Pulitzer Center Update April 24, 2009

A Gateway to the World


By Aaron Sudholt
Originally published in Suburban Journals

A Collinsville High School class on Monday got a look into the world that few students ever learn about.

Reporters from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and staff from Civitas Associates attended one of Barbara Lindauer's world history classes to show news stories they had reported on from around the world.

"I think that it opens the students up to a lot of questions," Lindauer said. "I think it opens them up to a whole new world view. It makes you want to get out and look at a lot of different stories."

Reporters Meredith May, Alaa Enders and Michael Kavanaugh joined Civitas staff Arthur H. Lieber and Janeen Heath to discuss some of the work they had done.

Kavanaugh discussed his time in the Democratic Republic of Congo reporting on rape in refugee camps and how it impacted women and their families. He showed a video he had done for PBS.

The goal of visiting CHS, he said, was to expand the students' horizons.

"You have to hope you can reach kids," Kavanaugh said. "You have to try to do it in a lot of ways. You can reach kids about women and children and how they are affected by violence."

Civitas coordinates the student outreach program in the St. Louis area for the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and does work bringing world news reporters to classrooms.

"In school you learn about history but you don't get to meet people who are involved in it," Lieber said. "These themes are pretty universal."

Each journalist showed a 10-minute-long video package.

May showed a story about women slaves living in Nepal she had done for the San Francisco Chronicle. She said that she wanted the students to learn as much as they could about the world around them.

"Just exposing them to the luxuries of their own life," she said. "They have free will and choice and they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up. Maybe we will excite them about journalism and just show them there are exciting things to do in journalism."

Students said the experience showed them what journalism is all about.

"I want to be a broadcast journalist and I want to bring that to the world," said senior Erin Cochran.