Paris working as lead producer for France 24’s English global news channel and reporting on justice and race for The Associated Press. Recent work includes an April 21 story about tensions over race and religion in France’s presidential race, in which he wrote that “from attacks on ‘wokeism’ to crackdowns on mosques, France’s presidential campaign has been especially challenging for voters of immigrant heritage and religious minorities, as discourse painting them as ‘the other’ has gained ground across a swath of French society.”
Brett Simpson, the Irene Corbally Kuhn Scholarship winner in 2021, is one of only five journalists to receive a 2022-23 Fulbright Young Professional Journalist Grant to Germany. Her project proposal, published by National Geographic, “The Great Energiewende: Community-level impacts of Germany’s energy transition,” drew on many of the clean energy conundrums and contradictions that she saw in her reporting in Norway.
Maddy Crowell, the Irene Corbally Kuhn Scholarship winner in 2014, and Olivia Carville, the Roy Rowan Scholarship winner in 2018, are among the finalists for the Livingston Award, honoring the best reporting and storytelling by young journalists. Crowell was nominated for “Invisible Kid” in Atavist Magazine while Carville was nominated for “AirbNb” in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Simon Akam, the Emmanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2009, won the Templer Best First Book Prize for The Changing of the Guard: The British Army since 9/11. The organization recognizes achievements that make a significant contribution to the history of the British Army. Akam had an OPC Foundation fellowship in the Reuters bureau in Istanbul.
The Pulitzer Prizes honored several OPC members and award winners in this year’s announcement on May 9. The New York Times won in the Pulitzer’s International Reporting category for the airstrike series shepherded by OPC Governor Azmat Khan. That project also won the OPC’s Roy Rowan Award this year. “This project was born out of the belief that every American deserves to be informed about the wars waged in their names,” Khan tweeted about the announcement. On Facebook, she thanked many contributors including Lila Hassan, a former student from Khan’s conflict reporting course at Columbia who is an OPC member and a recipient of an OPC grant to help freelancers weather hardships of the pandemic. She said Hassan and Leila Barghouty, another recipient of an OPC COVID-19 grant, helped to digitize and analyze key documents for the project. The Times’ airstrike reporting was nominated as a finalist for the Pulitzer’s Public Service category before judges moved it to International Reporting.
In the Feature Photography category, a group of Reuters photojournalists for images of the COVID-19 toll in India. The group included Danish Siddiqui, who was killed in Afghanistan in July last year while covering clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban. The OPC honored him during the candle lighting ceremony at the October 2021 Awards Dinner.
OPC member Anand Gopal was a Pulitzer finalist in the Feature Writing category. Gopal won the Ed Cunningham Award this year for the fourth time for his story in The New Yorker about the effects of war on women’s rights in Afghanistan.
An anonymous freelance photographer for The New York Times was a finalist in the Pulitzer’s Breaking News Photography category for work focused on the coup in Myanmar. A Citation for Excellence in this year’s Robert Capa Gold Medal category also went to an anonymous photojournalist for work in The New York Times. Separately, an anonymous photojournalist won the Capa award this year for reporting on Myanmar for Getty Images.
The Pulitzer judges awarded a Special Citation to journalists in Ukraine “for their courage, endurance, and commitment to truthful reporting during Vladimir Putin’s ruthless invasion of their country and his propaganda war in Russia.” The OPC also honored Ukrainian journalists at last month’s candle lighting ceremony at the Annual Awards Dinner.
Winners of the OPC’s Lowell Thomas Award from National Public Radio (NPR) who were honored last month also won a Gracie Award for their reporting on India. Lauren Frayer, Sushmita Pathak and Nishant Dahiya got a Gracie in the category of Crisis Coverage/Breaking News among non-syndicated, non-commercial radio nominees. The award, which also named colleagues Hannah Bloch and Marc Silver, was for the team’s coverage of India’s farmer protests in March last year. Their Lowell Thomas Award, won along with Didrik Schanche, was for a separate story about India’s COVID-19 wave in 2021. Dahiya and Schanche were also part of a team that received a Gracie in the Series category for work titled “Women in China.” The Annual Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, have recognized women working in media for more than 40 years.
Jane Ferguson, a member of the PBS NewsHour team that won the Peter Jennings Award for coverage of Afghanistan last year, also won a Gracie Award for Reporter/Correspondent in the national TV category for Public Broadcast for reporting on conflict in Yemen. Ferguson and PBS NewsHour also received a Peabody Award nomination for Yemen coverage.
Recipients of an OPC Citation for Excellence this year in the David A. Andelman and Pamela Title Award category from FRONTLINE PBS also garnered a Peabody Award nomination for the same report on atrocities in “Escaping Eritrea,” in the News category.
Annalise Jolley and Zahara Gomez Lucini, who won the OPC’s Madeline Dane Ross Award for their reporting in Atavist magazine about Mexican women suffering loss of missing relatives through the lens of food, were nominated for a James Beard Award in the Innovative Storytelling category. “A Feast for Lost Souls”
Longtime OPC member Kathy Gannon is retiring after 35 years of covering Afghanistan and Pakistan for The Associated Press. Gannon spoke to NPR’s All Things Considered from Islamabad on May 12. She told host Ailsa Chang that she feels grateful when reflecting on her career. “I mean, to have witnessed so much history – the invasion of the Soviet Union, the invasion of the U.S.-led coalition, the Mujahedeen,” she said. ” I believe very strongly that we as journalists and journalism is about telling the story of others. And I feel that more and more, I’d like to maybe look at journalism and where we are today in our profession. I have a book in the works, so that’s – maybe that’s the next phase.” In 2015, Gannon talked with Ellen Nimmons of the Associated Press for an OPC video memoir. She lit the candle of remembrance at the OPC Annual Awards Dinner in 2015, and received the OPC’s President’s Award in 2018.
