Top entry from Ukraine: Meet our 2017 Young Journalist winner

Mariana Motrunych, a television reporter from Ukraine, has won the 2017 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award.

The prize, part of the UK Foreign Press Association (FPA) Awards, was presented by Lord Chandos, chairman of the Thomson Foundation, at the event held at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane Hotel in London on 20 November.

Mariana, working for Channel 24, was one of three finalists. The other two were Katerina Sergatskova, a freelance reporter, (pictured below left) also from Ukraine, and Maham Javaid (below right) from Pakistan’s News on Sunday. A special one-off award was also made to filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab, working for Britain’s Channel 4 News in Aleppo.

The stories submitted provide us with an extraordinary window on the world.

Nigel Baker, chief executive, Thomson Foundation

Now in its fifth year, the Young Journalist award is one of the highlights of the UK's Foreign Press Association Awards and this year attracted more than 236 entries from 60 countries. 

The award enabled journalists aged 30 and under from countries with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of less than $20,000 to enter their work for scrutiny by the foundation, and then the FPA judges.



Exposing potential corruption in the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission is the theme of Mariana’s first report. She ‘doorsteps’ the Commission’s head, who arrives to work in a shiny new Mercedes, to try and establish his sources of income.

Her next story examines the Ministry of Internal Affairs practice of giving ‘award weapons’, including machine pistols and rifles, to people outside of government, including journalists.

Mariana’s last story asks whether a new law, which imposes a ‘tax’ on citizens to fund political parties, can possibly prevent the involvement of oligarchs and big corporations in the financial backing of those parties.


Special recognition

Since its inception the Thomson Young Journalist Award has focused on the work of reporters who have provided a portfolio of stories aimed at creating impact on audiences in their own countries.

However, one entry this year stood apart from the others. Filmmaker Waad Al Kateab, working for Channel 4 News, shone a light on those suffering under siege in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The judges from both the FPA and Thomson Foundation felt that while her work was of a different style to the other entries, her exceptional courage, skill and video storytelling could not go unrecognised.

To mark this, the Thomson Foundation dedicated a one-off Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Coverage of a Continuing Story to Waad.


Nigel Baker, chief executive of the Thomson Foundation, said: “We are delighted that this award has attracted entries from 60 countries. The stories submitted provide us with an extraordinary window on the world and give us insight into a variety of issues brought to the attention of the public by enquiring young journalists.

Their ability to successfully deliver meaningful and, in many cases, influential, stories through tenacious investigation, gives us, as one of the judges noted, great hope for journalism in the future.”        

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.

Young Journalist Award

The Young Journalist Award reopens in July 2018. For notifications and updates on this award and Thomson Foundation's other journalism competitions, sign up to the newsletter.



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