USC Annenberg Announces Recipients of Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion

Posted March 4, 2011

USC Annenberg announced today the recipients of the 2011 Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion. From a pool of more than 50 outstanding applications, seven American journalists were chosen to receive stipends from between $5,000 to $25,000 to report on religion around the world. 

“The number and quality of the proposals we received demonstrate the variety of important stories that can be told about global religion,” said Diane Winston (pictured), Knight Chair in Media and Religion at USC Annenberg. “We identified projects that illustrate the impact of religion worldwide, from the political to the personal, and can be posted, printed, broadcast and published across media platforms.” Stipends will support the following projects: 

  • Kael Alford will produce a series of character-driven multimedia pieces, short photo essays and written stories about the political and personal place of religion in the lives of Iraqis and the perceived role religion has played in Iraq’s civil conflict since the U.S.–led war began in 2003. Alford, whose photo-documentary work has appeared in books, on television, and in art galleries, will further develop a model for the production of independent, multi-platform feature journalism.
  • Caryle Murphy’s examination of Saudi Arabia’s global export of its particular brand of Islam a decade after 9/11. A Pulitzer Prize winner and freelance journalist based in Riyadh, Murphy will produce a multimedia project for GlobalPost that illuminates an internal division among some of the Sunni faithful. 
  • Tim McGirk, former TIME Magazine Jerusalem Bureau Chief and award-winning war correspondent, will report on “Reincarnation in Exile.” McGirk will cover Tibetan Buddhists who have been identified as reincarnated lamas or “rimpoches” and then renounce their exalted positions to pursue a “normal” life. The story will take McGirk to Dharamsala and Madrid. 
  • Kathryn Joyce will investigate the burgeoning U.S. evangelical adoption movement and “orphan theology,” reporting on international adoption in Rwanda and Liberia. Joyce, who has published in Mother Jones, Salon and Newsweek, is a three-time recipient of reporting support from the Nation Institute Fund for Investigative Journalism. She is also the author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement (2009).
  • Radio and print reporter Daniel Estrin will report on efforts to investigate the Jewish heritage of some one million immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel. He will travel from Jerusalem to Cyprus and Ukraine to explore complexities that arise when a country constructs its immigration policy according to religious criteria. 
  • Joanna Kakissis will follow the story of Hazara immigrants who left Afghanistan due to Taliban persecution and who are now facing hostility in communities-in-exile in Pakistan and, more recently, Greece. Kakissis’s work has appeared in the New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Financial Times Magazine, National Public Radio, Marketplace and BBC/PRI’s The World
  • Reporting from Argentina, which became the first Latin American nation to legalize same-sex marriage in July 2010, Nicole Greenfield will examine the complex relationship among religion, politics and LGBT rights in the diverse city of Buenos Aires. Greenfield is a freelance journalist based in New York City.

Within the six-month period of their fellowship, fellows will report and develop stories for delivery on multiple platforms. At the completion of their projects, several fellows will spend three days in residence at USC to present their work, hold master classes for journalism students, and give public lectures for the USC community.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of TIME Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership.  The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. The Luce Foundation pursues its mission today through a variety of grant-making programs; among these is the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

The Knight Chair in Media and Religion, established in 2002 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, participates in a wide range of activities, including the organization of conferences for working journalists and the sponsorship of events for the local community. Dr. Winston addresses a host of issues surrounding religion and media through her writing and public speaking, as well as her development of coursework and symposiums. Through these outreach activities, USC Annenberg has begun to emerge as a hub for re-visioning how the press—and society itself—thinks about and reports on religion.

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