Max Bearak, a member of the team that won the OPC’s most recent Kim Wall Award, has been named as one of two Washington Post journalists who will lead the paper’s new bureau in Kyiv. Bearak will serve as chief correspondent, with colleague Isabelle Khurshudyan taking on the role of bureau chief. In the announcement, OPC Vice President and Post foreign editor Douglas Jehl said the move would “allow us to maintain our intensive on-the-ground reporting and ensure that we continue to deliver the distinctive and authoritative journalism that readers around the world count on us for.” Bearak shared the Kim Wall Award with colleagues Dylan Moriarty and Júlia Ledur for their multimedia piece on rapidly expanding megacities in Africa.
OPC Treasurer Deborah Amos of National Public Radio was featured on a May 12 episode of the Selected Wisdom podcast, hosted by Clint Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She discussed her career as foreign correspondent covering the Middle East and changes in the journalism industry over the years. Amos told Watts that the start of her career in the early 90s was a turning point for women in the industry, especially in the Middle East, when more women correspondents covered the First Gulf War. She that had ripple effects in Saudi Arabia, she said, as Saudi women saw female journalist and soldiers from the U.S.
Mathew Chance, part of the CNN team that won the most recent David Kaplan Award, was interviewed in Esquire magazine on May 2 about his experience returning to Moscow for the first time since December. Chance shared his Kaplan Award win with colleagues Zahra Ullah and Jeffrey Kehl for their coverage of migrant issues in Belarus.
Isobel Yeung, a member of the VICE News team that received the Edward R. Murrow Award this year for reporting on the toll of conflict on children in Yemen, spoke to Vogue magazine late last month about her experience covering the war in Ukraine. The article profiled a group of several women journalists whose work Vogue’s Michelle Ruiz described as “in-depth, empathetic, almost impressionistic emphasis on civilian life—the upheavals, the sudden loss of normalcy, and the everyday ways people persist in the darkest of circumstances” has been defining coverage of the war. Among other women mentioned in the article was Clarissa Ward of CNN, winner of the 2016 David Kaplan Award for coverage of Syria.
A photographic retrospective for the work of James Nachtwey, a prominent photojournalist who won a number of OPC accolades, is currently on display at Fotografiska in New York. The exhibition is titled “Memoria.” He among the veteran war photographers who have traveled to Ukraine in recent months. Nachtwey has won five photo awards from the OPC over the years, including Robert Capa Awards for 1983, 1994 and 1998, and an Olivier Rebbot Award as well as a special photo award in 2001. In 2008, he received an OPC President’s Award for his work. An archive copy of his acceptance speech is posted on the OPC website.
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University announced on May 2 that it will take over the administration of the Human Rights Press Awards starting next year after this year’s event was canceled. The awards, which will celebrate a 27th anniversary next year, have been organized by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) of Hong Kong since they were launched. The South China Morning Post reported that the FCC cited “‘significant areas of uncertainty’ and the need to avoid ‘unintentionally’ breaking the law” as reasons for the decision. A global call for entries will be announced in December, with the winners revealed the following May. Hong Kong fell 68 places on the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index amid a sweeping crackdown.
VICE Media, the company that owns VICE News, has hired financial advisors in preparation for a possible sale, according to a May 2 report from CNBC. The report cites unnamed sources as saying several buyers have expressed interest in acquiring the company outright, but the company could sell its assets off in pieces. News of a possible sale comes as the company looks for ways to pay back about $1 billion in debt.
Viorel Florescu, an award-winning photojournalist known for his coverage of conflict zones around the world, died on April 30 in Pennsylvania at the age of 72. He won a Citation for Excellence in the OPC’s 1994 John Faber Award category for work in Haiti as well as another citation in a 1990 photography category for his reporting in Moscow. He also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his coverage of the Union Square subway derailment in Manhattan, another in 1997 for his work on the TWA Flight 800 crash off Long Island and a World Press Award for his coverage of Haiti’s 1987 elections. His work is mentioned in a 2000 Dateline article by Matthew McAllester about the rigors of reporting in the digital age, in which the Newsday correspondent recalled seeing Florescu in Kosovo with a “huge supply of communication gadgets” including a satellite phone.
Richard Wagner, a longtime correspondent for CBS News who covered the Vietnam War, among other global conflicts, died on May 10 in Virginia at the age of 85. He won the OPC’s 1987 Ben Grauer Award for best radio spot news reporting from abroad, along with colleagues Allen Pizzey, Dan Raviv and Doug Tunnell, for Persian Gulf coverage. He is also named among many CBS News contributors to a breaking news series that won the 1980 Lowell Thomas Award for coverage of the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in Iran. In his 30-year career, he was based in London, Saigon, Hong Kong and Johannesburg, and covered conflicts in Northern Ireland, South Korea, Iraq, El Salvador and China, as well as the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of South Africa’s apartheid policies.
April 29, 2022
Max Seddon, an OPC member who serves as the Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times and won the 2012 Stan Swinton Internship, has continued to cover the Russian invasion of Ukraine, recently with a piece on April 15 about Natalia Sindeyeva, the founder of TV Rain (or Dozhd), and how it grew over more than a decade from a lifestyle broadcaster to an independent news channel and a focal point of Russian dissent. Speaking from exile in Istanbul, she told Seddon that she hopes to return to Russia, and discussed her goal to bring back the news channel that shuttered amid fears that they could be prosecuted for violating “fake news” laws. “I had no idea I had so much endurance and courage inside me. I got to know myself better — I’d never been in a position for that to come through. That’s why I’m not scared of anything,” she said. Seddon has been with the Financial Times for about six years, and became Moscow bureau chief about six months ago. He recently spoke with OPC Past President William J. Holstein and John Daniszewski of The Associated Press for an interview about his experience covering the war that will be broadcast during the OPC Foundation’s Scholar Awards program on May 11. See our Upcoming Events section above for more details.
Jonathan Richard Jones, the winner of the Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in memory of I.F. Stone in 2009, along with his team from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, won an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award for their 2021 production of “Mississippi Goddam: The Ballad of Billey Joe.” The seven-part series investigates the 2008 suspicious death of Billey Joe Johnson Jr., a 17-year-old Black high school student in Lucedale, Mississippi.
