National Association of Black Journalists named Karen Attiah, global opinions editor for The Washington Post, journalist of the year. At the Post, she commissions and edits commentary on global issues from a variety of international writers and often writes on issues relating to race, gender and international politics, with a special interest in Africa.
“Karen has been a tireless force—as editor, writer and video journalist—to bring new voices, diverse viewpoints and critical issues to our readers and viewers,” said Fred Hiatt, Washington Post Editorial Page editor. “Last year, in the face of a state-sponsored murder that represented personal loss to her as well as professional loss to all of us, Karen refused to bow or be cowed. She helped ensure that the crime would not be forgotten or excused but that, on the contrary, it would become a marker in the struggle for free expression everywhere.
Previously, she won NABJ’s Salute to Excellence Award in Digital Commentary and is the recipient of the 2019 George C. Polk Special Award. She recently received an honorary doctorate from Dickinson College for her contributions to the field of journalism.
“NABJ is proud to recognize Karen Attiah as the 2019 Journalist of the Year,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “Karen has courageously used her commitment to her craft to provide thought-provoking commentary and insights that have led to positive dialogue and the visibility of issues that have not only impacted people of color and minority communities, but also journalists around the globe. I’m especially proud to see how Karen has propelled the tragedy of her writer’s death into a purpose-driven calling to further the cause for press freedom.”
Upon receiving the news of her award, Attiah said, “This is a huge honor to receive the NABJ Journalist of the Year award. To be invited to be in the company of black journalists, writers and storytellers who have broken barriers and paved the way for me to be in this field is nothing short of incredible. But most importantly, after the murder of my colleague and friend Jamal Khashoggi, this recognition is a humbling call to action –that I must help to honor his legacy by speaking and writing against oppression and injustice around the world.”
According to NABJ, Attiah has leveraged her platform to bring light to systematic issues that gravely impact the black community worldwide. In the editorial “Christine Ford, Anita Hill and the dangerous myth of the strong black woman,” Attiah wrote about how institutions have historically mistreated black women when it comes to sexual abuse and exploitation by using “perceived strength” as an excuse to not see them as “vulnerable or effective witnesses to their own pain,” even in the era of “me too.”