Four Pulitzer Center-supported projects were recognized at the Overseas Press Club (OPC) Awards. The projects reported on a broad range of pressing global issues, including the process of seeking asylum on the United States’ southern border and the system of internment camps in Xinjiang, China.
Grantee Cheryl Diaz Meyer won the Feature Photography Award for her project, Lolas: Survivors of Enslavement, published by NPR. Diaz Meyer’s photo essays tell the story of the few surviving Filipina comfort women still alive out of the estimated 1,000 girls and women forced into sexual servitude by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War.
“The jury was immediately moved by Cheryl Diaz Meyer’s powerful and emotional work documenting the survivors of World War II sexual enslavement.” the OPC jury said. “This body of work is the perfect example of an impactful story amplified through the caring and intentional eye of the photographer.”
The Pulitzer Center-supported project The Moving Border, from NPR’s Latino USA and led by veteran journalist Maria Hinojosa, won the Lowell Thomas Award for the best radio, audio, or podcast coverage of international affairs. The project reports on the increasingly dire and confusing situation facing refugees seeking asylum in the United States via its southern border.
“Maria Hinojosa and team first reveal that a ‘paper wall’ has been a stronger barrier than a physical wall at the U.S. border,” the jury commented. “Then, the team went further, uncovering how Mexico has become a wall itself.’"
Built To Last, a project that maps the expansive system of reeducation camps that has been used to detain Muslim minorities in western China, won the Kim Wall Award for its use of creative and dynamic digital storytelling techniques. Journalist Megha Rajagopalan and architect Alison Killing reported for BuzzFeed News using a combination of first-hand accounts, satellite image data, and 3D reconstructions.
“The result was a powerful project that showed conclusively that China is operating a massive and industrialized internment system,” the jury said.
Grantees Abrahm Lustgarten and Meridith Kohut won the Whitman Bassow Award, honoring the best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues, for their project, Refugees From the Earth. Published in The New York Times Magazine, the project reports from the U.S., Central America, and Russia to trace the potential impact of an overheating planet on human migration.
“The writing is spellbinding, the scope ambitious and the result scary,” the jury said. “Kohut’s photography brings into sharp focus the people and the ways in which a changing climate is driving their movements.”
The annual awards, presented by the Overseas Press Club of America, honor international reporting that was published or broadcast in the U.S. or is accessible to an American audience. A full list of this year’s winners can be found here.