Bill Kovach — Interim Director
Kovach has been a journalist and writer for 40 years. He began his career at the Johnson City Press Chronicle in Tennessee and, from 1960 to 1967, was a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, covering the civil-rights movement, southern politics, and Appalachian poverty. After a year of study on a journalism fellowship at Stanford University he joined The New York Times, where he worked as a reporter and later as the chief of its Washington bureau. Kovach left the Times in 1986 and became the editor of The Atlanta Journal Constitution for two years. Kovach is the founding chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, and serves as a consultant to the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Nadi Penjarla – Project Director
Nadi Penjarla is the Project Director of Ujima, a computer assisted reporting (CAR) project to create web portals and data hubs for international journalists especially in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Nadi was the founding editor of Global Tryst, an online magazine focusing on international issues from a grassroots perspective. He also had stints as an investment banker, a strategy and a business analytics consultant. Nadi holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and graduate degrees in computer science & engineering.
Simona Raetz – Membership and Outreach Coordinator
Simona Raetz, a German native, joined ICIJ as membership coordinator in November 2009. Before joining the Center, she worked at Hedrick Smith Productions, a PBS Frontline affiliate, where she worked in production research and as an associate producer. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a degree in political science. Her senior year she wrote a thesis examining how societal rules and traditional practices facilitate the spread of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, for which she received departmental honors. Raetz was a staff writer for her college newspaper, The Corsair, and interned at a local newspaper in Germany.
Ricardo Sandoval Palos – Project Manager
Ricardo Sandoval Palos was named project manager at ICIJ in February, 2010. Previously, he was assistant city editor and weekend city editor at the Sacramento Bee, where his reporters covered health, transportation and environmental issues. Before that he was a Latin America correspondent, based in Mexico City, for the Dallas Morning News and Knight Ridder Newspapers. He wrote about drug trafficking, the serial murders of women in Ciudad Juarez, and the fate of money withheld from paychecks of World War II-era Mexican guest workers. He also covered conflicts in Venezuela and Colombia. Sandoval Palos’s career has spanned three decades and includes award-winning coverage of the savings and loan scandal and the deregulation of public utility companies. His list of awards includes the Overseas Press Club and the Inter-American Press Association, for “Lost in Transit,” a probe of profiteering in the international remittance business, and the Gerald Loeb prize for business journalism. Sandoval Palos also co-authored the biography “The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement” published in 1997 by Harcourt. He was born in Mexico and raised in San Diego, California.
Marina Walker Guevara — Deputy Director
Marina Walker Guevara is ICIJ’s deputy director. A native of Argentina, she has reported from a half-dozen countries and her investigations have won and shared more than 12 national and international awards. Over a ten-year career, she has written about environmental degradation in Latin America by multinational corporations; shadowy U.S. government HIV/AIDS prevention programs in Africa, and the cigarette mafia in the Tri-Border Area of South America, among other topics. In March 2006 she was awarded the European Commission Lorenzo Natali Prize (Latin America and the Caribbean region) for her reporting about environmental damage caused in Peru by a U.S.-based mining company; that investigation also won her the 2006 Reuters-IUCN Media Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting. She graduated magna cum laude from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina, with a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences, and earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Kate Willson — Reporter
Willson joined the Center for Public Integrity in 2007. She earned her master’s in journalism at American University and her bachelor’s in French at Oregon State University. Focused on enterprise and investigative reporting, she has worked from Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and for community and daily newspapers in Oregon and New Mexico.
The Advisory Committee for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is composed of highly respected senior journalists from around the world, each of whom has made a lasting contribution to the profession. We consider them the “deans” of international journalism.
Bill Kovach, United States, former curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and an American newspaperman for 30 years, is the North American representative and chair of the ICIJ Advisory Committee. He is currently the chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, a Washington-based consortium of journalists, publishers, and academics focused on promoting quality journalism in the United States. Kovach has been a journalist and writer for 40 years, including 18 years as a reporter and editor for The New York Times. As an editor, Kovach supervised reporting projects that won four Pulitzer Prizes, including two during his two-year tenure as editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the first Pulitzers awarded to that paper in 20 years. Kovach was a 1988-89 Nieman fellow at Harvard University and remained as curator of the Nieman Foundation journalism fellowship program until 2000. Among his many other awards are the Sigma Delta Chi Award for contributions to journalism research in 2000, the National Mental Health Award in 1968, the New York State Bar Association Award in 1968, the AEJMC Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award in 1992, the Sigma Delta Chi First Amendment Award in 1996, the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2000, and the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award, which was accompanied by an honorary doctorate from Colby College. Kovach served on Pulitzer juries from 1987-1990 and is a board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists. He is co-author of Warp Speed: America in the Age of Mixed Media and The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect. Kovach is a long-time advisory board member of the Center for Public Integrity and chair of the ICIJ advisory committee.
