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Pulitzer Center Update January 28, 2022

Grantee Nadja Drost Awarded Prestigious Michael Kelly Award

Image by PBS NewsHour. Mexico, 2019.

Where South America squeezes into Central America lies the nexus of one of the most circuitous...

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Multiple Authors

Grantee Nadja Drost has been awarded the prestigious Michael Kelly Award from The Atlantic for her Pulitzer Center-supported reporting on migrants’ harrowing trek through the Darien Gap, a region on the Panama-Colombia border. Drost will be awarded a prize of $25,000, according to an article in The Atlantic.

Drost’s article “When Can We Really Rest?”, for California Sunday Magazine, was part of a larger Pulitzer Center-supported project documenting the perilous journey from South America to the United States for PBS NewsHour, with cinematographer and photographer Bruno Federico.

In recognizing Drost’s coverage of both the danger of the journey and the humanity of those who take it, judges called Drost a “meticulous and kind reporter.” Her “exhaustive detail and poignant storytelling reflect both a serious commitment to the truth and deep empathy toward her subjects,” The Atlantic article reports.

The Michael Kelly Award honors journalists whose “work exemplifies the fearless pursuit and expression of truth,” The Atlantic reports. Kelly was the first journalist to be killed while reporting on the war in Iraq, in 2003. He was editor of both The Atlantic and National Journal magazines.

This is one of many awards received by Drost and Federico for their Darien Gap coverage. They were also awarded a Peabody last year, as well as an Emmy. Drost received a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

Other grantees who were recognized as finalists for the Michael Kelly Award include Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing, and Christo Buschek of BuzzFeed News, for their work documenting the Chinese internment camps and ongoing human rights violations there. 

Each finalist will receive a $3,000 award, The Atlantic says.


teal halftone illustration of a family carrying luggage and walking


Migration and Refugees

Migration and Refugees