A Chicago Tribune correspondent will visit Eastern Illinois University to discuss his award-winning series on how human trafficking benefiting U.S. military support operations in Iraq resulted in the execution of 12 men from Nepal.
Cam Simpson, an EIU graduate who works as a Washington-based correspondent for the Tribune, will lead a presentation on “Pipeline to Peril: A Journalist’s Journey Behind One of Iraq’s Worst Massacres” at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Buzzard Hall Auditorium.
Published in October, the series told the story by investigating and retracing the journey of 12 men from Nepal who were kidnapped and taken to Iraq to work for U.S. military contractors and later executed.
Simpson’s series has won a George Polk Award, an Overseas Press Club award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Simpson also is a finalist for Atlantic Media's Michael Kelly Award.
“Cam is a tenacious reporter who has had a tremendous career and who has an unlimited future as a journalist,” said journalism department Chair James Tidwell. “Students can learn much from Cam about the war in Iraq, terrorism and foreign affairs.”
Simpson, 39, who majored in journalism and political science at EIU, will be awarded the journalism department’s Journalist of the Year Award on Friday.
He will be on campus Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, talking with journalism and political science classes.
“Cam was one of the best collegiate journalists I have ever known,” Tidwell said. “I always knew he was going to be a star.”
Simpson’s main responsibility for the Tribune is covering U.S. foreign policy, but he also does investigative reporting for the newspaper from Washington and overseas. He previously won a George Polk Award for National Reporting.
In his current assignment, Simpson routinely travels abroad, sometimes on his own, but often on Air Force II, to cover diplomatic missions of the U.S. secretary of state. He has traveled more than 232,000 miles for the Tribune since 2004, reporting from more than 30 countries.
Prior to assuming his current assignment in May 2004, Simpson covered terrorism and the Department of Justice in Washington for the Tribune, also reporting on terrorism from Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. He also did investigative reporting and covered federal crime in Chicago for the Tribune.Prior to joining the Tribune in 2000, Simpson worked for the Chicago Sun-Times, The Indianapolis Star, The Evansville (Ind.) Courier and The News-Gazette in Champaign. He is a native of St. Charles.