Four with ties to pubmedia receive MacArthur Fellowships

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Two public radio hosts and two filmmakers whose work has aired on PBS are among the 25 recipients announced Tuesday of the MacArthur Foundation’s annual fellowship.

The program awards each fellow $625,000 to use as they please. It chooses “extraordinarily talented and creative individuals” and provides the funding “as an investment in their potential,” according to MacArthur’s website. 

Daniel Alarcón, host and EP of NPR’s Radio Ambulante podcast, is one of the public media recipients. Alarcón co-founded the Spanish-language podcast in 2012, and NPR began distributing it in 2016.

“Adept in many types of media, Alarcón gives voice to the diverse experiences of Latin Americans and of Spanish speakers across borders,” the foundation said of Alarcón.

“When I shifted a lot of my energy and focus to reporting in Spanish on Latin America and U.S. Latinx communities, I did so assuming that I’d never be in the conversation for a prize like this,” Alarcón said in a press release. “I’m stunned and immensely proud of this recognition.”

Grantee Hanif Abdurraqib, a critic, essayist and poet, recently hosted Small Joys, a podcast produced at WOSU in Columbus, Ohio. The series featured Abdurraqib interviewing creative people about “what keeps them going.”

“Omnivorous in his influences and prolific in his output, Abdurraqib is forging a new form of cultural criticism, one that is informed by lived experience and offers incisive social and artistic critiques,” the foundation said.

In addition, MacArthur Fellows Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera directed The Infiltrators, a documentary that gives an inside look at the U.S. Immigration Detention Centers. The film premiered on PBS last year as part of POV

“Ibarra and Rivera create a masterful technical hybrid of documentary and scripted storytelling, combining interviews and footage of the real-life participants with reenactments, performed by professional actors, of scenes within the detention center,” according to the foundation. “The film is both inventive in its formal elements and an unprecedented portrayal of the conditions within ICE facilities.”

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