...a bright light in this bleak landscape Grant recipients share their thoughts on the Pulitzer Center:
As an American freelance journalist working in Africa, I regularly feel the impact of the news industry's growing financial pressures. Over the past year, I've watched foreign correspondents leave southern Africa without replacements, and I've watched many important stories go unreported.
So for me, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is a professional godsend. Simply put, it has allowed me, and other reporters, to do our jobs. I only hope that its role in U.S. journalism continues to expand.
--Stephanie Hanes/ Environmental Consequences of Human Conflict
For months, as I pitched this important yet under-covered concept to editors around the country, I found strong interest, but no budget. The Pulitzer Center travel grant allowed me to work for 40 days in Venezuela where I was able to explore a diverse look at the country, traveling well outside of the capital to break bread with farmers, students, squatters, cops, politicians and drug-dealers alike.
With a travel grant from the Pulitzer Center, photographer Jeff Barbee and I traveled to Alaska during the summer of 2006. During our visit to the Juneau Icefield, we not only witnessed the effects of global warming, but also watched the next generation of climate scientists hone their research and expeditionary skills on the ice. The Pulitzer Center made it possible for us to research this story firsthand and bring its complexities to the American public.
The coverage we see on Africa too often skims the surface, telling the story of the latest skirmish that took place in a vast jungle. Demonstrating that a connection between the developed world and a war-torn country in the heart of Africa exists in the least likely of business ties takes time, knowledge and resources – the kind of support that the Pulitzer Center provided us.
-- Jeca Taudte / Congo
The center is unique in that its representatives create a relationship based on the positive exchange of ideas with the journalists it chooses to financially assist.
-- Guy Taylor/Venezuela
Being a freelance writer for magazines is a constant hustling act: even when you manage to get a commission for a reporting project abroad, expense budgets tend to be limited and so you're always scrambling to find money. The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is a bright light in this bleak landscape.
Despite its potential implications for Africa -- and the world -- the Congo conflict rarely makes it to the front page or the editorial section. The Pulitzer grant allowed me to travel across Congo and immerse myself in political and security developments – a first-hand experience that provided greater insight into the crisis...The grant allowed me to build a rich repertoire of stories that will keep the debate on Congo alive in US media.
--Mvemba Dizolele/ Congo
Now more than ever, the role of the independent journalist, filmmaker and reporter is key to understanding and interpreting the times in which we live. Without support from organizations like the Pulitzer Center that are committed to keeping the role of independent reporter alive and vital, we are narrowing ourselves to a dark and narrow future where fresh perspectives and broader visions are kept out of the media and public view.
-- Gabrielle Weiss/ The Triple Frontier
The Pulitzer Center fellowship was a wonderful opportunity to pursue an issue I had watched develop for nearly two years, yet never had the time to pursue as a Los Angeles Times staff reporter. Once my stories were written, the Center worked hard to promote them and give them the widest possible exposure. One of the most satisfying experiences of my journalistic career.
-- Tyler Marshall / Asia's Quiet Revolution
....and praise for Center Director Jon Sawyer
As much as I applaud his commitment to truth and his clarity when sharing it, and as much as I admire his personal and professional courage in its pursuit, perhaps the greatest compliment I could pay him would be to say that I always leave his talks catalyzed to learn more, to increase my awareness, to think larger, and to become ever more vigilant and responsible in my role as world citizen. He is an absolutely superb journalist/activist/global friend.
--Margaret Toman, United Nations Association member, Raleigh, NC