The third and final day of Reporting Fellow presentations featured panels titled “Education and Youth” and “Art and Identity.” Reporting Fellows shared their experiences reporting on subjects ranging from Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation to a new media literacy curriculum in Illinois; from a mother and daughter running a family farm to Cameroonian textile artists.
Education and Youth
Victoria Sousa (University of Pennsylvania Latin America and the Caribbean) kicked off the session with her reporting following young students in Argentina to study how the Argentinian school system and youth were impacted by absenteeism and a lack of teaching staff during the pandemic.
Laila Shadid (University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center) traveled to a suburb of east Jerusalem and spent time in a refugee camp in the West Bank as part of her project Palestinian Children Under Occupation. Shadid spoke to several children in the area to better understand how they perceive Israeli occupation. “This is a human rights issue,” she said.
How do Palestinian children view the wall? @ShadidLaila of @PennGlobal speaks at the #PulitzerWeekend22 When asked what’s on the other side of the wall, a youth responded “Heaven”, reflecting the pains associated with the wall. pic.twitter.com/Ydv8bMZcLe
— Pranab Chatterjee (@scepticemia) October 16, 2022
Kate Mabus (University of Chicago) spent time in New Zealand delving into Māori systems for child welfare—which prioritize placing Indigenous children with Indigenous families—and how those systems contrast heavily with that of state child welfare systems. “There's a lot that can be learned from New Zealand, as my work explores, as a transformational model for many countries,” she said.
Safi El-Gamal (Davidson College) discussed her reporting in the capital of Morocco looking at the place the English language has in Moroccan culture and the implications it has for Moroccan Islamic culture. “Moroccans are very much seeing the introduction of English as really like an addition to a very multilingual Moroccan identity,” El-Gamal said. “That was just something that I thought was really interesting, something that kind of changed my angle looking at this project because it was just a different way of perceiving westernization in the Arab world.”
Emily Cooper (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) assessed the impact that the first legislation in Illinois requiring media literacy education has had on actual classrooms. Many teachers agree that to truly have an impact on the state’s youth, funding and accountability will be key.
Art and Identity
Gabriella Canal and Michael Fearon (Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism) discussed creating their documentary short film Seasons, a student Academy Award winner. Canal and Fearon shared how they navigated continued access and maintaining trust with the mother and daughter as the family attempted “to reconcile their estranged relationship through collaboration on the land.” The film explores their interpersonal relationship while highlighting the challenges people of color face in the agricultural space.
Lily Lloyd Burkhalter (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) is preparing to travel to Cameroon to research textile arts as a form of communication, cultural significance, and religious symbolism. “Essentially, what I’m asking is, where does the meaning-making occur?” Lloyd Burkhalter said. “In the process? Through the material? Through its use? In the patterns themselves, no matter how or where they appear? It is high time to forefront a Cameroonian perspective.”
Nailah Barnes (Spelman College) is exploring race, nationality, and gender at the 59th Venice Biennale. “Undergirding this project is the reality that platforms that highlight art and culture, such as the Venice Biennale, are fraught with geopolitical issues and elucidate the lack of racial and ethnic inclusion across the industry.” Barnes explained how she is refining her angle by looking at how “the structure of the Venice Biennale at base prevents proportionate representation of women artists from the Global South.”
The second team from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Michael Flores, Evan Solis, and Fida Yamani, previewed their film trailer and shared the experience of creating their documentary, Philippine Father. “This project is, in a way, kind of reconciling my relationship with my dad,” Flores said in the trailer. “We’re going to where my dad and his family are from, and I get to discover how that environment shaped my grandmother, which shaped my dad. We get to go back to the mountains and [explore] the hills in which intergenerational trauma started for my family.”
The session concluded with a Q&A where panelists discussed grappling with the differences and similarities of journalism and art, bringing objectivity and personal experience into their reporting.