NU-Q grad wins Pulitzer fellowship, publishes report on debt and climate change in India

October 28, 2015

After winning a fellowship from the renowned Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a Northwestern University in Qatar graduate has published an in-depth investigation into the impact of climate change on one of India’s poorest communities.

Zach Hollo, a 2015 graduate of NU-Q, spent his summer in Visakhapatnam, a city on India’s southeast coast hit hard by the devastating Cyclone Hudhud in 2014. His project, “India: Poverty in the age of climate change,” looked at the storm’s impact on the slums of Visakhapatnam, delving into the lives of individuals who lost their homes and were forced into debt.
Hollo became a Pulitzer Center Student Fellow following the center’s February announcement that it would select one NU-Q student for the prestigious fellowship. The fellowship came with a $3,000 reporting grant and one-on-one mentoring from the center’s network of seasoned international reporters. NU-Q was the first school outside the United States to partner with the center on this program.
“There have always been amazing opportunities to travel as an NU-Q student, through class trips, service learning trips, or the independent project travel program,” said Hollo. “The partnership adds a great opportunity to travel the world and get some great reporting under your belt at a young age.”
Hollo’s work appeared in two international publications: PRI’s The World and The Wilson Quarterly, which published a long form piece, “Guardian of the Dispossessed: An Economic Dissident in Modern India.” In these, he paints a chilling portrait of climate change’s hardest-hit victims: the economically disenfranchised who, he maintains, bear little responsibility for global carbon emissions. A natural gift for photography and videography illuminated his written reporting, centering on the lives of people like Surama Eesar, an elderly day laborer struggling to find work, and Tirupathirao Mittireddi, who is struggling to repay a $780 loan he took out to feed his family after the storm.
“Zach was absolutely wonderful to work with,” said Kem Sawyer, his mentor at the Pulitzer Center. “His stories are filled with strong characters who tell frank and deeply moving stories.”

Zach’s other work has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Albawaba and Doha News, where he reported on migrant labor issues.
“NU-Q students and alumni are thriving in a highly competitive and rapidly changing global media landscape. We are enormously proud of Zach and the many other NU-Q students who venture into communities at home and abroad to craft stories that make an impact,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q. “Prestigious and professional opportunities like these are a tenet of an NU-Q education.”

For 2015-2016, The Pulitzer Center will continue to offer this and other fellowship opportunities to cultivate aspiring young reporters at NU-Q. Read and watch “India: Poverty in the age of climate change”: