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Concordia Students Interview Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist

April, 2016
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concordia-students-interview-pulitzer-prize-winnerAfter reading Nicholas Kristof’s newsletter blog every day for two weeks, Concordia International School Shanghai grade 8 students got the opportunity on 2 March to interview this New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner via Skype.

As part of a ‘blog sign-up’ competition sponsored by Kristof, over 80 students subscribed to Kristof’s newsletter blog, which reflects his travels and stories from over 130 countries as well as his passion for human rights, women’s rights, health, and global affairs. The students came up with more than 800 questions during the two weeks period. Grade 8 humanities teachers, Carey Halula, Michael Lambert and Holly Raatz, helped to narrow the list to twenty.

The first question was “What are the most significant problems of the world?” Kristof responded: “the lack of education, climate change, and human rights.” To answer the question of “What are the successful techniques for grabbing the reader’s attention?” Kristof informed the students that empathy and finding a story within the story are critical. In addition, he believes the story needs to stir the soul of the reader.

After answering several questions, Kristof talked about the power of media and the mini-documentary. Students were interested in tips about how to improve the personal documentaries they have created for their WW2 project. He suggested that the documentary "be provocative". Documentaries can often reflect what everyone already agrees upon. “If you want to have an impact that pushes the edges and makes the audience think in different ways, ’surprise’ your audience,” Kristof advised. “When you finish the doc that is when the work starts."        

Throughout the interview, Kristof’s conversation showed his work is his vocation, not a job but a responsibility. He added, "I use the power of words to take action in our world. And you can, too."


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