Photo: A South Korean soldier looks over the DMZ from a guard position on top of Observation Post 717, on the edge of the North Korean border near Goseong, South Korea. Image © Tomas van Houtryve/VII. South Korea, 2013.
Click here to see van Houtryve’s panoramic series on North Korea’s 870-mile border with China and the DMZ, which separates it from South Korea. These are little known landscapes, where refugees, smugglers, soldiers and spies exist on the fringes of the world’s most enigmatic country.
Meet Egypt’s forgotten indigenous people, the Nubians, in a slideshow by grantee Lauren Bohn. Gaffour, pictured here, told Bohn that “Nubians have lived on this land for thousands of years. We’ve been discriminated against, but what’s worse is being neglected and ignored, like we’re not even here.”
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting’s e-book In Search of Home was recently named one of the best Tablet/Mobile Delivery projects of the year by the National Press Photographers Association. In Search of Home depicts the nuanced lives of the stateless in Kenya, Burma, and the Dominican Republic.
The e-book features the photography of Greg Constantine, the reporting of Stephanie Hanes, and was designed and produced by Jake Naughton using Apple’s iBooks Author program. Interactive components were created by Maura Youngman.
Click here to download a free Educators’ Guide for how to use the e-book in the classroom.
Photographer Greg Constantine has focused on the stateless–people without nationality or citizenship, often within the country they consider to be home–for seven years. Constantine noted that e-books likeIn Search of Home provide an interactive way to dive deeper into a story, which is especially important given the complexity of global issues like statelessness.
“Stateless people are some of the most neglected, vulnerable and invisible people in the world today and statelessness is one of the most complex, politically sensitive and devastating human rights issues most people don’t know about,” Constantine said. “It is a story and an issue that demands attention. Exposing how this condition impacts individuals, families and entire communities has been my primary motivation these past seven years.”
“Because I believe so much in the importance of the stories I work on, I refuse to accept the limitations of traditional publishing these days, which is why we have to explore as many creative and strategic ways for getting the work out there as possible. I think the possibilities to tell robust, multidimensional stories through e-books are endless.”
Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center Executive Director, noted that this is the second Pulitzer Center e-book to receive national recognition this year. Voices of Haiti was named one of the best e-books of the year by Pictures of the Year International Awards (POYi). Both interactive e-books are available in theiBookstore.
“We’re thrilled by the awards for these exceptional projects,” Sawyer said, “E-books represent an exciting new platform for innovative journalism, one that we hope reaches new audiences and that will also generate the income our journalists need to cover the stories that affect us all.”
The proceeds from the book support the important work of Stephanie Hanes and Greg Constantine. Purchase your copy today.
- Caroline D’Angelo and Jen Nguyen
Calamities like this one often compel people to think about where their “stuff” comes from, and Bangladesh isn’t the only country that exports avalanches of goods to the West. The Pulitzer Center gateway “Global Goods, Local Costs” comprises stories produced by journalists across the globe who research how the current and seemingly insatiable demand for goods and resources affects the people and environments closest to those items.
Crisis moments like the Rana Collapse are so often the result of core-dwelling systemic issues, cracks in the building (metaphorically speaking) that deepen over time. At the Pulitzer Center we try to support projects that identify and delve into those problems, attempting to raise awareness and promote understanding before the moment of collapse.
“What Bangladesh needs is not overwhelming,” said Pulitzer Center grantee Jason Motlagh, who has reported extensively from south and southeast Asia on production and exportation. “There are concrete measures. It’s a systemic thing on both sides, but it starts with a reasonable sense of outrage.” Motlagh blamed in part the downward pressure from Western companies who call for ever-higher volumes of goods at very low prices; he said that practice encourages manufacturers to cut corners on safety measures in their hurry to fill the demand.
What about American buyers who purchase mass-produced goods at cheap prices because they don’t necessarily have other options? “It’s not easy,” said Motlagh. Creating positive change in the supply chain “is ultimately going to cost more.” He suggested that all concerned consumers, no matter their income, could try to push companies to adopt standards that protect workers’ rights and encourage safety and empowerment.
Last November we started using the Twitter hashtag #WhoMadeMy to get people to think about the origins of products they use or eat every day: cell phones, chocolate, laptops, hair dryers, jewelry. Now we connect that curiosity with stories like Fiona Lloyd-Davies’ reporting on tin conflicts in Eastern Congo; Larry C. Price’s photographs of child labor in Burkina Faso gold mines; Steve Sapienza and Jason Motlagh’s investigation into the labor abuse of the Thai shrimp industry and Dimiter Kenarov’sexploration of fracking for shale gas in Poland and Pennsylvania.
Public outrage over events like the Rana Plaza collapse tends to fade over time, but we should all be curious about the sourcing in our lives. Do some research; your findings might surprise you.
