I’m still here in Atlanta, getting ready to head to 2008 Fellow Moni Basu’s house for a dinner party in a few minutes.
Moni has started working for CNN after nearly 20 years at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. One of the last major projects she did while at the paper was an award-winning eight-part series about a minister Iraq called Chaplain Turner’s War.
Also at the party will be Mimi Award winner Jan Winburn, who edited Moni’s project. Jan previously edited Lisa Pollak’s Pulitzer Prize-winning project about baseball umpire John Hirschbeck. Hirschbeck, who came to national attention when Roberto Alomar spat on him, had had one child die of a rare disease and another one who had contracted the same ailment.
This year’s fellows seem to be having a fantastic week.
My friend and prolific author Kari Lydersen is one of them. I have written previously about her book on the Republic Windows and Doors strike and wanted to mention her book, Out of the Sea and Into the Fire. This is a collection of dispatches written over the course of several years from within the United States and throughout Mexico, Central America and Latin America. The work includes topics as varied as street performers in Bolivia to a profile of organizer Jose Oliva. In addition to being thoroughly researched and reported, Lydersen’s work is unusual in that it brings together themes of the environment, social justice and immigration that in many cases are written about and discussed separately.
I had a lengthy conversation last night with Hollman Morris, one of Colombia’s top investigative journalists. Along with his brother Juan Pablo Morris, Hollman has created Contravia, a series of shows that has focused on, among other topics, the many right-wing paramilitary groups that have been active during the country’s 20-year civil war. He has received death threats in the forms of funeral wreaths laid at the front door of his home and been denounced by President Alvaro Uribe. Hollman has had to leave the country multiple times, but continues his efforts to expose the truth behind Colombia’s war and the relationships between many elected officials and financial leaders and the paramilitary groups.
These are just two of this year’s remarkable crop of fellows, and one part of why I feel so privileged to be a part of this community.