July 27, 2022 — Prison Journalism Project (PJP), a national initiative that trains incarcerated writers to be journalists and publishes their stories, today announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously elected Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Wesley Lowery as its chair effective immediately.
Lowery is one of the nation’s leading writers about topics that fall in the intersection of race, justice, media and the law. He has reported for The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, CBS News and The Marshall Project while also serving as on-air contributor for CNN. In 2016, Lowery led The Washington Post team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for the “Fatal Force” project, which created and analyzed a real-time database to track fatal police shootings in the United States. Lowery is also the author of The New York Times bestselling book “They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement,” which won the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose by the LA Times Book Prizes.
“Wesley has been an early champion of the Prison Journalism Project’s mission, and he shared our vision from the beginning. We are excited to work with him even more closely as we continue to push the envelope on our work, so we can help our writers share news, viewpoints and their lived experiences from behind prison walls,” said Yukari Iwatani Kane, co-executive director and co-founder of PJP.
Lowery has been a member of PJP’s inaugural Board of Directors, established in February 2022, alongside Mei Fong, chief communications officer of Human Rights Watch, Daveen Trentmen, co-founder of The Soze Industry, philanthropist Cindy Wenig, Silicon Valley attorney Melody Drummond Hansen.
“Our country has constructed one of the most expansive incarceration systems ever known. Too often, some of the most important voices in our ongoing conversation about crime, justice and incarceration are missing from the dialogue: the voices of incarcerated people themselves. I’m grateful to the Board for their confidence in me and for the exciting opportunity to help shape PJP’s strategic direction,” said Lowery.
Kane and her co-founder Shaheen Pasha, who served as the initial co-chairs, will be stepping down from that role but will remain on the board.
“We founded the Prison Journalism Project to use the power of journalism to elevate stories that put a human face on what is happening inside our criminal justice system, and we are eager to work with such an accomplished leader like Wesley to grow our platform and continue to build a strong network of prison journalists to tell their much-needed stories,” said Pasha.
PJP provides professional support to incarcerated writers through two flagship programs: PJP J-School, its journalism training arm, and PJP Newsroom, its editorial arm. It also aims to cultivate freedom of the press behind the walls and amplify prison publications as it builds a network of prison correspondents. Since PJP’s launch in spring 2020, the organization has published over 1,500 stories from more than 525 writers in 34 states. PJP recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to scale up its programs, which also include PJPxInside (an award-winning, one-of-kind newspaper written by and delivered to incarcerated people) and Prison Journalism Navigator (a toolkit to help mainstream newsrooms work with incarcerated writers). More information on the organization and its fundraising efforts are available at prisonjournalismproject.org.
Members of PJP’s Board of Directors and their biographies can be found at https://prisonjournalismproject.org/board-of-directors-2/.
For more information on Prison Journalism Project and to read stories from its journalists, please visit https://prisonjournalismproject.org/.
ABOUT PRISON JOURNALISM PROJECT
Prison Journalism Project is a national, independent, nonpartisan initiative that trains incarcerated writers in the tools of journalism and helps them reach an outside audience via their own publication as well as through partnerships with mainstream media organizations.