Michele Mitchell (journalist)

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Michele Mitchell (May 24, 1970) is an American filmmaker, journalist and author best known for her on-camera reporting for PBS and CNN Headline News and her documentaries Haiti: Where Did the Money Go? (PBS, 2013) and The Uncondemned (2017).

Early life

She grew up in Yorba Linda, California, and attended Esperanza High School, where she ran track and cross country, and wrote for the school newspaper and the youth section of The Los Angeles Times. She attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she earned a BSJ and MSJ in 1992. Throughout college, she wrote for the sports section of the Chicago Tribune and was a member of Delta Zeta sorority. Her first job was on Capitol Hill, where she was the youngest congressional communications director, for Rep. Pete Geren (D-TX), who became the Secretary of the Army for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Journalism career

Her journalism career began during the height of the "Generation X" political trend,[1] which she wrote about in 1998 in her first book, A New Kind of Party Animal: How the Young Are Changing Politics As Usual (Simon & Schuster).[2] The book led to a job at CNN Headline News as a political analyst for the 2000 election.[3] In 2001, she became the political anchor at Headline News, covering daily political stories and, post-9/11, she filed one of the last interviews given by the mujahideen Abdul Haq. She particularly emphasized the Patriot Act, which earned her the verbal disdain of Attorney General John Ashcroft's staff and frequent appearances on Politically Incorrect. She left Headline News in 2003 after her second novel was published, but returned to television on Now with Bill Moyers on PBS. There, she filed investigative stories on the war on terror, vote fraud, women and the economy, and the Abramoff scandal.

Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?

In 2010, she began working on her own web series, tracking what happened to the money donated by private US citizens to major US charities after the earthquake in Haiti. The Haiti: Where Did the Money Go? web series debuted on social media in January 2011. She then produced and directed a television documentary, also called Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?,[4] which was made into a film in 2012. The film, which aired over 1,000 times in the United States on PBS stations generated controversy,[5] when the American Red Cross attacked it as "inaccurate."[6] However, the film was widely embraced, both critically and by the Haitian community,[7] activists,[8] aid workers and Members of Congress. In 2013, the film won many awards, including a Gracie Award for Outstanding Investigative Program,[9] a CINE Golden Eagle,[10] a CINE Special Jury Award for Best Investigative Documentary, and the 2013 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best TV Documentary.[11] It was also screened at the 2013 Miami Women's International Film Festival where it won Best Documentary Short.

The Uncondemned

In 2013, she began filming The Uncondemned with co-director Nick Louvel, a documentary about the first time rape was prosecuted as a war crime during the Rwanda genocide. In April 2015, she gave a TedX talk called "What's Rape's Brand?" [12] at TedXNavesink, which discusses the topic of the film. The documentary was selected by the Hamptons International Film Festival to make its world premiere in October. It was named the Brizzolara Family Foundation Award Winner for a Film in Conflict & Resolution. On September 24, 2015, co-director Louvel was killed in a single-car accident hours after hand-delivering the film to the festival.[13] The documentary also won the Rabinowitz & Grant Award for Social Justice.

In June 2016, the final cut of the film made its debut at the New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Special achievements

Mitchell has received Gracie Awards and an honorable citation from the Overseas Press Awards[14] for her coverage of Nepalese girls sold into indentured servitude.[15] She also serves on the advisory board of the Authors Guild of America, Amman Imman [16] and BYKids. She has reported extensively from countries such as Afghanistan, India, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Libya and Morocco, as well as most of the 50 states.

Selected works

  • A New Kind of Party Animal: How the Young Are Changing Politics as Usual (1998) ISBN 0-684-83697-1
  • The Latest Bombshell (2003) ISBN 0-452-28544-5
  • Our Girl in Washington (2006) ISBN 0-452-28607-7


  1. ^ Huntley, Mark (28 September 2004). "Decoding Gen-X Values". The New York Sun. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  2. ^ Satin, Mark. "The Cool Diffidence and Passionate Realism of the Rising Generation". Radical Middle Newsletter. Retrieved 1 March 2003.
  3. ^ "CNN Spins Out of Control With Never-Ending Story". Sfgate.com. 8 December 2000. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  4. ^ Johns, Lindsay (20 March 2012). "Haiti: Where Did the Money Go....?". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  5. ^ Bassett, Laura (24 January 2012). "Red Cross Responds to Documentary's Charges of Haiti Aid". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  6. ^ Page, Clarence (January 29, 2012). "Where Did Haiti's Aid Go?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  7. ^ Britell, Alexander (22 December 2011). "Haiti: Where Did the Money Go? An Interview with Michele Mitchell". Caribbean Journal. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Why Doesn't the American Red Cross Want People to See 'Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?'". Center for Economic and Policy Research. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  9. ^ "The Gracies : 2013 Gracie Awards Winners". 21 September 2013. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-06. Retrieved 2013-03-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-03-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ TEDx Talks (28 April 2015). "What's Rape's Brand? - Michele Mitchell - TEDxNavesink". YouTube. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  13. ^ Cheng, Cheryl (2015-09-24). "New York Filmmaker Nick Louvel Dies at 34". Hollywood Reporter. Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  14. ^ OPC of America. "2008 OPC Award Winners". Overseas Press Club of America. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  15. ^ PBS, NOW on. "Transcript: Daughters for Sale . NOW on PBS". Pbs.org. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Home - Amman Imman: Water is Life". www.ammanimman.org.
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