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American Mosaic Journalism Prize Awarded to Dara T. Mathis and Tamir Kalifa

2024 Mosaic Prize Recipients Dara T. Mathis and Tamir Kalifa

The Heising-Simons Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 American Mosaic Journalism Prize: Dara T. Mathis and Tamir Kalifa.

The American Mosaic Journalism Prize consists of an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000 per recipient—making it one of the largest dollar amounts given for a journalism prize in the United States—and is awarded to freelance journalists for excellence in long-form, narrative, or deep reporting about underrepresented and/or misrepresented groups in the American landscape.

The prize is a complete surprise to its recipients. It is based on confidential nominations invited from more than 150 leaders in journalism throughout the country. A panel of 10 judges—including journalists from the Associated Press, NBC News, The New Yorker, and The Texas Tribune, among others—selected this year’s recipients.

Dara T. Mathis is a writer and journalist whose work examines parenthood, identity, and linkages to Black memory. Her January 2023 article for The Atlantic, “A Blueprint for Black Liberation,” draws from personal experience growing up in a commune to illuminate a broader social history of Black Nationalist communal experiments. She is currently working on a memoir on the same subject, chronicling her family history in a radical Black commune—and how liberation movements can shatter and transform the way we imagine the world. Ms. Mathis’ work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Week, Romper, Blackbird, and other outlets.

“As a Black writer, I am keenly aware of how the stories of marginalized people are excluded from the archive. My work as a journalist seeks to connect silenced histories to our present day. Narrative storytelling feels even more urgent in 2024, considering that censorship and book bans heavily target Black and LGBTQ+ writers.” — Dara T. Mathis

Tamir Kalifa is a freelance photojournalist based in Texas who has documented communities impacted by gun violence, the U.S.-Mexico border, civil unrest, environmental issues such as the Maui fire, and political campaigns. Over the past two years, a focus of Mr. Kalifa’s work has been capturing the aftermath of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, centering the collective mourning and mobilization of this tightly-knit community. His photography and words have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, Politico, CNN, Texas Monthly, and others. 

“The confluence of diminishing trust in media and the continuing financial struggles of journalism has led to nefarious actors filling in voidsas well as misleading narratives filling our airwaves and inboxes, at a time when our nation is hungry for honest voices,” said Foundation Board Chair Liz Simons. “The stories and photos of our American Mosaic Journalism Prize winners serve as a counterweight, taking us by the hand into terrain inhabited by truth-tellers, people from misrepresented and under-represented communities whose oppression and marginalization might otherwise have rendered them voiceless. We the readers are treated to writing and photography that hold their yearnings, their sufferings, and their triumphs over injusticethat spur us forward in our quest for truth.”

Mathis and Kalifa join a distinguished group of past recipients of this prestigious award, including Jaeah Lee, Valeria Fernández, Abe Streep, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Rebecca Nagle, Darcy Courteau, David Dennis Jr., Michelle García, Ryan Christopher Jones, Julian Brave NoiseCat, Carvell Wallace, and Cerise Castle.

“I have spent the last few years attempting to create photojournalism that is honest and honors the resilience of individuals enduring tragedy. Exercising patience and care have been foundational to my work, especially in Uvalde, and I’m profoundly honored to receive the American Mosaic Journalism Prize for it. This recognition deepens my commitment to compassionate storytelling that highlights our shared humanity and invokes empathy. I feel it comes with a great responsibility to pay forward the lessons I’ve learned, to inspire others to create nuanced journalism that goes well beyond the news cycles, and to use the camera as a tool for good.” — Tamir Kalifa

The Heising-Simons Foundation launched the American Mosaic Journalism Prize in 2018 as part of its work supporting journalism as a critical element of a healthy and multicultural democracy. It is part of a portfolio of journalism grants supporting and elevating underrepresented voices, groups, and content in journalism, which includes support of TransLashFuturo MediaJournal-isms, The 19th, and Radio Ambulante, among others.

We invite you to visit the prize’s webpage to learn more about Dara T. Mathis and Tamir Kalifa, and to explore their outstanding journalism.

2024 Judges

Rose Arce

Vice President,
Soledad O’Brien Productions

Katherine Boo

Contributing Editor,
The New Yorker

Graham Lee Brewer

National Writer, Race and Ethnicity,
Associated Press

Sewell Chan

The Texas Tribune

Stephanie Foo

Journalist and Author

Antonia Hylton

NBC News

Lily Jamali

Senior Reporter,

Wesley Lowery

Executive Editor,
The Investigative Reporting Workshop

Photo Credit: Martin do Nascimento, KQED
Alexis Madrigal

KQED Forum

Daniella Zalcman

Documentary Photographer and Founder,
Women Photograph 

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