|Jacob Kushner was a 2015 Galloway Reporting Fellow alongside Anthony Langat, reporting to the Global Post. Under the Fellowship, Kushner become GroundTruth’s Africa corrspondent leading three investigative projects in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. During their time as fellows, they collaborated on a series of articles reporting on LGBT rights and anti-gay legislation in Africa as well as articles on Kenyan police brutality and the World Bank’s resettlement policies.
With a $50,000 grant from the Galloway Family Foundation, the 2015 Galloway reporting fellowship in Africa went extremely well and had considerable impact. The two fellows, Jacob Kushner and Anthony Langat, produced an impressive and groundbreaking body of work that won the prestigious Online News Association award for investigative reporting for their contribution to the series “Evicted and Abandoned: The World Bank’s Resettlement Policies.” The project was led by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with GroundTruth serving as an editorial partner and Huffington Post serving as the main publishing platform. The stories shoed that in carrying out its development projects, World Bank had actually harmed some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet, displacing some 3.4 million people and immediately creating an international firestorm and pushed the World Bank to acknowledge its shortcomings. One piece produced by Kushner and Langat, “Burned Out,” featured “thousands of Kenyans who have been forced out of their homes since the launch of a World Bank financed forest conservation program in western Kenya’s Cherangani Hills. Human rights advocates claim government authorities have used the project as a vehicle for pushing indigenous peoples out of their ancestral forests.”
The two fellows also contributed to “How The World Bank Broke Its Promise To Protect The Poor,” a damning report that found, “The World Bank often neglects to properly review projects ahead of time to make sure communities are protected, and frequently has no idea what happens to people after they are removed. In many cases, it has continued to do business with governments that have abused their citizens, sending a signal that borrowers have little to fear if they violate the bank’s rules, according to current and former bank employees.”
Jacob, who is American, and Anthony, who is Kenyan, also produced two powerful, hard-hitting series on the LGBT community across Africa and police corruption and brutality in Kenya. Langat and Kushner has led a five-part Special Report published in partnership with GlobalPost, Huffington Post and WGBH News called “Forced Out: Africa’s LGBT Refugees.” Launched in June 2015, LGBT Pride Month in much of the world and continuing up to President Obama’s historic visit to Kenya, the series featured the voices of LGBTs from across East Africa who have suffered as a result of an unholy alliance between Western and African religious leaders and African governments. Langat and Kushner delve into the anti-Muslim climate and helped launching a series on abuses by anti-terror police in Kenya that target the country’s Muslim minority.
Kushner is a freelance investigative journalist with experience in East/Central Africa and the Caribbean. He reports on development economics and inequality, foreign aid and investment, governance and innovation in developing nations, and immigration. Kushner has reported on foreign aid, human rights, extractives in developing nations, and Chinese and other foreign investment in Africa. The latter two were the subjects of his recent multimedia eBook, China’s Congo Plan. He holds an M.A. in political journalism from Columbia University in New York and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to his fellowship, Jacob was a 2013 Overseas Press Club Fellow for the Associated Press in Nairobi. Prior to his fellowship, he spent two years reporting from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where his work focused on immigration and foreign investment including development aid. He speaks fluent Spanish, conversational Haitian Creole and basic French.