Anonymous video of Neda Aghan-Soltan’s death wins Polk award

The George Polk Awards, one of the most important annual journalism prizes, has honoured the anonymous video of the death of Neda Aghan-Soltan during the 2009 Iranian election protests. The new videography category reflects the increasing importance of user contributions to journalism in an era where cameras are commonplace. It is the first time in the 61-year history of the awards that a work produced anonymously has won. More and more news organisations integrate user-created content professionally in their news reporting. CNN and Fox News have already both launched their own user reports and rely on them frequently to enrich the material of their reporters after the content has been checked and rated by experts. The anonymously filmed 40-second video of Neda’s death was forwarded to the Guardian and the Voice of America, along with five other individuals. One of them uploaded it on Facebook, from where copies spread to YouTube and were broadcast within hours by CNN. Being filmed as she lay dying on the street Neda’s death became the iconic visualisation of the Iranian protesters questioning the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The George Polk Awards in Journalism are a series of American journalism awards presented annually by Long Island University in New York


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