The McGraw Fellows
Summer 2015 



Three veteran journalists have won grants of up to $15,000 as the third recipients of the McGraw Fellowships for Business Journalism. The winning projects will explore the growing threat of cyber attacks on the international financial system, the ramifications of Nicaraguan plans to build an extensive shipping canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the transformation ahead for the Cuban economy as relations with the United States are restored.

The McGraw Fellowships, an initiative of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center for Business Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, were created in early 2014 to support ambitious, long-form coverage of critical issues related to U.S. business and the global economy. The Fellowships – awarded twice a year – enable accomplished journalists to do the deep reporting needed to produce a distinguished investigative or enterprise business story. Seven veteran journalists won McGraw Fellowships in 2014; you’ll find more on them and their projects here.

Roughly 65 journalists working in more than a half-dozen countries applied for the Summer 2015 round of Fellowships. The winners were chosen following interviews and a thorough review of applicants’ detailed proposals, work samples and references.

Each McGraw Fellow receives a stipend of $5,000 a month for up to three months. In addition to financial backing, the McGraw Center provides Fellows with editorial guidance and assistance in placing their stories with established print, radio or digital outlets.

The new McGraw Fellows for Summer 2015 are:



William Adler

A freelance journalist based in Denver, William M. Adler’s work has appeared in Esquire, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and the Texas Observer. He also has written three books of narrative nonfiction: Land of Opportunity, an intimate look at the rise and fall of a crack cocaine empire; Mollie’s Job, which follows the flight of a single factory job from the US to Mexico over the course of fifty years; and The Man Who Never Died, a biography of the labor martyr Joe Hill. He is a past recipient of the Ted Scripps Fellowship in Environmental Journalism and the Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship. Most recently he co-founded and served as news director for a community radio station in rural Costa Rica.

Adler’s Fellowship project will examine the economic, environmental and geopolitical ramifications of the planned Nicaraguan Interoceanic Canal, a Chinese-built 178-mile waterway across the Central American isthmus that would be the world’s biggest construction project.


Maria Perez


Maria Perez is a staff reporter for the Naples Daily News, where she reports on Southwest Florida’s multi-ethnic communities. A native of Spain, she covers immigration policy, housing, labor conditions and other issues affecting the working class. Perez, who previously reported for El Nuevo Herald in Miami and El Mundo in Madrid, received a Sigma Delta Chi award for public service journalism in 2013 from the Society of Professional Journalists.

During the Fellowship, Perez produced a bilingual series for the paper on the economic changes underway in Cuba as local entrepreneurs and U.S. multinationals alike seek opportunities to tap into a market in dire need of investment and development.

See Maria’s Fellowship Stories



Robert Lenzner

Robert Lenzner is a veteran financial reporter who has covered Wall Street for nearly 40 years, A longtime National Editor for Forbes Magazine whose work has appeared in the Economist, Vanity Fair, the Boston Globe and elsewhere, he is the author of the best-selling biography “The Great Getty.” In 2014 he was a Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, where he wrote on the media’s failure to foresee problems that led to the 2008 financial crisis — and how it can avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Lenzner will use the Fellowship to examine the vulnerability of giant banks in the U.S. and Europe to the growing threat of cyber attacks.