Journalism student wins trip with Pulitzer-winning New York Times writer

Feb. 14, 2013

by Greg Bump

Photo: Erin Luhmann

Erin Luhmann

UW-Madison journalism graduate student Erin Luhmann is the winner of this year's Win a Trip with Nick Kristof contest, The New York Times announced today.

The coveted prize will send Luhmann on an overseas trip with the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist later this year to report on and raise awareness of poverty and global health issues.

Luhmann, who will finish her master's degree in May, calls it the perfect capstone to her educational experience. She says mentorship from Kristof will be invaluable as she eyes a career as a foreign correspondent and in international media development.

"I want to work with journalists overseas, going into countries where reporters are asking for assistance and finding ways to support them," she says.

Kristof began the contest in 2006 to shine a light on the issue of global poverty and focus attention on solutions. The trip usually lasts 10 days to two weeks. Luhmann will write a blog and appear in videos on the Times website.

The destination for this year's trip hasn't been chosen yet, but Kristof says it will likely be a poorer region of Africa in the summer or early fall.

Luhmann says she had been following the contest since its first year, but hadn't applied before. When she saw that the applications this year would be limited to students, she thought the timing was right and put together an entry. She asked friends, instructors and colleagues to send testimonials about her for a video entry, and poured her heart into the written essay.

With 700 applicants in the contest, Luhmann's mastery of multiple media platforms stood out, Kristof says.

"I was impressed that Erin did not only a terrific written essay, but also a terrific video," Kristof says, pointing out that not many entrants submitted both formats. "She clearly is a very skilled communicator."

Luhmann, a Minnesota native, received her bachelor's degree in English from Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minn. After graduation, she spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan before coming to UW-Madison. She also writes a blog following international media development and interns at the International Women's Media Foundation.