Which reporters, photographers, videographers and editors had their work recognised at the Reuters Journalists of the Year Awards for 2020? Jonathan Leff, Global Editor, Financial News Strategy at Reuters, and Richard Mably, Head of News Performance at Refinitiv, explain.
- On 18 March, the Reuters Journalists of the Year Awards for 2020 placed the spotlight on reporters, photographers, videographers and editors who have overcome the disruption caused by COVID-19 to power the global news agency with their exceptional professionalism.
- During 2020, Reuters produced almost 2.8 million news stories and 1.5 million news alerts for Refinitiv – an annual aggregate increase of 15 percent.
- Many of the awards recognised coverage of COVID-19, but others acknowledged journalistic excellence in the reporting of the year’s other big headlines, including the U.S. presidential election and the tense relations between the U.S. and China.
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Each year, Reuters honours its journalists around the world and reveals the backstories to the biggest news items of the year.
The Reuters Journalists of the Year Awards for 2020 were broadcast globally on Thursday 18 March, spotlighting some of the exceptional reporters and editors who power the world’s leading global news agency for professionals – all of it delivered to the financial industry by Refinitiv.
Watch: Reuters Journalists of the Year Awards 2020
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Reuters journalists shine in extraordinary year
It is always a challenge to select just a handful of reporters, editors and visuals journalists to feature every year, but never more so than for 2020, a year in which Reuters journalists overcame enormous disruption in their own lives to meet the challenge of covering the global COVID-19 pandemic – a once-in-a-lifetime story – from every angle for every customer.
No other news outlet matched Reuters for the sheer breadth of coverage, detailing every step of the pandemic and how it upended our lives, as well as the ongoing ramifications for governments, economies, markets, companies and financial institutions around the world.
The effort saw Reuters produce a record number of news stories for Refinitiv in 2020, nearly 2.8 million articles and over 1.5 million alerts, a 15 percent aggregate annual increase.
Story of the year: COVID-19
In addition to recognising the thousands of journalists who contributed to this Story of the Year, several were singled out for their outstanding efforts, including Michele Gershberg, the global industry editor for health and pharma, who was co-selected as Editor of the Year.
A 21-year Reuters veteran with 12 years’ experience covering the healthcare sector, Michele marshalled her team of industry experts and leveraged dozens of additional reporters to produce a COVID-19 file that was unmatched for its comprehensiveness, speed and exclusivity. The stories included one of the first comprehensive examinations of the high-cost, high-stakes global race to develop a vaccine barely a month after the full scale of the pandemic became clear.
Additionally, Reuters’ COVID-19 Global Tracker was selected as Graphic of the Year, recognising the exceptional efforts to collect and visualise data from every major country in the world – all integrated within Eikon and Workspace for Refinitiv customers around the world.
Breaking news for investors
It was also a year in which speed mattered more than ever, with central banks scrambling in the spring to contain the economic damage wrought by COVID-19, and drugmakers racing in autumn to complete the biggest, fastest vaccine rollout in history.
For their excellence on both parts, the Full Speed Award went to two winners: The ECB team led by Balazs Koranyi, a former Olympic runner whose masterful planning and flawless execution of reporting on the European Central Bank put Refinitiv readers consistently ahead; and the speed teams in Bangalore, our powerhouse always-on global bureau where editors such as Kanika Sikka and Chris Peters work tirelessly to ensure Reuters is first with the breaking news that matters for investors, from European health regulator decisions to triumphant vaccine-trial announcements from Moderna.
Coverage of the U.S. presidential election
The COVID-19 story alone would have made for a massive news year, but of course there was a lot more going on too. The U.S. presidential election was like none other before it, with high-profile coverage more complicated than ever due to the pandemic.
For running the most competitive file of the year with meticulous planning and collaboration, Soyoung Kim was also recognised as Editor of the Year, directing coverage of more than a dozen reporters focused exclusively on the race, plus dozens more writing about the impact and implications for financial markets.
Business reporters and visuals journalists recognised
The awards also recognised outstanding reporters covering the world of business beyond COVID-19, such as Reporter of the Year winner Echo Wang, whose scoops and comprehensive coverage of the breakdown in U.S.-China business ties, from the U.S. government’s crackdown on TikTok and Grindr to the initial public offerings of Chinese firms in New York, kept Reuters at the fore.
Meanwhile, Aditya Kalra was recognised for Business Beat Coverage of the Year for consistently breaking news about how regulatory intervention in India has shaped the business outlook for companies including Amazon, Walmart, Reliance and Google.
And naturally, we celebrated many exceptional visuals journalists at Reuters, including Dylan Martinez, whose Photo of the Year featuring protester Patrick Hutchinson carrying an injured counter-protester to safety during a Black Lives Matter demonstration became a national talking point.
Our visuals journalists’ work not only documents the truth of what happens on the ground around the world, but are often our on-site sources when real-word events collide with financial markets. Martin Quin Pollard, selected as Video Journalist of the Year, was among the first foreign journalists to report from Hubei province about the then little-known coronavirus.
Long before the celebration, of course, these same Reuters journalists had already turned their attention to 2021, searching for stories that will define the year ahead.
An unprecedented economic recovery or a stock market correction? An irreversible embrace of green energy or the stubborn resilience of carbon fuel? The eradication of the coronavirus or the emergence of new strains?
