Freelance journalists win $100,000 prizes for work impacting underrepresented communities

Feb 7, 2024, 6:23 AM

This combination photo show freelance journalists Dara T. Mathis, left, and Tamir Kalifa who have e...

This combination photo show freelance journalists Dara T. Mathis, left, and Tamir Kalifa who have each won a $100,000 prize from the Heising-Simons Foundation. (Drew Bird, left, and Racien Nowak/Heising-Simons Foundation via AP)

(Drew Bird, left, and Racien Nowak/Heising-Simons Foundation via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Two freelance journalists with projects focused on Black nationalism and the aftermath of the Uvalde school shooting have won the American Mosaic Journalism Prize, which honors work about underrepresented groups in the United States.

The journalists, Dara T. Mathis and Tamir Kalifa, were each awarded $100,000 from the Heising-Simons Foundation. That’s believed to be the largest prize in dollar value given to journalists in the United States.

The Maryland-based Mathis was honored for her article in The Atlantic, “A Blueprint for Black Liberation,” where she wrote about growing up in a radical Black commune and the broader history of such movements. She’s working on expanding that piece into a memoir.

“As a Black writer, I am keenly aware of how the stories of marginalized people are excluded from the archive,” Mathis said. “My work as a journalist seeks to connect silenced histories to our present day.”

Photojournalist Tamir Kalifa won for his work on the aftermath of the 2022 mass shooting at the Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The Austin-based Kalifa is currently in Israel covering the Israel-Hamas war.

Kalifa said he’s spent the last few years of his career trying to document the resilience of people who are enduring tragedy.

The foundation’s yearly award was established in 2018.

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Freelance journalists win $100,000 prizes for work impacting underrepresented communities