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  • Writer's picturePress Release

Local Student Receives "Take No Prisoners" Journalism Award

Words and Image courtesy of Salma Amrou.

Salma Amrou, a high school student in Suffolk, VA, was awarded the 2021 Frank Keegan “Take No Prisoners” Award for News. The award, which is a crystal trophy in the shape of a globe, is one of the highest-ranking prizes offered in the annual journalism competition hosted by Youth Journalism International--an organization in which she is a Senior Reporter and Senior Illustrator.

Her story, ‘Surviving the Beirut blast’, recounts the day of the terrible Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020, which decimated a large portion of the Lebanese capital and resulted in approximately 200 deaths, thousands of injuries, and an even larger number of families displaced from their homes.

More specifically, the article follows the experiences of medical intern Leen Othman, who works in one of Beirut’s largest hospitals. Her line of work not only required her to maintain calm in a time of crisis, but played a pivotal role in the recovery of the city following the incident.

Amrou was unable to attend the online awards ceremony on May 22, however, a video with her statement was played in her absence.

“The most special thing about writing that story was probably the fact that it was about such a traumatic event. I kind of realized while I was in the middle of writing the article that, wow--this is a really personal story. And the fact that Leen not only trusted me enough to tell me that story and to tell me her feelings about the entire situation, but also entrusted me with retelling that story for her is extremely special to me.” She said.

“I am very, very grateful and honored to have been given that opportunity. It was the first story and interview of its kind that I’d ever done, and I consider it a milestone of my journalistic career.”

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