Wednesday, June 5, 2002

SAJA Announces 2002 Journalism Award Winners

NEW YORK, June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- SAJA, the South Asian Journalists
Association (, will honor the winners of the 2002 SAJA Journalism Awards contest at its eighth annual dinner on Saturday, June 15, at Columbia University in New York. These annual awards recognize excellence in reporting about South Asia, as well as outstanding reporting by South Asian journalists and students in the U.S. and Canada. The Awards ceremony is part of the SAJA international convention, which takes place June 14-16 and is expected to draw 600 journalists and guests from the
U.S., Canada, Europe and South Asia.
The awards will be presented at Columbia by Steve Coll, managing editor of The Washington Post, who will deliver the keynote address that evening.
In addition, Coll, a former South Asia bureau chief of the Post, will receive the SAJA Journalism Leader Award in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the field of journalism. He will receive the award from Jyoti Thottam, SAJA President and a business reporter at Time magazine.
"I am delighted to present this year's Leader Award to Steve Coll," Thottam said of the Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter. "His engaging, unusually perceptive portraits of South Asia are already well known to readers of the Post and of his book, 'On The Grand Trunk Road.' It's an honor for me to also recognize his commitment as an editor to providing thoughtful, original coverage of the Subcontinent."
SAJA will also pay tribute to the memory of slain reporter Daniel Pearl, who, as Mumbai bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, was a regular participant in SAJA's cyber activities. The first Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding print reporting on South Asia by a U.S. journalist will be presented that night in the presence of his family, friends and Journal colleagues. The inaugural winner is Mohamad Bazzi, a reporter for Newsday
(Long Island, N.Y.) for his insightful reporting which, the judges said, "echoes the spirit and high standards of Pearl's work." In addition, a collection of Pearl's writings, "At Home in the World" (Simon & Schuster) will be publicly launched by the book's editor, Helene Cooper of the Journal's Washington bureau and will be available for purchase. Proceeds from the sales will go to the Daniel Pearl Foundation (, the mission of which is to promote "cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music and innovative communications."
According to Nina Mehta, chair of the SAJA awards committee, the SAJA Awards are important "since they recognize outstanding media coverage of a vital but often under-covered region -- the Indian subcontinent -- and also because they honor creative work by journalists covering South Asians in North America as well as outstanding reporting by South Asians."
This year's contest received more than 250 entries from more than 100 media outlets for work executed in 2001. The entries reflected the higher visibility of South Asians in the United States and the increased attention paid to the subcontinent, in large part because of the aftermath of Sept. 11, the royal killings in Nepal and the earthquake in Gujarat, India. Sreenath Sreenivasan, administrator of the awards and a professor
at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, added, "The wide range of media outlets that sent in entries shows the strong interest in upholding standards in foreign coverage and in reporting by minority journalists."
Below is a list of winners of this year's awards. Web versions of articles and photographs will be available online at the SAJA site in August 2002.
The awards will be presented on Saturday, June 15, at 6:30 p.m. at a gala awards ceremony at the Roone Arledge Auditorium at Columbia's Lerner Hall as part of the three-day SAJA Convention ( Twenty-five professional development workshops, panels and discussions will be held that weekend. The plenary session on Saturday morning will feature a panel of senior US journalists talking about newsroom decision
making: Peter Bhatia, executive editor, The Oregonian & president-designate (2003-4) of the American Society of Newspaper Editors; Nisid Hajari, Asia editor, Newsweek; and Jeannie Park, executive editor, People. The opening reception on Friday evening will feature remarks by Sebastian Junger, freelance journalist and author of The Perfect Storm and Fire.
The convention and dinner are open to the public. All are welcome. Visit for details, including ticket information.
Contact or 212-854-5979 for more information about SAJA or the awards. Please contact Indira Somani, convention chair, for information about the convention.

(winners for work executed in calendar year 2001)

Each person/team below will receive a certificate at the SAJA Annual Dinner on Saturday, June 15, 2002, at Columbia University. The student winners will receive an additional cash prize.

