René Sing-Brooks of LaGuardia Community College was among the 55 Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellows from 2020-21 who joined us for a virtual “mini conference” on Saturday. René is an unusual Fellow; he pursued a photography degree at the age of 55. His was only one of the remarkable stories that inspired us all.
Laura Zornosa is Colombian American, exploring trauma and memory in post-conflict Colombia. Chinese American Fellow Kayla Hui is reporting on the pandemic’s effect on the Chinese immigrant truck drivers in New York who work alongside her dad. Boston University Fellow Sofie Isenberg is investigating faith-based differences in the psychological impact of COVID-19. Washington University in St. Louis Fellow Kunsang Choden is reporting on the pandemic’s effect in her native Nepal.
René’s project is also close to home—in his case a focus on youth at the crossroads in his native Nicaragua, four decades after the Sandinista revolution. After sharing his own plans at the mini conference, René said he wanted to say something more, that as the oldest Fellow in the group he was overwhelmed by the quality and ambition of all the projects and the commitment of the Fellows to doing them well.
Amen! I was another older person on the Zoom room screen, equally blown away. I told the Fellows that the most important thing they would likely take away from their Reporting Fellow experience was the experience of getting to know each other, an incredibly diverse set of students from liberal arts universities, graduate programs, and community colleges that make up our Campus Consortium.
Also sitting in on the mini conference were two of our professional journalist mentors: Bill Freivogel, of the Gateway Journalism Review, and Dick Weiss, of the Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson race-equity project in St. Louis. As I scanned the pixels on the screen it hit me that Kem Knapp Sawyer, the director of our Campus Consortium Reporting Fellow program, and I had been working in journalism with Bill and Dick for going on 50 years.
How wonderful to think that 50 years from now, long after the four of us are gone, these intrepid Reporting Fellows will still be in touch, learning from each other, and telling the stories we need to hear. Good luck to you all!
Four Pulitzer Center-supported projects have been longlisted for the 2021 One World Media Awards. Mercury, chasing the quicksilver by grantee Bram Ebus for InfoAmazonia is a contender in the Environmental Impact category. Anna-Catherine Brigida, Acacia Coronado, Morena Perez Joaquin, and Emily Kinskey of the Texas Observer are listed in the Popular Features category for their project Between Borders. Also listed in the Popular Features category is Neha Wadekar’s Female Genital Cutting Is on the Rise During COVID in Kenya for VICE. Finally, Nadja Drost’s When Can We Really Rest? for California Sunday Magazine is longlisted in the Refugee Reporting category.
This message first appeared in the April 20, 2021 edition of the Pulitzer Center weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.