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Pulitzer Center Update March 28, 2012

2012 Persephone Miel Fellow Announced: Anna Nemtsova

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After 20 years of fading industry, rampant corruption, and no clear ideology, Russia is now on the...

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The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is pleased to announce the 2012 Persephone Miel Fellowship winner: Anna Nemtsova.

The fellowship was launched October 2010 in collaboration with Internews, where Persephone worked for many years. The fellowship provides $7,500 to an international journalist to report on a systemic global issue in their home country. It also provides support from the Pulitzer Center for editorial oversight, multi-media development, outreach and assistance with placement in U.S. news media outlets.

We received over 180 applications for the fellowship, among them compelling reporting proposals from over 50 countries.

Anna is a Moscow-based correspondent for Newsweek magazine covering Russia and the former Soviet states. She began reporting on crisis in the North Caucasus and Central Asia 10 years ago as a researcher for the Washington Post. Since then, she has worked as a reporter covering Russia for a Western audience and the West for a Russian audience. She focuses her reporting on human rights and social issues in today's Russia.

Her project for the Miel Fellowship will explore new trends and migration patterns in North Caucasus and Siberia. She will travel to Kamchatka, Birobidjan (the capital of Jewish Autonomic Republic), and Blagoveshensk, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok to explore what is pushing Russians away from their homes.

Persephone's Legacy

Before our colleague and friend Persephone Miel passed away last June, she left the Pulitzer Center a very special request. Persephone said she wanted to be remembered by a fellowship that would help journalists outside the United States report on their home countries and bring their work to a broader international audience.

Persephone's wish has enabled the Pulitzer Center to expand its model to include journalists who would not otherwise qualify for our support.

The Pulitzer Center's mission is to bring underreported international stories to American audiences through wide-reaching US news media outlets. As a result, we primarily support journalists who already have outlets or established distribution networks in place, which usually means that they are "Western" journalists. Persephone wanted to see our model applied to non-Western journalists too.

As Pulitzer Center executive director Jon Sawyer said when the fellowship was launched, "Persephone is quite particular; she had a very clear vision of what she wanted...She's trying to make an opportunity for voices to be heard beyond a region, beyond a country, in a larger world, and give us the opportunity to bring those voices to the widest possible audience."

"We will work to do everything we can to mentor them, to bring them multimedia tools and to expose the work as broadly as we can," he added.

"We are so proud to see Persephone's passionate belief in the power of independent information realized through these Fellows," said Marjorie Rouse, Internews Senior Vice President for Programs. "I know she would be thrilled by the issues they are investigating, and their commitment to bringing their country's stories to a broader audience."

In the year before her death, Persephone introduced us to journalist Fatima Tlisova, a former Nieman fellow and friend of Persephone's from the north Caucasus region. The introduction resulted in a reporting project on journalist murders and censorship in the Caucasus that became the inspiration for the fellowship.

Selecting this year's winner was not an easy task. We were impressed by the quality of so many of the proposals, the qualifications of the journalists, and their commitment to telling the story of their country's predicaments to a global audience. Applicants varied in age, educational background, experience and professional standing, but nearly all presented issues that deserved greater attention. Our eyes were opened to unreported stories about women's rights, water crises, minority struggles, environmental threats, arms trades, human trafficking, labor abuses, and so many more topics that fit our criteria of addressing under-reported systemic crises.

Support the Persephone Miel Fellowship

We're committed to supporting at least one fellowship a year to continue Persephone's wishes. We hope to raise enough support to endow the fellowships and to increase the number of fellows we support each year.

Internews and Pulitzer Center have agreed that donations for the fellowship will be maintained in a restricted Pulitzer Center account.

Learn how you can contribute to the Persephone Miel Fellowship Fund.