The Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling

 

Applications for the 2019 cycle are now open. Apply here by Sunday, December 16, 2018. 

Mercy Juma accepts the inaugural award in honor of Michael Elliott, from his widow, Emma Oxford. Photo Credit: Steven Strasser
Mercy Juma, of Kenya, accepts the inaugural award named for Michael Elliott, from his widow Emma Oxford. Photo: Steven Strasser

The Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling, a collaboration between the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), ONE, and the Elliott family, honors an up-and-coming journalist in Africa who strives to strengthen people's voices and improve their well-being.

The Award was established in honor of 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 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. 

 

From the study tour, I came back home with great ideas and tips on digital storytelling.

– Mercy Juma, 2017 Michael Elliott Award Winner (Kenya)

 

Past award winners include Mercy Juma from Kenya and Abubakar Ibrahim from Nigeria. Juma's award-winning story, “Teen Mums of Kwale,” tells of primary school girls whose families make the controversial choice to let them use contraceptives even though the practice is taboo in the Muslim communities of Kenya’s Kwale County. Ibrahim received the award for his story, "All That Was Familiar," which chronicles the struggle of two women, one from Cameroon and one from Nigeria, to find their loved ones who have been internally displaced since Boko Haram began its insurgency in those countries.  

About the Award

This prestigious annual award honors an emerging journalist in Africa who tells important stories through quality reporting.  In a special study tour organized by ICFJ, the winner spends time in U.S. newsrooms to learn new skills and share knowledge. Starting in 2019, the winner will also complete a two-week internship at the headquarters of The Economist in London. To take full advantage of the tour, applicants must speak English, even if they work in another language. The winner also receives a US$5,000 cash prize to pursue an in-depth reporting project.

Applications for the 2019 cycle are now open. Apply here by Sunday, December 16, 2018. 

 

Eligibility

  • 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 story that reflects top-notch storytelling about an important issue. The submission can be a feature story; an in-depth, investigative or explanatory piece; or a multimedia report or documentary.
  • A copy of the published story or broadcast clip must be submitted in English. Works in other languages must include English translations.
  • The submitted story must have been published between Dec. 1, 2017, and Dec. 1, 2018. 

A distinguished international jury selects the winner.