April 17, 2012

Gettleman ’94 Awarded Pulitzer Prize

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Jeffrey Gettleman ’94, the East Africa bureau chief at The New York Times, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in international reporting Monday.

He was commended for his “vivid reports, often at personal peril, on famine and conflict in East Africa,” according to the the award announcement.

Panelists reached their decision after judging Gettleman’s recent work in 2011 on piracy and famine in Somalia.

Since 2006, Gettleman has covered conflict and the lives of refugees in Kenya, Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Gettleman has written for The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, The New Republic and GQ, according to a University press release. Additionally, he has appeared as a commentator on CNN, BBC, PBS, NPR and ABC.

As a student at Cornell, Gettleman majored in philosophy while playing lacrosse and working as a photographer for The Sun.

“We in philosophy are thrilled with the news of Jeffrey Gettleman’s Pulitzer Prize and proud to have been part of his formative experience at Cornell,” said Prof. Scott MacDonald ’78, philosophy, in the press release. “It’s always rewarding to see our former students making extraordinary contributions to the world beyond Cornell.”

On April 6, 2011, Gettleman returned to Cornell to speak about his experiences in Africa and about being kidnapped, along with his wife,  while reporting in Ethiopia. .

Reflecting on a professor’s recommendation to pursue journalism at the lecture, Gettleman recalled thinking it was the “dumbest idea I had heard.”

“Who wants to work for a boring newspaper?” he said, The Sun reported in April 2011.

After backpacking around the world for a year, however, Gettleman eventually decided to continue his studies in philosophy as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, he said. Before graduating, Gettleman decided he wanted to become a journalist.

Speaking to students during his visit about possible career options in journalism, Gettleman described how his first exposure to reporting taught him how to “write on a deadline” and “just suck it up.”

“Journalism is very hierarchical. It’s an old-school profession where you have to pay your dues,” said Gettleman, according to The Sun. “You try to get both sides –– that’s the best you can do. But you don’t want to be a robot, either.”

The Overseas Press Club awarded Gettleman in 2003 and in 2008 for his reporting on an Afghan prison and on human rights abuses in Ethiopia.

Gettleman currently lives in Nairobi, Kenya, with his family, according to a University press release.

Original Author: Dennis Liu

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