This year's Zurich Journalism Awards were presented at Zurich's Kaufleuten on Monday evening. Due to Corona, the event was held a quarter of a year later than usual. Eric Gujer, editor-in-chief of the NZZ, asked in his keynote speech whether everything was really bad in Swiss journalism.
Unfortunately, the award for Hanspeter Guggenbühl's complete journalistic work had to be made posthumously. Shortly after the jury had chosen the well-known environmental expert, he was fatally injured by a motorcyclist while riding his bicycle. For four decades, Guggenbühl wrote in the Swiss-German press about current transport, energy and environmental issues and earned a reputation as a dossier-fixated expert who persistently kept an eye on the essential aspects of these topics. He had a soft spot for the measurable and the calculable. Like no other, he was able to "evaluate statistics from a wide variety of sources, put them into context and draw journalistically useful conclusions from them", as the laudatory speech puts it. Over the years, he expanded his daily work with a total of seven books, most of which he published with co-authors. In them, he dealt with the market economy, economic growth, the energy transition and much more.
160 competition entries
Despite the difficult working conditions due to the pandemic, this year's competition was once again characterized by a broad spectrum of strong journalistic contributions. The six-member jury had to evaluate 160 entries. They took ten nominations in May and has now awarded four articles.
Christoph Gertsch and Mikael Krogerus looked at the Magazine-The article "The Magglingen Protocols" deals with the training of young female athletes at the sports centre above Biel. The hard training often brought the young women to the limits of their mental endurance - and beyond. The harrowing insights into the high-performance sport of artistic gymnastics also triggered an echo in politics. "We will all never again be able to watch a competition in without thinking of this reportage."
Christopher Gilb showed good sense and tenacity when he chose to Lucerne newspaper began to look into the background of an unknown company that wanted to buy a St. Gallen group of companies. In six articles on "Scratches on the Image of a Corporate Saviour", he exposed the contradiction between claim and reality of the dubious company. The takeover finally fell through - as Gilb had predicted.
Katharina Bracher and Sacha Batthyany took the growing consumption of child pornography as an opportunity to shed light on the background of this ugly reality (" - "). With a fictitious digital profile of a girl, they set off into the dark realm of digital sex offenders. It became a march through abysses. The journalists of the NZZ on Sunday succeeded in creating a dramaturgical masterpiece, the laudatory speech notes.
The Newcomer Prize was won by Samuel Tanner for his work in the NZZ on Sunday published an article entitled "Faith and Power". In it, he accompanies the centrist president Gerhard Pfister on a journey back to Switzerland's political past, when there was still a Catholic-conservative milieu that reliably voted CVP. Tanner has written a "wonderful party portrait", and "en passant the text is also a great Gerhard Pfister portrait", according to the laudation.
The Zurich Journalism Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for journalism in Switzerland, has been awarded since 1981. Each of the main prizes is endowed with CHF 10,000, and the Newcomer Prize, created in 2018, with CHF 5,000. Prizes are awarded for complete works as well as outstanding and groundbreaking works, regardless of whether they were distributed via a newspaper, magazine or online channel.
The Journalism Prize has been on a new financial footing for a year now. The three Zurich media houses NZZ, Ringier and Tamedia are now the sponsors of the foundation. In addition, companies and institutions support the event with financial contributions.