A new Thomson Foundation competition, the Journalism Now Team Challenge, has been won by a team of four reporters spread across four countries: Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Nigeria.
The competition, which ran from February through to June, 2019, attracted 600 entrants from across the world, from China to Uruguay, from the Netherlands to Malawi. The contestants had to form teams, with a minimum of three members and a maximum of five, to develop from scratch a lively online media site.
The prize, a one-week UK media study tour, was won by Youth Media made up of Shereen Nanish (Jordan), Amine Belfatmi (Morocco), Hussein Eddeb (Libya) and Anthony Chibueze (Nigeria). In spite of the geographical spread, the four successfully worked together to produce a stream of human-interest stories.
Hussein Eddeb, Libya
Anthony Chibueze, Nigeria
Amine Belfatmi, Morocco
Shereen Nanish, Jordan
The competition is designed as a new hands-on way to help teach journalism. Once the teams were formed and submitted story ideas, they were helped throughout by Thomson Foundation, whose experts provided advice and courses throughout that included reporting skills, audience research, mobile journalism and how to grow their brands.
“It is a huge privilege yet a great responsibility as well. This competition empowered our voices as young journalists, now it’s our turn to empower others’ and seek the truth, justice and real changes,” says Shereen Nanish, the group captain of Youth Media.
Shereen added that now Youth Media plans to utilise what they learned during the competition to create informative and interesting content to further grow their media brand.
This competition empowered our voices as young journalists, now it’s our turn to empower others’.
"If you are into journalism, there is nothing stopping you from creating and growing your own media presence," explains Hosam El Nagar, the foundation's director of learning and innovation.
"Through the competition, we wanted to allow students and journalists to practice digital journalism and have a go at engaging with a chosen audience, with input from journalism experts to support them. It is not often that you get a chance to talk with members of your audience, collaborate, and experiment. The results have exceeded our expectations."
Youth Media reflected the spirit of the competition, impressing not only because of the way they managed to cooperate so closely in spite of being in four different countries but the way they took on board advice at every stage to produce good on-the-ground reporting.
Their stand-out piece on their site is the story of someone with Down syndrome working in a bakery. The subject matter is worthwhile, the video content is good and the reporter wisely lets those involved tell their own stories.
One of the judges, Rwanda-based journalist Berna Namata, said: “I was hugely impressed by their work because the team was quite diverse but they managed to work together until the end of the competition. They also identified stories that are still missed by mainstream media, such as disability rights.”
Others who made the shortlist:
Instead of creating a site with a wide range of stories, Campus Crime Watch is smart to narrow the focus to students and the harrowing experiences that many of them face.
Campus Crime Watch did a series of stories exploring the high rate of suicide among students and the high incidence of rape. They humanised the statistics with personal accounts.
What was good is that Campus Crime Watch not only set out the problems but offered positive advice, such as where students feeling suicidal should go for help.
The Campus Crime Watch site managed to build a big audience in quite a short time. Given the subject matter, it would be easy to see their audience continue to grow, the must-use site for students, a place where they could report crimes and air grievances.
Inklusive Voices succeeded in building a busy site, with a mix of international and local news, interspersed with sport. They acted on advice about using more pictures and video and more on-the-ground reporting. One story that stood out was their reporting about the Shona community living on the margins in Kenya.
Berna said: “They did a fantastic job by focusing on the ‘untold’ stories and humanising the stories.”
Mobile Journalism Africa is an exciting template for journalism in the digital age. The stories are told at ground level, as the best ones usually are. One of the best is a video of a man, frustrated at all the wasted potential, offering coaching in rugby to youths in Nairobi’s Kibera slum.
A diverse group with team members not only from different countries but different continents.
With members based in Uruguay and the Netherlands, they came up with a variety of stories, from a pirate busker on buses in Uruguay to a guide dog for the blind in the same country. From the Netherlands, there is a story about a village divided between the Netherlands and Belgium.
They focus on environmental issues, using graphics and data to good effect to hammer home their messages. Their stories included the scourge of plastic bags and air pollution.