UNL journalism student wins trip to report with Nicholas Kristof in Africa

Lincoln, Neb., March 15th, 2010 — Mitch Smith, a 19-year-old from Overland Park, Kan., has been selected to go on a reporting trip to Africa this summer with New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof. Smith is a freshman studying journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. An American journalist, Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six and traveled to more than 140 countries.

As the winner of "Win A Trip," Smith will have a chance to blog for the Times Web site and to file videos to the Times and YouTube.

An op-ed columnist for Times since 2001, Kristof's columns have often focused on global health, poverty and gender issues in the developing worlds. In particular, since 2004 he has written dozens of columns about Darfur and visited the area 10 times. He is the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes.

Kristof said the aim of "Win A Trip" is to help focus attention on the problems of global poverty and on the remedies as well.

Smith, who has never been out of the United States, wrote in his winning essay, "I will fully invest myself in this project ... this is the epitome of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference and witness the world's problems firsthand."

Charlyne Berens, interim dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, said, "This is a fabulous opportunity for Mitch. We are thrilled for him and so proud of him. We look forward to reading the journalism this will allow him to produce."

To be considered for "Win A Trip," which began in 2006, students at least 18 years old from American universities were invited to submit a written essay or a video entry stating their reasons for wanting to go to Africa and explaining what makes them suited for such an experience. This year the Center for Global Development assisted Kristof with the review of 893 applicants.

Past "Win A Trip" winners have traveled to Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Rwanda, Burundi, the eastern Congo, Senegal, Sierre Leone and Liberia.

Mitch's posts will be appearing on http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/

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