20th annual Nora Magid Mentorship Prize awarded to Pia Singh

Stephen Fried
6 min readFeb 28, 2023

The 20th annual Nora Magid Mentorship Prize has been awarded to Pia Singh.

Singh is a Penn Senior majoring in Communications with a minor in Political Science, who has worked at CNBC.com, the Wall Street Journal and Philadelphia Magazine. At Penn, she worked her way up at the Daily Pennsylvanian to become, last year, the paper’s Executive Editor and Senior Reporter during a challenging period in campus news coverage.

Singh is best known as co-author of one of the paper’s biggest and most resonant investigative projects in recent memory — an in-depth examination of toxic workplace accusations at Penn’s world-famous genetics lab under the leadership of controversial researcher Dr. James Wilson, and then a major follow-up into an alleged university cover-up of the accusations. This investigation triggered national headlines, and a follow-up investigation by STATnews.

Singh grew up in suburban Philadelphia and graduated from Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square. She came to Penn as a fine arts major — she is an accomplished fine artist and videographer — and originally joined the DP as a general assignment reporter and illustrator. (She also worked as a video director at the campus fashion magazine The WALK). But later she became a DP beat reporter, including on-the-ground coverage of the 2020 New Hampshire primaries, and went on to become deputy news editor and then News Editor, writing over 100 stories for the paper (including a remarkable narrative history of the fight for racial justice at Penn.) In January of 2021 she began an internship at Philadelphia Magazine, followed by a summer digital news internship at the CNBC.com Embeds Desk, where she covered finance, technology crypto and real estate. The next summer she was at the Wall Street Journal as a markets reporting intern, covering market trends, stocks and crypto for the paper and the Live Markets Blog, and was featured on the WSJ podcasts. After finishing her year as Executive Editor of the DP, she has returned to CNBC.com as an intern on the Markets Desk, and also serves as a research associate at Penn’s Computational Social Science Lab.

Singh has the intelligence, the reporting, writing and management skills, the entrepreneurial instinct, and the commitment to team-building and mentorship that Nora Magid so admired in Penn nonfiction writers. She was recommended to the Nora Prize committee by Dr. Julia Bloch, Director of the Creative Writing Program at Penn.

The other finalists for the Nora Prize this year were Meg Gladieux and Laila Shadid (both recommended by Jay Kirk), Bebe Hodges (recommended by Avery Rome) and Emily White (recommended by Murali Balaji.)

About the prize: THE NORA MAGID MENTORSHIP PRIZE has been given each year since 2004 to a senior at the University of Pennsylvania who shows exceptional ability and promise in writing/reporting/editing, and who would benefit most from combined mentorship of Nora’s network of former students and their colleagues in traditional and new media. The prize is now $5000 to be used however the student chooses for their professional development — including being used as a stipend for post-grad internships that require one. The winner also receives unparalleled access to a constantly growing network of Penn alumni — including Nora’s former students and over a decade of Nora Prize-winners — as well as their extensive web of colleagues who can assist in the student’s career. The prize is open to all seniors at Penn, although preference is given to those who expect to attempt to make careers in some form of media.

The Nora Prize is given in partnership with the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, the Daily Pennsylvanian and the Kelly Writers House.

For more information about the Nora Prize: http://writing.upenn.edu/awards/nora_prize.php

Contact: Stephen Fried, stephenfried@comcast.net, @stephen_fried, 215–287–9392

Where our winners are now:

