On Thursday, February 7, 2019, the American Society of Magazine Editors announced the finalists for the 2019 National Magazine Awards for Print Digital Media (Ellies). Pulitzer Grantees Nahal Toosi and Ben Taub were each nominated for an award in the Reporting category and Patrick Brown is a finalist for Feature Photography. They were among 67 journalists nominated for awards across 22 categories.
Toosi’s project, "The Genocide the U.S. Didn't See Coming," focuses on the Rohingya and was featured in the March/April 2018 edition of Politico Magazine. In an effort to spur economic development and ultimately encourage democratization, Barack Obama lifted sanctions against Myanmar in the waning days of his presidency. Several officials in the State Department warned that doing so too quickly would further empower the Burmese military dictatorship and encourage repression within the state. Indeed, violence against the Rohingya began simultaneously with the end of sanctions, leading Toosi to investigate whether the United States could have foreseen the catastrophe and done something to curb it.
Taub's project, "Shallow Graves," focuses on post-conflict Iraq and was featured in the December 24-31, 2018 edition of The New Yorker. Since the defeat of ISIS and the collapse of its quasi-regime centered on Mosul, the Iraqi security forces have arrested thousands of individuals deemed associates of the Islamic State. Despite unclear and oftentimes dubious evidence, the Iraqi government has tried and executed hundreds of men, and their families have been herded into remote internment camps where they face harsh living conditions. The activities of security forces against (suspected) former ISIS fighters have caused some to characterize it a campaign of revenge, causing Ben Taub to investigate what this means for the future of Iraq.
Brown's project, in collaboration with grantee Jason Motlagh, "Myanmar's Rohingya: Anatomy of a Genocide," investigates the deadly massacre by Myanmar security against Rohingya Muslims that left untold thousands dead and drove more than 700,000 out of the country. Western diplomats have called the attacks on Rohingya a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing" but none dare label it genocide, which mandates an intervention under international law. Their story "Survivors" was featured in Rolling Stone in August and was nominated in the feature photography category.
The National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media were established in 1966 and are now sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors, in association with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The Awards were originally limited to print media, but since then they have expanded to include journalism across all media.
Winners will be announced at an evening presentation on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at Brooklyn Steel in Williamsburg, New York. For more information about the 2019 Ellie Awards, click this link.