Six journalism students from the University of Missouri, accompanied by their instructors, arrived in Des Moines today, Tuesday, Oct. 15, to cover the 2013 World Food Prize, the Borlaug Symposium and related events.
“Bi-coastals” may think Des Moines is just another backwater in flyover country, but this week the city is the site of a global summit on food insecurity — a summit that leaders and professional journalists around the globe long to attend. Many are here. So are fledgling journalists who want to explore one of the fundamental questions of our time: why is it that we humans grow plenty of food to feed everyone on the planet yet millions starve to death each year? Still others live desperate, debilitating lives of malnutrition. Even in our own country, the United States, countless children go to bed hungry. How can this be?
These are the kinds of facts that give responsible public-service-minded journalists a sense of outrage. That outrage, harnessed and combined with analytical minds and a penchant for asking deeper questions, can bring meaning to their work, and possibly help citizens of the world move toward solutions. We hope the students come to understand this as they explore the event and all it has to teach.
— Bill Allen and Nina Furstenau, instructors