Al Jazeera has won a record nine Shorty awards during a virtual rollout of winners that concluded on Friday night. The jury conferred three Winner prizes and one Gold second place to brands that demonstrated excellence in digital innovation.
The English and Arabic teams for Al Jazeera’s Digital Division also transferred five jury finalist nods into Audience Honor awards, beating out competition from a wide variety of finalists.
A jury Winner prize was awarded for Best Instructional Video to Start Here, the current affairs explainer series that brings viewers deeper into the big news stories of the day. The team also won a separate Audience Honor for this category, garnering more audience votes than finalists from other brands. Start Here also won a third award – an Audience Honor – in the best use of Facebook Video category.
Al Jazeera’s Emmy-nominated VR and media innovation studio, AJ Contrast, also emerged as a jury Winner in the News & Media category for Living in the Unknown, the interactive site about Uighur Muslims living in exile. Living in the Unknown has won top prizes in other awards, including the 2021 Amnesty Media Awards and the 2020 Online Journalism Awards.
Online news and current events channel AJ+ also earned a Winner award for Best Animation for He Survived Ebola. Now this Doctor is Battling Coronavirus. The short animated film gives a heartbreaking account of a day in the life of an ER doctor working around the clock to save people at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City.
The Al Jazeera English Facebook team won a Gold jury prize for best Facebook Presence for coverage of issues that shaped global news in 2020 – from the pandemic, the Hong Kong protests and the United States elections to the Black Lives Matter protests. The Al Jazeera English Instagram team won an Audience Honor for best Instagram Presence.
In a first for the network, Digital Newsroom scored three finalist nods, two of which were converted to Audience Honors for its viral success covering global news for Arabic language audiences. Digital Newsroom dug into its loyal audience base of 26 million subscribers on Facebook to emerge with an Audience Honor for best Facebook Presence. And the team earned a second Audience Honor for best News & Media for Ejaz (The Brief) – the first Arabic daily “mobile-friendly” news product in the Middle East & North Africa.
“We could not be prouder of our teams,” said Dr. Yaser Bishr, executive director of Digital at the Al Jazeera Media Network. “Despite pandemic news cycles, they’ve worked tirelessly to engage audiences with human stories and to report the news in a balanced and objective way. And their ability to engage both English and Arabic audiences says much about the global reach of our digital product. We congratulate them on this achievement.”
Due to the pandemic, this 13th annual edition of the Shorty Awards announced winners on a rolling basis during a four-day stretch on their Instagram page. Shorty jurors also nominated Al Jazeera English alongside other drivers of social excellence for Brand of the Year. The top prize went to social media behemoth Facebook as the ceremony drew to a close.