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Pulitzer Center Update September 22, 2009 Wins an Emmy!


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Poet and writer Kwame Dawes travels to Jamaica to explore the experience of people living with HIV...

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Pulitzer Center's multimedia website on the human face of HIV/AIDS in Jamaica has won an Emmy for new approaches to news and documentary programming, in the arts, lifestyle and culture category, announced Sept 21, at the 30th annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards at the Lincoln Center's Rose Theater in New York City., an interactive site based on Kwame Dawes's Pulitzer Center project, HOPE: Living and Loving with AIDS in Jamaica, has won other accolades including a People's Voice Webby Award, and was the inspiration for the music/spoken word performance Wisteria & HOPE which premiered at the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina on Aug. 6-7.

The website features the poetry of Ghanaian-Jamaican writer Kwame Dawes, the author of over a dozen collections of verse and numerous plays, essays and books. He is the distinguished poet in residence and Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of South Carolina. This overall project combines extended essays, two short documentaries, a one-hour radio documentary, a collection of poetry inspired by his reporting, the performance of the poems set to music and

The music on the site was composed by Kevin Simmonds. The site features the photography of Joshua Cogan, the design of bluecadet interactive, and videography by Nathalie Applewhite and Steve Sapienza. The project was managed by Nathalie Applewhite, associate director of the Pulitzer Center. Jon Sawyer, the Center's executive director, was executive producer of HOPE is the second in a series of news reporting projects sponsored by the Pulitzer Center with support from the M·A·C AIDS Fund. The first project, Heroes of HIV: HIV in the Caribbean, examined aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

A third project, also supported by the M·A·C AIDS Fund, examines homophobia and stigma in Jamaica and their impact on that country's HIV/AIDS rates of infection. This project is a collaboration with WNET's public-television program Worldfocus, which on September 22, 2009 begins airing the five-part Pulitzer Center series. The video producer is Micah Fink; the cameraperson is Gabrielle Weiss.

On Tuesday, September 22 the Pulitzer Center is also launching The Glass Closet, an interactive web portal produced by Nathalie Applewhite and designed by Dan McCarey that includes all of the video reporting for Worldfocus as well as related print material and a platform for sharing stories—video and print—on the impact of homophobia and stigma around the world.

Micah Fink's reporting from Jamaica also appears in The Atlantic (online), in Global Post, and in dispatches for the Pulitzer Center's Untold Stories.

Michael Kavanagh's Pulitzer Center project "War in Congo" for Worldfocus was also honored as a finalist for this year's Emmys, also in the News & Documentary category, for "best story in a regularly scheduled newscast." The video was part of Kavanagh's Pulitzer Center project The Roots of Ethnic Conflict in Eastern DRC.

Kavanagh has won several other awards for his Congo project, including an Edward R. Murrow Award for radio writing and an RFK Foundation Award for best reporting on television for international reporting on human rights.

In an interview with the University of South Carolina, Kwame Dawes had this to say:

"None of us sitting around a conference room at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting's office in [Washington] D.C. imagined that this was going to go so far," he said. "What we knew was that we were embarked on a challenging and importing undertaking, and we were sitting with talented and amazingly committed people. The people I met along the way, the stories they told me, the way they opened their lives to me and the way that this team worked together to create such a beautiful and moving piece all speaks to the value of good will and professionalism."

"Ultimately, poetry has given us a way to tell stories in strikingly new ways," he said. "The music of Kevin Simmonds, the photography of Josh Cogan, the genius design work of Bluecadet Interactive and the dogged and inspired producing of Jon Sawyer and Nathalie Applewhite at the Pulitzer Center along with the team of hardworking folks form this amazing team. This is exciting, very exciting. At the end of the day, the hope is that the inertia about HIV AIDS and its impact on the world will be challenged by this and other such projects."

Read the full University of South Carolina interview here.

See video for an excerpt from the broadcast of the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, which aired October 12th on C-SPAN 2.


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