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Petco CMO Tariq Hassan (IMC94) joins Medill Board of Advisers

Tariq Hassan chief marketing officer at Petco, has joined the Board of Advisers for Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

As CMO, Hassan leads Petco’s enterprise marketing strategy, dedicated to providing customers with a seamless omnichannel pet care experience. With more than 20 years working in global marketing strategy, communications, innovation as well as insights, Hassan leads the development and sustainment of long-lasting relationships between pet parents and the rearchitected Petco brand – which was instrumental in the company’s successful IPO in January 2021.

As a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, and firm believer in the power of the arts, Hassan sits on the board of directors for Education for Employment, a non-governmental organization dedicated to empowering marginalized youth across the Middle East and North Africa through vocational training and job placement; as well as on the board of Noor, a woman-founded and -led community theater organization. Additionally, Hassan worked with the Obama administration on efforts to counter-message young Americans at risk of religious extremism and systemic discrimination.

“I’m thrilled to have Tariq join our Board of Advisers,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “Aside from his vast knowledge of brand strategy and communications, Tariq also brings to the Board a passion for diversity and inclusion initiatives that I know will benefit the work that Medill is doing in this area.”

“As an alum, it’s an honor to join Medill’s Board of Advisers, and give back to the organization that provided me with the marketing communications skills and values I leverage to this day,” said Hassan. “As marketplace expectations and society at large continue to evolve, it’s never been more important to work with industry leaders like Medill’s talented Board of Advisers to help the next generation of journalists and marketing communications professionals succeed in a purposeful and equitable manner.”

Hassan holds an honors bachelor’s degree in international political science and philosophy from the University of Western Ontario and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Medill.

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Investigative journalist Katie Engelhart honored with Medill’s John Bartlow Martin Award

Katie Engelhart is the recipient of Medill’s 2021 John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism. She was honored for “What Happened in Room 10?” an investigation into the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, which was host to the first COVID-19 hot spot in the United States. Her story was published in August 2020 by The California Sunday Magazine.

“In this remarkable work of investigative reporting and storytelling, Katie Engelhart has created the definitive narrative account of the first COVID-19 hot spot in the United States,” says Douglas McGray editor-in-chief of Pop-Up Magazine Productions, which publishes The California Sunday Magazine. “Her work reconstructs the confusion, chaos and fear of the very first days of the pandemic and exposes both how ill-prepared we were and how we take care of our elderly.”

To conduct her research, Engelhart had to collect intimate and detailed information from dozens of sources across the country, filing Freedom of Information requests and seeking out photos, videos and even architectural plans of the Life Care Center because she wasn’t able to enter the facility during lockdown.

“I had to find visual cues where I could,” said Engelhart. “Whether that was at the beginning getting a floorplan of the nursing home and trying to map out who was where and where different nurses were working to getting people to send me pictures and little videos of loved ones. What was chaotic was that I started working on this when we were still in the really early days of the pandemic. So especially at the beginning in May, people weren’t available to talk.”

In addition to the hurdles presented by the pandemic itself, Engelhart faced further challenges because many of the Life Care Center residents had some form of cognitive impairment. She interviewed some of those residents, but needed to supplement the those conversations with lengthy interviews with caregivers. Further complicating the investigation was the fact that Life Care was being sued, meaning very few staff were comfortable giving interviews.

“It’s an incredible honor to win this award,” Engelhart said. “Long before I fell in love with the art of writing, I believed in journalism as a form of public service. So to have a piece recognized specifically for its service to the public is enormously meaningful. I spoke with dozens of people who lived in the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, whose loved ones lived there, who worked there, who are connected with the nursing home somehow, and they placed an enormous amount of trust in me to tell their story so I hope that this award reaches them, too, and they can feel like they helped to contribute. I hope this is a piece that will help to explain an important part of what this pandemic has been for the country.”

Patti Wolter, the contest chair and Medill’s Helen Gurley Brown Magazine Professor, was truly impressed by the caliber of the submissions for this year’s awards given the added obstacles journalists faced due to the pandemic.

“Engelhart’s piece was chosen because this story masterfully integrates narration and exposition to create a fast-paced and riveting read. It not only illuminates the early days of the pandemic but also expertly educates us on an entire history and understanding of nursing homes, profits and regulations in this country,” said Wolter. “The circumstances of COVID-19 and this facility in particular are devastating, but Engelhart’s storytelling is compassionate, thorough and visual. It brings a level of humanity to our understanding of COVID and will serve as a revealing record for decades to come.”

