THE Kurt Schork Awards in international Journalism
Often at personal risk, many journalists around the world work hard to report conflict, corruption and injustice. Their goal is to ensure that the wider world learns about – and better understands – the challenges faced by communities under pressure and hold power to account.
This work is not usually well rewarded. Freelancers live from job to job, with financial insecurity, and locally employed reporters are often on low pay and subjected to harassment or worse when their stories uncover political or business wrongdoing. Many international journalists rely on ‘News Fixers’ whose guidance, local knowledge and contacts can often have a decisive impact on a story.
It is these three categories of journalists that the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund honours each year with its annual awards: one to a freelance journalist covering international news, one to a reporter living and working in a developing nation – or a country in transition – and one to recognise the unsung work of news fixers.
The News Fixer Award prize was created by the freelance journalist, author and friend of Kurt Schork, Anna Husarska, and pays tribute to the vital role that news fixers play in coverage from difficult, dangerous and hostile locations. Anna – who herself often works as fixer – gave this prize the name “News Fixer” because the word “fixer” (which has other, non-journalistic uses) is widely employed by reporters around the world, by international journalists’ organizations such as Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters without Borders, National Press Club (US) and the Frontline Club (UK), in articles, films, scientific and fiction books.
In an article written especially for the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund, The Times’ Senior Foreign Correspondent Anthony Loyd – who first met Kurt in Sarajevo in 1993 – reflects on the work of fixers and their vital role in news gathering. Read it here.
Submissions and judging
The call for submissions is made in the first quarter of each year, inviting entries from around the world of reports published in the 12 months preceding the deadline, which is usually 31st May. A panel of judges then assesses the entries, looking not just at the quality of writing but also considering the investigative effort, resourcefulness and often courage involved in getting the story. Find out more about submitting an entry.
In short, the judges are looking for the same kind of reporting high standards that Kurt Schork set himself in his journalistic career. Hear from friends of the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund as to how the Awards honour Kurt’s enduring legacy and promote the ideals by which he had lived and worked:
The three winners each receive a US $5,000 cash prize. Every year, an event is held in London in late October or November, where the winners’ work is celebrated in front on an audience drawn from international media and influential bodies concerned with promoting social justice, democracy, and global dialogue.
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