We held our first-ever student fellows conference last week, bringing together 17 of the 21 students from our Campus Consortium university partners, all of them recipients of Pulitzer Center international reporting grants.
The heart of the two-day event were the student presentations on a remarkable range of work from every corner of the globe—from environmental justice and land rights in India, Kiribati, and Patagonia to women’s issues and health care in Uganda, Kenya and Ghana to the Roma in Paris and the resilience of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
During one panel Smithsonian Chief Photo Editor Molly Roberts, author and Pulitzer Center grantee Mellissa Fung, and former student fellow Melissa Turley discussed how to pitch and shape a reporting project. In a second panel photojournalists Allison Shelley, Julia Rendleman, and Daniella Zalcman—all former or current Pulitzer Center grantees—talked about reporting on global health issues. Each stressed what is too often ignored—that “otherizing,” presenting individuals as if they were the alien “other,” is a disservice to subjects and audience both.
We also heard from Nautilus Senior Editor Amy Maxmen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographer Julia Rendleman and Professor William Freivogel from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The topics ranged wide, from Bhutanese refugees in Pittsburgh and the origins of humankind in Ethiopia to the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., but there were important common themes: Look for the human element when telling a story; don’t be satisfied with the truth—look for the whole truth.
The Campus Consortium is a vital part of the Pulitzer Center’s work because it exposes students from a wide array of universities to our journalists and to the topics we cover—and exposes us to the diverse backgrounds and expertise of the students and their universities. This weekend brought us together face to face, to the benefit of all.