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Spotlight Series: Lost Generation

Journalism is a crucial tool for amplifying voices that are normally unheard; for generating empathy and understanding across cultures. Powerful reporting such as VICE’s Lost Generation illustrates this impact.

VICE correspondent Isobel Yeung rides with Sunni militia

 

In a world of seemingly never-ending hostility and division, journalists and filmmakers who dedicate their careers to telling stories that highlight our common humanity and break down prejudices have never been more important. Our spotlight series highlights some of the industry’s best examples of media that bridges the divide between cultures worldwide and raises awareness of underreported stories.

 

In Lost Generation, VICE correspondent Isobel Yeung travels to Iraq to tell the story of the thousands of young men in Iraq who are being recruited into sectarian militias, many as young as 14.

Yeung wants to see what the future looks like through the eyes of the youth.

Iraq has one of the youngest populations of any country in the world, and the majority of people living there today have grown up in the shadow of the 2003 invasion, knowing nothing but war and chaos.

In this powerful, and often chilling documentary, Yeung and her team don’t shy away from challenging interviews. The voices of the young men heard clearly against the backdrop of a country decimated by 15 years of conflict.

Haider, a militia soldier who is about to head back out to the frontlines, speaks with VICE correspondent Isobel Yeung in his bedroom.

 

Last year, Lost Generation was awarded the One World Media Children in Conflict Reporting Award 2019. Sponsored by Save the Children, the award recognises a piece of media that accurately portrays issues related to children in conflict zones by telling compelling stories that generate empathy and understanding.

Sarah Baxter, Deputy Editor of The Sunday Times and chair of the award’s jury, noted the documentary’s brave and compassionate storytelling:

“Correspondent Isobel Yeung really interacted well with the young Iraqi’s who she interviewed, and wasn’t intimidated by the powerful government official, militia leader or Islamic cleric who all tried to impress and patronise her.

We particularly liked the way Yeung introduced us to 16 year old, Haider Salah, driving a bus to make money for his family in Bagdad, and then contrasted this with the horrific images of ISIS fighters that he keeps on his phone as he explains, “Our guys cut off the heads. Some took the hearts out.” It was chilling to realise that the coolly dressed kid was happier on the battlefield killing people, than driving his bus.

Alex Hoffman (VICE) accepting the Children in Conflict Reporting Award 2019 on behalf of Isobel Yeung, with award presenter Sean Ryan, Head of Media, Save the Children

 

The One World Media Awards look to champion brave and compassionate journalism like Lost Generation; to celebrate stories that demonstrate originality, creativity, and the potential to catalyse change.

Isobel Yeung highlighted the importance of providing a platform for international reporting,

“I’m extremely grateful to One World Media for our award on Children in Conflict Reporting, particularly amongst such a prestigious list of nominees. In a world that is increasingly looking inwards, this has allowed us to highlight a story that is too frequently forgotten: what happens to an entire generation when they grow up knowing nothing but war.

It’s important to pause, and recognise work from reporters across the globe who are highlighting injustices and bringing power to account, which is what One World Media seeks to do. So thank you. “

 

Across 15 categories including print, film, television, radio, audio and digital, the One World Media Awards celebrate underreported stories that break down stereotypes, change the narrative and connect people from different cultures.

The One World Media Awards 2020 are now open for entries! Find out more about the Awards, including eligibility and criteria.

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