Next Generation Journalism

April 17th, 2014  |  By Serenity Bolt

Thanks to all who attended the premier of “Willing to Break”

JP Keenan & Sutton Raphael at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival after the premier of "Willing to Break"

JP Keenan & Sutton Raphael at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival after the premier of “Willing to Break”

It was a sell-out theater for this and a slate of other short docs at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival.  From the audience:  “What a fantastic film, kudos to the filmmakers.”  More from these young filmmakers soon and a huge shout out to their Moroccan journalism partner, Loubna Fouzar, and Prof. Khadija Zizi of the Institut Supérieur de l’Information et de la Communication in Rabat, Morocco.

It is through partnerships like this one with SIT Study Abroad that Round Earth is able to produce important news and information for top tier media around the world while mentoring next gen journalists.  More in our online magazine, Reporting Morocco.


April 1st, 2014  |  By Serenity Bolt

WOW! Look what’s happening at Round Earth!

Round Earth’s Documentary

Willing to Break

A Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival Official Selection 

Monday, April 14, 7:00 pm 


Willing to Break


Willing to Break explores the life of the only veiled break-dancer in Morocco and her perseverance in a counterculture dominated by men.
This film was produced and directed by a trio of impressive young journalists — Americans Sutton Raphael and JP Keenan in partnership with their Moroccan colleague Loubna Fouzar.   All were mentored by Round Earth’s veteran film-makers and journalists.
Raphael and Keenan will be in the Twin Cities for the premier of this powerful film.  Please come support them and see a short film you’ll never forget!

 Details HERE


Photo Sutton RaphelSutton Raphael is majoring in journalism at the University of Oregon and minoring in Arabic. He is an aspiring documentary filmmaker and plans to live in the Middle East after graduating.

Photo JP Keenan

JP Kennan is a documentary filmmaker and photographer studying at Ithaca College.  He is passionate about using the documentary medium to bring awareness to social issues.

Loubna Fouzar is a Moroccan journalism student who studies at Institut Supérieur de l’Information et de la Communication (ISIC) in Rabat.  

Wednesday, April 9th at 7:10 p.m. also at the MSP Intl Film Fest:  Who is Dayani Cristal?

Screen shot 2014-04-04 at 10.46.17 AM

Who is Dayani Cristal?


Round Earth is interested in your comments about this documentary film focused on migration from Central America to the United States.  The film starts beneath a cicada tree as Arizona border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt, they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? How did he die? And who—or what—is Dayani Cristal?   As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor and Gael Garcia Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America.

Details HERE

Please stay after the film for a discussion and lend us your insight into the subject of one of our next reporting projects: migration from Mexico and Central America.

First Place National Headliner Award for Mexico Uncovered Story


Photo: Electric Guitar by Pedro Reyes (Courtesy of Lisson Gallery, London; Photograph © Ken Adlard)

We are very pleased to announce that Marlon Bishop’s amazing story, An Orchestra of Guns, produced as part of our project, Mexico Uncovered, received a first place National Headliner Award this week.  This award recognizes outstanding print and broadcast work and is one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalistic excellence. Congratulations, Marlon!

Marlon’s story focused on Mexico City artist Pedro Reyes, who converted thousands of  weapons seized by the government into musical instruments. The project, titled Imagine, has so far produced 50 working instruments ranging from pistol-flutes to shotgun-zithers, with more being churned out all the time.

Reyes and a team of machinists and musicians have been working long hours in his Mexico City workshop to build the instruments.  In Spring 2013,  he put on a major concert with music commissioned for the instruments in the UK. Proceeds from the event went to support gun control legislation in the US – the source of almost all of Mexico’s illegal weapons. We visit Reyes and his workshop and look at the symbolism of what he’s creating.  More on Marlon’s story and our project, Mexico Uncovered, here:


March 1st, 2014  |  By Serenity Bolt

You’re Invited on Monday, March 31!


Hear from some of the very best young journalists covering Mexico today!

