Scholarships Honor Memory of Auto Journalist Jerry Flint

Jerry Flint had a storied journalism career. He was the Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times and later wrote for Ward’s Auto World and other Detroit media. His byline became associated with the auto industry when he became a columnist at Forbes.

Kate McLeod

March 10, 2023

3 Min Read
FlintIV lead art
Jerry Flint, Paul Klebnikov shared wry observations about Russian auto industry with Forbes readers in 1996.

When Jerry Flint died in 2010, his widow, Kate McLeod quickly set up a scholarship in his name. “I thought at the time it was important to try and do something that would continue his legacy as a journalist,” she says. “I had been on the board of the Overseas Press Club Foundation for several years and I knew it managed scholarship funds extremely well. So together with friends and family and even some of the auto companies Jerry covered, we raised the funds to initiate The Jerry Flint Scholarship for International Business Reporting.”

Every year since McLeod has been on the committee that selects the scholarship winners. In 2016, Joe Flint, Jerry’s son, who is a business reporter at The Wall Street Journal in Los Angeles, joined her to read entries for all of the 18 scholarships that are awarded each year. He joined the board in 2017.

Flint had a storied career at The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Forbes magazine. He was the Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times and later wrote for Ward’s Auto World and other Detroit media. His byline became associated with the auto industry when he became a columnist at Forbes. Just before his transition to columnist, he traveled to Russia with fellow journalist Paul Klebnikov and wrote extensively about the Russian auto industry. Their story, titled “Would You Want To Drive A Lada?” appeared in Forbes in August 1996.

Fast forward to 2013: An entry by a Columbia Journalism School graduate student, Valerie Hopkins, is chosen as the 2013 Jerry Flint Scholarship winner. With her scholarship, Val worked for the Financial Times and subsequently joined The New York Times in May 2021. The Times posted Hopkins in Moscow and when the war broke out, she was there to cover it reporting from both Russia and Ukraine. In addition to several Page 1 stories, on Dec. 5, 2022, Hopkins posted a Page 1 story with co-writer Anatoly Kurmanaev citing how the war’s sanctions were undercutting the Russian economy, with a focus on the auto industry. Full circle. 

Flint never would have believed a scholarship in his name would produce so many fine journalists. McLeod can just hear him saying, “Who would donate money in my name?” We have just named the 13th winner of the scholarship. Most of the winners are in key places around the world.

“It is what it should be for Jerry,” McLeod says. “Some of his final words to his readers were, ‘I will try to never let you down.’ I think his legacy is alive and well. And it has come full circle with Valerie writing a story about the Russian auto industry.”

For the past 25 years, through tumultuous times in global journalism, the OPC Foundation ( has been committed to supporting and promoting the next generation of international correspondents, giving them the encouragement and experience they need to launch their careers.  In that time, the Foundation has singled out 370 graduate and undergraduate students for its Scholar Awards which offer either scholarships or fellowships for young journalists to gain valuable experience in the foreign bureaus of The Associated Press, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and the GroundTruth Project, among others.

Donations are always welcomed.

You can learn more about what the OPC Foundation does and meet recent winners here: 2022 and 2021.

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