MANILA (AFP) – Multimedia journalist Patricia Evangelista has won the Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for her compelling reporting on conflict and disaster in her native Philippines, AFP announced Friday.
The award recognizes exceptional journalism in dangerous or difficult conditions, and Evangelista, 28, produced an impressive body of work on two of the Southeast Asian nation’s most brutal events of 2013.
Evangelista spent a month reporting from fishing and farming communities devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm ever recorded on land that killed more than 7,000 people in November.
She travelled to the disaster zones of the central Philippines only weeks after returning from covering a 21-day stand-off between the military and Muslim rebels in Zamboanga in the south of the country in which more than 200 people died.
“Patricia is deserving of this award because, like Kate Webb, she has made it her mission to cover dangerous and difficult stories with a balanced, nuanced eye and astonishing courage,” said Gilles Campion, AFP’s regional director for the Asia-Pacific.
“This was exemplified by her coverage of Haiyan’s destruction and the Zamboanga conflict.”
Evangelista, who works for Philippine news portal Rappler and Esquire magazine, will receive a 3,000-euro ($4,100) prize. The award will be formally presented at a ceremony later this year.
The prize is named after New Zealander Kate Webb, one of AFP’s finest correspondents, who died in 2007 at the age of 64.
Webb earned a reputation as a fearless reporter while covering wars and other historic events in Asia during a career spanning four decades.
To honour Webb’s career and her passion for supporting journalists in Asia, the prize recognizes work by locally hired journalists in the region.
“Kate Webb was a journalist who stood for the voiceless at the centre of conflict and disaster. Journalism is its own reward, but I’m honored to be considered in my own way to have served her tradition,” Evangelista said.
“It was a team effort. I couldn’t have done this without the directors, photographers and editors who helped produce the body of work.”
Webb’s brother, Jeremy Webb, said Evangelista’s moving video and text storytelling stood out in a strong field of contenders for the prize.
“Her skill is both in her sophisticated simplicity of the storyline and in her ability to let her interviewees dominate your attention with simple moving narratives,” Webb said.
The prize is administered by the AFP Foundation – a non-profit organization set up to promote press freedom through training journalists in developing countries – and the Webb family.
Evangelista is the second Philippine winner of the prize.
In 2009 the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) was recognized for its outstanding contributions to press freedom.
The prize was first awarded in 2008 to Pakistani reporter Mushtaq Yusufzai for his coverage of the dangerous tribal lands bordering Afghanistan.
Other winners were Indian reporter and photographer Dilnaz Boga and Indonesian investigative journalist Stefanus Teguh Edi Pramono.