15 April 2014

African Health Journalism Award Nominees Announced

press release

Nairobi — Nominees for the African Story Challenge Health Category Award have been announced today, by a panel of independent judges.

The Health category of the competition received over 200 entries from all over Africa, including French and Portuguese speaking countries. Out of these, the top 20 journalists were selected to receive a reporting grant.

Following an intensive bootcamp in Nigeria during which the finalists underwent training and mentoring in data journalism and multimedia storytelling, the journalists had six weeks to research and produce their stories. The 20 finalists recently submitted their published stories for assessment by a panel of five high profile judges who have now selected 3 nominees.

The nominees (in alphabetical order) are:

Eugene Nforngwa-Standard Tribune, Cameroon
Kerry Cullinan- Health-e News Service, South Africa
Rebecca Davis- Daily Maverick, South Africa

The winner of the health reporting award will be announced on 2nd May 2014 in Port Louis, Mauritius, at a Regional media conference on Leadership, Good Governance and Professionalism, to be held as part of celebrations to mark World Press Freedom Day.

The prize for the overall winner is one month’s fully sponsored international reporting trip to a media house of his/her choice.

Announcing the nominees, Chief Judge Omar Ben Yedder, group publisher of IC publications, which produces African Business Magazine, New African Magazine and New African Woman amongst other titles said, “the three top stories were well researched and superbly executed and raised important issues that will force authorities to pay attention and take action.”

Amadou Mahtar Ba, CEO of the African Media Initiative (http://africanmediainitiative.org/ ) commended the nominees saying, “the choice of the health theme was part of AMI’s commitment to strengthen the capacity of African media in enriching and broadening their content, by focusing on issues that really matter to the people.”

“We are now open for business”, said Joseph Warungu, African Story Challenge Editor, reminding African journalists that there is another opportunity to compete for reporting grants of up to $20,000 in the new theme of Business and Technology. The theme is currently open for entries and journalists can apply via the website http://africanstorychallenge.com/.

Warungu added, “we are looking forward to another 20 great African storytellers who will make the shortlist to join us in Morocco for a new bootcamp to shape their story ideas under the guidance of experienced mentors and trainers.”

The Story Challenge is a programme of reporting grants to encourage innovative, multi-media storytelling that aims to improve the health and prosperity of Africans. During its two year run, the project will award approximately 100 major reporting grants and provide mentoring to support the best ideas for stories on development issues.

The first cycle on Agriculture produced high impact stories that were published and broadcast in over 100 media outlets across the continent. The winning entry from Ghana, focused on the use of mobile technology to improve farming in rural Ghana. A story highlighting the plight of small-scale farmers displaced by mining activities in Zambia, led to the government’s intervention by addressing the pressing needs of the displaced farmers. Another story produced by Guardian reporter Mashaka Mgeta of Tanzania, went on to win first-runner up prize in the Agriculture and Agri-business reporting category of the Excellence in Journalism Awards Tanzania 2013. The story examined how produce cess affects struggling Tanzanian farmers.

The African 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.

The contest is supported by an $800,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The programme also has support from the African Development Bank and the Norwegian development agency, NORAD.

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