Cross River Born Philip Obaji wins first-ever Jim Hoge Fellowship, to report on Russian Wagner Group

LAGOS, Nigeria – Cross River born Daily Beast correspondent, Philip Obaji, has emerged as an inaugural recipient of the Jim Hoge Reporting Fellowship awarded by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

The ICFJ announced on Tuesday that the Nigerian journalist, who specializes in Russia’s involvement in West Africa, along with Mais Katt, a reporter from Syria known for her coverage of the Syrian War, and Bárbara Poerner, a Brazilian journalist who reports on climate and gender in her country, have been selected for the fellowship which is designed to help rising news leaders in the U.S. and abroad produce high-quality news and advance their careers.

Through the fellowship with the ICFJ, Obaji, who is currently attending the Berlin Fellowship Program on digital security in Germany, will produce an investigative report about the involvement of Wagner – Russia’s mercenary group – in clashes across West Africa.

Katt, who is based in The Netherlands, will publish a longform multimedia series on three women affected by the protracted Syrian crisis, while Poerner of Brazil will publish a documentary series on the social impacts of energy projects in South America.

The fellows will receive funding and support to pursue three-month reporting projects on pressing global issues.

ICFJ launched the Jim Hoge Legacy Fund this year to carry on Jim Hoge’s legacy as a leader in the field of journalism who upholds the highest standards of excellence, analysis and integrity.

“It is an honor to recognize Jim, one of the most influential editors of our time,” says Jason H. Wright, who serves on ICFJ’s board of directors as development chair. Hoge is vice chair of the board and was previously its chair.

Hoge, who has long supported young reporters over his career, embodies the best of journalism. He was a venerated leader as editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and publisher of the New York Daily News. In his 18 years as editor of Foreign Affairs, Hoge demonstrated unmatched excellence in fact-based journalism and offered deep analysis of global issues.

The inaugural fellowship recipients were selected from the more than 15,000 members of the ICFJ Pamela Howard Forum on Global Crisis Reporting for their dedication to the same high standards that Hoge has upheld his entire career.