Local reporter earns top recognition for coverage in Haiti

By NABJ Communications Office

A local reporter who is having an international impact was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the largest organization of journalists of color in the country.

The Miami Herald’s Caribbean Correspondent Jacqueline Charles will join other top honorees at the association’s Salute to Excellence Gala, on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Philadelphia, during NABJ’s 36th Annual Convention and Career Fair.

Charles has spent the last 15 months living in Haiti as part of The Miami Herald’s commitment to document the quake and its aftermath. Working at times under extreme conditions, her unrelenting reporting has been instrumental in focusing the world’s attention on Haiti, a country which has been devastated by floods and an earthquake that led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

While writing about the recovery and reconstruction, the Haitian-Turks Islander has had to deal with a deadly cholera epidemic, a menacing hurricane and the political crisis that finally resulted in the election of a new president.

“Jacquie tells stories that are often overlooked,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “As a Miami native, I appreciate her commitment to enlightening the local community and a global audience. Jacquie’s work embodies NABJ’s mission, heart, and soul.”

Charles began her career at The Miami Herald as a high school intern in 1986. Upon completing her degree at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she returned to the Herald as a full-time journalist. Although still relatively freshly minted as a working professional, her first international story had global significance: the return of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. She has continued to cover triumphs and tragedy in Haiti and other island nations with unrelenting energy to tell stories that not only impact but also educate and encourage change.

Despite international reporting, Jacqueline Charles always made it part of her journalism mission to share with future journalists the opportunities that she received through NABJ, its Region Three, and South Florida Black Journalists Association.

In 2010 NABJ also honored Charles as its International Reporter of the Year at its Tampa convention and she played a key role in The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald being named as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news this year.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Jacquie Charles. Her work is remarkable — in her knowledge of what she covers, the depth of her sourcing, and her passion for getting the story and getting it right,’’ said The Miami Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsch. “Her excellent coverage of Haiti began long before the tragic earthquake of last year, and continues today.’’

The Salute to Excellence Awards Gala recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide black community during 2010.

NABJ’s 36th Annual Convention and Career Fair will take place Aug. 3-7, 2011 in Philadelphia.

For additional information, ticket sales, and registration, visit www.nabj.org.

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About Pedro Heizer

I'm a person of simple taste, all I need is some country music, Batman, Star Wars, sports, coffee, and most importantly Jesus Christ, because what profits a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? View all posts by Pedro Heizer

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