Every year, the Local Letters for Global Change contest calls on students to identify issues they feel passionate about, explore underreported stories that offer global and historical context for those issues, and act on their knowledge by advocating for solutions.
We are excited to announce the 20 young leaders who were selected as winners and finalists in the contest this year. Their work, published on the Pulitzer Center website, was selected from among some 500 entrants in six countries, 21 U.S. states, and the District of Columbia.
These letters are rooted in students' drive to address the problems facing their own communities. At the same time, they demonstrate the power of global solidarity. Through the journalism the students cite, the letters illuminate how systemic issues affect people across the world—and how good solutions in one place can serve as a model for others to build on.
Students drew from diverse reporting projects on issues ranging from affordable housing to water sustainability, from cultural memory to corporate accountability.
Winning entries were written in response to grantee Ana P. Santos’ reporting on the exploitation of Filipino truck drivers in Europe and sexual health education in Indonesia; Reporting Fellow Jordan Rusche’s story on Indigenous erasure in the South Dakota education system; Amy Maxmen and Neil Brandvold’s project on water scarcity in Jordan; and Rainforest Journalism Fund grantee Audrey Tan’s reporting on wildlife preservation in Vietnam.
The letters address elected representatives at the local, state, and national level. By making direct appeals to people in a position to enact their proposed solutions, students further a goal shared by journalism: holding power to account.
We are grateful to every participating student and teacher who engaged deeply with a global issue and inspired us with your passion and insight. You can stay up to date on the Pulitzer Center’s education work by signing up for our weekly education newsletter.
To kick off 2023, three Pulitzer Center grantees met virtually with students at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California. The journalists discussed their reporting on issues of gender, sexuality, and race. The school wrote on its Instagram page that the stories transported students "to life in Mexico, Uganda, and various regions of North America.” After the visit, they decided that one narrative from every visiting journalist was clear: Inclusive storytelling is powerful. Stories allow us to learn about ordinary people whose lives do not mirror our own, empowering us to cultivate empathy for one another.
This message first appeared in the January 13, 2023, edition of the Pulitzer Center's weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.
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