Image by Rodrigo Abd. Afghanistan, 2023.

Quarter 3

2023 Highlights

Pulitzer Center

An issue of Science magazine devoted entirely to how rising temperatures, thawing permafrost, and other instances of climate change are shifting the range of mosquitoes, the migratory paths of birds, the release of long frozen pathogens—and what all that means for the health of humans and other species.

A Student Academy Award for Reporting Fellow Jean Chapiro for Hasta Encontrarlos (Till We Find Them), her haunting documentary about the “healing dolls” used by a collective of Mexican mothers searching for children who are among the tens of thousands of Mexicans who have disappeared over the past half century.

Impact Seed Funding grants for university educators in Indonesia, Brazil, and beyond, making use of Pulitzer Center journalism. New environmental curricular materials for schools in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Teacher Fellowships based on Pulitzer Center reporting across the United States.

These are among the many highlights from the third quarter of 2023, which also saw the launch of our new mission and vision and the announcement of $30 million in new long-term support.

Watch a video recording of the September 21, 2023, launch event in New York, featuring remarks by Espen Barth Eide, Norway's minister of climate and the environment, and a panel of journalists including Jake Silverstein and Azmat Khan of The New York Times, photographer Richard Mosse, and Ana Aranha of Repórter Brasil.

Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center CEO and president, told the audience that “the mission is this: The Pulitzer Center champions the power of stories to make complex issues relevant and inspire action.

“What that means to us is that stories—original, compelling journalism of the highest quality—are at the heart of what we do. Stories on complex issues, from human rights to global health to climate, that journalism done well is uniquely positioned to demystify and untangle. Stories made relevant, to the disparate audiences who engage with them around the world. And stories that inspire action, by helping readers and viewers see the value in getting engaged as active citizens themselves.”

In these highlights from the past three months we hope you’ll see that mission at work—and the potential to expand its reach and impact.


Sarah Swan, Communications Director

Image by Alessandro Cinque. Peru, 2023.

Breakthrough Journalism

The Pulitzer Center empowers a global community of journalists and media outlets to deepen engagement with critical underreported issues, bridging divides and spurring change.

211 projects 208 journalists in 97 countries
resulting in more than 750 stories

Image by Jennifer Adler. United States, 2023.

In August, the inaugural cohort of Ocean Reporting Network Fellows was announced, led by a dedicated ocean editor. Representing a diverse mix of regions, backgrounds, formats, and experience, these eight journalists will spend a year delving into key ocean topics, including fisheries, pollution, and aquaculture, with research, data, and other support from the Center. The Deep Dives ocean reporting grant expanded its scope with support for 12 projects in different regions, with its first stories on coral bleaching published in Vox.

Image by Matilde Campodónico. Uruguay, 2023.

The Pulitzer Center expanded, for the first time, into Uruguay by supporting an ambitious mapping investigation by Amenaza Roboto, a pioneering science and technology website that used remote sensing technology and data to reveal how fisheries, bus lines, schools, and hospitals will be lost to flooding or drought. The stories were published in English, Spanish, and Portuguese for broad distribution in South America and Europe.

Image by Rodrigo Abd. Afghanistan, 2023.

Two years after U.S. troops left Afghanistan, Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd returned with an idea: to use an old-style Afghan “box camera," known as a kamra-e-faoree or instant camera, to document how life has changed under Taliban rule. The resulting vintage-style photos sublimely capture the melancholy of a society frozen in time.

Image by Mallory Cash. United States, 2022.

The Post and Courier’s new Rising Waters Lab was funded by a private donor who was inspired by three Pulitzer Center Connected Coastlines projects we supported with The Post and Courier over the past three years. The newspaper now has two additional reporters to focus on covering climate impacts and infrastructure in South Carolina.

Image by Jon Cohen. 2023.

Science magazine’s special five-story print issue, Health on a Warming Planet, explores cutting-edge research on climate change around the globe and the need to prepare for the spread of infectious diseases and heat that threaten pregnancy, labor, and life in many cities.

Image courtesy of The Examination. 2023.

The Examination’s Smoking for the State series looks deeply into China’s state-run tobacco company, which sells half the world’s cigarettes and evades smoking-reduction agreements China has signed. The Initium, a Singapore-based Chinese-language outlet, also ran the story.

Image by Wagner Almeida. Brazil, 2023.

