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Pulitzer Center Update August 4, 2020

Sean Gallagher, Pulitzer Staff Explain Importance of Outreach, Education on Underreported Stories

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Image by Sean Gallagher. Cambodia, 2020.
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In the heart of South East Asia, fires and chainsaws are clearing Cambodia’s last fragments of...

Ben Davis, an independent American conservationist, takes a break from battling a fire in the Phnom Tnout Wildlife Sanctuary, where he lives with his family in northern Cambodia. Fires in the area are lit by farmers, loggers, and local people looking to either capture wildlife or clear land for agriculture. In 2018, fires burnt in record numbers throughout the forests of north and central Cambodia. At their peak during the dry season between January and March, it is estimated up to 1,800 fires were burning…
Ben Davis, an independent American conservationist, takes a break from battling a fire in the Phnom Tnout Wildlife Sanctuary, where he lives with his family in northern Cambodia. Fires in the area are lit by farmers, loggers, and local people looking to either capture wildlife or clear land for agriculture. In 2018, fires burnt in record numbers throughout the forests of north and central Cambodia. At their peak during the dry season between January and March, it is estimated up to 1,800 fires were burning in the country, more than in any other country throughout Southeast Asia at that time. Image by Sean Gallagher. Cambodia, 2020.

Long-time Pulitzer Center grantee Sean Gallagher's work as a freelance photographer is resource intensive and time consuming as it takes him to remote corners of the globe. In an article for the World Press Photo's Witness magazine by M. Scott Brauer, Gallagher, along with the Pulitzer Center's Fareed Mostoufi and Hannah Berk, explains models that help sustain the work of independent journalists.

"It's difficult to say, 'I want to change X number of minds on this issue or make a certain group of people think differently about an issue,'" Gallagher tells Brauer. "I just think about making good work on issues that I'm interested in and then trying to get that work in publications that have a big audience."

Here Mostoufi and Berk explain how the Pulitzer Center supports journalists like Gallagher who seek not only funding but also the opportunity to reach wider audiences with their reporting.

"We have an education outreach program to make sure the stories are reaching the largest public possible" Mostoufi explains. "We're facilitating programs that are not only informing the public, but also supporting public engagement with the story."

"[In the classes] we are talking about not only the issue but also the reporting process," Berk tells Brauer. "[The students learn] what goes into responsibly and ethically reporting a story."

Gallagher has been based in China since 2006 and his reporting largely focuses environmental issues. His Pulitzer Center-supported projects have covered subjects including desertification in China, pollution crises in India, and the exotic pet trade. His latest project, "Cambodia Burning," follows record bush fires and accelerated deforestation in Cambodia.

To read the full story, visit Witness.

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