Early Childhood Journalism Initiative Webinar Series

September 21, 2022
10am EST | 7am PDT | 4pm CET | 3pm GMT +5

Rarely have children and families the world over faced so many colliding crises as during this protracted global pandemic. The challenges of Covid-19 are exacerbated by political and economic instability, social upheaval, persistent inequalities, and the harrowing effects of climate change.

Yet, while children represent close to a third of the world’s population, there is relatively little reporting that focuses on the issues that affect their lives, and those of their families.

As part of the Early Childhood Journalism Initiative, the Dart Center has created a webinar series that will help journalists think through some of the most urgent global issues and how to approach them through an early childhood lens. We will speak with high-profile scientists and journalists that have been working on these issues all over the world. 


September 21, 2022 - Reporting on orphaned children and threats to family stability (10am EST/9am Lima time/7.30pm IST/4pm CET)


During the Covid-19 pandemic, 10.5 million children worldwide have lost a parent or caregiver, according to the latest estimates from Imperial College London. Mortality of parents and other caregivers was higher among Black and Latinx families in the US, and families living in poverty worldwide. Wars, the climate crisis and migration also threaten a child’s family dynamics, with many more children becoming orphans worldwide. In this panel, we look at how losing a parent or caregiver can impact a child’s health and what are possible ways to protect them in the future. This is fundamental to learn how to report more thoroughly on tough personal stories and hold governments accountable.

Today’s colliding crises of Covid-19, war and civil conflict, the climate crisis and forced migration pose threats to a child’s family dynamics and stability. In this panel, we will discuss the ways in which losing a parent or caregiver can impact a child’s health, how to protect those children in the future, and methods for ethically and sensitively including these children in our reporting.


Speaker bios

Lucero Ascarza has a Bachelor in Journalism, with experience in topics of gender, health and human rights. She currently works as a reporter at Peru's investigative health site Salud con lupa, where she won a National Journalism Prize (2021) in the Written Reportage category, for the special Growing up without parents: The orphaned children of the pandemic. She also works as a teaching assistant at the Communication Sciences Department of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP).

Mythreyee Ramesh is a multimedia journalist with five years of experience. She has reported across Indian cities, and is committed to telling stories of women, children, and members of the queer community. She has reported and produced short documentaries on sensitive issues like child sexual abuse, rape, stalking, among others. Over the last 18 months, she has been reporting on the impact of COVID-19 and the life after for women and children for India's digital new platform The Quint. 


Dr. Charles Zeanah is Mary Peters Sellars-Polchow Chair in Psychiatry and Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He also directs the Tulane Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.

Throughout his career, he has studied the effects of adverse early experiences on development, including trauma, abuse and neglect. He also has studied interventions designed to enhance recovery following exposure to adverse experience and published widely on these topics. He is the editor of four editions of the Handbook of Infant Mental Health, and with Charles Nelson and Nathan Fox, the co-author of Romania’s Abandoned Children: Deprivation, Brain Development and the Struggle for Recovery. He chaired a Zero to Three Task Force that recently published the DC: 0-5, a diagnostic nosology for Early Childhood Disorders. He is a distinguished life fellow of both the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association.

Irene Caselli is a multimedia reporter and writer, with over 15 years of experience in radio, TV and print, now focusing on early childhood, reproductive rights, and caregivers. She is also a senior advisor for The Early Childhood Reporting Initiative at the Dart Center. For a decade, Caselli was a foreign correspondent in Latin America, reporting for the BBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times and others. In 2019, she started covering early childhood for The Correspondent. 

In January 2021, Caselli launched her own newsletter, The First 1,000 Days, where she continues her writing about the first 1,000 days, the foundational period of our lives that is too often overlooked. 

October 2022 - Looking at the climate crisis through the eyes of young children

Climate change is particularly dangerous for children, yet there is relatively little reporting that focuses on its impact for them and for their futures. In this panel, we will discuss how to cover the climate story, and our responsibility to get it right for our youngest generation.

November 2022 - Many different families: Pushing past stereotypes in our reporting

How do we make sure that our coverage of young children and their caregivers is not steeped in stereotypes and cliches? In this panel, we will discuss representation and diversity of experience, and offer tips and tools to break old habits in our coverage


Past Webinars

Webinar 2: How Reporting on Children and Caregivers Can Improve Migration Coverage

Young children are the face of a historic crisis of refugees and migration. In the world there are some 82 million people who have been forced to leave their homes because of war, persecution, or the climate emergency. Of those refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people, 42% are children. Covering the impact of displacement and family separation is challenging for journalists worldwide who want to inform their reporting with knowledge of children’s early brain development, emotional and cognitive growth, while events develop fast. In this webinar, we look at some of the science that can help inform our reporting of the international migration crisis and talk to journalists who have had to face tough decisions during their everyday reporting.

Check out the tip sheet from the webinar as well! 


