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30 Oct

10 facts about Belarus in Focus 2014: international journalism competition

1.     Where journalists from different countries meet 

The first edition of Belarus in Focus was launched after Belarus’ 2010 presidential elections, to encourage journalists to keep writing about Belarus.  Today, we see it as a platform where journalists from different countries can exchange and compare their views on Belarus.

2.     Over 120 journalists from 17 countries

Since it started in 2011, the competition has attracted more than 120 journalists from 17 countries who have sent in a total of 177 articles. Last year saw the largest number of entrants so far - 55 journalists from 14 countries with 67 articles. We hope to have even more this year!

 3.     International judging panel 

We are proud to be working with a great judging panel:  Michael Andersen, director of MYMEDIA, Brian Bonner, head editor of Kyiv Post, Jodie Ginsburg, executive director of Index on Censorship, Tamina Kutscher, an editor for n-ost: network reporting on Eastern Europe, and Pavel Sheremet, chief editor of Belarus Partisan.

4.      Not just in English…

English is the competition’s main language, but we also accept articles in nine other languages - Danish, French, German, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Ukrainian. So if you have published on Belarus in media outside the country in 2014 in any of these languages, you are eligible to apply. Find out more about rules here.

5.     Seven prizes on offer

There are seven prizes on offer: three prizes of 500 euros for professional journalists, three prizes of 300 euros for beginner journalists, and an audience award given by online voters.

Winners will be invited to a two-day workshop in Warsaw in spring 2015 where they will have the chance network with jury members, fellow journalists and experts and receive their awards during an award ceremony.

6.     Vote for your favourite articles    

Online voting will open on January 15th, 2015, when the competition has closed. Meanwhile, you can read articles entered to this year’s competition here. You can then meet and congratulate the winners at an award ceremony in Warsaw in spring 2015 that will be announced on the competition website and in our Facebook event.

7.     Past laureates not only from well-known media

 Past winners include Shaun Walker writing for The Independent (now The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent), Sam Knight, a contributor to Prospect Magazine and Financial Times, and Andrej Dynko, editor-in-chief of Nasha Niva, who published in the New York Times. But you don’t have to write for big media names to win. Winning entries have also come from media specialising in Central and Eastern Europe – Kultura Enter, Transitions Online, New Eastern Europe, as well as national newspapers and portals – Poland’s Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Slovenia’s Delo, or Spain’s FronteraD.  

 8.     Opportunities for republishing

In the past, competition articles have been republished (with the authors’ permission) in various independent Belarusian media, such as Narodnaya Volya, ARCHE magazine, or Zautra Tvajoj Krainy as well as in Current Politics in Belarus, a blog led by Prof. David Marples, head of the Belarus in Focus 2013 jury.

This year, we’ll be looking for more opportunities for republishing, in Belarus and beyond

9.     Sparks new collaborations 

Past editions have helped bring about various projects and collaborations: Brendan McCall (2011 laureate) set up the Belarusian Dream Theater project in 2012, Evgeny Karpau (laureate of 2013) and Brendan contributed to a special edition of French journal Regard Sur L’Est, and Katerina Barushka (laureate of 2013) wrote an article for The Guardian’s New East network. 

10.  Partners from across Europe

Last but not least, we (Belarus in Focus Information Office) are grateful to be working with eleven partner organisations based in eight cities across Europe who are helping to spread the word: Belarusian PEN Centre (Minsk), Civic Belarus (Prague), Eastbook (Warsaw), European Federation of Journalists (Brussels),  The Guardian’s New East Network (London)International Press Club of Prague (Prague), MYMEDIA (Kiev),  n-ost, the Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe (Berlin), Office for a Democratic Belarus (Brussels), Press Club Polska (Warsaw),and Ostgruppen (Stockholm).

We welcome any other interested organisations who wish to partner in this initiative to get in touch at focus@solidarityby.eu

And finally...for everyone planning to enter...please submit your article by January 15!  

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Join Belarus in Focus: Journalists’ Network: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BelarusInFocus/

Join the competition event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1573517692868179/