The story in the headline refers to Marco Vernaschi’s Pulitzer Center-funded project on child sacrifice. The project has generated several reports, including graphic images of child victims, and much criticism of Vernaschi’s reporting methods and ethics in obtaining the images and the role of the Center. His photographing of the exhumed body of one of the victims in particular has sparked debate – read Ben Chesterton’s post here and Roy Greenslade’s piece here for the full background.
We regret any damage that may have been caused. We intend to continue this project, documenting the phenomenon of child sacrifice, but in so doing we will redouble our efforts to authenticate every claim and to insure the privacy rights of individual victims.
In the course of this project so far we have learned some painful, useful lessons about the ambiguous intersections of freelance journalism, blog posts and articles that are published or broadcast.
The Pulitzer Center has worked with dozens of journalists over the past four years, funding travel and providing initial editorial guidance but then partnering with established newsmedia outlets around the world. This has provided multiple layers of editorial review and control, with the goal of insuring compliance with the highest editorial standards.
The growth of the Pulitzer Center has resulted in our website becoming a significant outlet itself, especially our Untold Stories blog that features reports from the field by our journalist grantees. Given the increasing prominence of this platform we will be making our own standards more explicit, as a guide to our journalists and guarantee to readers.
The competition involves three rounds of video assignments. The first to be submitted before 28 February should “document a single day in the life of a compelling person the world should meet and showcase how that person is making a positive impact in his or her community”.
Ten entrants will be chosen to go through to the second round. Five winners will eventually be selected and each will receive a $10,000 travel fellowship with the Pulitzer Center.
Perez was awarded the $10,000 funding prize to travel and work with the Pulitzer Center to produce a report at a ceremony on Sunday night. His winning entry ‘Abilities’ featured residents of Camphill, California – a community where adults with developmental disabilities live, learn and work together – documenting their day-to-day lives on video.
Until January 9, viewers can vote on videos produced by the five finalists, who have progressed through two previous rounds of the competition, producing a different short film each time.
Entries include videos about Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) groups in the US, sexual abuse by priests and a community of developmentally disabled adults.
Videos can be watched and voted for on the YouTube Project:Report channel and the winner, who will receive a $10,000 grant to report on any topic, from anywhere in the world, and a scholarship at the Pulitzer Center, will be declared on 11 January.