Elon University senior journalism majors Kassondra Cloos and Rachel Southmayd will be traveling to Cuba in January to report on sustainable farming just outside Havana. The two will be Elon University's first Pulitzer Center reporting fellows, and the finished package of their photos, video and storytelling will be featured on the Pulitzer Center's website.
In an article in the university's newspaper, E-Net, Professor Glenn Scott said he believes the project will be a successful starting point for future fellowship and partnership activities with the Pulitzer Center.
"We wanted to do something special to launch the program and draw attention to the great things that Elon does," said Scott. "It is a great chance for our students to see real world international reporting." In the fall 2012, Pulitzer Center grantees and staff undertook their first visit to Elon University with a program focused on children.
In the same E-Net article, both Cloos and Southmayd expressed their excitement about being able to travel and work in the field. Cloos has been outside the country once, and only for a single day in Mexico. "This will really be my first cultural immersion experience," she said. "I'm excited about meeting brand new people and getting a glimpse into a culture I really don't know about at all." For Southmayd, a study-abroad trip to Israel was inspiring: "I took a trip to West Bank and became very interested in disenfranchised people and looking at how we tend to judge a culture because it doesn't match ours," she said. "Looking at those cultures and people gives you a better perspective on your lifestyle and really expands your worldview, and that's what I'm looking forward to by going to Cuba."
The two fellows will be traveling with half a dozen graduate students in Elon's Interactive Media program. The students on the program will be in Cuba to produce a separate multimedia package on sustainable agriculture.
Elon University is part of the Pulitzer Center's Campus Consortium program—a network of universities and colleges that supports journalist visits to discuss their work and enables students to produce media about under-reported global systemic issues under the guidance of Pulitzer Center staff and grantees.