Snigdha Poonam, a Hindustan Times journalist based in New Delhi, has won the 2017 Journalist of Change Mobility Award.
Poonam received the award from Krishna Prasad, former editor-in-chief of Outlook and member of Press Council India, for her reportage on the Kota suicides at an evening ceremony at the British Council in New Delhi.
The Journalist of Change Award is offered by the UK-based Bournemouth University through Connect India, it global outreach arm for the Indian subcontinent. Part of BU’s continuing engagement with the Indian subcontinent, the award seeks to recognise “excellence in journalism that has inspired — or has the potential to inspire — social change”.
The award allows the winner to spend time on Bournemouth University campus in England, participating in active programmes and interacting with students, scholars and journalism practitioners.
Poonam’s reportage on Kota had appeared in Huffington Post India under the title Why 57 Young Students Have Taken Their Lives In Kota, when she was an independent journalist. In a post on Facebook, she thanked Huffington Post India editor-in-chief Sruthijith K K for sending her on the “most heartbreaking reporting trip yet”.
“I am extremely honoured to receive the Journalist of Change Mobility Award,” Poonam said. “I thank Bournemouth University’s Connect India for recognising the importance of student suicides in Kota and what the trend tells us about the weaknesses of India’s education and employment scenario.”
The award, open to under-35 journalists publishing in Indian news and alternative outlets, considered nominations in the print and online categories. The finalists included Nikita Saxena and Priyanka Dubey, both of Caravan magazine; Rhythma Kaul of Hindustan Times; Shafaq Shah of Rising Kashmir; and Pallavi Rebbapragada of First Post.
Besides the Journalist of Change, Bournemouth University also initiated the Global Talent Young India Mobility Award this year. This award, which seeks to encourage a global outlook and recognise holistic achievements among Indian youth, was won by 17-year-old Samridhi Khanna from Springdales school, New Delhi. Two other students from the same school — Aarushi Bharadwaj and Anavi Chander — were finalists in this category.
The mobility awards formed part of the Global Festival of Learning-India 2017, a unique educational event that Bournemouth University had organised in partnership with the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Pune; the University of Madras, Chennai; and Ashoka University, Sonepat.
Dr Sonal Minocha, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) of Bournemouth University, said: “For our first major event in India, we focused on some of the more pressing issues that are being faced in India and UK. Inspiring change was our theme this year, and the awardees have, in one way or another, contributed to that theme.
“These awards allow us to welcome young Indian talent to our campus, to interact and collaborate with our staff and students. I look forward to seeing the winners at Bournemouth University this year.”