2018 was a good year for Hostwriter, and we are thrilled to celebrate what we were able to accomplish in support of journalists around the world. The biggest news of all was being awarded the €500,000 Jury Prize from the 2018 Google Impact Challenge Deutschland, enabling us to improve our platform’s usability and trust features, to increase the diversity of our membership, and to truly activate our Ambassador Network of representatives. To accomplish our many tasks, the Hostwriter team grew to five part-time staff and two freelancers this year!

Here are more great things we are proud of from this year…

Growth of the Network and Platform

In 2018, Hostwriter increased its number of members by almost 20%, ending the year with nearly 4000 members. We’ve also expanded to include members from 137 countries.

We held our first-ever Ambassadors Network Summit, bringing 30 members to Warsaw, Poland, for several days of networking and discussions about how Hostwriter can best serve its members and what our ambassadors can contribute.

Brainstorming ideas at the Ambassador Summit. Photo credit: Bernadette Geyer

Brainstorming ideas at the Ambassador Summit.

Our newest feature – HostWIRE – was launched in the fall and enables more interaction between members by offering a global crowdsourcing tool for journalists to find and share tips and information on funding opportunities, jobs, and potential collaborations.

2018 Hostwriter Prizes

With 80 journalists competing for this year’s Hostwriter Prizes, our jury had a difficult time making their selection for prize-winners! We are consistently impressed by the outstanding stories our members produce.

The Hostwriter Story Prize winners were Ingrid Gercama and Nathalie Bertrams with their story, “Vanilla fever: Fear sours the sweet scent of Madagascar’s success.” The team received €2000 euros.

Women sorting sundried black vanilla pods. Photo credit: Natalie Bertrams.

Women sorting sun-dried black vanilla pods. Photo credit: Natalie Bertrams.

There were two 2nd place prizes of €1000 euros each. One went to Kolawole Talabi and Arthur Debruyne for their story, “Fish for cash: How the EU robs Africa of its seafood.” The other went to Irene Caselli, Mariangela Maturi, Claudia Jardim and Emil Staulund Larsen, for their project, “A woman’s game: The first naturalised Dane female soccer player with Afghani roots.”

This year’s Pitch Prize was jointly awarded to two projects involving teams of journalists. Each team will receive €1000. The first team – Taras Zozulinskyy and Márton Sarkadi-Nagy – pitched “Ukraine: Illegal timber export to the EU”.  The second team – Patrick Egwu, Annie Njanja and Mamadou Lamine – pitched “Female Genital Mutilation in Senegal, Kenya and Nigeria.”

Journalism Conferences and Presentations: Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands & more

Increasing the number of members on our staff led to an increase in events Hostwriter could participate in, including the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, the News Impact Academy workshop in The Netherlands, the 8th European Investigative Journalism Conference & Dataharvest in Belgium and the Campfire Festival in Germany, among others.

Hostwriter’s staff members also presented on the topic of cross-border journalism to more than 20 groups of journalists and journalism organizations, further spreading the spirit of collaboration. Presentations were organized by institutions such as Neue deutsche Medienmacher, Netzwerk Recherche, European Journalism Centre, Bosch Alumni Network, Friedrich-Nauman-Stiftung, Fulbright Germany’s Young Professional Journalists Program, taz Panter Stiftung, Wechange, and others.

We were also pleased to publish a handy combination booklet on Cross-Border Journalism as a Method/Cross-Border Journalism as a Mindset, which was distributed at events throughout the second half of the year. The booklet is also now available for download from the Hostwriter website.

Tabea presented on Cross-Border Journalism as a Mindset at the Wechange conference in November.

Tabea presented on Cross-Border Journalism as a Mindset at the Wechange conference in November.

Of course, sometimes growth means growing out of a coworking space, so in late-November, Hostwriter moved its office out of the Thinkfarm and into our own space, which we will share with the Center for Intersectional Justice. We were pleased to see all of our friends who came to the networking office-warming event on December 6th.

We are grateful for the continued support, enthusiasm and participation of all of you. We wish you an inspiring and fulfilling 2019!