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Jon Sawyer
Executive Director
Contact Jon: jsawyer[AT]pulitzercenter.org
Jon Sawyer is director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit organization that funds independent reporting with the intent of raising the standard of media coverage of global affairs. Sawyer became the center's founding director after a 31-year career with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch​. Sawyer was the Post-Dispatch Washington bureau chief from 1993 through 2005. He had been a member of the newspaper's Washington bureau since 1980 and before that worked in St. Louis, first as an editorial writer and then as a staff reporter.
His assignments have taken him to some five dozen countries, with special projects ranging from southern Africa, Cuba and Haiti to Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China. He reported from Bosnia at the time of the Dayton peace accords and from Israel and the West Bank just after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. After the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States Jon focused much of his reporting on the Middle East and predominantly Muslim countries.
He reported from Central Asia during the fall of 2001 and from Sudan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt during 2002. In 2003 he reported on a four-nation tour through the Middle East just before the Iraq war and to Iran just after. He reported from Afghanistan in 2004. And from Beirut and England in 2005 as part of a project on Muslim communities in the United States and abroad. In early 2006 he reported from Sudan, including Darfur, for the Post-Dispatch and for the public-television program Foreign Exchange. Jon was selected three years in a row for the National Press Club's award for best foreign reporting.
His work has been honored by the Overseas Press Club, the Inter-American Press Association and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Jon's reporting on defense procurement contract abuses won the top investigative reporting prize among large newspapers from IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors). His reporting on the problems of nuclear waste disposal was honored by the Atomic Industrial Forum and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He received a B.A. degree from Yale University in 1974, majoring in English literature and history, and during the 1978-79 academic year was an Alfred Sloan Fellow in Economics Journalism at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy. In the fall of 1992 he was a research fellow affiliated with the Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Jon was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He attended public schools there and is a graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy. He and his wife, children's book author Kem Knapp Sawyer, have three daughters.
Speeches and articles:
Jon Sawyer discusses the decline of foreign news coverage by U.S. media organizations and how the Pulitzer Center is trying to counteract this trend in the American Journalism Review​. December 2010.
Jon Sawyer discusses the Pulitzer Center model and his international reporting experience in Inc, a publication put out by the Society of Professional Journalists at Ohio University. October 29, 2010.
Jon Sawyer's address to the Students for Global Media and Diversity meeting at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University. October 22, 2010. Click here to listen.
Jon Sawyer's series of videos regarding proposal writing, grant selection, preparing for an international reporting trip and the importance of covering international news. Ohio University. October 22, 2010. Watch the video series
Jon Sawyer's remarks to the college presidents and provosts at the Bonner Program's 20th Anniversary Program, Berea College, Berea, KY, June 2, 2010 Click here to read
Jon Sawyer's keynote address to the "New Journalism, New Ethics?" conference hosted by the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Madison, W.I., April 30, 2010 Click here to read
Jon Sawyer's acceptance of the National Press Foundation Award for Excellence in Online Journalism, on behalf of the Pulitzer Center, February 16, 2010. Washington, DC. Click here to view
Jon Sawyer's address to the Southeastern World Affairs Institute, Black Mountain, N.C., July 26, 2009 Click here to read
"Foreign reporting, the entrepreneurial and multimedia way," Jon Sawyer Q and A with Online Journalism Review, May 15, 2009 Click here to read
"Broken News: What went wrong, and how to make it right," Jon Sawyer's speech at Davidson College, Davidson, N.C., February 2, 2009 Click here to read
"Reeling Them In: Building an Audience for News Video" Jon Sawyer on a YouTube panel with representatives from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News and CNN, January 12, 2009 Click here to watch
Jon Sawyer's speech “Managing the fear factor: The media’s role in a time of transition” at the retreat at the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, December 16-18, 2008 Click here to read
Pulitzer Center Director, Jon Sawyer, addresses the Houston World Affairs Council, August 26, 2008 Click here to read
Jon Sawyer's address to the Southeastern World Affairs Institute, Black Mountain, N.C., July 27, 2008 Click here to read
Jon Sawyer at the Global Health Council annual media awards., June, 2008 Click here to watch
Jon Sawyer's address to the Southeastern World Affairs Institute, Black Mountain, N.C., July 29, 2007 Click here to read
Jon Sawyer's address to the Southeastern World Affairs Institute, Black Mountain, N.C., July 30, 2006 Click here to read
Reporting Crisis: The Stories We Miss, and Why. Speech by Director Jon Sawyer to the Wake County United Nations Association. Thursday, October 26, 2006 Click here to read
“Media Misfires: Lessons from a Troubled Time,” address by Pulitzer Center Director Jon Sawyer to The Roundtable, St. Louis, Mo., February 2, 2006 Click here to read

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