Hostwriter is thrilled to award three prizes of €1000 to each team of winners of the 2023 Hostwriter Story Prize, as well as grants of €1,500 each for the Hostwriter Pitch Prize. 

It is worth noting that most of the Story Prize winners utilized Hostwriter in some capacity to develop, collaborate and bring their stories to life. These stories are the result of collaborative efforts between journalists from around the world, and show that the future of journalism is cross-border.

Hostwriter Story Prize

For the Hostwriter Prize, we would like to congratulate Anna Romandash and Maria Dios for their investigation titled “Disability in Times of War.” You can listen to their work on Spotify.

Ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, countless tales have emerged of individuals fleeing the horrors of war. However, amidst these narratives, there remained an untold story: Ukrainian citizens with disabilities who were unable to escape the chaos and found themselves trapped amid the crossfire. This episode not only provided a platform for their voices to be heard, but also served as a valuable lesson. Tanya’s story serves as a poignant reminder of how societies that lack inclusivity inadvertently leave countless individuals behind when conflicts arise.

Anna Romandash is an award-winning journalist from Ukraine. She recently published a book, Women of Ukraine: Reportages from the War and Beyond, which tells stories of survival amid the Russian war.

Maria Dios is an EU & Climate journalist. She has a broad radio and podcast production career at national and international levels. Currently, she is the Communications and Outreach Manager of the Green European Journal.

We also congratulate and recognize Puja Bhattacharjee and Umar Bacha for their project “Caught in the India-Pakistan Crossfire.” Their collaboration began when they met at a conference in Nepal in 2022. 

The topic they chose was both moving and challenging, as it shed light on the experiences of families separated by the India-Pakistan conflict. Umar’s personal connection to the issue, through his cousin’s marriage to an Indian woman, further fueled their determination to address this pressing matter.

Puja Bhattacharjee is a freelance journalist based in Kolkata, India. She writes about health, science, policy, gender, social justice, and LGBTQIA+ issues. 

Umar Bacha has been a journalist in Pakistan for the past 12 years. He is the founder and editor of The Northern Post. He writes about human rights, social issues, climate change, and international relations. He is a fellow of the International Center for Journalists ICFJ and recipient of the Equitable Asia Award in 2021. He also contributes to national and international publications.

The third winner in the 2023 story prize category was authored by a group consisting of Raluca Besliu, Kevin Kevin, and Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi

This article, which was prominently showcased on the EUObserver platform, sheds light on the intentional absence of compensation provided by the French oil company TotalEnergies to the inhabitants of Nigeria’s River States.

The article highlights the devastating impact of persistent oil spills on the farmlands and the failure of TotalEnergies to clean up and restore the land. This negligence endangers local water sources and the ecosystem and poses significant health risks to nearby inhabitants. 

Raluca Besliu is an independent journalist, originally from Romania, but currently based in Brussels. Her reporting spans diverse subjects, encompassing environmental and climate issues, geopolitics, and economics.

Kevin Woke is an independent journalist from Nigeria, a lover of nature and humanity,  who has undergone several journalism, social activism, and fact-checking trainings. He is interested in covering education, women, children, as well as environmental and climate-related topics.

Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi is a multimedia freelance investigative journalist from Nigeria whose work focuses on reporting environmental and climate issues in Africa.

Hostwriter Pitch Prize

The pitch prizes awards grants to cross-border collaborative stories that have yet to be written.

Abhijeet Gurjar and Faisal Rehman’s pitch focuses on the rising tensions between India and Pakistan, but also sheds light on a lesser-known human tragedy at sea. They aim to uncover the plight of Indigenous fisherfolk from both countries who navigate international waterways in search of food, driven by climate change and industrial fishing pressures.

Abhijeet Gurjar is an independent visual journalist. He completed his mass communication & journalism education in 2006 after his engineering education. He has been practicing visual journalism and documentary photography since 2018. He has wide experience of working with international publications.

Faisal Rehman is an independent journalist based in Karachi, Pakistan. He covers climate justice, environmental degradation and climate change, including labor rights in Pakistan. His work has appeared in various national and international media outlets. He has previously worked for The Environment as environmental correspondent.

Sabrina Faramarzi and Natasha Mellersh‘s pitch addresses the existence of abortion tourism in Europe despite international and European human rights laws that mandate the protection of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

They explore the regulations, such as gestational age limits and mandatory counseling, that restrict access to abortion in some countries. 

Sabrina Faramarzi is an independent features journalist and data editor focused on international issues around digital and human rights. She has worked and written for The Guardian, Vogue Business, Vice, Wired and others, as well as consulting on audience development strategies and producing large-scale global editorial projects for media organisations. She is one of the co-founders of the arts activist collective Feminist Internet. She is based between London and Berlin.

Natasha Kuilak Mellersh is a multimedia journalist and an international law specialist with a focus on human rights. She has worked for the UN, in legal publishing, as well as commercial and strategic litigation. Currently, she works as an international legal consultant, and as a freelance journalist for Deutsche Welle and InfoMigrants. Her community work focuses on refugee initiatives in Germany. She holds an LLM in International Public Law from the University of Leiden. She is based between Berlin and Brussels.

Hostwriter Prize Award Jury

The 2023 Hostwriter Prize award jury deserves our heartfelt gratitude for dedicating their valuable time to meticulously review each entry. Their commitment and effort played a pivotal role in enabling us to identify the deserving winners of the 2023 awards.

Motunrayo Famuyiwa Alaka

Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer at Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Rishad Patel

Co-founder, creative director, and head of product at Splice Media.

Mariana Delgado Barón

Mariana is a long-time member of the Hostwriter ambassador network and a freelance journalist with many years of experience. 

About The Hostwriter Prize

Thank you to the Otto Sprenger Stiftung for generously donating €6000 in prize money. The foundation honors the work of German journalist Otto Sprenger, a former unionist, and employee of the German public service broadcaster NDR, who was committed to supporting young journalists, collaboration, and social engagement.

For more information on upcoming prizes and other opportunities, stay tuned on our social media platforms and the Hostwriter newsletter.

About Hostwriter

Hostwriter is an open network that helps journalists easily collaborate across borders. We connect more than 6800 journalists from 158 countries to seek and offer help, whether in the form of local advice, story collaboration, or accommodation. We see cross-border journalism as a tool to overcome national bias and prejudice, ultimately contributing towards better informed, more accountable, and democratic societies.