Young journalist wins CNN award for 'compelling, emotional' Syria reports

Stephanie Doetzer won the CNN Journalist of the Year Award 2015 for her compelling reports from Syria.

Story highlights

  • CNN International presented CNN Journalist Award for excellent international coverage to up-and-coming journalists
  • Awards were inspirational testament to the power of good journalism

London (CNN)CNN International presented the CNN Journalist Award for excellent international coverage to up-and-coming journalists from Germany, Austria and German-speaking parts of Switzerland at an exclusive dinner at the London Century Club last week.

The event, in the award's 10th year, was hosted by Greg Beitchman, VP for content sales and partnerships CNNI, who talked about its commitment to recognizing those who stand out, stand up and make an impact.
    Gerhard Zeiler, President Turner International, delivered key remarks focusing on the importance of accurate and passionate story-telling, and London Bureau Chief Tommy Evans underlined that in journalism, it's all about authenticity.
    London-based anchors Hala Gorani and Nina dos Santos, and Turner's MD for Germany, Austria and Switzerland Hannes Heyelmann, were among other colleagues attending the event, and Daniel Puntas Bernet and Jörg Thadeusz from the awards jury were also on hand.
    Award winners are photographed with CNN London Bureau Chief Tommy Evans, center, and Nina dos Santos, 3rd from right.
    As the presentations got under way, the next big stars of German-speaking journalism covering international issues were honored in the categories of TV, Radio, Print, Online and Photography. Stephanie Doetzer (DRadio Wissen), winner in the Radio category, was revealed as CNN Journalist of the Year 2015 for her moving radio piece "Take care, Habibi."
    The ceremony was followed the next day by a series of masterclasses held at Turner House where guests heard from CNN producers and editors about how CNN International deals with data, its approach to social media and what it takes to produce a successful online video. Award winners were then hosted at a special lunch by London Bureau Chief Tommy Evans and Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
    The awards were an inspirational testament to the power of good journalism and everyone involved with the event was thrilled to host the winners for this special program of events.

    This year's winners were:

    CNN Journalist of the Year 2015 and Winner in the category Radio: Stephanie Doetzer: "Take care, Habibi" (DRadio Wissen)
    Stories about the civil war in Syria are often quite abstract. Yet, a war is very real. It is not only about the destruction of residential areas and fighting militia. It is also about families that argue about what happens, about friends who don't talk to each other anymore and relationships that fall apart. Political life becomes private, and personal life becomes political -- for all Syrians but also for those who feel connected with Syria.
    "This contribution is written as a first-person narrative that is very compelling and emotional. It forces you to see what is happening in Syria, and there was no doubt that it had to win the award. The contribution has won our hearts by a long way, we are completely convinced," says jury member Ingrid Thurnher.
    Photography: Jelca Kollatsch ("Houses without People and People without Houses", ver.di Publik)
    The photo series by Jelca Kollatsch shows the effects of the financial crisis on people in Spain who live in Andalusia, the region with the country's highest rates of unemployment and evictions. "The contribution covers an important issue, and it tells a story, almost following the structure of a drama: With breathtaking rigor, the artist goes from the sources of the problem to the eviction of the people in the end," the jury said.
    Online: Christian Salewski and Felix Rohrbeck ("The GPS chase. What happens with our waste?", ARTE Future) AND Trainees of Deutsche Welle: "My Granny, the Regime and I" (DW)
    This year, the jury chose two winners in the category Online: "Digital journalism has a lot to offer. The two prizewinners represent a different approach in an interesting way and show how journalism generally evolves with multimedia possibilities," explains the jury. In the first contribution, Christian Salewski und Felix Rohrbeck track the disposal of electronic scrap in Germany and find out that it isn't always legal and fair. In the second contribution, a group of Deutsche Welle trainees asked their grandmothers from Belarus, Brazil, Chile, China, Kenya and Germany about their personal experiences in times of dictatorship or autocracy. They created a multimedia online project with videos, words and images, combining the stories of the grandmothers with the history of the different countries.
    Print: Alexandra Rojkov and Jan Ludwig ("You think you can help me?", Der Tagesspiegel)
    The contribution of the two authors tells the personal story of an escape from Syria and asks how far we would go in a safe country like Germany to help people in war and crisis zones. "The authors touch their audience by transferring the ongoing conflict in Syria to the fate of two individuals," says jury chairman Franz Fischlin.
    TV: Lukas Augustin ("Unforgiven", NDR)
    Twenty years after the civil war in Rwanda, the victims and the offenders live door to door. Lukas Augustin presents a documentary about the efforts made to foster forgiveness. The movie provides insight into the tangle of guilt and atonement in modern Rwanda. "This contribution is more than a TV documentary. It is a film about a country that deals with its own history in an incredibly spectacular and exceptional way," says jury member Ingrid Thurnher.
    The jury members of this year's CNN Journalist Award were: Franz Fischlin (Tagesschau host, editor and reporter SRF), Frederik Pleitgen (CNN senior international correspondent), Stefan Plöchinger (editor-in-chief sueddeutsche.de & member of the editorial board Süddeutsche Zeitung), Ingrid Thurnher (host and editor ORF), Hans Demmel (managing director n-tv),Daniel Puntas Bernet (editor-in-chief of the magazine Reportagen) and Jörg Thadeusz (host, author, journalist).
    About the CNN Journalist Award
    The CNN Journalist Award is presented by CNN International to young foreign journalists. Each year, it recognizes outstanding print, radio, TV, online and photographic work by young journalists. As well as awards for each category, an overall winner is named the "CNN Journalist of the Year." Entry is open to journalists who were no older than 34 at the time their work was published. Back in 1995, CNN launched the CNN African Journalist Award. Since then, the award has been extended to Brazil, India, Indonesia and the German-speaking countries. Click here for more information about the CNN Journalist Award.