SAJA Journalism Leader Award
(SAJA's highest honor)
To Steve Coll of The Washington Post for his many contributions to foreign reporting as a reporter, author and editor, and for his leadership at the Post. (See bio at

I. The Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding story on South Asia Print
1. Mohamad Bazzi, Newsday for Pakistan & Afghanistan coverage. A gripping series of reports from Pakistan about topics ranging from gunsmiths whose sales were hurt by the weapons crackdown, to the use of the Internet by Afghan refugees to keep in touch with families, to key news developments in the war in Afghanistan. This will be the first annual Daniel Pearl Award and it goes, in the opinion of the judges, to a reporter whose journalism echoes the spirit and high standards of Pearl's work. Coincidentally, Bazzi, who is based in NYC, traveled to Pakistan to cover the investigation of Pearl's kidnapping earlier this year.
2. Amitava Kumar, Transition for "Splitting the Difference." A detailed account of the shared animosity that binds together India and Pakistan, reported primarily from the border.
3. (tie) Ahmed Rashid, The Nation for "Pakistan, the Taliban and the U.S." A look at the connections between Pakistan and Afghanistan and how they affect American policy.
3. (tie) Lisa Tsering, India-West for "Helping Bhuj Rebuild Itself." How small, local non-governmental organizations are causing big changes after the 2001 Gujarat earthquake.

II. Outstanding story on South Asia
Broadcast (TV/radio)
1. Kane Richard Farabaugh, WOWK-TV, Charleston, W.V. for "Inside Pakistan: America at War." The work of an American reporter who spent two weeks in Pakistan during the October 2001 air strikes in Afghanistan and shot, produced and reported a network-quality program for a local station.
2. Marc Dorian, Cynthia McFadden, Christina Romano, ABCNews 20/20 Downtown for "Girls for Sale." An undercover look at prostitution in Bombay's slums.
3. Fred de Sam Lazaro & Kevin McAndrews, PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer for "AIDS in India." How AIDS is spread in India by a combination of a brisk sex trade and a tradition of public silence.

III. Outstanding story on South Asia
New Media
1. Leela Jacinto, for "Bias Fallout." How one Sikh American learned a harsh lesson in identity politics after 9/11.
2. Preston Mendenhall, for "In Pakistan, A Grand Illusion." A look at Pakistan's intelligence agencies. staff for "Nepal's Royal Killings." Report on the massacre of the royal family in Kathmandu

IV. Outstanding editorial/op-ed on South Asia
All media
1. Timothy O'Leary, Dallas Morning News for "Pakistan's Choice," an unsigned editorial. A Sept. 19 call for Pakistan to support the U.S.; it clearly made the case for the course the Pakistani government would eventually take.
2. Mansoor Ijaz, Los Angeles Times for "The India-Pakistan Conflict Lies Threatening in the Wings." A prescient December 2001 article about how Indo-Pak tensions would affect the war in Afghanistan.
3. Michael Moran, for "Airlift of Evil." A commentary that asks why the US let Pakistan pull "volunteers" out of Kunduz.

Special Recognition Award -- Tunku Varadarajan of The Wall Street Journal for a year's worth of his consistently engaging and controversial opinion pieces about South Asia (and other global topics) in the newspaper and on its sister site,

V. Outstanding story on South Asians in North America
All media
1. Viji Sundaram, India-West for "Where's the Beef? It's in Your Fries." A national exclusive about McDonald's use of beef extract in its french fries and how Hindu consumers sued the fast-food giant.
2. Daniel Brook, Philadelphia City Paper for "We Had Dreams." A look at how teachers from India hired to fill gaps in Philadelphia schools learned hard lessons about America.
3. (tie) Rekha Basu, South Florida Sun-Sentinel for "A Birth, A Death Change A Woman's Life." A profile of Sudipta Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi woman whose husband died in the World Trade Center two days before she gave birth.
3. (tie) John Bathke, News 12 New Jersey for "Immigration Us." A look at how South Asian immigrants are changing the town of Iselin, N.J.
Special Recognition Award -- India Abroad/Rediff. com staff for its powerful reporting and analysis (in words and photos) of Sept. 11 and its aftermath: the attacks, the victims and the hate crimes.

VI. Outstanding photo about South Asia or South Asians in North America Single photo or series
1. Peter Tobia, The Philadelphia Inquirer for "Caught in the Struggle and Strife." A series of photos that accurately captured the mood in Pakistan in the weeks after Sept. 11.
2. The Denver Post staff for Afghanistan and Pakistan photos. The works of several photographers who documented various aspects of the aftermath of Sept. 11 and the war on terror.
3. Edward A. Ornelas, San Antonio Express-News for "Pakistan's Other War: Kashmir." A Web photo essay about life in Kashmir.

