The Elizabeth R Media Fund’s Commonwealth Digital Challenge for 2019 is now open. Application form available here.
The challenge, run by Thomson Foundation, is an annual competition aimed at helping young, aspiring and tech-savvy entrepreneurs from the Commonwealth to develop an app, digital idea or tool to improve the work of, or solve challenges encountered by, journalists, communicators and media organisations within the Commonwealth.
The challenge is open to individuals or teams of no more than three, all candidates must be aged between 18-30 on May 3, 2019, when entries close.
Entrants will be asked to submit a 500-word statement with illustrations. These illustrations can be any one of a six-slide PowerPoint (or similar) presentation, a two-minute audio file or a two-minute video file. This statement should be an outline of the mobile application or digital solution that both details the proposal and identifies its practical usage.
We hope the competition will inspire, and help, young innovators and entrepreneurs to find new ways of improving media through the use of technology.
Entrants will be asked to submit a 500-word statement, in English, outlining an editorial or technical issue facing journalists and media organisations within the Commonwealth, together with a potential case for how it can be addressed using a mobile application or digital solution that they intend to develop. The statement should be supported by ONE of the following:
Applicants will be asked to upload their video, audio or presentation slides to a file-sharing platform (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive), which will be accessible to the judging panel via a single URL link.
The judging panel will include Thomson Foundation managers, media organisations and representatives from tech organisations and universities. The initial longlist from the original entries will be selected by Thomson Foundation in conjunction with the judges, who will then choose six shortlisted applicants to go through to the next stage of the competition.
The six participating groups/individuals will be invited to present a webinar of their proposal to Thomson Foundation and its Commonwealth-wide independent judging panel. This will include a detailed Q&A session.
The most successful three, in the opinion of the judges, will receive support and online mentoring over a four-month period.
The development period, which includes virtual mentoring, will take place from 3 June to 27 September, 2019.
During this period there will be a number of mentoring sessions. Mentoring will depend on the relevance to the groups, but may include:
The mentoring will also include free access to the Social Media Strategy course from Thomson Foundation's Journalism Now e-learning programme.
All three competitors/competing groups will be invited to present the progress of their ideas in the last week of September, during the final stage of mentoring, and to a panel of leading industry experts.
The winning individual or group will be invited to the UK in November, all-expenses paid, and will be given help to develop their mobile application or digital tool.
All submissions and presentations to be undertaken in the English language.
It was originally established as The Elizabeth R Broadcasting Fund in 1995 to assist the development of broadcasting skills in the Commonwealth with a donation from Buckingham Palace. The donation came from royalties from “Elizabeth R”, the 1992 BBC documentary which marked the 40th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Fund has fulfilled an important role for more than 20 years, bringing together Commonwealth broadcasters via a programme of travel bursaries and training opportunities.
However, the media landscape has changed greatly since that ground-breaking Elizabeth R documentary and the Fund is now developing to meet the challenges of the media’s digital age.
Thomson Foundation has been charged with re-branding and re-launching the Fund.
It is a fitting choice as the foundation has, for over 55 years, helped raise standards of journalism and communications across the world and has trained journalists and media managers from every Commonwealth country.