On October 20, friends and colleagues of Persephone Miel gathered to remember the former senior advisor of Internews, who dedicated her life to advancing the work of journalists across the globe. Persephone passed away on June 28 after a long battle with cancer.
Before she died, Persephone said she wanted to be remembered by a fellowship that would help media professionals outside the United States report on their home countries and bring their work to a broader international audience. The Persephone Miel Fellowship will be overseen by the Pulitzer Center in partnership with Internews.
"Persephone is quite particular, she had a very clear vision of what she wanted," said Center Executive Director Jon Sawyer, who spoke at the memorial service. "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 [the Center] 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.
Internews has raised already more than $30,000 for the fellowship; they hope to raise as much as $500,000, which would be enough to endow the program and ensure the funding of at least one fellow annually.
Circassian journalist Fatima Tlisova also spoke at the event and said she considers herself to be the 'first' Persephone Miel fellow. Persephone introduced Tlisova to the Center, and her resulting reporting project on journalist murders and brutal censorship in the Caucasus became the inspiration for the fellowship.
"It wouldn't have happened without her," Fatima explained. Tlisova's work was featured in the September issue of Harvard's Nieman Reports; her additional articles and videos interviews with targeted journalists are available on the Center's website.
View remarks from Jon Sawyer, Fatima Tlisova, and Jeanne Bourgault, COO of Internews, in the video above.