Washington, D.C., (PRWEB) April 23, 2007
David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media Company, announced tonight that C.J. Chivers is this year's recipient of the Michael Kelly Award. He won for a reconstruction of the 2004 Beslan school siege written for Esquire.
The $25,000 award is given annually to a journalist whose work exemplifies a quality that animated Michael Kelly's own career: the fearless pursuit and expression of truth. Kelly, who was the editor of two Atlantic Media publications, the Atlantic and National Journal, was killed while covering the war in Iraq in 2003.
According to a statement from the award judges, "Chivers produced an extraordinary hour-by-hour account of the school siege that is impossible to put down. Through careful, persistent reporting, Chivers provided Esquire readers with a haunting look at how innocent hostages, Chechen terrorists, and Russian authorities responded to a crisis that left 362 dead."
In addition to Chivers, the judges recognized journalists from four publications as finalists: Rukmini Maria Callimachi, an Associated Press correspondent; Jesse Hamilton, a reporter for The Hartford Courant; William Langewiesche, international correspondent for Vanity Fair; and Charles Forelle, James Bandler, Mark Maremont, and Steve Stecklow, reporters with The Wall Street Journal.
The journalists were honored at a dinner tonight in Washington.
The finalists were selected from a total of 57 entries from journalists at U.S.-based newspapers and magazines. The award is for work published in 2006.
A panel of five journalists served as judges for this year's award: Peter Canellos, Washington bureau chief, The Boston Globe; David Grann, staff writer, The New Yorker; Charles Green, editor, National Journal; Cullen Murphy; editor at large, Vanity Fair; and Margaret Talbot, staff writer, The New Yorker. Murphy, former managing editor of the Atlantic, recused himself from deliberations and voting regarding the Vanity Fair entry.
To read this year's entries, and for additional information about the Michael Kelly Award, visit http://www.kellyaward.com.
Atlantic Media Company is a Washington, D.C.-based publishing company whose flagship properties include the Atlantic, National Journal, and Government Executive.
C.J. Chivers arrived in Beslan soon after its elementary school had been attacked by Chechen terrorists in August 2004. Over the next 18 months, he returned again and again, on weekends, on vacation, determined to tell the definitive story of how 362 people, many of them children, ended up dying there. He interviewed some survivors in sessions lasting as long as 10 hours. His goal, he said, was to create the first "wide-lit narrative of the event." In reporting the story, Chivers acknowledged later, he was "essentially obsessed." The result of his obsession was a gripping 18,000-word, hour-by-hour account that both contradicts the official story of the Breslan hostage crisis and illuminates man's capacity for good and evil. Or, as Esquire put it, "an extraordinary accounting of the experience of terror in the age of terrorism."
Chivers is a Moscow correspondent for The New York Times and a regular contributor to Esquire. After graduating from Cornell University in 1988, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Persian Gulf War. Honorably discharged in 1994 with the rank of captain, Chivers entered the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, graduating in 1995 as valedictorian. He began his writing career at the Providence Journal, and joined the Times in 1999 as a metro reporter, covering crime and law enforcement. He was in downtown Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001, and witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center. For the next twelve days he remained on the site. Since then, Chivers has also reported from Afghanistan, Israel, Iraq, and Russia. Chivers, 42, lives in Moscow with his wife, Suzanne Keating, and their four children.
Rukmini Maria Callimachi
Correspondent, Associated Press
Rukmini Maria Callimachi spent a year in New Orleans chronicling the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for the Associated Press. Her articles artfully captured the challenges confronting a city struggling to reclaim its spirit. She wrote about a three-year-old child who rode out Katrina's waves inside a cooler and is now terrified of taking baths. She wrote about the arrival of the new phonebook as a mark of how much things had changed. (The number of pages listing contractors had more than doubled from the year before, while the number of 'Beauty Salon' listings was down 42 percent.) And she wrote about how, amid all of the destruction and despair, the wedding business in New Orleans was booming. "It reminds me of Valentine's Day," a marriage license clerk told her. "Except it's like Valentine's Day all the time."
Callimachi began reporting out of Dakar, Senegal, as one of the West African correspondents for the Associated Press in late 2006. Before that, she spent a year in New Orleans documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She joined the AP in Portland, Ore., in 2003. Her reporting has won the Templeton Religion Story of the Year award and the Associated Press Managing Editors' Charles Rowe Award. She began her career as a freelancer for Time magazine in New Delhi, India. Born in Bucharest, Romania, Callimachi graduated with honors from Dartmouth College and completed her masters in linguistics at Exeter College, Oxford. Her poetry has been published in more than 20 journals, including The American Scholar. In 2000, she co-led the Royal Geographical Society of London's expedition to Tibet.