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Northwestern News Network Launches New Morning Show Format

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown, the Northwestern News Network (NNN) has continued to produce its top-quality newscasts remotely without a studio. For the first time in its 28-year history, the students created a 90-minute NNN AM news show that mirrors the network morning news programs like “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America.” For the last two weeks the NNN team, working from campus and from their homes around the country and the world, produced stories tackling the serious issues confronting students along with features that demonstrate how campus can joyfully go on.

“NNN AM is serious and refreshing at the same time,” says Associate Professor Larry Stuelpnagel, who serves as faculty adviser for NNN. “The program embodies the best of the skills and values Medill instills in its journalists.”

In this first NNN AM production, the students talk to Asian students at NU about the assaults on Asians around the country and their own fears on the campus. All of the stories and segments are professionally produced and executed, concluding with a report about Medill’s centennial and an interview with Dean Charles Whitaker.

View the 90 minute program: https://fb.watch/44GJI3qp0H/

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Medill professor Brent Huffman releases documentary on Uyghurs in Pakistan

By Jude Cramer (BSJ23)

Medill professor Brent Huffman never shies away from touchy topics as a documentarian, and his most recent work on Uyghurs in Pakistan is no exception.

“I’m attracted to difficult projects. And this one is an extremely difficult one,” he says.

Brent Huffman.
Brent Huffman.

In addition to being a working documentary filmmaker, Huffman teaches documentary theory and production at Medill. His short-form documentary “Uyghurs Who Fled China Now Face Repression in Pakistan” was posted to the VICE News YouTube channel on March 3. It has since garnered over 150,000 views.

Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group native to the Xinjiang region of China. The Chinese government has reportedly detained over 1 million Muslims, the majority of them Uyghurs, in so-called reeducation camps, an act the United States has declared genocide. 

Huffman’s documentary shows that the oppression of Uyghurs doesn’t end at the Chinese border. Those who have fled to nearby Pakistan are also victims of violence, persecution and cultural loss.

Huffman was led to this topic by following a thread from his previous work, the acclaimed 2014 documentary “Saving Mes Aynak,” which tells the story of Afghan archaeologists working to save an ancient city from destruction by a Chinese copper mine. That mine was a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a modern reimagining of the Silk Road in which Pakistan is a key player.

“In some ways, the persecution of the Uyghurs is part of this massive economic project,” Huffman says. 

He was also drawn to the issue because of its challenging nature.

“A lot of the stories I’m attracted to are human rights stories or social justice stories, but they’re also stories that, you know, people tell me they can’t be told. ‘It’s too difficult, too dangerous, no one will talk to you, you can’t do this,’” he says. “I have some dysfunction in me that, instead of listening to that, that makes me motivated, and it makes me passionate and makes me feel like, ‘Well, then, you know, that’s my role. I have to tell the story, right?’”

So far, Huffman has traveled to Pakistan five times to film. Each time, he’s faced roadblocks including acquiring work visas, filming in restricted locations like the Confucius Institute in Islamabad, and connecting with hard-to-reach sources like controversial Chinese politician Zhao Lijian. 

“Every subject was just extraordinarily difficult to get on camera, to give me permission to talk to them,” he says. “Part of these films is just not giving up, even though all these doors are constantly slammed in your face.”

Brent Huffman filming in Pakistan.
Huffman filming in Pakistan.

One particularly fraught aspect of covering such a volatile topic is protecting vulnerable interview subjects. Being featured in a documentary could put Uyghurs in Pakistan at risk, but they appear in the film because Huffman says it’s essential that the Uyghurs have a voice in their own narrative.

“I’m trying to facilitate this way for them to have their story heard,” he says. “That’s the trick: keeping them safe, but keeping that emotion so audiences can relate to them and feel something for this really tragic story.”

The video released by VICE News is about 20 minutes long, but Huffman plans to complete a full-length version of the documentary once filming can safely resume given the pandemic. Raising awareness of the Uyghurs’ plight is incredibly important, he says.

