International Journalist of the Year Nominee Spotlight: Orla Guerin
As we count down to the One World Media Awards 2019, we’re celebrating the incredible work of each of our three International Journalist of the Year Award nominees. Our third, and final, nominee is Orla Guerin, the BBC’s international correspondent.
One of the BBC’s most respected foreign correspondents, Orla Guerin documents some of the world’s most atrocious humanitarian and refugee crises. As a journalist, she does not hold back with her coverage of extreme human rights abuses. Her videos do not censor or sanitise a situation, but rather they show the true picture of a crisis; including the violence, the suffering, the grief, and the despair. She covers human rights abuses by telling the victims’ stories in a way that contextualises the broader situation, which makes her reporting on complex topics both comprehensive and personal.
Orla has received distinct acclaim for her coverage of the conflict in Yemen. The civil war has made Yemen one of the most difficult-to-reach and dangerous places, as air strikes, poverty and severe hunger continue to ravage the nation. The conflict is underrepresented in Western media, and attacks on innocent civilians—including children under the age of ten—often go unreported. Orla is courageous in her mission to tell these stories; to give an accurate picture of the horrifying human rights abuses Yemenis are currently facing. As one of our jurors said, “Orla is one of the most credible, honest and meticulous journalists we came across.” Her brave journalism regarding the crisis informed the British public of the devastating reality in Yemen.
While Orla’s reporting can be graphic in terms of the images and footage she takes, it never veers into the territory of voyeurism or shock appeal. While her visual reporting can be shocking, it is effective in conveying the severity of a story without offending or desensitising the viewer. Some of the images are difficult to look at, but they depict the human suffering to which much of the world is blind. Her use of graphic images is meticulous and sparse. She includes them in reporting where they have the most effective impact on the viewer, and where they are most illuminating.
As an organisation, One World Media supports international journalism. It expands our knowledge and understanding of global issues, and, in turn, increases our compassion and tolerance. Knowing what is happening in other parts of the world is crucial, as being cognisant of major injustices across the globe galvanises change and moves others to help. Orla’s journalism does just this: it opens our eyes to the inhumanity in the world, and motivates us to act.