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Pulitzer Center Update December 20, 2018

Nicholas Kristof Cites Pulitzer Center in Year-End Column

Pulitzer Center

In a December 19, 2018 piece looking back at some of his less-successful columns of the year, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof highlights the difficulty global news stories face in gaining an audience, along with the important role the Pulitzer Center plays in making those stories possible:

"A common thread, as you can see, is that international columns don't get much of an audience, particularly if they aren't about issues in the news and don't relate to President Trump. (Note that I have metrics only for online readership; we don't really know whether a column is read in print, or simply ends up at the bottom of the bird cage.)

"Human rights and humanitarian topics often do particularly poorly by digital metrics, and this affects the decisions news organizations make about what to cover. Central African Republic is a humanitarian catastrophe, but one reason it doesn't get much coverage is that it's expensive and dangerous to cover — and then readers or viewers turn the page or switch the channel.

"Fortunately, The Times is still committed to such stories, as are some other journalists and news organization. Bravo, for example, to the two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who did extraordinary reporting on the killings of Rohingya in Myanmar — and as a result have now been imprisoned for more than a year. But these are tough stories to get an audience for. There's a reason that CNN, MSNBC and Fox are not all over the Central African Republic crisis, Yemen starvation and global violence against women.

"Periodically when I give a talk, someone in the audience will come up afterward and say something like, 'More journalists should cover these stories!' Well, the challenge is that if they did, even more news organizations would be going broke.

"We in the news media haven't figured out a good business model to pay for coverage of global stories that are important but don't have a large natural audience. Philanthropy, through organizations like the Pulitzer Center, may be part of the answer."

You can read the full column on The New York Times website. To help the Pulitzer Center support more global stories in U.S. media outlets, please consider donating online. Give before December 31, 2018, and your gift will be automatically doubled through #NewsMatch.