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A blog devoted to on-the-ground reporting around the world.

How poetry saved two young women's lives — one in Peru, one in Los Angeles

Two teenagers from opposite sides of the world began writing poetry to cope with difficult situations in their lives. That poetry brought them together.
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Senna, in production of "Girl Rising" (10x10act/YouTube)

NEW YORK — Poetry changed Senna’s life.

She wrote her first poem at age 10, she said, because “I could tell my notebook what I wanted to say. … I imagined that my book and my notebook told me, ‘You can do it! You can do it!’”

Unbenounced to her, halfway across the world, someone else was writing poetry for the same reason. 

“I started to write because the paper was the only person I could talk to,” said Marquesha Babers, 18, from Los Angeles. “Poetry has actually saved my life.”


Generation TBD: Tunisia's revolutionary rappers

In post-revolution Tunisia, a generation of young people facing an unemployment rate above 30 percent are expressing their frustrations through hip hop.
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(Juan Herrero/Natalie Keyssar/Emily Judem/GlobalPost)

Editor's note: This story is part of a GroundTruth project we call "Generation TBD," a year-long effort that brings together media, technology, education and humanitarian partners for an authoritative, global exploration of the youth unemployment crisis.

TUNIS, Tunisia — Hamzaoui Med Amine’s home neighborhood of Ariana, a roughshod working-class district near the Tunis airport, is the setting for the music video of the now nationally ubiquitous song Houmani, performed by Amine and his vocalist partner Kafon.

The video depicts Tunisia’s urban poor, picking through used clothing stands, sipping espresso and smoking cigarettes. Leathery-skinned women wrapped in black headscarves smile into the camera, their crooked teeth and wandering eyes intimately displayed.

Houmani has racked up millions of views on YouTube, and the song’s relentless drum & bass track can be simultaneously heard blasting from cell phones, car stereos and corner store radios.

The song’s popularity owes to its frank illustration of life for Tunisia’s majority, with lyrics about the joblessness, dirty streets, cramped living conditions and worn infrastructure in working-class neighborhoods throughout the country.


Expectations: A mother-to-be heads to Brazil to report

Deputy editor of global health Marissa Miley is reporting in Brazil to better understand how women experience pregnancy and childbirth.
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(Emily Judem/GlobalPost)

SÃO PAULO, Brazil – “How are you feeling?” is a question I get a lot these days.

It’s the first one my doctor asks when I sit down on the examination table. It’s often the first that friends and family ask as soon as we hug hello. And it’s certainly the first that anyone asks – a colleague in the elevator, a neighbor on the plane, a fellow guest at a party – when they confirm that I am, indeed, pregnant.

As a journalist covering health, this is an unfamiliar exchange. I’m usually the one asking others how they are feeling. But pregnancy has flipped many of my usual habits on their heads.


Remembering Anja Niedringhaus, AP photographer and Nieman Fellow

Niedringhaus infused her Nieman class of 2006 with a joy of life after covering fighting for more than 20 years. On Friday she was murdered in Afghanistan.
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A Palestinian girl named Ayat, 10, the niece of Billal Nabham, reacts after he was found dead in the rubble of one of the houses destroyed during Israel's army operation in Gaza on January 19, 2009. This image is one of so many taken by photographer Anja Niedringhaus that depicts human suffering brought about by war and conflict. Niedringhaus was killed in Afghanistan on Friday, April 4, 2014. (Anja Niedringhaus/AFP/Getty Images)

There is a generation of war correspondents out there, and every fall a few of them arrive at Harvard University as part of the Nieman Foundation’s fellowship. They come from assignments in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere and many land with a sense of unease.

They are veterans of covering combat who typically use this special moment in their lives to sort out their experiences, dig for deeper understanding of the chaos they chronicle and struggle with personal decisions whether to return to far-flung conflicts, to once again bear witness to the tragedy of war.


Millennials learn to answer the dreaded question: 'So... what do you do?'

Amidst rising youth unemployment around the globe, young people struggle to find where they fit in society.
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(Juan Herrero/Natalie Keyssar/Emily Judem/GlobalPost)

Editor's note: This story is part of a GroundTruth project we call "Generation TBD," a year-long effort that brings together media, technology, education and humanitarian partners for an authoritative, global exploration of the youth unemployment crisis. Tik Root is a 2014 GroundTruth fellow working on this project. He will be reporting on youth unemployment in Spain this spring. 


International House conference finds Americans really do care about global news

The question that remains, journalists at the New York City conference concluded, is when and how international stories should be told.
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International media await the arrival of a RAAF C17 Globemaster aircraft carrying a Navy Seahawk helicopter at the RAAF base in Bullsbrook on March 28, 2014 in Perth, Australia. (Will Russell/Getty Images)

NEW YORK—Contrary to popular belief, newsmakers agree that Americans care about international news stories, but what journalists can’t agree on is when and how international stories should be covered.

At a forum Monday hosted by International House, with generous financial support from the Ford Foundation, some of the most influential names in news making discussed what is not being covered by the media and why?

