VOA’s Middle East Voices Wins Prestigious Journalism Award

Posted September 24th, 2012 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Voice of America's Middle East Voices website is being recognized for outstanding digital journalism.

Middle East Voices won a 2012 Online News Association award for “Topical Reporting, Large Site,” for its reporting on the Arab Spring. The ONA made the announcement on Saturday at its annual conference in San Francisco.

VOA's Chief of English for the Middle East, Bob Morris, credits Middle East Voices' innovative approach to journalism.

“Ours (the website) stood out because of our emphasis on audience engagement and participation,” he said. “For many in the Middle East, that's a newfound opportunity.”

Middle East Voices was launched during the Arab Spring protests and was initially seen as a platform for collaborative reporting. Since then, Morris says, it has evolved into a marketplace for diverse opinions and perspectives.

“Many people lived under regimes where they were afraid to speak out,” he said. “Now we are giving them a platform where they can [speak out] without retribution.”

Middle East Voices reaches out to English speakers throughout the Arab world using its website as well as social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Morris says there is a steady stream of new visitors to the site – 75 percent are first-time visitors – and that the numbers are growing.

The Online News Association was launched in 2000 in partnership with the University of Miami in Florida. Its annual awards are “are the only such awards in the country, acknowledging outstanding digital journalism websites.”

Award winners were selected by 35 journalists from media outlets like The Los Angeles Times, CNN International, The Hong Kong Morning Post and Mother Jones magazine.