OWM’s Acting Director on the annual Awards

We’re proud to bring you another edition of our annual Awards. As we approach the entry deadline, Acting Director, Tor Bridges, reflects on why the Awards are important and why you should apply. 

 

Apart from the excitement of the start to a new year, this is a busy and eventful time at One World Media as we open our annual Awards for entries. As we do every year, we’re committed to finding the best storytelling which shows originality and substance and delivers impact across our 15 categories. We’re conscious of the multiple effects Covid has had on the journalism industry and so we’re especially grateful to our Awards sponsors who allow us to do the important work of championing new talent through our programmes.  

This year, which is our 34th edition of the Awards, is special as we introduce a Women’s Solutions Reporting Award in partnership with the European Investment Bank. This category will highlight examples of women in the global south who are making a difference in their communities, leaders who demonstrate creativity and innovation.

This is a subject close to my heart. In my last role, I mentored young women from disadvantaged backgrounds to make documentaries. These women showed me how poorly represented they are in the media. In some cases, they’re missing from it altogether. It’s worse for women in the global south. One of the aims of this particular Award is to remedy this, to provide a greater platform for women to tell their own stories by producing work that challenges stereotypes and sparks change. An example of this kind of journalism is our last year’s winner of the Television Documentary Award, Mariana Ferrari, whose entry explored the epidemic of violence against women in Brazil. 

What’s heartening to me about television is how easily the medium allows key ideas to travel far and wide. The Television Documentary Award is an important category because it’s a space for true stories to come to life, often in people’s living rooms, filling their homes as they eat dinner. Television documentaries have the power to be personal. We’re looking for stories about or related to the global south that could quite easily go untold but urgently need to reach a wider audience. Entries in this category can be broadcast on television or online, either a full-length production or an episode from a series. 

In an ongoing effort to support more emerging formats, we also want to highlight our Podcast & Radio category. We love how podcasts contribute to democratising storytelling, lowering the barriers of entry for anyone who wants to be a storyteller. This is a key theme across our categories. We want to see more entries from a variety of voices and a range of backgrounds. Even if you’re unsure about whether these Awards are for you, we urge you to take a chance and enter. 

Together with the rest of the world, we celebrated when Maria Ressa was one of two journalists to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year (Maria’s media outlet, Rappler, was awarded a One World Media Special Award in 2020). The international honour only confirmed what we believe: That independent journalism that holds power to account creates more just and peaceful societies. 

This is why we do the work we do. This is what our Awards stand for. And this is why we look forward to all your entries. 

I wish you the best of luck. 

 

Tor Bridges is Acting Director of One World Media.