Published February 5, 2013
We are pleased to announce the publication of our 2012 Annual Report. Below is the introductory letter from Executive Director Jon Sawyer and Board Chair Emily Rauh Pulitzer.
2012 was a year of expansion for the Pulitzer Center, with significant increases in reporting projects, staff, and educational outreach and also the launch of an initiative in e-book publications that in our view holds great potential for journalists and the public alike.
On so many issues our journalism broke new ground and made a difference. Joanne Silberner’s reporting for PRI’s The World and the BBC on the emergence of cancer as a major public health issue in the developing world drew an audience in the hundreds of thousands, as did our interactive map on cancer’s impact country by country. Steve Sapienza and Jason Motlagh’s reporting for PBS NewsHour and The Washington Post on the use of child labor in Thai shrimping forced a public response from the industry that supplies 40 percent of America’s shrimp. Kathleen McLaughlin’s reports for The Guardian on China’s role in the supply of fake drugs to Africa drew an official response from China’s foreign ministry. Our partnership with the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC) exposed the exploitative practices of Canadian mining companies, providing a unique Canadian perspective that we made available to American viewers of NewsHour, too. Going Nuclear, our Gateway portal of reporting on the continuing risks of nuclear proliferation, showcased the work of expert journalists on crucial topics: Eve Conant on Russia’s global marketing of nuclear technology, Yochi Dreazen on similar efforts by the U.S. in Gulf Arab states, and our own Tom Hundley on the nuclear brinksmanship between India and Pakistan. Our collaborative reporting project on water and sanitation issues in West Africa led to a three-part series on NewsHour and dozens of journalist presentations at schools and universities.
In total we commissioned 85 projects in 2012, a 50 percent increase from the year before. In all of our projects we continued our emphasis on the human story, a focus on underlying systemic issues with the intent of giving voice to the voiceless. The plight of women and children was an enduring theme, from Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy’s portraits of Afghan women poets for The New York Times Magazine and Jason Berry’s investigation of the Vatican’s attack on nuns for GlobalPost and National Catholic Reporter to Beenish Ahmed’s story-behind-the-story of the young Pakistani girl who symbolized that country’s struggle for gender equality—and was subsequently shot in the head by the Taliban. Environmental, economic and health issues loomed large, from Sean Gallagher’s photographic essays on climate change in the Tibetan plateau and the series by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on China’s displacement of Wisconsin’s papermaking industry to Sonia Shah’s reporting for Le Monde Diplomatique on how the overuse of antibiotics and poor sanitation in India have contributed to the emergence of an antibiotic-resistant superbug. And, as ever, we kept the media’s focus on important but under-covered stories—from Reese Erlich’s reporting for NPR on the Shiite uprising in Bahrain and Tim Rogers’ for GlobalPost on the reprise of Sandinista power in Nicaragua to the work of Persephone Miel Fellow Anna Nemtsova for Newsweek and The Daily Beast on the dramatic demographic shifts and population movements that are transforming Russia. We are grateful to all the donors who have facilitated this ambitious range of work, especially the Kendeda Fund for its sustained support.
Outreach remains a core element of our mission, especially at the college and secondary school levels, to the point that scarcely a week goes by without a Pulitzer Center journalist or staff member engaging the public on one of the many issues we address. Our list of Campus Consortium partners, universities that provide financial support to bring our journalists on campus, has grown to 19. We have active secondary-school programs in Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Washington, thanks to the generous support of donors like the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, and Wyncote Foundation. In 2012, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we expanded this programming to London, Paris and Berlin. In total we made 220 presentations in secondary-school classrooms and 40 visits to university campuses, with most of the latter multi-day engagements that included public lectures, class meetings, and one-on-one engagement with students. As part of the Campus Consortium we awarded 10 international reporting grants. Students covered topics ranging from gender discrimination in South Africa and deforestation in Cambodia to facial tattoos in rural Algeria. All of the student work was featured on our website; some of it also appeared in publications like Atlantic.com, GlobalPost and Huffington Post.
We have always viewed the Pulitzer Center as a model and catalyst, a place where journalists can experiment with innovative new platforms, reach out to new audiences, and find the new sources of income required for sustainable careers. In 2012 a prime example was the series of e-books we launched, on topics ranging from statelessness and Afghanistan to climate change and post-earthquake Haiti. We designed and produced some of these e-books ourselves and on others we collaborated, with organizations like Foreign Policy, TED books, and Atavist. All sales proceeds are given to the journalists. We have also reached out to journalism schools and university international studies programs across the country, inviting them to join us in finding ways to nurture this rapidly evolving segment of the publishing world.
We have increased and strengthened the Pulitzer Center staff in line with the greater responsibilities we have taken on, with important additions to our web design, social-media, education and editing functions. With the expansion of our office space we can now host student groups interested in the Pulitzer Center and provide journalists with an in-house venue to present their work.
If you’re in Washington we hope you’ll stop by to visit. Wherever you are we hope you’ll make use of the many resources on our site—and let others know what is available there. We welcome your support, your contributions, and your engagement with these issues that affect us all.
Jon Sawyer, Executive Director
Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Board Chair