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Knight-Bagehot Fellows Named at Journalism School

By Kim Brockway

Ten Knight-Bagehot Fellows in Economics and Business Journalism have been named by Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. They include journalists from The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Reuters, Associated Press and Dow Jones Newswires.

The mid-career fellowships provide full tuition and a living stipend of $35,000 for experienced journalists to take graduate courses at Columbia's Schools of Business, Law and International and Public Affairs. Fellows also attend special seminars at the Journalism School led by scholars and business experts during the nine-month program, which begins every year in August. The program is open to journalists with at least four years' experience.

Founded in 1975, the fellows are named for John S. and James L. Knight, brothers who established the Knight Foundation, and Walter Bagehot (pronounced baj-et), the 19th-century British economist and editor of The Economist. They are administered by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and directed by Terri Thompson, a former associate editor of U.S. News & World Report, reporter for Business Week and a graduate of the program, and author of Writing About Business: The New Columbia Knight-Bagehot Guide to Economics and Business Journalism.

Funds are provided by an endowment from the Knight Foundation and by grants from foundations and corporations, which have included The New York Times, Dow Jones & Company, Inc., Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, The Starr Foundation, Reuters Foundation, Merrill Lynch & Co. Foundation Inc., the World Bank, the New York Stock Exchange, The NASDAQ Stock Market Educational Foundation, Citigroup Inc., The McGraw Hill Companies, and Bloomberg L.P.

The 2001-2002 Knight-Bagehot Fellows in Economics and Business Journalism are:

Porus P. Cooper, 50, the deputy New Jersey editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and a contributing editor to Global Investment. Before joining the Inquirer in 1985, he was an editorial writer for the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, N.J., for six years. After graduating with a B.A. from Bombay University in 1971, he worked as a copy editor/columnist for Times of India in Mumbai, India, and after receiving his M.S. in journalism from Columbia in 1976, he worked as an assistant editor for India Abroad.

Thomas Heath, 45, a reporter for The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1988, who currently covers sports business. Born in Syracuse, NY, he graduated from Fordham University in 1977, and worked the next ten years at the Syracuse Newspapers, first as a copy editor and then as a general assignment reporter covering homicides and municipal corruption. He has covered the business side of athletics for the Post since 1996.

Sam Loewenberg, 30, who writes about the intersection of corporations, government and public policy, most recently for Legal Times in Washington, D.C. A native of Los Angeles, he received a B.A. from The Evergreen State College in Washington in 1993 and attended NYU as a MacCracken Fellow in 1995. He freelanced from Eastern Europe, has been a metro desk stringer for The New York Times and interned for National Public Radio and the Dallas Morning News. As a freelance reporter, he has also written for The Economist, The Nation and Los Angeles Times, among others.

Bruce Meyerson, 37, a business writer/editor for The Associated Press based in New York City, where he currently covers telecom technology and previously was the Wall Street reporter. Before joining the AP in 1991, he worked for nearly four years as an assistant producer for SportsChannel/News 12 in Westbury, NY, and for one year as a stringer for Newsweek. He graduated from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, in 1987 with a B.A. in journalism and political science.

Lori Nitschke, 32, a senior writer for Congressional Quarterly where she has worked since 1995, first as a reporter for the daily publication and for the last two and a half years as a writer for the weekly magazine, primarily covering tax and trade issues. She took her first job in 1991 as a general assignment and regional reporter for the Minot Daily News, a small daily in her native North Dakota. She then reported for two years at The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 1991 graduate of University of North Dakota.

Laura Petrecca, 31, deputy bureau chief/senior editor for Advertising Age. She joined the magazine in 1996 as a junior-level reporter and within weeks was writing front-page articles. As a senior reporter, she wrote detailed articles on a vast array of industries, including fast food, soft drinks, toys, packaged goods and retail. She graduated in 1992 with a B.S. in journalism from University of Maryland, and worked as news assistant for two years at USA Today.

Lida Poletz, 31, a correspondent for Reuters since 1993. She attended the University of Minnesota, where she received a B.A. in journalism and Russian. After graduating, she lived in Ukraine for three and a half years, initially freelancing for U.S newspapers and agencies, and then joining Reuters full time. She transferred to London for three years to cover the European derivatives industry, and in 1999 moved to the New York office where she leads Reuters' foreign exchange reporting team.

Yasser Samir Sobhi, 31, economic reporter for Al-Ahram newspaper in Cairo, Egypt. He started his career at the daily in 1992, a few months after getting a B.A. in economics from Cairo University. Since 1993, he has covered the international economic events and business missions to Egypt. In 1999, he was selected to be a member of Al-Ahram general assembly, representing roughly 1,000 journalists, making him one of the youngest journalists chosen to this post. Last year, he joined the international edition of the newspaper as editor of the economic pages.

Deborah Steinborn, 31, a senior reporter for Dow Jones Newswires, is based in Frankfurt, Germany, where she has covered German financial institutions since 1997. She now guides coverage of European financial services among a team of eight reporters in Europe. She joined Dow Jones in 1996 after graduating from Columbia with an M.A. in international affairs. She earned a B.A. in English literature from State University of New York at Binghamton in 1991 and worked for two years as an associate editor for Miller Freeman, and briefly as editor of Banking Journal.

Geeta Sundaramoorthy, 32, associate editor for BUSINESS NEWS New Jersey, a weekly newspaper, since 1997. A native of India, she started her career in 1990 as a trainee reporter in the Mumbai (Bombay) edition of Financial Express, a business daily, while completing a Master's in economics from SNDT University. In 1992, she moved to The Economic Times, India's premier financial daily, as a staff reporter covering shipping. She has also written or edited for The Gulf Indian Weekly in Dubai and Business Day in Bangkok.

Applications for the 2002-2003 academic year are now being accepted. For information, call 212-854-6840 or e-mail tat5@columbia.edu.

Writing About Business: The New Columbia Knight-Bagehot Guide to Economics and Business Journalism (Columbia University Press) draws on the experiences of 40 of the nation's finest journalists and serves as a comprehensive guide to writing about business and economics. The book's contributors -- all alumni of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship -- include reporters and editors from the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week and Barron's, as well as business executives and consultants, academics and authors. The book is available from on-line and regular bookstores, or from Columbia University Press at 800-944-8648.

Published: May 11, 2001
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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