“This is a genocide that’s occurring, and people need need to know about it. I just hope this is a way to introduce audiences and, again, get them emotionally invested in the subjects and get them to care and get them to want to help. I think that’s my biggest goal,” he says. “It’s an incredible privilege to be able to meet these subjects, to be a part of their lives and to be able to help tell their stories.”

“Uyghurs Who Fled China Now Face Repression in Pakistan” is available now on YouTube.

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Medill professor Ava Greenwell releases documentary “Mandela in Chicago”

By Jude Cramer (BSJ23)

Apartheid may have taken place in South Africa more than 8,000 miles from Chicago, but the two locations, their activism and their social dynamics have much in common. This is the phenomenon Medill professor and alumna Ava Greenwell (BSJ84, MSJ85) set out to capture with her thought-provoking documentary “Mandela in Chicago.”

Greenwell’s film premiered on WTTW on February 14. It tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s 1993 visit to Chicago and its repercussions, but more broadly, it explores the connection between Chicago and South Africa in terms of activism, racism and power.

The documentary includes fascinating archival footage, as well as interviews with Chicagoan and South African activists. 

“I want the people who were on the ground to be able to tell their own story instead of having somebody else narrate it,” Greenwell says. “You know, so often there are documentaries out there about a group, but members of that group don’t get to have a say in how that story gets framed.”

Greenwell was inspired to create the documentary after taking on the role of co-director for Medill’s South Africa Journalism Residency Program. 

“My predecessors would occasionally bring in people from the Chicago area who had connections to South Africa. And it really got me to thinking about, well, what was the Chicago connection here?” she says.

The Chicago connection runs deep, it turns out. In speaking to local activists, Greenwell discovered a little known history, including the travel of enslaved African Americans to South Africa as sailors and performers in the 19th century, and South Africans boarding in Chicago in the 20th. This research arose, in part, from Greenwell’s time in Northwestern’s African American Studies graduate program.

“A lot of the readings and a lot of the work I did in the doctoral program in many ways informed my interest in the historical aspect of this era and this time,” she says.

Greenwell approached the film not just as a Northwestern alumna, but as a Medill professor. Many of Greenwell’s students helped with the film by providing transcriptions, footage and other work.

“Where possible I tried to involve as many Medill students in the project as possible, because I felt as though it’s not just my work, but it’s the work of the entire Northwestern community,” she says.

Northwestern is present on camera as well as behind the scenes. Many of Greenwell’s interviewees have affiliations with the university or other academic institutions, having become education professionals since working as activists in the ‘90s. She refers to these subjects as scholar activists.

“In some ways, it shouldn’t be that surprising that a lot of these people who were so interested in anti-apartheid and what it took to eliminate it were also studying. They were students of the movement, if you will,” she says. “A lot of what they had to do to really get Chicagoans to take notice, is they had to teach.”

Greenwell hopes that the documentary can reintroduce the story of apartheid activism and its principles to a new generation of Northwestern students and Chicagoans, and for them to form connections with South Africans across the Atlantic.

“I would love to have this film be a catalyst to reignite interest in each other, and also begin to think about, how can we finish the work that was started?” she says. “You know, how can we think about all the economic inequities that still exist, both in South Africa and in the United States, and begin to work on solving those problems?”

Ultimately, “Mandela in Chicago” is a love letter to Chicago’s activists, and a testament to the power of journalism as storytelling. 

“Don’t wait to tell your story. Now is the time,” says Greenwell. “And when you tell it, knowing that you can tell it from your own perspective is just ever so gratifying.”

“Mandela in Chicago” is available now on WTTW.

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Medill announces new partnership with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Medill and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced a new collaboration on Feb. 26.  Through this initiative, the Bulletin is partnering with students in Medill’s graduate journalism Health, Environment and Science specialization and Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs specialization in Washington, D.C., to provide an outlet for aspiring journalists focused on the Bulletin’s coverage areas of nuclear weapons, climate change and disruptive technologies.

The newest story in this venture is from Medill alumna Stephanie Fox (MSJ19). With vivid prose and an adventurer’s heart, Fox chronicles her trip to the Mongolian mountains with two glacial geologists, a high school teacher, three undergraduate science majors and a collection of Mongolian guides to show how boulders there reveal the pace of the climate crisis. It’s a mesmerizing story about climate change, but it’s also, as Fox puts it, “[A] story about teamwork and hardship and the people who dedicate their lives to traveling around the world in the hope of fitting a small piece into a much larger scientific puzzle. This is a story about what it takes to research climate change.”

