On Thursday, May 23, at a ceremony in D.C., reporter Maggie Michael, photographer Nariman Ayman El-Mofty, and video journalist Maad al-Zikryare were awarded Atlantic Media's 16th annual Michael Kelly Award, a prize of $25,000, for their Pulitzer Center-supported reporting for The Associated Press on the civil war in Yemen. In April, the team won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.
“The on-the-ground complexities of the ongoing civil war in Yemen, supported and exacerbated by outside powers, are nearly impossible for outsiders to follow. Confronting continual threats from all sides, these journalists filed stories for The Associated Press that consistently broke new ground, brought the nature of the conflict vividly alive, and exposed the ruthless cynicism of those perpetuating the conflict,” the judges said.
The AP, in nominating Michael, El-Mofty, and al-Zikry, described their reporting as having had real-world impact. In southern Yemen, after the AP reporting team's exposure of sexual assault being used as a torture tactic in Emirati-controlled prisons, authorities released at least 80 prisoners from those sites. On the opposing side, leaders of the Houthi rebels launched an investigation spurred by the AP’s reporting on torture prisons run by the rebels across northern Yemen. The AP’s reporting on starvation in Yemen commanded public attention and official action by the United Nations and others, including an emergency initiative to rush food to a remote district in Houthi territory suffering famine conditions.
Given annually, the Michael Kelly Award honors journalists whose work exemplifies "the fearless pursuit and expression of truth," qualities that defined Michael Kelly’s own career. Kelly served as editor of two Atlantic Media publications—The Atlantic and National Journal—and was the first journalist killed while covering the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.
For more information on the winner and finalists, visit the Michael Kelly Award website.