As a legion of academics, writers, media managers, variety of publishers, bloggers and sundry activists head for Johannesburg for the 2018 edition of the African Investigative Journalism Conference, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, (WSCIJ) in Lagos, Nigeria is inviting all those interested in competing in the 13th edition of its investigative journalism awards to make their entries. The advertisement is carried in full at the end of this preface to avoid gaps that editing could create.
Meanwhile, so striking are the similarities between the two investigative journalism events – the African Investigative Journalism Conference in South Africa and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism/13th edition of Soyinka award for investigative journalism that it is a puzzle the latter hasn’t got the global stature of its mastermind, Professor Wole Soyinka. This is a puzzle that must have registered in the minds of the managers of the centre, somehow. It cannot be that the WSCIJ has a taken-for-granted meaning of investigative journalism, given the sharpness of the overarching criterion for winning in the competition as in the emboldened section of the call for entries below. It is a small puzzle to be cracked.
It should because the centre and similar institutions dotting the landscape are, individually and collectively, a power resource for emancipation politics. That is the power locked in the narratives of compellence that each and every of their activities embody or can be made to. Every of its activity is or can be a narrative of compellence if the centre aims at a critical mass with the ability to frame the crisis in Nigeria more critically. Wole Soyinka has the stature to source the funding to turn the centre into one for production of such analytically sophisticated critical mass with an emancipatory journalistic world outlook required for change in a country such as Nigeria riddled with brazen corruption, the death of ideas and the rise of mediocrity. It is such that it could be said that Africa is no more about professional journalism but about emancipatory journalism, a task for which the alternative institutions and players such as the NGOs, the universities and the think tanks are too distressed and disarranged to shoulder in the Nigeria context of today.
Criteria: 13th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting
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.
- Editorial cartoon
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. 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 2017 and 3rd October 2018.
An applicant may only submit a maximum of a total of two entries.
Print Entries – Newspaper and Magazine
- Entrants are required to send the original and a CLEAN Photocopy
Broadcast Entries – Radio and Television
- Transcripts should be written in English language
- Audio entries should be sent in audio CD format, with accompanying script while video entries must be on CD, with accompanying script.
- 2 copies of each entry is required
- In addition to the broad criteria, photo entries will be scored on creativity, impact and technical quality.
- Each entry must be well captioned in English
- It must come with the original photo, a copy of the published work with a clean photocopy of the latter and a CD with the picture(s)
- Clearly indicated URL (web link) for the published work is required as printouts are unacceptable.
- Entry should be sent online to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In addition to the broad criteria, editorial cartooning will also be scored on impact, creativity and originality.
- An original copy of the published work with clean photocopy are required
- Entry is free.
- 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.
- The reporter with the most outstanding work(s) amongst the finalists will be selected as the WSCIJ-Nigerian Investigative Reporter of the year.
- 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 package should include:
- A brief synopsis of the story/series, 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)
- Synopsis should be in English and a maximum of 400 words.
- All submissions (apart from the online entry where submission is to be made by email should be in hard copy for all categories.
- A distinguished judges’ board, which comprises respected persons with suitable knowledge, competencies and experience in news media practice, shall adjudge the competition.
- All entries are coded to disguise media house and reporter’s byline using the WSCIJ entry coding system before dispatch to judges
- Judges’ board members can only assess, score or vote on works to which they have no organisational or family ties.
- Due to WSCIJ’s commitment to excellence, it will be in order to have categories without a finalist if the entries in such a category are adjudged to have fallen below expected standard.
- The rigorous eligibility and judging process uphold the integrity and reputation of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting 2018 competition. The judges reserve the right to disqualify any piece of work and/or finalist if, in the judges’ opinion, there exists reasonable doubt about the authenticity and/or accuracy of the submitted entry and/or the integrity of the finalists based on the set criteria.
- WSCIJ award recipients (Soyinka Laureates, runners-up and commended finalists) are expected to be persons with high ethical and professional standards. The organisation reserves the right to withdraw awards at any point in time based on the misconduct of an award recipient.
- Only entries received by the deadline will be treated.
Deadline for Submission of Entries: 4 pm, Wednesday, 24th October, 2018