Heising-Simons Foundation American Mosaic Journalism Prize by Drew Bird Photo

American Mosaic Journalism Prize

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Heising-Simons Foundation American Mosaic Journalism Prize by Drew Bird Photo

In-depth journalism is essential for any functioning democracy + healthy society. I’d like to offer a big congratulations to Jaeah Lee and Valeria Fernàndez – freelance journalists who each recently won the first American Mosaic Journalism Prize given by my long-time clients, The Heising-Simons Foundation (HSF). According to HSF’s website, the prize is “awarded for excellence in long-form, narrative, or deep reporting on stories about underrepresented and/or misrepresented groups in the present American landscape. The prize recognizes journalism’s critical ability to foster greater understanding and empathy, and aims to recognize and empower freelance journalists with an unrestricted cash award of $100,000. The prize is intended to call attention to the recipients’ great promise, and to give them the freedom to continue their work.”

On-assignment for HSF, I recently had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing Jaeah and Valeria in San Francisco and Phoenix, respectively. A collection of images from our sessions can be viewed below. (Jaeah Lee is wearing glasses, Valeria Fernandez is not):

Heising-Simons Foundation American Mosaic Journalism Prize by Drew Bird Photo
Heising-Simons Foundation American Mosaic Journalism Prize by Drew Bird Photo

More about the prize winning journalists, from HSF’s press release:

Jaeah Lee is an independent journalist and a 2017 senior fellow at Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. She is also a 2017 Restorative Narrative Fellow with Images & Voices of Hope.

Ms. Lee’s work has been featured in major national outlets including California Sunday Magazine, VICE News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Wired, Christian Science Monitor, Global Post, MSNBC, and Democracy Now!. She was previously a staff reporter at Mother Jones, where she wrote about criminal justice, and income and racial inequality, among other subjects.

Her recent work included a California Sunday Magazine cover story for which Ms. Lee spent 17 months with a mother who lost her son to a police shooting.

As a 2013-2014 Middlebury College Environmental Journalism Fellow, Ms. Lee spent a year investigating China’s emerging fracking industry and its ties to international oil companies.

Ms. Lee’s work has won awards from the Online News Association and Society of Professional Journalists, and she has been named a finalist in the National Magazine Awards and Data Journalism Awards. She serves on the board of the Asian American Journalist Association’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter. Ms. Lee earned her bachelor’s degree from New York University. She currently lives in San Francisco, California.

Watch a 1 minute video about Jaeah here.

Valeria Fernández has been reporting on Arizona’s immigrant community and the many angles and faces of the immigration debate for more than 15 years. Ms. Fernández currently freelances for multiple outlets, including for the Phoenix New Times, The Guardian, PRI’s “Global Nation” and “The World,” CNN en Español, Radio Bilingüe, and Al Jazeera English. Her recent work included a story for the Phoenix New Times in which she detailed the mental health struggles of a new immigrant in Arizona.

Although Ms. Fernández’s work nominated for this prize was from print, earlier in her career she also co-directed and produced “Two Americans,” a documentary that parallels the stories of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a 9-year-old U.S. citizen whose parents were arrested by the sheriff’s deputies during a workplace immigration raid. The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Arizona International Film Festival. It aired on Al Jazeera America in 2013 and was an official selection of the DocsDF Mexican Film Festival.

Ms. Fernández also co-directed six short award-winning documentaries along the U.S.-Mexico borderlandsaspartoftheinternationalweb-documentaryConnectedWallsin2014-2015.

In 2015, she was a producer and reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting on a digital multimedia project that cast light on the economic and social impacts of a mine spill in Northern Mexico that broadcast on PBS, San Diego. The multimedia project won an Arizona Press Club recognition for environmental reporting.

Watch a 1 minute video about Valeria here.

To see more press about the award, try these links:
Heising-Simons Foundation Prize Announcement
Washington Post
San Francisco Chronicle
The New York Times
Phoenix New Times

The following jargon is mainly for the search engine robots. Read on, if you like. Drew is a San Francisco based International Photographer. Drew is also an Oakland Freelance Photographer and a San Francisco Freelance Photographer and a Bay area Freelance Photographer, a Bay Area conservation photographer, an Oakland freelance photojournalist and a San Francisco freelance photojournalist and a Bay Area event photographer and a Berkeley photographer; while he is based in the San Francisco Bay area, Drew regularly photographs for clients throughout all of California, including Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, San Jose, Marin County, Santa Cruz, Eureka, Santa Rosa, Mendocino, Monterey, Sacramento, Santa Barbra, and Napa, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada, all across the USA and everywhere on Earth. He specializes in creative storytelling and artistic photojournalism, environmental photojournalism, conservation photography, environmental justice photography, and stories about human-earth relationships including urban farming, agriculture, water use, climate change, ocean issues, energy issues, pollution, and natural resource economics. He also specializes in editorial photography and lifestyle photography, portraits and headshots, corporate event photography, non-profit event photography, and branding photography for corporations, non-profits, and small businesses. Drew is also a live music photographer, a Berkeley live music photographer, a Bay Area live music photographer, an Oakland live music photographer, a San Francisco live music photographer, a San Francisco band photographer and a bay area band photographer. You can view more of his photojournalism, editorial, and lifestyle work here and more of his documentary style wedding work here. The photos in this post are connected to the Heising-Simons Foundation, the American Mosaic Journalism Prize, editorial photography, editorial photographers, visual storytelling, branding photography and branding photographers, travel photographers, lifestyle photography,and bay area event photographers, and creative storytelling and an international photographer. Have Camera. Will Travel.

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