Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Pulitzer Prize for Giving Voice to the Voiceless

 I sent a note of congratulations last week to Eli Saslow of the Washington Post after he won a Pulitzer Prize for “Explanatory Reporting” for a series he wrote about people and communities struggling with hunger and utilizing food stamps.  

His response to my email was characterized by both humility and genuine appreciation for what we have worked so hard to achieve through our No Kid Hungry campaign:  If, in some small way, the stories have helped advance your great, important work, then that is worth far more than any prize. I'm grateful to get to write about the problems you all are working to solve.”

If you don’t have time to read the series you can get a good sense for its power from The Washington Post’s one page letter to the Pulitzer committee nominating Saslow.  See @

In talking to his Post colleagues about the people he wrote about and who “I owe the most to” he explained: “They’re the ones who take the huge risk. It’s a huge act of courage to have somebody call, who you don’t know, from out of town, and say that they want to come be with you constantly in sort of, you know, every corner of your life in this moment where things are usually not going well and there’s a lot at stake. That’s an incredible thing to ask of people, and yet they say yes, and I wonder a lot about that because I’m not sure I’d be the person who said yes. And I think it’s because people are so — they really crave to be understood and they want to know that what they’re dealing with matters. And I think our journalism should validate that and it should take good care of the trust they’re giving us to come into their lives.”

Saslow is 31 years old and hopefully represents a new generation of reporters committed to bearing witness and giving voice to the voiceless. 

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