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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Jason Rezaian selected as SMPA fellow

A Washington Post reporter who spent more than a year in an Iranian prison was added to the list of distinguished Terker fellows in the School of Media and Public Affairs.

Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who reported on Iran until he was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to prison for espionage, was named the 2016-17 Terker fellow, according to a University release Thursday.

Rezaian, a U.S.-born Iranian-American, became a Washington Post bureau chief in 2012 after freelancing in Tehran since 2009. He covered Iran’s nuclear negotiations, the sanctions brought against the repressive regime and two presidential elections.

Rezaian and his wife were arrested after his home was raided in 2014. Rezaian spent 546 days in prison and was released in January of this year.

Frank Sesno, the director of SMPA, said in the release that Rezaian will bring “unique and invaluable perspective” to the school.

“His courage as a journalist and his commitment to telling the stories of Iran to the wider world will enlighten our students and illustrate the important role journalists play in informing and engaging our citizens,” Sesno said.

Rezaian said in the release that he will share his experiences about covering a controversial beat and living in a place that few American readers will ever experience firsthand.

“As a reporter who covered a key international beat and one that also experienced the very real threats faced by contemporary journalists, I hope to take part in an essential dialogue about reporting the news in a complicated world,” he said. “Particularly important to me is developing ways we can do our jobs more safely without lessening the power and scope of stories.”

Rezaian advises journalism students to spend time getting to know and understand the subjects of their stories, he said in the release.

“Focus on the stories of real people,” Rezaian said. “A big part of what we do, whether we are always conscious of it or not, is relaying the contemporary human experience.”

The SMPA Terker Distinguished Fellows program was established in 2010 by Bruce and Cindy Terker to bring media, political communication and public affairs professionals to SMPA every year.

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