So, you’ve heard about the Hostwriter Prize but you’re not sure why you should apply or how to do it? This blog post is for you!

What Is the Hostwriter Prize?

Hostwriter offers the annual Hostwriter Story Prize and Hostwriter Pitch Prize to collaborative journalism projects by our members. If you’re not already a member of Hostwriter, don’t worry – it’s free to join! Just sign up here.

€5000 total is available for four awards – two for stories that have already been published and two for pitches about stories that have not yet been realized. The funding is provided by the Otto Sprenger Foundation.

How Can You Apply?

Here’s a quick little video from the Head of the Ambassador Network, Tina Lee, who has a brief overview of how to apply:

The Most Important Things to Know

First: As mentioned above, members of your story’s team need to be members of Hostwriter. But that shouldn’t be a problem, because membership is free. Just click here to join.

Second: The prizes are for collaborations – meaning the reporting should be done by more than one person. Hostwriter believes that collaboration is the key to improving journalism, so the Hostwriter Prize supports collaborative projects.

Third: While your stories can be in any language, unfortunately our form is only able to handle applications in English, German, Spanish, French or Portuguese. You can use a handy online translator such as Google Translate or DeepL to translate your “Description,” “Pitch” and/or “Hostwriter Benefit” text into one of the above languages before pasting it into the application form.

Fourth: What do we mean by a “Hostwriter Benefit”? Well, because the stories should be collaborations, we encourage journalists to use Hostwriter to find a team member, seek advice or connect with other journalists in the production of the project. Our HostWIRE chatroom is also a fantastic place to find a journalist to collaborate with.

Tips for Putting Together a Team and Project

This short video by Hostwriter’s Head of Communications, Bernadette Geyer, offers tips on how to put together your team:


We collected other tips from past prize winners in the blog post at this link, which includes information about the collaboration process and your responsibilities as part of the team.

Additionally, many of our past prize winners have written blog posts for us with tips on how they put their own prize-winning stories or pitches together.

  • The Process: You can read about the process of coming up with an idea, finding a partner, looking for funding and then researching and writing a collaborative project in this blog post by journalist Arthur Debruyne, who shares how he and Nigerian reporter Kolawole Talabi managed to produce their investigative article “Fish for cash: How the EU robs Africa of its seafood,” awarded with a 2018 Hostwriter Story Prize.
  • Getting Funding: Are you looking for funding for a project that involves more than two journalists? Take a look at this blog post by Irene Caselli, who received a 2018 Hostwriter Story Prize together with Mariangela Maturi, Claudia Jardim and Emil Staulund Larsen for their reportage “A Girls’ Game: The Unlevel Playing Field of Women’s Football – Nadia Nadim.” How did they gather support to produce this cross-border series? Caselli explains all the steps her team followed before winning the 2018 Hostwriter Story Prize.
  • Overcoming Challenges: Reporters always face challenges in putting together their stories. Here’s a blog post by 2018 Story Prize winners by 2018 Story Prize winners Nathalie Bertram and Ingrid Gercama, talking about some of the challenges they faced in producing their story, “Vanilla fever: Fear sours the sweet scent of Madagascar’s success,” and how they overcame those challenges.

Examples of Past Winners

Are you interested in reading stories by past winners? Check out the following blog posts for details about past Hostwriter Prize stories, including links to the completed projects.

Easy Application Process

If you’re a Hostwriter member who’s already published a collaborative story between September 1, 2018 and October 31, 2019, head over to the prize website and fill in the information on the Story Prize form. Don’t forget to include links to your Hostwriter profile page, as well as the Hostwriter profile pages of your team members.

If you’re a Hostwriter member with an idea for a story and you need team members, head over to HostWIRE, where we have a handy message board set up.

Don’t forget … the deadline for applications is October 31, 2019. We look forward to reading your application.