VII. Special Project on South Asia or South Asians in North America
All Media
1. Dow Jones Newswires staff for "Decade of India's Economic Reforms." A hard-hitting package of 11 stories that highlighted the promise and frustration found in Indian financial markets, politics and daily life as the economic reform process evolves.
2. Associated Press staff for "Afghan Agony." A four-part package by AP foreign correspondents providing insights into a region that U.S. readers knew little about.
3. (tie) Trikone Magazine staff for "Queer Muslims: De-closeted." A special issue that examined what the editors call a "triple jeopardy" in the United States: being gay, South Asian and Muslim.
3. (tie) Satinder Bindra, CNN for "Afghanistan: The War Against Terror." Series of reports from Afghanistan in October and November 2001.

VIII. Outstanding story on any subject
1. Sudarsan Raghavan and Sumana Chatterjee, Knight Ridder Newspapers for
"A Taste of Slavery." A major expose of the chocolate industry and its
connections to modern-day slavery in Africa.
2. Sanjay Bhatt, The Palm Beach Post for an anthrax series. Local stories
with national impact chronicling the first set of anthrax attacks and
deaths in October 2001.
3. Shankar Vedantam, The Washington Post for "Fear on the 86th Floor." A
compelling reconstruction of the panic and terror in the office of a World
Trade Center executive.

Special Recognition Award -- Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek for "The Politics of
Rage: Why They Hate Us," his widely quoted October 2001 cover story that
explained to American readers the need for reform in the Arab world.

IX. Outstanding story on any subject
Broadcast (TV/radio)
1. Madhulika Sikka, ABC News Nightline for "Encore: The Eve Cassidy
Story." A profile of a singer who died in obscurity five years ago, but
whose work is now getting attention.
2.Fred de Sam Lazaro, PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly for "Sex
Selection." A report on how the gender selection of babies is conducted in
certain parts of India
3. Gita Amar, Radio 3AK Melbourne, Australia for breaking news coverage of
9/11. A collection of live breaking news reports on Sept. 11 and 12, 2001.

X. Outstanding story on any subject
New Media
1. Roy Wadia, CNN for "Brazil: A Special Series." First-hand reports from
several Brazilian cities tackling issues such as the environment, AIDS,
poverty and politics
2. Sandeep Junnarkar, CNET for "A Bitter Pill." A three-part
series on the lack of progress in the online medical industry.
3 (tie) Rafat Ali, for "Now You Can Buy the Entire Internet."
An analysis of how pop-up ads and other intrusive features are dominating
online advertising.{D00CDD87-9944-4263-81FA-
3. (tie) Leela Jacinto, for "So Far From Home." A profile of
Zohra Daoud, the first (and only) Miss Afghanistan, who now lives in

XI. Outstanding student story on any subject
All media
The student winners receive a certificate, plus a cash award as indicated
1. Abhi Raghunathan, Princeton University for "Thanks for Coming: Now Go."
A New York Times report on Indian software engineers in New Jersey stuck
in limbo after the dot-com bust. ($500.00)
2. Shilpi Gupta, University of California, Berkeley for "The Bondage of
Debt." A photo essay about bonded laborers in Tamil Nadu, India. ($300.00)
3. Renuka Rayasam, Columbia University for "Locked Up: Kids in Juvenile
Detention." A look at trends in how minors are treated by the criminal
justice system ($200.00)

Notes from the judges:
* This year, we have 11 categories -- with a first, second and third prize
winner in each (except where indicated).
All winners will receive a certificate at SAJA's gala awards ceremony on
Saturday, June 15 (student winners will received a cash award). In some
cases, the judges chose to name Special Recognition Awards for
distinguished work that did not quite fit into current categories or in
order to honor a body of work.
* The awards were judged by a team of senior journalists drawn from
newsrooms around New York City and faculty from the Columbia Graduate
School of Journalism.
* Visit the SAJA Awards Archive to see names of past winners.

SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association, was founded in March 1994
as a networking group for journalists of South Asian origin in New York
City. It has grown into a national group of more than 800 journalists
working for leading publications, broadcast networks and online outlets in
various cities in the US and Canada.
The organization is best known for its Web-based SAJA Stylebook for
Covering South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora
( and its tips and resources for journalists
covering South Asia or South Asians living in North America
The New York flagship chapter hosts monthly meetings in Manhattan with
distinguished guest speakers, as well as various career-oriented panels.
SAJA has chapters in Washington, D.C., San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago,
Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Toronto).
Details of SAJA's activities and resources for journalists is available at

Please direct all questions about the SAJA Awards to Sreenath Sreenivasan, administrator of the SAJA Awards and co-founder of the association: 212-854-5979;; Please contact Indira Somani, convention chair, for information about the convention.

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