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Esra Yalçınalp RC 00 Recognized for Journalism Excellence

GRADS IN THE NEWS

The Progressive Journalists Association has presented two awards to BBC Türkçe video journalist Esra Yalçınalp for her coverage of two devastating events in 2020, during which she conveyed the human stories behind the crises.

The Mustafa Ekmekçi Award was given to her and Mahmut Hamsici for their documentation of the refugees in Turkey trying to cross the Edirne border. In March 2020, the Turkish government opened its borders to Europe. Tens of thousands of refugees attempted to cross it – only to be sent back by Greek officials. 

Yalçınalp says “Lack of information marked the beginning of the crisis. Then came an abyss of misinformation. It was through BBC Türkçe’s trustworthy and immediate coverage from the field that the actual human tragedy was conveyed. For instance, the story of a 12-year-old Afghan girl who lost her family when trying to cross the border helped shed light on the plight of refugee children.”

The Behzat Miser City Award tackled yet another difficult subject: The Izmir earthquake of October 30, 2020. Confirming the popular saying that it is not the earthquake but the buildings that kill, the Izmir earthquake displayed how one building could be standing firm, whereas the building next to it could be totally collapsed. Yalçınalp rushed to İzmir and reported the breaking news for a week. A few weeks later, with colleagues Mesut Ersöz and Osman Kaytazoğlu, they created a video investigating the possible reasons of a specific building’s collapse through expert interviews, animations and archival material. Their work was awarded for being informative, cautionary and memorable.

Yalçınalp values RC as the place where the seeds of her journalist mindset were planted: “RC education creates a questioning mind: the default trait of a journalist. We question what we hear/see. We ask questions to understand. Then we tell the story in the simplest way possible.”

Published August 2021

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