The Eye’s Jenifer McKim wins McGraw Center grant

Senior Reporter Jenifer McKim of The Eye won a prestigious McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism Friday for her upcoming investigation of foreclosure risks faced by elderly homeowners.

The fellowships, awarded twice a year, were created in 2014 by the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center for Business Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism to support ambitious coverage of critical issues related to the U.S. economy and business.

McKim has long written about debt and social issues for publications including The Eye at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, The Boston Globe and Orange County Register. In 2011, she received a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for a story on domestic sex trafficking of minors. She also headed a team that exposed lead tainting in imported Mexican candies, a series that was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.

McKim joins four other veteran journalists receiving grants this round:

Akshat Rathi: A London-based reporter for Quartz, Rathi’s Fellowship project will focus on carbon capture technology, an industry that has promised for decades to help stem the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions problem but which has consistently failed to deliver. Now, a confluence of circumstances — the Paris agreement on climate change, some critical projects being undertaken by a handful of corporations and governments, and key technological advances — may mean that carbon capture is finally ready for prime time.

Rathi’s work explores the intersection of science and society. He previously worked at The Economist and The Conversation and his stories have appeared in The Guardian, Ars Technica, Nature and The Hindu. He holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Oxford.

Ana Arana and Mort Rosenblum: Arana, a visiting scholar at the University of Arizona School of Journalism, and Rosenblum, an independent reporter author and educator, will team up to examine the economic and environmental implications of the renewed growth in copper mining in Arizona and beyond.

An award-winning investigative journalist with extensive international experience, Arana is the former director of Fundacion MEPI, an investigative journalism project that operated in Mexico City from 2010 to 2015. She has completed projects with ProPublica, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and various dailies in Mexico and Central America. She is a recipient of a Peabody award for her work on “Finding Oscar,” an investigation of a 1982 massacre in a Guatemalan village, two Overseas Press Club Awards, and a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, among others.

Rosenblum, a former editor of The International Herald Tribune and a Special Correspondent for the Associated Press, has covered breaking news and investigative stories on geopolitics, economics and the environment for more than four decades. An eight-time nominee for a Pulitzer Prize, he has received an Overseas Press Club Hal Boyle Award, top AP honors, and a James Beard Award. The author of 17 books, Rosenblum’s work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Foreign Affairs, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine and others. He teaches international reporting each spring at the University of Arizona.

Lauren Villagran: An award-winning journalist who has covered the borderlands and the U.S.-Mexico relationship for more than a decade, Villagran will use the Fellowship to examine bilateral water issues — specifically, the future of a deep underground aquifer that straddles the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Unlike the internationally governed waters of the Rio Grande, groundwater is not subject to bilateral agreements, leaving the U.S. and Mexico to jockey for a precious resource that is critical to both nations’ economic development.

A graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Villagran has covered the financial markets in New York, the drug war in Mexico and Latin America, and immigration and border security. She is based in southern New Mexico for the Albuquerque Journal.

Each McGraw Fellow receives up to $5,000 a month for three months, along with editorial support. Applications for the McGraw Fellowships are considered twice a year, in the spring and fall. The next deadline for proposals is May 31, 2017. For more information, go to www.mcgrawcenter.org.

The Eye is published online by the nonprofit New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University. Its mission is to strengthen democracy through producing and preserving investigative reporting in the public interest. For more information, go to www.necir.org.