“Anyone who has worked for a major news organization knows the litany of complaints you constantly receive from folks who feel like we aren’t covering the news or not covering it fairly,” moderator and International House President Calvin Sims said in his opening remarks.


Generation TBD: A dispatch from the belly of Brazil's youth movement

Protestors say their generation finally has a voice with which to express frustration and disenfranchisement, at a time when they don't feel represented by political structures, parties or unions.
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Protesters in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Thursday, March 27. (Corinne Chin/GlobalPost)

Editor’s Note: Corinne Chin is currently in Brazil on a reporting fellowship for The GroundTruth Project in which 10 teams of top, young journalists in ten different countries are working together on a Special Report titled “Generation TBD: How millennials are facing an uncertain global economy.” Their work will be published over the next six months on GlobalPost and the fellows will be providing updates from their reporting in the field on PRI’s The World. The project is funded by The Ford Foundation and will culminate with an October 24 conference on the issue of rising youth unemployment at International House in New York.

SAO PAULO, Brazil –The waves of protesters arrived slowly and steadily Thursday night to Praça do Ciclista, a scant stretch of paved median running through São Paulo’s bustling Paulista Avenue.

More than one thousand youth, most of them in their 20s, were arriving to the rally via unreliable and overcrowded trains and buses, a failing public transportation system that was in fact the focus of this anti-World Cup demonstration, the latest in a series that continue to mount as the international tournament nears.

The protesters are intent on highlighting the disparity between the funding going toward the marquee global events of the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, to be hosted in Brazil, and what they feel is the inadequate funding for Brazil’s failing infrastructure for education, health care and transportation.


In Niger, personal relationships are key to long-term maternal health

Though it's beneficial to send food and supplies to communities in need, it is also important to understand the value of personal relationships in order to implement effective, long-term solutions.
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A picture taken on October 14, 2013 shows a child suffering from malnutrition eyed by his mother at a hospital in Tillaberi, western Niger. Saumya Dave traveled to Niger with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in 2011 and wrote articles on global women's health. (BOUREIMA HAMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Editor's note: This weekend President Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton will convene more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students from around the world at the Clinton Global Initiative University in Phoeniz, Arizona where attendees will work to address global challenges, including health. Saumya Dave will join the group of young leaders. She is a medical student and writer who traveled with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to North and West Africa in 2011 to report on global women's health. As a result of the experience, she founded MoBar, an organization to improve maternal health in the region. 

MOLII, Niger — When I met Miero, I had no idea that she was eight months pregnant.

Unlike the pregnant women I’ve seen in America, Miero’s abdomen was flat and her sharp ribs protruded through her dress. Our conversation was a sharp contrast from the ones I had with women in America. No discussion of prenatal vitamins. No ultrasound dating. No measuring of fundal height. Instead, Miero told me that she hadn’t eaten in one day. Her reason was simple: she gave any available food to her family and counted on having whatever was left.

I was in her village of Molii in Niger because of a trip through Northwest Africa with journalist Nicholas Kristof.

Throughout our journey, we absorbed the stories of many women. I learned about the millet grain, an important food source, and the way women in villages walked to the well every morning to collect water in large buckets.

The women were independent in a way I hadn’t seen in America, occasionally relying on one another if they needed to, but for the most part, embracing all of the responsibilities placed on them. In every community I saw an underlying theme: women were taking care of their families and it was often at the expense of their own well-being.


Six months later: Kenya’s Westgate Mall workers reflect on a delicate recovery

Six months after a terrorist attack killed dozens at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, GlobalPost correspondent Jacob Kushner talks with mall workers about their stories of trauma, joblessness and moving on.

NAIROBI, Kenya —Today marks six months since gunmen trained by the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab stormed a popular shopping mall here, in a siege that left 62 civilians and five Kenyan soldiers dead, and at least 200 others injured.

The victims consisted of both Kenyans and expatriates. Their families and friends remained traumatized by the attack and angered by the government’s response, during which Kenyan soldiers looted the mall, even while bodies remained strewn about.

The Israeli-owned Westgate Mall opened in 2007. It was a popular hangout for Kenyans and expatriates alike until it collapsed during the September 2013 siege. But one group of Kenyans in particular holds a uniquely intimate connection to the mall and the event that destroyed it: These hundreds of Kenyans were employed in the mall’s 80 shops and restaurants, and depended on the mall for their livelihoods.


GlobalPost announces second annual GroundTruth fellowship for Middle East reporting

Apply for a $10,000 grant one top young journalist will receive to report in the Middle East.
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NEW YORK — GlobalPost is proud to announce the second annual 'GroundTruth fellowship for reporting in the Middle East' and we are now accepting applications for proposals for the $10,000 grant.

The fellowship was officially announced last month at the Overseas Press Club Foundation luncheon and we are setting a deadline of April 15 for all proposals. We plan to announce the winner on May 1.

The GroundTruth fellowship will be awarded to a correspondent working on the ground in the Middle East with a minimum of three years of experience.

We are looking for a talented journalist who is early in his/her career and who presents the most worthy project idea for how to cover the aftermath of events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and elsewhere that have unfolded over the last three years and come to be known as the Arab Spring, or the Arab Awakening.