Three international journalists awarded for courageous work

from International Journalists' Network

Oct 13, 2005

Since a military ambush in Sierra Leone killed freelance reporter Kurt Schork in May 2000, Columbia University in New York has honored journalists who follow his example of reporting truth in the face of conflict.

The 2005 Kurt Schork Award winners – Muzamil Jaleel, Patrick Graham and Pawel Smolenski – will receive their awards at an October 25 ceremony at the Columbia University Journalism School. The university administers the awards, sponsored by the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund and Reuters.

Each year, an international jury selects one freelance journalist covering international news and one reporter covering local news in a developing or transition country. This year, the judges opted to recognize three reporters.

Jaleel, a reporter for the Indian Express, won for his courageous reporting on ethnic conflict in his native Kashmir. Among his work that got the attention of the jury was a portrait of the young fedayeen guerrillas who took him captive.

Graham is a Canadian freelance reporter who was based in Iraq from 2002 to 2004. He frequently visited rebellious tribal areas to interview insurgents for reports published in Harper’s Magazine. Graham took great personal risk to depict the complex personal and tribal relationships at work in today’s Iraq.

The work of Smolenski, a correspondent for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, inspired this year’s panel to abandon the tradition of awarding only two journalists. As one judge said in an announcement from the university, Smolenski’s reporting of Iraq illuminates “a world of religious intrigue, grinding poverty, fear and anger at ‘Mister Americas’ who have taken control of the country.”

For next year’s awards, the deadline for submissions is May 1. For more information, contact Lisa Redd at, telephone (212) 854-6468.

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