Freelancers called to write on poverty

Freelance journalists who write about poverty and its affect on the world’s poorest countries are being called to have their articles published by the Guardian.

As part of its search to find new voices in journalism, the left-leaning newspaper wants to hear from freelancers who can bring the plight of developing nations to life for a UK audience.

The government-backed search will culminate with a shortlist of 16 writers who will be chosen to visit Africa or Asia to pen features for a special supplement on developing nations.

The Guardian says it will publish the supplement next year, to serve as a spotlight on issues in the developing world that are typically underreported or misrepresented by UK media.

To enter the competition, which is funded by the Department for International Development, the Guardian wants to see a 650-1000 word article on a specific aspect of global poverty.

Writers can enter the competition in one of two categories: either as an ‘amateur’ or as a ‘freelance’ – on the grounds they are not an employee of a media outfit.

Topics for writers to choose from are diverse – HIV and Aids, the water crisis, education, motherhood, access to life-saving medicine, disability and children in conflict, among others .

“Informed and balanced journalism is crucial to bringing international development issues to the public's attention,” said Douglas Alexander, the International Development secretary.

“But all too often coverage of disasters tends to dominate the headlines. There is too little journalism dedicated to covering the positive development changes designed to help some of the poorest people build their own capacity to move forward.

Mr Alexander, who hopes the competition will raise awareness of the big issues facing overseas communities, encouraged journalists and aspiring journalists to take part.

Jean-Pierre Garnier, chief executive of Glaxo SmithKline, said he backs the contest having seen the heroic efforts of nurses who fight diseases like Malaria, TB and HIV/Aids without sufficient resources every day in Africa and elsewhere.

“My hope, my aspiration is that GSK can help them in this struggle,” he said. “This competition offers the opportunity to showcase the heroism of these people and to be their advocate.”

For more details including how to enter as an amateur or freelance journalist please visit:


1st April 2008

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