Stanford graduate student wins journalism award

Headshot of Austin Meyer
Austin Meyer (Photo credit: Erik Olesund)

AUSTIN MEYER, a Stanford journalism graduate student, won the annual win-a-trip contest with New York Times columnist NICHOLAS KRISTOF.

“We’ll probably travel to India and Bangladesh, although Congo is an alternate possibility,” wrote Kristof, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Award, in announcing the honor.

With help from the Center for Global Development, Kristof made his choice from a field of 450 applicant essays.

Since 2006, Kristof has taken a student once a year on a reporting trip to the developing world. The goal is to heighten interest in global poverty issues. A winner like Meyer will eventually contribute blog content and videos to the New York Times website.

Meyer said he has always admired Kristof’s journalism. “He exemplifies all that I aspire to be as a journalist. His work is brave and powerful. It captivates while it educates. Kristof’s stories incite empathy and influence change for the most serious human rights abuses in our world,” added Meyer, who also plays center midfield for the Stanford varsity men’s soccer team.

Given this opportunity, he plans to learn how to harness his skills as a storyteller to create meaningful change in the area of global injustices.

JANINE ZACHARIA, a visiting lecturer in Stanford’s Department of Communication, described it as an “unbelievable opportunity” for a Stanford student to travel with a highly influential foreign affairs columnist.

“Austin brings the same tenacity to his reporting that he brings to Stanford’s soccer team, which he helped lead to the Pac-12 championship this year,” noted Zacharia, a former foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, Bloomberg News and Reuters.

She said Meyer is a “natural storyteller” with exceptional videography skills who can help young people get engaged with the world. “Austin knows how to engage that audience using multiple platforms, so this is a step toward making sure that happens.”

Meyer’s selection is also testament to Stanford’s trailblazing approach to new forms of storytelling, she said.

“Our faculty are teaching Stanford students to discover and tell stories in multiple ways using all the tools in a modern-day journalist’s tool kit – solid reporting and writing skills, computational and data skills, and multimedia,” Zacharia said.

Wrote Kristof, “Stay tuned for a great reporting trip!”