Winners of the 2011 Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism
Gertrude Pswarayi (Zimbabwe) - Local journalist category
Jerome Starkey (UK) - Freelance category
British journalist Jerome Starkey is the 2011 winner in the category of freelance journalists covering foreign news. The winner in the local reporter category is Gertrude Fadziso Pswarayi. In presenting the awards, judges noted that Starkey had clearly taken high personal risks in his coverage of Afghanistan and Libya. Pswarayi wrote about raped and exploited women in Zimbabwe, a country with “zero tolerance for the journalism of revelation”, the judges noted.
Starkey and Pswarayi were chosen from almost 90 submitted entries from journalists from around the world. The Kurt Schork Memorial Awards are alone in specifically honouring the contributions of freelance journalists covering foreign news and reporters living and working in the developing world and countries in transition. Winners in each category will receive a $5,000 (US) monetary award at a presentation ceremony in London on November 17.
About the Winners
Gertrude Pswarayi - 2011 Winner, Local journalist category
Pswarayi is co-founder and director of the Creative Centre for Communication and Development in Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation that works to give marginalised groups a voice. She writes regularly for World Pulse and for the Global Press Institute (GPI), published online. Her powerful article about political rape survivors coming forward to tell their stories ahead of the Zimbabwean elections captured the judges’ attention.
“We applaud her bravery and daring in telling the disturbing stories of raped and exploited women in Zimbabwe, a country with zero tolerance for the journalism of revelation,” reads her citation from the judging panel. “Just when you feel that you can neither read, nor watch/listen to anything more about Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, you must come to terms with what Gertrude has told us.”
Gertrude Pswarayi, 29, has a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She began writing business news as an intern at the Sunday Mail in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2003, later moving into media/public relations and communications for local NGOs, including Bulawayo’s Sexual Rights Centre. She has been a citizen journalist, online, for World Pulse since February 2009 and is a senior reporter on the Zimbabwe desk of the Global Press Institute, as well as a director of the NGO Creative Centre for Communication and Development, Bulawayo.
- Political rape survivors come forward in advance of election,
- Sex workers denied basic rights
- Zimbabwe’s education system on verge of collapse, corruption blamed
Jerome Starkey - 2011 Winner, Freelance journalist category
Starkey won for two reports from Afghanistan and one from Libya. A story from Helmand province published in The Times (UK) described a mine blast that claimed a British soldier’s life; another published in The Scotsman told of the aftermath of a Taleban roadside bombing. Starkey’s third entry, also in The Times, recorded his experiences aboard a small boat ferrying supplies to rebels in Misrata, Libya, and what he found on arrival.
The judges’ full citation reads: “In his reports from Afghanistan and Libya, Jerome Starkey has shown a tremendous amount of enterprise. Writing very well and very vividly, he tells you what you want to know about the experiences of those caught up in conflicts – and has clearly taken high risks to get his stories.”
Jerome Starkey, 30, left City University, London in 2004 with a post-graduate diploma in newspaper journalism. He worked for The Sun (UK) until 2006 when he began freelancing in Afghanistan, becoming The Times’ stringer there in 2009. He has also covered Iraq for The Sun and Libya for The Times and The Scotsman.
- Final, fatal step of ‘a really brilliant bloke’
- Living in the aftermath of a Taleban roadside bombing
- Overloaded, underpowered – but buoyed by self-belief
Honourable mentions were awarded to several other entrants
Local Reporter Category:
- Humberto Padgett (Mexico) for risky research and well-told stories about the consequences of drug-fuelled criminality and gang violence in Mexico;
- Vinod Jose (India) for first-class journalism, with well-planned and written stories about a bungled Indo-US espionage mission and an aging patriarch clinging to power;
- Ayodeji Adeyemi (Nigeria) for a “powerful” and “impressive” study on the dehumanising impact of oil exploration on the people of the Niger Delta, involving risky and difficult reporting.
Freelance Journalist Category:
- Jean Friedman-Rudovsky (USA), reporting in Mexico and Bolivia, for “wonderful story-telling, fluid writing, painstaking research, value-added context, and a passionate attitude about alerting the world to these injustices”;
- Tristan McConnell (UK/South Africa) for an enterprising and well-written and structured story about a Hell’s Angel on a mission to save Africa’s forgotten children.
IWPR is honoured to be a partner, with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, in promoting and administering the Kurt Schork Awards.