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University of Wisconsin–Madison

“The Body Trade” wins 2018 Shadid Award

Brian Grow, John Shiffman and the Reuters team win the 2018 Shadid Award. “The Body Trade” exposes the industry that dissects, rents and sells the bodies of the recently deceased. During interviews with family members of those who had donated their bodies, Grow “set aside the instincts as an intrepid reporter and relied instead on his own ethical compass, showing the families his respect for their loss and his understanding of the difficult choices many of them made,” the nominating editor wrote.

Lucas Graves, assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication and chair of the Shadid Award judging committee, said all of this year’s finalists navigated tricky ethical questions, but the Reuters series stood out.

“This series involves a topic that is highly personal to the families of those who donated their bodies and important to everyone,” Graves said. “Reporters and editors invested in telling this story as thoroughly as possible and dealt with some unexpected landmines in a thoughtful way.”

Grow, Shiffman and the Reuters team will be presented with the award April 5 in a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Thomas Friedman will join the Center at the ceremony for a keynote conversation: “From Beirut To Jerusalem to Washington: Reflections on 40 years of Middle East Reporting.” Registration for the ceremony is now open.

The 2018 finalists for the Shadid Award are:

·      Kristen GelineauWong Maye-E and Rishabh Jain, Associated Press. “Rohingya Methodically Raped by Myanmar’s Armed Forces” is a look at atrocities documented through interviews done in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Gelineau “faced a constant internal battle between journalistic objectivity and humanity,” a colleague wrote.

·      Maggie Michael and Maad al-Zikery, Associated Press. “Inside Yemen’s Secret Prisons” found evidence of torture and other abuses in secret prisons across southern Yemen, run by the United Arab Emirates, an ally in the U.S. fight against al-Qaida. “The choices that our journalists face on the ground are difficult, but we were proud of the innovative thinking on the part of Michael and al-Zikery, as they figured out ways to keep sources safe and innovate methods to still come up with compelling storytelling,” the AP said in its nomination.

·      Mike Rezendes, The Boston Globe. “Father, My Father” explored the pain and neglect experienced by unacknowledged sons and daughters of Catholic priests around the world. “Rezendes spent months gently educating these men and women that their stories would have vastly more impact if they allowed their names and life stories to be used — as long as they discussed their choice with family members in advance,” Rezendes’ editor wrote.

·      Gerry Shih and Han Guan Ng, Associated Press. “Digital Police State Shackles Chinese Minority” details the repression and surveillance of Uigher communities in western China, as well as their recruitment by extremist groups in Syria and elsewhere. “Shih and Ng were exceedingly mindful of the potential risks people in this region face and sought to the greatest extent possible not to cause harm in the process of uncovering this important – and often underreported – story,” according to the AP nomination.