UM Grad Student First from Montana to Win Prestigious Journalism Scholar Award

March 15, 2016

UM journalism graduate student Katie Riordan with Michelle LaRoche, editor of development at The Wall Street Journal. LaRoche presented Riordan with the Flora Lewis Fellowship at the OPC awards luncheon.

MISSOULA – Katie Riordan, a master’s degree candidate in journalism at the University of Montana, received an Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholar Award at the 2016 Annual Scholar Awards Luncheon held at the Yale Club in New York City.

A graduate of the University of Colorado, Riordan was among 15 aspiring foreign correspondents selected by a panel of leading journalists out of 175 applicants from 50 different colleges and universities. She is the first student from a college in Montana to win the award.

Riordan’s winning application told how she worked in Yemen and then went to the Republic of Somaliland in the Horn of Africa and covered the effects of drought on nomadic tribes, among other environmental and political stories. Her interest lies in reporting on the impact of climate change and the growing number of climate refugees.

Riordan earned an OPC Foundation fellowship with The Wall Street Journal in London. She also received the Flora Lewis Fellowship, named for the former Paris bureau chief of The New York Times, from Michelle LaRoche, editor of development at The Wall Street Journal.

Acclaimed Associated Press Senior Correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan Kathy Gannon spoke at the luncheon, and Reuter’s Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler hosted a reception for the award winners at Reuters the previous night.

The award winners also received risk management and situational awareness training from Global Journalist Security at AP headquarters in New York City and met privately with editors from BuzzFeed, AP and Reuters at a special breakfast and during a post-luncheon panel. Other media organizations at the luncheon included Bloomberg, CBS News, GroundTruth Project, IBT Media and The Wall Street Journal.

The OPC Foundation is the nation’s largest and most visible scholarship program encouraging aspiring journalists to pursue careers as foreign correspondents.

For more information on the OPC Foundation and its scholarship/fellowship program, visit

Contact: Alyssa Rabil, UM School of Journalism media information coordinator, 406-243-4366,