Aspiring journalist awarded Daniel Pearl scholarship

Berkshire County

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A recent high school graduate whose love of music developed into a love of the written word and a passion for journalism was named Wednesday the 2021 recipient of a college scholarship founded in honor of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Emma Kostyun, a graduate of Pittsfield High School, plans to use the $2,000 Daniel Pearl Berkshire Scholarship to study journalism at the University of New Hampshire, according to the scholarship’s board of judges.

Pearl, south Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in January 2002 while researching a story on terrorism.

He began his journalism career in western Massachusetts at the now defunct North Adams Transcript and The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield.

The scholarship has been awarded annually since 2003 to a high school student from the region planning to major in journalism or music, Pearl’s two passions.

Kostyun played the bassoon, clarinet and tenor saxophone in her high school band, and through music developed a desire to express herself in words, first through poetry, and then through journalism.

“With this outlet, I would be able to tell stories, grasp attention and have a voice,” she said in her scholarship application essay.

She was on the staff of the school newspaper, a member of the National Honor Society and in the drama club.

“In my learnings about Daniel Pearl, I have learned that he expressed himself and his identity and bravely took on stories that were dangerous yet courageous,” she wrote. “I aspire not only to be myself but to be brave and courageous just like Mr. Pearl and through my passion create a legacy like his own.”

The scholarship is funded by contributions from the newspapers as well as Pearl’s friends and colleagues from the region.

The legal case in Pearl’s death is ongoing.

Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh, a Pakistani-British man convicted of helping lure Pearl to a meeting in Karachi, during which he was kidnapped, was acquitted by a court in Pakistan last year and released from death row to a safe house earlier this year.

Pearl’s family and Pakistan’s government have appealed the acquittal and U.S. officials have expressed outrage and said it would seek Sheikh’s extradition so he could face justice.

Three other men convicted and sent to prison for life were also acquitted.

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