Sarah Garland, the Theo Wilson Scholarship winner in 2004, has been named a new assistant editor for Metro at The New York Times. She will oversee the Times’ coverage of education, health care, housing and homelessness. Most recently Sarah was the executive editor of the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit education news outlet. Before joining them in 2010, she worked for Newsweek International and The New York Sun. She is the author of Divided We Fall and Gangs in Garden City.
OPC Governor Marina Guevara Walker, who was the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2005, was among those who took first place in this year’s Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) Awards in the Energy/Resources category in Large Division for a collaboration of NBC News Investigations, The New York Times and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for “Rainforest Destruction: The Supply Chains To U.S. Consumers.”
Jeff Horvitz, the Fred Wiegl Scholarship winner in 2009, and Georgia Wells, the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2012, and their team from The Wall Street Journal added a SABEW to their list of prizes for “The Facebook Files.” They won the Investigative, Large Category. Wells also received an honorable mention in the Video category for the Journal’s “How TikTok’s Algorithm Figures Out Your Deepest Desires.” Aaron Clark, the 2007 Roy Rowan Scholarship winner, and his colleagues from Bloomberg won the International Reporting prize for “Methane Emissions.” In that same category, Eva Dou, winner of the S&P Global Award for Economic and Business Reporting in 2012, and The Washington Post received an honorable mention for “Inside Huawei.” In the Technology category, Garance Burke, the Freedman winner in 2004, and her Associated Press colleagues received an honorable mention for “How AI-powered tech landed man in jail, with scant evidence.”
The New York Times has announced that Farnaz Fassihi, an OPC Governor and award-winning foreign correspondent, will serve as the paper’s next United Nations bureau chief, while continuing to help with coverage of Iran. A Times announcement on April 5 recounted Fassihi’s early career with the paper, when an earthquake struck Iran while she was attending college in Tehran. The Times sent a reporter, Phil Shenon, from Washington to cover the story and a professor recommended he hire Farnaz as a fixer because of her fluent English. She spent the next few weeks working for the Times. “She had all the instincts of a fine journalist at the age of 19. And she was brave and willing to take risks,” Shenon said. Their collaboration was a revelation for Farnaz. “I knew by the end of the first day that I had found my calling in life and wanted to be a journalist,” she said.
OPC member Sewell Chan, who serves as the editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, graduated on April from the Executive Program in News Leadership and Innovation at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. He said in a Facebook post that the program taught him business strategy, digital product development, finance, data and audience engagement – all areas he will need in his new post at the Tribune. Chan previously worked at the Los Angeles Times overseeing opinion pages.
OPC member David Hume Kennerly wrote an essay with photos for The New York Times opinion section on April 16 discussing his experience seeing images of violence in Bucha, Ukraine. He likened the images to his memories of covering the aftermath of mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978. Kennerly had been one of the first photographers on the scene and saw the bodies of colleagues and more than 900 other people at the jungle compound. He said photographs taken in Ukraine, as with images of Jonestown and the Vietnam War, have the power to “make us confront horror.” Images of atrocities in Ukraine, he wrote, were “taken by trusted photojournalists. They are the truth, and a record of the mendacity and brutality of the Russian military. As accusations of war crimes mount, these photos are the documentation the world needs to finally understand what is really happening in Ukraine.” Kennerly won the OPC’s 1985 Olivier Rebbot Award for images of a meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva, a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his images of the Vietnam War, among many others, and was the chief White House photographer for President Gerald Ford. A link to Kennerly’s essay follows. Be warned that the piece contains images of graphic violence from Jonestown, Ukraine, the Vietnam War, and World War II. Read the piece here.
Daniel Berehulak, an award-winning photojournalist and OPC member, has continued to cover the Russian invasion of Ukraine for The New York Times, recently with a series of photographs that accompanied a long-form piece on April 11 about the city of Bucha, written by colleague Carlotta Gall, that reported as Russian troops stalled in its advance against Kyiv, the military waged a month of “terror and revenge” against civilians nearby. Berehulak took all of the photographs for the piece, which depict horrific scenes of death and violence, with bodies abandoned in the aftermath of atrocities, leaving a “landscape of horrors.” Berehulak won two OPC awards for his work in the Times, the 2015 Feature Photography Award for covering an earthquake in Nepal, and the 2016 Olivier Rebbot Award for a series capturing the human cost of the Philippine drug war. He also won the OPC’s 2010 John Faber Award for photographs of floods in Pakistan for Getty Images.
OPC member Sofia Barbarani wrote a piece for the Independent on March 29 covering the growing concern from Italian charities about the threat of child trafficking as Ukrainian refugees flee to new homes across Europe, including tens of thousands of children arriving in Italy alone. Barbarani covers Italy and wider Europe for the Independent and other outlets and has previously covered Iraq, Kurdistan, and northeast Syria.
OPC member Jim Bitterman reported from France for CNN in the days before the French election on the role the Ukraine war could play in the outcome and aftermath. He said many voters were focused on news about the war, which could have suppressed turnout, with polls at the time showing about 90 percent of the French electorate saying they are worried about the war. He added that candidates were haunted by statements they made before the Russian invasion, with far-right candidate Eric Zemour supporting Vladimir Putin before the war and blaming the U.S. for provoking him, and far-left candidate Jean-luc Mélechon cautioning against vilifying Russia and calling them a partner. The election ended on April 24 with Emmanuel Macron taking more than 58 percent of the vote and becoming the first French leader to be reelected in 20 years.
Stephen Baker, a journalist and author who won the OPC’s 1992 Morton Frank Award for reporting on the rising auto industry in Mexico, is slated to publish a fiction crime thriller in May for Atmosphere Press titled Donkey Show. The book’s protagonist is a photojournalist who is attacked and on the run from a Mexican drug trafficker. Baker has worked as a journalist in many cities, including Paris, Mexico City, Caracas, Quito, Madrid, New York, and El Paso. He has written one other fiction book, The Boost, in 2014, and several non-fiction books that focus on technology.
