West Virginia University released the official list of 2017 May Commencement keynote speakers. Topping the list was WVU Reed College of Media Alumna Margie Mason (BSJ,1997) who will deliver the keynote address for her alma mater.
Mason delved into the unseemly world of Indonesian slavery and brought home a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and a Grammy winning Mountain State native whose music has been covered by legends of the industry and sung at presidential inaugurations top the ranks of speakers at the University’s commencement ceremonies this year.
Margie Mason, (‘97) was part of a four-member team of female Associated Press reporters who won more than 30 journalism awards, including a Pulitzer, for groundbreaking work that exposed a slave island in a remote part of Indonesia where migrant fishermen were being held in a cage and forced to work against their will for years. The series of stories used satellite technology, Customs data and shoe-leather journalism to meticulously trace seafood caught by the enslaved men from Indonesia to Thailand and all the way to the United States. The work revealed that supply chains at some of America’s largest grocery stores and pet food brands were tainted by the slave-caught fish. The stories led to laws being passed, companies shut down, perpetrators being jailed and more than 2,000 slaves freed and sent home.