Published 2014-05-13

GrandJournalism Award to Aftenposten’s correspondent in the Middle East

Freelance journalist Kristin Solberg is honored with the Grand Journalism Award in Norway for her brave foreign journalism.

She shares the award with freelancer Anders Sømme Hammer, who has lived in and reported from Afghanistan for the Norwegian press since 2007 .

“This is a great honor. A tremendous recognition and encouragement,” Solberg said when she received the greatest of the Norwegian media prices on the Nordic Media Days (Nordiske mediedager), which started in Bergen today.

“This encouragement is especially important because I work as a journalist to cover conflicts. It’s a job in which I always feel inadequate. When I meet the man with bullet holes in his chest, then I’m not a doctor who can make his heart beat again. I’m not peace mediator who can put an end to war. I am not a human rights lawyer. I am a journalist. What I basically can do is to tell their stories, how war in all its cruelty affects people on the ground.”

Kristin Solberg reported for several years from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now she is working in the Middle East delivering ongoing coverage of the war in Syria to Aftenposten.

“Journalists in war are supposed to cover some of humanity’s darkest moments. War is not just a fight for territories but also the struggle for truth and which stories we should believe in. That’s where journalists have an important job to do”, said Solberg.

Jury President Annette Groth handed out the price of NOK 100,000.

“Less and less journalists travel to conflict areas,” said Groth referring to the downsizing in the media houses. “But some do. Those who are not satisfied with being employed by a newspaper, but have greater ambitions for their journalism. This year’s Grand Journalism Award is shared by two such souls. They are young, they work on several platforms, and they are freelancers operating in areas of conflict .We need these independent voices. Those who dare,” Groth said.