Reporting Contest Winners Target Infectious Diseases

Oct 282013
  • Winner Jason Kane wrote about a controversial needle-exchange program in Tanzania. Photo courtesy of The Global Fund/Mia Collis.

Journalists from France, Kenya, Uganda and the United States are winners of an international reporting contest for the best stories on infectious diseases. In well-documented stories, the reporters focused on efforts to combat malaria, HIV/AIDS, and neglected tropical diseases.

Winners will receive reporting grants worth up to $10,000 to build on their successful entries by producing more in-depth, multimedia, investigative and data-driven coverage. Each winner proposed a specific reporting project as part of the entry.

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the African Health Journalists Association launched the contest to stimulate coverage of infectious diseases and the global fight to control them. The contest was funded by the New Venture Fund (NVF), which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“This coverage does a great service in improving public health by turning a spotlight on crippling illnesses,” said ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan.

The winners:

  • Sébastien Gobert, a freelance reporter for Radio France International and Le Monde Diplomatique, for a report, “Infectious Disease in Ukraine,” about increases in HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis infections despite international funding, logistical support and media attention to fight these diseases. His future project will look into funding and treatment of AIDS and tuberculosis in Ukraine.
  • Jason Kane, a reporter/producer for PBS NewsHour, for his story about a controversial needle-exchange program in Tanzania that relies on a partnership between a nurse and a drug dealer to get clean needles to addicts. “The Street of Blood and Smoke” was produced and published by PBS. His project will focus on how U.S. funding constraints impact the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
  • Florence Naluyimba, a science, health and environmental reporter/producer for NTV Uganda, for two broadcast reports. “Malaria Co-infections, a Great Danger!” focuses on the challenge of treating malaria patients – especially children – who have other infectious diseases. Her second story, “A Woman’s Tale of Living with HIV in Silence – Concealed from her Partner,” reveals the fears of women who may face abuse or abandonment if they admit they are HIV positive. Her reporting project will investigate the global effort to contain malaria.
  • David Njagi, a Kenyan freelance science reporter for the Inter Press Service and other outlets, for his story, “Kenya Joins Global Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases.” It highlights the devastation caused by diseases that are not getting global or national attention. The African Woman and Child Feature Service ran his piece. His reporting project will probe the spread of neglected tropical diseases across Africa.

A panel of five international journalists who are specialists in global health coverage chose the winners from nearly 100 entries.


The International Center for Journalists advances quality journalism worldwide. Our hands-on programs combine the best professional practices with new technologies. We believe that responsible journalism empowers citizens and holds governments accountable. For more, visit www.icfj.org.

The African Health Journalists Association (AHJA) is an association of health journalism organizations and journalists dedicated to promoting and providing quality media coverage to improve the lives of people across Africa. With a secretariat located in Lagos, Nigeria, and a steering committee of journalists from across the continent, AHJA is the first-ever pan-African association of health journalists. For more, visit www.ahja-news.org.