The McGraw Fellows
Three veteran journalists were awarded grants of up to $15,000 in 2014, as the first recipients of the McGraw Fellowships for Business Journalism. The winning projects explored a range of issues: from Chinese investment in the U.S. food industry and the challenges online giant Amazon faces as it expands in Europe, to the link between the growing heroin epidemic and the rise of prescription painkillers.
The new Fellowships, an initiative of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center for Business Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, were created to support ambitious, long-form coverage of critical issues related to the U.S. economy and business.
The Fellowships – awarded twice a year – enable accomplished journalists to do the deep reporting needed to produce a distinguished investigative or enterprise business story. Each McGraw Fellow receives a stipend of $5,000 a month for up to three months.
Roughly 70 journalists from around the globe applied for the initial awards. The winners were chosen following interviews and a thorough review of applicants’ detailed proposals, work samples and references. In addition to financial backing, the McGraw Center provides Fellows with editorial support and assistance in placing their stories with established print, radio or digital outlets.
The 2014 McGraw Fellows were:
At the time of his Fellowship, Jay Greene was a business reporter for The Seattle Times focused on covering Amazon.com. He previously spent ten years as BusinessWeek’s Seattle bureau chief, where he wrote primarily about Microsoft. He has also worked as a senior writer for the technology news Web site, CNET. Greene is the author of “Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons” (Penguin/Portfolio). He’s also won several national awards, including, most recently, the Best In Business Award for Explanatory Journalism from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) for a series he wrote in 2012 on the life cycle of an iPhone.
Greene used his Fellowship to write a three-part series for The Seattle Times examining the legal and cultural difficulties faced by online giant Amazon as it expands internationally. The series, which ran in August 2014, was a finalist for SABEW’s 2015 Best in Business Awards for explanatory journalism.
Nate Halverson is a freelance reporter living in San Francisco. His current work with The Center for Investigative Reporting examines the growing corporate battle to control the world’s increasingly coveted food and water sources. In May 2014 he finished a two-year project helping report a PBS Frontline documentary on the U.S. casinos operating in Macau, China, now the world’s largest gambling center. Previous to that, he spent five years as a staff reporter at The Press Democrat newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he investigated the failure of Sonoma Valley Bank, uncovering questionable loans between senior bank officials and a group of tight real estate developers, which this year resulted in four people being arrested and charged with felony bank fraud. Halverson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Economics.
Halverson’s Fellowship project focused on the massive buying spree China has begun in the U.S. and around the globe to feed its growing middle class population. In a series of stories produced for The Center for Investigative Reporting and PBS NewsHour, he uncovered the deep role that the Chinese government played in the purchase of Smithfield Foods, the largest acquisition ever of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm. His stories also examined broader concerns that China’s expansion into the American market could ultimately undermine the food security of the United States.
Halverson’s video story for PBS NewsHour, “Who’s Behind the Chinese Takeover of the World’s Biggest Pork Producer?” won a 2015 Emmy for outstanding business and economic reporting in a regular newscast.
Tom Mashberg is an award-winning investigative reporter and editor and former Sunday editor and investigative editor at the Boston Herald. He has worked as an editor and reporter for The New York Times and The Boston Globe. His work includes exposés on the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum heist; the Massachusetts Medical Examiner’s Office; the Boston Police Department; and the plague of heroin abuse in New Jersey, for which he was a Pulitzer co-finalist in 2014. His investigative reporters have won numerous awards from the New England Associated Press Newspaper Association. Mashberg is a two-time recipient of a George Polk grant for investigative reporting from Long Island University. Since 2012, he has also been a regular contributor to The New York Times culture section, focusing on art and antiquities theft and repatriation. He is coauthor of “Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories Behind Notorious Heists,” a Wall Street Journal true crime bestseller.
Mashberg’s Fellowship project explores the business and economic ties between heroin use and the spread of powerful prescription painkillers. It is currently being edited for publication.