News of former WPI Fellows

Lucas MendesLucas Mendes, a 1968 WPI fellow from Brazil, has been named a 2015 winner of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for outstanding reporting on the Americas by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

From the Columbia Journalism School announcement: “A pioneering foreign correspondent for Brazilian print media and television since the late 1960s, Lucas Mendes has built an outstanding, sustained and distinguished body of work that has significantly advanced understanding between the America’s two largest nations: Brazil and the United States.

Mendes has led the influential weekly television magazine program, “Manhattan Connection,” as the host and executive editor for a quarter century on GloboNews, Brazil’s first 24-hour television news channel. It is one of the most watched programs on cable television in Brazil. In 1997, the program first covered allegations of corruption at the giant state oil company Petrobras. When federal investigators revealed further allegations of wrongdoing at the highest levels of Petrobras in 2014, Mendes’ program was the only national television news outlet to cover the growing national scandal.

A gifted writer and editor, Mendes has informed millions from his adoptive New York and inspired generations of young Brazilians to embrace journalism with substantive news stories, commentary and interviews that mix information, analysis and humor to illuminate pressing contemporary issues.”

“The Cabot Prizes honor journalists who have covered the Western Hemisphere and furthered inter-American understanding through their reporting and editorial work. Godfrey Lowell Cabot of Boston founded the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes as a memorial to his wife in 1938. They are the oldest international journalism awards.”

Masooda BanoDr. Masooda Bano, a 2001 WPI fellow from Pakistan and now a University Research Lecturer at Oxford University in England, has won a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant to run a major research programme on Changing Structures of Islamic Authority and Consequences for Social Change.

Melinda Moses, a 2013 WPI fellow from South Africa, received the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award for the Northern Region, radio feature category, for her series on drug dens, called Lolly Lounges, in Johannesburg. Moses is a senior reporter and radio news anchor for theSouth African Broadcasting Corporation radio.

Kaius Niemi, a WPI fellow in 2003, has been appointed Senior Editor-in-Chief of the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, effective Sept. 15. At present Kaius works as Editor-in-Chief of Ilta-Sanomat and Taloussanomat. He has worked at Helsingin Sanomat for 12 years, both as a journalist and as part of the management. Kaius is a member of the WPI Board of Directors.

Andras Petho, a 2008 fellow from Hungary, has won an Hungarian investigative reporting award for his series on companies with links to Hungarian government officials. It is the most prestigous and only award of its kind and Andras is the only journalist to win the award two times in its 11-year history. He is responsible for editing and reporting on news and current affairs for the Hungarian news portal, Origo, in Budapest.

Shujaat Bukhari, a 2003 fellow from India, has been named editor in chief of Rising Kashmir, a prominent English daily published from Srinagar, the capital of Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir. Bukhari previously worked for 15 years for THE HINDU, a prestigious English daily in India. A widely travelled journalist, he is currently working on his first book, which deals with contemporary politics in Kashmir and also on his experience of working in a conflict zone. He is a member of South Asia Media Commission besides being a visiting faculty at various universities.

AnuAnu Kuistiala, a 1995 WPI fellow, has been named editor in chief for online news and radio for MTV3, a major Finnish television. Her responsibilities will include website and news content development as well as multi-media news operations. She was previously managing editor for online news at MTV3.

PugaciauskasVykintas Pugaciauskas, a 2008 WPI fellow, has left his job as international news editor with Lithuanian Television to join the diplomatic service (headed by another WPI fellow Audronius Azubalis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania). He has moved to Brussels to become a spokesperson at the Lithuania’s Permanent Mission at the European Union, with the view of representing the country when it takes its turn as the president of the EU Council in the second half of 2013.

Hu Shuli, a 1987 WPI fellow from China, is among TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2011. Adi Ignatiusm, editor in chief of the Harvard Business Review Group, wrote of Shuli: “More than a decade ago, when I was editing TIME’s Asia edition, a Chinese journalist named Hu Shuli, who had recently founded Caijing, a Beijing-based magazine about business and finance, sent a team to our headquarters to learn how to produce a newsmagazine.

