Overseas Press Club

Overseas Press Club Foundation
Encouraging the next generation of foreign correspondents

40 West 45 Street, New York NY 10036 USA| 201.493.9087 | foundation@opcofamerica.org

2016 Winners

Left to right: Bridges, Midori, Hammerschlag, Wadekar, Kushkush, Thirani Bagri, Paluch, Vongkiakajorn, Vernon, Khohari, Kang, Greenberg, Coburn, Zhou and Riordan

2016 Scholar Awards Luncheon, February 26, 2016
with Kathy Gannon, AP

Congratulations to the 2016 OPC Foundation Scholars!

Levi Bridges, STAN SWINTON FELLOWSHIP, UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism (BA, Alfred University)

Jesse Coburn, HARPER’S MAGAZINE SCHOLARSHIP in memory of I.F.Stone, New York University (BA, Weslyan)

Alissa Greenberg, DAVID R. SCHWEISBERG MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP, UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism (BA, Weslyan)

Annika Hammerschlag, IRENE CORBALLY KUHN SCHOLARSHIP, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (BA, UCLA)

Dake Kang, FRITZ BEEBE FELLOWSHIP, University of Chicago


Isma'il Kushkush, ROY ROWAN SCHOLARSHIP, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (AB, UC-Davis)

Russell Midori, NATHAN S. BIENSTOCK MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (BS, Brooklyn College)

Gabrielle Paluch, H.L. STEVENSON FELLOWSHIP, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (BA, Washington University in St. Louis)

Katie Riordan, FLORA LEWIS FELLOWSHIP, University of Montana-Missoula (BA, University of Colorado)

Neha Thirani Bagri, JERRY FLINT FELLOWSHIP FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS REPORTING, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (BA, Northwestern)

Pete Vernon, THEO WILSON SCHOLARSHIP, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (BA, College of William & Mary)

Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn, EMANUEL R. FREEDMAN SCHOLARSHIP, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism (BA, Weslyan)

 Neha Wadekar, REUTERS FELLOWSHIP, University of Southern California (BA, Tufts)






Global parachute

Jonathan Jones

2009 IF Stone winner Jonathan Jones won two Emmys for the PBS Frontline/ProPublica in-depth documentary, "Firestone and the Warlord." The film, which looked at the Firestone tire company's actions during the Liberian Civil War, won an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism-Form and a second Emmy for Outstanding Research. Earlier this year, The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights named, "Firestone and the Warlord," the winner of an 2015 RFK Journalism Award in the new media category. The subject was the topic of Jonathan's winning essay six years earlier. Here is the OPC program on how to turn research into an award-winning documentary.

Greg Jhnsen
Congratulations to 2006 Schweisberg winner Gregory Johnsen who is seen here accepting the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress from the National Press Foundation on behalf of his BuzzFeed News colleagues for their centerpiece titled "60 Words and A War Without End." Here’s the video on C-Span: http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4528727/gregory-johnsen

Congratulations to 2008 Stan Swinton winner Paul Sonne (center) for winning an Overseas Press Club Award. Based in London, Paul and his colleagues from the Wall Street Journal won the Malcolm Forbes Award for best international business reporting in newspapers. The winning series of articles, “Censorship, Inc,” described how Iran, Egypt, Libya and Syria used technology from Western and Chinese companies to spy on dissidents, conduct surveillance, and track mobile phone use.


Congratulations to Ben Hubbard, 2007 Stan Swinton awardee, for winning the 2012 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.  He shared the honor with C.J. Chivers for their work in Syria.  Although Ben won for his reporting for The Associated Press, Benboth journalists are now with the New York Times.  Ben began his career at AP with an OPC Foundation internship in AP’s Jerusalem bureau  Ben and C.J. Chivers both went in and out of Syria multiple times in 2012, often traveling by foot and at night in order to avoid detection. They managed to gain the trust of rebel groups and report amidst bombs, bullets and the constant threat of capture. Their articles offer a glimpse into a region most readers are unfamiliar with, and were reported with the utmost accuracy possible in a war-torn country.  “Syria is probably as dangerous as or more dangerous than any other country that a winner has reported from,” said Richard Stolley (BSJ52, MSJ53), a former managing editor of TIME who is one of three judges for the award and a member of Medill’s Board of Advisers. “What was most remarkable was, under these awful conditions, how good their writing and reporting was.” Stolley is a former president of the OPC.  Ben described his coverage of Syria as helping fill an information void about what is going on in the country.  He noted, “I have always considered it my job as an Arabic-speaking journalist to try to act like a bridge between the often baffling events taking place in the Arab world and the American or English-language reader.”


RawyaThe work of 2006 OPC Foundation scholar Rawya Rageh reporting for Al Jazeera English on air and on Twitter was named one of the top 50 news stories produced by graduates of Columbia Journalism School as part of its Centennial Celebration. Rawya was in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for the dramatic protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak and marked the historic bloom of the Arab Spring. 


Congratulations to Michael E. Miller, Swinton scholar in 2009, for winning a 2012 Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists.  Michael won in the category of Deadline Reporting (Non-Daily Publication) for his work “Death Trap” for the Miami New Times which told the story of four robbers gunned down by Miami-Dade police during a 2011 controversial sting operation.  Michael had an OPC Foundation internship in the AP bureau in Mexico City. 


2001 OPC Foundation/Kendrick scholarship winner Melissa Chan has been expelled from China. Melissa had been a reporter for Al-Jazeera English based in China for five years. Her press credentials and visa were not extended and AJE had no choice but to close its Beijing bureau.


The Overseas Press Club Foundation is the 501 (C)(3) charitable organization affiliated with the Overseas Press Club, which was founded in New York City in 1939 by a group of foreign correspondents to improve the profession of international journalism. The Foundation has a broad mandate to improve the media's understanding of international issues and to raise the quality of news-gathering efforts in covering the world. The most tangible expression of this charter is a scholarship program for undergraduate and graduate students in American colleges and universities, who aspire to become foreign correspondents. The program began in 1992 and every year offers $2,000 scholarships to 14 talented student winners of a national essay competition. In 2006, the OPC Foundation began partnering with media organizations to offer internships. The Foundation pays travel and living expenses for interns in foreign bureaus. Six of this year's winners will have internships with Associated Press (Cairo, Johannesburg, and Bangkok) and Reuters (Singapore, Beijing, and Hong Kong).

The Foundation feels it is more important than ever to encourage young correspondents to travel and work abroad particularly at a time when many major news organizations have sharply reduced their networks of experienced correspondents around the world.

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