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Friday, October 30, 2020

Telling The Stories of 'Invisible People'

Bottom of“I didn't go into journalism thinking it would solidify my identity. I did it because I needed to make a living, and I was proficient in writing. But in becoming a journalist, I learned about other people who felt like they were on the edges of American mainstream life.” – Alex Tizon


Tomas Alexander Asuncion (Alex) Tizon was born in the Philippines on this date in 1959.  A Filipino-American author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, he also taught journalism at the University of Oregon and authored the book Big Little Man, a memoir and cultural history that explores themes related to race, masculinity, and personal identity.  


Tizon’s controversial final story, titled "My Family's Slave,” was published as the cover story of the June 2017 issue of The Atlantic after his sudden death at his home in March of that year.   A coroner’s report said the unexplained death was “from natural causes,” but questions persist. 

A graduate of both the University of Oregon and Stanford University, he won the Pulitzer for Investigative Reporting while writing about fraud and mismanagement in the Federal Indian Housing Program in a series for the Seattle Times.  He regularly wrote about people from a wide range of cultures subsisting on the margins.


“I guess you could say I've written a lot about one thing as a journalist,” he said shortly before his death.  “But I hardly ever saw it as exclusively about race. To my mind, it was more about telling stories of people who existed outside the mainstream's field of vision. Invisible people.“



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