Contributing Author: Katherine Walla
With the help of journalists who provide today’s news, the world learned more about famine in Yemen, South Sudan, and Nigeria; the impacts of floods and other natural disasters on Central American and U.S. farmers; and the harm caused by glyphosate. These stories journalists tell make it easier for all of us citizen eaters to learn about the impacts of the food system.
May 3, 2019 marks World Press Freedom Day, a day to recognize the principles of press freedom that support journalists—and the challenges they face daily to inform the world. Since last World Press Freedom Day, journalists have faced attacks on their independence from many fronts: censoring, backlash, and threats from governments, corporations, and more. On this day, the world also pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives on assignment. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, since 2016, 156 journalists have been murdered or caught in crossfire pursuing assignments.
To honor the journalists that have advocated for better resources for farmers, improved food policies, healthier options for all people, and more, Food Tank is highlighting 20 journalists we appreciate for their contributions to a more well-informed world.
Food writer Nastasha Alli writes to highlight Philippine foodways, culture, traditions, and history. On the Exploring Filipino Kitchens podcast, Alli invites guests to talk about Filipino food, from recipes to initiatives to improve the food system. In 2018, Alli received the Food Sustainability Media Award from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation for exploring how breakfast in the Philippines may transform because of pressures on fish and fishing.
2. Uzmi Athar
Uzmi Athar is a reporter for the Press Trust of India covering social issues like displacement, foeticide, and child marriage. As a member of the foreign desk, Athar also contributes to global reporting on subjects including the U.S. presidential election, Brexit referendum, and The Paris Agreement. As part of Athar’s recent works, the journalist covers food-related topics ranging from India’s growing food waste crisis, farmer welfare, and international uses of Indian flavors.
Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for the National Public Radio (NPR) News, where her stories appear on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. As a contributor to the Public Broadcasting Service’s NewsHour, Aubrey won the 2016 James Beard Award for Best TV Segment for her series of stories investigating food waste and the link between pesticides and bee populations. Aubrey’s recent stories covered a coalition of state attorneys general suing the current administration for weakening federal nutrition standards for school meals and the true harm proposed by unhealthy diets.
Helena Bottemiller Evich is a senior food and agriculture reporter for POLITICO Pro. Bottemiller Evich’s reporting covers topics across the political food system—from White House turkey pardoning to North Carolina hog farms—and received a 2018 James Beard Award for Food and Health Reporting. In recent coverage, Bottemiller Evich has reported on the impacts of Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigning and the FDA’s coming limits on sodium in food.
5. Tim Carman
Reporting for The Washington Post, Tim Carman focuses on national food issues and Washington, D.C. area restaurants. Carman’s articles cover food trends nationwide and, recently, the rise of the plant-based burger in fast-food: and its likely impact on other food providers.
Serena Maria Daniels is an award-winning Chicana journalist and founder and “chingona-in-chief” of Tostada Magazine—a digital media company founded on the premise that food journalism can unify communities and preserve culture. As a freelance journalist, Daniels’s stories cover various topics at the intersection of food, culture, and migration and have appeared in Forbes, NPR, Thrillist, Eater, and more. In recent articles, Daniels covers restaurant development in Detroit and trend developments in various eating traditions.
Gloria Dickie is a freelance environmental reporter focusing on sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation, and environmental law and policy. Dickie’s reporting from around the world tackles topics like community forestry projects in the Yucatan jungle and climate change protests in Paris. In 2017, Dickie was a writer-in-residence in the Banff Centre’s Environmental Reportage program and a National Tropical Botanical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow in Hawaii. In December 2017, Dickie received the inaugural Food Sustainability Media Award.
8. Vince Dixon
As a Senior Data Visualization Reporter for Eater, Vince Dixon writes and uses code, libraries, and visual storytelling tools like photos to tell stories about the food and restaurant industry. Dixon’s stories cover topics from the rise of viral foods to exclusionary practices used by restaurant chains. In 2016, Dixon’s “Thrill Ride” used photos and videos to portray the life of New York City’s food-delivery cyclists.
As a veteran journalist covering the intersection of the environment, food, and farming, Samuel Fromartz co-founded the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN). During Fromartz’s time as Editor-in-Chief of FERN, the organization has won over a dozen journalism awards including three James Beard Foundation Awards for food politics writing. Fromartz’s recent stories highlight a recent U.S. beef packing merger and U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s (D-ME) plan to support farmers against climate change.
