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Pulitzer Center Update October 27, 2021

2020-2021 Reporting Fellows Washington Weekend Highlights

The Washington Weekend Highlights video captures the excitement and energy of the event, the passion the 2020 and 2021 Fellows showed for their reporting projects, and a sense of community. Video produced by Daniel Vasta. United States, 2021.

"My biggest takeaway is the power of relationships and connections." "Journalism can be healing." "My takeaway is everyone's ability to be both vulnerable and flexible in letting stories evolve." "I really enjoyed everyone's candor and authenticity, as well as genuine concern for their sources." These were a few of the comments we heard this year at our (virtual) Washington Weekend.

On October 8-10, 71 of our Campus Consortium Reporting Fellows from 2020 and 2021 came together to present their work—over Zoom—on issues related to climate change; race, equity, and identity; public health; refugees and migration; gender equality; human rights; and the impact of COVID-19. Fellows discussed post-traumatic syndrome among veterans, melting sea ice, the use of safe injection sites to fight the opioid epidemic, aquaculture in Maine and in Oregon, food insecurity in Detroit, the risks LGBTQ+ migrants from Mexico face, and much more.

All the Fellows showed tremendous flexibility, energy, and persistence as they reported either in-person or remotely during the pandemic. The stories they covered in long-form articles and documentaries ranged from post-traumatic syndrome among veterans, to melting sea ice, the use of safe injection sites to fight the opioid epidemic, aquaculture in Maine and in Oregon, food insecurity in Detroit, and the risks LGBTQ+ migrants from Mexico face.

Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque, a Rohingya refugee now studying at City Colleges of Chicago, discussed the challenges other Rohingya refugees in the U.S. face, "I managed to get up every morning and cover these stories. If I didn't do that, these stories would never be heard."

We also paid tribute to Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia, the two journalists who were awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression. As Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Nobel Committee, said in her announcement in Oslo on October 8, the day our conference started: “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuses of power, lies, and war propaganda."

On Saturday morning, Reporting Fellows heard from several journalists and editors who shared personal experiences and advice. Tristan Ahtone, incoming editor-at-large at Grist, Kadia Goba, a 2018 Reporting Fellow alum, now a national politics reporter at Buzzfeed News, Marina Walker, Pulitzer Center executive editor; and two grantees, filmmaker Kalyanee Mam and journalist Krithika Varagur spoke at the "On Pitching" panel. They made clear the importance of building connections and providing a specific, fresh angle. And another solid piece of advice: "Never take a 'no' personally."

Our second panel, "Beyond the Story: Manage Your Time, Pay the Bills, and Avoid Burnout" featured five Pulitzer Center grantees: Filmmaker Micah Fink; Brittany Gibson, a POLITICO Fellow; Phillip Martin, senior investigative reporter at GBH News Center in Boston; Amy Maxmen, senior reporter at Nature; and Rebecca Plevin, project editor at The Fresno Bee. They talked about several of the challenges they faced, but also said they recognized that it was an amazing privilege to work on projects that have meaning. (They also mentioned that it's important to take breaks: Go on a vacation. Take up rock climbing. Turn off notifications.)

Below you will find links to the recordings of the two journalist panels and of the Reporting Fellow workshops. Please take a look.

As one Reporting Fellow said, "My biggest takeaway is the passion and care that people have for their stories."

Washington Weekend Recordings

Opening Remarks

Journalist Panel: On Pitching

Featuring: Tristan Ahtone (Incoming Editor-at-Large, Grist), Kadia Goba (National Politics Reporter, Buzzfeed News), Kalyanee Mam (Documentary Filmmaker), Krithika Varagur (Journalist; Author of The Call: Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project), Marina Walker Guevara (Executive Editor, Pulitzer Center)

Journalist Panel: Beyond the Story: Manage Your Time, Pay the Bills, and Avoid Burnout

Featuring: Micah Fink (Filmmaker, Common Good Productions), Brittany Gibson (Independent journalist and POLITICO Fellow), Phillip Martin (Senior Investigative Reporter, GBH Boston), Amy Maxmen (Senior Reporter, Nature) Rebecca Plevin (Project Editor, The Fresno Bee)