Joseph Kahn, a former China correspondent who helmed the international desk of The New York Times, and then became managing editor, has been named as the paper’s next executive editor. Kahn was part of the Times team that won the OPC’s 2007 Whitman Bassow Award for reporting on environmental damage from in China’s rapid growth. He delivered the keynote address at the OPC’s Annual Awards Dinner in 2018, which can be seen here.
March 31, 2022
Juan Diego Arredondo, the 2020 winner of the OPC Foundation’s Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in memory I.F. Stone, has returned to the U.S. after surviving gunshot wounds from an attack in Ukraine in which his colleague, Brent Renaud, was shot and killed. Arredondo spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper while receiving treatment at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He recounted events on the day of the attack, when he and colleagues were trying to cross a bridge that was part of what he said was designated as a “humanitarian corridor” for those fleeing violence. “I saw in the trenches two [soldiers]. One of them pulled out [an AK-47], and I just shouted ‘we’re getting shot!’” he told Cooper.
The 2022 Edith Lederer Scholarship winner, Emma Tobin, landed a photo in The Wall Street Journal on March 24 accompanying a story about the safety status of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children. She took the photo for The Associated Press. In a tweet, Tobin shared a photo of the paper, saying “my dad excitedly sent me a photo of his morning @WSJ this week when he realized I took the photo he was looking at. Always fun seeing how far @AP travels.”
Euan Ward, the 2022 winner of the Rick Davis-Deb Amos scholarship, was named the international reporting fellow for the 2022-2023 New York Times Fellowship Class. Currently at Columbia Journalism School, he formerly was based in Beirut where he reported for a number of news organizations including The Guardian, CNN and Al-Arabiya. Last year, Ward led a cross-border investigation for The Guardian into the abuse of “golden passport” schemes by the world’s rich and powerful.
Meena Venkataramanan, the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2021, published a review on March 22 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of Sindya Bhanoo’s book of short stories, Seeking Fortune Elsewhere, which uses the structure of the American road trip to explore narratives focused on Indian immigrants, particularly Tamil women and their children.
Kimon de Greef, the David R. Schweisberg Scholarship winner in 2020, has an article in The New Yorker posted on March 21 about psychedelic toad smoking and a divisive self-styled healer who popularized the practice. He wrote about a practice amplified by Octavio Rettig, a charismatic Mexican doctor who took the stage at the Burning Man festival in Nevada in 2013 to talk about what he called “the ultimate experience.” De Greef wrote that smoking the dried excretions of the psychedelic toad has been likened to “being strapped to the nose of a rocket that flies into the sun and evaporates.”
Rana Ayyub, a columnist for The Washington Post who earlier this month was named winner of the OPC’s Flora Lewis Award, was barred from boarding a flight to London on March 29 as she was departing for an International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) event in which she was scheduled to deliver a keynote address on violence and targeting of women journalists in India. She also received an email summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates financial crimes, an hour after she reached the airport. Ayyub was to receive an award and address the newsroom of the Guardian newspaper on April 1. Indian media have reported that Ayyub has been told to appear for questioning in the case on April 1. Press freedom advocates and supporters have been calling for her release under the hashtag #LetRanaFly. Ayyub won the Flora Lewis Award for her commentary writing about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s systematic persecution of the Muslim minority.
OPC Governor Marjorie Miller, vice president and global enterprise editor at The Associated Press, has been named administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. In a March 31 announcement Lee C. Bollinger, the President of Columbia University and a Pulitzer Prize board member, said Miller “has spent her long and successful career covering the complex and consequential forces shaping our global society,” and added that he “cannot think of a better steward for the Pulitzer Prizes.” Miller said that she would will take pride in “helping to safeguard the prizes at a time when truth, facts and books are under assault.” Her new post will be effective April 11.
OPC Governor Sandra Stevenson of CNN was named as one of three judges for The Alexia’s 2022 student and professional photography grant competition. Stevenson, associate director of photography for CNN, will join Todd Heisler of The New York Times and Jehan Jillani of The Atlantic, in a selection weekend that starts April 1 in Syracuse, New York. The recipient of the The Alexia professional grant will receive $20,000 to produce their proposed project, and the student recipient will receive $1,000. This year’s grant submissions come from 50 countries around the world. The Alexia was created to celebrate and remember Alexia Tsairis, a student at Syracuse University who was killed in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. She was one of 35 Syracuse students on that flight.
OPC member Dexter Roberts, the author of The Myth of Chinese Capitalism, spoke to Voice of America for a piece on March 9 about China’s role in response to sanctions against Russia in support of Ukraine. In a piece concluding overall that China could not do enough to offset sanctions by the U.S. and other allies, Roberts was quoted as saying that China’s economic support for Russia has limits, but that the two countries would maintain ties as key trading partners, “I do think longer term we’re likely to see a continued growing trade relationship and investment relationship between China and Russia,” he said. “For Russia it really matters.” Roberts participated in an OPC book night in April 2020 to discuss China’s future in light of the pandemic, which was still in its early stages at the time.
OPC member Markos Kounalakis co-wrote an opinion piece on March 28 for the San Francisco Examiner that highlights the plight of refugees fleeing Venezuela. The piece, written with colleague Leopoldo López, draws links between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and social and government collapse in Venezuela, naming a so-called global Axis of Autocracy that includes countries that Russia supports such as China, Iran, Turkey, Cuba, Nicaragua, Hungary, North Korea. “Why is America trying now to wedge itself between Russia and Venezuela? In part because this Axis not only facilitates Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine, but also because it supports the democratic and civilizational erosion of Venezuela,” the authors wrote. Kounalakis is author of several books, including a new book published in February titled Freedom Isn’t Free, and Spin Wars and Spy Games: Global Media and Intelligence Gathering, published in 2018, that warned state-run media in China and Russia were overtaking Western media as the latter shrinks its foreign desks.
Kim Hjelmgaard, an OPC member and USA TODAY world correspondent, has been reporting from the Polish border and Lviv in western Ukraine. With a half dozen bylines in March alone, Hjelmgaard has filed stories about the flow of refugees over the border with Poland, Ukraine’s governmental response to war, the most prized possessions of refugees on the move, the struggles of a Polish border city welcoming newcomers, and families in Ukraine divided by the invasion.
