‘Post’ journalist given UN reporting award

Ruth Eglash honored for project on the dismal state of relations between Israel and Jordan 16 years after normalization.

ruth eglash award 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
ruth eglash award 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ruth Eglash,  The Jerusalem Post’s social affairs reporter, is the co-recipient of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization and the International Center for Journalist’s first X-Cultural Reporting Award, for her cross-border reporting project on the dismal state of relations between Israel and Jordan 16 years after normalization.
Working together with Jordanian journalist Hani Hazaimeh, the two researched educational efforts in both countries to uncover what each nation was really learning about the other.
However, the disappointing results of their findings failed to comply with the goals of the competition, which were to find common ground between different nations. This forced the two journalists to instead write a joint op-ed on how the current status quo in both countries has to change in order to fulfill the peace treaty signed between them.
Their opinion piece, “Why we can’t write this story,” which appeared in The Jerusalem Post online edition on March 24, was published by numerous other media outlets, including the online newspaper The Huffington Post, the Jordanian news Web site AmmonNews.Net and The Palestine Note, and it was translated into seven languages, including Arabic, by the Search for Common Ground News Service.
Eglash and Hazaimeh were also interviewed on Radio Chicagoland by US-based Palestinian journalist Ray Hanania. Hanania offered to make the two a permanent feature on his syndicated show.
“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to win this award,” commented Eglash, who has worked at the Post for the past ten years as both an editor and a reporter.
“It was not a straightforward project for either of us and at times it became both political and emotional.
“Examining and criticizing your own country is much harder than finding fault with other nations but that is what we agreed we would do,” she added.
“After interviewing numerous sources, we realized that writing the full story would not solve anything, could possibly make tensions rise and would certainly not be in the spirit of this competition.”
The competition was launched at a conference on Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age held in Alexandria, Egypt, in February, sponsored by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the Anna Lindh Foundation and administered by International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), with the support of the Alexandria Library.
Meeting over a period of three days, 45 journalists participated inhands-on workshops on writing opinion pieces and using new digitaltools. They engaged in vigorous debates on stereotypes, loaded languageand graphic images.
They also heard from a wide range of experts on everything fromcovering Islam in the Western media to the growing use of socialnetworking in the Muslim world.
Prior to the conference, both Eglash and Hazaimeh took part in ICFJ’sfive-week online course on digital media that for the first time wastaught in Arabic and English.
The two reporters, together with representatives of the teams that camein second and third place, will head to Rio de Janeiro next month toreceive their prize.