IRP Fellows Win Awards in 2016 Religion News Association Contest

Fellows 2015


September 27, 2016

Rob Chaney Places First for Small-Sized Newspapers, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian Second for Magazine News

Rob Chaney, a fellow with the International Reporting Project (IRP) in 2015, has been awarded first place for the Cassels Award for Excellence in Religion Reporting—Small Newspapers in the 2016 contest of the Religion News Association (RNA) for his reporting in Nepal. The RNA is an association that offers training to help journalists write about religion in the media

Chaney, a reporter for the Missoulian newspaper in Montana, wrote about the surprising link between Nepal and Montana. Over the course of 20 days in October 2015, he explored trails in the small Himalayan nation to unearth "why Nepali Buddhists have made a second home in Montana, and why so many Montanans have deep connections to a place with an even bigger sky than ours," he wrote.

Chaney has produced projects that have stretched across subjects and continents, including Native American culture, wilderness evolution, and international business and social issues in the Mountain West, Japan, Jamaica, Europe, and Canada.

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian was also a fellow with IRP in 2015. She placed second for Excellence in Magazine News Religion Reporting for her work at Foreign Policy magazine. In a series of three articles published between March and October 2015, Allen-Ebrahimian wrote on the West's silence about attacks on Christians in the Middle East, the precarious position of Muslim women in China, and a Uighur novelist.

Allen-Ebrahimian, who has spent more than four years in China and speaks fluent Chinese, is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy, where she covers Chinese politics, society, and media censorship.

These investigative stories were made possible through grants from IRP, an independent journalism program based in Washington, D.C.