21 The Roy Rowan Award 2021

Best investigative reporting in any medium on an international story


AWARD NAME: The Roy Rowan Award 2021

AWARD RECIPIENT: New York Times Staff


AWARD HONORED WORK: “Airstrikes Gone Wrong”


A powerful investigation that revealed how a highly touted and ostensibly sophisticated remote warfare system developed by the Pentagon was riddled with flaws and beset by faulty decision-making, leading to the bombing deaths of innocent civilians in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The heart of the series was the remarkable work of Azmat Khan, who over years painstakingly assembled a unique trove of military reports on civilian casualties caused by U.S. bombings and then along with her Times colleagues interviewed bombing survivors and witnesses, often at great personal risk. Drawing on eyewitness accounts, hospital records, death certificates, even tombstones, in visits to more than 100 civilian casualty sites, Khan and her colleagues were able to construct the story of air strikes that had gone terribly wrong.

Links to the winning work:

1. Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes By Azmat Khan https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/18/us/airstrikes-pentagon-records-civilian-deaths.html

2. The Human Toll of America’s Air Wars By Azmat Khan https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/19/magazine/victims-airstrikes-middle-east-civilians.html

3. The Civilian Casualty Files By Azmat Khan, Lila Hassan, Sarah Almukhtar and Rachel Shorey https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/civilian-casualty-files.html

4. How a U.S. Drone Strike Killed the Wrong Person By Christoph Koettl, Evan Hill, Matthieu Aikins, Eric Schmitt, Ainara Tiefenthäler and Drew Jordan https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000007963596/us-drone-attack-kabul-investigation.html \

5. The U.S. Military Said It Was an ISIS Safe House. We Found an Afghan Family Home. By Christoph Koettl, Evan Hill, Matthieu Aikins, Jim Huylebroek, Ainara Tiefenthäler, Dmitriy Khavin and Eric Schmitt https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000007980891/kabul-drone-strike-house.html

6. How the U.S. Hid an Airstrike That Killed Dozens of Civilians in Syria By Dave Philipps and Eric Schmitt https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/13/us/us-airstrikes-civilian-deaths.html

7. Civilian Deaths Mounted as Secret Unit Pounded ISIS By Dave Philipps, Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/12/us/civilian-deaths-war-isis.html

8. Documents Reveal Basic Flaws in Pentagon Dismissals of Civilian Casualty Claims By Azmat Khan, Haley Willis, Christoph Koettl, Christiaan Triebert and Lila Hassan https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/31/us/pentagon-airstrikes-syria-iraq.html

Citation for Excellence:
The Associated Press
“Myanmar in Crisis”