Medill Dean Charles Whitaker said, “These young professionals are gaining real-world experience and mentoring from an editorial team known for taking important, difficult topics and making them lucid and accessible. I am delighted that the best and brightest young minds in journalism today will have the opportunity to work with a publication as storied and venerable as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.”

John Mecklin, the Bulletin’s editor-in-chief, added, “Medill is one of the premier journalism schools in the world. Medill’s student journalists are top-flight—smart, dedicated and willing to learn. We are happy to help guide them and to feature their reporting and writing in a way that fosters their futures, and the future of American public-interest journalism.”

The first story in the partnership was published in the Bulletin in October 2019: “Puerto Rico’s clean-energy and grid-restoration efforts still in doubt.” In it, then Medill graduate student Jillian Melero (MSJ19) reported on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and discovers that the hurricane has acted as “a catalyst for change that is long overdue.”

Several more stories are in the pipeline for review with the Bulletin working with Medill Assistant Professor Abigail Foerstner in Chicago and Professor Ellen Shearer in Washington, D.C.

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Medill News April 2020

April 2020 News

Medill IMC Thought Leaders is proud to feature “IMC in a Changing World,” a series on marketing and leadership advice in the midst of the COVID19 epidemic and our new reality. We are grateful to our professors for their generosity in sharing practical advice for these challenging times.⁠ ⁠ We hope you and your family and friends are doing well and staying safe!⁠ ⁠ Follow along with the series on our LinkedIn page linked in the bio above, where you can also send us your questions. ⁠ ⁠ #IMCInAChangingWorld #MedillIMCThoughtLeaders #Medil #MedillIMC #COVID19

Patti Wolter has been named by the Provost as a Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Professor of Instruction. This honor is awarded annually to a group of faculty members in recognition of their  extraordinary teaching and service to the university. In naming Patti to the 2020 class of CDM Professors, the provost noted not only her exemplary teaching, but also her mentorship of students, alumni and younger faculty, as well as her leadership in matters of curriculum reform and her connections to some of the country’s most prestigious media outlets. Her three-year appointment as a Charles Deering McCormick Professor begins in September.  A ceremony installing all of the CDM honorees will be held in the fall.

Medill senior lecturer Alex Kotlowitz’s  “An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago” a trenchant examination of the social and emotional toll that gun violence exacts on both victims and perpetrators, has won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, bestowed by Columbia University and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Established in 1998, the Lukas Prize recognizes excellence in nonfiction that “exemplifies the literary grace and commitment to serious research and social concern” that characterized the work of the award’s namesake, J. Anthony Lukas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and investigative journalist who died in 1997.

The Northwestern News Network (NNN) took first place in Best Newscast category of the Region 5 SPJ student contest and will now move on to the national SPJ competition. Joey took first place General News Reporting category for a story she did as a reporter, not as an intern,  for the NBC affiliate in Bakersfield, California last summer. Region 5 comprises chapters in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

Finding Yingying , which tells the story of Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old Chinese student who disappeared at University of Illinois in 2017, won the Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW).  This feature-length documentary by Jiayan “Jenny” Shi (MSJ17) began as an MSJ student short in a graduate documentary class that went on to win a College Emmy and be nominated for a Student Academy Award.

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Medill Alums Win 2020 Pulitzer Prizes – Individual and Teams

Congratulations to Medill alumnus Brian M. Rosenthal (BSJ11) of The New York Times on receiving the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for his work on the New York City taxi industry. His reporting found that drivers had been the victim of predatory lending resulting in nearly a thousand bankruptcies and several suicides. His series has led to the proposal of a $500 million bailout for drivers.

Rosenthal has been an investigative reporter on the Metro desk of The New York Times since May 2017. He covered state government for The Houston Chronicle between 2014 and 2016 and for The Seattle Times between 2011 and 2013. While in Houston, he was on the team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for a series that exposed that Texas was systematically denying special education services to tens of thousands of children with disabilities. While in Seattle, he was part of a reporting team that won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for coverage of a mudslide that killed 43 people. He also has won a George A. Polk Award and the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting.

