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Pulitzer Center Update October 29, 2018

2018 Student Fellow Washington Weekend Highlights

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Student fellows Rohan Naik, Tomas Woodall Posada, Kiley Price, Meg Vatterot, and Jacqueline Flynn speak during the "Climate Change and the Environment" panel. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.
Student fellows Rohan Naik, Tomas Woodall Posada, Kiley Price, Meg Vatterot, and Jacqueline Flynn speak during the 'Climate Change and the Environment' panel. Image by Jin Ding. United States, 2018.

The Pulitzer Center celebrated its 2018 student fellows weekend with a dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 26. The event highlighted the growth of the Campus Consortium program—bringing together 40 students from 35 universities, journalism schools, schools of public health, community colleges, and liberal arts colleges.

“You have shown us why we should care—what affects one person affects us all,” said Kem Sawyer, contributing editor at the Pulitzer Center, in her opening remarks, “whether it be climate change, women’s empowerment, girls’ education, better health care, or the de-radicalization of prisoners.” Though student fellows reported on multiple issues, their work shared an emphasis on storytelling, particularly, on giving voice to stories that have long gone untold.

Not only did student fellows travel to a wide range of countries—28 in all— but they also represented tremendous diversity in personal backgrounds and experiences. In coming together, fellows learned from one another, shared their perspectives, and demonstrated their unique journalistic skills.

Sawyer reminded students of the importance of such diversity. “Continue to seek multiple points of view.“Do not shy away from paradox and complexity,” she encouraged, “Be at home in a world that embraces diversity.”

In her talk, 2012 student fellow Meghan Dhaliwal told this class of fellows “embrace whatever path you take.” Dhaliwal, also a former Pulitzer Center staff member, is now based in Mexico City and works as a freelance photographer and multimedia producer. She has reported from Mexico, Afghanistan, India, and Bolivia. Most recently, her photos of sea cucumbers and of migrants on the Tijuana border have appeared in The New York Times.

Dhaliwal encouraged students to lean on one another. “You are not alone. You are not alone in your passion, self-doubt, and struggle.” You are “a strand in a web of people” who share their love of stories, she said.

Pulitzer Center grantee Erik Vance spoke to fellows about identifying their own personal strengths.“What else can you bring to the journalism you do?” he asked. Vance is an author and award-winning science journalist who has written for The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Harper’s, and National Geographic.

“Go out, experience, synthesize, and share—we all have stories to tell,” said Vance. “Now’s the time.”

In closing, University and Community Outreach Director Ann Peters thanked the speakers, Campus Consortium faculty, and the Pulitzer Center board—many of whom attended the dinner—for their support of the student fellow program.

Throughout the weekend, student fellows met Pulitzer Center staff and presented their international reporting projects. Their stories covered some of today’s most underreported topics, from the treatment of autism in Brazil to activist monks in Thailand working to protect the environment.

The fellows also had the opportunity to meet 13 professional journalists and editors. These panelists, including Pulitzer Center grantees and editors from, NPR News and NPR’s Goats and Soda, TIME for Kids, Global Health Now, Foreign Policy, Voice of America, and American University’s School of Communication, spoke on “Covering Sensitive Issues and Coping with Trauma” and “How to Pitch.”  The Pulitzer Center is grateful to the William and Mary Washington Center and Bloomberg News for hosting the student fellows in their offices.

“What an incredible weekend surrounded by down-to-earth, passionate, humble journalist peers and mentors at the Pulitzer Center! It only reaffirmed my desire to tell nuanced stories,” said Davidson College student fellow A.J. Naddaff.

Click the links below to view blogs and videos from Washington Weekend:

Click the links below to view the videos from the student fellow presentations, Cosmos Club speakers, and journalist panels:

2018 student fellows and Pulitzer Center staff at Bloomberg News. Image by Todd Moday. United States, 2018.
2018 student fellows and Pulitzer Center staff at Bloomberg News. Image by Todd Moday. United States, 2018.

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