Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling. The contest is named after late British journalist and longtime ICFJ board member Michael Elliott.
Application Deadline: 31st January 2024 at 11:59pm EST
Eligible Countries: African countries
About the ICFJ/ONE/Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling:
The Award was established in honor of Michael Elliott, an outstanding editor, philanthropist, and former ICFJ director, whose life was a testament to the power of storytelling to bear witness to and improve the human condition. Elliott served as a distinguished editor at The Economist, Newsweek, and Time before becoming CEO of ONE. In 2016, he had spoken of his dream to establish an award that would bring together his belief in great journalism with his commitment to progress in Africa. This prestigious annual award honors emerging journalists in Africa who strive to strengthen people’s voices and illuminate the transformational change taking place on the continent.
In a special study tour organized by ICFJ, past winners have spent time in U.S. newsrooms in Washington, D.C., and New York City to learn new skills and share knowledge. In 2019, the winner also completed a two-week internship at The Economist’s headquarters in London, United Kingdom.
Past award winners include Mercy Juma and Dorcas Wangira of Kenya; Kiki Mordi, Abubakar Ibrahim, and Zainab Bala from Nigeria; and Bernadette Vivuya from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each was awarded a $5,000 cash prize. Wangira’s award-winning story, “The App and The Cut,” covered the harm caused by female genital mutilation and the hope offered by five high school girls who invented an app to connect vulnerable girls with resources and rescue centers. Juma’s story, “Teen Mums of Kwale,” tells of primary school girls whose families make the controversial choice to let them use contraceptives even though the practice is taboo in the Muslim communities of Kenya’s Kwale County. Ibrahim’s piece, “All That Was Familiar,” chronicles the struggle of two women –one from Cameroon and one from Nigeria — to find their loved ones who have been internally displaced by Boko Haram’s insurgency. Mordi’s story, “Sex for Grades,” exposes sexual harassment in African universities.
- The ICFJ/ONE/Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling is open to English-speaking journalists working in Africa for print, broadcast and online news media. Applicants must have no more than 10 years of journalism experience.
- Applicants must submit one published piece that exemplifies Africa through thoughtful reporting and excellent storytelling. We are looking for impactful investigative or explanatory pieces, especially those that illuminate transformational change in Africa.
- A copy of the published story or broadcast clip must be submitted in English. Works in other languages must include English translations. We welcome submissions from print, broadcast or digital journalists. Multimedia submissions may include web, audio, video, visual or mixed media.
- The submitted story must be published between December 1, 2022, and December 1, 2023.
A distinguished international jury including media leaders from the US, UK, and Africa will select the winners.
Number of Awards: 2
Value of ICFJ/ONE/Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling:
This prestigious annual award honors an emerging journalist in Africa who strives to strengthen people’s voices and illuminate the transformational change taking place on the continent.
In a special study tour organized by ICFJ, past winners have spent time in U.S. newsrooms in Washington, D.C., and New York City to learn new skills and share knowledge.
The winners will be invited to take part in a virtual internship with prestigious media outlets where they will have access to editorial meetings and media experts and share their own experiences with top journalists.
To take full advantage of the training opportunities offered, applicants must speak English, even if they work in another language. The two 2023 winners will also receive a $5,000 cash prize.
How to Apply: The application form for the 2024 cycle is available here. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2024.