The winner will be announced at a regional media conference in Mauritius on 2 May as part of a commemoration of World Press Freedom Day.
In March, Health-e produced “Shots in the Dark” looking at vaccination coverage for children in South Africa. As part of the six-week investigation, Health-e reporters and citizen journalists monitored local clinics and uncovered vaccine stock-outs in three provinces and storage problems that may have rendered some vaccines useless.
The investigation was published in The Star and Pretoria News, and a series of stories from Gauteng, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga ran on the Health-e website, along with a television insert.
The investigation was funded by the Africa Story Challenge competition after Health-e was named one of 20 finalists as part of the competition, beating out more than 200 other submissions.
Following an intensive boot-camp in Nigeria during which the finalists underwent training and mentoring in data journalism and multimedia storytelling, 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 three nominees.
Health-e joins fellow South African journalist Rebecca Davies from the Daily Maverick and Cameroonian reporter Eugene Nforngwa.
The prize for the overall winner is one month’s fully sponsored international reporting trip to a media house of their choice.
“The three top stories were well researched and superbly executed and raised important issues that will force authorities to pay attention and take action,” said Chief Judge Omar Ben Yedder, group publisher of IC publications which produces African Business Magazine, the New African Magazine and New African Woman among other titles.
Amadou Mahtar Ba, CEO of African Media Initiative, 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.”
The African Story Challenge is a project of the African Media Initiative, the continent’s largest association of media owners and operators, in partnership with the US-based International Center for Journalists.
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 contest is supported by an $800,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as support from the African Development Bank and the Norwegian development agency, NORAD.