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Pulitzer Center Update January 5, 2024

Former Reporting Fellows Win Overseas Press Club Foundation Awards

Author:
Image of Tunisian Landscape
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Faced with instability, the future can feel daunting for African migrants.

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Catherine Cartier and Audrey Thibert speak at Washington Weekend
(Left) Catherine Cartier speaks at the Pulitzer Center's Washington Weekend for Reporting Fellows in 2019. Image by Nora Moraga-Lewy. United States. (Right) Audrey Thibert presents her reporting project at the 2023 Washington Weekend. Image by Grace Jensen. United States.

Two former Reporting Fellows, Catherine Cartier and Audrey Thibert, won 2024 Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholar Awards. The award is given to young journalists to gain experience in overseas reporting, either through a scholarship or a fellowship in the foreign bureaus of the Associated Press, Reuters, or The Wall Street Journal, among others. 

Cartier and Thibert said they hope to return to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where they both reported as Fellows. 

Cartier, whose 2019 reporting project highlighted interfaith efforts to preserve cultural heritage in Lebanon, said she wants to pursue a fellowship with one of OPC’s partner organizations or freelance from Morocco or Jordan. After graduating from Davidson College with her bachelor’s degree in history and Arab studies, Cartier spent a year in Morocco as a Fulbright scholar before returning to the United States for a master’s in global journalism and Near Eastern studies from New York University. 

“My Pulitzer experience was like a template for me—the type of experience I’m aspiring to again have with the OPC,” Cartier said. “Having an extended period to focus on reporting was such a gift, and it motivated me to pursue this in graduate school and apply for the award.” 

Through her OPC award, Cartier hopes to investigate financial networks in the MENA region that benefit from conflict. 

Thibert, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 2023 Reporting Fellow, also hopes to work in one of the MENA bureaus of OPC partners. She reported on migrant experiences in Tunisia for her Reporting Fellows project, A Shared Uncertainty

“I feel like I have the most connection to that area, I’ve always wanted to report there,” she said. “What’s great about the Overseas Press Club is that it gives me a chance to follow the paths of international journalists I’ve always looked up to.” Thibert admires OPC affiliates like Jane Ferguson and Jacob Kushner, noting she is excited “to be in the same circles as people who are my role models.” 

Thibert said she wants to forge a unique path in international reporting, which has been a dream of hers since she was eight years old. In MENA countries, Thibert said past Western journalists have sometimes perpetuated harmful narratives or missed stories that should have been told. 

“There’s an opportunity for journalists to rewrite the narrative around that region,” Thibert said. 

Thibert and Cartier join three other former Reporting Fellows—Zane Irwin (‘22), Mado Long (‘22), and AJ Naddaff (‘18)—who have gone on to be OPC scholars. 

Both Cartier and Thibert said their Pulitzer Center fellowships inspired them to continue reporting abroad. “It’s so important as young journalists to have organizations like the Overseas Press Club and the Pulitzer Center that are encouraging this sort of work, funding it, raising awareness, and creating opportunities for grants,” Thibert said. “A lot of people say journalism is dying, but I think it’s the opposite.”

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Interfaith collaboration roots conservation efforts in Akkar. Image by Catherine Cartier. Lebanon, 2019.
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Revered since biblical times, Lebanon’s cedar trees have survived the tests of time and war, but...