Nigerian Reporter Wins 2018 Michael Elliott Award
A Nigerian reporter and editor whose work conveys the human toll of terrorism and displacement, Abubakar Ibrahim, has been declared as the winner of the 2018 Michael Elliott Award for excellence in African storytelling.
Ibrahim, a news editor at the Daily Trust in Nigeria, was revealed to have been selected by a distinguished jury among 238 applicants for the prize, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) made this known.
The award, which is in honour of Michael Elliott, was established in 2016, and is given by ICFJ in partnership with ONE and the Elliott family.
Elliott was an outstanding editor and philanthropist whose life was a testament to the power of storytelling to bear witness to and improve the human condition.
The prize aims to advance the work of an emerging journalist covering Africa who strives to strengthen people’s voices and improve their well-being.
The first winner was, Mercy Juma, BBC Kenya health reporter according to ICFJ, a non-profit, professional organisation that promotes journalism worldwide.
Ibrahim’s story that won him the prize: ‘All That Was Familiar’, was published in Granta magazine in May 2017.
His story puts a human face on a story often expressed in numbers: More than two million people from northeastern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, and southern Niger have been internally displaced since Boko Haram began its insurgency.
Ibrahim tells about the struggle of two women, one from Cameroon and one from Nigeria, to find their loved ones and return home.
“Mike would be thrilled by the breadth and depth of talent displayed by the entrants for this year’s award,” said Emma Oxford, Elliott’s widow.
“The Elliott family, along with ONE, ICFJ and many generous supporters, is proud to help support the development of quality journalism in Africa.
“I am hugely grateful to the staff of ICFJ and my fellow judges for their thoughtful review of the broad range of entries.”
The winning story “exemplifies outstanding storytelling on a difficult and important topic. Abubakar’s fearless reporting and powerful writing brought home to me the hardships faced by women, in particular, displaced by the scourge of Boko Haram,” Oxford said.
Two broadcast journalists were commended as finalists for the award, which includes Lindile Mpanza of South Africa’s SABC Digital news, for her report on sexual abuse of widows.
The other finalist is Ridwan Dini-Osman of Ghana’s GHOne, for his coverage of a community in crisis because its drinking water is contaminated.
Ibrahim would receive the award and a cash prize at a reception in New York on May 24.
He would also spend time in U.S. newsrooms to learn new skills and share knowledge in an intensive, customised programme run by ICFJ, to help deepen future reporting that engages and empowers Africans.