The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting has selected Nicholas Swyter, a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies, for an international reporting fellowship in Panama this summer.
Swyter, 20, a Panamanian citizen, will report on the construction of a major dam in that country and how the project is affecting indigenous tribes in the region.
“It is a great honor to receive this fellowship,” Swyter said. “I have visited relatives in Panama since I was an infant, and it will be a very rewarding experience to get to know the country through a reporter’s lens.”
As part of the fellowship, Swyter will receive a stipend for travel and the opportunity to work with the Pulitzer Center staff on the story. He leaves for Panama in July to explore the construction of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam in the Ngäbe-Buglésemi-autonomous region. Panama is experiencing rapid economic growth, and as the country is growing it is investing in massive infrastructure projects, including the Barro Blanco dam, Swyter said. The dam’s construction has the potential to displace more than 36,000 indigenous tribes people, who have protested. The protests have turned violent, resulting in the deaths of two tribes people.
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is an innovative award-winning non-profit journalism organization dedicated to supporting the independent international journalism that U.S. media organizations are increasingly less able to undertake. Each year, the Center awards reporting fellowships to students who attend colleges and universities that are part of the Center’s Campus Consortium educational initiative.
“I’m so pleased for Nick to have the opportunity to travel to Panama to tell this story,” said Associate Professor Terry Bloom, chair of the Department of Journalism & Media Management at the University of Miami School of Communication. “Our partnership with The Pulitzer Center means he will have the opportunity to work with, and be mentored by, incredibly gifted journalists committed to telling important, under-reported stories from around the globe. I can’t wait to see the work Nick will produce.”
Swyter is among 21 student international reporting fellows. This year’s fellowship recipients will report on issues of global importance in Cuba, Chile, India, Brazil, Malawi, and other locations.
Swyter has served as a MetroTV News intern in Indonesia and reported for the King’s College of London international politics journal. At the School of Communication, he works with the University of Miami’s award-winning cable TV station, UMTV, as the executive producer of ‘Cane Street, a weekly video podcast about the lighter side of student life. Swyter recently won a Rex Pompadur Award for outstanding service to UMTV. He is also a contributing blogger to the Huffington Post and is interested in the dynamics of foreign press.
“I am looking forward to covering a story that is integrated with so many elements: the environment, economic development, energy, human rights and the rights of indigenous people,” Swyter added. “I am interested in learning more about the Ngäbe-Buglé, and giving them the opportunity to have their voices heard.”
For more information about the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, click here.