The Los Angeles Times named Sara Yasin as a managing editor. Yasin, who is currently managing editor for BuzzFeed, will join Scott Kraft, an OPC vice president and the head judge of the OPC’s Annual Awards, along with his colleague Shani Hilton on the team of managing editors. The paper’s executive editor, Kevin Merida, said that Yasin will oversee the daily news operation as well as photo, data and graphics teams, beginning April 18.
Dirck Halstead, a past OPC Award winner and photojournalist who covered landmark stories over a 50-year career United Press International, TIME magazine and other news outlets, died on March 25 in Boquete, Panama at the age of 85. Halstead won the OPC’s 1975 Robert Capa Award for his coverage of the Vietnam War for TIME. OPC member and photographer David Hume Kennerly, a longtime friend and colleague of Halstead’s, said in a statement quoted in The New York Times that he “covered history in an intelligent way” and was “cool under fire” when the two were covering conflict. “One time in 1972 we were pinned down by North Vietnamese regulars near Loc. South Vietnamese soldiers were dying left and right around us, mortar rounds were exploding, we were taking heavy machine gun fire from the tree line, when Dirck looked at me and said, ‘Can’t wait to have a drink at the Melody Bar tonight.’”
March 3, 2022
Jimin Kang, the 2021 Rick Davis-Deb Amos Scholarship winner, has a guest essay in the March 1 Opinion section of The New York Times on how she gave up English for Lent. Kang had an OPC Foundation fellowship with the Reuters bureau in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She graduated from Princeton last June and is currently a graduate student at Oxford.
Meena Venkataramanan, the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2021, was named to the Washington Post summer 2022 intern class. Currently a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, she will be a reporting intern on the General Assignment news desk. Venkataramanan had an internship in the summer of 2021 with the Los Angeles Times. She also recently had a book review published the Times, writing as freelancer in the Feb. 25 edition about Namrata Poddar’s book Border Less, which she said “attempts to advance that evolution for a new generation of immigrants and their children, for whom South Asia and the United States aren’t diametrically opposed but rather interconnected through mutual exchange.”
Valerie Hopkins, an OPC member and the winner of the 2013 Jerry Flint Fellowship for International Business Reporting, has been reporting for The New York times from Ukraine, with dozens of bylines per day and since conflict began to brew in mid-February, often up to 6 or 7 in a single day. In recent days, she has written about Russia’s escalating attacks and a wave of refugees fleeing violence, Africans and other foreigners reporting abuse at borders while trying to escape, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s accusations against Russia for war crimes in deliberately targeting civilians.
Max Seddon, the 2012 Stan Swinton Internship winner, is reporting from Russia as Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times. He has recently been quoted in Mother Jones, Salon, VICE News, the Freedom of the Press Foundation and The Intercept, among others, and appeared on CNN. Seddon is pictured on the right of the screen photo, reporting from Moscow.
Jeff Horwitz, the Fred Wiegold Scholarship winner in 2009, and the staff of The Wall Street Journal, including Georgia Wells, the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship winner in 2012, won the George Polk Award in Business Reporting for “The Facebook Files,” a series documenting how Facebook (now Meta) ignored internal findings that company practices promoted anger, divisiveness and extremism; protected drug cartels, human traffickers and dictators; and endangered teenage girls susceptible to body-image concerns, anxiety and depression. Files Horwitz obtained from a whistleblower demonstrated that top executives rejected fixes they feared might reduce profitability or create political friction.
OPC Past President David A. Andelman has recently launched a new SubStack page called Andelman Unleashed, in which he is chronicling French and other elections across Europe and setting them in context. He plans to be in Paris for the French presidential elections, with the first round on April 10 and the second round on April 24. In a March 1 post, he discusses Ukraine, Russia and ongoing threats live from Tbilisi on Georgia’s Imedi network.
P.J. O’Rourke, a former OPC member, journalist and conservative political satirist who participated in book nights with the club, died on Feb. 15 at the age of 74. A New York Times obituary said that “as writers and commentators go, he was something of a celebrity, welcome on talk shows of almost any political bent and known for appearances on NPR’s comedy quiz show ‘Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me.’” In September 2010, he took part in an OPC book night to discuss DON’T VOTE: It Just Encourages the Bastards, during which he commented on the rise of the Tea Party, saying “like many populists groups, these people are not terribly articulate and many of their ideas are still inchoate. However, they grasp the ‘gimme rights’ or as political scientists like to say ‘positive rights.’ Tea Party supporters are well aware that an expansion of ‘positive rights’ beyond what’s wise, certainly beyond what we can afford, is a central problem in our politics and are willing to face that problem.”
Michele McNally, who led photojournalism at The New York Times as director of photography and as a top newsroom manager during her 14-year career at the paper, died on Feb. 18 at the age of 66. Dean Baquet, current executive editor for the Times, called her a “transformational figure in photojournalism.” OPC Past President Pancho Bernasconi, who is vice president for global news at Getty Images, said in McNally’s obituary that she “loved great photography along with the brave and dedicated photographers who made those images.” Times photojournalists won at least ten OPC Awards and six Pulitzer Prizes during her tenure at the paper.
Feb. 11, 2022
Diana Kruzman, the recipient of the 2021 Harper’s Magazine Award in memory of I.F. Stone, was named Midwest Fellow at Grist, a nonprofit independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solution and justice. She will spend the next six months based in Columbus OH focusing on environmental stories of all kinds in the region. She was most recently a fellow with Religion News Service and the Religion and Environmental Story Project.
Meena Venkataramanan, winner of the Emanuel R. Freedman Scholarship in 2021, wrote a book review for the Los Angeles Times about Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho. The debut novel is a collection of linked short stories, spans 30 years of friendship between two Taiwanese American women from L.A. “Story by story, the book captures the way friendships negotiate their own boundaries, at times dissolving unexpectedly and at others flourishing into something more, even if just fleetingly,” Venkataramanan wrote.
