National Geographic is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, with a global media reach of more than 450 million people each month. Building on Paul Salopek’s longtime relationship with National Geographic magazine — first as a staff writer and later as a freelancer — the National Geographic Society named Salopek a Fellow in 2012, for his creative and ambitious plan to document today’s world through the prism of ancient humans’ migratory routes. While Salopek is in the field, the Society will provide financial, logistical and technical support. For people interested in following his journey, National Geographic is hosting an “Out of Eden Walk” website with interactive cartography as well as exclusive written and visual dispatches filed from the trail by Salopek. In addition to these dispatches, Salopek will write stories for news.nationalgeographic.com — the Society’s news service — and one feature article a year for National Geographic magazine.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the nation’s leading funder of journalism and media innovation, is supporting Paul Salopek’s use of new storytelling and technology approaches. A cartographic-based laboratory portion of the website, funded in part by Knight Foundation, will experiment with new digital mapping tools that enhance long-form online journalism. One of the centerpieces will be a series of 100-mile storytelling samples Salopek collects across the world, resulting a narrative transect of human life on the planet at the turn of the millennium. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.KnightFoundation.org.
Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a nonprofit journalism organization, is supporting Paul Salopek in a special educational initiative that will provide opportunities for students in the United States and Europe to connect with him during his journey. The program began this fall with online and in-person visits to schools in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Through online and classroom activities over the course of the walk, students will travel along with Salopek, exploring history, geography, current affairs and the nature of news through his reports — as well as through their own “journeys.” The initiative is part of the Pulitzer Center’s Global Gateway, an education program that introduces students to journalism about underreported global issues, helps them make connections between the global and the local, and inspires them to become active participants in the information landscape. Learn more at pulitzercenter.org/projects/out-of-eden.
Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Project Zero, an education think tank that focuses on independent learning, is developing a free and collaborative educational component to Paul Salopek’s walk, engaging school children across the world through interactions that are wholly online. Students will be invited to investigate contemporary global issues and how they are playing out at the local level; they will also be given opportunities to reflect on how their individual lives fit into a bigger narrative of human history. Project Zero’s collaboration with “Out of Eden” aims to ignite students’ interest in the wider world and support them to become more informed, thoughtful and engaged participants in our unfolding human story. Project Zero also will be conducting research into cognition by asking Salopek to interview children about their learning processes throughout the walk. Project Zero’s work will be supported by the Abundance Foundation, a charitable foundation based in Oakland, Calif., which is committed to promoting healthy communities through its focus on global health, art and social justice. Founded in 1967, Project Zero is a research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education focused on learning and its surrogates, including thinking and understanding. Learn more at www.pz.gse.harvard.edu.
The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago has formed a collaboration with Paul Salopek regarding the “Out of Eden” project and has designated Salopek a Field Museum Fellow. During the project, Salopek will conduct two-way, electronic speaking engagements with members of the Museum’s community of interest, including students, the general public and the Museum’s scientific staff. The Museum may develop additional educational opportunities involving Salopek in the future. Visit fieldmuseum.org to learn more about The Field Museum.
Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard
In the spring of 2012, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard offered Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Paul Salopek a Visiting Fellowship to help him to make vital connections with experts and scholars who could help him prepare for his epic seven-year trek around the world. In Cambridge, Mass., Salopek built an extensive network of contacts, meeting with more than 40 local professors and other thought leaders who helped him better understand the topics he plans to cover along the way and the challenges and opportunities of tracing the origins of human migration. Salopek also benefited from the expertise from his class of Nieman Fellows, some two dozen journalists who provided guidance and critical feedback on his project.
Zeega is dedicated to revolutionizing web publishing and interactive storytelling for a future beyond blogs. Our HTML5 platform empowers anyone to experiment with the web as a creative medium. We are an expanding team of journalists, artists and creative technologists passionate about beautiful, surprising, immersive digital experiences that foster curiosity and enrich understanding of the world around us. Our mission to remake the Internet, to help people slow down online, a perfect compliment to Paul Salopek’s philosophy of “slow journalism.” The Out of Eden project is part of our ongoing productions series, a growing collection of innovative storytelling projects that creatively use the Zeega platform to uncover new perspectives on the human experience.
The collaborators and mentors who helped Salopek shape his walk plans include Ofer Bar-Yosef, curator of palaeolithic archaeology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology; Ethan Zuckerman, director of the MIT Center for Civic Media; Shari Tishman, director of “Project Zero” at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education; Patrick Wellever, digital media training coordinator for MIT’s Knight Science Journalism Fellowship program; Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard; Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab; Jeff Blossom, senior GIS specialist at the Center for Geographic Analysis; and Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.