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Al Jazeera Digital wins two Drum Online Media Awards

Al Jazeera’s Digital Division emerged with two first place wins and two Highly Commended second place distinctions in the 2020 Drum Online Media Awards.

The announcement, issued from the Drum Online Media Awards directorate in London on May 13, came amidst global lockdowns with teams receiving news of their wins in New York, Doha and London.

Al Jazeera Contrast won in the B2C Editorial Team of the Year category for Still Here, the virtual reality meets augmented reality immersive installation that premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Still Here was crafted in partnership with the Women’s Prison Association in New York City. The installation takes a multi-faceted, experiential approach to exploring issues of gentrification and the challenges facing African American women who, after years in prison, return to neighbourhoods that they can scarcely recognise.

“It’s encouraging to see that every award the team earned was for stepping out of the box and producing something that was original, innovative and thoughtful,” said Dr. Yaser Bishr, Executive Director of Al Jazeera’s digital division. “It’s nice to see our journalists getting the recognition they deserve.”

Al Jazeera English Online also emerged with a first place win for Best Use of Photography for its feature interactive, Meet the Rescuers Saving Migrants from a ‘Sea of Blood’. Its Photos and Interactives units teamed with Newsdesk to deploy journalist Faras Ghani to a ship in the Mediterranean where he documented the refugee and migrant rescue unit aboard the Ocean Viking. “Sea of Blood” reveals the prevalence of post-traumatic stress amongst the crew attempting – but not always able – to rescue refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean.

“We’re proud of our teams for carrying out our network’s mission of telling stories about and with the underrepresented, both in the field and through the use of innovative and cutting edge storytelling techniques and formats,” said Carlos van Meek, director of Digital Innovation and Programming. “These awards are testament to the fact that we continue to innovate and reach out to increasingly diverse audiences.”

The food meets politics series Fork the System won a Highly Commended distinction for Content Creator of the Year. In season one,  producers and co-hosts Joi Lee and HyoJin Park travel to kitchens in Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines to discover the flavours that bind us while engaging in conversations around what food can tell us about life, history and current affairs.

The Al Jazeera English Twitter team also emerged with a Highly Commended distinction for Best Use of Social Media for its on-the-pulse focus on human stories at the centre of global news events – from the Rohingya crisis and the plight of Palestinians to those living under aerial bombardments, disease and malnutrition in the war in Yemen. AJE Twitter beat out stiff competition in this category from Sky News, Channel 4/ITN News and The Telegraph.

The awards gala, normally held in London, was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with results being made available on the Drum Online Media site instead.