Pulitzer Center Update

This Week in Review: Dust Wars

Image by Sean Gallagher. China, 2011.

Dust storms that routinely smother Seoul, Korea, in a blanket of talc-like particles have their origins hundreds of miles away in the Gobi desert of China and Mongolia. Dan Grossman, reporting for PRI’s The World, says “the Gobi is the nursery for East Asia’s dust storms. It’s where cool winds stir up dust on an undulating, arid, brown plain. The region has always been dry, but in recent times it’s been getting drier. That means more dust, and a more difficult life for traditional Mongolian livestock herders…” Dan is a scientist and gifted storyteller with a knack for connecting the complex consequences of climate change to the everyday lives of ordinary people—from Korean office workers to Mongolian camel herders.

Pulitzer Center grantee Sean Gallagher also focuses on the impacts of environmental degradation in Asia, from deforestation to desertification. He talks about his photojournalism in an interview with the Asia Society. We think Sean’s project and Dan’s are exemplars of the kind of journalism that sets the Pulitzer Center apart—deep, engaging and with enduring value beyond the 24-hour news cycle.


To the surprise of no one, Vladimir Putin has been returned to the Russian presidency by a landslide. To the surprise of no one, there are serious questions about the fairness and legitimacy of the vote. Pulitzer Center grantee Josh Yaffa takes a look at where a growing opposition movement in Russia might head next. Writing in Foreign Affairs, Josh says the fleets of armored personnel carriers and battalions of riot police in Moscow on the night after the election made clear that change will not come easily.


The Pulitzer Center is pleased to announce the election of Betsy Dietel to its board of directors. We welcome her increased engagement with Pulitzer Center activities and look forward to her counsel.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor