Jonathan M. Katz

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For other people of the same name, see Jonathan Katz (disambiguation).

Jonathan Myerson Katz (born 1980) – also known as Jonathan M. Katz – is an American journalist and author. He was the only full-time American news correspondent stationed in Haiti during the January 2010 earthquake.[1]

Background and education[edit]

Katz was born in Queens, New York to David Katz, a pediatrician, and Barbara Myerson Katz, a magazine and television writer. The family moved when he was young, and Katz grew up in Louisville, Kentucky.[2] In 2002, he graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in history and American Studies. Katz returned to Northwestern for a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism in 2004. During his undergraduate years, he was a reporter, editor, and cartoonist for The Daily Northwestern.[3]

Adult life[edit]

Early career[edit]

Katz began working as a reporter while in graduate school at Medill, where his assignments included covering the Pentagon for Lee Enterprises at the start of the Iraq War. He first reported for the Associated Press as an intern while stationed in Jerusalem during Second Intifada in fall 2003. Katz got his full-time start at Congressional Quarterly in 2004 as a committees reporter. The following year, he joined the AP's Washington Bureau, where he broke the major political story that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (then the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination) had sold all his stock in his family's hospital corporation immediately before the price dropped.[4] Katz moved to the Dominican Republic to be AP correspondent in 2006, and then to Port-au-Prince, Haiti in October 2007. His major stories for the AP during this time included articles on the 2008 food crisis and riots,[5][6] the 2008 Pétion-Ville school collapse, election fraud,[7] and hurricanes and tropical storms ravaging the country.[8]

2010 Haiti earthquake, aftermath and cholera[edit]

Katz was the only full-time American correspondent in Haiti when the 2010 Haiti earthquake struck on January 12, 2010. Katz, then 29, was on the second floor of his rented house in the Pétion-Ville neighborhood when the swaying started at approximately 4:45 p.m.[2] He rushed outside barefoot as his house collapsed, scrambling to find a phone to report the news. He borrowed a Blackberry on the street, and in doing so was the first to report the earthquake, sending out an alert that hit the wire at the same time as the U.S. Geological Survey's initial report of the quake.[9] In an unusual move for a wire service, AP ran Katz's first-person account of surviving the quake the next day.[10] In the months after the earthquake, Katz stayed in Haiti to report on the country's recovery process,[11] and issues with the delivery of foreign aid, specifically from the U.S.[12]

That fall he broke the story that UN peacekeepers were the likely cause of a post-quake cholera epidemic that has since become the deadliest in recent history, killing more than 8,500 people.[13][14] The UN refused to allow an independent investigation until giving in after three months. Among the pressure cited by observers was Katz's reporting, which "spread almost instantly around the world, irrevocably reframing a massive health crisis and probably changing international policies for years to come."[15] After Katz obtained an internal report condemning the Secretariat for its lack of accountability, the UN admitted having played a role in the outbreak in 2016.[16]

For the courage he showed in striving to report on the earthquake and its aftermath, Katz won the 2010 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism.[3][17] Other recognition has included a National Headliners Award and finalist recognition by the Livingston Award and Michael Kelly Award for the "fearless pursuit and expression of truth."[1]

Post-Haiti work[edit]

Katz went on to report in Mexico during drug wars, and he edited for AP until leaving the organization to write The Big Truck that Went By in 2012. He is now a regular contributor to The New York Times whose coverage has included U.S. police violence and the 2015 murders of Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Katz's work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Politico, and The New Yorker website, with grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.[18]


Katz, Jonathan M. The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. ISBN 978-0230341876

The Big Truck That Went By was shortlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Non-Fiction, one of the premier prizes in writing. It also won the 2013 Cornelius Ryan Award for "the best nonfiction book on international affairs" by the Overseas Press Club of America. It was the first book ever to win the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in Progress Award and later be named a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize from the Columbia School of Journalism and Harvard's Nieman Foundation for significant works of nonfiction.[19][20] It also won the 2013 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award, an award given annually by the Washington Office on Latin America and Duke University to honor nonfiction books with a clear focus on human rights, democracy, and social justice in contemporary Latin America.[21]


For The Big Truck That Went By[edit]

  • Shortlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Non-Fiction[22]
  • Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" Selection
  • 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award "to aid the completion of a significant work of nonfiction" from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and finalist for 2014 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize
  • 2013 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award for his contribution to the public's understanding of human rights, democracy, and social justice in contemporary Latin America.
  • 2013 Overseas Press Club of America Cornelius Ryan Award for the "best nonfiction book on international affairs."[23]

For reporting[edit]

  • 2010 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism
  • Finalist for 2011 Michael Kelly Award
  • 2011 National Headliner Award, 1st Place News Beat Coverage
  • 2011 & 2009 SPJ Deadline Club of New York Awards
  • Finalist for Livingston Award for International Reporting by journalists under 35 in 2009 and 2014



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  2. ^ a b!/[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-03. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
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  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
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  16. ^ "UN admits role in Haiti cholera outbreak". New York Times. 2016-08-19. Retrieved 2017-10-22. 
  17. ^ "Jonathan Katz accepts Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism". The AP. September 23, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Jonathan M. Katz (jonathankatz) on". Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
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  20. ^ "Lukas Prizes: Past Winners and Jurors - Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism". Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "PEN Announces Finalists for 2015 Awards". ArtsBeat. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  23. ^[permanent dead link][value][year]=2013

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