Danielle Knight, Alison Gregor, Mariam Fam, Meital Hershkovitz
Four courageous, aspiring journalists at the Graduate School of Journalism who reported on stories from Baghdad to Cairo are among 11 winners of the 13th Annual Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholarships for 2003. Students Danielle Knight, Alison Gregor, Mariam Fam and Meital Hershkovitz were up against a record 200 applicants who competed for the scholarships by writing a cover letter and 500-word essay on an international issue or theme.
CBS Evening News' Dan Rather was guest speaker at the awards luncheon in New York on January 23, 2003.
"Dare to be great," Rather told the winners. "Even if you don't achieve greatness, you will feel good about yourself and your chosen life's work. Your country needs you. So do those everywhere who try to keep the lamp of a free press burning."
A group of 15 judges selected the winners. Excerpts from the judges' comments follow, offering a recap of winning stories:
- of Danielle Knight: "Knight, an environmental reporter at Inter Press Service, traveled to Tanzania to describe how an explosion of gold-mining activity has contaminated water and killed people, livestock and wildlife."
- of Alison Gregor: "Gregor, who worked for the San Antonio Express-News, wrote about visiting a prison in Mexico where children live with their incarcerated parents. "They don't cry," says one. "They're with their mamas. They're used to it."
- of Mariam Fam: "Fam who worked for the Associated Press in Cairo, traveled in Baghdad and wrote about how Iraqis are caught between "harsh U.N. sanctions that have impoverished and isolated them and a repressive government that has planted a culture of fear."
- of Meital Hershkovitz: "In her essay, Hershkovitz wrote movingly about a Nigerian democracy activist who was tortured and who eventually fled to the United States, one of 400,000 torture survivors living in the United States."
The Columbia students win OPC Foundation scholarships established by friends and family of distinguished journalists including Reuters photographer Dan Eldon, former Daily News reporter Theo Wilson; the Associated Press' Stan Swinton, and Alexander Kendrick, a news reporter during a World War II and later a CBS foreign bureau chief.
Click for more information on OPC Foundation Scholarships.