The Voice contestant funds investigation into Isis's radicalisation of European teenagers

Ben Taub also recieved grants from Princeton and Columbia universities for his investigation now published by the New Yorker magazine

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The Independent Online

A US man has funded an in-depth investigation into how Isis radicalises European teens by appearing on a well-known talent show.

Ben Taub, 24, used his fee as a contestant on American talent show The Voice in 2012 to fund his journalism masters and report from the Turkish-Syrian border on radicalised youths.

Taub’s investigation, ‘Journey to Jihad’, documented a Belgium teenager’s journey from appearing in a Michael Jackson look-a-like reality show to awaiting trial for joining Isis. It made the cover of the prestigious New Yorker magazine’s upcoming edition.

The former journalism student – he graduated only last week from Columbia School of Journalism – told MSBC’s Morning Joe about how he ended up making the transition.

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

Pressed on how he got into reporting on Middle East in the first place Taub, who grew up in the UK and New Jersey, explained that he “chased a girlfriend to Cairo during the Egyptian revolution.”

After covering parts of the Arab Spring, he completed his undergraduate degree at Princeton before taking his journalism masters, returning to the region with help from Princeton and Columbia grants.

Yesterday he issued a statement on social media about the “overwhelming” coverage, writing that it brought “much-needed attention to the radicalization process and the plight of parents who lose their children to jihadi battlefields.”

He added: “A heartfelt thanks to all who made this story possible.”