New York Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristol first announced in January this year that he was holding a contest to take a university student with him on a reporting trip to Africa.
He explained his reason in a column then: “I’m doing this for two reasons. First, I want to engage young people about global issues that I’m passionate about. Second, it’s good journalism, for you’ll bring a tool to reporting from Africa that I no longer have: a fresh eye.”
And the winner was recently revealed. Paul Bowers, a second-year student at the University of South Carolina had submitted both a video and an essay. In them, he talked about how “cold statistics can almost never get things done”. Rather, he wanted to tell true stories.
The duo will travel to West Africa, where they’ll explore maternal and child mortality, and also the degree to which the economic crisis is hitting poor countries.
As Kristol explained, the contest is a win-win situation for both. The experienced journalist gets a fresh eye, the student gets real-life guidance on foreign reporting. Ultimately, journalism is the real winner. Now, if only there were such contests in Singapore too.