Nikki Kahn, Michel du Cille Fellow, Mentors African Journalists

Michel duCille Fellowship Takes Root in Africa
By Sherry Ricchiardi, photographs by Frank Folwell

Photojournalist Michel duCille drew praise from colleagues around the globe for his deep moral compass and sense of social justice. His three Pulitzer Prizes are a fitting tribute to the stunning quality of his work. The National Press Photographers Foundation (NPPF) is proud to launch the Michel duCille Fellowship, awarded for the first time at the impactAFRICA Storycamp, February 23 – 25, 2017, in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

“In more than 40 years as a photojournalist I have taken pride in offering dignity to the subjects I photograph, especially those who are sick or in distress in front of my camera,” duCille wrote in October 2014. Two months later, he collapsed and died (not Ebola) in rural Liberia while covering the deadly Ebola virus for the Washington Post.

“The photojournalism community has come together to support a new NPPF program honoring the life of this compassionate, dedicated journalist,” said Frank S. Folwell, NPPF treasurer and duCille Fellowship chairman. “Our first effort was to invite duCille Fellow Nikki Kahn to participate in imageAfrica StoryShop. We look forward to providing more trainers in Africa, a dream Michel held dear to his heart.”

Nikki Kahn was hired as a staff photographer by the Washington Post in 2005. Her assignments took her to Afghanistan, Haiti, India Egypt and Tunisia. In 2011, she won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for coverage of Haiti earthquake along with two other Post staffers.

Kahn was married to duCille at the time of his death in December 2014. She left the Post earlier this year to launch a career in documentary photography. Her work has been featured in exhibitions by the White House News Photographers Association at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“Michel’s dream was to give back to local journalists. The Code for Africa and International Center for Journalist partnership is perfect place to launch the fellowship. It follows his vision,” said Kahn, on the first day of the workshop.

The 3-day meeting, sponsored by ICFJ and Code of Africa, brought together 21 journalists from throughout the continent. “Our group of African journalists are embarking on multi-year investigative journalistic projects. Having someone of Nikki’s experience and talent to mentor them couldn’t be better,” said ICFJ senior program director Jerri Eddings.

Special kudos goes to all of those who donated to the duCille fellowship and to the NPPF/Northern Short Course print auction to help with funding. “We are grateful to all those who made this exciting program possible,” said Folwell.

Note: See the story by the International Journalists’ Network.