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Pulitzer Center Update June 22, 2012

This Week in Review: The New Conquistadors

Media file: Mining-site.jpg
Image courtesy of CBC. Panama, 2012.

Canadians are nice. Abroad, they are widely appreciated as kinder, gentler versions of their American neighbors. Until recently, this was especially true in Latin America. But things are changing mainly as a result of the aggressive behavior of Canadian mining companies. Mining is one of the country's largest and most successful industries. Over the last decade, Canadian companies have developed more than 1,000 projects in Latin America, frequently clashing with local populations over environmental and quality of life issues.

In their documentary "The New Conquistadors," Pulitzer Center grantees and veteran Canadian journalists Mellissa Fung and Lynn Burgess take an in-depth look at the conflict between the Canadian companies and local communities in Panama. The National, the CBC's flagship news program, featured a 25-minute version of their work. CBC Network News ran a longer version. A research team at Montreal's McGill University provided data and content for an interactive website that supplements the CBC-Pulitzer Center project.

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Two stories that appeared on The Atlantic's website this week highlight the range of our grantees as they seek out under-reported stories that need to be told. Video journalists Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann report from Pakistan on how the cultural preference for male babies and easy access to sonograms have resulted in a catastrophic decline in the number of female births. They speak with one doctor who simply lies to parents when the sonogram indicates a girl. "I tell everybody, 'You are having a boy,'" she says.

In the other story for The Atlantic, Jenna Krajeski looks at how language shapes identity in the Kurdish homeland that straddles Turkey and Iraq.