Pulitzer grantee Mattathias Schwartz talks about his investigative report for The New Yorker ”A Mission Gone Wrong" and the U.S. war on drugs.
"The Abominable Crime" Wins Audience Award for Best Documentary
The full-length documentary explores homophobia in Jamaica through the lives of Simone Edwards, who survives a hate crime shooting and flees the country to the Netherlands to protect herself and her daughter, and Maurice Tomlinson, a human rights lawyer whose marriage exposes him to personal danger. The documentary was supported by the Pulitzer Center from its earliest stages. The documentary grew out of a grant in 2009 from the Pulitzer Center to director Micah Fink to cover HIV in Jamaica, which resulted in the “Glass Closet" series for WNET’s World Focusprogram.
As Pulitzer Center grantee Micah Fink has documented in his film, “The Abominable Crime,” Jamaica is a place that has become dangerous for homosexuals, owing in part to an anti-sodomy law that gives official sanction to vicious hate crimes.
Micah and Maurice Tomlinson, a lawyer and activist featured in the film, attended a screening with nearly 600 public high school students in northeast Philadelphia recently. The viewing capped a day-long exploration of social justice at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, with discussions and student performances that brought the school together in one of the more gratifying engagements with Pulitzer Center journalism that we’ve seen in a school setting.
Micah and Maurice will continue their outreach around the film in Europe next month, with appearances at film festivals in Amsterdam and London, and talks at our partner schools and universities on the continent.
Text by Education Director Mark Schulte. Image by Education Coordinator Amanda Ottaway. To learn how you can get involved with the Pulitzer Center’s education department or how you can set up your own Day of Social Justice, visit our website or email Mark and Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing Our Newest e-Book: “Tarnished: The True Cost of Gold”
Over the past four years, as the price of gold surged and fell, the Pulitzer Center has commissioned eight projects on the what the boom has meant for the local communities involved. The reporting covers the globe and the stories that resulted have appeared on our website and in major media outlets, from The New York Times and PBS NewsHour to Harper’s, The Philadelphia Inquirer and TIME. Now we are pleased to present in e-Book form a sampler from that work, organized by key themes and drawing on the writing, photographs, and video that have made this journalism so compelling.
“Tarnished” takes you behind the scenes to show how that glittering piece of jewelry came to be, in settings far removed from Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive or your local mall. You’ll witness Peruvian miners using their bare feet to mix toxic mercury into barrels of gold-bearing sediment. You’ll see the gnarled hands and callused feet of boy miners, old before their time in Burkina Faso. You’ll experience what it’s like, in the forests of Panama or along the coast in Turkey, to choose between desperately needed jobs and the protection of land and traditional cultures that could be lost forever.
Some of these stories are harrowing and sad but there is also much that inspires—from two feisty women mayors in small-town Bulgaria taking on multinational mining companies to the spread of fair-trade mining in southern Peru and growing support for the efforts of groups like the International Labour Organization to develop standards and get them enforced. We hope the readers of “Tarnished” will come away with the realization that when it comes to gold everyone of us is involved, as consumers and citizens. Whether this unique resource is produced in a way that is fair to all is very much up to us.
The reporting behind “Tarnished” was made possible by support from the Wallace Global Fund, the Kendeda Fund, Humanity United, and individual donors. The e-book was edited by Kem Knapp Sawyer and designed by Meghan Dhaliwal. The Pulitzer Center’s series of e-books are intended to take our journalism to new audiences, in the educational community and beyond. We also hope to generate new sources of income for the journalists who do the work that makes possible projects like “Tarnished.”
The book will be released February 14 on iTunes. Download for free until March 1. The price after March 1 will be $9.99. All proceeds go directly to the eleven journalists: Ben Depp, Nadja Drost, Mellissa Fung, Dimiter Kenarov, Jacob Kushner, Narayan Mahon, Larry C. Price, Jane Regan, Damon Tabor, Steve Sapienza and Nadia Shira Cohen.
Dominic Bracco and Jeremy Relph make their living by telling tough stories.
The journalists have reported together from two of the most violent cities on earth: San Pedro Sula, Honduras and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Dominic’s photography spans several continents and brings to life everything from the plight of traditional fishermen in the overfished Sea of Cortez to the effects of gun violence in Washington, D.C. Jeremy has written dispatches from field hospitals in Misurata, Libya and expat watering holes in Kabul, Afghanistan.
So when we scheduled a full week of D.C. education outreach with both Dominic and Jeremy around their Pulitzer Center project “Aqui Vivimos,” which examines the culture and politics behind Honduras’s astonishing rates of violence, we made sure to consider carefully how they would present that work to young people.
But Dominic and Jeremy guided the conversations by doing what they already do so well as journalists: dissecting complex scenarios to find their root causes.
“You guys probably know that there are some bad guys doing bad things,” Dominic said in his opening to fourth-graders at Powell Bilingual Elementary School. “Do you know why people might do bad things?” Hands shot up. For money, students responded, maybe for food if they needed it, or for revenge. “When you get bullied, you might turn into a bully too,” observed a student in the following session.
Dominic, based in Mexico City, spoke with students in Spanish and English throughout the week. Both he and Jeremy – based in Toronto – explained in straightforward terms the complex forces that have swelled the numbers of Honduran immigrants to the United States since a military coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya in 2009.
The journalists spoke with nearly twenty classes in those five days. They also gave an evening talk at the Pulitzer Center with fellow New Yorker contributor and Pulitzer Center grantee Mattathias Schwartz.
Read more about our favorite moments of the week-long visit, written by Education Coordinator Amanda Ottaway. Images by Social Media Editor Rebecca Gibian.
In the February 2014 edition of Photo District News, Pulitzer Center grantee photojournalist Louie Palu tells how he came to document the drug war raging along the U.S.-Mexico border after covering other wars around the globe. He started with research and by asking questions: If journalists were covering the drug war at all, how were they covering it, what was missing from that coverage and why were conflicts in other regions covered more extensively?
His work “became something more than just understanding the violence. It was about understanding how the violence happened and what were the mitigating factors that let that violence happen,” Palu told PDN’s Dzana Tsomondo. He said that what was going on in Mexico is “much bigger than what people really understand,” for example with the government not in control of large portions of territory.
"With this work, what came to mind most was how the war was being documented, talked about and represented with pictures in the media," Palu said in the PDN interview. "It became a project about questioning what we see, what we don’t see and who are the gatekeepers that control this."
As a result of his research and reporting, Palu decided to produce a 15x12 inch “conceptual newspaper,” Mira Mexico. Palu will distribute Mira Mexico at school events, museums and galleries to increase in-depth exploration of the drug war. It also allowed Palu to decide what would be included and to avoid the kind of cropping and editing of his work that he had experienced as a conflict photographer in Afghanistan.
Read more of Palu’s PDN interview. To see Palu’s photos featured in Mira Mexico and more of his coverage of the Mexican drug war, check out his Pulitzer Center project, Drawing the Line: The U.S.-Mexico Border.
by Pulitzer Center intern Quinn Libson.
On November 19, join Marvin Kalb, along with dozens of other nationally-known authors, at theNational Press Club’s 36th annual book fair and author’s night, in partnership with Politics & Prose. Kalb will be available to discuss his newest book, "The Road to War: Presidential Commitments Honored and Betrayed," and to sign purchased copies.
The book fair benefits the non-profit National Press Club Journalism Institute, which trains journalists to work in a changing media environment, and supports the next generation of journalists through a competitive scholarship program. This year, the book fair is also partnering with The SEED Foundationto help develop the school library at the SEED School of Maryland. The SEED Foundation helps prepare underserved students in Washington, DC, and Maryland public boarding schools for college success.
This is a ticketed event; $5 for NPC members, $10 for the public. Click here to jump to the ticket form.
Tuesday, November 19
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045
Stay connected with #NPCBookFair.
Image by Rebecca Gibian. Washington, D.C., 2013.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photojournalist Mike De Sisti and writer John Schmid have been nominated for regional Emmy awards for their international work on “Paper Cuts,” a Pulitzer Center-supported multimedia reporting project on the impact of China’s rise in paper production on the Wisconsin paper industry.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Chicago/Midwest chapter, nominated Mike De Sisti as a producer of “Paper Cuts" in the category of Outstanding Achievement for News Specialty Report/Series. De Sisti also is nominated in the category of Outstanding Achievement for Informational/Instructional Programming, along with fellow producers, Lou Saldivar and Greg Borowski, and reporter John Schmid for their video "Paper Cuts: The Distorted Loop."
In other honors, “Paper Cuts” has won the 2013 Journalism Excellence Award from the Associated Press Media Editors (APME) and received first place for integrated storytelling from the Society for Features Journalism in its SFJ Excellence-in-Features awards. It also won first place for explanatory reporting from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for its Best in Business award, and was a two-time finalist for the Loeb Award in the categories of explanatory and online journalism.
- Paris Achenbach
“A lot of us hoped that once we had the Internet we might have more information about the world, but now we may be fooling ourselves to think we have an accurate picture of Africa when in fact it is no more accurate than it was before the Internet age.” — Ethan Zuckerman to Pulitzer Center grantee Amy Maxmen in this piece. What are your thoughts?
Images by Pulitzer Center grantee Amy Maxmen. Mali, 2013. Read more here.