Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Fellow awarded project grant to report on Middle East water issues

(April 2, 2018) Elizabeth Whitman (@elizabethwhitty), a master's student at the Columbia University School of Journalism, has won a $5,000 special reporting grant from CASW's Taylor/Blakeslee graduate fellowships program.

Whitman, one of five 2017-18 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellows, won for her proposal "A Land Without Water," which will take her to the Middle East to report on water and drought, digging into an age-old issue in a fresh way. She intends to produce magazine articles, interactives and photography. Her work, to be undertaken after she graduates this May with a master’s in science journalism, will also be supported by an award from the Overseas Press Club.

Whitman, who also holds a history degree from Columbia, has previously reported from the United Nations and written feature stories about Syrian refugees, public health, medicine, climate change and women’s rights from the Middle East. Her writing for Modern Healthcare as a health care industry reporter was recognized in 2017 with the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Range of Work by a Single Author.

The judges found the "Land Without Water" project plan unusually well constructed and noted the strong impression Whitman has made on the Columbia faculty. She is the third Taylor/Blakeslee Fellow to win a project fellowship. The Brinson Foundation, which underwrites the university fellowships, provides the follow-up grant to enable a Fellow to undertake a career-launching enterprise project. The first grant went to Amy McDermott, then enrolled in the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the second to Jennifer Lu at the University of Missouri.