Letícia Duarte, the Harper’s Magazine Scholarship winner in 2019, is joining Report for the World as a country manager for Brazil. In this role, she’ll be working with partner newsrooms InfoAmazonia and Marco Zero to support and bring their reporting to a larger audience. Duarte had an OPC Foundation fellowship with the GroundTruth Project and was subsequently named a GroundTruth Global Fellow for Democracy Undone, a reporting initiative covering the rise of authoritarianism around the globe. She is the author of Vaza Jato (2020), in partnership with The Intercept Brazil, about the investigation by The Intercept that exposed wrongdoings inside the so-called anti-corruption Operation Car Wash. The book was a finalist for the acclaimed 2021 Jabuti Prize, the highest literary award in Brazil. She has contributed to multiple media outlets, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Revista Piauí. For 13 years, she worked as an investigative reporter for Zero Hora, the leading newspaper in Southern Brazil. She received major national journalism awards, including the Esso Prize for best reporting and the Vladimir Herzog Human Rights Award, for her feature A Son of the Streets, a 3-year-investigation on a Brazilian homeless child trajectory.
Elizabeth Barchas Prelogar, the 2006 Flora Lewis Fellowship winner, was recently confirmed as the 48th Solicitor General of the United States and serves as the fourth-ranking individual at the Department of Justice. As Solicitor General, she is responsible for conducting and supervising all Supreme Court litigation on behalf of the United States. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she clerked for several Supreme Court justices and served on the special counsel investigation with Robert Mueller in 2016-2018.
OPC member Minky Worden has appeared on several news programs to discuss human rights concerns surrounding the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Feb. 5 and discussed human right abuses that she said have been “masked” by China’s Olympic efforts since the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 that have included arrests of journalists and activists, worker rights violations, surveillance and abuses of Uyghur groups, among others. On ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Feb. 8, she said that by approving China’s hosting of the games, International Olympic Committee was sending a message that it is possible to hold a successful Olympics without protections for human rights for athletes or journalists, “and against a backdrop of crimes against humanity and Xinjiang, repression in Hong Kong and Tibet, and the silencing of Chinese athletes like Peng Shuai,” the Chinese tennis player who disappeared from public view in early November after a public allegation of sexual assault against a retired top official in China’s Communist Party. Worden also appeared on PBS Newshour on Feb. 8, with comments about how China has used the games to “sportswash,” covering abuses and projecting a positive image to the rest of the world. Worden is author of China’s Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights about the 2008 summer games.
OPC Governor Beth Knobel wrote a piece for the Columbia Journalism Review on Jan. 31 about Russian spies tailing and monitoring foreign journalists long after the fall of the Soviet Union, including during own stint as Moscow bureau chief for CBS News from 1999 to 2006. She wrote that an article in January by Russian journalist and author Andrei Soldatov indicated that according to secret documents, someone inside the CBS Moscow bureau was reporting on their activities. Russian counter-intelligence operatives presented a letter to Vladimir Putin about one of the news agency’s investigations into aftermath from a terrorist attack at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater, Knobel wrote.
One of the recipients of the OPC’s grants for Afghan journalists in the U.S., Khushnood Nabizada, shared a Jan. 29 piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch with the OPC recounting his family’s flight from the Taliban last summer and their efforts to rebuild a life in Virginia. “As the plane carried us away from Afghanistan last August, the feelings washed over me: Relief, dread, déjà vu,” Nabizada wrote. “My family was safe. My country was not.” The Taliban had previously forced him to flee his home 23 years ago. Nabizada, who formerly worked for the Khaama Press, was one of 15 Afghan journalists now in the U.S. who each received $2,000 grants from the OPC to help them adapt to new lives in America.
Second-generation OPC member Gregory DL Morris, along with his wife and a colleague, have written a book on the history of the theater-costume business. A History of the Theatre Costume Business: Creators of Character distills more than a decade of reporting and follows the growth and evolution of the industry in the U.S. and Europe, with dozens of first-hand interviews and extensive archival research. Morris is an independent business journalist who has reported from around the world. His wife Triffin made Tony-Award winning costumes on Broadway over a 20-year career, and is now head of the graduate costume technology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Co-author Rachel E. Pollock has been a craftsperson on Broadway and regional theater around the country. The Taylor & Francis Group has released it under the Routledge imprint.
Past OPC member Elias P. Demetracopoulos, who was a correspondent for papers including Kathimerini, Makedonia, The Athens Daily Post and the International Herald Tribune, died in 2016 and is now the subject of a new biography by James H. Barron. The Greek Connection: The Life of Elias Demetracopoulos and the Untold Story of Watergate follows Demetracopoulos’ storied life and career, including his childhood in Athens and resistance efforts against Nazis, covering Greek domestic politics as investigative journalist, his flight to Washington, DC during the 1967 takeover by the authoritarian Greek junta, and discovery of an illegal money transfer from the Greek CIA to the 1968 Nixon campaign.
John Vinocur, a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times and The Associated Press who later became executive editor of The International Herald Tribune, died on Feb. 6 in Amsterdam at the age of 81. Vinocur’s career spanned some of the biggest stories of the 20th century, including the war in Cambodia, the hostage crisis at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the civil war in Nigeria, and the championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire in 1974. Vinocur won the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting for a story titled “A Republic of Fear: 30 Years of General Stroessner’s Paraguay,” which appeared in The Times’s Sunday magazine in 1984. In 2008, he was named a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
January 27, 2022
Akash Pasricha, winner of the 2021 Jerry Flint Award for International Business Reporting, has been named a reporter at The Information covering venture capitalism, startups, crypto and bio/healthtech. The Information is an online publication based in San Francisco that was founded in 2013 by former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin. Its main focus is in-depth analysis of the technology industry.
Brett Simpson, the 2021 Irene Corbally Kuhn Scholarship winner, filed a story on Dec. 30 for Public Radio International’s The World about environmentalists and Indigenous rights activists trying to block construction of a zero-emissions copper mine in the Norwegian Arctic. The topic is related to the subject of her winning essay for the OPC Foundation scholarship. The story is part of Simpson’s environmental reporting fellowship from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which she began last summer. Since then, she also produced pieces about melting sea ice in August and Norway’s contradictory plans to tackle climate change while remaining a major oil exporter in September.