“These days, Hu, 58, could teach the course. Caijing shook up China’s media landscape with courageous investigative pieces on corruption and fraud. After a dispute with her publisher, Hu left the magazine in 2009 and set up Caixin Century, now a paragon of reporting brilliance in China. In February it ran a commentary on Egypt that any savvy reader would link to China. ‘Autocracy creates turbulence,’ it read, ‘democracy breeds peace.’

“I once asked Hu what it takes to create great journalism. She said, ‘Believe in what you do, do it smartly, and never give up.’ ” (Drawing of Shuli by Peter James Field for TIME)

Radea JohnRadek John, a 1989 WPI fellow from the Czech Republic, is chairman of a new political party that is part of the ruling coalition. He serves as the Minister of the Interior. John’s party, Public Affairs, is a conservative liberal political party whose main platform is transparency and opposing political corruption. His novel Memento is the first book examining the drug problem in the context of the former communist Czechoslovakia.

NiemiKaius Niemi, a 2003 WPI fellow and current WPI board member, has been appointed editor-in-chief for the leading Finnish evening newspaper, Ilta-Sanomat. Along with the news operation, Niemi is in charge of the editorial digital development. Ilta-Sanomat has a daily readership of nearly 720.000. ‘s Website is currently in the top two position in Finland, read by 1.7 million unique weekly visitors. Ilta-Sanomat also publishes the leading Finnish electronic financial web service,

Before moving to Ilta-Sanomat, Niemi worked as managing editor of Finland’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat. Prior to that he was a foreign reporter for Helsingin Sanomat covering the conflicts in the Balkans, Afghanistan and the Middle East, among other assignments, and then became editor of the Metropolitan Section.

He has also been a television journalist and a radio news reporter for the Finnish Broadcasting Company and the Channel Four Finland.

Niemi was named Finland’s Journalist of the Year in 2002 for his reporting from Afghanistan the previous year. He is the author of a biography of Helena Ranta, a Finnish forensic expert.

Both Ilta-Sanomat and Helsingin Sanomat are published by Sanoma company.

SequeraVivian Sequera, a 1994 WPI fellow and journalist for Associated Press, was recognized by the AP for her coverage of the Chilean mine rescue. Sequera lived in Camp Hope, at the site of the rescue for almost a month. In recognizing her work, the AP said, “Often sleeping in an AP tent alongside the miners’ relatives and standing front and center at daily news conferences, Sequera soon knew everyone who mattered in the rescue operation.” Click here to read the entire AP letter on the award and the mine rescue coverage.

LugoLuis Alonso Lugo, a leader of The Associated Press’ Spanish-language service, has been named Spanish-language correspondent in Washington. He was a WPI fellow in 1997 from Venezuela.

As a deputy Latin America editor for the past four years, Alonso has helped build a more competitive Spanish-language news report, and to bring images and words together into a multiformat news endeavor. Alonso joined the AP in 2001 to help build its first Spanish-language multimedia team, and ran the Spanish Online service until late 2005.

He previously supervised StarMedia Network’s Spanish-language content. He was a political reporter and New York and Madrid correspondent for Diario El Nacional in Caracas, Venezuela, and Venezuela correspondent for the Spanish newspaper ABC.

AzubalisAudronius Azubalis, a WPI fellow from Lithuania in 1990, has been appointed Foreign Minister of that country. Azubalis, 52, is a member of the Homeland Union/Lithuanian Christian Democrats Party of Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius and the conservative head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee. He was first elected to Lithuania parliament in 1996.

ThiorMamadou Thior, a 2006 fellow from Senegal, was among three African journalists asked to help choose the questions, from hundreds received, that President Obama would respond to during his trip to Africa in July 2009. The other two journalists were from Kenya and South Africa. Click here to see the video of Obama answering these questions and mentioning Thior

LopezBruno Lopez, a WPI fellow from Mexico during 1979-80 and currently senior vice president and general manager of Univision Online, Miami, has been elected to the WPI Board of Directors. Univision Online is the largest Spanish-language interactive company in the United States.

