May 28th, 2014  |  By Serenity Bolt

Event Recap: Mexico Uncovered

Credit: Erin Luhmann  Mary Stucky facilitating the discussion with Mexico Uncovered reporters via Skype.

Credit: Erin Luhmann
Mary Stucky facilitating the discussion with Mexico Uncovered reporters via Skype.

Thanks to all those who attended the Mexico Uncovered event we held at the Minneapolis Central Library on March 31st.

If weren’t able to come, we’ve packaged some audio highlights from the evening. Our team of journalists called in via Skype to share reflections on the radio stories they produced for top-tier media outlets. They embraced the Round Earth Media model – collaborating with a local journalist – and succeeded in capturing stories rich in sound, place and humanity.

An intro from Mary Stucky

Daniel Hernandez, host of the Mexico Uncovered radio documentary, is shifting the focus on Mexico from the war on drugs and immigration to its vibrant, evolving food culture. His reports unearth the cosmopolitan side of Mexico City. By the end of the night, he had the audience craving street food.

More from Hernandez here: 

Marlon Bishop, a contributing American reporter, shared how he immersed himself in Mexico’s automobile industry in 2013 for his PRI story, High-Tech Manufacturing Driving Mexican Economy. He highlighted that fact that despite economic growth in Mexico – a trend that has inspired a wave of reverse migration – more than half of the population remains below the poverty line, working in low-end jobs at maquiladoras, factories located in free trade zones in Mexico.

More from Bishop here: 

Mary Stucky also recognized Bishop’s first place National Headliner Award for his story published on PRI’s Studio 360, An Orchestra of Guns. He captured one artist’s vision to repurpose retired guns as instruments, to pay tribute the victims of gun violence in Mexico. Stucky explained that putting a new spin on an old narrative like gun violence is “exactly what Round Earth looks for.”

More from Bishop here: 

Monica Oritz Uribe, a contributing Mexican-American reporter, gave an update on Mexicans Returning from U.S. Find Challenges at Home, the story she published with Marketplace in January 2013. For the first time in 40 years, there are as many Mexicans going back to Mexico as there are coming to the U.S. She explored what assimilation looks like for youth born in the U.S who move south of the border.

Uribe also revealed a surprise encounter that happened through her reporting. In pursuit of a gang member to interview for a story she recently published with NPR’s ‘Borderland’ series, she discovered they were former classmates.

More from Uribe here: 


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.


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!


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 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.

March 19th, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

An Orchestra of Guns

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

The United States and Mexico share deep personal, economic, geographic and cultural connections, but understanding — on both sides of the border — is often limited by stereotype and media exaggeration.  Round Earth Media is out to change that.

We launched in 2005, with a bounty of stories from Mexico, supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Now, in a groundbreaking new collaboration and with generous support from the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, Round Earth Media is pairing young American and Mexican journalists, to produce powerful, untold stories from Mexico.  These stories are broadcast and published in top-tier media, reaching huge audiences in both countries. 

Here’s our latest, broadcast on NPR. Mexico City artist Pedro Reyes is in the process of converting thousands of narco gang weapons seized by the government into musical instruments. Click HERE to listen.

February 22nd, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

Soultana: ‘The Voice of Women’ Raps in Morocco

Soultana in concert. PHOTO: Shalea Harris

This week marks the two-year anniversary of Morocco’s version of the so-called Arab Spring. It didn’t unseat a dictator. But, tens of thousands of Moroccans took to the streets demanding democracy. Morocco’s powerful King diffused the protest by offering a few reforms. But little has changed for most Moroccans – especially the country’s young people. Many have found their voice in rap music.  From Morocco on The World, with stunning photos by student photojournalist Shalea Harris.  The latest from Round Earth Media’s groundbreaking collaboration with SIT Study Abroad.   Click HERE to listen and view the photos.

February 19th, 2013  |  By Mary Stucky

Transforming Guns into Musical Instruments

Mexico City artist Pedro Reyes is in the process of converting thousands of narco gang weapons seized by the government into musical instruments.  Mexican reporter Omar Sanchez de Tagle, paired with American reporter Marlon Bishop, produced this story as part of Round Earth’s Mexico Reporting Project.  Omar’s story appears in Animal Politico, a major Mexican investigative news website.

To read this powerful story in Spanish, view photos and a video, click HERE.

Our untold stories, published and broadcast in top-tier media, reach huge audiences in the U.S. and in the countries where we are reporting.

November 28th, 2012  |  By Mary Stucky

Mexico’s Drug War Is Changing Childhood

Mexico’s violent drug war has gotten a lot of sensational attention in U.S. media but there’s been very little attention paid to the effect of this unrelenting violence on Mexico’s children.  Round Earth Media’s Mexico Reporting Project is dedicated to reporting important, untold stories from Mexico, like this one from Annie Murphy which was broadcast on NPR’s  All Things Considered. CLICK HERE to listen to Annie’s powerful story about the ways in which violence is dramatically changing what it’s like to be a kid in Mexico. At Round Earth Media we pair early-career American reporters with early-career reporters in the countries where where we’re working to publish and broadcast in top-tier media in both countries.  Here’s Annie Murphy on the partnership and Round Earth’s ground-breaking model.

Mexican reporter Isabella Cota & and American reporter Annie Murphy interviewing together in Mexico.

Like most freelancers, I’m used to flying solo, which often means making many decisions on my own, at all stages of reporting. While there are things I really enjoy about that system, working with Round Earth was refreshing precisely because of the collaborative model the organization uses. I was paired to work in the field with reporter Isabella Cota, a top-notch Mexican journalist, as well as on the production side with veteran reporters and editors Mary Stucky and Leda Hartman. In working with Isabella I found both a colleague and a friend, a fellow reporter I will doubtless turn to for advice and feedback in the future, and someone whose career I’ll support in any way I’m able; that same spirit of camaraderie applies to the editorial side of the project as well. I think that the sum of all our experiences and resources as reporters and editors allowed us to tackle this pair of stories in Mexico in a way that was efficient, in-depth, and fun–and much more comprehensive than what I’d have been able to do on my own in the same amount of time. (more…)

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