India Currents received three awards for excellence in journalism from the California News Publishers Association. (CNPA.org photo)

India Currents received three awards for excellence in journalism from the California News Publishers Association, for investigative stories on the impact of domestic violence, the attempt to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom, and continuing coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s winners were announced May 27, and recognized reporting from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021. The CNPA annually hosts the California Journalism Awards California Journalism Awards to provide an opportunity for publishers and editors to promote excellence in journalism and recognize the outstanding work of their staff.

Our Voices Matter

India Currents publisher Vandana Kumar congratulated the winners. “It is a challenge to find resources to tell these stories. But these awards are validation that our voices matter. And that the issues we raise, matter.”

“I’m blown away by the talent in our community and very grateful to the editors that have worked to present these important stories to the community,” said Kumar.

First-place honors in the digital division’s investigative reporting category were bestowed upon Meera Kymal, and Anjana Nagarajan-Butaney, for their “Desi-Dost” project. The deeply-researched series examined the impact of domestic abuse and transnational abandonment in the South Asian community.

Transnational Abandonment

As domestic violence spiked during the pandemic, a new form of violence against women – transnational abandonment – began to manifest in South Asian immigrant communities. One domestic violence worker called transnational abandonment “one of the most sinister and damaging forms of abuse” they had witnessed.

Transnational abandonment happens when abused immigrant women are abandoned in their country of origin by their husbands. It is a phenomenon particularly prevalent in arranged marriages within the South Asian community, which views domestic violence as a taboo subject.

Fascinating And Horrifying Topic

Kumar was also named in the first-place award for supporting the work of Kymal and Nagarajan-Butaney.

“The decision to tackle this fascinating and horrifying topic required such dedication and legwork. I am impressed with the commitment to this very powerful story that needed to be told. It’s a true public service,” noted a judge in comments about the series.

Just The Beginning

Kymal and Nagarajan-Butaney issued a joint statement on the win. “We are grateful for the recognition. We hope that it will elevate the issue of transnational abandonment so survivors get the justice they deserve.”

“This is just the beginning for us.  We plan to cover other aspects of transnational abandonment and urge our community to give survivors empathy, respect, and the help they ask for,” said the reporters.

Skin Folks Ain’t Kinfolks

Ritu Marwah took third place for her coverage on the attempt to recall Newsom. Marwah’s story, Your Skin Folks Ain’t Your Kinfolks looked at the three Indian Americans challenging Newsom for his seat.

Kymal, Marwah, and Mona Shah also took fourth place honors for their coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on children. “An interesting series by multiple writers . . . perhaps especially interesting because not too lengthy,” noted the judge.