2018 Special Citation: Meridith Kohut’s Venezuela Coverage
In addition to the gold medals for lifetime achievement, the selection board also searches for journalistic accomplishments in the past year that have had extraordinary impact on the region and our understanding of it. Such was the case of a remarkable and devastating collection of photographs from Venezuela by Meridith Kohut.
American photojournalist Meridith Kohut has devoted over a decade of her journalism career to documenting Latin America, living in Caracas, Venezuela since 2007. She spent much of 2017 traveling inside Venezuela, chronicling what will go down in history as one of the most serious humanitarian crises this hemisphere has seen. Venezuela, in the throes of political, economic and social chaos, has been the scene of death, exodus, starvation and misery. Kohut has borne witness to all of it, and in photographs she has shown the world, in great nuance and with deep empathy, what it cannot ignore.
Through the shadowed faces of severely malnourished children, Molotov-cocktail throwing anti-government protesters and Venezuelans suffering from food and medicine shortages who are just trying to survive, her pictures have a soul-wrenching impact that are often more immediate than the written word. She led a 5-month investigation that exposed that hundreds of children had starved to death in government hospitals that was published in December of 2017 in a special section in The New York Times titled “As Venezuela Collapses, Children are Dying of Hunger.” Her photographs are difficult to look at. Yet they must be seen.
You can see her award-winning work at The New York Times website.
About Columbia Journalism School
For more than a century, the school has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the school opened its doors in 1912 and offers Masters of Science, Masters of Arts, a joint Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Journalism, and Doctor of Philosophy in Communications. It houses The Columbia Journalism Review, The Brown Institute for Media Innovation, and The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights and The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The school also administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, the John Chancellor Award, the John B. Oakes Award, the Dart Awards, the Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award and the Mike Berger Award. www.journalism.columbia.edu
Chantal De Soto