The Reporting Award provides support of up to $12,500 for a work of journalism in any medium on significant underreported subjects in the public interest. In establishing the award, 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 Institute will select up to two winners of the Reporting Award. The maximum amount ($12,500) is divided into two payments–$2,500 on acceptance of the proposal, and the balance paid upon completion (see About the Award for full details).
The Reporting Award’s first recipient, Sarah Stillman, returned to Iraq — and made her first trip to Afghanistan — to pursue an investigative reporting project on the wars’ third-country nationals. The resulting piece, “The Invisible Army,” appeared in the June 6, 2011, issue of The New Yorker and won the 2012 National Magazine Award among others. Sarah has since become a staff writer at The New Yorker.
Here’s what Sarah has to say about winning the award:
Staying afloat as an investigative journalist can be hard, but that’s all the more true when you’re interested in reporting deep-dive, resource-intensive stories in the public interest — the sorts of pieces that can take months of traveling, interviewing, cajoling, and document-digging to report, and then to write. Editors are often wary to take a risk on these kinds of stories, particularly when it comes to writers they’ve never worked with before; as a result, the Reporting Award was a godsend for me, at a moment in my career where I had the idea for a story I cared about but not the funds to see it through. It allowed me to venture to Iraq and Afghanistan; to burrow into a story that took time and persistence to report (uncovering human trafficking and labor abuses on U.S. military bases); and to get the resulting feature published in The New Yorker. Without the funding provided by the Reporting Award, the story wouldn’t have been possible. But equally important was the community that NYU’s Carter Journalism Institute provided: the brilliant colleagues with whom to brainstorm and troubleshoot, the room of my own in which to write, and the sense of belonging that helped to buoy work that can otherwise be lonely and isolating. The Award changed my career, and my sense of what’s possible when a journalistic institution throws its weight behind reporting projects in the public interest — from Jina Moore’s vulture fund exposé to Seth Freed-Wessler’s child-welfare coverage.”
– Sarah Stillman, 2010 Winner