Four journalists receive awards
Yemen Times Staff
Sanaa, Feb 4 – Four Yemeni journalists were handed their awards yesterday for winning a contest sponsored by the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships (AFPF) and the Daniel Pearl Foundation (DPF).
The awardees were two writers for the Yemen Times, namely Ms. Amal Al-Ariqi and Mr. Saddam Al-Ashmouri, along with Mr. Osama Ghaleb of Annas Newspaper Weekly, and Ms. Bilqees Al-Hanash from Al-Thowra Daily.
Stories by Ms. Al-Ariqi and Mr. Ghaleb won in the News Reporting category, while articles by Ms. Al-Hanash and Mr. Al-Ashmouri won in the Feature Reporting category.
Each award consisted of a financial award of USD 150 along with a certificate recognizing the winners’ merits and potentials in the journalism field.
The selected winning stories were among a total of 13 stories competing in the contest initiated as a follow up to a workshop held in Sanaa in November last year sponsored by AFPF and DPF and attempted to help Yemeni journalists improve their skills in writing news and feature stories.
“I express my gratitude and appreciation to the AFPF and DPF for sponsoring the contest and workshop and recognizing the potentials in young Yemeni journalists.” said Al-Ashmouri, whose story on drug smuggling won the best feature story award.
Awarded journalists thanked the sponsoring organizations for their support in training Yemeni journalists. They said the workshop and contest have raised their skill levels significantly and all four winners hoped to see more similar activities in the future.
The workshop trainer Mr. Walid Al-Saqaf, who also headed the team that scored the applications, said the Yemeni journalism community lacked training opportunities and hence deserved greater attention by local and international organizations.
“To many international journalists, an award of $150 may seem too little. But for young Yemeni journalists who never had the opportunity to receive training and motivation before, being recognized for their hard work and not the cash prize, is what mattered the most.” Al-Saqaf said.
Al-Ashmouri enforced this view when he said, “the award was a pleasant surprise to me because it is the first time I win any award and this has motivated me to work even harder.”
“The enthusiasm and potential I have seen in the trainees proved to me once again that if given the chance, there are journalists who could excel even to international standards.” Al-Saqaf said.
Al-Saqaf is so far the only Yemeni journalist who received a scholarship from the AFPF, which is a Washington DC-based American non-profit, non-governmental organization that gives developing-world journalists the opportunity to work as reporters in American newsrooms.
The AFPF program was founded in 1983 by Alfred Friendly (1911-1983) Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and former managing editor of the Washington Post.
He hoped more Yemeni journalists could apply for the fellowship program by visiting the website (pressfellowships.org), which he described as an ‘opportunity of a lifetime to work in an American newspaper’.
Al-Saqaf was one of two journalists in 2005 awarded a special fellowship established by the AFPF and the DPF in 2003 to honor the life and work of journalist Daniel Pearl.
Last year, Al-Saqaf along with six other journalists from different parts of the world received AFPF fellowships and went through extensive training in a number of newspapers across the United States.