Pulitzer Center Update

This Week in Review: Salvation or Doom?

Young girl. Image from the World Bank Photo Collection. Papua New Guinea, 2012.

Exxon Mobil’s multi-billion dollar Liquefied Natural Gas project in Papua New Guinea could be the economic salvation of the island nation, doubling its GDP and bringing jobs, infrastructure and opportunity to an impoverished population. Or it could spell doom for the island’s traditional agrarian societies that are deeply rooted to the land. French journalist Celine Rouzet has looked at the project from the perspective of eager government bureaucrats, oil company executives and wary community leaders. Her report, in French, on France Inter, has been made possible by a grant to the Pulitzer Center from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that has enabled us to begin expanding our model to European media markets. A related story, in English, is on our website.

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“Being a lesbian in South Africa can be a death sentence,” writes Pulitzer Center Student Fellow Melissa Turley in a story that recently ran on GlobalPost. South Africa, one of the most progressive nations in the developing world, has legalized gay marriage, outlawed violence against women and has adopted a constitution that guarantees gender equality. But Melissa, now an intern at the State Department who is completing her degree at The George Washington University, reports that laws are superseded by deeply embedded cultural attitudes of chauvinism and intolerance. Lesbians, in particular, have been singled out for violent harassment. “Government officials have remained silent when asked to speak out against the attacks against lesbians. It’s politics, many activists explain. They do not want to upset their conservative, religious supporters,” Melissa writes.

The Pulitzer Center supports a number of student reporting projects through our Campus Consortium, and we are continuously and pleasantly amazed by the high caliber of reporting these young journalists produce, as evidenced by the ready acceptance of their stories by national media outlets.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor