14 Global Stories That Defined 2023

This year, Global Press Journal reporters brought vital local perspective to some of the world’s most pressing issues.


In Uganda, a Rich Tradition Fades as DJs Replace Funeral Musicians

“In one of my WhatsApp groups, there were discussions about funerals after the former speaker of parliament passed away and his funeral was televised. There were questions about why people danced a lot at his funeral. and one member talked about how funeral musicians were dying out and being replaced by DJs. I realized this could make a very good GPJ story.

This story was important to tell because, to most of the people I interviewed, traditional songs at funerals were so important. For them, a funeral is not a funeral without this these musicians. It’s very important to hear these voices tell the story of how this tradition means so much to them as they watch it die”

Puerto Rico

In Old San Juan, History Is Being Run Over

“I went to school in Old San Juan for over four years, and every Saturday I would walk along its streets. It was always very early in the morning when there was no one except a neighbor going out for a coffee or to buy some bread. This gave me space to observe and imagine. The same question had always troubled me: How is it that such a small and awe-inspiring space seems, at the same time, to be disappearing? At dusk, when I would come out of my classes, it was a different atmosphere: hundreds of people, traffic jams on the narrow streets, and historic buildings stained with smoke. I wanted to understand what the challenges and alternative proposals were for protecting what has always been understood as the cultural and historical heritage of Puerto Rico.”


93 and Still Working: Retirement Is a Luxury Few Haitians Can Afford

“I wanted to write this article to highlight an often-overlooked reality: the perseverance of Haitian workers, especially the elderly, who continue to work out of necessity despite their age. My goal was to share a thought-provoking story about the retirement challenges many Haitians face.

While reporting, I was struck by the strength of character of these people, their determination to work despite their age. Meeting these extraordinary individuals enriched the story and gave it a deeper, more memorable dimension.

"Writing this story was important because it brought to light a social reality with the goal of raising awareness of issues related to the economy and well-being of older people. And it gave them a voice."


For Villagers in Zimbabwe, Lithium Boom Might Prove a Bust

“There was a sudden discovery of various lithium deposits that everyone talked about and even people who live in the cities rushed to mine the mineral and benefit from it. It was referred to as the “lithium rush” and touted as an economic gamechanger. I wanted to focus on an angle that no one else was focused on — the impact this rush had on people on the ground.

The importance of this story is hinged on issues to do with livelihoods and how the discovery of such a mineral impacts local villagers who are used to farming as a way of life. It explores how such discovery of minerals seldom benefits locals but rather corrupt outsiders who take over their ancestral land, leaving the locals poorer, with no farming land. The story gives evidence of such a situation, showing the impacts of lithium discovery on local villagers.”

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Nobody Wants to Go Work in Nepal’s Largest State

“In this story, which was written after researching the reasons for the lack of employees in Nepal's Karnali province, the difficulties faced by employees and locals in reaching an accessible location due to Karnali's geographical difficulty are depicted creatively through graphics. I believe that the graphic design of this story makes it easy for the reader to understand the story and makes it different and special.”


In a Tourist Paradise in Mexico, Teachers Sleep in School Closets

"When I walked at night in front of the high school, I noticed the lights of some classrooms were on, people moving about, and heard faint noises. It seemed odd to me, and I didn't understand why, until one day I interviewed a source for another story. He told me the school was converting the fishing workshop's facilities into dormitories for teachers, due to insufficient resources for covering rent costs. That's when my investigation began.

The situation violated two fundamental human rights: the right of students to education and the right of teachers to decent housing. Contributing to this was gentrification and touristification, which increased the cost of living in the region — a phenomenon that is escalating internationally.

I spent a lot of time documenting and understanding the workings of the public education system at the secondary level to comprehend the teacher shortage. Grasping the intricacies of its administrative functioning proved to be one of the most challenging research tasks I've encountered."

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Inside the Global Fight for Press Freedom

"Threats to freedom of expression are ubiquitous, yet they vary around the world. Only with a global team of reporters, editors, and fact-checkers could we fully capture this issue's scope. Being a journalist, especially a local or female journalist, is increasingly dangerous. Global Press is in a unique position to provide a global snapshot of these threats on the ground for journalists at greatest risk. Everyone who values a free, informed society need to pay close attention to this critical issue." - Taisa Sganzerla, Editor


Mongolia’s Great Migration: Why Young Families Are Flocking to the Countryside

“Air, soil and water pollution, congestion, stress, disease, short-sighted planning, and corruption caused by over-concentration in Ulaanbaatar city have caused many problems, while the rural areas are depopulating. This article was written to draw the government's attention to rural areas, and secondly, to convey the advantages of living in rural areas.

