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Ubell Journalism Project Awards

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Libby Reinish of Boulder, Colorado, and Zahra Postum of Newton, Massachusetts, are the first recipients of Earl Ubell Student Journalism Project awards at Hampshire College.

This new grant program recognizes and supports exceptional student work in journalism, with priority given to projects in health and science journalism.

Hampshire College alumnus Michael C. Ubell (70F) created the fund to honor his father, Earl Ubell, whose distinguished career has influenced generations of journalists and their audiences.

Reinish, who will graduate from Hampshire College on May 19, produced an hour-long radio documentary, Tilting at Giants, for her Division III, a yearlong independent project comparable to a senior thesis. Using spoken testimonies of local residents with a diagnosis of mental illness, she raised many questions about the ways mental health care is provided in Massachusetts today, and the ways in which dominant understandings of mental health can actually hinder healing.

Reinish has just accepted a position as full power coordinator at the Prometheus Radio Project, where she will lead a national effort to help civil rights groups, community organizations and local leaders build the last full-power noncommercial FM radio stations available in the United States.

Postum, a pre-med student who will complete her Division III project over the next year, plans to analyze how science journalism serves as an interpreter of complex science for the general public. Her Division II work focused on the representation of science in fiction.

Earl Ubell began his career in journalism at the New York Herald Tribune as a messenger and rose to science editor, a position he held from 1953 to 1966 before transferring to the new medium of television. He was health science editor for WCBS-TV from 1966 to 1972, and from 1978 to 1995. He served as the news director for WNBC-TV News from 1972 to 1976.

Ubell covered such notable events as the first Sputnik flight in 1961 and the first U.S. manned space flight in 1962. He has done scientific research at major laboratories, and is the author of eight books (one co-authored). His numerous awards for journalism, medical reporting and science writing include an Emmy in 1970 for the New York area of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Donald Salmon Award for significant contribution to development of the arts in that same year.

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