In a series of reports on organized crime, the Amazon Underworld project mapped the main armed groups dominating the border areas between Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. The results of these stories, supported by the Rainforest Investigations Network, were presented by fellow Bram Ebus at recent high-level forums promoted by the governments of Amazonian countries

Image by João Laet/Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.

During the first Pulitzer Center-supported film festival on the Amazon rainforest, Repórter Brasil debuted its documentary Reports of a War Correspondent in the Amazon, directed by Ana Aranha and Daniel Camargos, with the support of the Rainforest Journalism Fund. The work explores the risks of being a reporter in the region in the face of the murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous activist Bruno Pereira.

“The support of the Pulitzer Center helped breathe life into my project. I could never have reported as deeply or stayed safe without this support.”

Kamala Thiagarajan, grantee

Image by Daniel Vasta. United States, 2023.

Student Reporting Fellows

The public health impact of flooding in Nigeria; gentrification and urban alternatives in Amsterdam; radioactive water discharge in Fukushima; the religious divide in Cyprus—these are a few of the projects our Reporting Fellows are pursuing. At the same time, they are working to ensure their stories reach a wide audience. Among them:  

Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellowships empower college and university students and recent graduates ​to tell stories that impact the world around them. The Fellowships also help launch careers by creating networks and developing journalism skills that will serve Fellows well, no matter the field they pursue.

Image by Daniel Vasta. United States, 2023.

Julia Knoerr, from Davidson College, reported from Florida on food insecurity among migrant farmworkers and community efforts to provide health care, publishing stories in Civil Eats, el Nuevo Herald, and Harvard Public Health. Knoerr also took part in “Fighting Food Insecurity,” our first in-person “Talks @ Pulitzer” event at our new office location in Washington, D.C.

Image by Jean Chapiro. Mexico, 2022.

Columbia Journalism School Post-Grad Reporting Fellow Jean Chapiro’s Hasta Encontrarlos (Till We Find Them), a documentary that features a collective of women searching for their children who have disappeared in Mexico, was recently named a Student Academy Award winner from among 2,443 entries.

Image by Muhammad Wasay Mir. Pakistan, 2022.

Acid Attacks: A Story of Survival, a film by Laiba Mubashar and Muhammad Wasay Mir, both from Northwestern University in Qatar, will premiere in Doha in October. The filmmakers highlight the challenges faced by women who survived gender-based violence in Pakistan and show recent legislative and medical progress.

“I’ve learned so much from this process. I was very scared to take on this story and to be on the ground filming and reporting about this topic. I think that without the support I got from Pulitzer [Center], I wouldn’t have made this documentary. I learned to appreciate journalism and documentary filmmaking in a way that I had never done before.”

Jean Chapiro, Post-Grad Reporting Fellow

Image by Daniel Vasta. United States, 2023.

Audience-Centered Engagement

Our engagement programming in the United States, Congo Basin, Latin America, and Southeast Asia reaches audiences with reporting through public forums, secondary and higher education schools, exhibits, and performances. This work seeks to amplify Pulitzer Center-supported stories, build public awareness and understanding of complex issues, inspire journalism-informed action, create networks, and bridge divides.

43 events reaching more than 3,960 people

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Throughout summer and fall, the Pulitzer Center created a series of webinars and exhibits to engage the public on issues like natural resources, Indigenous communities, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling. We brought together reporters, sources, community members, and experts to inform and inspire audiences.

Image courtesy of Mikaela Schmitt. United States, 2023.

Through a webinar series on LGBTQ+ issues, we connected with new partners, including the Trans Journalists Association. We subsequently hosted a meet-and-greet to share grant opportunities for trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive journalists.

Image courtesy of FALA! Festival.

Our partnerships with South American festivals reached over 600 people in panel activities that also engaged five grantees and journalists from our projects. The successful collaborations took place at Festival Gabo and Festival Mosqueteros, both in Colombia, and Festival Fala, in Brazil.

Image courtesy of Afy Malungu. Cameroon, 2023.

The Center’s first in-person activity in Cameroon took place in the capital, Yaoundé, in September. Fifty-six young professionals participated in a meet-up and discussed “Illegality of the Timber Supply chain,” inspired by a Rainforest Investigations Network story. The activity was organized in partnership with the Journalists Network for Maputo Action’s Plan (JNMAP), a local media organization.