  • Ismail Einashe, award-winning journalist and writer, Lost in Europe 
  • Sally Hayden, award-winning journalist and photographer, author ‘My Fourth Time, We Drowned’
  • Luis H. Zayas, chair in mental health and social policy, UT Austin
  • Moderator: Irene Caselliearly childhood journalist

Speaker Bios

Ismail Einashe is an award-winning journalist and writer who has written for BBC News, The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The Nation, among many others. At present, he is a Senior Journalist at Lost in Europe, a cross-border journalism project, which investigates the disappearance of child migrants in Europe. He has co-edited the book, Lost in Media: Migrant Perspectives and the Public Sphere, a collection of essays on the representations of migrants and refugees in the European media. In 2021, he won the inaugural Investigative Journalism for the EU (IJ4EU) Impact Award as part of the Lost in Europe team. In 2019, he won a Migration Media Award and in 2020 he was shortlisted for the European Press Prize. He is also an Ochberg Fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University.

Sally Hayden is an award-winning journalist and photographer currently focused on migration, conflict and humanitarian crises. She has worked with VICE, VICE News, CNN International, the Financial Times Magazine, TIME, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, BBC, the Washington Post, the Irish Times, the Guardian, the New York Times, Magnum Photos, Channel 4 News, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, NBC News, Maclean’s, the Sunday Times, Newsweek, RTE, ELLE, Marie Claire, ZEIT Online, Voice of America, the Independent, the Telegraph, Deutsche Welle, IRIN, the New Statesman, the New Internationalist, the National, the Huffington Post and ITV News, and had stories and photojournalism republished on six continents by outlets including Pacific Standard, National Geographic, NPR, the Times of India, Euronews, the Christian Science Monitor, Sky News, the Observer, the Globe and Mail, ABC News, Forbes and TeleSUR English, among many others.

HEFAT certified, Sally has reported from countries including Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, France, Germany, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Ireland, the UK, Lebanon, Jordan, DR Congo, Panama, Cambodia, the Gambia, Liberia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Ghana, Rwanda, Malawi, Ethiopia, Madagascar, the US, Italy, Malta, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia and Sierra Leone. Her writing has been translated into nine languages and she has appeared as a TV and radio guest. She is a member of the Frontline Freelance Register and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Her first book, ‘My Fourth Time, We Drowned’, was published by HarperCollins, 4th Estate (UK) and Melville House (US) in March 2022.

Luis H. Zayas is the Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy at The University of Texas at Austin. Zayas was dean of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work from 2012 to 2022. He also holds an appointment as professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Dell Medical School of The University of Texas at Austin.

A native of Coamo, Puerto Rico, Zayas received his BA from Manhattan College in economics and liberal arts. He received an MS in social work and MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees in developmental psychology from Columbia University. Zayas remains an active practitioner today through his evaluations of immigrant children and families facing deportation, and refugee and asylum-seeking mothers and children held in immigration detention centers. His forthcoming book, Through Iceboxes and Kennels: How Immigration Detention Harms Children and Families (Oxford), is based on his clinical work and research with children who have been held in immigration detention centers.

Webinar I: Why we need to pay attention to the mental health of children and caregivers 


Only 2% of government health budgets are allocated to mental health spending globally — there is a massive gap between mental health needs and mental health funding. The Covid-19 pandemic has made it especially clear that children and their caregivers need more support, especially in low- and lower middle-income countries. We know that mental health is intrinsically connected to a child’s environment: from the experiences of parents and caregivers, to the opportunities for play and connection with peers — and is influenced by war, poverty, disease and access to opportunities. In this discussion, the panelists examined what we know about mental health for children and their caregivers, and how we can better inform our reporting on early childhood.


  • Tanmoy Goswami, mental health journalist and founder, Sanity by Tanmoy, India
  • Chandra Ghosh Ippen, child trauma psychologist and associate director, Child Trauma Research Program at University of California, San Francisco, USA
  • Anya Kamenetz, education reporter, NPR, USA
  • Moderator: Irene Caselli, early childhood journalist, Greece

Speaker Bios

Tanmoy Goswami is the founding editor of Sanity, India's first independent, reader-funded mental health journalism platform. In October, he will be joining the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford as a fellow. He is an alumnus of the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creator Program at the City University of New York's Newmark Journalism School. 

Before starting out as an independent creator, Goswami was a contributor at The Correspondent; associate editor at ET Prime, the subscription-based news venture of India's largest business newspaper The Economics Times; and head of the desk at Fortune magazine's Indian edition. Tanmoy has coauthored a paper on suicide prevention for The Lancet Psychiatry and contributed a chapter to a book on leadership lessons from the coronavirus pandemic (Routledge UK, 2021). He lives in New Delhi.

Chandra Ghosh Ippen is a child trauma psychologist specializing in working with families with children under age 6. She is co-developer of Child-Parent Psychotherapy and the associate director of the Child Trauma Research Program at the University of California, San Francisco. She has spent over 30 years conducting clinical work, research, and training in the area of childhood trauma and diversity-informed practice.

She is also an award-winning children’s book author and has written 5 children’s books to support families who have experienced stress and trauma as well as the free Trinka and Sam disaster series, which has been translated and distributed around the world.

Anya Kamenetz is an education correspondent at NPR. She joined NPR in 2014, working as part of a new initiative to coordinate on-air and online coverage of learning. Since then the NPR Ed team has won a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Innovation, and a 2015 National Award for Education Reporting for the multimedia national collaboration, the Grad Rates project.

Kamenetz is the author of several books. Her latest is The Stolen Year: How Covid Changed Children’s Lives, And Where We Go Now. Her previous books touched on student loans, innovations to address cost, quality, and access in higher education, and issues of assessment and excellence: Generation Debt; DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, and The Test.