Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Who are the Young Journalist Award 2021 finalists?


Three journalists - from India, and for the first time, Colombia and Malaysia - are the finalists for the 2021 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award, in partnership with the UK's Foreign Press Association. Between the three of them, they have racked up a raft of powerful, hard-hitting and emotionally intense stories. They've demonstrated bold dedication to journalism.

Finalist 1: Tatiana Pardo Ibarra, Colombia The troubled relationship between humans and the natural world is unravelled by Colombian journalist, Tatiana Pardo Ibarra, in her piece which tackles the controversial practice of shark finning - removing the fins from a shark and discarding the rest of the fish. The business, though illegal in Colombia, is so lucrative says Tatiana that an estimated 100 million sharks are pulled from the ocean each year so their parts can be traded, leaving many species on the brink of extinction.

She follows the work of scientist, Dr Diego Carde os, as he sets out to track and monitor the global shark fin trade using DNA testing to genetically trace back which endangered species are being caught and trafficked, and how to recover and protect living shark populations.

Tatiana also exposes how beef sold in Colombian supermarkets is fuelling illegal deforestation in protected Amazon forests and how indigenous groups are experiencing an increase in violence, threats and harassment as criminal gangs seize their land to grow coca, the plant used to make cocaine, as well as for cash crops such as palm oil.

Judges' comments: Tatiana composed colourful and panoramic mosaics with issues that include deforestation, bad governance, corruption and undercurrent violence.

-- Play

-- --

Finalist 2: Kai Hui Wong, Malaysia Kai Hui Wong, a 27-year-old Malaysian reporter formerly with the online news portal Malaysiakini, uncovers how a mining project, which involves the deforestation and excavation of 150 acres in the Som Forest Reserve, a known roaming habitat for several protected wildlife, is linked to family members of the current federal monarchy of Pahang state.

She also spotlights the royal links to another environmentally damaging project, this time the construction of permanent disposal facilities built by Australian mining company, Lynas, which has been the subject of heated protests over the years with claims of potential leaks of radioactive waste. Kai Hui also looks at Malaysia's woeful record on transgender inclusion and how the community is shut out of the country's healthcare system. Kai Hui interrogates these ideas and works to improve access.

Judges' comments: We were impressed by Kai Hui's methodical and documented approach across diverse stories. Her research led her to unveil abuses of power that she exposed in a sober and professional manner.

-- Play

-- --

Finalist 3: Mahima Jain, India Across India, villages are being emptied of husbands who set off to find work in cities but have still not returned. With many men now gone for years, their wives are left to run large households of in-laws and work on their farms, yet are mostly excluded from land ownership - this is more custom rather than law. These women keep India's rural farm sector running, says journalist, Mahima Jain. But they have no liberty, land rights or even the acknowledgement that they are employed.

Through the story of Anita Kumari, from India's Ujiarpur village, Mahima sets out to explore the male exodus and tackle the structural roots of women's disempowerment and exploitation in rural India. The story about India's left-behind women combines well the context of the issue with intricate individual detail, remarked one of the judges.

Elsewhere, Mahima confronts one of the most pressing and devastating issues of contemporary times. Violence against women is pervasive in India. Exacerbated by the pandemic, much of it - domestic violence, dowry deaths, honour killings, acid attacks, rape - is at the hands of family members. Through a series of personal interviews, Mahima offers a platform to domestic abuse survivors. She also spotlights Indias farm laws and threats to agricultural biodiversity through a podcast.

Judges' comments: We greatly admired Mahima's ability to get very close to the people about whom she writes. Her polished skills tell their deeply moving stories with a detailed and objective style.

-- Play

-- --

Vying for the top spot: Acknowledgments Judging the shortlist for this years award were I igo Gurruchaga, London correspondent for leading Spanish newspaper, El Correo, Niaz Alam of Dhaka Tribune in Bangladesh and Tinne Hjersing Knudsen of Danish broadcaster, DR.

The judging panel found it a privilege to review such a wide and impressive range of work from so many inspirational journalists, said Niaz in an email to the foundation.

We would like to congratulate the following journalists for making it into this year's shortlist: Carmen Valeria Escobar Castillo, El Salvador; Zuha Siddiqui, Pakistan; Parth Nikhil, India; Samad Uthman, Nigeria; Shrouk Ghonim, Egypt; Daniel Lutaaya, Uganda; and Md Ibrahim Khalilullah, Bangladesh.

To see their work, click here.

Young Journalist Award: What happens next? Established in 2013, the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award, in partnership with the UK Foreign Press Association (FPA) pays homage to emerging journalists, 30 years of age and under, addressing some of the most important social and political issues of our time. The winner can be from any part of the world where the gross national index per capita is $20,000 or less, and the body of work submitted must have been published or broadcast during the 12 months preceding the deadline for entries.

The final round of judging is now underway. The external judges selected by the FPA are
See more stories from thompsonfoundation

More from Thomson


Young Journalist Award shortlist revealed

A remarkable number of entries arrived from all over the world for this years Young Journalist Award - Cameroon to Colombia, Ukraine to Uganda and Egypt to Ecua...


Why Pakistan needs more women leaders

This article is written by Hudaibia Iftikhar, a blogger working in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan. Despite being highly educated, she holds a ...


Western Balkans footprints: Innovation in media training makes an impact

Running a media organisation in the Western Balkans (WB) is far from easy. A region beset by instability, corruption with challenges to media freedom which prov...


WhatsApp misinformation course goes viral

A digital learning course on mis and disinformation delivered via the messaging platform WhatsApp has gone viral in Sudan. The first seven days after publicat...


Why the environment crisis doesn t make news in Serbia

Dina or evi is a journalist with the Centre for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS). She has won a number of national and international awards for her w...


Fresh perspectives: Young Journalist Award 2022

Thomson Foundation is celebrating 60 years of promoting excellence in journalism and to mark the occasion, we're offering six rising stars the chance to con...


Finding Africa s new voice

Hello, can you hear me? The zoom screen springs to life and the responses quickly follow. Yes, we can. Good morning . The greetings come from Kenya, Nigeri...


A new chapter in a migration story

The crisis in Ukraine has again focused world attention on the plight of refugees and mass migration. It has also challenged journalists to report on the issue ...


Changing the way news and stories about Africa are told

The moment you see your byline next to a story is a magical moment for any journalist. It brings with it a sense of relief, pride and hope that you'll get n...


International success for Montenegrin mobile journalist

Success in our training programmes is measured in many ways but one of the most rewarding is reading or watching powerful stories produced by young journalists ...


Shifting the focus: Sudan on the edge of change

A pioneering band of creatives in Sudan are promoting social change through photography. The Thomson Media training for digital media entrepreneurs formed part ...


Telegram course: Reacting to a chemical attack

Chemical and biological weapons may be banned but that has not stopped them being used in recent conflicts and for journalists reporting on the war in Ukraine k...


A vote of confidence: Empowering women politicians in Gagauzia

The look of politics in Gagauzia, the small autonomous territory in southern Moldova, is decidedly male. Just two of the 35 members of local parliament are wome...


The Bettina Fund: Transforming women's careers

Eleven women who participated in the inaugural Bettina Fund - Women in Media Leadership programme say it will transform their careers as they have gained confid...


Investigating Moldova: Journalists pick up two awards

Stories on ecology and corruption, developed with Thomson Media support, are among the best investigations of the year. By Dima Stoianov, media support expert ...


Boosting media portrayals of minorities in the Western Balkans

Media in minority languages are relatively well developed, but one segment is significantly neglected in the six countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bos...


The definitive guide to podcasting has arrived

Award-winning podcasters and journalists from the UK, India, Kenya, Australia and South Africa have joined forces to create what's believed to be the first ...


Podcasts: Why I love audio

The 7th of January 1991 was a big day for me. It was the day I started working as a radio journalist. As someone who writes for a living, I'm supposed to a...


Persistence pays off for the first ever Malaysian Young Journalist winner

PROFILE: Young Journalist Award 2021 winner It was Kai Hui Wong's persistence in her investigations which led her to reveal abuses of power that convin...


Doing the groundwork: Monika Mondal wins our environmental prize

PROFILE: Young Journalist Award 2021 (environment) winner It's hard to believe that Monika Mondal only started her journalism career last year at the hei...


Who are the Young Journalist Award 2021 finalists?

Three journalists - from India, and for the first time, Colombia and Malaysia - are the finalists for the 2021 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award, in par...


We can change our migration narrative - election time is a good time to do it

By Eileen Truax Eileen is a journalist specialising in migration working with Thomson Media on Moving Voices - a project looking at cross border issues affectin...


All fired up: The journalists addressing the climate emergency with words and actions

As world leaders gather for COP26, it is a pertinent time to showcase the work o...


When diversity in newsrooms and newsleadership is not enough

In the latest in a series of personal reflections on womens role in the media, Luba Kassova, author of The Missing Perspectives of Women in News reflects on why...


Meet the new generation of journalists making a mark

It's one of those points in the annual media calendar that early-career journalists await on the edge of their seats - and the moment has arrived. We can ...


Women in media: Confronting the confidence gap

A confidence gap is a constant theme when discussing the lack of women in leadership positions in media. Why do women feel that they dont merit their success mo...


Circular economy: Bringing the intellectually ambitious concept to life

Chances are, most things that currently surround you have been produced following the principles of the linear economy. From the clothes that you wear to the ph...


Why we're all environmental journalists now

Journalists have a unique role to play in changing the narrative around the worlds environmental breakdown and becoming an essential part of the solution. Hear ...


The next generation of leaders in Kenya's media

Twelve women aiming to become future leaders and entrepreneurs in Kenya's media. They were chosen from more than 500 who applied to join the inaugural progr...


Encounters with a Sudanese artist pushing for a brighter future

Profile: Reem Al Jeally, Sudan A matriarchal figure is painted on a concrete wall on Jamhuriya Avenue, next to the University of Khartoum. Her face is not depic...


Truth always wins - spotlight on former Young Journalist winner, Martin Camacho

Applications are open for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award, one of the highlights of the UK's Foreign Press Association Awards. Closes Septembe...


Lessons of a lifetime help to deliver Thomson Foundation's mission

As he retires as Thomson Foundation chief executive - after a decade at the helm - Nigel Baker reflects on his previous 35-year career in journalism and lessons...


News writing: The art of storytelling

Journalism is competitive. It can be a hard occupation to get into and it is just as hard to succeed in it. Thomson Foundations new online course News writing: ...


Covering the escalation of police brutality in Kenya

On the 13th March, Kenya announced its first coronavirus case. The government announced measures to contain the spread. However, some of the measures proved dea...


An environmental twist on this year's Young Journalist Award

We are excited to announce the return of the prestigious Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award where young journalists, their work and their voices are at t...


The Bettina Fund: Empowering women in media

Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in media organisations despite a higher proportion of female students graduating from university journalism co...


Reporting on refugees: Belonging and unbelonging

Ahead of World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to refugees, their plight and their rights, we spotlight the work of Jordan-based filmmaker Jumana Saadeh and Kashmi...


Bettina Peters Fund: Empowering women in media

Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in media organisations despite a higher proportion of female students graduating from university journalism co...


Environmental journalism - Why local matters

They're subjects central to the way we live our lives and the survival of the planet and increasingly there's a link to many journalists' investigat...


A visual insight into the consequences of climate change

It may be a well-worn adage, but to a photojournalist a picture is worth every one of a beautifully-crafted thousand words. And in a digital age where that pict...


Creating greater transparency and accountability of government

By Henry O. Maina Government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is a...


Thomson Foundation appoints Caro Kriel as chief executive

Thomson Foundation has appointed Caro Kriel - a veteran journalist with more than 20 years' experience in international news - as its new chief executive. ...


Greatest reward: Helping to progress the careers of countless journalists

Thomson Foundation is unique: the place where the cut and thrust of the news industry meets the more strategic international media development sector. Every ye...


Giving Sudanese a voice in rebuilding their economy

Rebuilding Sudan's shattered economy after the 2019 uprising requires the country's journalists to understand and explain the key economic issues to the...


Giving Sudanese a voice in rebuilding their economy.

Rebuilding Sudan's shattered economy after the 2019 uprising requires the country's journalists to understand and explain the key economic issues to the...


Raised voices: Giving women a voice in local media

A unique research project in a remote district of north-west Pakistan has helped to empower women and give them a voice in local media. Thomson was approached...


Remote control: Covid-19 and the smartphone

Ask Spanish television reporter Leonor Su rez what role mobile journalism played during the first wave of the pandemic and she barely pauses for thought. Moj...


Staying Safe: Introducing a journalist s guide to covering protests

Nata a Kova ev is a reporter with the Balkans based 24 hour news channel N1. She is the instructor for our online learning course, Staying safe: Covering protes...


Hidden from view: Reporting on human trafficking and modern slavery

Every journalist wants to go on a rescue mission. But hidden from view, the human trafficking story is one of the most challenging, complex and ethically testin...


Challenges of becoming a journalist in a restrictive society

Maryam Anam is an aspiring young radio journalist in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a region in north-west Pakistan where women's voices are rarely heard. She is being...