Pulitzer Center Update

This Week in Review: Raising African Voices

Researchers from the University of Washington recently published a paper suggesting that the most popular method of hormonal contraception in some parts of Africa—a hormone shot injected every three months—doubled the risk of women becoming HIV-positive. The alarming findings were a hot topic at last week’s International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal, writes journalist Alexis Okeowo, blogging on the New Yorker’s website. Questions still remain about the study, but, as Alexis notes, answers are needed soon.

The Pulitzer Center used the conference to launch an ambitious Pulitzer Center project in which Pulitzer grantee Jina Moore -- along with Managing Director Nathalie Applewhite and Visual Media Coordinator Jake Naughton -- will partner with four African journalists to produce a series of stories on reproductive health for distribution in African and international outlets. Our aim is to advance the reporting on this chronically underreported issue and to bring a fresh African perspective to an international audience.

In a parallel project, Emmy–award winner Steve Sapienza and Pulitzer Center Special Projects Coordinator Peter Sawyer are working with four West African journalists to report on water and sanitation issues. In her latest reporting, Tecee Boley, of Liberia, vividly describes the dire conditions that cause nearly one out of every five Liberians to die from water-borne disease.


Jina Moore, part of the reproductive-health reporting team, has just won the 2011 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize gold medal, for best reporting on the United Nations. The award honors her project on UN peacebuilding activities, a Pulitzer Center-sponsored initiative that took her to four countries across Africa. The work was made possible by a grant to the Pulitzer Center from the Stanley Foundation and it was featured in the Christian Science Monitor; the Center helped organize nearly a dozen events at which Jina has spoken about her project. The collaborative approach to covering underreported issues is at the heart of our model. The Neuffer prize is a tribute to Jina's great work.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor