Fisayo Soyombo, an editor with one of Nigeria’s leading online Newspaper, TheCable, has been short-listed for the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund Awards in International Journalism.
Soyombo, with support from icirnigeria.org, had also done an investigative, five-series report titled “Forgotten Soldiers” which revealed the condition of some Nigerian soldiers who were wounded in the battle against Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast, but have seemingly been neglected by the Army Authorities.
The Kurt Schork awards, was initiated in 2002 in honour of American freelance journalist Schork, who was killed in 2000 while on assignment for Reuters in Sierra Leone.
Soyombo was short-listed in the Local reporter category, for his three stories of 2015: an undercover investigation into corruption at Apapa ports, a feature on the practice of female genital mutilation in some parts of Nigeria, and a three-part investigation into Liberia’s post-Ebola recovery.
The Local Reporter award recognises the often over-looked work of journalists in developing nations or countries in transition, who write about events in their homeland.
Also short-listed in the category are two other Nigerians — Olatunji Ololade of The Nation and Motunrayo Joel of Sunday Punch — as well as Aylaa Abo Shahba (Egypt), Chitrangada Choudhury (India), Ray Mwareya (Zimbabwe), Umer Ali (Pakistan) and Brian Ligomeka (Malawi).
Philip Obaji, another Nigerian, is on the short list for the Freelance category, which honours the works of journalists who travel to the world’s conflict zones, usually at great personal risk, to witness and report the impact and consequences of events.
According to a statement by the organisers, this year’s awards attracted 93 entrants — 37 Freelance and 56 Local Reporter — from 36 countries.
The winner in each category will be announced in September.
The 2016 presentation ceremony, hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the Thomson Reuters Auditorium, Canary Wharf, London, will hold on Thursday October 27.
The judges for this year’s awards include Anna Husarska, freelance journalist and author; Sam Dubberley, co-founder of Eyewitness Media Hub; Samia Nakhoul Reuters middle East editor; and Richard Sambrook, professor of journalism at Cardiff University.
Soyombo was first short-listed for the award in 2014, for ‘Blood on the Plateau’ — a five-part investigative series on the ethnocentric killings in Plateau state, published in December 2013.
The award was eventually won by Indian journalist, Neha Dixit, for “her courageous and innovative series of undercover reports on rape published by the New York Times, Outlook India, and Yahoo News”.
Soyombo, a 2013 recipient of the Deutsche Welle/Orange Magazine Global Fellowship for Young Journalists, contributes opinions to UAE-headquartered Al Jazeera and Germany-based TAZ and his works have been translated into French, German and Arabic.