Other ICIJ Advisory Committee members:
Rosental Calmon Alves, United States/Brazil, is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the first John S. & James L. Knight Chair in International Journalism. For a decade, Alves worked as a foreign correspondent for Brazil’s daily newspaper, Jornal do Brasil, reporting from Spain, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. He taught journalism at two Rio de Janeiro universities and in 1987-88 became the first Brazilian to be selected as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. As a correspondent and editor, he has participated in or directed several investigative reporting projects. Alves is the Latin American representative on the Advisory Committee.
Phillip Knightley, Britain, was a member of The Sunday Times Insight team in its heyday, and it was there that he first uncovered the Kim Philby spy scandal. He later discovered that the newspaper’s executives had informed British intelligence about the activities of their journalists. The Australian-born Knightley also played a central role in investigating and exposing thalidomide birth defects and later detailed the scandal, which came to be known as the Profumo affair, in his 1987 book An Affair of State. The author of nine books, Knightley wrote A Hack’s Progress about his life as an investigative reporter in 1998. In 2000, Knightley released his latest book, Australia: A Biography of a Nation. He is the European representative on the Advisory Committee.
Gwen Lister, Namibia, a journalist for 25 years, founded The Namibian in 1985 during apartheid colonialism in the country. The newspaper and staff were consistently targeted by right-wing elements and security forces because of the perception that the newspaper supported the liberation movement. Lister was jailed twice, in 1984 under the Official Secrets Act, and in June 1988, when she was detained without trial and denied access to a lawyer. Authorities jailed her the second time in an attempt to force her to reveal the source of a secret document she had published, which proposed sweeping new powers for the police. She was four months pregnant at the time. Attacks on the newspaper and harassment of its staff culminated in an arson attack that destroyed the offices of The Namibian in October 1988. After independence in 1990, the newspaper was again targeted by right-wing elements after a front-page report about a possible coup attempt against the new government. The editorial offices were damaged in a phosphorous grenade firebombing. In these and other bombings, The Namibian never missed an edition. The role of The Namibian in pre-independence Namibia has been honored by a number of international awards. In 2000, Lister was named one of 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the last half century by the International Press Institute. In 1992, she was awarded a Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Award and the Press Freedom Award of the Media Institute of South Africa. Lister was a 1996 Nieman fellow at Harvard.
Goenawan Mohamad, Indonesia, is founder and editor of Tempo magazine, Indonesia’s most- respected newsmagazine. It was banned by the Suharto government in 1994 after publishing details of the government’s purchase of aging East German destroyers, a confidential subject of dispute among Suharto’s cabinet members. In 1995, Mohamad founded the Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information (ISAI) which produced alternative media intended to circumvent censorship. Mohamad later formed the Alliance of Independent Journalists, the only independent journalism organization in Indonesia. Following Suharto’s resignation in May 1998, Mohamad led a group of reporters in restarting Tempo online and in print. Mohamad was a 1990 Nieman fellow at Harvard University and in 1997 received the Nieman fellows’ Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. In 1998, he was awarded the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Award. Mohamad is a visiting history professor at the University of California at Berkeley this year, where he will teach courses in Indonesian and Southeast Asian culture. Mohamad is the Asian representative on the Advisory Committee.
Reginald Chua is the Editor-in-Chief of the South China Morning Post, responsible for the editorial direction and newsroom operations at the Hong Kong-based news media company. Prior to joining the SCMP in July 2009, Reginald was a Deputy Managing Editor at The Wall Street Journal, based in New York, where he led development of the Journal’s computer-assisted reporting capabilities and oversaw the paper’s graphics department. He began a 16-year career at the Journal as a correspondent in Manila, opened the paper’s bureau in Hanoi, became the longest-serving editor of the Journal’s Hong Kong-based Asian edition, then moved to New York, where his initial duties were to manage the paper’s global newsroom budget and administration. During his eight-year tenure as editor of the Asian Journal, the paper won numerous Society of Publishers in Asia awards for editorial excellence; staff at the paper also won a Pulitzer Prize and an Overseas Press Club of America award. He also covered the Philippines for the Straits Times, worked at Reuters in Singapore, and was a television and radio journalist at the then-Singapore Broadcasting Corp. A native of Singapore, Reginald graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from the University of Chicago.
Brant Houston, United States, is a journalism professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he holds the John S. & James L. Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting. Houston served for more than 10 years as executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a nonprofit organization of more than 4,000 members, and as a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He co-founded the Global Investigative Journalism Network in 2003 and is chair of the recently formed Investigative News Network. Before joining IRE, Houston was an award-winning investigative reporter for 17 years at metropolitan papers in the United States. He is author of Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide and co-author of The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook. He has taught investigative reporting and computer-assisted reporting in more than a dozen countries.