Sunderland graduate wins national Journalism awards

Mariam Khattab

Published on 29 November 2019

A Sunderland graduate whose work examined the human rights of Muslims across the world has won a national excellence award.

Mariam Kattab won the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) Awards for Excellence in the features category. The awards are open to students, trainees and apprentices in news, sports, top scoop, features and multimedia categories.

This year’s ceremony took place at the Stadium of Light as part of the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Conference, which was hosted by the University.

As a young woman, Mariam Khattab watched revolution unfold in her native Egypt and dreamed of becoming a journalist. Mariam, 23, graduated with a First Class degree earlier this year.

As part of her final project at Sunderland she produced a portfolio of work exploring human rights across the globe - from the UK Muslims who have been shunned by their families and communities for their homosexuality, to the photojournalist and Time Person of the Year who was jailed for criticising his home government, and the star-crossed couple who found love after persecution at the height of the Arab Spring revolution.

The stories make full use of interactive multimedia elements to create powerful narratives and Mariam has developed a vast network of international contacts as a result.

Neil Macfarlane, Senior Lecturer in Online Journalism, said: “Mariam showed dogged persistence to get these stories, and often needed to conduct interviews over secure networks with people who still live in hostile environments. She showed real bravery to even contemplate a project on this topic, as this kind of robust reporting could carry significant risk to herself and her family back home. 

“Mariam’s tenacity is inspiring. This portfolio demonstrates the kind of exemplary reporting she is capable of, and I have no doubt she will go on to have a brilliant career, wherever that may be.” 

Also nominated were Theofanis Pegkas, for News Journalism and Jason Button for Sports Journalism.