Applications are now open for the 2020 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting. The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) rewards, promotes and encourages best practices in journalism works from the print, radio, television, photo, online, editorial cartoon broad categories as well as from other special categories which focus on themes ranging from regulatory failures, corruption in the public and corporate spheres, and human rights abuses in the country.
The Award was instituted and first held in October 2005 to aid the development of an investigative reporting culture in the Nigerian media. In naming the award after Wole Soyinka, the initiators hoped to bring further attention to Soyinka’s untiring and relentless support for the cause of freedom of expression.
Annually, nominations open in October and close in November for the award presentation ceremony usually held on 9 December – the World Anti-corruption Day.
Judges are selected from a pool of veteran investigative journalists, media professionals and academics for the award programme which has so far rewarded produced 91 finalists, 8 investigative journalists of the year and 20 honorary awards recipients for their outstanding works.
The award win includes a cash prize, an award plaque, a certificate of commendation, a computer backup hard drive and an international study tour.
Apart from the investigative reporting category, the award also has two honorary awards— the Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence and the Anti-corruption Defender Award, to honour the great past of the media profession, and to recognise individuals or organisations for their noteworthy stance against corruption respectively.
The award is open to any Nigerian professional reporter or team of reporters (full time or freelancers), 18-years and above, who have published stories either online, in print, or through electronic media primarily targeted at and received by a Nigerian audience.
The main criterion for eligibility is that the work (single work or single-subject serial) must involve reporting on public, and or corporate corruption, human rights violation, or on the failure of regulatory agencies. This year, stories on the COVID-19 pandemic in relation with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will receive special attention. The story should reflect a high quality of investigation in terms of newsworthiness, capacity to expose or prevent clandestine activities, corruption in the public domain, an understanding of human rights implications enhanced by the quality of delivery/presentation/writing. Such works should have been first published or broadcast in a Nigerian media between 4th October 2019 and 3rd October 2020.
• Editorial cartoon
Print – Newspaper and Magazine
• Scan and upload a clean and clear original print copy of the story entry in PDF format through the online application portal.
• Provide the e-paper of relevant pages of published work(s) where available
• URL (web link) for the published work is not acceptable for this category
Broadcast radio and television
• Provide media organisation’s weblink of entry or upload on SoundCloud or YouTube for radio and television entries respectively and provide the weblink.
• Ensure submitted entries have a “cue in” and “cue out” which are linked to the person making the main presentation on the media to prove that what is submitted was done in the media house it claimed to be.
• Include proof of the date and time of publication as documented in the day’s bulletin of the media house for the audio and video uploaded for all radio and television submissions respectively.
In addition to the broad criteria, photo entries will be scored on creativity, impact and technical quality.
• Upload the original photo in the section required on the portal.
• For photos published in print, included a clean and clear scanned PDF copy of the full page of the published work showing date of publication. Entrants are also encouraged to provide the electronic paper copy (e-copy) page(s) for the published work(s) where available.
• For photos from media news organisations that publish online, the URL (web link) for the published work must be provided.
Provide URL (web link) for the published work.
In addition to the broad criteria, editorial cartooning will also be scored on impact, creativity and originality.
• For cartoons published in print, provide a clean and clear scanned PDF copy of the full page where the published work appeared with date.
• Upload electronic copy (e-copy) page(s) for the published work(s) where available.
• For cartoons published online, the URL (web link) for the published work must be provided.
• The reporter with the most outstanding work(s) amongst the finalists will be selected as the WSCIJ-Nigerian Investigative Reporter of the year.
• Only a maximum of two entries across all categories of the award will be allowed per entrant.
• All submitted works must be in English Language. Where the entry is in a Nigerian language a transcript must be provided in English language.
• Entering for this competition commits you to grant WSCIJ a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free licence to use your works for any purpose deemed appropriate for the development of the award initiative, the Centre and the Nigerian and global media.
• To enhance the development of media in the country, reporters that have been winners in this competition on at least three occasions are ineligible to enter.
• Employees of the WSCIJ and/or their immediate families are ineligible to participate in the competition.
• WSCIJ guarantees that there is no connection between any sponsor and the judging process despite possible sponsorship of some categories of the award.
• The competition shall be covered and interpreted with the laws of Nigeria.
The submitted entries should include:
• A brief synopsis of the story/series (maximum 400 words), picture, or portfolio.
In the synopsis, the applicant is expected to:
• Explain the background of the project, identifying the issues and key players.
• Describe what led to the topic or caption, any unusual condition faced in developing the project and whether the investigation had any ramifications.
• Describe challenges to the content of the story/series that were not reported in the original work.
• Include up-to-date curriculum vitae for every reporter who bears the byline of the story with passport photograph(s)
Include any relevant background information on submitted work(s)
An applicant may only submit a maximum of two entries. Please submit your applications through the application online portal here.
Deadline for Submission of Entries: 4PM Saturday 24 October 2020.
For more information visit 2020 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting.