Pulitzer Center Update

Sarah Topol's Reporting on Boko Haram Praised in Poynter Newsletter

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Kolomi was 12 when he and his friends were herded by Boko Haram into trucks and forced to become soldiers. Image by Glenna Gordon. Nigeria, 2017.

Kolomi was 12 when he and his friends were herded by Boko Haram into trucks and forced to become soldiers. Image by Glenna Gordon. Nigeria, 2017.

This morning, James Warren, in his daily column for Poynter, praised grantees Sarah Topol and Glenna Gordon for their recent New York Times Magazine story about four young Nigerians and their horrific experience as child soldiers for Boko Haram. Warren's newsletter, titled “New York Times and nonprofit team up for chilling exposé,” said the story was “the result of increasing ingenuity in covering news overseas.”

Amidts his summary of the story, Warren praises Topol for uncovering previously unreported aspects of Boko Haram's rituals, such as details about infant sacrifices and soldiers bathing their hands in blood.

Additionally, Warren notes that although the kidnapping of young girls by Boko Haram has been widely reported, he says “our rage is selective.” Many more boys have been kidnapped and forced into violence—as many as 10,000, Topol reports. “And somehow nobody knew about this for a very long time,” Warren says.

Warren credits the Pulitzer Center for funding such an overlooked story, especially during “a time of shrinking domestic news budgets.” He refers to the Pulitzer Center as an, “admirable, decade-old force supporting some of the most adventurous international journalism by a disparate array of media outlets.”

Earlier this year, Warren profiled the Pulitzer Center, calling it the “tiny nonprofit behind the world's most ambitious journalism.” He added that “even amid the hand wringing over journalism's current imploding business models, one should laud Pulitzer for shedding light on a lot of places, including some that are very dark.”