Published March 16, 2012
This week we watched with interest as #Kony2012 became the “most viral” video ever, hitting 100 million views in just six days—way better than Charlie Bit My Finger Again (402 days) or Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance (18 days), according to one research organization. The seismic effects of the 30-minute video about Joseph Kony’s murderous gang were felt here at the Pulitzer Center where our website enjoyed its best ever one-day volume of traffic as a newly curious audience came to look at “The Lord’s Resistance Army: The Hunt for Africa’s Most Wanted.”
This groundbreaking reporting project, launched in 2010 by Pulitzer Center grantees Joe Bavier and Marcus Bleasdale in collaboration with Human Rights Watch, was one of the earliest to document Kony’s campaign of massacres, torture and abduction across Central Africa. Marcus has updated the project with a compelling video of his own in which some of Kony’s young victims tell their stories. Also, HRW’s Ida Sawyer talks about what should be done next.
For millions of people across a wide swath of West Africa, getting access to clean, safe water is a daily struggle. In a report for PBS NewsHour, Pulitzer Center grantees Steve Sapienza, Ameto Akpe and Samuel Agyemang find that in many cases the biggest problem is not a shortage of water resources or development dollars, but a shortage of government accountability.
The struggle between the Turkish government and Turkey’s large Kurdish minority seems to drag on endlessly. The government tries dialogue one day and brutal repression the next. The Kurds, meanwhile, waver between peaceful participation in the political process and outright guerrilla warfare. Pulitzer Center grantee Jenna Krajeski has reported extensively on the struggle. This week, writing for The New Yorker, Jenna looks at the hunger strike by a group of Kurdish mayors. The mayors' hope is that this peaceful form of protest will persuade the government to ease up on its harsh tactics—and at the same time demonstrate to a generation of angry young Kurds that there is an alternative to joining the guerrillas.
We're gearing up for a host of school visits next week in the Washington, DC, area in conjunction with Natural Resources/Unnatural Results, our evening of film screenings at the 2012 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital. We're bringing journalist Nadja Drost from Colombia to connect with students and the film festival audience. Please join us!
We're also getting ready for visits later this month to our newest Campus Consortium members: Wake Forest University, High Point University, Guilford College and the University of Chicago. We welcome their partnership with us.
Until next week,