Monday, March 31 | 5:30 p.m. Registration |

6 – 7:30 p.m. Program

Pohlad Hall | Minneapolis Central Library | 

300 Nicollet Mall

FREE and open to the public. 

You can register in advance by sending an email to

We look forward to seeing you on the 31st!

Mexican Isabella Cota and American Annie Murphy reporting together in Mexico.  Their stories appeared on NPR in the U.S. and El Universal Domingo.

Mexican Isabella Cota and American Annie Murphy reporting together in Mexico. Their stories appeared on NPR in the U.S. and El Universal Domingo.

You may think you know Mexico because:

a.) you’ve been there on vacation

b.) we’re neighbors

c.) you have family there.

But in spite of our proximity, our understanding of Mexico is often limited by what we typically see in the media, a laundry list of stereotypes and generalizations.

Join Round Earth Media’s crack public radio team to hear about the Mexico you may not know — stories rich in sound, place and humanity.

In a groundbreaking collaboration with Mexican reporters, national programs on public radio and top-tier media outlets in Mexico, Round Earth’s acclaimed documentary, Mexico Uncovered, has been heard on public radio stations nationwide.  Now you have the opportunity to actively engage in a lively conversation with Round Earth’s talented young journalists who cover Mexico and to hear about their experiences reporting these stories.

danielDaniel Hernandez, the host of Mexico Uncovered also joins us live from Mexico City.  The New Yorker calls Hernandez “both anthropologist and explorer, finding the unexpected, original and mysterious.”

Please Join Us on March 31st!  This program is sponsored by Round Earth, the Minnesota International Center and the Friends of the Minneapolis Central Library.








November 21st, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

Next Gen Journalists in Italy

Zanna and Guia

Zanna Katlyn McKay and Guia Baggi


Guia Baggi is a Milanese raised in Tuscany, early-career reporter. A year and a half ago she co-founded together with seven other journalists the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI), a centre for investigative journalism based in Italy. Before embarking in this experience Guia studied in three different European universities for a two-year Erasmus Mundus Master’s programme in Journalism and Media within Globalisation, having the chance to examine for her MA thesis the organisation, the motives and the practices of nonprofit investigative journalism centres in the US and in Europe. Her journalistic experience has been mainly within local news media in Florence.

Zanna Katlyn McKay is a recent graduate of Mount Holyoke College where she designed a major in multimedia journalism and also studied film. Her thesis, for which she received High Honors, was a combination long-form written and radio piece about the housekeepers at Mount Holyoke. She now lives in Siena, Italy.

Recently, Guia and Zanna met at a café near where Guia works at La Nazione in Florence to set down in writing some of the interesting conversations they have had since becoming Next Gen partners for Round Earth Media. They are looking forward to going to Milan at the beginning of December to collect material for their first story together.  Here’s their interview of each other!


November 8th, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

Gold Mining in Ghana: Playing with Mercury


Photo: Maddy Crowell

NESTLED in a former cocoa-farming region in southwestern Ghana, the town of Prestea boasts more than 150 small-scale gold mines in the backyards of abandoned farms. The town, with a population of about 35,000, also sits covered in permanent smog—a red dust that stains white goats crimson. It is the result of lethal mercury, on which miners all over Ghana rely to refine their gold. In Prestea, where gravediggers are in greater supply than doctors, death from mercury poisoning is routine.

Thus begins Maddy Crowell’s powerful story in the Economist Magazine.  Maddy is an alum of our Morocco journalism program.  A senior at Carleton College, she was reporting in Ghana over her summer break.  Maddy and her Ghanaian partner, Jamila Okertchiri, approached Round Earth for mentoring on this shocking and important story.


September 17th, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

Mexico Uncovered: Untold Stories from the Mexico You Don’t Know

danielHosted by Mexican-American journalist Daniel Hernandez, a regular on Latino USA and the author of Down and Delirious in Mexico City, which chronicles his move from San Diego to Mexico City.

The New Yorker says Daniel finds the unexpected , original,  and mysterious.

Now that’s Mexico Uncovered.  Listen here for a sample!

