AUSTIN — Lorne Matalon, a journalist reporting for National Public Radio in West Texas, has been awarded the 2016-17 Energy Journalism Fellowship at The University of Texas at Austin.
The fellowship, now in its second year, is jointly sponsored by UT Austin’s Energy Institute and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law & Business. Matalon succeeds Russell Gold, senior energy reporter at The Wall Street Journal.
The fellowship provides esteemed energy journalists a sabbatical from the grind of daily deadlines to work on long-form energy writing projects of their choosing while in proximity to the university’s renowned energy experts.
Matalon reports for the NPR station collaborative known as the Fronteras Desk, which covers both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and Latin America. His term as UT Austin’s energy journalism research fellow will run from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, 2017.
“We’re pleased to have Lorne onboard as a research fellow,” said Dr. Tom Edgar, director of the Energy Institute. “His work on energy issues in Mexico and West Texas has a grittiness befitting the frontier culture at a time of great change.”
As the Fronteras Desk reporter based at Marfa Public Radio/West Texas Public Radio, Matalon’s stories on the U.S.-Mexico border and Latin America are broadcast on NPR and its member stations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Recent features focused on Mexican energy reform and the lifting of the ban on the export of U.S. crude oil.
Matalon was awarded a 2016 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting for his series, “Borderland Exodus: Towns Near Path of Proposed Mexican Pipelines Suffer Rash of Violence,” an investigation into corruption in connection with a series of pipelines and other energy-related infrastructure under construction in a 55-mile corridor that lines the U.S. border southeast of Juárez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas.
Prior to his work in Marfa, Matalon was based in Mexico City for The World, a co-production of the BBC World Service, Public Radio International and NPR member station WGBH, Boston. For more, read his bio.
During his year on campus, Matalon will continue his journalistic forays into Mexico and report on energy reform south of the border. Over the course of his fellowship, Matalon intends to develop a series of long-form radio features on the challenges associated with opening Mexico’s energy markets to foreign investment. His broadcast work will be integrated with a web presence that features video and image galleries and possibly a book.
“While there is tremendous potential for foreign companies, including many in Texas, to succeed in Mexico’s newly opened energy market, the path forward is far from clear-cut,” said Matalon.
“I intend to explore the challenges facing investors and others with an on-the-ground examination of how these new players will navigate both the challenge and the opportunity implied by energy reform in Mexico.”
Melinda Taylor, executive director of the university’s KBH Center for Energy, Law and Business, said Matalon’s focus on Mexican energy reform is an ideal fit for the KBH Center and its goal of serving as a nexus for unbiased and relevant research on Latin American issues.
“Lorne has a body of work that is quite impressive, particularly his reports from Mexico and throughout Latin America,” Taylor said. “We look forward to working with him and adding his perspective to the KBH Energy Center and its work.”
Energy Institute, The University of Texas at Austin