Future Stories Award 2021 – Call for Entries

2021-07-15

“Journalism is what we need to make democracy work.”

Walter Cronkite

A brand new award has been launched to celebrate and recognise the achievements of investigative journalism, those that have just revealed something new and unnoticed or already shook things up.

Looking for outstanding investigative works in several categories, the Future Stories Award is a unique opportunity for Lithuanian and Slovak journalists working in this field and focusing on the local stories of important but often less visible topics.

Why should you enter?

  • The Future Stories Award is a great opportunity to make yourself and your investigative work visible internationally.
  • It helps shine light on the topics that you cover and draw more attention to them.
  • You can get a wider acknowledgement of your outstanding professional approach.
  • Through Media4Change community you can find other professionals to exchange and cooperate with.

Who is the competition for?

Professional journalists (freelancers or employed, teams or individuals) and media companies residing or established in Lithuania or Slovakia can submit their Entry/Entries to the Future Stories Award. The condition for participation is being active in journalism for at least one year, including the months of 2021.

What entries can you apply with?

The original works of applicants published between 2020 and 2021 are eligible. The main requirement is their investigative character and focus on a topic of a local significance, while respecting all ethical and other professional principles. It can be intended for print, digital media, television broadcasting, radio broadcasting, or any other medium.

What do we reward?

  • Focus on less visible topics and untold stories
  • Those bringing unknown facts to light
  • Originality, innovative thinking
  • Those moving professional journalism forward

The Future Stories Award will award prizes for journalistic works in the following sub-categories:

One winner in each of these sub-categories will receive a prize of 1.000.

One work can be submitted only to one sub-category. However, one applicant can submit more works to different sub-categories. Any media format is eligible, e.g. print, online text, video, audio, multimedia, or combination of any of these.

The Future Stories Award has also four special categories:

  1. For local or regional media (working at a local and regional level, see definition below).

  2. For young media creators and new media (for individuals aged 18-30 or emerging media that are up to 2 years in business).

  3. The best interactive presentation (for those using innovative media tools for presentation of final investigation). In this context, innovative tools are those that allow interactivity of the media piece (e.g. interactive videos, StoryMaps, various multimedia presentations), appealing presentation of results in general (e.g. mixed-media presentations such as Prezi, hyperzoom, up-to-date data-visualisation tools), or audience engagement after the investigation has been published.

  4. Interaction with citizens (for those excelling in involvement of an audience).

One winner in each of these categories will receive € 1.000.

 

The last category is the “Audience’s Choice Award”. Public will be voting on the submitted works and choosing one, which will receive € 1.500.

What criteria will be evaluated by the Jury?

An expert Jury composed of representatives of the National Institute for Social Integration, European Dialogue, and external experts will evaluate each Entry separately and award points on a scale from 1 (weak) to 10 (very good). They will evaluate each Entry according to the following criteria:

  • Narrative: quality and persuasiveness of argument, it is presented in an engaging, interesting, clear, and attractive way.
  • Data reliability: discovered and revealed facts are accurate and evidence-based, the data of the sources are documented, sufficient data have been collected, the final work complies with copyright and GDPR.
  • In-depth investigation: investigation is not based only on already publicly available information, it works with abundant sources and their analyses.
  • Actuality: the investigation covers current issues and exposes new facts related to them, discovers and reveals new affairs, or makes new and accurate interpretations of already known facts.
  • Impact and outreach (audience): the investigation manages to raise an awareness among certain audience and/or spark action to move things forward. The size of an audience is naturally depending on geographical coverage of the investigation or medium – national media are expected to have bigger outreach than local ones.

In each subcategory, one winning Entry with the highest score of points will be selected. In the case of the Audience’s Choice Award, citizens will be able to vote for their favourite works submitted to the competition via the Media4Change platform, where all Entries will be published.


Important dates and deadlines:

  • Competition opens for Entry submissions: 15 July 2021

  • Early submission deadline: 18 August 2021, at 23:59 CET

  • Late submission deadline: 31 August 2021, at 23:59 CET

  • Evaluation period: 1 September – 20 September 2021

  • Public voting period: 17 September – 28 September 2021 (closing at 23:59 CET)

  • Winners announced: 30 September 2021

For detailed information about the requirements and procedures, please refer to the official Rules and Regulations.


You can submit your Entries to the competition using this online form no later than 31 August 2021.

While the Entries should be in Lithuanian or Slovak, the application form should be completed in English only. If the Applicants need assistance with writing the summary or other parts of the application form in English, they should reach out to organisers at neringa@zmogui.lt (Lithuania) or b.kolman@europskydialog.eu (Slovakia).

We are looking forward to receiving and exploring your works! Let’s inspire others with your stories and move investigative journalism forward together!


Definition of a local and regional level: In order to define these levels, the Rules & Regulations are using the system of Local Administrative Units (LAUs) and Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) that is maintained by EUROSTAT. The investigation has a local significance when it’s dealing with a topic that is relevant to units LAU 2 and LAU 1, in justified cases NUTS 3. Local media are covering levels LAU 2 and LAU 1 as well. Regional media are covering level NUTS 3.

– In Lithuania, LAU 2 is seniūnijos, LAU 1 is savivaldybės, and NUTS 3 is apskritys

– In Slovakia, LAU 2 is obec, LAU 1 is okres, and NUTS 3 is kraj.


Background

The Future Stories Award is one of the activities of the Media4Change – Future Investigative Story Lab project, which aims to support cooperation, innovation, and professional standards in the field of investigative journalism in Lithuania and Slovakia. It’s run by the National Institute for Social Integration (Media4Change programme) from Lithuania and European Dialogue from Slovakia.

The project has been co-financed by the European Commission – DG CONNECT under the 2019 call for proposals “Media freedom and investigative journalism” (Pilot Project: Supporting investigative journalism and media freedom in the EU).

Disclaimer

The European Commission’s support for the production of this Call for entries does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views of the authors only and are their sole responsibility. The Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Cover photo: geralt, pixabay.com