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Pulitzer Center Update January 26, 2024

A Deeper Look at Our 5 Focus Areas

Authors:
a woman walks along a shoreline, India
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Forests account for 24 percent of India’s total geographical area, home to Indigenous people and...

Mental Health, Misinformation, and More: Our New Focus Areas and Topics

The Pulitzer Center has expanded since our start in 2006, and so, too, has the breadth of journalism we support. Rooted in our mission to spotlight impactful, underreported stories, we recently announced five intersectional focus areas: Climate and Environment, Global Health, Peace and Conflict, Human Rights, and Information and Artificial Intelligence.

Climate and Environment encompasses our initiatives on rainforest and ocean reporting, plus new topics like pollution and extractive industries. A recent example is the project Climate Change: The Cost on India's Forests and Livelihoods by journalist grantee Sushmita. She explores how Indigenous people, nomadic herders, and workers whose livelihoods depend on the forest are endangered by climate change, but local initiatives provide hope.

Global Health explores the many factors of public health in the contemporary world, with topics focusing on mental health, COVID-19, health inequities, and water and sanitation. For OpenMind, Sherry Baker writes about how deeply intertwined our health is with our environment. Her reporting follows research that draws the link between early exposure to air pollution and cognitive disabilities later in life, such as Alzheimer's.

Our Peace and Conflict coverage goes beyond headlines. In the background of war, a new Iron Curtain emerges among Russians. Reporting from the Volga River, the marker of where the East meets the West, grantee Marzio Mian writes of the impact of isolationist policies. Faced with decades of sanctions and Putin’s leadership, many are returning to a mindset that took hold during the former USSR: an appeal for communism and a push against the West.

Human Rights looks at what it means to protect people, their identities, and their communities. In an investigation into the terror and violence inflicted by sheriffs on rural Mississippi communities, the project "Goon Squad" looks at what happens when accountability is lost. Grantee Jerry Mitchell and his team piece together a pattern of abuse and the enduring trauma put upon people at the hands of the Rankin County Sheriff's Office. 

Information and Artificial Intelligence includes reporting on AI, mis- and disinformation, and technology’s effects on society. A project by grantee Grober Cutipa unveils how religious leaders and “charlatans” have spread conspiracy theories and uncertainty about the COVID-19 vaccine among Indigenous communities in southern Peru. It disproves this misinformation in Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua.

These five areas will help us organize our stories and guide future initiatives. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring them on our website.

Best,

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Impact

In December 2023, the Pulitzer Center announced the list of winners from our letter-writing competition in support of #NuestraAmazonía, or #OurAmazon.

Henry Gregorio Vázquez, a 16-year-old Indigenous student from San Martín de Amacayacu, Colombia, wrote his award-winning letter about the importance of opening our hearts to the voices of those who love and protect the Amazon, especially its living creatures. His work was inspired by the Pulitzer Center-supported project The Jaguar’s Shadow: Illegal Hunting and Trafficking in Suriname. Read his full letter here.

After his win, Vázquez, a member of an Indigenous Environmental Guard, agreed to use his prize to support an environmental activity within his community. He aims to plant fruit trees and other plants to provide more food sources to vital species. This action could help supply more prey to the endangered jaguar population, preventing extinction.


Photo of the Week

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Nelita Campos and her parrot. She’s encouraging the children in her village to learn at least a little Iskonawa. From the story “The Race To Extract an Indigenous Language From Its Last Lucid Speaker.” Image by Florence Goupil/The Washington Post. Peru, 2023.

“Nelita Campos, an Iskonawa Indigenous elder, is one of the last four people to speak Iskonawa in the Peruvian Amazon. When a language dies, a culture that made our planet a diverse and precious place also dies.”

—Florence Goupil


This message first appeared in the January 26, 2024, edition of the Pulitzer Center's weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.

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SECTIONS
illustration collage of hands holding bullhorns and one hand holding an ear, which is receiving lines drawn from the bullhorn.
English

OpenMind Magazine explores the cognitive science of truth decay.

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Multiple Authors
English

Project

Volga Blue

The Volga is the river that has always defined the history (and geography) of Russia.

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Multiple Authors
A scene in a small town with a cemetery in the foreground and a church and water tower in the background
English

Project

'Goon Squad'

A sheriff's office unit beat, tortured, sexually assaulted, planted evidence, and falsely charged...

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Multiple Authors
A woman recieves a vaccine shot, Peru
English

During the pandemic, myths and lies related to COVID-19 vaccines emerged, and they continue to...

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