Nairobi, Kenya July 23, 2013 – Twenty journalists have been shortlisted as finalists in the $1 million African Story Challenge, a new programme of reporting grants to encourage innovative, multi-media storytelling that aims to improve the health and prosperity of Africans. The two-year project encourages journalists to experiment with new content ideas and ways to engage audiences through mobile technology, social media and other innovative tools.
It also aims to spur compelling, analytical, investigative and data-driven stories that lead to better policies, increase transparency and hold officials accountable. In all, 315 entries from across the continent were screened by a technical review panel that evaluated which ideas have the best potential to become top-quality stories on agriculture and food security, the first of five themed categories covered by the challenge. Other contest categories include disease prevention and treatment, maternal and child health, and business and technology.
“We are thrilled that we received so many fine ideas from journalists who want to tackle agriculture and food-related issues critical to their communities and the continent,” said Story Challenge Director Joseph Warungu.
Finalists will attend a Story Camp in Naivasha, Kenya in August to refine their ideas and learn digital and data journalism tools to enhance their work and ensure maximum public engagement. They also will receive grants and mentoring to complete the projects. After their broadcast or publication, an international panel of editors and media experts will judge the shortlisted twenty stories to select the competition winners.
In addition to the 20 finalists, 35 journalists who were not shortlisted will receive smaller grants to assist them in completing their stories.
Over two years, the project will award approximately 100 major reporting grants and provide mentoring to support the best ideas for stories on development issues. Journalists who produce the best stories published or broadcast in media that reach African audiences will win cash prizes or a major international reporting trip.
The Story Challenge is a project of the African Media Initiative (AMI), the continent’s largest association of media owners and operators, in partnership with the International Center for Journalists. Warungu, who is AMI’s content development manager, developed the project while an ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow attached to AMI.
The Story Challenge is supported by an $800,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The programme also has support from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The finalists, in alphabetical order, are:
1. Johanna Absalom, Freelance, Namibia
2. Dayo Aiyetan, Daily Trust newspaper, Nigeria
3. Jonathan Akweteireho, Freelance, Uganda
4. Oluyinka Alawode, Business Day Media, Nigeria
5. Mabvuto Banda, Weekend Nation, Malawi
6. Joseph Burite, SMS Media, Uganda
7. Alex Chamwada, Citizen TV, Kenya
8. Elias Gebreselassie, newbusinessethiopia.com/, Ethiopia
9. Anthony Kamba, New Nation Newspaper, South Sudan
10. Samuka Konneh, Liberia Media Center, Liberia
11. Kouassi Selay Marius, Abidjan Live News, Ivory Coast
12. Wisdom Mdzungairi, Newsday Daily Newspaper, Zimbabwe
13. Mustapha El Mehdi, El Watan, Algeria
14. Billy Muiruri, Nation Media Group, Kenya
15. Comfort Mussa, Freelance, Cameroon
16. Diana Neille, eNews Channel Africa, South Africa
17. Mildred Odongo, Freelance, Kenya
18. Bruno Sanogo, Freelance, Burkina Faso
19. Paul Monde Shalala, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Zambia
20. Nana Boakye Yiadom, Citi FM, Ghana
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