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Announcing my journalism micro grant, "One Big Story"

I've always been a sucker for a good story.

Not just the quick news bites and headlines, but the kind of stories that stay with you long after you've finished the last line – the ones that dig beneath the surface to reveal the complexities of a situation, the hopes and struggles of real people, or the injustices that demand action.

I have worked long enough in the media scene and have been lucky enough to see the power of this kind of storytelling. I've witnessed how a single in-depth "story" can shift public opinion, expose wrongdoing, and spark movements for change.

That deep impact is what inspired my personal manifesto: "tell better stories." Because better stories lead to better understanding, to better empathy, and, ultimately, to a better world. But "better stories" are not just in terms of writing; I believe everything we do and how we do is is a story we are telling. And, tell better stories, we must!

When Stories Go Untold

Unfortunately, here's the hard truth: truly in-depth reporting is expensive. It demands time, travel, interviews, and sometimes even resources like translators or access to specialized archives. Newsrooms rarely have the budgets to prioritize weeks-long investigations. Freelancers often can't afford to finance complex projects on their own.

The result? Vital stories about our communities, nations, and the whole complex tapestry of Africa go untold. The hidden systems, the overlooked voices, and the root causes of our most pressing problems remain in the shadows.

That's why I decided not just to dream about change, but to do something about it.

Introducing the "One Big Story" Journalism Micro Grant.

What is One Big Story? Details & Mission

Each month, I'll personally provide up to USD 5501 to one journalist2 or a team of journalists. These resources are earmarked specifically for stories focused on any of the English or French-speaking countries in Africa. My hope is that this grant will become a lifeline for passionate reporters who need that extra push to bring their important investigations to light.

I'm calling on experienced journalists, passionate freelancers, and creative teams with stellar story ideas. It doesn't matter if you're affiliated with a big news outlet or working entirely on your own – what matters is the quality of your pitch and your dedication to shining a light on an under-reported issue.

I will be sharing more details about the submission process and timelines on a dedicated website shortly. For now, the "launch" is scheduled to be in line with Ghana's Independence Day celebration on 6th March 2024.

Collaboration & review

To help me run this grant project, I am assembling a "Sounding Board" of seasoned journalists and editors. Their invaluable expertise will guide me in the selection process as we consider all submitted pitches. We'll prioritize stories with the potential to spark constructive dialogue, reveal truths, and inspire genuine engagement.

Initially, due to the personal nature of this project, this grant administration will be primarily guided by myself until I am done registering the foundation arm of WMS in Ghana.

The Future of "One Big Story"

My ambition is for this to be the seed of something much larger. The ultimate goal is to establish a robust foundation capable of supporting journalism from a truly pan-African perspective. For now, we're starting with one story at a time – but oh, the potential those stories hold!

Get involved with One Big Story

As a participating journalist

Stay tuned – very soon, I'll be sharing guidelines, specific submission criteria, and all those logistical details on this blog. Applications will open shortly after 6th March 2024, so prepare those pitches! But even if you're not a journalist yourself, please help spread the word within your networks. It's time to empower those who hold the keys to a brighter future through better storytelling.

As a participating publisher

I will be sharing guidelines on how media houses and publisher can become a part of "One Big Story" - after all, all good stories deserve a place to live. We would be throughly vetting all publishers to make sure that each story3 gets the "best home" even though some might just be published on the One Big Story website. In the future, I plan to explore a story licensing model that will make the journalists even gain more financial support. You can rest assured that the final stories would worthy of any top publisher

This project fills me with excitement, and a sincere hope that we can truly uncover the "big stories" Africa deserves.

Let's do this!

Footnotes

1 - the amount is going to be disbursed in the local currency equivalent of the selected journalist; the amount quoted is the maximum cap per story, the final amount will be decided based on complexities of the pitch presented; USD 550 is a starting amount and will be adjusted

2 - journalist here is used loosely; you don't have to be a journalist before submitting a pitch however it does help to have some previous experience with storytelling

3 - story doesn't have to be a written article; it can be in many forms - video, podcast, infographic etc

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    • #61 Reply
      Sena Quashie
      Keymaster

      Each month, I'll provide up to USD 550 to one journalist or a team of journalists to tell "One Big Story"

      [See the full post at: Announcing my journalism micro grant, "One Big Story"]

    • #79 Reply
      Bless
      Guest

      This, in itself, is a big story in the making. Great initiative. Godspeed!

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