WBUR announces Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize winner

Uyghur voices rise up in award-winning series from Schorr Prize winner Emily Feng.

WBUR has announced that NPR's Beijing correspondent Emily Feng is the winner of the 2022 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Feng's winning entry, "The Black Gate," debuted on NPR's Up First podcast.

Working with language rights activist Abduweli Ayup and producer Phoebe Wang, Feng examines China's treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim groups by following one man's quest to reunite with his wife and children who've been detained by Chinese authorities. China is accused of committing crimes against humanity by various human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, according to her entry for the Prize:

In the Xinjiang region of western China, hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups have been arrested and detained. Many are still desperately searching for their families. Uyghurs who've made it out of China often refuse to share their stories, fearing they will cause harm to friends and family left behind. It took more than a year of reporting for the Kuçars – Abdüllatif and his brother Abdureqip – to feel ready to go public.

Feng has been an NPR correspondent since 2019 and was previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times. She was among more than 50 up-and-coming public radio journalists who entered this year's competition for the Prize.

The finalist judges — David Greene, former Morning Edition host (who won the Prize himself in 2011) and Deepa Fernandes, co-host of Here & Now — say that Feng shone light on a Uyghur family ripped apart:

"The Black Gate" was outstanding as it exposed the stark reality of a community barely covered in any news cycle. It's a human rights atrocity that we never hear about because it's a near impossible story to report. Feng found a way to develop characters and make listeners want – need – to invest as the episodes unfolded. The audio documentary was compelling, rigorously reported and brave. We are in full agreement that "The Black Gate" is the standout winner.

In addition to Greene and Fernandes, the Schorr Prize judging panel included preliminary judges Cristela Guerra (WBUR reporter), Beth Healy (WBUR senior investigative reporter), Emiko Tamagawa (WBUR senior producer), Ernest Aguilar (KQED director of radio programming), Ariel Van Cleave (WBEZ senior editor for audio), Jim Schachter (NHPR CEO) and Vanessa de la Torre (New England News Collaborative executive editor).

Feng will be presented with the Prize at the WBUR Gala "Bright Nights," taking place Tuesday, May 2 and Wednesday, May 3 at CitySpace in Boston. An annual benefit for the public media organization, the gala supports independent news and programming.

The Schorr Prize is named for the late NPR senior news analyst and veteran Washington journalist Daniel Schorr who died in 2010. Schorr was a believer in supporting talented young journalists as they rose through the ranks of public radio. Presented annually by WBUR, the $5,000 Prize honors a new generation of public radio journalists under the age of 35, seeking to inspire them to stretch the boundaries of the medium.

Past winners include WPLN Reporter Samantha Max (2021); Mountain West News Bureau Reporter Nate Hegyi (2020); former Montana Public Radio Host, Producer and Reporter Nora Saks (2019); Washington Post Reporter and former ProPublica Reporter Hannah Dreier (2018); Capitol Broadcasting Company Podcast Network Executive Producer and former WLRN Reporter Wilson Sayre (2017); Host and Reporter of NPR’s Planet Money and former WNYC Reporter Sarah Gonzalez (2016); WWNO Regional News Director and former WAMU Reporter Patrick Madden (2015); KQED Reporter and former WFPL Reporter Devin Katayama (2014); WBEZ Producer Becky Vevea (2013); CPR Reporter and former KUNC reporter Grace Hood (2012); former NPR host David Greene (2011); NPR’s All Things Considered Host and former NPR Reporter Ailsa Chang (2010); former NPR Planet Money Reporter Chana Joffe-Walt (2009); How I Built This host and former NPR Defense Correspondent Guy Raz (2008); and NPR Investigative Correspondent Laura Sullivan (2007).


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