Washington, D.C. (April 18, 2016)—Alissa J. Rubin is the winner of Atlantic Media’s 2016 Michael Kelly Award for a series of reports for The New York Times on the treatment of women in Afghanistan: from the mob killing of a woman wrongly accused of burning the Quran, to the female experience in the Afghan police. The award was announced at a ceremony in Washington last night.
A journalist with more than three decades of experience, Rubin shed light on the plight of women in Afghanistan, much of which she risked her own life to tell in illuminating and sensitive detail. Rubin’s reports on the mob murder of a woman falsely accused of burning the Quran, the efforts to incorporate women into the police force, and the legacy of Western-backed women’s shelters, reveals a much larger picture of the post-war landscape: one marred by a stark mismatch of Afghan culture and the American ideals forced upon it.
“Alissa Rubin’s work displays the same kind of persistence and passion for truth that marked Michael Kelly’s career. In a year with an unusually large number of exceptional entries, her stories stood above the rest,” the judges said.
Given annually, the $25,000 Michael Kelly Award honors journalists whose work exemplifies the fearless pursuit and expression of truth, qualities that defined Michael Kelly’s own career. Kelly, who served as editor of two Atlantic Media publications, The Atlantic and National Journal, was the first journalist killed while covering the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.
Five judges selected the finalists and the winner: James Gibney, editorial writer for Bloomberg View; Charles Green, former editor of National Journal; Cullen Murphy, editor-at-large of Vanity Fair; Mary Kane, adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University; and John Fox Sullivan, former publisher of The Atlantic and National Journal.
Three other journalists were also commended as finalists: James Verini of The Atavist, Ian Urbina of The New York Times, and a group of reporters for the Associated Press: Martha Mendoza, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, and Esther Htusan.
Based in Washington, D.C., and New York City, Atlantic Media’s portfolio includes The Atlantic, CityLab, Quartz, National Journal Group, and Government Executive and Defense One. Atlantic Media publications and journalists are ineligible for the Michael Kelly Award.
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