McGraw Center Announces Winter 2018 Fellows

  • By Ellen Lai

Three veteran journalists were awarded grants of up to $15,000 as recipients of the latest round of the McGraw Fellowships for Business Journalism.

The winning projects will explore a variety of issues, from the stewardship of timber lands in Central America and the development of safety standards for drones, to the changes technology and globalization are bringing to the world of work.

The McGraw Fellowships, an initiative of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center for Business Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism,  were created in 2014 to support ambitious coverage of critical issues related to the U.S. economy and business.  The Fellowships – awarded twice a year – enable experienced journalists to produce deeply reported works of investigative or enterprise business journalism.

The Winter 2018 Fellows are:

Vauhini Vara: A freelance journalist based in Colorado, Vara will use her Fellowship to investigate the role of technology and globalization in shaping how people around the world make a living. Vara’s work covers a wide range of topics, with a particular focus on how business and politics influence the lives of working people, especially those from underrepresented communities. She is a contributing writer for the website of the New Yorker, and her articles have also appeared in Businessweek, Fortune, Wired, Fast Company, The Atlantic, and Harper’s, among other magazines. She began her career as a reporter at the Wall Street Journal; she later launched the business section of the New Yorker’s website and spent a year as its founding editor. In addition to being a journalist, Vara is an O. Henry Prize-winning fiction writer, with stories published in McSweeney’s, Tin House, and elsewhere. She has received honors from the International Center for Journalists, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Iowa Writers Workshop, and other organizations.

Enrique Andrés-Pretel: The chief correspondent for Thomson Reuters in Central America, where he serves as lead reporter and editor on investigative pieces for the region, Andrés-Pretel’s Fellowship project will focus on questionssurrounding the stewardship of timber lands in Panama and elsewhere in the Americas.  A Spanish journalist with 15 years of experience reporting on politics and economics in more than 20 countries, Andrés-Pretel has covered everything from coups d’etat and economic crises to street protests and major elections since becoming a senior correspondent in Latin America in 2006. He was nominated for the Inter American Press Association’s coverage prize in 2015 for his work on Venezuela with the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, while the documentary film he co-produced, “The Whisper of Sand: Stories of the Sahrawi People,” won the Sahara International Film Festival special jury award in 2007.

Richard Korman: A deputy editor of the Engineering News-Record, Korman will use the Fellowship to examine the confluence of forces from business, government and science that will determine the safety standards needed before drones can begin making deliveries to U.S. homes and businesses. With businesses and others planning hundreds of services that will bring drones into ever closer contact with Americans, Korman will look at whether the regulatory and design decisions being made will adequately protect the public from the risk of being struck by an unidentified flying quadcopter.  A freelance writer in addition to his work with ENR, Korman’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Businessweek, and the, among others. In 2015, the American Business Media awarded him its prestigious Timothy White Award for passion and integrity based on his ENR investigations of sensitive subjects such as guarantee fraud and jobsite bullying.

Some 80 journalists working in more than a dozen countries applied for the latest round of Fellowships. Each Fellow receives a stipend of $5,000 a month for up to three months. In addition to financial backing, the McGraw Center provides Fellows with editorial guidance and assistance in placing their stories with media outlets.

Applications for McGraw Fellowships are considered twice a year. The next deadline for proposals is June 30, 2018. For more information and the online application, go to

The McGraw Center for Business Journalism was established in early 2014 by the family of the late Harold W. McGraw, Jr., former chairman and CEO of McGraw-Hill and long-time publisher of Businessweek magazine. The Center is dedicated to enhancing the depth and quality of business news coverage through training, student scholarships and support for veteran journalists.