At the beginning of the semester I attended an event at Harvard, the Nieman Foundation’s Pulitzer Centennial. I was only there for the first section of presenters which was titled, Power in the Home. Each of the three sections focused on safety, protection, and power on different scales. As the title implies the first section focused on a local, home based protection.
For this they had multiple speakers including; Maria Henson who won a Pulitzer for her editorial writing about domestic abuse in Kentucky, Sara Ganim who won a Pulitzer for her local reporting on the Sandusky/Penn State story, Sacha Pfeiffer who won a Pulitzer for public service because of her coverage of the Roman Catholic Church’s sex-abuse cover ups.
These women all told incredible stories, and listening to them was inspiring, but my favorite part of the event was when Wesley Lowery spoke about his experience.
Lowery spoke about his experience growing up biracial in a diverse neighborhood. One specific moment that stood out was his retelling of how his father never felt the need to explain his blackness to him and his siblings, saying that they were smart and the world would show them eventually. He then used that to frame his thoughts and experience when he went into report on the protests in Ferguson for The Washington Post.
Lowery explained that at first he had trouble believing all the stories that the people he met were telling him, and when he realized these were true stories how it then lead him to working on the “Fatal Force” project – which won a pulitzer for National Reporting.