Kurt Schork Memorial Fund

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Congratulations to the winners – Matthieu Aikins and Neha Dixit – of the 2014 Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism.

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

Neha Dixit (below Left), whose courageous and innovative series of undercover reports on rape were published by the New York Times, Outlook India, and Yahoo News, won the Local Reporter award.

This year’s jury also recognises another Indian journalist, Priyanka Dubey (below Right), 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 US$5,000 award in each category will be presented to the two winners, Neha Dixit and Matthieu Aikins, at a prestigious ceremony at Thomson Reuters London headquarters on 30 October.

2014 Winners

Shortlisted entrants in the Freelance category were:

  • David Francis (USA)
  • James Harkin (Republic of Ireland/UK)
  • Tristan McConnell (UK)
  • Alexis Okeowo (USA)
  • Elena Stancu (Romania)
  • Graeme Wood (Canada/USA)
  • Meng Yang (China)

Local Reporter category:

  • Itunu Ajayi (Nigeria)
  • Reji Joseph (India)
  • Alizeh Kohari (Pakistan)
  • Olatunji Ololade (Nigeria)
  • Shaila Rosagel (Mexico)
  • ‘Fisayo Soyombo (Nigeria)

The judges for this the 13th annual awards were Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News, UK; Paola Totaro, President of the Foreign Press Association, London, UK; Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent and Sean Maguire, Head of Communications and Spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, UK.

Established in 2002, the awards honour American freelance journalist Kurt Schork, who was killed in 2000 while on assignment for Reuters in Sierra Leone. The awards recognize the work of reporters who seek to illuminate the human condition through courageous reporting of conflict, corruption, human rights transgressions and other key issues.

The annual awards are in two categories: the first recognises the often unacknowledged work of local reporters in developing nations or countries in transition who write about events in their homeland. The second 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 major events.

Unique perspectives from inside Syria’s civil war and exposure of health and safety failings in Chinese manufacturing won the attention and admiration of the jury in last year’s Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism, presented in London on Thursday, November 28, 2013.

Rania AbouzeidRania Abouzeid, a Lebanese Australian based in Beirut, Lebanon, won the Freelance category award for her stories published by Time magazine and the New Yorker covering the Syrian conflict. 

The judges’ unanimous decision lauded her extraordinary access to life inside rebel factions and vivid eyewitness accounts and hard-won factual information that penetrated to the heart of an important, dangerous and confusing story. Read Rania’s entries and story statements

Fiona Xiao-Mi TanThe Local Reporter category was won by China’s Fiona Xiao-Mi Tam for her revelatory exposure, while based in Guangdong Province, of an appalling scale of health and safety abuse of workers in China’s booming manufacturing sector published by the South China Morning Post.

Read Fiona’s entries and story statements

More than 100 journalists representing 36 nationalities submitted entries in the 12th year of the awards. A shortlist of eight in each of the two categories was judged by broadcaster Michael Buerk, Channel 4 News (UK) International Editor, Lindsey Hilsum, freelance journalist, author, editor and President, Foreign Press Association in London, Paola Totaro and Director of Programmes at Al Jazeera English, Paul Eedle.

The other 2013 shortlisted entrants (in no particular order) were:

Freelance category Iona Craig (Republic of Ireland), Glen Johnson (New Zealand), Peter Chilson (USA), Tristan McConnell (UK), Francesca Borri (Italy), Lauren E. Bohn (USA) and Mary Cuddehe (USA).

Local Reporter category Jekonia Otieno (Kenya), Kipkoros Koima (Kenya), Reji Joseph (India), Hashmatullah Kohestani (Afghanistan), Syed Nazakat (India), Zorayda Gallegos (Mexico) and Saba Abu-Farha (Jordan).