Read Rosenthal’s comments about the win: https://www.nytco.com/press/2020-pulitzer-prize-remarks-from-brian-m-rosenthal/

In addition to Rosenthal, Evan Hill (BSJ07), a member of the New York Times Visual Investigations team, was lead reporter on a New York Times investigation into the Russian bombing of Syrian civilians that won a 2020 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, as well as a George Polk Award for international reporting on February 19. The Pulitzer jury recognized the Visual Investigations team for two stories that proved, for the first time, that the Russian Air Force was responsible for a series of attacks on hospitals and other civilian sites in opposition-held Syria.

Andy Wolfson, (MSJ78), a reporter in Louisville at The Courier Journal, was a member of a team that won a 2020 Pulitzer for breaking news reporting for a story about hundreds of pardons issued by a lame duck governor, including for murderers, rapists and campaign supporters.

Also honored May 4 as part of a Pulitzer-winning team was Lori Montgomery (BSJ84), now deputy national editor at The Washington Post. The Post’s staff won the Pulitzer for Explanatory Reporting for a series that showed the effects of extreme temperatures to the planet (found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/climate-environment/climate-change-america/).


Photo Credits

Rosenthal photo: Pulitzer.org
Hill photo: Evan Hill 

Montgomery photo: WashingtonPost.com

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Medill News Highlights – May 2020

Northwestern’s 2020 Commencement will be Virtual with Student Option to Return for On-Site Ceremony Next Year

Read the announcement by President Schapiro.

Presentation of the John Bartlow Martin award for public interest magazine journalism and conversation with winner

Join us as Medill’s Helen Gurley Brown Magazine Professor Patti Wolter presents the 2020 John Bartlow Martin Award to Lizzie Presser  of ProPublica for her story “The Dispossessed.” A conversation with Presser will follow. Presser is a journalist writing about inequality and how social policy is experienced. She was previously a contributing writer at The California Sunday Magazine. “The Dispossessed,” published in partnership with ProPublica and The New Yorker, is an investigation into the unjust repossession of African American-owned property through three different legal mechanisms in North Carolina. It won a George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting in 2020. Presser has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award and a Livingston Award.

Register for the 5/27 Zoom presentation.

Medill team wins Best Article Award from American Academy of Advertising

Online retailers must strike a balance between recommending relevant items to users and providing sponsored recommendations from advertisers. Recognizing this problem, a team at Medill IMC’s Spiegel Research Center developed an algorithm that improves user utility while reducing ad revenue by a small amount. The team consisting of Professor Ed Malthouse, postdoctoral fellows Khadija Ali Vakeel and Yasaman Kamyab Hessary, research fellow Morana Fudurić and Professor Robin Burke from University of Colorado Boulder were recently recognized for their work, receiving the 2019 Best Article Award in the Journal of Advertising from the American Academy of Advertising. The award was instituted in 1988 to honor the best article published each year.

Read the abstract

NNN Wins SPJ Award

The Northwestern News Network (NNN)  took first place in Best Newscast category of the Region 5 SPJ student contest and will now move on to the national SPJ competition. Joey took first place General News Reporting category for a story she did as a reporter, not as an intern,  for the NBC affiliate in Bakersfield, California last summer. Region 5 comprises chapters in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

Prof. Jack Doppelt Co-Produces Election Report

What began as “Can American Democracy Survive the 2020 Elections? The Role of Media, Law, Norms, and Technology in Assuring Acceptance of Election Results,” evolved to “Fair Elections During a Crisis: Urgent Recommendations in Law, Media, Politics and Tech to Advance the Legitimacy of, and the Public’s Confidence in, the November 2020 U.S. Elections.  Read a New Yorker article about the report. Read the report.

Participate in the Medill Centennial Alumni Photo Gallery          

We plan to feature testimonials and photos from 100+ alumni on our Centennial website, launching this summer.  If you want to participate, please submit your quote and photo using this form! We would love to include you.

Lightfoot photo: WBEZ 

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New York Times Reporter Azam Ahmed awarded the 2019 James Foley Medill Medal for Courage

 

Azam Ahmed, New York Times bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, has won the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for his investigation of gang murder across Latin America. In his series “Kill, or Be Killed: Latin America’s Homicide Crisis,” Ahmed chronicled the rampant and unchecked gang violence in the region.

“No one deserves this recognition more than Azam,” said New York Times International Managing Editor Greg Winter. “He has put himself on the frontlines for years, from Afghanistan to Honduras, to document the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people. He does so with compassion, exceptional insight and compelling narratives that draw readers in and remind them, in the most intimate ways, of what people around the world confront on a daily basis.”