Reporter, The Hartford Courant
Over the course of a year, Jesse Hamilton reported on the experiences of the Marines of Charlie Company before, during, and after their tour of duty in Iraq. He trained with them in the Mojave Desert, joined them on patrols and house-to-house raids in Fallujah, and stood with them in Arlington as they buried one of their own. Through their stories, Hamilton told the story of war and warriors. In simple, direct, and compelling prose, he showed Hartford Courant readers what Iraq looked like, what it smelled like, and what it felt like for Marine reservists from Connecticut called upon to fight.
Hamilton has been writing about the military for The Hartford Courant since 2002. Before that, he worked at several newspapers in Washington state, winning a George Polk Award and an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award at the Yakima Herald-Republic for an investigation of the fighting of a forest fire that killed four wildland firefighters. He won the Society of Professional Journalists' feature-writing award for his account of a true-life murder mystery in a small town. In his career, he's also covered a tribal whale hunt, the fire that killed 100 in a Rhode Island nightclub, and three back-to-back hurricanes striking central Florida. Hamilton, 32, was born in Portland, Ore., and earned a B.A. degree from Western Washington University. He lives in Groton, Conn., with his wife, Audrey.
International Correspondent, Vanity Fair
Since the U.S. invasion in March of 2003, William Langewiesche has made 10 reporting trips to Iraq and chronicled its deterioration with clear-eyed precision. In perhaps his most ambitious reporting effort, Langewiesche carefully reconstructed the killing by U.S. Marines of 24 Iraqi civilians in the city of Haditha in November, 2005. In his hands, Haditha becomes not only a story about the Americans and Iraqis caught up in a tragic chain of events, but also a cautionary tale about the rules of engagement under which American forces operate in Iraq. Haditha, he wrote, "is what defeat looks like in this war."
Langewiesche assumed the newly created post of international correspondent for Vanity Fair in 2006. Prior to that, Langewiesche was a national correspondent at The Atlantic. During his tenure there, he was nominated for eight consecutive National Magazine Awards, and won in 2002 for reporting for his article "The Crash of EgyptAir 990." Langewiesche is the author of numerous books, among them American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center, an insider's account of the cleanup of the Twin Towers, and The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime. His book The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor is due out this spring. Prior to joining The Atlantic, he had been a professional pilot. Langewiesche resides in California and France.
Charles Forelle, James Bandler, Mark Maremont, Steve Stecklow
The Wall Street Journal
Reporters aren't known for writing algorithms, but one that The Wall Street Journal's Charles Forelle devised helped trigger federal investigations of nearly 140 companies for massive and long-hidden fraud. Forelle, working with Journal colleagues James Bandler, Mark Maremont, and Steve Stecklow, used the statistical-modeling technique to find likely perpetrators of stock-options abuses. The Journal showed that options were often rigged, providing billions in extra pay for executives. In one case, the Journal determined that the odds of a chief executive's stock-option grants always being dated just before a rise in the stock price were one in 300 billion. In another case, one in 200 million. As a result of the Journal's inquiry, at least 70 top business executive lost their jobs.
Charles Forelle is a reporter in The Wall Street Journal's Boston bureau. He joined the Journal as an intern in June 2002. Born in New York, Forelle received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Yale, where he was managing editor of the Yale Daily News from 2000 to 2001. He currently resides in Boston.
James Bandler is part of the Journal's special projects reporting team and is based in Boston. He joined the Journal in September 1999 as a health care and education writer. A graduate of Brown University, Bandler has also worked at the Rutland Herald, Barre Times Argus, and Boston Globe.
Mark Maremont is a special projects editor at the Journal, based in Boston. He joined the paper in May 1997. Maremont began his journalism career as a New York-based telecommunications editor at BusinessWeek. Maremont received a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's degree from Columbia University.
Steve Stecklow is a senior special writer and news editor in the Journal's Boston bureau. He previously worked in the Journal's London bureau as a global investigative reporter. He has also worked at the Atlantic City Press, Philadelphia Bulletin, and Philadelphia Inquirer. Stecklow received a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.