Intrepid Journalists from Kenya, Ukraine and Jordan Win ICFJ Knight Awards

By: 06/12/2024

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) today announced three winners of the prestigious Knight Awards in recognition of the journalists’ exceptional impact and commitment to uncovering wrongdoing.
 


John-Allan Namu, a reporter and media entrepreneur from Kenya, and Valeriya Yegoshyna, an investigative reporter from Ukraine, are the 2024 winners of the ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award. Rana Sabbagh, a renowned investigative editor from Jordan, is the recipient of the 2024 ICFJ Knight Trailblazer Award.

The three winners will be honored Nov. 14 at the 40th Anniversary ICFJ Tribute to Journalists in Washington, D.C. Kristen Welker, the moderator of NBC News’ Meet the Press, will for the first time serve as emcee of the event. 

“These journalists stand out for their brave work exposing abuses of power, in places where it is both highly challenging and dangerous,” ICFJ President Sharon Moshavi said. “From corruption to war crimes, the outstanding journalism they have done has led to greater accountability and change.”

The ICFJ Knight Awards are supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funds the ICFJ Knight Fellowships. The winners were selected by a panel of judges made up of leading newsroom editors, past ICFJ award winners and other distinguished members.

"These brave journalists are risking everything to cover war and corruption in Ukraine, Jordan and Kenya," said Jim Brady, vice president of journalism at Knight Foundation. "We are so thankful for the work they do every day, unveiling truths on the battlefield and exposing government-wrongdoing. Knight is proud to support ICFJ in bringing their work to light and giving these amazing journalists the recognition they deserve."


The Award Winners


John-Allan Namu is a reporter and media entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of investigative journalism in his native Kenya for nearly two decades, exposing corruption and highlighting its harsh impact on ordinary citizens. As the co-founder, chief executive and editorial director of the investigative news outlet, Africa Uncensored, he has led in-depth probes that tackle issues other newsrooms often avoid – from city inspectors using violence to extort bribes to criminal gangs preying on residents of Kenya’s biggest slums. 

“John-Allan is an extraordinary storyteller and a media innovator,” said Dickens Olewe, an ICFJ Knight Award judge and program officer for global media partnerships at Gates Foundation. “Undeterred by threats, he has courageously covered numerous public interest stories that have positively impacted people’s lives in Kenya and beyond. His reporting demonstrates the essence of 'journalism as a service' and has inspired many across the continent.”

 

Valeriya Yegoshyna is an intrepid journalist who is documenting the impact of Russia’s war on her country. As a reporter for Schemes, an investigative project of the Ukrainian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Yegoshyna has unearthed evidence of war crimes, details about a secretive Russian paramilitary force, corruption involving military contracts and more. She is known for both her on-the-ground reporting in “de-occupied” areas as well as her technical analysis of cell phone records and satellite images to gather and corroborate information.

Simon Robinson, an ICFJ Knight Award judge and the executive editor of Reuters, said: “Valeriya Yegoshyna’s reporting on the war in Ukraine was powerful, enterprising, clever and innovative. But most of all it was brave.”

 

 

Rana Sabbagh has spent more than four decades building a vibrant investigative reporting culture in the Middle East and North Africa – one of the most dangerous regions of the world for journalists to expose official wrongdoing. As the co-founder of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), Sabbagh has trained a generation of investigative reporters and editors and overseen the production of hundreds of public interest stories, often at great risk to herself.  She has mentored journalists from Egypt to Gaza to Syria and beyond, some of whom have gone on to work for global news outlets and produce award-winning reports.

Sabbagh’s long career, says one of her colleagues, “is a testament to her unwavering commitment to free speech, independent media, accountability journalism, human rights and gender equality.” She continues to produce hard-hitting stories as senior editor for the MENA region for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

“Rana Sabbagh isn't just a journalist but a teacher and mentor, working with journalists to show them the power of investigations and giving them an outlet for their work beyond the Middle East,” said Jacqueline Charles, an ICFJ Knight Award judge, former ICFJ award winner and journalist for The Miami Herald.
 



The ICFJ Tribute to Journalists, held at the Ronald Reagan Building, is Washington, D.C.’s premier international media event. The gala draws several hundred media luminaries and other guests in support of journalists worldwide, many of whom put their lives on the line to bring us the news.

Learn more about opportunities to support this year’s Tribute to Journalists on Nov. 14, in ICFJ’s 40th anniversary year.
 

The ICFJ Knight Award winners were selected by the following judges:

Jacqueline Barnathan, Former Senior Producer, CBS News

David Callaway, Former ICFJ Board Director and Founder, Callaway Climate Insights

Jacqueline Charles, ICFJ Award Winner and Caribbean Correspondent, The Miami Herald

Stevan Dojčinović, ICFJ Knight Award Winner and Editor-in-Chief, KRIK

Sam Feist, Washington Bureau Chief and Senior Vice President, CNN

Mary Fitzgerald, Director, Open Society Foundations

Jeremy Hillman, Senior Vice President of External Engagements, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

Zach Leonard, Global Chief Operating Officer and President, North America, The Independent

Sharon Moshavi, President, ICFJ

Dickens Olewe, Program Officer, Gates Foundation

Simon Robinson, Executive Editor, Reuters

Goli Sheikholeslami, CEO, POLITICO Media Group

Jose Zamora, ICFJ Board Director and Chief Communications and Impact Officer, Exile Media

 

About ICFJ

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) enables a global network of journalists to provide the trustworthy news essential to free and strong societies – vital work that strengthens democratic ideals and spurs change. We serve more than 177,000 journalists around the world, helping them cover the most critical issues of today, innovate to deeply connect with communities, and build news organizations that thrive. Learn more at icfj.org.

 

About Knight Foundation

We are social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. KF.org

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