The Foreign Press Association 2012 Scholarship Winners are Natalia Osipova (1ST) from Russia, Gabriel Stargardter (2ND) from United Kingdom, Charu Sudan Kasturi (2ND) from India, Warangkana Chomchuen (3RD) from Thailand, and Nastaran Tavakoli (3RD) from Iran.
Natalia Osipova – First Prize
I started my career in journalism as a 14-year-old intern at a hyperlocal television station in Moscow, Russia. I became a journalist because information is the strongest instrument in uniting people of different cultures, faiths and beliefs. I graduated with honors at Moscow State University where I conducted research on the roles the state and market play in media systems of Russia and France.
For the last four years, I was reporting on international affairs for TV Center, one of the major broadcasting companies in my home country. I decided to quit my job and come to CUNY Graduate School of Journalism to learn about instruments that could make the Russian media more independent. In New York, I freelanced for the New York Times Video, NY Daily News and City Limits. My reporting and multimedia producing experience in the U.S. inspires me for finding ways journalists all over the world can protect themselves against biases.
Gabriel Stargardter – Second Prize
Gabriel Stargardter was born in London. After studying English Literature at Oxford University, he moved to Berlin to work at Bild, Germany and Europe’s largest newspaper. In 2010, he moved to Barranquilla, Colombia, where he worked as a staff writer at El Heraldo, a large regional newspaper, covering the 2010 Presidential elections. He returned to Berlin in late 2010, before he came to New York to pursue an M.Sc. at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Upon graduation, he hopes to pursue his dream of working as a foreign correspondent. “My interest in being a foreign correspondent stems form my tumultuous family background. I am particularly interested in covering emerging markets and post-conflict countries when I return to Latin America.”
Charu Sudan Kasturi – Second Prize
Charu Sudan Kasturi is from New Delhi, India, and is studying at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He plans to return to the Hindustan Times, India’s secondlargest English daily, where he was working before joining Columbia. He has previously worked with The Telegraph, India’s fourth-largest English daily.
He has frequently appeared on discussions on Lok Sabha TV, a national public broadcaster that reports on social issues and covers live proceedings of India’s lower house of Parliament.
He graduated with an M.S. in physics from one of India’s most reputed engineering and science schools, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in 2006. He is a winner of the 2011 Inlaks Shivdasani Scholarship Award and is a Jack R. Howard Fellow at Columbia University. At Columbia, he is currently taking a China Seminar, and plans to follow the evolving relationship between India and China closely in his career.
Warangkana Chomchuen – Third Prize
I grew up in a small village in Thailand. My first encounter with journalism left me with a sour taste. On my first day as a college freshman, I was interviewed by a reporter from one of Thailand’s top newspapers. The next day I found myself reading a story I didn’t recognize. I decided to stay clear of journalism.
That conviction soon faltered. I joined an editorial team of the English department’s magazine and it was clear that there was nothing else I wanted to do but to be a journalist. And a good one. I was a researcher/reporter for Japan Broadcasting Company in Bangkok. In 2006, I traveled to New York City to study broadcast journalism at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
For the past three years I worked at the Bangkok bureau of NBC News covering breaking news and features. I am currently studying Business and Economic Reporting at NYU.
Nastaran Tavakoli-Far – Third Prize
I was born in Teheran and raised in London. I now live in New York while I am pursuing a Master’s degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
I completed an economics degree at the London School of Economics in 2006 and then literally moved across the road to Bush House, home of the BBC World Service radio where I worked on news and current affairs programs.
I enjoy the opportunity journalism gives me to delve into subjects and talk to a wide range of people covering all sorts of topics.
I hope to further my love of economics, innovation and design through journalism and, of course, many lengthy discussions over many pots of tea.