Pulitzer Center Update

Dear Student Fellows: Freedom of the Press—a Right and a Tool

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Three monks. Image by Kiley Price. Thailand, 2018.

Three monks. Image by Kiley Price. Thailand, 2018.

Dear Pulitzer Center Student Fellows,

“A free press needs you” is the lead editorial of today’s New York Times. Spurred on by The Boston Globe, the paper is joining hundreds of others to underscore the importance of a free press.

A cause no less celebrated by Eleanor Roosevelt, author of “My Day,” a 6-day-a-week syndicated column from 1935 to 1962. As a delegate to the United Nations, she addressed the struggle for human rights on September 28, 1948, at the Sorbonne in Paris. “Freedom for our peoples is not only a right, but also a tool. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of information, freedom of assembly—these are not just abstract ideals to us; they are tools with which we create a way of life, a way of life in which we can enjoy freedom,” she said.

The stories you tell are the tools that will help our democracy thrive. And yes, we need you to tell these stories—to look far and wide, to examine carefully, to dare to question.

Most recently you have championed the rights of migrant families in Costa Rica, sex trafficking survivors in Nepal, volunteer brigades in Puerto Rico, and the Windrush generation from Jamaica who had emigrated to the U.K. You have reported from Mexico on the displacement of campesinos and on sustainable farming practices. You have investigated the 2018 elections in Slovenia, the end of the one-child policy in China, and the deradicalization of the incarcerated in Britain.

You have explored environmental issues for Mongabay: the effects of climate change on gorillas and people in Rwanda and the role of Buddhist monks in Thailand. And you have reported for Goats and Soda on mental health care in Guyana and for AP News on the Israeli government cutting salaries of Sudanese and Eritrean migrants by 20 percent while threatening to deport them.

There is more to come—we look forward to articles and video from those of you still in the field. We’re proud of the work you do and the role you play.

You are telling stories that might otherwise go untold. And many of you are giving voice to the most vulnerable. Keep doing what you do. With integrity. And passion.

Kem