I wasn’t very involved before other than writing the blog and doing four stories a year. My title of Washington editor may have suggested an editorial role, but I was basically the Washington reporter for the magazine. I won’t be doing the blog anymore and I probably won’t be writing four stories for them anymore. But I still love the magazine. It’s a place where if you’ve got a great story they’ll give you 10,000 words to write it. Or more.
And what will you be working on with the Open Society Institute and Global Witness?
What I find exciting, and what gives me hope, is that I will be well funded to do the kind of reporting I like to do best. It’s up to me to come up with projects, but if I have the project there’s funding to do it. It’s become increasingly difficult in journalism to find outlets or publications that are willing to finance any long-form reporting, let alone long-form international reporting.
Do you think such fellowships and grants are going to play a big part in the future of the industry?
I look around and I see places like Global Witness and Human Rights Watch, places that are not journalism outlets per se, doing really first rate investigative reporting. They will devote the resources to a project that a newspaper or magazine rarely will. For me, being able to fund this sort of work is harder and harder to do. Twenty years ago, if I had taken an OSI fellowship it would have been hard for me to go to some outlets and say I want to do a story—they would say they can’t accept the piece because I was working for an activist organization.
The media landscape is shifting in such a way that newspapers and magazines are going to have to take reporting from unconventional places like nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups.