The Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling, a collaboration between the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the ONE Campaign, and the Elliott family, honors up-and-coming journalists in Africa who strive to strengthen people’s voices and illuminate the transformational change taking place on the continent.
The Award was established in honor of the late 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 spoke of his dream to establish an award that would bring together his belief in the power of great journalism with his commitment to progress in Africa. Past award winners include Mercy Juma and Dorcas Wangira of Kenya, and Kiki Mordi and Abubakar Ibrahim from Nigeria. Each participated in a study tour of U.S. newsrooms and was awarded a $5,000 cash prize.
- The contest 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. Stories need to feature local, cross-border, regional or continental impact. We are looking for impactful investigative or explanatory pieces.
- 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, 2019, and December 1, 2020.
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.
- Due to ongoing travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, the 2021 program will take place virtually. ICFJ will arrange a series of approximately 10 virtual meetings over the course of the fellowship, featuring media and experts from U.S. and U.K. newsrooms as well as former Michael Elliott Award winners. ICFJ will tailor these sessions to the interests of the award winners. The sessions will include meetings with journalists from prominent international outlets, such as the Washington Post, The Economist, Al Jazeera and others.
- 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 2021 winners will also receive a $5,000 cash prize.
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