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Swarthmore Begins Three-Year Partnership with Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Emily Paddon Rhoads

Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Paddon Rhoads

Swarthmore is strengthening its commitment to engaged scholarship across the globe through a partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Sponsored by the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility, the three-year partnership will help develop yearly programming that connects the College community with journalists and Pulitzer-supported local, national, and international reporting. It promises to engage students, faculty, and staff on critical local and global issues such as climate change, food insecurity, resource extraction, and LGBTQ+ rights.

“This partnership supports journalism—across a range of media—as a vital ingredient in maintaining and promoting free thought, open discourse, and informed political engagement, locally and around the world,” says Ben Berger, executive director of the Lang Center and associate professor of political science.

Joining Berger in efforts to develop the partnership is Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Paddon Rhoads, who liaised with Pulitzer Center staff on the launch event: a daylong visit to Swarthmore, including a public lecture with award-winning journalist Marcia Biggs, on Tuesday.

Paddon Rhoads will also serve as a faculty adviser to help find and support student fellows and, in collaboration with other faculty and staff, develop “programming that builds a community of civic journalism on campus.”

“The partnership promises to energize and nourish the considerable enthusiasm for journalism on campus,” says Paddon Rhoads. “I’ve seen this interest firsthand in my African politics class, where students complete a semester-long reporting project.”

Additionally, one Swarthmore student will receive a summer fellowship each year to undertake an international reporting project with mentorship from Pulitzer Center staff and professional journalists.

“Students will learn about the challenges faced by journalists working in demanding environments abroad, at a time of unprecedented change in the media industry,” says Paddon Rhoads. “The partnership will deepen the Swarthmore community’s engagement on global issues, through timely programming, and support groundbreaking reporting projects abroad with the mentorship of professional journalists.

“It’s all very exciting!”

Beyond these and other opportunities within the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium, such as several keynote events each year, the Lang Center will support a range of other activities and events broadly related to the civic purposes of journalism. Its staff welcomes collaboration from and offers support to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners along these lines.

The Lang Center presents Marcia Biggs’s public lecture on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, followed at 8:30 p.m. by a general information session on the partnership and student fellowship.

Also speaking on campus this semester are Raghu Karnad ’05, award-winning writer and chief of bureau of, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Science Center 199; Walter Ricciardi, head of the Italian National Institutes of Health and visiting scholar at Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College, on a date to be announced; Masha Gessen, an award-winning Russian American journalist known for her LGBTQ activism and investigative journalism, on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.; and Hansi Lo Wang ’09, NPR national correspondent, on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.

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