Journalist discusses international refugee crisis during Global Issues Forum

Devon Parker

Kent State’s School of Communication Studies and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting held their Global Issues Forum focusing on the political and economic impact of the refugee crisis in Taylor Hall on Monday. 

The forum, titled “Refugee Boom and Bust: A Global Gold Rush,” included keynote speaker Malia Politzer, an international freelance reporter. Politzer discussed her reporting and personal experience on the refugee immigration crisis when she worked for Huffington Post’s investigative magazine Highline.

“What I mentioned about empathy fatigue is a really big and very real thing,” Politzer said. “Keeping editors and readers interested in topics that they kind of passed that got covered in 2015, even though the crisis is still ongoing. Finding different angles to keep people engaged has been one of my biggest challenges as a reporter on this issue.” 

Politzer gained a new insight after reporting on the international refugee crisis. 

“Those stories and that experience with connecting with that person and their experience are inspiring and rewarding and that kind of keeps me going,” Politzer said. 

Rebecca Kaplan, the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow employed by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, talked about what the Pulitzer Center wanted the students to gain from the forum. 

“Particular to university students, we want them to be thinking about how the global issues connect them,” Kaplan said. “It’s great if you can make that next leap of connection.” 

Paul Haridakis, a communication studies professor, explained why the international refugee crisis was selected as the topic for the forum. 

“It’s an ongoing issue,” Haridakis said. “The point of the forum is for us is to recognize that we are in a global world. The world marked by globalization. We need to be thinking about what issues globally are impacting us locally and vice versa.”

Haridakis also touched on the importance of students gaining more awareness of the international refugee crisis.

“I want for people to understand better what the face of a refugee crisis really is and to also comprehend why immigrants are fleeing countries. I have that basic understanding and awareness. I want my students to be immersed in the knowledge of international refugees,” Haridakis said. 

The School of Communication Studies and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting will have their next forum on Nov. 19 in Franklin Hall addressing the topic “Social Media: Giving a Voice to the Silenced.” 

Devon Parker is the north regional campuses and graduate education reporter. Contact him at [email protected]