Blog Posts

  • My Journey in Ecuador with the International Reporting Project

    When I began working at World Pulse in 2010, one of my very first assignments introduced me to a unique characteristic of Ecuador. The rights of nature were enshrined in its recently adopted (circa 2008) constitution. This means the natural environment is not regarded solely as property of humans, and has its own legal standing. At the time, I was working on the Earth edition of the World Pulse print magazine and I remember thinking: This is a very different way to look at the world. A different way to look at the world. This is the reason I am endlessly fascinated with the stories I encounter on World Pulse and it is the reason I am in Quito, Ecuador, today embarking on a journey with the International Reporting Project. I...

  • Here Are the Absurd Prices for Apple Products in Brazil

    Think you overpaid for that iPhone 6? You probably didn't pay nearly as much as the average Brazilian.  Last year, Business Insider's Michael Kelley checked out Apple prices in São Paulo, the largest city in the country. They were absurd then, and they remain just as crazy today. I recently visited a typical shopping mall in the city while on a reporting trip — along the way I stopped to survey a variety of Apple resellers. The typical price for a 16 GB iPhone 6 Plus: a whopping $1080, compared to $749 in the U.S. (without a cell phone carrier contract, which lowers the price to about $299).  The 16GB iPhone 5S offers a little relief at a cost of $618 (versus $549 in the U.S, or $99 with a carrier contract).  Some other outlandish prices:   ...

  • Journalism in adverse environments

    IRP program manager Glendora Meikle is currently traveling in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the International Women’s Media Fund (IWMF). She participated in a three-day Hostile Environment and Emergency First Aid training course conducted by Global Journalist Security and was invited by IWMF to accompany their six fellows reporting from Goma, DRC. This post was originally published on IWMF’s Tumblr. You can follow all the IWMF participants on Twitter using the hashtag #IWMFfellows. Nine years ago, Kenya became my first glimpse of the African continent. I was 23 and, though intrigued by international issues from the comfort of my New York desk, very, very green. At the time I had no inkling that my work would return me to the region a dozen times over the years that followed. On Wednesday night, I landed at Jomo Kenyatta International...

  • Traversing the Roads of North Kivu

    IRP deputy director Glendora Meikle recently traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF). This post was originally published on IWMF’s Tumblr. On our first working day in Goma, we met with a panel of women who were all running for MP seats in the next elections. At one point, someone asked which issues they deemed the most important platform of their campaign. One woman, a second-time candidate from Masisi, was adamant that roads were the number one priority for her constituency. She had so many things to say about the importance of roads: “It’s all about roads,” she would begin, and then several minutes later, “And also, the roads…” We stayed on the subject so long, especially because for everything she said we had to...

  • Nepal News Coverage ‘Vital’ to Recovery

    Journalists spur worldwide interest, international aid, and long-term follow-through. As a foreign correspondent, John Schidlovsky reported from Beijing, Beirut, Cairo and New Delhi, among other consequential capitals. As founding director of the International Reporting Project (IRP) he’s led delegations of journalists on 26 trips, mostly to underdeveloped — and underreported-on — countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But Schidlovsky had never experienced anything like the earthquake in Nepal, which hit April 25. “It seemed to go on and on without ending, and the room just seemed to be swaying and going in circles,” said Schidlovsky, who had arrived in advance of an IRP trip to Nepal. Speaking with his feet now firmly planted back home in Washington, D.C., Schidlovsky recalled that “after what seemed like an eternity — 80 seconds — that rumbling and shaking and bobbing and weaving just...

  • Dispatches From Kathmandu

    In the capital Kathmandu, old temples — many World Heritage-listed and some dating back to the Middle Ages — have been destroyed or damaged. The three Royal Squares, Patan Bhaktapur and Kathmandu Durbar Squares, suffered significant damage. In Patan, several temples collapsed, sending thousands of people running for their lives. The square was packed with tourists and locals out enjoying a Saturday afternoon relaxing on temple stoops and wandering through the historic buildings. The built-up surrounds of the square left people with few options for safe harbour when the quake hit. People screamed in terror as the shaking intensified and historic buildings crumbled. The earthquake, measuring 7.9 in magnitude, lasted for over a minute and was followed by several strong aftershocks. Locals rushed to clear piles of rubble, searching for survivors with their bare hands, picks and shovels, amid a minimal police presence. The rescuers...

  • Off to Mozambique

    Winter is coming and I’m flying south. Over the next two weeks I will report from Mozambique on health care issues such as childhood vaccinations with the International Reporting Project. The project takes journalists to parts of the world that are underrepresented in the mainstream media. As far as I can make out, the tradeoff is a free trip funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in exchange for providing exposure for issues that wouldn’t otherwise make it to press. As part of my initial research and in response to questions from friends and colleagues, here’s a brief primer with very basic information about Mozambique. Where is it? On the eastern side of southern Africa, right across the water from Madagascar. Is it safe? Things were bad in the immediate wake of...

  • Signs of the Times

    Take a walk to the American Cultural Center in Maputo and you’ll find yourself on the corner of avenues Mao Tse Tung and Kim Il Sung. Many of the major streets are named for communist heroes, as Mozambique had a brief fling with Communism after independence from the Portuguese in 1975. Fittingly, the street signs commemorating North Korea’s founding father and the leader of the Chinese Communist Revolution do not appear directly outside the American center, however I snapped a photo of the building on the other side of the intersection. As is often the case for American institutions built with the purpose of fomenting neighborly relations in a foreign nation, the center is the most fortified building on the block. America welcomes all with its tall metal gate and signs warning passersby not to take photographs. After passing through the most...

  • Pumping adventures on the way to Mozambique

    Remember the International Reporting Project (IRP) fellowship I said I had received to travel to Mozambique and report on child health and immunizations? Well, I’ve been here just under two days and have had the pleasure of meeting all the other awesome colleagues I’ll be working alongside. Tomorrow will be our first official set of program events, and I’m already excited to learn more about the country and the stories I can tell. Expect to see a number of updates about the trip from me here over the next two weeks, starting with today! The trip over here was relatively uneventful, but catching four flights over two days was grueling: Peoria to Chicago to DC to Addis Ababa to Maputo. The trickiest part for me, though, was pumping. My husband, mother-in-law and mother are taking...

  • Frayed Clothes and the Blue Sweater

    When I arrived in Ethiopia, it was impossible not to notice the frayed clothing worn by most rural Ethiopians. As an avid reader on global issues and extreme poverty, I couldn’t seem to get the fabulous non-fiction book “The Blue Sweater” by Jacqueline Novogratz out of my head. One of the unforgettable moments in Jacqueline’s life was when she was living in Rwanda and saw a young boy wearing her blue sweater that she had donated eleven years ago to a local American charity. Somehow that sweater with her initials still written clearly inside, made it all the way to Africa and was still being worn despite being tattered and frayed. It made Norogratz, a successful investment banker, think about how our world is interconnected, and it steered her life towards philanthropy. Driving throughout the rural...

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