October 19, 2021

Event Coverage Highlight

OPC Award Winners Share Their Stories: Robert Spiers Benjamin Award

Azam Ahmed

Join the OPC for a discussion with Azam Ahmed of The New York Times, winner of the Robert Spiers Benjamin Award for best reporting in any medium on Latin America.

Ahmed won the award for his series, “Kill or Be Killed: Latin America’s Homicide Crisis.”

The moderator will be William Booth, London bureau chief for The Washington Post, who served as head judge.

RSVPs are essential. Please register now to receive a Zoom link via email about an hour before the program.

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Judges’ comments:

“Azam Ahmed asked the question: why are so many people from Central America and the Caribbean risking so much to come to the United States? His answer is the gutsy series ‘Kill or Be Killed.’ The New York Times Mexico City Bureau Chief took us on an almost cinematic journey through communities undone by violence. His stories have vivid scenes, with unforgettable characters, that propel readers forward. Violence has long been a theme for coverage of Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico, but Ahmed found new ways to make us care. Ahmed spent weeks covering the siege of a neighborhood in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where rival gangs fought block-by-block for control. His persistence showed in the 17 months he spent interviewing one of Mexico’s deadliest assassins, an enforcer for the drug cartels. In another article he tracked a killer in Jamaica that police called Briana, who ‘preyed on the parish of Clarendon, carrying out nine confirmed kills…’ Briana, he later reveals, was a 9-millimeter Browning handgun smuggled into Jamaica from the United States. Judges were also deeply impressed by the photography, graphics and forensic mapping that accompanied the work.”