In a breakout year for global recognition, the Al Jazeera English website has emerged with three wins in the prestigious US-based Edward R Murrow Awards.
In competition against media heavyweights The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN International and numerous others, Al Jazeera English Online won top prizes in the Breaking News, News Series, and Feature Reporting categories of the annual awards named after the CBS News maverick and pioneer of 60 Minutes-styled documentaries.
The awards, sponsored by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), were announced on August 11.
AJ Digital’s website and social teams won in the Breaking News category for their round-the-clock coverage of events leading up to and following the fall of the Afghan capital, Kabul, to the Taliban. Al Jazeera broadcast and digital correspondents were first to arrive on the scene as the Taliban entered the presidential palace in Kabul on August 15, 2021. AJ Digital’s minute-by-minute coordination with reporters and contacts on the ground produced timely coverage of the events in the days leading up to and following the takeover. Al Jazeera’s social platforms garnered some 22.8 million views for videos and reports about the palace siege published on its YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.
“I am immensely proud of our team of world-class, multi-platform journalists,” said Soraya Salam, manager of Al Jazeera English Online. “This honour is a testament to how much we’ve grown as a competitive force in digital news, empowered by our mission of putting the human story first. I hope this recognition provides more awareness to the struggles of those who have bravely shared their stories with us.”
AJ Digital’s interactives team, AJ Labs, won in the News Series category for its 10-part set of data visualisations, Afghanistan: Visualising the impact of 20 years of war. The series uses interactive maps, graphics and data to examine the impact of the last 20 years of war in Afghanistan, giving context to the decades-long ramp-up to the chaotic United States troop withdrawal.
The Slow Journalism/Features unit capped off the trio of prizes with a win in the Feature Reporting category for its six-part series about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The series of long reads, embedded with rich graphics, photography and video testimonials, follows those trying to find the remains of their loved ones and trying to reconcile the loss of those known to have been killed along an infamous, snow-swept stretch of highway in British Columbia, Canada. Some 80 women and girls, most of them Indigenous, have gone missing and been murdered on Canada’s “Highway of Tears” since the early 1970s.
“With all of the uncertainty around the pandemic, it’s been a rough couple of years for our journalists across the board,” said Carlos van Meek, Al Jazeera Digital’s director of Innovation and Programs. “But our teams never wavered. They worked incredibly hard to adjust at every turn. It’s wonderful to see they’ve been recognised for their diligence and tenacity.”
Winners will be recognised during a gala dinner hosted by the Edward R Murrow Awards and the RTDNA in New York City on October 10.