When I visited the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, I personally felt the consequences of many problems caused by over-urbanization. When people go to rural areas, it’s common for them to say that there are no jobs and they don’t see the advantages of rural areas. After observing this situation, my fellow reporter Odonchimeg and I decided to write this article together.

Traveling together to create the first photo essay for Global Press Journal created a memorable life story for us — the perspective of our sources, their attitudes, insights, skills, and life wisdom left a valuable legacy. We traveled about 5,000 km by car for a month and a half to beautiful places in nature. When I was sitting in the mud while traveling on a long road, I met local people, helped out and had fun. Throughout this journey, GPJ’s Duty of Care program benefited us greatly.” — Dolgormaa Sandagdorj, Reporter

Latin America and Haiti

15 Years After Latin America’s First Femicide Law, the Killings Continue

"This story led me to get in contact with incredible women — daughters, mothers of victims, and activists — who bravely confront their pain every day to stop femicides from continuing. I will always be grateful to them for sharing their stories and their struggle with me.

I believe this story is crucial to highlighting how the current legislation and protective measures against gender-based violence are insufficient. My hope is that the solutions and experiences shared by the sources I spoke to across the region will help enable readers to better understand the problem and authorities to improve support.” — Lucila Pellettieri, Reporter


Thwack! Breaking Bones Is The Hot New Mongolian Game

"I initially discovered ideas for this story while talking to an ambulance ward nurse at our local hospital. I met with many other citizens and conducted research that convinced me of the story's importance. Reporting this story was special for me because it was the first time I had recorded video for my reporting. When taking photos and recording videos, adults and children not involved in the story expressed a desire to participate and become newsmakers, which was a special, exciting moment for me.

Doctors have warned that traditional Mongolian bone-breaking, which became popular very fast within a short period, is very risky for small children and women. However, people claiming that it is completely safe because it is a Mongolian tradition have increased those risks, so I thought it was important to tell the story and bring it to a wider audience.”


Women Bodybuilders Need Extra Strength to Combat Sexism in Nepali Culture

“While pre-reporting on this story, I discovered how expensive bodybuilding is and the intense physical demands on women to shape their bodies in a masculine way. These findings compelled me to delve deeper.

The most memorable part of this journey was learning about Rajani Shrestha, a leading bodybuilder in Asia, and her husband Samir Shrestha's unwavering support, defying Nepal's patriarchal norms. Samir's dedication, from managing their business to assisting Rajani's training and handling her daily tasks, was inspiring. Witnessing his support during her competition was astounding. It made me realize the importance of stories that challenge patriarchal views and advocate for women's freedom and rights.

This experience with Rajani's story — her dedication, and Samir's support — reshaped my approach to journalism. It underscored the value of reporting stories that promote joy and contribute to a vision of equality for women. Covering Rajani's journey has opened new avenues for me to report on stories that uplift and inspire."


‘Tradition Can Be Created’: How Women Are Mixing Up Mexico’s Beverage Industry

“It's essential to understand the effort and challenges women face in what's traditionally seen as a man's industry. In many instances, it's a sector that has its roots in women. Amidst modernity and the pursuit of equity, women continue to battle stigma. Their perseverance is bearing fruit, imprinting their leadership and sensitivity onto the industry.”


How Mongolia’s Gobi Desert Became a Critical Environmental Battleground

“When our local herders and citizens started protesting the opening of a third border checkpoint on social media, I started working on this story to amplify the voices of protestors. This was my first travel story. For me, it was a special experience to travel to where herders and local citizens live, to see their situations and to meet them in person — to do my reporting at the pastures where they herded their cattle and at the source where they got their drinking water.

They were protesting because opening the new border checkpoint would mean that mining licenses would be used and heavy mining trucks would destroy fragile Gobi soil, causing plants to go extinct and water to dry up, which would violate the rights of indigenous people surviving on farming livestock to live in a healthy, safe environment. Even though the Prime Minister admitted that the decision to open the new border checkpoint was a mistake, the project had not been suspended. It was important for me to report on this local situation for Global Press Journal accurately and incorporate diverse views and positions, and to share it with both Mongolians and international audiences.”

Puerto Rico

Inside Vogue, a Life-Changing Dance Phenomenon in Puerto Rico

“I have known dancer Edrimael Delgado's management for some time. He really impressed me when he once told me that “vogue saves lives.” That was my first sign that there was a story that needed to be told.

The most beautiful moment I witnessed in this story was being able to see Klaud reach her first final in a Vogue competition. I was with him as he practiced weeks before the show, as he prepared for the show and, finally, as he arrived at the final. As a journalist, it was an enriching experience and made me grateful to be there at that moment to tell the story.

LGBTQIA+ communities in Latin America and the Caribbean laugh, love and dance. I think it is important to promote these types of stories in journalism to combat the stereotypical focus on tragedy. In addition, it is vital to enhance community efforts so that this joy continues to reach more people.”

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