Eight Columbia J-Schoolers Nominated for The Livingston Award

Eight J-Schoolers, including two current students, have been included among the 47 finalists for the 2008 Livingston Awards for young journalists.

The J-Schoolers — current students and alumni — selected are:

* Elizabeth Dwoskin ’09, The Village Voice
* Darren Foster ’02, Current TV
* Joseph Huff-Hannon ’09, The Indypendent
* Joshua Kors ’03, The Nation
* Joshua Partlow ’02, The Washington Post
* Lydia Polgreen ’00, The New York Times
* Joel Rubin ’03, Los Angeles Times
* Mariana van Zeller ’02, Current TV

These awards for excellence by professionals under the age of 35 are the largest all-media, general reporting prizes in American journalism. They are also unusual in judging print, broadcast and online entries against one another, a practice of increasing interest as technology blurs traditional distinctions between different media of the profession.

Dwoskin, who is graduating this month with a Master in Science degree, was as a Village Voice Media fellow at The Village Voice last year before she accepted a full-time job as a staff writer at the paper. Before coming to Columbia, Dwoskin, who is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, interned in The New York Times‘ Newark bureau and the Associated Press Rio de Janeiro bureau.

She wrote about the owners of an established Lubavitch Jewish family from Crown Heights whose Iowa meatpacking plant made national news when the INS raided it for illegal immigrants last spring. Her story, “The Fall of the House of Rubashkin,” was about the fate of this powerful and revered family and their sometimes ill-gotten fortune, and the community that witnessed it.

“This piece allowed me to enter into a tightly-knit community, and see its inner politics and struggles up close,” Dwoskin said. “As the fortunes turned for this family and as the national news frenzy swirled around them, spending time there felt like being in the eye of a storm.”

Huff-Hannon, who also graduating this May, has been freelancing the last few years for The Nation, The Advocate, GOOD magazine, NY Press and The Indypendent. The story that earned him the Livingston nomination was on the impact of predatory lending practices on seniors in the New York area. Huff-Hannon says he tried selling his story to some high-profile magazines and publications but was unsuccessful; the story found a home in The Indypendent, an alternative newspaper in the city.

“I think this makes me appreciate all the more the power of independent journalism, and the value of alternative media, so that important stories don’t fall by the wayside for lack of an outlet,” Huff-Hannon said Friday.

The Livingston Award winners will be announced June 3. Three $10,000 prizes will be awarded in the realms of local, national and international reporting. For more information on The Livingston Awards, go to www.livawards.org

If you would like to reach one of our students, please contact Gina Boubion at (212)854-2980.

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