Newswise — New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has named three recipients of its 2019 Reporting Award: Ibby Caputo, an investigative journalist who has reported on issues in the U.S. and abroad, Ben Mauk, a Berlin-based writer who has covered migrant populations around the globe, and Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, a novelist and journalist whose works focus on humanitarian issues.    

The award, established in 2009, supports a work of journalism in any medium on significant underreported subjects in the public interest.

Stephen D. Solomon, Marjorie Deane Professor of Journalism and chair of the awards committee, notes that many journalists engaged in enterprise projects need assistance for their work at a time of continuing cutbacks in news budgets.   

“Our goal is to make it possible for some important journalism projects to see the light of day,” he says. “Each of the award recipients has embarked on an investigative story that promises to illuminate an important problem and bring it to the attention of the public.”        

Each winner will receive a stipend of $6,000.

Ibby Caputo

Ibby Caputo is a freelance journalist based in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has reported on U.S. prisoners in Iran for the public radio show The World, on executions in Arkansas for Slate, and on the gender pay gap for NPR and Boston Globe Magazine. She is currently a podcast story editor for National Geographic.    

Caputo’s work has also aired on Marketplace, WGBH, WNYC, Scene on Radio, Australia Public Broadcasting’s Radiotonic, and the BBC shows Short Cuts and Boston Calling. Her journalism, essays, and photography have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, the Chicago Tribune, the Times-Picayune, and, among other outlets.    

In 2014, Caputo was an MIT-Knight Science Journalism Fellow and in 2018, she was awarded a fellowship through the Japan Center for International Exchange to report in Tokyo and Hiroshima. She received an award for hard news and was part of the team that won an award for investigative reporting, both from the Associated Press. Her audio documentary, “Crying Dry Tears,” received first place in the Missouri Review’s 2016 Miller Audio Contest.

Caputo will use the Reporting Award to investigate racial and ethnic disparities in bone marrow donor registries.

Ben Mauk

Ben Mauk’s work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and Virginia Quarterly Review, among other publications, and is anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing. He often writes about fugitive, stateless, and state-resistant populations, and he has reported stories from Southeast and Central Asia and across Europe and the United States.

His story “The Useful Village,” which followed a year in the life of a small German farming town and its overburdened asylum shelter, was a finalist for the 2018 National Magazine Award for feature writing. In 2019, he received the inaugural Jamal Khashoggi Award for Courageous Journalism.

Mauk is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a former Fulbright Scholar, a grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award, and a 2019 MacDowell Fellow. He has also received honors from the Western Writers of America and the Overseas Press Club of America. He co-founded and directs the Berlin Writers’ Workshop. 

Mauk will spend his time as a recipient of the award reporting on life inside the mass internment camps and surveillance cities of Xinjiang, China.    

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is a Nigerian novelist, journalist, and essayist.

Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to You by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Africa) and a 2010 Betty Trask First Book award and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of the Year. Her debut Young Adult novel, Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, based on interviews with girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, was published by HarperCollins in September 2018. It won the 2018 Raven Award for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment, was named as one of the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, and is a Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2019 selection.

Nwaubani’s journalism focuses on under-reported humanitarian issues. Her reportage and essays have appeared in scores of publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Guardian. She writes a monthly column for the BBC’s Letter from Africa, also broadcast on the Focus on Africa radio program. She was a location producer for the BBC/HBO documentary feature film, “Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram”. In 2017, Nwaubani was selected as a fellow for the Ford Foundation’s inaugural Africa ♯NoFilter project, a movement for promoting a diversity of narratives from across the African continent.   

Nwaubani will dedicate her Reporting Award to a story on the descendants of Africans who were involved in the buying and selling of fellow Africans during the transatlantic slave trade. 

Sarah Stillman, the inaugural recipient of the Reporting Award, traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to report on the abuse of third-world service workers on U.S. military bases there. Her piece, “The Invisible Army,” which appeared in the June 6, 2011, issue of the New Yorker, won several of journalism’s top prizes in 2012: the National Magazine Award in the category of “Public Interest”; the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism; the Overseas Press Club’s Joe and Laurie Dine Award for International Human Rights Reporting; and the Michael Kelly Award for the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth.” 

For more on the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, please visit its web site; for more on the Reporting Award, please visit its Carter Journalism Institute page. Applications for next year’s award will be accepted in January 2020. 

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