Clair MacDougall

is creating Longform and Investigative Journalism

11

patrons

$130

per month
“To understand just one life you will have to swallow the world,” Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children.

My name is Clair MacDougall and I am an award-winning, independent journalist and writer who covers West Africa, one of world’s least covered and most misunderstood regions.

Over the next year I will explore the militarization of the Sahel region, where Islamic extremism is rising, a migrant crisis marches on, and U.S. and foreign military forces are putting more boots on the ground. At the same time, I am also working towards completing my book West Point Calypso, tracing the lives of a group of ex-fighters and marginalized youths who were driven by war and poverty into a vast Liberian slum. The book explores the history of Liberia, a nation created by freed slaves, under the watch of white Americans, and the attempt by the international community to rebuild it in the aftermath of war.

I need your help to achieve both of these goals.

Who I am and why I need your help?

During eight years in this region, I’ve won awards and regularly contributed to top international magazines and newspapers. However, I do not make a living from what I do.

My reporting on the deadly Ebola outbreak and its aftermath, which contributed to the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning coverage, itself won the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund Award. My writing has appeared in Wired, the New York Times, Vogue, Time, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Foreign Policy and others. I have reported from the United States, Australia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, West Africa and India and worked on Emmy and BAFTA award winning documentaries. I am a former Logan Nonfiction Fellow and International Women’s Media Foundation Great Lakes Reporting Fellow.

The help I need

I need help subsidizing travel, insurance and living expenses so that I can focus solely on reporting and writing. 

My experience

I have conducted investigations and written long form narrative articles about former female child soldiers, justice for war crimes, the Ebola epidemic, government corruption, drug abuse, women’s rights, land grabs, crackdowns on online dissidents and poaching in Kenya. I have followed disabled rappers, Congolese coffee tasters and Liberian rebel commanders turned politicians, written about the Club-Med culture in United Nations peacekeeping missions and have cried in clouds of teargas while covering contentious elections.

I spent six years in Liberia exploring its post-civil war reconstruction and imperfect attempts to reconcile with its brutal past. Now I am in Mali, tracing the roots of extremist violence and the consequences of a U.S. and French backed war against an Islamic terrorist insurgency.

Under the best circumstances, I spend weeks, sometimes years, with my subjects. I covered the West African Ebola epidemic from start to finish. For my book West Point Calypso, I’ve spent five years with my subjects, through epidemics, riots and deadly shootings, jail sentences, births, deaths, and weddings.

Salman Rushdie’s words - To understand one life you have to swallow a world - are ones I live by as a writer. I believe I must spend time with those who I write about, tracing their shifting lives, so that readers and policy makers can comprehend and connect with their joys and struggles and ultimately their worlds.

Goals
$130 of $1,000 per month
My first goal is to raise funds to support the completion of my book on Liberia and ongoing reporting in the Sahel region. 
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“To understand just one life you will have to swallow the world,” Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children.

My name is Clair MacDougall and I am an award-winning, independent journalist and writer who covers West Africa, one of world’s least covered and most misunderstood regions.

Over the next year I will explore the militarization of the Sahel region, where Islamic extremism is rising, a migrant crisis marches on, and U.S. and foreign military forces are putting more boots on the ground. At the same time, I am also working towards completing my book West Point Calypso, tracing the lives of a group of ex-fighters and marginalized youths who were driven by war and poverty into a vast Liberian slum. The book explores the history of Liberia, a nation created by freed slaves, under the watch of white Americans, and the attempt by the international community to rebuild it in the aftermath of war.

I need your help to achieve both of these goals.

Who I am and why I need your help?

During eight years in this region, I’ve won awards and regularly contributed to top international magazines and newspapers. However, I do not make a living from what I do.

My reporting on the deadly Ebola outbreak and its aftermath, which contributed to the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning coverage, itself won the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund Award. My writing has appeared in Wired, the New York Times, Vogue, Time, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Foreign Policy and others. I have reported from the United States, Australia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, West Africa and India and worked on Emmy and BAFTA award winning documentaries. I am a former Logan Nonfiction Fellow and International Women’s Media Foundation Great Lakes Reporting Fellow.

The help I need

I need help subsidizing travel, insurance and living expenses so that I can focus solely on reporting and writing. 

My experience

I have conducted investigations and written long form narrative articles about former female child soldiers, justice for war crimes, the Ebola epidemic, government corruption, drug abuse, women’s rights, land grabs, crackdowns on online dissidents and poaching in Kenya. I have followed disabled rappers, Congolese coffee tasters and Liberian rebel commanders turned politicians, written about the Club-Med culture in United Nations peacekeeping missions and have cried in clouds of teargas while covering contentious elections.

I spent six years in Liberia exploring its post-civil war reconstruction and imperfect attempts to reconcile with its brutal past. Now I am in Mali, tracing the roots of extremist violence and the consequences of a U.S. and French backed war against an Islamic terrorist insurgency.

Under the best circumstances, I spend weeks, sometimes years, with my subjects. I covered the West African Ebola epidemic from start to finish. For my book West Point Calypso, I’ve spent five years with my subjects, through epidemics, riots and deadly shootings, jail sentences, births, deaths, and weddings.

Salman Rushdie’s words - To understand one life you have to swallow a world - are ones I live by as a writer. I believe I must spend time with those who I write about, tracing their shifting lives, so that readers and policy makers can comprehend and connect with their joys and struggles and ultimately their worlds.

Recent posts by Clair MacDougall