Pulitzer Center Update March 16, 2021
COVID's Cruel Focus on Those Already Hurt
"On the Edge in a Place Called 'New Hope'"
The week that marked a full year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit home for most of us saw the enactment of a $1.9 trillion rescue package, passed with Democratic votes only but with broad public support. It promises substantial help for tens of millions of Americans. The needs are especially great among lower-income individuals, as underscored in an impressive data journalism project by grantees Nick Thieme, Emily Merwin DiRico, and J. Scott Trubey for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A statistical case in point: As of December, the number of Georgia jobs paying $60,000 or more a year was 5 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels; the number of jobs paying $27,000 or less was down nearly 15 percent.
Yet even as we address inequities here in the U.S., consider the starkly greater challenges in developing countries across the globe. A stunning interactive project for OjoPúblico, led by grantee Marco Garro, tells the story of senior citizens in Nueva Esperanza (“New Hope”), a shantytown in southeastern Lima where nearly half the residents lack access to health care and more than half receive no retirement pensions. The project combines photography, video, and text to paint indelible portraits of six individuals for whom the pandemic is just the latest blow in a lifetime of struggle. “Their lives reflect what happens when the whole of society—state, companies, citizens—does not take care of its elderly.”
The Pulitzer Center’s new website incorporates Google Translate, making stories like this accessible to readers in any language. I hope you’ll take a look—and that as we work to rebuild post-pandemic, we’ll be mindful that our community is planet-wide.
The Pulitzer Center-supported 1857 Project has been named a finalist in the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts. Inspired by the work of The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, The 1857 Project is a special issue of the Gateway Journalism Review that examines the history of slavery, segregation, and racism in St. Louis, Missouri, and Illinois. The project features pieces by grantee William Freivogel, Southern Illinois University student journalists, former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters, civil rights activists, and local high school students.
This message first appeared in the March 16, 2021 edition of the Pulitzer Center weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.