Jake Kincaid, the Reuters Fellowship winner in 2020, was named to a nine-month fellowship with Columbia Journalism Investigations to build a database measuring prosecutorial misconduct in six states. Kincaid recently returned from Mexico City where he was an OPC Foundation fellow in the Reuters bureau. While in Mexico, he worked on daily coverage, including the Nicaraguan and Honduran elections, and longer term projects; such as, climate-driven landslides and U.S. deportations of Nicaraguan migrants.
OPC Governor Hendrik Hinzel was named among the VICE News team nominated for the 33rd annual GLAAD Awards in the category of Outstanding Online Journalism – Video or Multimedia for their series “Transnational.” The awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. The “Transnational” series included episodes on a trans healthcare crisis in the UK, deadly threats against trans people in Mexico, a fight against workplace discrimination in India, and a Quran school for trans Muslims in Indonesia. Hinzel is a senior field producer at VICE News. A playlist of episodes is available to watch on YouTube here.
OPC Governor Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer for FRONTLINE, celebrated the NAACP Image Awards nomination for the production team of Un(re)solved, an investigative podcast looking into the U.S. Department of Justice investigation of more than 150 unsolved civil-rights era killings. The show series is nominated for the category of Outstanding News and Information Podcast. Listen to the podcast here.
Azmat Khan, the OPC’s First Vice President, spoke on a Jan. 18 episode of The New York Times’ podcast “The Daily” about her investigative reporting on civilian casualties from U.S.-led airstrikes that the military has systematically underreported. She told host Michael Barbaro that thousands of internal military documents she analyzed revealed to her that “the military hasn’t prioritized accountability in a meaningful way.” In a tweet about the episode, Khan said “I hope you’ll listen through the end — to the interview I’ll never forget,” referring to a recorded conversation she had with airstrike survivors that was aired during the episode. The episode discusses the first phase of her reporting on the issue, which Khan and her colleague Anand Gopal did for the New York Times Magazine in 2017 and went on to win the OPC’s Ed Cunningham Award for that year. She also talks about her visits over the course of years to more than 100 strike sites with civilian casualties. Khan has continued investigating the issue as part of a New York Times team, including a piece on Dec. 31 with the documents she received revealing “inconsistent approaches to assessing claims of civilians killed by coalition forces, including failures to conduct simple internet searches.”
OPC Governor Melissa Noel had her debut feature in Essence Magazine late last year with a piece about the global ecosystem of Caribbean carnivals, their economic impact and the post-covid comeback. Noel is a freelance multimedia journalist in New York City with a focus on culture, race, travel, immigration, climate change, mental health and the Caribbean, and has reported from over 35 countries during her career. She has been writing for Essence since July 2020, with pieces on the fight against racial injustice in the Caribbean, Black women entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Africa, eruptions in St. Vincent last year and voting rights in the U.S, among many others. The Carib Biz Network named Melissa Noel one of its Top 50 Caribbean American Entrepreneurs in 2020.
OPC member Anne-Elisabeth Moutet has been reporting for GBNews from Paris on election prospects for French Presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, a far-right politician who is campaigning on a nationalist platform. He was recently fined 10,000 Euros for “inciting hatred and racial abuse” in comments aimed at migrants during an interview in September 2020. Moutet, a political analyst, said observers are watching to see if Zemmour’s rivals will benefit from him being portrayed as a racist, and in a Jan. 20 appearance, Moutet said Zemmour has “lots of supporters,” and added that “He’s the newest and most interesting thing to come from this race.”
Andrew Nagorski, an author, past OPC award winner and long-time club member, has received his first advance praise for a book about Sigmund Freud that is set to be published in May. Saving Freud: His Rescuers Who Brought Him to Freedom chronicles Freud’s escape to London after Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind called the book “an intimate, touching portrait of a genius as an old man. Ill, myopic, in denial and terribly vulnerable, this Freud is more human than any I’ve encountered before. Andrew Nagorski has an artist’s eye for revealing detail and a novelist’s ability to bring to life a long lost world and its myriad denizens.” Nagorski won the OPC’s 1978 Bache Award for best business news reporting from abroad for work in Newsweek.
OPC member Keith Bradsher has been covering final preparations for the Winter Olympics in Beijing for The New York Times, with pieces covering restrictions at the games and uncertainty about how coronavirus will affect the events. On Jan. 12, he wrote a piece with colleague Amy Qin about lockdowns in China amid rapid spread of the Omicron variant. On Jan. 22, he filed a slideshow with text describing his 17-month observation of the building of Olympic facilities and also co-wrote a longform piece about how China has grappled with obstacles, including “an unending pandemic and mounting international concern over its authoritarian behavior.” That article also covers International Olympic Committee’s response to critics, saying the committee has “deflected questions about human rights and other controversies overshadowing the Games” despite its own charter to improve promotion and respect for human rights.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has named Jodie Ginsberg, a longtime journalist and press freedom advocate, as the organization’s next president. Joel Simon, who served as the CPJ’s executive director for 15 years, announced last June that he would resign at the end of last year. Ginsberg is slated to take over her new post in April. She most recently worked for the last two years as chief executive for the European division of Internews, a nonprofit that trains independent journalists around the world. Ginsberg started her career in journalism working for Reuters in Johannesburg as a business correspondent, and later was head of the agency’s London bureau. She also led Index on Censorship, a nonprofit freedom of expression organization.
Michael Parks, a former top editor of the Los Angeles Times, died on Jan. 8 at in Pasadena, California at the age of 78. Parks was international correspondent from 1970 to 1995, first for The Baltimore Sun and then for the L.A. Times. His reporting career spanned the Vietnam War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and as bureau chief in Johannesburg he covered the fight to end apartheid in South Africa, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. In a Jan. 14 piece about Parks for the Times, OPC Governor Scott Kraft, who serves as head awards judge and is managing editor at the the paper, called him a “student of liberation struggles.” He said many of Park’s sources, including exiled leaders of the African National Congress, enjoyed discussing political philosophy and strategy with him.
