The 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.
More than 200 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 health, the second of five themed categories covered by the challenge. Other contest categories include business and technology.
“It’s exciting to see that our competition is attracting top calibre of journalists and a mix of well established media houses, as well as small but influential publications and stations,” said Story Challenge Editor Joseph Warungu in a statement. “The range of story ideas proposed is rich and comprehensive and covers health issues that really matter to Africans.”
The three will join others for training in Lagos, Nigeria in January to refine their ideas and learn digital and data journalism tools to enhance their work and ensure maximum impact and public engagement.
After the broadcast or publication of stories, an international panel of editors and media experts will judge the shortlisted twenty stories to select the competition winners.
In the first theme of the competition, the three winning entries came from Ghana, South Africa and Kenya.
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. Journalists who produce the best stories published or broadcast in media that reach African audiences will win 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 Centre for Journalists. Warungu, who is AMI’s content development manager, developed the project while he was 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 and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra).
The finalists, in alphabetical order, are:
- Ajibola Amzat, The Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria
- Ayenew Haileselassie, Daily Monitor, Ethiopia
- Bivai Idissa, Journal Agricole, Togo
- Ebrima Sillah, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Ghana/Senegal
- Elísio Muchanga, Magazine Independente, Mozambique
- Eugene Nforngwa, Standard Tribune, Cameroon
- Gibbs Dube, VOA Zimbabwe Service, Zimbabwe
- Issakwisa Mwaifuge, Independent Television (ITV), Tanzania
- Joy Wanja, Daily Nation, Kenya
- Kerry Cullinan, Health-e News, South Africa
- Kiprotich Koros, Science Africa, Kenya
- Kolawole Talabi, Rise Networks, Nigeria
- Mongezi Zulu, The Nation Magazine, Swaziland
- Mutale Pamela Kapekele, Zambia Daily Mail, Zambia
- Ousman Sillah, Foroyaa Newspaper, The Gambia
- Raymond Baguma, New Vision Newspaper, Uganda
- Rebbeca Davis, The Daily Maverick, South Africa
- Sam Makaka, Malawi News Agency, Malawi
- Selase Kove – Seyram, New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Ghana
- Tsitsi Matope, Lesotho Times, Lesotho
- Bamutarika Musinguzi, Daily Monitor, Uganda
- Sydney Masinga, Ziwaphi, South Africa