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Pulitzer Center Update January 2, 2024

Pulitzer Center-Supported Projects That Made 2023 Year-End Roundups

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Across Indian Country, there is a silent health epidemic killing Native women: pregnancy and...

As 2023 came to a close, Pulitzer Center-supported reporting was featured in several organizations’ lists covering the year's best stories. These investigations and deep dives were selected for their impact and grit, from tracking illegal logging in Cameroon to documenting the Indigenous doulas providing culturally competent care. 

Here are the stories that were featured: 

Three projects investigated health care systems in the United States and around the world, shedding light on communities that are left behind. 

The Rise of Indigenous Doulas” made Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Global Health NOW list of the “Best Global Health Reporting of 2023.” Grantee Jenna Kunze and guest contributor Jessica Lázaro Moss document how these doulas fill in the gaps of an American health care system that is discriminatory at best and “deadly at worst for pregnant Indigenous women, and it’s getting worse—not better.” The editors of Global Health NOW said the “moving" series showed how Indigenous doulas are playing an important role to protect these mothers. 

Another story highlights a different gap in health care in America: Grantee Patricia Kime found that thousands of veterans are left out of health benefits under the PACT Act, many of whom formerly stationed at contaminated military bases. The article, which launched an investigative series for Military.com, was featured on the site’s “Top 10 Military.com News Stories of 2023.” 

The four-part series Merchants of Care investigated poor working conditions for migrant nurses in the United States and other wealthy countries. Meanwhile, lower-income countries are experiencing a “medical brain drain.” Listed on Type Investigations’ “7 Must-Read Investigations From 2023,” Merchants of Care “revealed how an international bidding war is reshaping the healthcare landscape around the world.” 

Focusing on the intersection of health and governance in China, parts of grantee Jason McLure’s Smoking for the State project were featured in the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN)’s list of 2023’s “Best Investigative Stories About China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.” McLure outlines how China’s state-owned cigarette monopoly has kept smoking rates high, to the detriment of public health. 

Three Pulitzer Center-supported stories made GIJN’s 2023 “Best Investigative Stories from Southeast Asia” list, including Rainforest Investigations Fellow Erwan Hermawan’s investigation into illegal nickel laundering in Indonesia. Also featured was RIN Fellow Gerald Flynn and Rainforest Journalism Fund grantee Andy Ball’s project that traced illegally logged wood to garment factories in Cambodia, published in Mongabay. Lastly, an expansive investigation for Rappler by grantees Ana P. Santos and Michelle Abad and guest contributor Pauline Macaraeg revealed the exploitation of domestic workers by diplomats across the world. 

The Pulitzer Center’s reporting spans continents—and languages. Introducing the GIJN list of 2023’s “Best Investigative Stories in Portuguese,” editor Ana Beatriz Assam wrote, “Being a journalist has never been easy, but journalism in the age of disinformation has been especially challenging for professionals from Portuguese-speaking countries.” The list features Center-supported investigations into sexual abuse in Portuguese hospitals, illegal deforestation for collagen, and how illegally mined Brazilian gold ended up in New York. 

Pulitzer Center Africa Editor Madeleine Ngeunga and RIN Fellow Josiane Kouagheu’s investigation into illegal logging in Cameroon was featured on GIJN’s list of 2023’s “Best Investigative Stories in French.” The editors highlighted the centrality of corruption in French-language investigations this year, noting that Ngeunga and Kouagheu’s “findings also prompted a rare public reaction from Cameroon’s government, which called for more rigorous control of the sector.”

Finally, Amazon Underworld is a trilingual investigation that spanned six countries and took 15 months to report. Featured on the LatAm Journalism Review’s list of “10 Innovative Journalism Projects That Made an Impact in Latin America in 2023,” the project exhaustively revealed the dynamics of organized crime in the Amazon, from armed guerilla groups to drug trafficking, illegal mining, and threats to Indigenous communities. Amazon Underworld’s data visualizations also received a nod on GIJN’s “Top 10 Data Journalism Projects from 2023” list.

These and many more stories defined the highlights of 2023 at the Pulitzer Center. For more, visit our year-end updates, including staff favorites and the 2023 Year in Photos compilation. 

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Text: Amazon Underworld, Crime and Corruption in the Shadows of the World's Largest Rainforest. Illustration: cash, gold nuggets, a knife, and an armed soldier over a black background.
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Journalists work to uncover crime dynamics in the Amazon.

illustration of a line of three trucks loaded with logs driving through a forested dirt road
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Journalist Josiane Kouagheu investigates the system and corruption behind the plundering of Cameroon...

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Journalists investigate the extent of the problem, realizing that there has been frequent situations...

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As global demand for some of the most popular agricultural commodities continues to grow, the...

aerial view of a small settlement set around a dirt airstrip in the middle of thick vegetation
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This project examines crime groups working in the Amazon rainforest.

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For years, foreign diplomats have been getting away with exploiting their domestic workers.

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Questionable development projects established by extractive patronage networks in Cambodia threaten...

two men lean against a wall for a smoke break
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More than half the world's cigarettes are produced by companies either wholly or partly owned by...

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The COVID-19 pandemic left a battered healthcare industry in its wake. Waves of illness lay bare its...

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A series of oil palm trees are planted into the ground.
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The Indonesian government claims that the rate of deforestation in Indonesia has fallen by 75...

A VA hospital
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Military.com looks at several major issues tied to veterans' health care.

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