New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has named Jina Moore, a Christian Science Monitor correspondent who has written on human rights, foreign affairs, and Africa, the recipient of the 2011 Reporting Award.
The award supports a work of journalism in any medium on significant underreported subjects in the public interest. As the 2011 Reporting Award recipient, Moore will investigate “vulture funds”—distressed-debt investors who purchase the delinquent debt of foreign countries.
In establishing the award in 2009, the Carter Journalism Institute’s faculty cited the need for encouraging enterprise journalism during a time of extensive layoffs and budget cuts throughout the journalism industry. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, for example, recently estimated that the newspaper industry shed another 1,000 to 1,500 jobs in 2010, reducing newsroom jobs to about 30 percent below their level in 2000.
The award includes a stipend of $2,500 upon selection as the competition winner and an additional $10,000 upon timely completion and submission of the work, provided the Institute’s awards committee judges the work acceptable. The winner also has use of the Institute’s facilities, including an office, as well as NYU’s libraries and other scholarly resources. In addition, the program funds up to $6,000 in NYU journalism graduate student assistance. The Institute will publish the completed work either alone or in partnership with another media outlet.
Usually vulture funds must sue to recover any assets from their new debtors, many of them among the world’s poorest—and, in some cases, most corrupt—countries. Some argue that the process encourages transparency and accountability in countries with very little of either. Others say that payment of these debts to vulture funds can incapacitate countries whose economic progress is specifically encouraged by various global initiatives—including, debt relief granted by other creditors. Moore will look at all sides of the issue, including the effect of these funds on the countries whose debt they purchase. She'll travel to Zambia and the Republic of Congo in the course of her reporting.
Moore’s work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Newsweek, the Columbia Journalism Review, and on NPR’s “World Vision Report,” among other venues. Her “Reading the Wounds,” about doctors who treat torture survivors, was included in Best American Science Writing 2009. A summa cum laude graduate of Boston University, Moore earned master’s degrees from the School of International and Public Affairs and the Graduate School of Journalism, both at Columbia University. She is a recent Fulbright Fellow in Journalism and a two-time grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Sarah Stillman, the first recipient of the Reporting Award, traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to report on third-world service workers on U.S. military bases there. Her articles produced under the award have been published on Slate.com and the Atlantic.com, and she is preparing other major work for publication. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University and winner of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics.
For more on the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, go to http://journalism.nyu.edu/.