In Mexico and Honduras, Ahmed witnessed shootouts and cartel killings. In Brazil, he tracked down police officers who were members of illegal death squads and persuaded them not just to talk, but also to confess to murders and other crimes. After nine members of a Mormon family were killed in remote Mexican mountains, Ahmed traveled to the scene and discovered evidence that had been overlooked, including spent shell casings and a child’s shoe, to create a more accurate picture of what had happened than what the authorities presented.

“Year after year as I read the entries, I think the stories can’t get any more harrowing; the world can’t get any more dangerous for journalists,” said founding judge and Medill Professor Emeritus Donna Leff (BSJ70, MSJ71). “But there seems to be no end to the violence for the subjects and peril for the reporters telling their stories. What stood out in Azam’s work was the riveting, graceful language and the vivid narrative in a deep portfolio that embraced the whole of his domain–Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.”

Ahmed spent 17 months interviewing one of Mexico’s deadliest hired killers who worked for the cartels. Ahmed exposed closely guarded secrets of the underworld, including an assassin training camp. In Honduras, Ahmed lived inside gang territory for weeks. In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, one of the deadliest cities in the world, Ahmed chronicled the siege of a neighborhood with vivid descriptions of shootouts, gang incursions and last-minute pleas to stop the killing.

“Much in the spirit of James Foley himself, Azam is a daring, gifted and skilled journalist,” said co-judge Brett Pulley (MSJ87), Bloomberg’s Atlanta bureau chief and Medill Board of Advisers member. “In story after story, he demonstrates a willingness to venture into society’s heart of darkness to illuminate the places and people who are integral to some of the globe’s most vexing issues and confounding and violent occurrences. His body of work stood tall above a field of entries that in their own right were tremendously impressive, important and powerful.”

Before moving to Mexico, Ahmed worked for nearly three years in Afghanistan covering the war there. He accompanied the Afghan security forces as they struggled to take over security from U.S. forces, and more broadly wrote about the deterioration of the United States’ longest-running war.

“As I read one arresting story after the next from Azam’s impressive portfolio, I could hardly believe this was the work of a single journalist,” said co-judge and Medill faculty member Ceci Rodgers (MSJ81). “Through his detailed reporting and his access to the inner workings of the drug gangs in Latin America, Azam opens a world to readers in a way that contextualizes the horrors driving migrants to the U.S. border to seek asylum. Beautifully crafted narratives and compelling characters draw us in and make us care.”

Honorable Mention

This year’s honorable mention also won high praise from the judges. In “Outsourcing Migration,” Associated Press reporters Maggie Michael, Lori Hinnant and Renata Brito exposed the devastating effects of restrictive European and U.S. immigration policies that have resulted in asylum-seekers being sent back to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—the very countries many of them are fleeing. The year-long project, funded in part by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, documented the abuse of people fleeing violence, and the benefits gained by mafia, militia and even the Libyan coast guard, which was paid by the EU to warehouse migrants.

Virtual Event

The judges will present the award to Ahmed and he will share his journey via webinar on Thursday, July 16 at 5 p.m. Central Time. Joining the event will be special guest Diane Foley, mother of Medill alumnus James Foley (MSJ08) and founder and president of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation. Visit this link to participate in the webinar.

About the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism 

The award is named in honor of Medill alumnus James Foley, who was captured while reporting in Syria in 2012 and killed by ISIS extremists in 2014.

The 2019 medal is given for work published during the 2019 calendar year to an individual or team of journalists, working for a U.S.-based media outlet, who best displayed moral, physical, ethical, financial or political courage in the pursuit of a story or series of stories.

The selection committee included Bloomberg’s Atlanta Bureau Chief and Medill Board of Advisers member Brett Pulley, Medill Professor Emeritus Donna Leff and Medill Director of Global Journalism Learning Ceci Rodgers.

The 2018 award was given to Max Bearak, Nairobi Bureau Chief for The Washington Post, for his reporting in 2018 from sub-Saharan Africa. Bearak’s stories from Congo, Niger and Zimbabwe chronicled a wide range of extreme events that required intense bravery in dangerous situations without being reckless or putting himself at the center of the story, said the judges, who were unanimous in their decision.