The African Media Initiative (AMI) on May 26,2013 launched a new $1 million programme of reporting grants for African journalists in Addis Ababa during the African Union’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The African Story Challenge will award over 100 reporting grants for stories on development issues.
AMI is the continent’s largest association of media owners and operators. AMI content development director and Knight International Journalism Fellow Joseph Warungu is leading the project. The Knight Fellowships are administered by the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ).
The grants will be given to journalists to support investigative, multimedia and data-driven stories that aim to improve health and prosperity across the continent.
According to the organiser, journalists chosen for the grants will come together for intensive sessions to improve their project ideas. Grantees who produce the best stories published or broadcast in media that reach African audiences will win cash prizes or a major international reporting trip.
Warungu, a former BBC Africa Editor said this new challenge will encourage journalists to experiment with new content ideas and find new ways to engage audiences through mobile technology, social media and other digital tools.
“The awards will make a major difference in the number and quality of stories produced on health and development issues in Africa,” Warungu added
AMI Chief Executive Amadou Mahtar Ba added, “It is essential to encourage and reward African journalists and news organisations that go the extra mile to deliver high-quality digital news and information to promote transparency, accountability and a higher quality of life for our citizens. We can reboot journalism in Africa by incentivizing stories that count.”
The African Story Challenge will run in five themed series. Grant requests for stories focusing on agriculture and food security, the first theme, will be accepted from May 26 to June 14, 2013. Other themes will include health, business and technology.
An international panel of editors and media experts will judge the entries.
The African 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 and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra).
For more information on contest, visit www.africanstorychallenge.com. You can also visit AMI, ICFJ and the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet) websites.