An episode of the podcast This American Life produced by a Costa Rican has won the first-ever Pulitzer Prize for audio reporting.
Nadia Reiman, who was born in Costa Rica and moved to the United States as a child, produced “The Out Crowd,” an investigative look into the impact of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy.
The 66-minute podcast episode was reported by Los Angeles Times journalist Molly O’Toole, who spoke with asylum seekers and asylum officers about the effects of new U.S. policies, and by Emily Green, who interviewed a man who was kidnapped after being sent back to Mexico.
Reiman has spent most of her life in the United States, but she credited a college trip to Costa Rica as a seminal moment in her audio journalism career.
“When I went abroad to Costa Rica, I hoped to figure out what it really meant to be Costa Rican, because I hadn’t been there since I was (a child),” she told the Kenyon College alumni magazine. “But I had a hard time adjusting, because I speak Spanish fluently, and Costa Ricans essentially saw me as a Costa Rican … (even if) culturally, I wasn’t.
“I remember feeling really sad, and asking myself when the last time was that I felt really happy. … It was the beginning of me realizing that I could do something substantial with radio.”
Before working at This American Life, Reiman was a senior editor at National Public Radio’s Latino USA, a program which “offers insight into the lived experiences of Latino communities and is a window on the current and merging cultural, political and social ideas impacting Latinos and the nation.”