The winners of the first-ever True Story Award were announced during a ceremony at the Reportagen Festival in Bern on Saturday. Three journalists from three countries were given top honours for their exceptional and courageous reporting.
Journalist Shura Burtinexternal link was awarded first prize and CHF30,000 ($30,270) for his profile of Chechen human rights activist Oyub Titiyev, who was imprisoned on fabricated charges.
His report Monitor 1external link, first published in the Russian-language paper Meduza, was commended for its excellent narrative and the unexpected way it shined a spotlight on a forgotten war.
Second prize went to the American journalist Mark Arax for A Kingdom from Dustexternal link – a sweeping, in-depth investigation into the world of agribusiness in California. Arax was recognised for weaving social themes such as climate change, water resources and California history into the narrative.
Chinese journalist Du Qiang received the third spot for The Vagabond Clubexternal link, capturing the lives of a rebellious group of migrant workers in Shenzhen. Qiang’s report was “the most surprising story of all the entries” according to the jury and was praised for the way it captured an unknown aspect of society.
The winners were chosen from 39 nominees who were selected from more than 900 submissions from 98 countries in 21 languages. All nominees were invited to the Reportagen Festival taking place on August 30-September 1, of which 36 are attending and sharing their stories throughout the weekend.
The True Story Awardexternal link is the first global journalism prize. It aims to recognise quality journalism and make reporters’ voices known beyond the borders of their home countries and in doing so to increase the diversity of perspectives offered in the media.
Winners were chosen by an eight-member jury from eight countries that evaluated submissions based on their depth of research, the quality of the journalism and social relevance.