Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (international, 1998) has won this year’s £500 XCity Award.Garcia-Navarro covers the Middle East for National Public Radio in the US and has reported extensively on the Arab uprisings from Egypt and Libya in the past year.
“Lulu” as she is known to her friends and colleagues, said she was “deeply honoured and touched to get the award from City”.
Garcia-Navarro was among the first journalists to cross the Libyan border after the 2011 uprising. She said: “For decades under Gaddafi western journalists weren’t allowed inside the country. I was often the first journalist that many of these people had seen. They were crying and hugging us and just absolutely ecstatic that we were there to tell their story.”
Although normally based in Jerusalem, she has been living in Libya and Egypt for the majority of the past year. She has reported on major events including the death of Muammar Gaddafi, celebrations in Tahrir Square and the Egyptian parliamentary elections.
The XCity Award, established in 2011, recognises the work of City alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to journalism in the past year.
Heather Purdey, the former head of the international MA, said: “Everyone who taught Lulu remembers her. Her year was very strong but even so she stood out as someone who was determined to make her mark. I’ve followed her career with interest and it is no surprise to me that she has been honoured in this way. Her courage, determination and professionalism have shone through in everything she’s done and she is a great credit to the international journalism MA.”
Professor George Brock, head of journalism and one of the award’s judges, added: “The XCity prize is a great one to judge because the list of nominations underlines how much talent City graduates have and all the varied, brilliant stuff they’re doing all over the news media.”
The five other shortlisted journalists for the award were:
- Ramita Navai (broadcast, 2002) for her work on Channel 4’s Unreported World including the documentary Undercover Syria
- Ben Whitelaw (newspaper, 2011) for his work as communities editor at The Times and as co-founder of Wannabe Hacks
- Marianne Bouchart (international, 2011) for founding the Data Journalism Blog
- Zoe Smeaton (magazine, 2007) for an investigation she launched at Chemist and Druggist magazine which uncovered £5m in government payment errors
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan (international, 2011) for his work as Iran correspondent at The Guardian.
Zoe Smeaton was Highly Commended by the judging panel for her Fight for Fairness campaign, which uncovered more than £5m in government payment errors and revealed the lengths taken by an NHS agency to cover up the mistakes. It helped secure a £20m compensation package for pharmacy businesses, and Smeaton was also nominated for Private Eye’s Paul Foot Award for campaigning and investigative journalism.
Last year’s award was won by Simon Rogers, editor of The Guardian’s Datablog and Datastore.
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