By Margaux Nersesian, Strategic Communication major, Class of 2021
TCU journalism majors Chloe Cloud ‘23 and Cristian Argueta Soto ‘21 have been chosen to participate in the 2020 Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellowship. The two will be working as a fellowship team to report on Costa Rica’s silent leadership in the fight against climate change. They paired up to combine their skills as one of the only two-person teams in the fellowship program. Argueta Soto is a photojournalist who brings experience from his work at TCU360 and Cloud brings journalism experience through her involvement in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Together, they aim to interview the people behind Costa Rica’s exceptional sustainability. Cloud says, “There is no better way to show how successful Costa Rica has been than by turning the spotlight to the people who are responsible for that success.” Argueta Soto aims to enhance the quality of their reporting through integrating visuals with his photography skills. He explains, “I have always believed that strong writing, reporting, and research paired with strong visuals, photos, videos, and charts/data will always hold more power than a plain write-up. My goal is to boost our research as much as possible, and provide guidance where I can, but also learn from Chloe and the way she moves on the field which may differ from how I do things.”
Cloud believes that calling Costa Rica a “silent leader” is a bit of a misnomer because Costa Rica is very vocal about its actions against climate change, but its words and actions are not widely reported. She explains, “I truly believe that Costa Ricans are not silent leaders by choice. It’s just that their efforts to reverse the carbon footprint are consistently being overshadowed by climate issues occurring elsewhere.” The pair wants to help Costa Rica’s undeniable success gain attention, in contrast to the often-negative news portrayed on climate change issues. Argueta Soto is eager to bring lesser-known stories to international acclaim. He shares his broader goals as a photojournalist: “I have an interest in telling the stories from across the world that people in the Western world may not hear or see…My biggest passion is inspiring people to create change or educate themselves, and making people aware of the world’s issues helps me help them become global citizens.”
Cloud and Argueta Soto credit the excellent professors in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication for this opportunity. Cloud learned about the fellowship from attending an informational meeting, which was an extra credit assignment from her Introduction to Journalism professor and the NAHJ coordinator, Patty Zamarripa. While Argueta Soto had heard about the program in years prior and always had taken an interest, Associate Professor of Journalism Uche Onyebadi suggested the two apply as a team and guided them through the application and proposal process.
Cloud and Argueta Soto planned to begin their research with a two-week trip to Costa Rica this summer. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, their travel plans have been postponed until 2021. In the meantime, they have been focusing on their research and their contacts to make their trip as successful as possible. The two are anxiously anticipating their trip and are excited to do meaningful reporting for the Pulitzer Center. Cloud elaborates, “I believe this story will have a great impact because rather than putting out more news discussing devastation and tragedies revolving around the climate crisis, it will highlight achievements taken to erase the carbon footprint. We have intentions of having this story influence not only the individual reader but hopefully those in positions to make a change for their countries as well.” Argueta Soto echoes this sentiment, saying, “I am confident that Chloe and I will make work that could be nationally recognized.”