10. Heather Haddon
Reporter Heather Haddon covers food retail and policy for The Wall Street Journal. Haddon focuses on the business and financial edge of food and grocery—with topics ranging from supermarket trends to food corporations’ leadership and financial viability. In recent articles, Haddon reports on the impacts of online grocery services and the performance of food companies around the world.
11. Kim Harrisberg
Kim Harrisberg is a multimedia journalist with Health-e News Service in Johannesburg, South Africa. While Harrisberg’s stories explore health inequality, justice, and gender-based violence across the country, her 2018 documentary “Food Apartheid” examines the long-term social divides that malnutrition exacerbates after the end of apartheid. Harrisberg won the Vodacom Online Journalist of the Year Award, the Impact Africa Award in 2017, and the Food Sustainability Media Award for published multimedia in 2018.
After cooking in Minnesota and San Francisco, Jonathan Kauffman left the culinary world to become a journalist. Kauffman focuses on the intersection of food and culture for the San Francisco Chronicle, covering topics like trends in global cuisines and the impact of technology on the food system. A recipient of awards from the James Beard Foundation, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and the Association of Food Journalism, Kauffman covers plant-based burgers and farmers encountering wildfires in recent articles.
13. Musdalafa Lyaga
Musdalafa Lyaga is a Radio Assistant at the Biovision Africa Trust and an award-winning journalist. Lyaga’s works include documentary and feature videos, radio programs, composed research, and more. In recent work, Lyaga develops farmer-to-farmer training videos and exposes the hardships farmers across Kenya face, like food loss on the farm; Lyaga’s coverage of mango rot helped earn the BCFN and Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Food Sustainability Media Award in 2017.
14. Julia Moskin
Julia Moskin has reported for The New York Times since 2004 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. Moskin reports the news changing the food system, writes profiles of innovative leaders, and spots culinary trends. Recently, Moskin uncovered how chefs, farmers, and entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico used food to recover from two hurricanes.
15. Ruth Oniang’o
Ruth Oniang’o is the founder and Executive Director of Rural Outreach Africa, a non-profit community development organization in Kenya, and founder and Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development. The journal publishes research and investigative reporting from African scientists and writers that may advocate for poor and neglected smallholder farmers in Africa. Oniang’o covers topics like empowering farmers, avoiding food waste, and encouraging transitions to healthy diets.
16. Tom Philpott
As the food and agriculture correspondent for Mother Jones, Tom Philpott uncovers the politics, history, and science behind the food system. Philpott also hosts the podcast Bite alongside Mother Jones editors Kiera Butler and Maddie Oatman. In recent features and editorials, Philpott highlights ways to eat with the climate in mind and ways to better care for farmland.
17. Tejal Rao
Tejal Rao is a restaurant critic at The New York Times and a columnist for The New York Times Magazine. Rao not only won two James Beard Foundation Awards for restaurant criticism, but also received a Vilcek Prize for creative promise in culinary arts. In recent reporting, Rao exposed a day in the life of a Mister Softee Truck owner and discovered how Kit Kats became so popular in Japan.
18. Gregg Segal
Gregg Segal uses photography to explore culture—including the food that has long been characteristic of cultures, or the globalized food that demonstrates humanity’s altered relationship to food. Segal’s monograph Daily Bread photographs children among the food they eat over the course of a week to demonstrate how food habits change or remain unchanged. Segal’s photo essays appeared in publications like Time, The Independent, Le Monde, Fortune, and his photography has been recognized by Communication Arts, Investigative Reporters and Editors, The New York Press Club, and more.
19. Mayukh Sen
After working as a staff writer at Munchies and Food 52, and receiving a James Beard Award in Profile Writing for covering the disappearance of soul food sensation Princess Pamela, Mayukh Sen became a freelance journalist. Appearing in the New York Times and the New Yorker, Sen’s pieces hark on the power of women in food and culinary traditions, while reflecting upon his own identity as a queer Indian person.
20. Mari Uyehara
Mari Uyehara is a food and travel writer for Taste and previously a food editor for Time Out New York and Martha Stewart Living Radio. In 2019, Uyehara won a James Beard Award for her column “What We Talk About When We Talk About American Food” which explores the politics, stories, and inspirations behind American foods. In recent articles, Uyehara covers how Japanese-Americans helped launch the California tuna-canning industry and the life of Margaret Rukin, founder of Pepperidge Farm.