August 6th, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

Next Gen Journalist Partners in Italy: McKay and Baggi


Zanna McKay

If I want to be taken seriously as a journalist, never tell an editor that I want to change the world.  That’s advice from a former journalist from the German newspaper Die Zeit who visited Mount Holyoke (my alma mater) last year. Moreover, she suggested that if I wanted to have real impact, instead of journalism, I should go into policy advising or NGO work, as she has now done.

I think she’s wrong.

So far, from my senior thesis (a combination long-form written and radio piece about the housekeepers at Mount Holyoke)  to my work with Round Earth, it is precisely the real impact from good journalism that assures me I am on the right path.


July 15th, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

From Round Earth’s Next Gen Journalists in Ghana

Partners Maddy Crowell and Jamila Okertchiri reporting in Ghana

Maddy Crowell and Jamila Okertchiri are partners on a Round Earth Media reporting project in Ghana.  Crowell is an alumnus of Round Earth’s journalism program in Morocco, in collaboration with SIT Study Abroad, and will be a senior at Carleton College.  Okertchiri is a talented early-career Ghanaian journalist, a reporter for Ghana’s Daily Guide where Crowell is also working this summer.  Round Earth’s veteran journalists are mentoring this pair and just received the following from Crowell.

Slowly waking up with the rising sun, Jamila and I stepped off the airplane in Takoradi, one of Ghana’s major oil ports, beside a stream of Ghanaian natives and small clumps of foreigners. Immigration officers greeted us.

“Your passport!” A solider decked in an army green uniform pointed at me. Thankfully Jamila had called me this morning, reminding me to take it along.

“Where are you going? What are you doing here?” He asked. Controversy over the recent influx of illegal Chinese miners in Ghana had tightened security at all major ports.

“Prestea,” I said nervously.

“For what? Why?”

Jamila stepped in, calmly explaining we were journalists working for the Daily Guide (more…)

June 24th, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

The Latest from Round Earth Co-founder Mary Losure

By Zanna McKay

Mary Losure at her recent book signing | Photo by Don Losure

Round Earth Media co-founder Mary Losure is adding award-winning narrative nonfiction for children to her list of accomplishments.  Staying true to Round Earth’s commitment to pursuing untold stories around the globe, Losure’s books for children are unique, eye-opening true tales forged form solid, on-the-ground reporting.  Losure is the author of Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron (Candlewick, 2013) and The Fairy Ring, or Elsie and Frances Fool the World (Candlewick, 2012), which was Booklist Editors’ Choice for Best Youth Non-fiction, 2012.

These days you write nonfiction for young people. Why is this important?

I think many children when given a choice read only fiction. I think it’s important that they read about the real world, too –and not just for school.

I think we need to convince children that nonfiction, too, can contain adventure, excitement, and mystery.  It doesn’t have to be dully Educational, or exclusively about Famous and Important Grownups. It can be about children, and it can be fun.


June 4th, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

Morocco Slow on Women’s Rights: More from Round Earth’s NextGen Journalists

The offices of the women’s advocacy group Al Amane in Marrakesh. Observers say that any changes will not mean much as long as there is not an independent judiciary to apply the law. Photo: Alice Urban

The girl at the police station in Marrakesh said she was not sure how old she was, 13 or maybe 14. Sitting on a chair in the unit that processes youth cases, she told a chilling account of being gang raped, and said she had no relatives willing to shelter her.

That’s the reality for many women in Morocco, according to a story in The New York Times produced in collaboration with Round Earth Media.  Grad student and Round Earth Media NextGen American reporter, Alice Urban, contributed reporting to this important untold story, written and reported by Moroccan reporter Aida Alami, another NextGen journalist affiliated with Round Earth.

It’s partnerships like that between Alice and Aida – mentored by Round Earth’s veteran reporters — that define our mission and our work.

”I think that true partnership adds a great integrity, understanding, and cooperation to producing a quality piece of journalism,” said Urban.

Here’s another story of special interest to our Minnesota friends, written by Alice with mentoring from Round Earth’s veteran journalists.

Support more stories about Next Generation Journalism from Round Earth Media!

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