February 24, 2021

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 XCity Award 2016 shortlist revealed: Zaina Erhaim

A former BBC journalist and winner of last year’s Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism, who returned to her native Syria to help document the revolution, has been shortlisted for the 2016 XCity Award.

When Syria’s civil war broke out, journalist Zaina Erhaim (International, 2011) was working for the BBC in London. While many fled, she returned to document the stories of women who chose to stay and live amid the fighting.

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The 2011 graduate is the fourth of five shortlisted candidates to be revealed.

Ms Erhaim told XCity Plus about her nomination for the XCity Award: “Being nominated feels great especially as it’s from City. I am proud to be recognised and shortlisted alongside such great journalists.”

Journalists tell the stories of people who have left to seek a better life on a daily basis. Yet a lack of journalism training in Syria means there are few left to document the lives of those who have stayed. In the past two and a half years, Ms Erhaim has trained more than 100 citizen journalists in Syria. A third of those have been women with no prior qualifications in journalism, unlike their male counterparts.

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Ms Erhaim said: “Many of my students are often treated as activists rather than citizen journalists and their work is often used for free. I teach them the basic journalism skills for them to be taken seriously by the international media.”

Working as a Syria project coordinator with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), an organisation that supports reporters in countries in conflict, Ms Erhaim focuses on human rights and justice issues. As part of this project she set up a series of blogs that covers the history of the uprising and war through the eyes of Syrian women, by allowing regular citizens to write stories of their own experiences.

Ms Erhaim is one of five people to be shortlisted for the XCity Award and £500 prize, which recognises an outstanding contribution to journalism in the past year by a City alumnus.

#XCityAwards16 – Let us know what you think of our shortlist.

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