Congratulations to the 2021 Richard & Marylee Salomon Fund Grant Winner
2021 Salomon Fund Winner
Sophia Hadeshian ’20 is this year’s recipient of a grant from the Richard & Marylee Salomon Fund for Journalists.
Hadeshian will use her $2,000 award to acquire media supplies to help the news organization Azad Archives cover “the most important issues facing the global Armenian community.”
Among those issues is the conflict zone of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), a disputed territory in the decades-long tensions and fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Hadeshian is the creative director for Azad, an online platform that launched this year.
“The Azad team and I are beyond excited to be receiving this grant, and to begin allocating funds for immediate action and media coverage in Armenia and Artsakh. I know I am the alumna receiving this grant, but it’s truly a team effort,” Hadeshian says.
In her proposal, Hadeshian says the Azad media team goes every month to Artsakh, “if not more often, to aid women and children affected by the war and [to] document their stories. … This grant can be put towards finding a safer way for them to travel, and better equipment to use,” such as cameras, microphones, and tripods.
Hadeshian herself has yet to visit Artsakh due to passport issues—her American passport will get her to Armenia, but she needs an Armenian or Russian one to get into the disputed territory. She hopes to travel there in 2022 or 2023.
Azad is “committed to breaking the silence on the most important issues facing the global Armenia community,” according to its mission statement. It is an offshoot of Kooyrigs, a nongovernmental organization for Armenians and the Armenian diaspora.
Virginia Breen, chair of the Journalism Department and a member of the committee that awarded the grant, is an enthusiastic supporter of Hadeshian’s proposal. “This project seems both timely and needed in an age when shrinking news budgets have disproportionately impacted marginalized communities—particularly in war zones,” she wrote in her assessment.
Hadeshian graduated a little over a year ago with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Italian. Her senior thesis was a work of journalism and memoir about the Armenian diaspora in America, the quest for identity, and the role of religion in that search. For that, she won the Ronnie Scharfman Prize for Diaspora Studies from the School of Humanities.
The Richard & Marylee Salomon Fund for Journalists was started in 2017 by Andrew Salomon, associate professor of journalism, to aid alumni of Purchase College in their pursuit of substantive works of reportage and other forms of nonfiction.
He named the fund in honor of his late parents. (He administers the grant applications but does not help determine the recipient.) This year’s selection committee comprised five members of the Journalism faculty, and the fund enjoyed its largest pool of applicants to date.
“Throughout the time that I’ve known her, Sophia has repeatedly distinguished herself not only as a journalist, but also a person of empathy and compassion,” Salomon said. “She stated a year ago that her goal after graduation was to give ‘a voice and platform to those who need to be heard.’ Clearly, she is in the process of doing that.”
Hadeshian is the third recipient of the Salomon Fund grant. Jessica Glenza ’11 used the funding in 2018 to publish South of the South, a literary journal of reportage, photography, and poetry. Ellie Houghtaling and Curtis Brodner ’19 received the 2020 award, and are working on a project about the intersection of the social justice protest movement, the NYPD, and the news media. They will talk about their project to Purchase students in the upcoming academic year.
For more information about the Richard & Marylee Salomon Fund for Journalists or to apply, please email Prof. Salomon at firstname.lastname@example.org.