Ahmed Elimam, 2021 winner
Ahmed Elimam transformed Alhurra.com’s video output. Previously, Alhurra.com regularly produced short news videos using wire service images that would become dated quickly as events progressed. Ahmed wanted to renovate the platform, giving the digital channel a distinctive look and feel and create videos that audiences would seek out. This was never more important than at the beginning of the pandemic. Early on there was confusion and misinformation about the causes, ways to keep safe; and then later about the vaccines. Ahmed quickly grasped the need for a series of videos that clearly explained the latest recommendations from doctors and scientists on how to protect yourself from catching COVID. This series detailed basic information about COVID and the vaccines. It also illustrated some of the names and terms that became part of the pandemic vernacular, including what ventilators do and describing the World Health Organization and its role. Ahmed and his team aggressively kept watch for misinformation in the Arabic press and would counter it with factual details. Through his diligent work, audiences in the Arab world had a platform they could easily go to at any time to find the latest information that they could count on and trust.
As the U.S. elections heated up in 2020, Ahmed turned his focus on explaining the electoral process, something not well understood in the Middle East. He created and produced a series of videos that detailed various aspects of the American elections. From the history of the U.S. democratic system to how social media impacts elections of today. His explanatory reporting included insights from political experts and constitutional scholars to provide additional context and analysis to the daily updates from the campaign trail. His videos helped audiences understand elements unique to the American democratic system including the role Electoral College, the importance of swing states, and requirements to run for president. Ahmed creatively described the electoral process, through videos that were grounded in the basics of journalism. He highlighted the importance of Congressional races and their role in the American government’s checks and balances. Ahmed worked tirelessly to fill information voids that were prevalent surrounding the election. In the weeks leading up to the Election, Alhurra Digital’s video team produced 129 website videos and 30 digital explainer videos. This broad and thorough coverage sparked interest in, and a better understanding of, the U.S. elections and electoral process.