Beneath the hot sun, a group of small, colorfully billed Sub-Saharan birds perches on the backs of large mammals, feeding on ticks and other parasites. These birds are oxpeckers, the avian inspiration behind South African journalist Fiona Macleod’s environmental journalism watchdog organization of the same name.
Jose Antonio Vargas is a busy guy. Look at his Twitter bio and you’ll see that, along with all the accounts representing different projects in which he’s involved. He’s also hard to pin down for a phone or even email interview.
Growing up on Long Island, Mike Pesca was an admitted lover of radio. And by his own admission, journalism was “OK. Making up stories seemed fun,” he said. He honed those storytelling and journalism skills at Emory University in Atlanta and eventually made his way back to New York, working for public radio station WNYC and the Leonard Lopate show.
Note: This interview had been condensed for clarity and length. It’s fair to say Melody Joy Kramer’s path to her current job leading digital and social media at NPR was round-about. Or, as she says, “serendipitous.” After all, the ingredients came from applying for a prestigious program, the Kroc Fellowship, which trains people, often not from journalism school backgrounds, to work in public radio.
Jason Leopold is an investigative journalist, recently hired by Vice News. Before landing his recent gig, Leopold freelanced and worked for many other outlets, including Truthout, Al-Jazeera America, Salon, the Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post. He is best known for work primarily derived from his aggressive pursuit of Freedom of Information Act requests to federal agencies.
Kara Swisher may very well have been spying on your emails (or those of foreign leaders) had she followed her first path. As an undergraduate at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she was on track to being a spy or diplomat.
It’s hard to think of anyone more “Boston” than John Tlumacki, though he doesn’t have an impossibly thick accent or use the stereotypical “wicked” modifier. Growing up 20 miles north of the city, he attended Boston University to pursue journalism. He got his start in the field as his high school’s yearbook photographer, and even had a stint as a campaign photographer for U.S.
The tagline for this feature is “Quill asks 10 questions to people with some of the coolest jobs in journalism.” But Liz Wahl is on our radar, and the world’s, for the job she doesn’t have. You might not recognize her name off hand, but you probably know the headline: “Anchor resigns on-air to protest coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” That resignation ended Wahl’s 2 1/2-year stint at Russia Today, an English-language outlet funded by the Russian government.
Like so many career stories, David Folkenflik’s began with not intentionally majoring in what he ended up doing for the rest of his life. Growing up in Laguna Beach, Calif., the son of two university professors, he attended Cornell University. He studied history and thought he’d get into some kind of public service or public policy.
Jayson Blair. It’s a name that evokes two immediate responses: lies and The New York Times. More than 10 years after the biggest ethics debacle in journalism’s modern day, Samantha Grant is trying to show that there’s much more to the story.
In this issue 10 takes a break from the usual format to highlight a session from SPJ’s joint Excellence in Journalism conference, which took place Aug. 24-26 in Anaheim, Calif. On Monday, Aug. 26, attendees gathered for the Super Session “Journalism, the Department of Justice and National Security: When the Watchdogs are Being Watched.” Laurie Babinski, SPJ’s legal counsel at Baker Hostetler moderated the discussion with ABC News senior national correspondent Jim Avila and Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and former executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
NOTE: This issue of 10 looks back at Quill’s May 2006 interview with Kai Ryssdal, host of the popular “Marketplace” from American Public Media. Ryssdal was a featured keynote speaker at the Excellence in Journalism Conference, Aug. 24-26 in Anaheim, Calif.