Pursue stories now for new IFAJ – FAO award

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Now is the ideal time to pursue stories that will be eligible for the new annual award introduced by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

With the northern hemisphere eyeing harvest and the southern hemisphere getting ready to plant, it’s a great opportunity for journalists to write stories about soil, which is the inaugural theme of the 2016 award, based on the fact that the United Nations has declared 2015 the International year of Soils.

The contest winner will receive all-expenses paid trips to the annual IFAJ congress and to an FAO project related to the UN’s International Years.

The IFAJ-FAO Award for Excellence in Global Food Security Reporting will be exclusively for IFAJ members. One entry from each national association of agricultural journalists (guild) will be allowed. Guilds will hold their own selection process. All members from guilds in good standing as members of IFAJ will be eligible to compete through their guilds.

It will be an open-language competition, meaning entries can be submitted in the language in which they were published or broadcast. FAO will handle all translation for judges, when required, in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian or Chinese.

Each year a theme for the award will be chosen, under the broad heading of global food security. Anticipated topics for the theme include food production, food safety, food waste, agriculture and land use, under nutrition and malnutrition, and food affordability, among others. The annual theme will reflect the topic of the United Nations’ International Years, when they are related to agriculture and/or the World Food Day theme.

Print, broadcast and electronic media submissions (including multi-media) will be welcome. Submissions may be a single story or a series. Stories may be written by individuals or teams, but only one prize will be given per team. Judging criteria will be 50 per cent content and writing or broadcasting style, and 50 per cent presentation.  Entries will be judged by three officials – one from FAO, and two from IFAJ. Two honourable mentions will be given. No prizes will be awarded for these designations.

For the inaugural competition, stories must have been published or broadcast between (and including) 1 January and 31 December 2015. Deadline for entries will be 1 March 2016. Submission details will follow. The first presentation of the award prize will be at the IFAJ Congress in Germany in July 2016.

For further information contact IFAJ vice-president Owen Roberts, owen(at)uoguelph.ca.

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