Persephone Miel believed in the transformative power of journalism.
After more than 20 years in media development overseas and at home, she knew that the best journalism was local. Reporters needed top-level journalism training and the freedom to tackle the toughest stories.
Strong partnerships would help provide the support – whether intellectual or monetary – to do the kind of reporting that financially strapped or politically repressed media couldn't or wouldn't undertake.
That's why, just before she died in 2010, she told friends that the best way to memorialize her life's work would be to provide international journalists with training and experience – enable them to work with the professionals at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to produce in-depth journalism at the local level and then disseminate it to a global audience.
She so believed in this idea that she personally bequeathed the money that helped start the Persephone Miel Fellowship Fund, to be overseen by the Pulitzer Center in collaboration with Internews. With additional support from the Center the Fund has allowed four international journalists to pursue critical reporting on local issues in their home countries – and to reach a global audience with their reporting.
The 2013 fellow is Ameto Akpe, a young Nigerian journalist who will investigate the impact of U.S. "soft power" in Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria. Previous fellows reported from Russia, India and Pakistan to produce cross-platform reports that reached both local and international audiences. The Center arranged for last year's fellow, Anna Nemtsova of Russia, to present her reporting in person to U.S. audiences.
In addition to direct financial assistance, the Center provides editorial oversight, support for multi-media storytelling, and help placing fellows' work in US news media outlets.
Of the $7,500 fellowship, $5,000 goes directly to the fellowship winner for reporting costs, and $2,500 helps bring the journalist to DC for intensive multimedia training and project development sessions. The Pulitzer Center has waived all fees associated with the administration of the fund and management of the projects; every dollar donated to the Miel Fund goes directly to the support of Miel Fellows.
Persephone's vision was for a sustained program to grow out of her initial investment. This is why a group of Persephone's friends and supporters are asking you to help ensure that the fellowship in her name lives on and can continue her legacy work in journalism and freedom of information.
This drive requires your support. The goal is to raise $160,000, which together with previous donations would ensure that these $7,500 grants continue on a permanent basis.
June marks the three-year anniversary of Persephone's death from cancer. Please help us make sure that her career, beliefs and good works continue to be felt through those who do the best journalism in her name.
To make a donation, please go to http://pulitzercenter.org/donate-persephone-miel-fellowship and follow the easy steps explained there.
With sincere thanks for your generosity,
Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center Executive Director,
And the Friends of Persephone Miel