Before heading Univision’s interactive programming group, Lopez had a 20-year journalism career including working as the West Coast Bureau chief for CNN’s Spanish language channel, serving as the Mexico bureau chief for the Hispanic American Broadcasting Corp, correspondent for Mexico and Central America for The Arizona Republic, Mexico manager for ABC News and regional editor for United Press International.

Lopez joins Kaius Niemi, Finland, as the second WPI alumnus on the board.

AzevedoSolange Azevedo, 2006 fellow from São Paulo, Brazil, and a reporter at Evista Epoca, has won an award for “the work ‘Mamas e Down’ (Moms and Down Syndrome), which presents in an educational and readable way the limitations of people suffering from Down Syndrome and their battle to receive equal treatment.” The award was from The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and was among the awards that the organization gives each year to honor journalists and newspapers throughout the Americas for their contributions to excellence in journalism and the defense of freedom of expression.

GomideRaphael Gomide, 2005 WPI fellow from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been awarded the Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize for his article “Infiltrated – The Police from within” which appeared in Folha de S. Paulo. Raphael currently is a political, national security and human rights reporter in the Rio de Janeiro bureau of Folha de S.Paulo, the best-selling newspaper in Brazil.

The Lorenzo Natalit prize rewards journalists committed to human rights, democracy and development. Created in 1992 by the European Commission to promote dedicated journalism of the highest quality, it was named after Lorenzo Natali for his dedication to his work as former vice-president of the European Commission, in charge of cooperation and development between 1985 and 1989.

Click here to read the article and see a video of Raphael speaking about his experience as a police trainee.

OppenheimerAndrés Oppenheimer, a 1976 WPI felllow from Argentina, won the VII ALGABA prize in biography, autobiography, memoirs, and historical research for a collection of columns that ran in the newspaper and elsewhere and will be published in the book The Non-United States of the Americas. The collection of columns ran in the Miami Herald and other newspapers for the past three years. The pieces examined the inability of Latin American countries to integrate.

Oppenheimer, a Miami Herald columnist, was a member of the newspaper’s team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for its coverage of the Iran-Contra scandal. He has also received a 1999 Maria Moors Cabot Award, the 2001 King of Spain prize, and the 2005 Emmy Suncoast award. He is the author of Castro’s Final Hour; Bordering on Chaos, on Mexico’s crisis; Cronicas de heroes y bandidos, Ojos vendados, Cuentos Chinos and its English version, Saving the Americas.

Hu ShuliHu Shuli, a 1987 WPI fellow from China, was featured in an article in the New Yorker magazine July 30, for her work as founder and managing editor of one of China’s most influential publications. Click here to read the article.
The AFP reported Nov. 10 that Shuli had resigned:

“The founder and managing editor of one of China’s most influential publications has resigned – the latest twist in a battle for control of a magazine known for its daring investigative reports. The departure of Hu Shuli from Caijing magazine comes a month after general manager Wu Chuanhui and 60-70 staff stepped down, and amid intense speculation that Hu was battling management efforts to silence her editorial team. The SEEC, which owns and publishes Caijing, is a state-supported consortium of non-bank financial institutions. Widespread reports have said the SEEC was trying to wrest power away from Hu, who is widely credited with making Caijing perhaps China’s most respected publication since she launched it in 1998. In a country where the media is tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party, Caijing has pushed the limits, crossing the relatively safe lines of business journalism to publish exposes on corruption and health scares. One Caijing staff member told AFP last month it was common knowledge at the magazine that Hu has been fighting off SEEC pressure to soften its reporting, especially after deadly ethnic unrest in China’s Xinjiang region in July. Caijing — which is published twice a month — has a circulation of 225,000, according to the China Daily.”