Announcing the 2018 Young Journalist Award final trio

Three journalists – from Pakistan, and for the first time, Vietnam and Russia – are the finalists for the 2018 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. 

The prize, in its sixth year, is one of the highlights of the UK's Foreign Press Association (FPA) Awards, and this year attracted 133 entries from 40 countries. 

The journalists are Asad Pabani, a correspondent/producer from Pakistan; Yen Duong Do Bao, a freelance journalist and photographer from Vietnam and Alisa Kustikova, an investigative reporter from Russia. The winner will be announced on Monday 26th November, 2018. 


Pakistani finalist, Asad Pabani, a journalist and producer for Soch, a Pakistan based multilingual news community

We’ve been given a snapshot of key stories being unearthed worldwide by reporters who put in extra effort to get to the truth.

Nigel Baker, chief executive, Thomson Foundation
Entries from around the world

The journalists were asked to submit three examples of their work and, following expressions of interest from countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America, the entry list was reduced to 12 by Thomson Foundation judges – all of whom have now received a certificate from the Thomson Foundation and access to the Thomson Foundation Journalism Now e-learning platform. The final three were chosen by independent judges selected by the FPA.

Asad Pabani’s first story is about the abduction of 24 Christian men by law enforcement agencies from the economically-deprived, Christian-dominated, locality of Youhanabad, Karachi. His second, another investigative piece, examines the veracity of a mass tree-plantation drive, dubbed the “Billion Tree Tsunami”, in the north-western Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the final story sheds light on the Pakistani judicial system where, on average, a case can take 25 years to resolve.


Vietnamese finalist, Yen Duong Do Bao. Image credit: Cem Tekkesinoglu


Yen Duong Do Bao’s stories include an article, published both online and in print, about young women who were kidnapped and sold to China, and about mothers whose daughters are still missing. Her second submission examines urbanisation in southern Vietnam, in particular Vietnam's biggest city, Ho Chi Minh, now home to 13 million people. The third piece looks at the apathy of Vietnamese youths towards political and social issues.


Yen pictured on assignment on urban planning-related issues on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Image credit: Thanh Nguyen


Alisa Kustikova’s first piece, Copper people, tells a story of the resistance of the citizens of Chelyabinsk against the construction of the Tominsky Ore Mining and Processing Plant (English translation available here). Her next investigative report covers the violations that took place during elections in Russia (in English here) and her third highlights the activity of ‘SANA’, a loan company that has duped thousands of people in Petrozavodsk, who are now in deep debt (see English translation here).   


Alisa Kustikova, an investigative reporter from Russia, is one of three Young Journalist Award finalists


Said Thomson Foundation chief executive, Nigel Baker: “The depth and richness of the entries this year again demonstrates the talent of young journalists, operating in challenging circumstances, in emerging economies. Yet again we’ve been given a snapshot of the key stories being unearthed worldwide by enthusiastic, dedicated reporters who put in that extra effort to get to the truth.            

The independent judges were particularly impressed with the quality of the investigative reporting, the professionalism of presentation and the insight provided into life in the journalists’ respective home countries.” 

The award invited journalists aged below 30 from countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than $20,000, to enter their work for scrutiny by the foundation – the world’s longest established international media development organisation – and then the FPA judges.


Impact on public debate

Each entrant for the award had to submit a portfolio of three published pieces of work produced in the 12 months preceding the deadline for submissions. They could be in any format – print, audio, video, multimedia or a combination of all four.

The journalists who entered were also asked to submit a written statement of no more than 600 words giving a summary of the content of each story and any impact it had on the public debate in the country of publication.

The three finalists will be flown to London, spend two nights in the city and attend the gala award night at the Sheraton Park Hotel, along with a host of other potential award winners and leading figures from the world of journalism.


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