RFA Mandarin Service Reporter Honored with Burke Award

RFA Mandarin service director Jennifer Chou accepts the Burke Award from BBG Governors Blanquita Cullum and Edward Kaufman. Photo: RFA

WASHINGTON—The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) honored Mandarin service senior editor and broadcaster Wu Jing with its annual David Burke award for her nine-part series on China’s deadly coal mine industry.

The Burke awards are presented to U.S. international broadcasters who demonstrate exceptional performances, including bravery under extreme hardship. Their stories must enlighten and inform listeners and exhibit a commitment to the free exchange of ideas.

“Wu Jing covered key aspects of the coal mine story that go unreported in the state-controlled media. In many cases, officials advise the media to carry only the official Xinhua News Agency’s account of coal mine accidents,” RFA executive editor Dan Southerland told guests at the September awards ceremony.

“She interviewed 19 experts on mine safety, most of them located inside China. Many of those interviews were difficult to arrange. Wu Jing’s sources explained that a big cause of the mine disasters is corruption. Local government officials get a cut from coal mine profits. To boost those profits, the mine owners often fail to invest in worker safety and new equipment. Wu Jing combined experts’ analysis with the human stories of the miners themselves. And she drew on reports from six RFA broadcasters in Hong Kong and Washington who have covered the issue. In many ways, this year’s Burke award honors those six RFA broadcasters as well as Wu Jing.”

Mandarin service director Jennifer Chou accepted the award on behalf of Wu Jing, at a ceremony hosted by governors Blanquita Cullum and Ted Kaufman.

Other recipients this year were Abd al-Hussein Khazal al-Basri, a Radio Sawa/Alhurra correspondent murdered in Iraq in February 2005; Katayoun (Nazzi) Beglari, Voice of America Persian service New York correspondent; and Aslanbek Dadayev, a broadcaster in the North Caucusus service at Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty.