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Monday, Nov 24, 2014

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Adam Liebendorfer

Adam Liebendorfer

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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Journalism major earns Fulbright to the UK


Senior journalism major Adam Liebendorfer became the first ever Ohio University student to receive a Fulbright in the United Kingdom.

The award funds a year-long masters program in international journalism at the University College Falmouth, located in the southwest corner of Great Britain. The Fulbright award will cover his tuition and living expenses, and provides him with a stipend to spend on an international reporting project.   

Liebendorfer has always been interested in international reporting. He received the Wilhelm Foreign Correspondence Scholarship to study in Columbia last summer. With funding from the Institute of International Journalism at Ohio University, Liebendorfer spent the summer shadowing and co-writing pieces with Washington Post and NPR reporter Juan Forero. Liebendorfer’s bylines and taglines appeared alongside Forero in international news outlets, and Liebendorfer wrote one article by himself that appeared in the Washington Post.

The internship only whet his appetite for further training in conflict writing, and when he found the Fulbright for international journalism, he applied in early fall quarter. After the application was turned in, a committee from the United States named its top finalists, which they sent on to the UK. The finalists then had to conduct a phone interview with a UK committee that selected the recipients. He found out in the last weeks of March that he had won the Fulbright.

He can still recall the awe-striking moment he found out via an email he received on his phone.

“All I saw was congratulations, and I was freaking out … I didn’t really read the full email until a few hours later,” he said.

What makes this particular Fulbright award different is the additional 5,000 pounds to spend working on a personal international reporting project. He can travel wherever he wants to create the final product, which he hopes will revolve around conflict and disaster reporting.

“Those kind of stories are the most fulfilling, because they are life and death,” Liebendorfer said, though he conceded he has discovered a recent interest in economic and business reporting.

Whatever he ends up reporting on, Liebendorfer is excited for the opportunity to study journalism at the University College Falmouth, which is known for hosting many international students. The university is located in Falmouth, which is a small town.

“I’ve heard it’s very much like Athens,” he said. Except for one difference, “surfing is big there.”

After his time in the English Athens on his Fulbright, Liebendorfer hopes to work on covering underreported issues, so he will be prepared to cover the next major conflict. He hopes to do work for the Pulitzer Center of Crisis Reporting, a D.C. based organization that focuses on funding interdependent journalists to report on global issues abroad.

As for now, he will focus on his Fulbright. He specifically thanks the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards Director Beth Clodfelter for her help.

“I knew I was in good hands, and I knew if I listened to her it would be impossible to screw up,” he said.

Liebendorfer has been working with Clodfelter since his sophomore year when he first heard about the Fulbright. He recommends that anyone interested in the Fulbright should consider applying.

“It’s not on a lot of people’s radars, but it should be,” he said. “The application process is a lot of work, but it’s something you do on the side steadily over time.”