NY Times and Haitian Times staff
NY Times writers and editors of the recent series "Ransom" joined Haitian Times' executive editor and publisher for a conversation on the process of writing the complex and revelatory work. Credit: Photo by The Haitian Times

In the wake of a 30,000-word special story about Haiti’s “double debt” that brought millions of digital readers to its site, The New York Times is exploring how to describe Haiti moving forward in its coverage. The story’s lead editor told The Haitian Times during a virtual panel that the “poorest country in the Western Hemisphere” description line often used for Haiti should be scrapped as part of a rethinking of how the nation is portrayed. 

“This is something that really rankles most Haitian-Americans or Haitian diaspora or people in Haiti as well,” said Gregory Winter, the international managing editor at the New York Times. “The shorthand journalistically is ‘Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.’”

“What is that new second line,” Winter said. “Can we change the narrative? That, I think, is the big question of what's next, and how people, journalists included, rethink Haiti as a result of this [series].”

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J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded "Yonn Ede Lot" (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer groups in La Montagne ("Lamontay"), Haiti from 2007-2013. She writes and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.