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Rajiv Chandrasekaran

December 2007
Rajiv Chandrasekaran


Compiling a list with the word ‘best’ or ‘most’ in the title can be hazardous. Such a roundup may be well-intentioned, but it’s subjective and therefore contentious. What’s beyond dispute here is that all the individuals mentioned below have had notable accomplishments in the year ending this month. Why only seven, though, instead of the customary round number? No reason, except perhaps a quirky 7 seems apt for 2007.

WHO: RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN, Media matters, national editor of The Washington Post.

WHY: Wins the BBC FOUR Samuel Johnson Prize for Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone. It’s the world’s richest award for nonfiction in English.

WHAT HE SAID: “When Kennedy announced that I had won, my mouth went dry. But as I walked up to the stage, I had no worries about not preparing remarks. I knew what I wanted to say: I would pay tribute to all of the brave Iraqi journalists who have worked with me, and with other Western journalists, often at great personal risk, so that we can tell the world what is occurring there.” (The Observer interview)

WHAT WAS SAID: Chandrasekaran unstintingly depicts the stubborn cluelessness of many Americans in the Green Zone—like the army general who says children terrified by nighttime helicopters should appreciate “the sound of freedom.” But he sympathetically portrays others trying their best to cut through the red tape and institute genuine reforms. (Publishers Weekly)

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