  • Bea Forman, 2022; reporter, Philadelphia Inquirer; previously deputy editor Billy Penn, intern Philadelphia Magazine, Resolve Philly, Vox.com, and Smerconish.com
  • Alan Jinich 2022; intern “The Pulse” WHYY-FM, freelance writer for Washington Post, co-creator Generation Pandemic Project; previously production assistant and photographer for James Beard-award-winning PBS show “Pati’s Mexican Table” and freelance writer and photographer.
  • Isabella Simonetti, 2021; Carr Fellow in Business, New York Times, previously media reporter, New York Observer, intern, Bloomberg News, Philadelphia magazine, New York Post, Vox.com, and Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Madeleine Ngo, 2020: economic policy reporter Vox.com; previously David Rosenbaum fellow, New York Times, reporter, Wall Street Journal; intern, Bloomberg News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, Vox.com
  • Rebecca Tan, 2019: South Asia Bureau Chief, Washington Post; previously reporter, Washington Post, reporter Vox.com
  • Dani Blum, 2018: health reporter, New York Times; previously senior news assistant, New York Times, assistant editor, Forbes; editorial fellow, Pitchfork
  • Jacob Gardenswartz, 2018: Washington correspondent, The Wyoming Truth and adjunct professor McDaniel College; previously associate White House producer, NBC News; anchor producer MSNBC for “The Beat with Ari Melber”; policy intern, Vox.com, assistant news and polling analyst, NBC News
  • Luis Ferre-Sadurni, 2017: Albany bureau chief, New York Times; previously, reporter and James Reston Reporting Fellow, NYT; intern at Philadelphia Inquirer, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Jill Castellano, 2016: investigative data reporter, INEWSOURCE, previously investigations editor, Palm Springs Desert Sun, Dow Jones data journalism fellow at Salt Lake Tribune, intern at Philadelphia Inquirer, Forbes and New York Daily News
  • Sarah Smith, 2015: senior enterprise reporter, Houston Chronicle; previously reporter, ProPublica, investigative reporter, Houston Chronicle, reporter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reporting fellow, ProPublica; fellow at National Journal/Atlantic, intern at POLITICO, Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Seth Zweifler, 2014: assistant to the president and chief of staff, University of Pennsylvania; previously reporting fellow POLITICO, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Joe Pinsker, 2013: reporter, Wall Street Journal; previously staff writer, The Atlantic, assistant editor, atlantic.com, editorial fellow at The Atlantic
  • Jessica Goodman, 2012: New York Times bestselling YA author and editorial consultant; previously senior editor, Cosmopolitan, entertainment editor, Entertainment Weekly, entertainment editor, Huffington Post, 2013 grad Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, intern, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone
  • Matt Flegenheimer, 2011: national political reporter, New York Times, previously Times metro and transportation reporter, intern Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Jamie France, 2010: previously executive assistant to NBC’s President of Entertainment and Digital Networks/Integrated Media, executive assistant to Today Show executive producer, intern at The New Yorker
  • Gabe Oppenheim, 2009: screenwriter, author, freelance writer; previously intern at Washington Post, Esquire
  • Jessica Sidman, 2008: food editor, Washingtonian Magazine, previously food editor, Washington City Paper, reporter at Bisnow Media, intern at Washingtonian and Dallas Morning News
  • Jason Schwartz, 2007; senior editor for investigations and enterprise, Sports Illustrated, previously media reporter, POLITCO, senior editor, ESPN magazine, senior staff writer, Boston Magazine
  • Melody Joy Kramer, 2006: leads audience growth and development, Wikimedia, columnist, Poynter Institute, previously digital strategy adviser, 18F, Visiting Nieman Fellow, Harvard University; associate editor/digital strategy, NPR, associate producer, “Fresh Air”, producer at “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,” Kroc Fellow at NPR
  • Ashley Parker, 2005: White House bureau chief, Washington Post, senior political analyst MSNBC; previously White House reporter, Washington Post; Washington political reporter, New York Times; previously assistant to columnist Maureen Dowd
  • Rebecca Klein, 2004: freelancer Everyday with Rachael Ray and young adult librarian, Somerset County library; previously associate editor, Quick & Simple
  • Dan Kaplan, 2004: market designer and host, Moonshot, previously product marketing consultant for Twilio, Asana, and Salesforce

Advisory Committee

  • Stephen Fried, author, adjunct professor, University of Pennsylvania & Columbia University, stephenfried@comcast.net
  • Eliot Kaplan, career coach, previously vice president, talent acquisition, Hearst Magazines, editor Philadelphia Magazine, managing editor GQ, ejaykaplan@gmail.com
  • Miriam Arond, brand strategy consultant, director of communications, WJCS, previously director Good Housekeeping Institute
  • Barri Bernstein, executive director, Tennessee Bar Foundation
  • David Borgenicht, Owner and CEO, Quirk Books, author
  • Sandee Brawarsky, author, journalist, literary producer and interviewer
  • Jean Chatzky, author, cofounder HerMoney.com and host of HerMoney Podcast, Today Show financial correspondent, AARP magazine columnist
  • Lisa DePaulo, freelance writer, previously contributing writer GQ, Elle, Vogue, George
  • Stefan Fatsis, author, sports commentator, Slate, NPR
  • Loren Feldman, chief content officer, Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs, previously senior editor, entrepreneurship, Forbes
  • Lisa Green, author, managing director, Sard Verbinnen & Co, NBC News legal analyst
  • Randall Lane, editor in chief, Forbes Magazine, author
  • John Prendergast, editor-in-chief, Pennsylvania Gazette
  • Joel Siegel, managing editor, NY1 News; previously managing editor for politics, New York Daily News, head writer and producer, ABC Weekend World News
  • Previous winners Melody Joy Kramer and Jessica Goodman



Stephen Fried

Author: Rush; Appetite for America, Thing of Beauty, The New Rabbi, Bitter Pills, Husbandry; teach at Columbia & UPenn; lecturer, editorial consultant