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Hosokawa Lecturer: Tell the Stories that Need to be Told

By Whitney Rich '20

Four students stand with President Kathleen Murray and writer Sarah Kendzior with their award plaques.
Sylvie Corwin ‘21, from left, Emily Solomon ‘21, President Kathy Murray, Sarah Kendzior, Samarah Uribe Mendez ‘20, and Jack Fleming ‘21 pose with their awards at the Hosokawa Awards in April 2019. (Photo by Leo Corrales '21)

Sarah Kendzior is willing to acknowledge the tough road that journalists face in newsrooms across the world.

The journalist and best-selling author should know, after all.

"Hopefully I will not dissuade you off your career path with my lecture, but trouble is what I've known throughout my career," said Kendzior, whose book, "The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America," chronicles economic and political conditions in the U.S., especially the Midwest, prior to the 2016 election.

But despite the hardship of being labeled by a sitting president as "enemies of the people," Kendzior came to Whitman on April 24, 2019, to encourage students from the Whitman Wire to continue their pursuit.

"If you find stories that need to be told where you are, tell them, I want to know, others want to know, and there are many that don't know that they want to know," Kendzior said.

Kendzior spoke as part of the 2019 Hosokawa Journalism Lecture, sponsored by the Hosokawa Journalism Endowment and the Office of Communications. The endowment, established in 2000 by David and Beverly Hosokawa in honor of David's father, Robert R. Hosokawa '40, celebrates excellence in student journalism.

Journalism is an act of public service, Kendzior said. She encouraged everyone to listen to people and write about their story. Journalists must be voices for the afflicted who can't find advocates in law and government, she said. Kendzior stressed the importance of perseverance, creativity and empathy in journalism.

"It's all relevant," she said. "There isn't a place or topic or person that isn't relevant."

Kendzior has a doctorate in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in Central Eurasian studies from Indiana University. Her studies have specialized in authoritarian states. Kendzior was named one of the "100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events" by Foreign Policy.

During a ceremony preceding the talk, five $500 awards were given in different categories to five Whitman Wire writers or photographers. The categories included news, feature, opinion, sports and photography. Student submissions are judged by a panel of professional journalists as well as Whitman staff.

Sylvie Corwin '22 won the news category with her story titled "Whitman Ties to End of Death Penalty." Corwin has been working for the Wire as a news reporter since her first semester at Whitman. She worked for her high school's newspaper, The Sentinel, and hopes to continue pursuing student journalism while at Whitman.

"It was something that was familiar to me, so I wanted to keep writing. It gets me to know more about what is going on in the community," Corwin said.

Exemplifying the effort and dedication the Wire's student employees put in, several had to rush upstairs to the paper's offices in Reid Campus Center in between the awards dinner and Kendzior's speech to prepare the next day's edition.

President Kathleen M. Murray said the awards continue to acknowledge the ways in which Wire student reporters go above and beyond to contribute to the campus community.

"The student newspaper is a very important part of our Whitman community and an important communication tool across the community," Murray said. "Students do it over and above everything else that they are doing, and we should honor the strongest contributors."

Hosokawa Winners 2019

NEWS: "Whitman Ties to End of Death Penalty"
Sylvie Corwin '22

FEATURE: "Here's to the vineyard workers of the Walla Walla Valley"
Alissa Antilla '20

OPINON: "Critiquing Modern Masculinity"
Jack Fleming '21

SPORTS: "Winning the Mental Game"
Emily Solomon '21

PHOTO: "Enough"
Samarah Uribe Mendez '20

Published on May 1, 2019
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