The Pulitzer-Nieman Collaboration

Off to a promising start, the collaboration between the Nieman Foundation and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting hosted two successful events in 2011. The first two Nieman Global Health Reporting Fellows who started their fieldwork with Pulitzer Center support are finishing up important reporting projects looking at challenges to polio eradication as well as the future of the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa through the lens of one country, Zambia.

Helen Branswell's reports on polio eradication efforts

Field Work Support

The Nieman Global Health Reporting Fellowship is unique in that it allows fellows to embark on a field-reporting trip at the end of their Harvard year. Since 2007, Nieman Global Health Fellows have provided comprehensive, insightful reporting on international health issues to their audiences and have produced a number of award-winning stories.

As the task of placing fellows’ exemplary international work in mainstream media has become increasingly difficult in times of budget cuts and hyper-local news reporting, the Nieman Foundation partnered with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in the fall of 2010. The Center is an ideal partner for the Nieman Foundation as it has developed successful, innovative ways to bring foreign news to U.S. audiences since its inception six years ago.

The first two Nieman Global Health Reporting Fellows benefiting from this new partnership are 2011 Nieman Fellows Helen Branswell, medical writer at The Canadian Press, and freelance journalist Antigone Barton.

Their projects on polio eradication and the fight against HIV/AIDS in poor, corruption-plagued Zambia are featured on the Pulitzer Center’s website, along with their blog posts and slide shows from the field. Two of Branswell’s dispatches were also featured on

Antigone Barton's reports on AIDS/HIV in Zambia

Fellows’ Workshop

In February, the Nieman Foundation hosted a workshop for the class of 2011 taking a closer look at entrepreneurial journalism in foreign reporting, using the Pulitzer Center as a case study. Speakers included Jon Sawyer, the center’s executive director who explained the model; Nathalie Applewhite, the center’s managing director, who explained multimedia and educational strategies; Antigone Barton, a 2011 Nieman Fellow who had received Pulitzer support to report on AIDS in the Caribbean in 2007; and David Rochkind, a photographer who used Pulitzer Center funding to photograph the TB epidemic but also to attract more interest and support for his project.

Campus Events and Dinners

Also in February 2011, the Nieman-Pulitzer collaboration hosted a gathering of Boston-area journalists, academics, researchers, international aid workers and advocates concerned with crisis intervention and humanitarian initiatives around the world. Under the theme “Celebrating Journalism, Education and Public Engagement with Global Issues,” this Lippmann House dinner convened over 70 key researchers, public watchdogs and decision makers such as Jennifer Leaning, director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard’s School of Public Health; Jon Simon, chair of the department of international health at Boston University's School of Public Health; Clayton Spencer, then vice president for policy at Harvard; and Linda Greenhouse, a New York Times reporter and Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence at Yale University.

In addition to announcing the new Pulitzer Center-Nieman Foundation partnership, the event brought an important international topic to life: Fred de Sam Lazaro, special correspondent for the NewsHour, 2011 Nieman Fellow and former NPR East Africa Correspondent Gwen Thompkins and Washington Post special correspondent Rebecca Hamilton discussed current events in Sudan, examining the historic election that separated the country into North and South Sudan after a long and gruesome civil war. All three journalists had spent significant time in Sudan; de Sam Lazaro and Hamilton with Pulitzer Center support, and both had just returned from covering the elections in the country.

An important component of the Pulitzer Center’s innovative approach to bringing foreign stories to local audiences is campus outreach: journalists visiting colleges around the country talk about their work and why the stories they cover are important.

Invited by Ohio University’s Institute for International Journalism, 2011 Nieman Global Health Fellow Antigone Barton recently visited with students and faculty there. She lectured in freshman and broadcast journalism classes, met with students who will travel to Zambia (where she did her field reporting) and gave a public lecture titled “Global Health Communication and Ethics: U.S. and Abroad.”

Stefanie Friedhoff
Nieman Special Projects Manager
2001 Nieman Fellow