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How do you get from a dusty refugee camp to Atlanta, anyway?

July 14, 2009

This year, the Christian Science Monitor has been following Bill Clinton Hadam and his family, as LBC–“Little Bill Clinton,” as the series and the boy it’s named after are affectionately known–goes through third grade in an Atlanta charter school where all the students are refugees like him. The series started with the family’s memory of July 4, 2008–their first Independence Day in America. When the fireworks went off, they ducked.

This year, as reporter Mary Wiltenburg noticed, the fireworks were secondary to the Fourth of July sales.

The Monitor ties up the series with a cover story this week about how refugees get from there to here–the U.S., which takes in over half of refugees resettled every year. There are lots of options for learning more, but here’s the best one: Visit the blog now and find out how to get a free copy of the magazine (it’s a first-twenty-to-email kinda thing, so click that link). The photos are spectacular, and there are also stories of refugees recently arrived from Iraq and Burma, and a look at the process through the eyes of a UN worker who helps give the thumbs-up/thumbs-down determination to refugees waiting for a pass to a new life.

Another great take on all this comes from Glenna Gordon, who interviews reporter Mary Wiltenburg and series editor Clara Germani in this week’s Context Africa. Glenna’s been shining a spotlight on projects that go to great lengths to portray depth and sensitivity so many reports don’t; this week, she talks to Mary and Clara about what it takes to do this over a 10-month haul. It’s a fascinating look at how a news organization that does want to do the story differently goes about it. (And full disclosure, for anyone who doesn’t know, I write for the Monitor. Mostly because I love them, but yes, they do pay me.)

So check out Little Bill Clinton, and let me know what you think.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Diana Brown permalink
    July 15, 2009 9:50 am

    This is Monitor journalism at its most engaging. I have followed the stories since the beginning. The Monitor is how I found your Notes, Jina. My other long time news-and-commentary everyday habit, no matter what else is going on, is National Public radio via Vermont Public Radio. They have done a most recent interview with Mary about Little Bill Clinton, and I found it one of the most real and touching interviews ever. As far as I am concerned, print news is to journalism what ballet is to dance, or piano to music- absolutely fundamental. And I am talking about ink and newsprint- not online. Thank you, Jina for this piece. I look forward to my Monitor and the series, (although the weekly issue takes getting used to).

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