A Congolese artisanal mine and the Dutch government are trying to bring back multinational companies’ business with conflict-free tin. Read the story here. Image by Fiona Lloyd-Davies. Congo, 2013.
ON THE KHYBER ROAD
When the Pulitzer Center agreed with Foreign Policy to co-publish a series of e-books on borderlands, we hoped to send great writers to explore some of the more contested regions of the world—and let them use the longer-form platform of e-books to tell their stories in a deeper, more compelling way. Matthieu Aikins has done just that in “Bird of Chaman, Flower of the Khyber: Riding Shotgun from Karachi to Kabul in a Pakistani Truck,” a mesmerizing account of a single trip through the Kyber Pass that somehow encapsulates the whole harrowing story of America’s decade-long engagement in that region.
COMBATING FAKE DRUGS
The flood of fake drugs is an increasing threat to public health, and a subject of continuing interest to the Pulitzer Center. Grantee Esha Chhabra, writing for the Guardian, reports on a promising new weapon in the fight to beat back the fakes: the use of mobile-phone technology to authenticate drugs. The India-based initiative is aimed at coding drugs so that consumers, even those with basic phones, can verify that what they are buying is real. The stakes are high: The experts Esha quotes say that fake drugs lead to 100,000 deaths per year.
THE FIRST 1,000 DAYS
Grantee Roger Thurow’s previous book, “The Last Hunger Season,” was a novel-like story about the extraordinary challenges faced by small-scale farmers in western Kenya, and the difference that new agricultural techniques and inputs were making in their lives. Roger has just launched an equally exciting project, in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center, that will track the impact of better nutrition and health practices for children in the critical first 1,000 days after conception, with ground-level reporting from Uganda, India, Guatemala and the United States. This week we feature the first of many dispatches as we follow Roger on this journey.
CHINA IN ZAMBIA, GOOD AND BAD
Grantee Alexis Okeowo’s first report from Zambia is an eye-opening account of China’s rapidly increasing presence in that country, and across Africa. China is making real improvements, from health care to government buildings and jobs, a local watchdog tells her, but there are also incidents of labor abuse and the sense among many Zambians that they are losing control of their own economy.
FROM BOSTON TO DAGESTAN
The alleged bombers of the Boston Marathon have family roots in the Russian region of Chechyna and one of them spent several months last year in nearby Dagestan. In an Untold Story our guest writer James V. Wertsch, vice chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis and a specialist on the Caucasus, says that what we don’t know about the Tsarnaevs shouldn’t keep us from absorbing what we do know—or should—about the tangled history of their native land. Washington University is one of our Campus Consortium partners.
Until next week,
Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
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Five Things Worth Knowing about the Caucasus | Pulitzer Center -
(Editor’s note: Author James V. Wertsch, vice chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, is a specialist on the Caucasus. Washington University is a member of the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium.)
The Tsarnaev brothers, the alleged bombers of the Boston Marathon, are ethnic Chechens. One of them spent several months in Dagestan. Those connections have thrust those obscure places into the news (although confusion on social media sites between “Chechnya” and “Czech Republic” suggests that for most Americans these remain unfamiliar places). As we struggle to understand the violence in Boston it’s worth noting some things we do know, about the places and history associated with the Tsarnaevs. Keep reading here.
This week the Associated Press announced that the Justice Department had seized phone records for over twenty AP lines over a two-month period, sparking outrage from journalists across the nation. The Justice Department says it needed the records because it was investigating “whether an unauthorized leak led to an AP report in May last year about an operation, conducted by the CIA and allied intelligence agencies, that stopped a Yemen-based al Qaeda plot to bomb a U.S.-bound airplane,” wrote Reuters.
The incident has once again ignited the debate in the United States about how First Amendment rights should be treated in light of national security issues. But we’re not the only country that debates press freedom and the role of the media in today’s world. Pulitzer Center-supported journalists report on issues in journalism from across the world:
1) Stephen Franklin wrote from Turkey, where “Truth is a Hard Sell.” The country, which has a democratic government, leads the world in the number of imprisoned journalists.
2) In England, Catherine Schurz explored the media’s role in the controversial murder case – and subsequent overturning of the double-jeopardy rule – of Stephen Lawrence.
3) William Sands, reporting from Equatorial Guinea, looked into its low score in the Press Freedom Index. It ranked 167th out of 179 countries; it has no independent press.
4) Ever-mysterious North Korea is infamous for keeping journalists out of the loop. Photographer Tomas van Houtryve tried to see past the orchestrations.
5) After Kathleen McLaughlin reported on the proliferation of fake malaria medicine in East Africa and indicated China may be involved, China’s state-run media burst forth with a flurry of denials.
- Amanda Ottaway