January 7, 2022
Poet Tess Taylor, winner of the Harper’s Magazine Scholarship in 2004, was interviewed by High Window on Dec. 3 as part of its Voice of America series. Taylor, who is the poetry critic for NPR’s All Things Considered, won her OPC Foundation scholar award when she was a graduate student in journalism at New York University.
Kantaro Komiya, the Stan Swinton Fellowship winner in 2020, has been churning out stories for Reuters since taking on his role as economic policy reporter at the agency’s Tokyo bureau last summer. He has more than 50 bylines linked on his bio page, most recently including a Jan. 4 story about Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s plans to curb the omicron variant, and a pair of stories on Dec. 26, one providing analysis of the country’s retail sales picture in light of COVID-19 and another on more than 100 forced flight cancellations from heavy snow over the holidays.
Dieu Nalio Chery, the 2019 winner of the OPC’s Robert Capa Award for work he did in his native Haiti for The Associated Press, wrote to the OPC to report that he was threatened by gangsters in Haiti and fled to New York City with his family. The upheaval started on March 17, 2021, after photos he had taken during a violent protest for the AP in the capital of Port-au-Prince were published, when “gangs who showed up in the pictures were looking for me everywhere.” The Open Society (OSF), Fokal Haiti, AP, and Global Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF) are supporting him financially for one year, and he has a full scholarship for one year at CUNY where he is studying and sharing his experience with other students. AP helped him leave Haiti, and the Magnum Foundation worked very hard to help the family find an apartment at Westbeth Artist Housing in Manhattan, he said. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is providing counseling support. Getting visas for his family was not difficult, he said, noting that the US embassy in Haiti understood what he was facing. In New York he is doing freelance work for Reuters and The New York Times. His two daughters go to local schools and his wife is studying English. “I am worried about my future here because I have to start everything again. I am looking for a stable job,” he said.
Beth Knobel, an OPC Governor and longtime member, posted a link on social media to a Jan. 5 article on the Russian news site agentura.ru indicating that the Russian intelligence service was spying on her and colleagues while they were reporting for CBS News in Moscow in 2006. Knobel provided a rough translation of the article in her post, which said that on April 30, 2006, “Oleg Skopintsev, acting head of the Department of Counterintelligence operations of the DKRO – the most combat unit of the FSB Counterintelligence Service, which is responsible for hunting foreign spies in Lubyanka – sent a report to his leadership ‘on the plans of the Moscow office of the American TV company CBS.’ It was about Beth Knobel’s work on the film about ‘Nord-Ost,’” a reference to a terrorist attack and hostage crisis at a theater in Dubrovka where the musical “Nord-Ost” was playing, in which Russian special forces used gas during a raid that ended in at least 130 deaths. The original CBS piece she had been working on is linked here.
OPC member Kathy Gannon, news director for Pakistan and Afghanistan for The Associated Press, reflected on her 2021 coverage of what she called “a particularly tumultuous year” in Afghanistan during a year-end video package and interview on Dec. 27. She said turmoil started with U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement of a total U.S. and NATO troop withdrawal in August. “It seems that it really caused a sense of abandonment within the Afghan Army. Afghans had been increasingly despondent with the future of their country, even before the Taliban took power,” she said. The withdrawal spurred a social media campaign that falsely claimed Americans would transport anyone who showed up at the airport out of the country, causing chaotic scenes during the exodus. The AP also published an expanded reporter’s notebook covering Gannon’s work in 2021. Gannon has written and contributed to dozens of AP stories since the announcement, including friction within the ranks of Taliban leadership, restrictions on education for women and girls, the Taliban’s refusal to work with the U.S. to contain Islamic State, and interviews in December with the Taliban’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai
OPC member Elena Becatoros’ coverage for The Associated Press shifted from Greece to Afghanistan in December as she wrote for the news service from Kabul about stories including climate change, the reopening of a national museum, a piece on traditional wrestling, and a story about parents selling children in desperation amid poverty. On Jan.1, she posted on Twitter that the AP had received a lot of response from readers hoping to help the families mentioned in her article and the agency was hoping to “have some suggestions in coming days.” Becatoros has worked as the Southeast Europe bureau chief for the AP, based in Athens, since mid-2007 and continued to report on that region during her stint in Kabul.
Mellissa Fung, an OPC member and award-winning Canadian broadcast journalist who was held captive in Afghanistan for 28 days in 2008, moderated a webinar for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in December to discuss Canada’s responsibility for supporting Afghan allies who helped the country’s military while deployed there. Fung had been in Kabul in July just two weeks before the troop withdrawal, and said Canadians, Americans and people from other countries contributing to NATO forces were “completely unprepared for something so many people had warned us about.
OPC member Rachel Donadio moderated a panel of historians for the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Jan. 5 about the “politics of memory” in Poland after Poland’s nationalist government enacted a law in 2018 that criminalized speech that holds Poland responsible for Nazi crimes. Donadio, a contributing writer for The Atlantic based in Paris, said in her introduction that the situation in Poland reminded her of a quote she heard while reporting in Moscow in 2015, that “the future of Russia had become unpredictable, and so had the past.” She said as the government has grown increasingly authoritarian and isolated, it has also revised history. The discussion was co-presented by the museum and Descendants of Holocaust Survivors.
Claudia Rosett, a past OPC Award winner, club member and foreign policy fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, was interviewed about Hong Kong and China for a recent issue of inFOCUS from the Jewish Policy Center. She said that in mid-2020, while the world was preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic, “China struck back, dealing a mortal blow to Hong Kong’s freedoms by imposing a ‘National Security Law’ that, in effect, empowers the administration to criminalize any form of dissent or pretty much any behavior, they dislike.” Rosett previously worked as a staff writer and editor for The Wall Street Journal, a columnist at Forbes, and has contributed to The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, and other publications. She received an OPC Citation for Excellence in recognition of her on-the-scene reporting of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.