Jacqueline Charles, who has reported on Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean for the Miami Herald for more than a decade, is the National Association of Black Journalists’ 2022 Journalist of the Year, NABJ announced Friday.
Charles is the first person to win the honor twice, the initial time in 2011 after covering the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in the country that killed thousands.
NABJ’s announcement did not state its reason for Charles’ selection, including it among a list of all of the special honors it plans to present at its Aug. 3-7 convention in Las Vegas.
But Garry Pierre-Pierre, founder and publisher of the New York-based Haitian Times, told Journal-isms, “Jackie has single handedly made the Haiti story relevant. She is a tireless reporter with sources at every level of Haitian society and the international community. She writes with empathy and authority and has run circles around the competition. She is committed to the beat and has rebuffed efforts by larger media outlets to get her to leave The Herald.”
In fact, Charles messaged, “I had a crazy year, including dodging bullets under a table while writing on deadline because of shootings.”
Her body of work in the last year included coverage of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, 2021, and its aftermath; an earthquake five weeks later and the border crisis in Del Rio, Texas, in which the world saw photos of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback using whips to prevent Haitians from entering the banks of the Rio Grande.
“In between there was [an] exclusive with [an] illegally jailed Haiti Supreme Court judge accused by Jovenel in February of trying to kill and overthrow him and later the stories about the kidnapping of 16 Americans and a Canadian missionary,” Charles messaged.
She added, “When you’re honored by your own it always takes on a special significance because it means that my fellow journalists of color truly understand and appreciate what I bring to the table as a journalist. I’m a past chapter president and a longtime NABJ member. NABJ has always been ‘home’ for me. It’s where I listened to other foreign correspondents talking about what it takes to do what I do, so today I’m deeply honored by this recognition and grateful to NABJ and Miami Herald Executive Editor Monica Richardson who supported what was an incredible but tough year on my beat.”