Young Journalist Award


The prestigious Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award: where young journalists, their work and their voices are at the centre, and where journalism’s power to enact meaningful change is as present as ever.

In partnership with the UK Foreign Press Association, the award is Thomson Foundation’s annual journalism competition dedicated to finding and inspiring ambitious journalists from across the globe. 

Now in its ninth year, the award enables journalists aged 30 and under, from countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than $20,000, to send in their best stories.

Judges of the award look for stories that are revelatory, prompt public debate and have led to, or have the potential to lead to, positive change in society.

2021 shortlist: Meet the 10 shortlisted candidates, discover why the judges were drawn to each of them and decide on your favourite. The winner will be announced on 29th November at the FPA Awards ceremony in London, which will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page. 

This year, our Young Journalist Award took aim at the climate emergency with each entrant required to submit at least one environmental story as part of their portfolio of work. 

Fifteen exceptional environmental stories have been plucked out from this year’s Young Journalist Award long list by our internal judging panel and will be showcased on our website and social media channels during COP26. The names of the journalists behind the stories will be revealed on our website soon.

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Related content

  • Putting all people first: Meet the 12 shortlisted Young Journalist stars of tomorrow who mainstream marginalised voices and share difficult truths
  • Nothing but the truth: We shine the spotlight on the work of three Young Journalist winners from Russia, Syria and Sudan who show unprecedented resolve to defend media freedom 

I recommend that journalists under 30 apply for this incredible opportunity! It opened so many doors for me.

Yousra Elbagir, 2016 winner





Martín Leandro Amaya Camacho

Winner 2020

Martín Leandro Camacho has always been passionate about being compassionate.

The 27-year-old spent the formative periods of his childhood in a small fishing village called Cancas, in northern Peru. “I loved the sea and its legends,” he says, recalling his early years. “But from a young age, I could clearly see injustices all around me.”

In an interview with Thomson Foundation, Martín recounts a childhood filled with stories of inequality, talks about his mission to tell stories with humanity at their heart and why investing in the future of young girls is important to him and his “feminist activist” wife, Mirtha Chong.

Full interview here.




Meiryum Ali

Winner 2019

Meiryum's work is remarkably different from that of previous winners and a great victory for investigative, data-based journalism. She is the first Pakistani to win the prize.

With a mix of traditional journalistic skills, compelling expression and unmistakable clarity, her explainer video of the complex data connecting former Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari with a high-profile money-laundering case, packs a visual punch.

The video exposé, made for the era of social media, is simultaneously bold, rigorous and humorous. However, it’s Meiryum’s simple, yet honest visual language and masterful treatment of the information that truly reveals her skills as a data journalist. 

See Meiryum's work here.




Alisa Kustikova

Winner 2018

Alisa Kustikova, an investigative reporter from Russia, won the 2018 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award

Nigel Baker, chief executive of the Thomson Foundation said: "Alisa, operating in particularly difficult circumstances, showed particular investigative prowess and covered stories relevant to vulnerable citizens as well as exposing political violations. This was brave, impactful reporting.”  

Alisa showed particular investigative prowess. This was brave, impactful reporting.

Nigel Baker, CEO, Thomson Foundation





Waad Al Kateab

Special Recognition Award 2017

Much of Waad Al Kateab's reporting, broadcast on UK television’s Channel 4 News, was filmed in the emergency room of the Aleppo hospital where her husband, a doctor, worked.

Here she captured unimaginable suffering without intruding  a skill that takes seasoned journalists many years to master. It's this skill that was recognised by the Thomson Foundation, who presented the filmmaker with a special one-off award for Outstanding Coverage of a Continuing Story at the UK Foreign Press Association gala awards.

Her work has been seen by 500 million people. An incredible feat for someone who literally picked up a camera and taught herself.

Jon Snow, presenter, Channel 4 News





Mariana Motrunych

Winner 2017

Exposing potential corruption was the theme of Mariana Motrunych’s reports. She ‘doorsteps’ the Commission’s head, who arrives to work in a shiny new Mercedes, to try and establish his sources of income. In another story, she examines the Ministry of Internal Affairs' practice of giving ‘award weapons’, including machine pistols and rifles, to people outside of government, including journalists.

Corruption costs a lot for all citizens of Ukraine so [international] attention is very important for me.

Mariana Motrunych, Ukraine



Yousra Elbagir

Winner 2016

The Nuba Mountains in the southern Sudanese region has been subjected to a bloody counter-insurgency campaign since fighting broke out in 2011. Yousra Elbagir, a reporter from Sudan, chose to cover the story through the eyes of displaced Nuba in the capital haunted by the bombs raining down in their homeland and struggling to preserve their cultural identity.

It means a lot to the people in my country to have someone represent them who isn't a foreign journalist.

Yousra Elbagir, Sudan



Caroline Ariba

Winner 2015

Caroline Ariba’s submissions for the award included a harrowing description of the plight of mothers in Tisai, a little known Island in Uganda’s Eastern district of Kumi. In this story, Caroline revealed how neglected its people were and how many babies died there without record of their existence. After uncovering the story, political leaders decided to speed up plans for a bridge link to the mainland.

Recognition at this level means everything and the experience of the trip has opened up doors.

Caroline Ariba, Uganda



Maurice Oniang'o

Winner 2014

Always producing with passion, Thomson Foundation's 2014 award-winning documentary filmmaker, Maurice Oniang’o, submitted a portfolio of stories which included a film on child soldiers who guard their village from Ethiopian raiders. In his latest work, he addresses the problem of domestic violence against women in African countries.

The award is encouragement that your effort to bring change in society has received recognition.

Maurice Oniang'o, Kenya



Judy Kosgei

Winner 2013

Words have an incredible power to move us, and as a result, effective storytelling can change society. Judy Kosgei produced a winning story in 2013 on the impact a shortage of sanitary towels was having on up to two million schoolgirls. The story has since brought about a change in the law in Kenya. All Kenyan schoolgirls will now get "free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels", the government has said.

The Young Journalist Award reaffirmed that little voice in my head that said changing lives begins with me.

Judy Kosgei, Kenya





FPA Awards

Watch our 2015 Young Journalist finalists as they attend the FPA Awards in London, along with a host of other award winners and leading figures from the world of journalism.



Call for entries

Journalists working in the developing world and in emerging economies are invited to succeed Peruvian journalist, Martín Leandro Camacho, as the 2021 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award winner. If you are a journalist aged 30 and under working in a country with a Gross National Income (GNI) of less than $20,000, you are eligible to enter the award.

The competition will close 10 September, 2021.

For further information on the competition, email

For the application form, see here.

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