Winners of 2014 Kurt Schork Awards announced

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 12 September 2014 12:51 GMT
Courageous reporting on sexual violence and conflict in Afghanistan praised by judges

The Kurt Schork Memorial Fund (KSMF) has announced the winners of this year’s Awards in International Journalism.

The Awards, now in their 13th year, were created in honour of American freelance journalist Kurt Schork, who was killed in 2000 while on assignment for Reuters in Sierra Leone.

They recognize the work of reporters who seek to illuminate the human condition through courageous reporting of conflict, corruption, human rights abuses and other key issues.

Every year, a winner is chosen in two categories: the first is for freelance journalists who travel to the world’s news hotspots, often at great personal risk and little protection, to witness and report the impact and consequences of events. The second recognises the often unacknowledged work of local reporters in developing nations or countries in transition who write about events in their homeland.

Submissions were received from 93 journalists for consideration by the jury – Lindsey Hilsum (Channel 4 International Editor), Paola Totaro (Foreign Press Association President), Lyse Doucet (BBC Chief International Correspondent), and Sean Maguire (Spokesman, International Committee of the Red Cross UK).

The unanimous winner of this year’s Freelance Category Award is Matthieu Aikins, for outstanding investigations into the conduct of the United States military in Afghanistan published in Rolling StoneMother Jones and GQ.

Aikins, a Canadian reporter, was praised for compelling anecdotes and quality analysis – and for bravery while reporting solo deep inside conflict-ridden Afghan provinces.

The Local Reporter Award recipient is Neha Dixit, whose courageous and innovative series of undercover reports on rape were published by the New York TimesOutlook India, and Yahoo News. Ms Dixit is a freelance investigative journalist based in New Delhi. Her hard-hitting stories on commercial sex exploitation, child marriage, female feticide and forced labour earned her aTrust Women Award from Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2013.

This year’s jury also chose to recognise fellow Indian journalist Priyanka Dubey, with a Special Recognition Award for her coverage of India’s ‘forgotten rapes’. Ms Dubey’s stories were published in Tehelka and Yahoo News, bringing to rare public attention the long wait for justice for Indian victims of violent sexual assault, despite national legal reforms.

The Freelance and Local Reporter Award winners will each receive a US$5,000 prize, to be presented at a prestigious ceremony at Thomson Reuters Foundation headquarters in London on 30 October.

This year’s ceremony will also feature a panel discussion, Driven to Polar Extremes: When journalists are forced to take sides, truth suffers, to be moderated by Christiane Amanpour of CNN.

Editors Note:

Details of the awards and the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund:

Interviews: Corrie Parsonson, Awards Administrator 
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