'The Voice' Contestant Used Show Money to Help Fund ISIS Reporting

Ben Taub on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' on Tuesday.

Ben Taub, who recently graduated from Columbia Journalism School, wrote the lead story in the June 1 issue of 'The New Yorker.'

Third-season Voice contestant Ben Taub is now the author of a New Yorker cover story about European teenagers joining ISIS.

And the NBC reality series helped finance his reporting, Taub explained on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday.

"I basically used the stipend [The Voice] sent us while we were filming the show in California to transition into journalism," he said. "So I used it to fund travel into the Turkish-Syrian border in 2013."

There, Taub said, he met a father whose son had been recruited by ISIS who was trying to bring his child back. Both the teenager and his father are featured in the story, and Taub notes that the teen was also on another reality show, Move Like Michael Jackson, when he was a boy.

Taub, who received an undergraduate degree from Princeton, also explained on Morning Joe how his girlfriend started him on the whole journey.

"I ended up in Egypt in 2011," he said. "I chased a girlfriend to Cairo during the Egyptian revolution."

After his experience witnessing some of the Arab Spring, Taub said he returned to Princeton and took a journalism course with a professor who covers Syria for NPR, and who guided him.

Taub went on to earn his master's in journalism from Columbia, graduating last week. In the below Facebook post on Wednesday morning, Taub clarified that grants from Princeton and Columbia and support from other sources also made his story possible.

The response to my piece in The New Yorker has been overwhelming, bringing much-needed attention to the radicalization...

Posted by Ben Taub on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

On The Voice, Taub was on Cee Lo Green's team. Watch him talk more about his New Yorker story in the video below, followed by audio of him singing.

comments powered by Disqus