We don’t know the answer just yet. But as winners Kay Johnson and April Joyner said: “Wherever the story takes us in 2021, Reuters will be there to cover it.”
Nominees who covered stories for Refinitiv also included:
Commentary and Analysis
- Andy Home for a series of lively and insightful pieces on the minerals essential to the electric vehicle industry, providing Reuters’ readers with thought leadership on the challenges in sourcing these materials and what the rapidly evolving industry in new transportation means for mining companies across Latin America, Africa and Asia.
- Lance Tupper for high-quality analysis of stocks for the Live Markets and Stocks Buzz format and elevating that file by guiding others on the Buzz beat.
- Robyn Mak of Reuters Breakingviews for a series of prescient views on Asian technology and biotech that kept readers ahead of the game on several big stories and trends throughout a challenging year.
- Angus Berwick for a series of powerful stories, including exclusives and special reports, looking at rights abuses in Venezuela and the means President Maduro has used to cling to power.
- Drazen Jorgic for courageous and revelatory coverage of the dirty money trails in Mexico and Nicaragua, from media to drugs to financial speculation over COVID-19.
- Francesco Guarascio for his sharp, well-sourced and insightful exclusives from Brussels on some of the key policy decisions around, and reactions to, COVID-19.
- Julie Zhu for consistently delivering exclusive stories and deeply reported pieces, including a series of scoops on Ant Group’s botched plans to float what would have been the world’s largest IPO.
- Tom Arnold, Adam Jourdan, Marc Jones, Karin Strohecker, Rodrigo Campos, Nicolas Misculin, Hugh Bronstein, Eliana Raszewski, Cassandra Garrison and Gabriel Burin for their incredible two-hour win in confirming Argentina finally clinched a debt deal with its creditors, perhaps the largest story in emerging markets in 2020.
- Foo Yun Chee for coverage of Europe’s biggest anti-trust decisions of 2020, including the Fiat-PSA merger, Google’s takeover of Fitbit and the LSE’s acquisition of the Refinitiv.
- Tim McLaughlin, Laila Kearney and Laura Sanicola for a hugely original and illuminating exclusive on refinery air monitoring in the U.S., which misses all the pollution created by refineries.
- Echo Wang, David Shepardson, Yingzhi Yang, Julie Zhu, Alexandra Alper, Joshua Franklin, Keith Zhai, Stephen Nellis and Sheila Dang for a string of scoops, analysis and insights on the U.S. government’s crackdown on Chinese-owned app TikTok.
- The Norway bureau for recording timings victories on a range of big market-moving events, from an oil workers’ strike that sent Brent prices on a roller-coaster to three surprise cuts in official rates – and all while delivering original, insightful and multimedia coverage around the globe.
- The OPEC+ team for comprehensively winning OPEC+ timings and providing outstanding insight on the most important story in energy, especially during a year that saw a price war, a historic collapse in fuel demand due to the pandemic and an unprecedented response from OPEC and its allies in the form of record oil supply cuts.
- The Sydney bureau, led by John Mair, for being consistently ahead on alerts from a corner of the world that punched well above its weight on news during the pandemic.
Business and industries
- Luc Cohen, Marianna Parraga, Ana Martinez, Diego Ore, Aizhu Chen, Jonathan Saul, Parisa Hafezi, Rinat Sagdiev, Humeyra Pamuk and Matt Spetalnick for the series of stories on how Venezuela has sought to evade the grip of U.S. sanctions with aid from allies such as Iran.
- Aditya Kalra for consistently breaking news about how India’s shifting competitive landscape and regulatory intervention have shaped the business outlook for companies including Amazon, Walmart, Reliance and Google, and changed the game for industries from brewers to pharmaceuticals.
- Echo Wang, David Shepardson, Alexandra Alper, Mike Stone, Foo Yun Chee, Karen Freifeld and Humeyra Pamuk for relentless drive and success in landing exclusives on key corporate regulation stories, including on TikTok, Huawei, Foxconn, airlines in the U.S., Google, Facebook, LSE/Refinitiv and more.
- Jennifer Hiller, Liz Hampton, Laila Kearney, Devika Krishna Kumar, David Gaffen, Gary McWilliams, Tim McLaughlin, Imani Moise, David French, Arathy S Nair and Shariq Khan for producing a hard-hitting and wide-ranging file of insights and scoops on the collapse in activity in the U.S. shale sector and the end of over a decade of expansion.
- Imani Moise, Jessica DiNapoli and Ross Kerber for the exclusive report on Wells Fargo Chief Executive Charles Scharf’s comments on why the bank had struggled to do better on its diversity goals. Scharf’s comments drew widespread criticism and he was forced into a public apology.
- Ahmed Rasheed, Parisa Hafezi, Samia Nakhoul and Michael Georgy are nominated for breaking news on the assassination of Iran’s military boss Qassam Soleimani and deeply nuanced reporting in the days after, ensuring Reuters coverage was fast, detailed and compelling.
- The global finance and markets teams, led by Vidya Ranganathan, Megan Davies, Rachel Armstrong, Lauren LaCapra and Sumeet Chatterjee, are nominated for an extraordinary team effort in providing agenda-setting scoops and analyses during the historic financial market meltdown in March 2020.
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