Climate Change and the Environment I

Featuring: Emery Eisner (Elon University, 2021), Emma Johnson (Yale School of the Environment, 2021), Agostino Petroni (Columbia University, 2021), Anya Slepyan (Swarthmore College, 2020), Grace Terry (Elon University, 2021)

Race, Equity, and Identity I

Featuring: Amelia Blakely (SIUC, 2020), Teresa Cebrián Aranda and Mariel Rodriguez-McGill (Columbia University, 2021), Jessica Marcy and Amelia Tyson (American University, 2021), Kayla Smith (Spelman College, 2021), Jaylin Ward (Howard University, 2021)

Climate Change and the Environment II

Featuring: Mallory Daily (Missouri School of Journalism, 2021), Christopher Dunn (University of Colorado Center for Environmental Journalism, 2021), Josee Molavi (American University, 2020), Brett Simpson (University of California Berkeley, 2021), Kalli Sringas (Hunter College, 2021), Irene Vázquez (Yale School of the Environment, 2021)

Race, Equity, and Identity II

Featuring: Precious Castillo (Forsyth Technical Community College, 2021), Rhya Evans (Georgetown University Berkley Center, 2020, Jamaija Rhoades (Hampton University, 2021), Francesca Bentley (Spelman College, 2020)

Public Health

Featuring: Emma Evans (Northwestern University Medill, 2021), Lucia Geng (University of Chicago, 2021), Maiya Mahoney (Flagler College, 2021), Daphne Mark (Boston University College of Communication, 2021), Esha Mehta (George Washington University Milken Institute, 2021)

Refugees and Migration

Featuring: Lawrence Andrea (University of Wisconsin, 2020), Emma Davis (University of Richmond, 2021), Pamela De La Cruz (University of Pennsylvania, 2021), Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque (City Colleges of Chicago, 2021), Julia Knoerr (Davidson College, 2020)

Gender Equality

Featuring: Kallie Cox (SIUC, 2021), Wren Murphy (South Dakota State University, 2021), Valerie Pires (LaGuardia Community College, 2021), Adriana Rozas Rivera (Syracuse University, 2021), Rachael Sorcher (Boston University School of Public Health, 2021), Ruby Zhou (Davidson College, 2021)

Global Human Rights I

Featuring: Zainab Ahmed (SAIC, 2021), Emily Hayes (American University, 2020), Taha Kaleem (Georgetown University Berkley Center, 2021), Hannah Lilley (Flagler College, 2021), Leanne Tippett Mosby (Missouri School of Journalism), Rita Venant (Wake Forest University, 2020)

Justice and Human Rights

Featuring: Gopika Ajay and Annick Laurent (Columbia University, 2021), Olivia Diaz (University of Richmond, 2020), Brett Forrest and Brian Ryu (Columbia University), Ramiro Hernandez (Swarthmore College, 2021), Apoorva Mittal (Northwestern University Medill, 2020), Meera Santhanam (University of Chicago, 2020)

All Things Health

Featuring: Anton Delgado (Elon University, 2020), Miriam Gladstone (McGill University Global Health Programs, 2020), Kayla Hui (Boston University School of Public Health, 2020), Dustin Jones (Columbia University, 2020), Holly Lam and Uma Paithankar (Washington University in St. Louis, 2021), Natalie Wodniak (George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, 2020)

Global Human Rights II

Featuring: Abdul Rahman Abid, Adan Ali, and Iffah Abid Kitchlew (Northwestern University in Qatar, 2021), Sara Avery (Hampton University, 2020), Rene Sing Brooks (LaGuardia Community College, 2020), Colleen Digney (Hunter College, 2020), Stephanie Mejias (SAIC, 2020), Laura Zornosa (Northwestern University Medill, 2020)

Impact of COVID-19

Featuring: Kyle Cristello (Westchester Community College, 2021), Énoa Gibson (Howard University, 2020), Khadija Islow (Northwestern University in Qatar, 2020), Jordan Neisler (Flagler College, 2020), Alec Regino (McGill University Global Health Programs, 2021)

Closing Remarks