Faculty recognized for reporting on police shooting in pork processing plant - The University of Tulsa
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Faculty recognized for reporting on police shooting in pork processing plant

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Ted Genoways, a University of Tulsa Presidential Professor, and The New Republic won the June 2023 Sidney Award for “How a Refugee’s American Dream Ended in a Police Killing.” The feature, reported in partnership with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, tells the tragic story of a Sudanese refugee shot by the police at a hog plant earlier this year, and his coworker who was fired for recording the incident.

“I first heard about the shooting on local news in Tulsa, when the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced that the agency would be investigating the incident. A few days later, I saw further coverage in a meatpacking industry publication,” Genoways told the award judges, recounting how he tracked down the worker who had recorded a video of the shooting. “Everything went from there.”

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Genoways, who serves in TU’s Department of Media Studies, investigated the incident from Guymon in the Oklahoma Panhandle alongside his wife, Mary Anne Andrei, also a TU Presidential Professor, who chronicled the reporting through compelling photography. Their work appeared in The New Republic in May.

Genoways and Andrei also spoke with the family of Chiewelthap Mariar, the worker who was killed. “They shared their heartbreak and confusion and unresolved questions. They also explained the long, painful journey that their family had made from war-torn South Sudan to the meatpacking plants of Texas and Oklahoma,” he said. Mariar’s devastated mother, Gloria Thondok, continues to work at the plant where her son was shot.

The Sidney is awarded monthly by the Hillman Foundation for an outstanding piece of journalism that was published the prior month. Other recent winners have covered important topics such as child labor, the Jackson water crisis, Surfside condo collapse and the Uvalde school shooting.

Genoways is a contributing editor at The New Republic. His previous reporting on the meatpacking industry has received a James Beard Foundation Award for Investigative Reporting and a National Press Club Award. He recently published the magazine Switchyard in conjunction with The University of Tulsa’s inaugural Switchyard festival, which celebrates literature, music and ideas. Meanwhile, Andrei has produced a companion podcast. This year’s event focused on banned books and featured talks with Art Spiegelman and Maia Kobabe among other notables.

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Seaboard Foods pork processing plant (Photograph by Mary Anne Andrei)
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Chiewelthap Mariar’s grave (Photograph by Mary Anne Andrei)