Image courtesy of Vijitra Duangdee. Cambodia, 2023.

In September, the #ShowMeYourTree 2.0 campaign kicked off in Cambodia and Myanmar, where we are working with 16 influencers and four environmental organizations to raise awareness of the issues impacting the Mekong rainforest.

“I really have to laud the Pulitzer Center for this [webinar]. It’s not just the journalist that’s getting to speak their piece, it’s also the people we report on that get to be a part of this as well—and that completely [...] removes this power dynamic that exists between reporters and the people they report on. Thank you so much for this.”

Panelist Vijayta Lalwani during the webinar “Respect Your Elders: Strengthening Intergenerational Queer Communities”

Image courtesy of Jessica Mims. United States, 2023.

University and K-12 education highlights

“This program opened the door of journalism to me. I’ve admitted in one of our sessions that prior to this program I held a rather unfavorable and narrow view of journalism. This program allowed me to see journalism as a tool for social justice and equity. This has been such a worthwhile experience for me as an educator.”

Karen Sojourner, 2022-2023 Teacher Fellow and high school English Language Arts teacher in Kansas City, Missouri

Image courtesy of Donnalie Jamnah. United States, 2023.

Unit plans by 14 Teacher Fellows engaged nearly 1,000 K-12 students from eight states and Washington, D.C., in over three dozen reporting projects over the 2022-2023 school year. Students created analytical essays, photo stories, public service announcements, original podcasts and documentary films, and more—reflecting local and personal connections to global issues and underreported stories in their communities.

Image by LaQuisha Hall. United States, 2019.

In three summer teacher professional development conferences hosted by partner organizations and universities, K-12 staff with teacher and student partners engaged more than 250 educators in six sessions on The 1619 Project themes.

Illustration by Aris Aloko. 2023.

Les Explorateurs, a series of comic books inspired by articles supported by the Pulitzer Center’s rainforest initiatives in the Congo Basin region, aims to support teachers by providing them with content tailored to their audiences. Almost 2,800 printed copies of Les Explorateurs have been distributed to 54 schools in the DRC. A total of 125 teachers received an electronic version of the comic book and shared it through WhatsApp to their networks.

Image by José Ibarra Rizo/TIME. United States, 2023.

Campus Consortium partners heard Pulitzer journalist grantees share their expertise on artificial intelligence, health, war, conditions of imprisoned juveniles, and more. Aryn Baker, TIME’s senior international climate and environment correspondent and Ocean Reporting Network Fellow, engaged with Washington University in St. Louis students, faculty, and community members for two days on the impact of heat on health.

Image courtesy of InfoAmazonia/Alex Rufino. Brazil, 2023.

The “Amazon in the Anthropocene” course was hosted in partnership with the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM) in Brazil, focusing on the increase of violence and crimes related to illegal trade in the Amazon. Five Pulitzer Center grantees shared their insights during a public discussion, exchanging views with academics and activists. In total, 280 people attended the discussion in-person while 1,000 connected online.

Image by Glòria Pallarès. Congo, 2022.

Our annual education grant program, Impact Seed Funding (ISF), received 134 applications from various universities across 14 countries, from which 11 projects were selected. ISF aims to inspire university educators to pursue innovative approaches to student engagement through Pulitzer Center-supported reporting.

“When I first received my copy of Les Explorateurs, I couldn't wait to share it with my students.”

Kamate Mahamba, a teacher at Virunga Quartier Primary School in Goma, DRC

Image by Andrew J. Whitaker. Senegal, 2023.

Thank you to our donors

Support for the Pulitzer Center this year came from Art for Justice Fund, Ar­nold Ventures, our Campus Consortium partner schools, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Facebook Journalism Project, Fore River Foundation, Hartfield Foundation, Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Humanity United, Golden Globe Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Julian Grace Foundation, Laudes Foundation, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, One Earth Fund, Open Society Foundations, PIMCO Foundation, Poklon Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Trellis Charitable Fund, Walton Family Foundation, and Wellspring Philanthropic Fund.

This broad mix of foundation funding, along with continued core support from members of the Pulitzer family, board members, and many other generous individuals, ensures the independent journal­ism and education that is essential to our mission in these times.

We are grateful to all who continue to sustain our work. We hope that others will join.