Nieman News

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (March 4, 2002) — Annys Shin, a senior writer for the Washington City Paper, has been awarded the Christopher J. Georges Fellowship for in-depth reporting to cover the impact of the release of floods of prisoners just now finishing their mandatory sentences.

Shin, 29, will receive $10,000 to fund research and writing of the project.

“This year about 600,000 (inmates) will be released. More of them are coming home after serving longer sentences — at least five years. And more of them are coming home with little preparation to start a new life,” Shin wrote in her proposal. “The job of facilitating the re-integration of ex-offenders falls in part on the shoulders of probation and parole officers. But supervision agencies have not been able to keep up with the rising number of releases. Budget cuts have left them with fewer staff juggling higher case loads.”

Shin will focus on specific neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. area for her project.

“What is the impact of so many prisoners released with serious infectious diseases and substance abuse issues on the small number of communities they return to? Who takes care of their children while they are gone? When prisoners return, are they able to take over care taking duties?” she asked.

“Among the several excellent entries, Annys Shin’s proposal stood out for its originality and focus on an issue confronting our nation’s communities that is currently getting little attention,” said Gigi Georges, chair of the fellowship fund’s board. “We anticipate that, upon the project’s completion, it will not only provide an important source of information for the Washington area, but also provide critical observations for other communities around the nation that must deal with the integration of hundreds of thousands of ex-prisoners into neighborhoods, towns and cities.”

The Christopher J. Georges Fellowship Fund was established at Harvard and is awarded annually to enable young journalists to engage in research and writing that exemplifies Chris Georges’ commitment to in-depth reporting on issues of enduring social value in which stories document the human impact of public policy.

Chris Georges was executive editor of The Harvard Crimson and an honors graduate of Harvard College. Following graduation he joined the Wall Street Journal as a reporter. He died in 1998 at age 33 from complications related to lupus. He worked in the Journal’s Washington Bureau, covering politics, economics and budget issues. His stories on the welfare system in 1997 were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The fellowship is administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. A selection committee appointed by the fellowship fund’s executive committee and the Nieman Foundation reviewed the proposals and selected the journalist to receive the award and carry out the project. The selection committee included: Kate Boo, reporter for The Washington Post; Alan Murray, Washington Bureau Chief for CNBC and contributing editor, The Wall Street Journal; Stephanie Georges Comfort; Gigi Georges; and Bob Giles, Nieman Foundation curator.

Shin has been a senior editor of the Washington City Paper for the last two years. Prior to joining the City Paper, she spent two years as a senior writer with the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., and before that as an associate editor for the National Journal. She also worked for New York magazine, Women in Higher Education and Ms. She received a B.A. in 1994 from Columbia University.

Earlier this year four Harvard College sophomores, who will investigate the status of women at Harvard University, were awarded fellowships by The Fellowship Fund. The four women, all members of The Harvard Crimson staff, are: Lauren R. Dorgan of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Anne K. Kofol of New York City; Kathryn L. Rakoczy of Staten Island, N.Y.; and Catherine E. Shoichet of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Their fellowship covers a $1,000 award to each student and the printing costs to publish the project in The Crimson.

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