Open Russia presented the inaugural “Journalism as a Profession” awards at a ceremony in Tallinn, Estonia, where Mikhail Khodorkovsky also launched the Open Media project.
On the day of the awards ceremony, all of those journalists that had been shortlisted took part in master classes given by two leading investigative journalists:
Michael Rezendes (editor of The Boston Globe, member of Spotlight, the group which revealed child abuse crimes in the Catholic Church). In an interview with Open Russia, he described his work: “I’m very much in favour of people who want to practice accountability journalism, practice the kind of journalism where we hold powerful people to account for what they do and what they say.”
Dana Priest (author, editor of The Washington Post, who discovered the CIA’s secret detention facilities in foreign countries). Dana, speaking via a video link, had some good advice for her listeners: “It’s important to build a professional relationship with the people you are going to criticise.”
“Journalism as a Profession”
In the evening, the prizewinners were announced for the “Journalism as a Profession” awards, set up and administered by Open Russia. Journalist and music critic Artyom Troitsky was the master of ceremonies.
The jury, chaired by Maria Slonim, selected winners in seven categories:
Investigative journalism – Denis Korotkov, Fontanka.ru, for They fought for Palmyra (29.03.16)
Reporting – Elena Kostychenko and Yuri Kozyrev, Novaya Gazeta, for No escape from the gods of the swamp (27.05.16)
Photoreportage – Oleg Klimov, Meduza, Ghost Town on the Kuril Islands: Life at a Military Camp on Iturup (10.01.16)
Current affairs (op-ed) – Andrei Arkhangelsky, Colta ru, Bottom Line with Martin Alekseevich (10.03.16)
Regional theme – Margarita Loginova, Pyotr Manakhin, Taiga-Info, Mini Soviet Union: helping the children of migrants to survive in Siberia (10.08.16)
Interview + portrait – Dmitry Rebrov, Colta.ru, Alexander Suvorov: learning to suffer (18.05.16)
Foreign journalism (an article about Russia in the foreign press), Hajo Seppelt, Florian Riesewieck and Felix Becker for Secret doping: a showdown for Russia (ARD)
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of the Open Russia movement, used the occasion of the ceremony to announce the launch of the Open Media project.
He expressed his admiration for “those who, with their pens or their keyboards, are fighting totalitarianism, fighting for human rights and against the bigotry which, sadly, has triumphed in our country.”
The Open Media project has been launched with 5 startups:
Open Economy – Yuliya Yarosh
Investigation Management Centre – Andrei Konyakhin
Infometer – Nikita Dulnyov
Gauss – Nikita Safronov
Culttrigger – Yevgeniya Shermeneva
Winners in the media startup competition were also announced: Ilya Utekhin, Alexander Noskov, Aleksey Kondrashov, Sergei Ustinov and Sergei Frolov will all be receiving support from Open Russia.
Grants for Journalistic Investigations
The evening closed with the announcement of the Open Russia grants for journalistic investigations:
Sergei Kanev – for a film about debt collectors who kill people and chase up businessmen’s debts;
Dmitry Tamoshkin – for research into unofficial social networks which take the place of inefficient state institutions in Siberia;
Irina Shcherbakova – for research into the culture of the Tersk cossacks;
Nikolai Yaremenko – for state corruption in professional sport.