The Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in collaboration with ONE and the Elliott family seek entries for the inaugural 2017 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling. Mike served as a distinguished editor at The Economist, Newsweek and Time before becoming CEO of ONE. Earlier this year, he had spoken of his dream to establish an award that would bring together his belief in great journalism with his commitment to progress in Africa.

This annual award in his name will honor an up-and-coming journalist in Africa who tells important stories through quality reporting.

The award winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize to pursue an in-depth reporting project. The winner will also spend time in U.S. newsrooms to learn new skills and receive mentorship from ICFJ, helping to catalyze additional reporting that engages and empowers Africans.

• The contest is open to up-and-coming, English-speaking journalists working for print, broadcast and online news media based in Africa.
• Applicants must submit a published story or series that reflects top-notch storytelling about important issues.
• Submissions can include feature stories; in-depth, investigative or explanatory pieces; or multimedia reports or documentaries.
• Published stories or broadcasts must be submitted in English. Works in other languages must include English translations.

Applications for this year are closed.

A distinguished jury has selected the inaugural honoree. The winner will be will be honored at an event in New York on May 31, 2017.

About Michael Elliott:

A passionate storyteller with a gift for unraveling complex issues for his readers, Elliott held top editorial positions at The Economist, Newsweek and Time. Under his guidance, those publications shone a light on global development issues and the people at their center. Among the stories that he helped bring to the forefront of the news agenda were the human toll of the 2004 Asian tsunami, which he reported on from the ground, and the deadly impact of diarrhea in Africa, to which he dedicated a Time magazine cover. For his services to international journalism, he was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2003.

While at Newsweek, Elliott interviewed Bono, helping to bring global attention to the rock star’s campaign to persuade governments to forgive the debt of developing countries. That first meeting led the way, 11 years later, to Elliott’s decision to bring his passion for humanitarian storytelling to Bono’s ONE organization. As ONE’s CEO, Elliott increased global membership and lobbied to expand electrical power in African countries and combat hunger and disease.

A longtime board member of the International Center for Journalists, Elliott championed storytelling as a tool for empowerment. Even after leaving the media, he continued to emphasize the critical role of journalists in tackling poverty and disease by amplifying the voices of their victims. He reiterated this strongly held belief during a speech last July to mark his retirement as CEO of ONE, making an appeal to his fellow writers to shed light on the struggles of ordinary people. After reciting a poem by Derek Walcott on the tired feet of women lugging coal, Elliott ended his speech with a wish for all “to give those feet a voice.”