Thursday, February 26, 2015

Third KLN Award Goes to KK Shahina

Third KLN Award

The recipient of the third KLN Award is Shahina K. K of Kochi
Shahina K. K, a print and television journalist based in Kochi, Kerala, is the recipient of the third KLN Award for her writing and reporting about senior citizens and issues concerning the elderly.
Shahina is currently Assistant Editor, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, of Open, the online and print magazine. She started her career at India’s first satellite channel, Asianet Television, in 1997. Before joining Open in 2011, Shahina was the special correspondent covering Tamil Nadu and Kerala for Tehelka. In 2002, Shahina became the first woman ever to be recognized with the Best Reporter award by the Government of Kerala. She was a 2008 fellow at the Women in Security Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP), an initiative of the Dalai Lama’s Foundation for Universal Responsibility. She also won the Chameli Devi Jain award for best woman reporter in 2010.
Among the many subjects Shahina covers as a journalist are also stories related to the elderly. Her articles show the tension between ‘news’ and ‘views’, between reporting the news as facts, and reporting them in their ethical and moral context; without also overstepping into the role of judge, jury, and executioner. In “Mother, shall I put you to sleep?” Shahina reports on the killing of elderly parents and relatives in the practice of thalaikoothalin parts of Tamil Nadu. Her writing, however, is nuanced; not merely a dry report of criminal activity that lists perpetrators, victims, and dates. While not shying away from condemning murders prompted by greed, Shahina also highlights the role poverty plays in the breakdown of a community’s moral compass.
In “The curious case of Elfriede Maria Schmidt” and “The last journey of Maria Schmidt,” Shahina reports about a specific woman - a white, Jewish woman who left Europe, traveled and lived far from home, and eventually died alone in Kochi. Shahina’s reporting, however, is less about Maria’s origins or race, and more about isolation, abandonment, indifference and dying alone. It is about familiar tropes: an aged woman seen wandering around, waiting anonymously in an office, talking but no one really paying attention, an indifferent son who lives far away, but not indifferent to the property she leaves behind. It is a familiar story of the elderly around the world, told with compassion. That elderly man or woman who lives alone in that house down the road, or in that apartment down the hall - we notice the occasional visitors. But mostly, we notice the loud television.
Like individuals, cultures and societies grow and thrive, succeed or fail, on their capacity for self-criticism. That capacity for introspection is even more necessary for societies in flux, for cultures adapting to rapidly changing economic underpinnings. Journalists, reporting from within the center of that maelstrom, are uniquely placed to draw our attention to new issues that arise, or old issues that fester, that need review and correction.
For her role as a social catalyst in informing and engaging us, especially concerning the elderly, we are pleased to award the third KLN Award to Shahina K. K.
Taken from

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