India Uncut

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sonia Faleiro wins CNN Young Journalist award

My good buddy Sonia Faleiro, I am delighted to inform you, has won the runner-up prize in the print/online category in this year's CNN Young Journalist awards. Congratulations to her. Although I might legitimately be considered biased, I think that had the award been given for a body of work instead for a single piece, she would certainly have won the top prize. She's written several stories over the last year that both move and enlighten, and there are two qualities in her work that I admire immensely.

One, she lets the story tells itself. She rarely inserts herself into a story, and is always objective, with no hint of being judgemental or trying to show things through one ideological prism or another. There are no unnecessary linguistic flourishes, and style is slave to substance. When you read one of her serious pieces, you are transported into the story, and forget about the writer, which is as it should be.

Two, her attention to detail is incredible. "Get the name of the dog" is one of the maxims of reporting, and Sonia's stories, especially her profiles, are the epitome of that. (Like this, and this, and this.) With a symphony of telling details, she humanises the people she is writing about, building a world so vivid that we feel that we are there, and that we know those people. I can think of few journalists, anywhere, who do this so well.

My only complaint in all this is that she doesn't write the funny stuff often enough. She's excellent at that as well.

Update: Lest I be accused of not giving out the name of the dog, it's Chorizo. She's a beauty, and she's also got a blog!
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