Syria, migrant crisis coverage wins war correspondents prizes

 A man looks at a photograph by Belgian Thomas van Houtryve at the "When the sky is blue" exhibition on October 5, 2015 in Bayeux, northwestern France, as part of the 22nd edition of the Bayeux-Calvados award for war correspondents.
A man looks at a photograph by Belgian Thomas van Houtryve at the "When the sky is blue" exhibition on October 5, 2015 in Bayeux, northwestern France, as part of the 22nd edition of the Bayeux-Calvados award for war correspondents. PHOTO: AFP

BAYEUX, France (AFP) - France's prestigious Bayeux-Calvados award for war correspondents on Saturday honoured journalists covering conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, as well as Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II.

Two of the awards went to correspondents covering the Islamic State group's game plan and its atrocities.

The text category award went to German Der Spiegels' Christoph Reuter, who wrote an in-depth story on the shadowy mastermind of IS's strategy in Syria and Iraq.

The article, published on April 18 this year, ploughs through a set of documents left behind by Haji Bakr after his death, which Reuter describes as "the source code of the most successful terrorist army in recent history".

In the article, Reuter also revealed that the IS strategist was a former officer of the secret services of Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

Reading Reuter's article "was like someone switching on the light," said a member of the Bayeux jury who has also covered Syria.

The long-format television award went to Xavier Muntz of French-German channel Arte for "Surrounded by the Islamic State", a feature shot on Mount Sinjar, which last year became a terrible symbol of IS persecution of the Yazidi minority.

For the photography category, the international jury of the Bayeux-Calvados' 22nd edition chose a report on Gaza by Sipa Press' Heidi Levine from the United States.

Levine also took home the audience award for her "sober, ultra-effective and beautiful" project, as jury chair Carlotta Gall of the New York Times described it.

In the radio category, jurors rewarded the BBC's Emma-Jane Kirby for a story on an Italian optician who rescued migrants.

In television, Vice News' Mikhail Galutsov won for his report titled "Russian Roulette", shot in strife-torn Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Pierre Sautreuil, 22, took the young reporters' prize for a report titled "The New Russia" published by the website of the French newsweekly Nouvel Observateur.

Christian Werner of the German Suddeutsche Zeitung daily won the online journalism category for a piece on a plague outbreak in Madagascar similar to the Black Death that struck Europe in the Middle Ages.

Created in 1994, the Bayeux-Calvados awards recognise reporting on conflicts and their impact on civilians as well as stories covering the defence of freedom and democracy.