In that wonderful picture of Marjorie and Persephone and Anne Olson That was the last time any of use were able to spend time with Persephone We talked a lot about what she would like us to do in her memory and they really schemed and planned out something and I’m really pleased that we’re able to bring to fruition today the Persephone Miel Memorial Fellowship in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting The inspiration for this fellowship is actually from a very dear friend Fatima Tlisova If I mispronounced your name I’m sorry who had the luxury of doing a fellowship at the Pulitzer Center and Persephone’s vision is the Pulitzer Center normally works with western, US journalists and lets them really deepen their coverage of international affairs in this case to have journalists that we work with around the world also have access to that amazing, in-depth mentorship and supportive, support to do long form, really creative production and we’re thrilled, we’ve already raised over $30,000 towards this fellowship from individual donations and that allows us, I’m very confident that we’ll at least be able do 2 fellowships and we hope to raise a lot more money, do a lot more. I’m gonna turn it over to Jon and Fatima to explain the fellowship. I didn’t know Persephone nearly as well as everyone in Jerome but I think in a way, the Pulitzer Center and I are good examples of Persephone’s influence in the world She heard about us, you know we’re a small, start-up non-profit journalism center that started 5 years ago and now we’re trying to fill a gap in coverage of really important global issues and get as much impact with those issues in the American media around the world and so we’re just starting out and Persephone found out about us and she made it possible numerous ways to get me to one of her Media Re:public conferences and other conferences and she was a god send and cheerleader for us and she has been for so many other journalists and people around the world and so when Marjorie and Jeanne came and said that Persephone wanted us to work together to establish this fellowship, we were thrilled and honored to have a role in this and through all of the response already, in fundraising for this we will be able to begin the first fellowship and I think that we’re hoping in the next day or two we’ll have it up on our website and we’ll announce the terms and she Persephone, for those of you who don’t know her, is very particular, she had a very clear vision of what she wanted This language is pretty much from her, and it speaks to what she wanted for this fellowship, and who will be eligible for the Persephone Miel Fellowship and the fellowships are open to all journalists, writers, photographers, radio producers, or filmmakers, staff journalists as well as freelancers who are non-native English speaking media professionals seeking to report from their home country.
And that’s a very specific goal, she’s trying to make an opportunity for voices to be heard beyond the region, beyond the country in the larger world and give us the opportunity to bring those voices to the widest possible audience and
the voices are the kind of people that Internews works with all over the world and so it’s natural that the Pulitzer Center will partner with Internews in the selection of these fellows and we will work to do everything we can to mentor them, to bring them multimedia tools whatever, to expose the work as hard as we can one of the inspirations for this as Jeanne said was the work, the document that Tlisova did in the North Caucasus and it wasn’t just the Pulitzer Center Persephone and Marjorie and Jeanne and others who were working with Fatima from the time that she left in Russia several years ago
after being an arrested journalist herselfand came to the United States without any resources and it was through their help that she first had a fellowship at the Card Center for Human Rights at Harvard and then at the Nieman Foundation and then came to us and we discussed doing a project together and along with Nieman Reports
and if you go online, or go on our site, Fatima has done a wonderful project and she went back to the North Caucasus at considerable risk to herself last winter and reported on journalists who have been harassed, driven from the country, in some cases murdered in the last 10 or 15 years because of their work as journalists and those pieces, the print version of it is in the current issue of the Nieman Reports telling their stories and our own stories and additional video footage that she took and the interviews with the journalists driven from Russia is on the Pulitzer Center website, so if you haven’t seen it, I’ll hope you look and it’s people like Fatima that we hope to be working with in the coming years, and each time we do so, we’ll be thinking about Persephone so thank you very much for the opportunity to be apart of this and I’ll return it to Fatima… I actually visited many many organizations and never before, I wasn’t able to convince people to believe in my project or to trust me and to explain to them how important it is for me or for so many journalists in my region, in North Caucasus to be heard their stories to be told, and it was first time when I have heard positive response and it was from Pulitzer Center and it happened with the help of Persephone it’s just one simple example, she…this is a blog post from her amazing Media Re:public here she writes about me, but most importantly she writes that what is important for herself she says, “I know why I care about saving journalism.” She knew. And it’s here that I consider myself as the first Persephone Miel Fellow, because it wouldn’t happen without her…