Paul Salopek

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Paul Salopek (born February 9, 1962 in Barstow, California)[1] is an American[2] journalist and writer. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and was raised in central Mexico.[3]


Salopek received a degree in environmental biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1984.[1][4][5] Salopek has worked intermittently as a commercial fisherman, most recently with the scallop fleet out of New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1991. His career in journalism began in 1985 when his motorcycle broke in Roswell, New Mexico and he took a police-reporting job at the local newspaper to earn repair money.[1] In 1993, he won a James Aronson Award honorable mention.


Salopek reported for the Chicago Tribune from 1996 until April 30, 2009, writing about Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He worked for National Geographic from 1992–1995, visiting Chad, Sudan, Senegal, Niger, Mali, and Nigeria.[4] The October 1995 cover story for National Geographic was Salopek's piece on Africa's mountain gorillas. He reported on U.S.-Mexico border issues for the El Paso Times. In 1990, he was Gannett News Service's bureau chief in Mexico City.[6]

In 1998 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for two articles profiling the Human Genome Diversity Project.[1][3][5] In 2001, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for work covering Africa.[1][3][5] Columbia University President George Rupp presented Salopek with the prize, "for his reporting on the political strife and disease epidemics ravaging Africa, witnessed firsthand as he traveled, sometimes by canoe, through rebel-controlled regions of the Congo."[6]

Salopek was a general assignment reporter on the Tribune's Metropolitan staff, reporting on immigration, the environment and urban affairs. He spent several years as the Tribune's bureau chief in Johannesburg. Salopek reported from Sudan for a 2003 National Geographic story, "Shattered Sudan: Drilling for Oil, Hoping for Peace." He co-wrote "Who Rules the Forest?" from Africa for National Geographic in September 2005, examining the effects of war in Central Africa.[6]

In the Fall of 2009, Salopek taught an undergraduate seminar on reporting from the developing world at Princeton University as part of Princeton's Journalism Program.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek is retracing on foot our ancestors’ migration out of Africa and across the globe. His 21,000-mile odyssey began in Ethiopia and will end seven years later at the tip of South America.

Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden world walk is an exercise in slow journalism. Moving at the slow beat of his footsteps, Paul is engaging with the major stories of our time—from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival—by walking alongside the people who inhabit them every day. As he traverses the globe from Africa to South America, he is revealing the texture of the lives of people he encounters: the nomads, villagers, traders, farmers, and fishermen who never make the news. When his seven-year journey ends, Paul will have created a global mosaic of stories, faces, sounds, and landscapes highlighting the pathways that connect us to each other—a unique archive of our shared humanity at the start of a new millennium.

Dispatches from the walk can be found here:

Milestones, maps, translations, and more can be found here:

Media coverage of the Out of Eden Walk includes: NPR The Huffington Post Canadian Broadcasting Company PBS NewsHour Chicago Tribune

[7] [8] [9]

The seven-year walk[edit]

In January 2013, Salopek embarked on a seven-year walk, along one of the routes taken by early humans to migrate out of Africa. The journey will cover more than 20,000 km, beginning in Africa, in Ethiopia, across the Middle East and through Asia, via Alaska and down the western edge of the Americas to the southern tip of Chile.[10] The project, entitled Out of Eden, is partly funded by the National Geographic Magazine. Salopek aims to cover current major global stories by walking alongside the people who live them.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Paul Salopek of the Chicago Tribune". Pulitzer Prize. Archived from the original on January 9, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  2. ^ Former El Paso Times reporter starts day 1 of a 7-year walk, El Paso Times, 11 Jan 2013
  3. ^ a b c "Sudan charges Tribune ace with writing 'false news'". Associated Press. 2006-08-27. Archived from the original on August 29, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  4. ^ a b Chamberlain, Ted (2006-08-26). "Spying Charge Brought Against Geographic Reporter in Sudan". National Geographic. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  5. ^ a b c "Statement From National Geographic On Paul Salopek". National Geographic Magazine. 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  6. ^ a b c Jones, Tim (2006-08-26). "Tribune correspondent charged as spy in Sudan". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
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  10. ^ "What do you pack for a 7 year trip? url=". 
  11. ^ "Out of Eden url=".