The Association of Magazine Media


AP's Rukmini Callimachi Wins the 2014 Michael Kelly Award for Coverage of al-Qaida in West Africa

Washington, D.C. (April 14, 2014)—Atlantic Media announced today that Rukmini Callimachi is this year's recipient of the Michael Kelly Award for her work as the West Africa bureau chief for the Associated Press.

The $25,000 award is given annually to a journalist whose work exemplifies a quality that Michael Kelly exhibited throughout his own career: the fearless pursuit and expression of truth. Kelly, who was the editor of two Atlantic Media publications, The Atlantic and National Journal, was killed 11 years ago while covering the war in Iraq.

In her role as the AP's West Africa bureau chief, Callimachi discovered a large trove of internal documents from al-Qaida illuminating the internal workings of the terrorist organization and its strategy for the region. Reporting from Mali, she tracked down the bodies of six victims shot by the military, forcing the Malian government to initiate an investigation. 

"Michael Kelly would have greatly admired how Rukmini Callimachi has approached her work," said the Kelly Award judges in a statement. "Like Mike, she has an eye for a great story, well-told. And, like Mike, she stands up to bullies who stand between her and the truth. Her fearless reporting from Africa exemplifies the best in foreign correspondence and the values that Michael Kelly passionately espoused." 

In addition to Callimachi, the panel of five judges recognized three other journalists as finalists, selected from a field of nearly 60 entries from U.S.-based media organizations: Matthieu Aikins for his work in Rolling Stone, Dave Philipps of the Colorado Springs Gazette, and Megan Twohey of Reuters.

The winner and finalists were honored at a dinner Sunday night in Washington hosted by Atlantic Media Chairman and CEO David Bradley.

This year's panel of judges for the 2014 Michael Kelly Award included: Tish Durkin, freelance writer; Charles Green, contributing editor, National Journal; Brian Mockenhaupt, freelance writer and winner of the 2013 Michael Kelly Award; Cullen Murphy, editor-at-large, Vanity Fair; and James Oliphant, White House correspondent, National Journal.

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Monday, April 14, 2014